Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Two items to update you on:

1) The pencil sharpener that I "fixed", is dead.  It had been getting a lot of use lately, and it started to give off the odor indicated that it was burning.  I took it apart and saw that a piece was starting to melt.  It's really a lovely odor.

2) The STAFF team won the basketball lunchtime tournament.  It was a lot of fun, plus I did not pull anything.  But it is sad that by the end of the 8 minute (running clock) game, I'm out of breath and sweating like a hog.  My class right after lunch always enjoys a sweaty math teacher.

Why Cliff Lee Went to Philly

Everyone thought that Cliff Lee was going to either the Yankees (the favorite), or the Rangers (the sentimental choice).  They had very good reasons to think that way.  The Yankees and Rangers ponied up the money to make Lee's great-great-great grandchildren very wealthy.

 The word was Lee was looking for top dollar, and he had the ability to take it.

But Lee had a great perspective.  It appears to me he was thinking, "I'm going to be VERY rich.  How about I pick a team that is 1) going to challenge for the World Series, and 2) will do what it takes to keep that team going.

1) PITCHING:  Yankees-pitch with C.C. Sabathia and then a big fall off.  Rangers: Me and ? ? ?  Phillies- join 3 STUDS.  Big advantage to Philly.

2) HITTING: All three have great line ups.  I'd put them in this order: Phillies, Yankees, Rangers.

3) COMPETITION:  Being a National League Baseball fan, I'm sad to say it is "easier" in the National League.  Lee probably leaned towards Philly, having a higher probability to 1) make the playoffs, and 2) get to the World Series.

4) MONEY: People are saying Lee left money on the table taking a "smaller" deal signing with Philly.  The fact is Lee will average more money per year with the Philly deal, although he will be missing out on an extra year.  If Lee makes all his bonus, it turns out that he will be short less than $10 million, not $50 million. 

Good for Lee.  Good for Philly.  Good for all the Yankee haters.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Today I was victorious.  The electric pencil sharpener in my classroom went out today, and I tried to fix it.  Here is the set class was taking a test, so it was very quiet.  Many of the students were finished, waiting for others to do the same, and most who were done watched the show, "What is Mr. Street Doing?"

I'm always giving my students crap about how they can't get the $1.99 electric pencil sharpener (you know a really, quality sharpener) to sharpen their pencil.  Many times I'll go over, sharpen it for them, and move on.

So when I went over to sharpen my pencil, and the sharpener didn't work, I could feel students thinking, "Okay Mr. Smart Guy, see if you can get it to work now!"  So after doing the normal tricks to get the "old lady" to work, I realized I had to try something different.

So I go to the old faithful "Bang-it-really-hard" theory, but again no luck.  This brings more attention to what I'm doing, and more students are quietly watching as I try to solve my problem.

I got a screwdriver out of my desk, and unscrewed the bottom part, exposing the insides.

I thought to myself, "Yep, looks like everything is in its place," while I have NO IDEA what the heck I was looking for.  I pulled out the insides, blew off the pencil shavings, moved around some wires, stuff like that so that maybe those observing me think I know what I'm doing.

I put the "insides" back, screw the bottom, back to normal.

Insert pencil.


So I unplugged the thing, getting ready to throw it away but then thought, maybe there is something wrong/stuck in the chamber where the pencil goes.

So I took the sharpener over to my desk, grabbed a toothpick and fished out a small sliver of pencil.  I plugged it in, put a pencil in, and SUCCESS!!!

I put the sharpener back, and I hear a student say, "You're like Handy Manny."

I tried not to laugh.

And yes, the first picture is a guy running with the runs.  I believe there is a phrase that goes with that...