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Giving money and power to Government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
-- P.J. O'Rourke
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Evolution of Teaching Math 1950 to 2005
Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and
gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register.
I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.
Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:
1. Teaching Math In 1950
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?
2. Teaching Math In 1960
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of pr oduction is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
3. Teaching Math In 1970
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
4. Teaching Math In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math In 1990
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our
woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living?
6. Teaching Math In 2005
Un hachero vende una carretada de madera para $100. El costo de la produccion es $80.
Between You and Me by Mike Wallace (with Gary Paul Gates)
Amazon code for this book.
The book came from the local-yokel library and on the front cover was promised an 82-minute DVD of Wallace's most famous interviews. There was no CD with the book I checked out but it didn't matter. I wouldn't have listened to a word of it.
In fact, I likely wouldn't have read the book had I known what an awful piece of trivial tripe it would turn out to be.
Mike Wallace was host of the now-disgraced "60 Minutes" CBS show for yea many years and I'm supposing that before the man goes completely senile it was time for him to milk the last dollar out of his questionable fame by writing a book about the many celebrities and politicos he interviewed throughout his many years.
Yes I know the big Dan Rather lie was a "60 Minutes II" debacle but it's still associated with the original "60 Minutes", a once vaunted magazine type of show that is now watched by far fewer than ever watched the series during the heyday of Mike Wallace.
I don't think I've ever read a bigger piece of crap than this book. I only kept reading because a) it was not a big book and b) I wanted to see how vapid and inane it was possible for a book to be.
Let me begin by stating right here and now that I do not like Mike Wallace and never particularly did. In my mind he is part of the Old Media, those blow-dried, self-important news anchormen that lied to me for many years, bending and shaping the news to their own handsome agendas. Still, there was a time that I eagerly awaited the Sunday evening "60 Minutes" show though I forget why now. Wallace's son, Chris Wallace, now is an anchor for the political talk show "Fox News Sunday". I like Chris but am distrustful because of his father's brand of politics and how it might affect the "fruit from the tree".
In fact, during a recent interview, Mike was asked about President Bush. His response From Boston.com:
What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military. . . . The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you? . . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?
See, somebody needs to tell Mr. Wallace that the American people ELECTED Bush. TWICE! Who in the hell does he think he is? What prepared Bush to be commander in chief, Mr. Wallace? The citizens WHO VOTED FOR HIM. Sure, we not all handsome anchormen like yourself and goodness knows none of us are as smart as you, but we elected the guy. Get a clue.
Wallace's book was banal beyond banality. He wrote of his interview with Yassar Arafat, a man that finally got his comeuppance when the world refused to even pay one iota of attention to his funeral. Yet Wallace writes as if this known terrorist and liar was a great statesman. Well sure the Old Media thought Arafat was the next Winston Churchill and back during the time when they controlled the air waves, that's how he was presented. In view of the fact that Arafat came to be revealed as a lying terrorist you'd think Wallace would change that Old Media position a little bit.
Wallace went on to describe other interviews with notables but I didn't much care and certainly placed little value on his opinion in my disdain of the man. About the only interesting chapter in the book was the story of Wallace's discovery that John F. Kennedy's book "Profiles in Courage" was ghost-written. Not that this should surprise anyone. Name me one politician that alleges he/she wrote any book they professed to write and I'll show you a liar. But back during the hayday of the Old Media, such things were kept secret by both the politician and, well, the Old Media. Wallace's detail of his struggle to get this information on the air amidst threats of lawsuits by the Kennedys is interesting and is indicative of how the Old Media was bossed around and controlled by political dynasties.
One would think, via reading this book, that Mike Wallace was beloved by all who crossed his path. Beloved by everyone from Nancy Reagan to Shirly Maclaine. It got old, folks. Seriously. I wanted some juicy gossip or insightful tidbits and all I got was a Mike Wallace lovefest.
In the interview quoted above, Wallace says he won't retire until his toes are curled up. Hey Mike, stop now. The world has had quite enough of you.
Witness by Amber Frey
Amazon Link for this book.
The subtitle is "...For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson".
We begin here by saying I liked the book. Although I feel I was snow-jobbed a little bit, more on this later.
Amber Frey was the young woman who unwittingly got into a relationship with the infamous Scott Peterson. Scott Peterson's wife, Laci, turned up missing one Christmas eve. She was pregnant with their son who would have been named Conner. Only Laci was not missing, really. She'd been murdered by her husband, the lovely Scott. Amber Frey was intimate with Peterson and almost fell hopelessly in love with the murdering cad before she learned just who he was. This book is Amber's story and some of the behind-the-scenes details are very interesting.
Amber's personal story is also told in the book, so okay, it's not all that intriguing. Except for the incongruity of her sexual relationships and alleged devotion to her church.
Amber, by her own revelation, became pregnant three times. She aborted one pregnancy and gave birth to a daughter and a son. Amber reveals how she was devastated by her abortion and felt she had sinned. Thus when she found herself pregnant again, TWICE!, she wouldn't have an abortion even though the respective childrens' fathers balked at the notion of fatherhood.
I wanted to scream at the prose. Doesn't this woman understand the concept of BIRTH CONTROL?!?!?! There was even an allusion to the possibility that she might be pregnant by Scott Peterson himself. Which means, sheesh woman, they even have these patches you only have to put on once a month!
Frey goes into a lot of detail about her religion and faith in God. It was her faith in God's guidance, Amber alleges, that gave her the strength to aid the investigators when Laci Peterson went missing. Yet for all of this faith, the woman seems to drop into bed with many men and with no bother of birth control. Yes I know that religious people have sex too, but it seems to me that a child should have the benefit of two parents and okay, one mistake, maybe. Two? Three? Who knows how many more? It doesn't seem very religious to me and Amber admits she bedded Scott Peterson on the first date.
The book, however, was not meant to elicit a condemnation of Amber Frey herself, I must assume. And yet, well all those babies and one-night stands didn't convince me of the woman's saintliness.
The novel begins by detailing just how Amber met Scott, then goes on to reveal the many lies and deceptions Scott told Amber. This part is very believable and the fact is that it didn't take Amber too long to figure out who Scott Peterson was and his relationship to the then-missing Laci Peterson. Just as soon as she got suspicious Amber promptly reported what she knew to the Modesto police and eagerly agreed to aid the investigation by taping Scott's phone calls.
One has to admire Amber for that and judging by the narrative of those phone calls, Amber did an admirable job of trying to draw Scott out. At some point Scott discussed his missing wife but assured Amber that he had nothing to do with it.
Implicit in the book's narrative is the possibility that it was Scott's relationship with Amber herself that led him to get rid of his ball-and-chain, the pregnant Laci Peterson. Amber met Scott in November 2002. Scott at first denied that he was married but in early December confessed that he had been married but he "lost" his wife. Laci Peterson went missing on Christmas eve of 2002. Since Scott said he had "lost" his wife a few weeks before Laci went missing, could Scott have planned Laci's murder so he could be with Amber?
None of this is, of course, Amber's fault. The truth came out soon enough and in fact, during one of her taped telephone conversations with Scott she asked him how come he had told her that he lost his wife and what a coincidence that shortly thereafter his wife was REALLY lost. Scott didn't admit to anything during his conversations with Amber.
Another jarring note about the book was Amber's relationship with famed attorney Gloria Allred. Heh. Gloria Allred is an ambulance-chasing, celebrity-loving female lawyer who regularly solicits clients from the front pages of the headlines. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Heh. But according to this book Amber had to go out and actively seek an attorney and her match-up with Ms. Allred was all Amber's doing.
I don't believe that for a minute and I could almost smell Allred's guiding hand in that chapter. As for Amber, she feels that Allred's presence was re-assuring and hey, the woman got her a nice book deal and regularly appeared on the air with Amber and served as Amber's mouthpiece.
Scott Peterson was found guilty in the death of his wife and unborn son and got the death penalty.
For those of yon readers who have followed the Scott Peterson case, the background would not be complete without reading this book.
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