As many of you know I’ve decided to run for the Paint Valley Board of Education. As of a few days ago my petition was approved and I’ll be on the ballot. There are four people running for two open positions. The incumbents are Justin Immell and Deric Newland, who were both appointed, and they are being challenged by Blake Lloyd and myself, Dave Shoemaker.

I’m running because I care about our community. I care about our school. I care about our kids. I have a deep love for Paint Valley, and I’ve had it for the large majority of my life. I attended school in the Paint Valley district from 1st Grade until the day I graduated high school. I came back and taught in grades 5 through 8 from 1990 until 2013, coached varsity basketball from 1988 to 1996, then was asked to return and coached again from 2012 to 2018. I am the all-time winningest coach in Paint Valley basketball history, and I’m extremely proud of that. In addition, I served as the high school Athletic Director from 1996 until 2007 and was involved in the renovation of our facilities. I’ve also been a substitute teacher in the district from 2013 to the present. All-in-all I’ve been involved in education as a teacher/coach/athletic director/substitute for over 35-years, and 28 of those years have been spent serving the Paint Valley District proudly.

Much of my family has been involved in education, many at Paint Valley. My late mother Kathryn and my late sister Karen taught there, and my late friend and brother-in-law Don “Jigger” Anderson was a beloved principal at our school for 17-years. I was heavily influenced by all of them. I have several relatives who are educators too – Army, Mike, Todd, Josh, Angie, Linda, Rex, Deb, Lori, Terry, Cindy, Laura, and a few I’m sure I’m forgetting. Many of those I mentioned taught at Paint Valley, and countless former students and players of mine have chosen education as a profession  Many are administrators.

I’ve taught and coached thousands of Paint Valley students and athletes. I developed close relationships with many of them and have maintained many to this day. I still have close relationships with many on the teaching staff at Paint Valley as well as some of the administrators and support staffs. I know, appreciate and understand our district’s needs, and I understand how to open lines of communication between the school and community.

As a Paint Valley School Board member I believe communication between the school and community is crucial. Transparency, openness and honesty should be priorities. Community involvement and input is key. After all, it’s your school. A school board member shouldn’t have personal priorities or agendas, nor should they have axes to grind. They shouldn’t micro-manage or try and make decisions they’re not qualified to make. They should let the professionals do their jobs, becoming involved only when the welfare of our students and staff are in question.

And they should always, without fail, exhibit a dedicated commitment to the Paint Valley students, parents, teaching staff, support staff and community.

I care deeply for Paint Valley. To me, the right to be a school board member in a district I love is something I would consider an honor.

And that, members of the Paint Valley community, is why I’m running.

New Yorkers are nothing if not adaptable.

Today – Streetwear brand Bstroy is facing backlash after debuting their latest clothing collection.

The New York-based brand unveiled its spring 2020 collection at a fashion show earlier this week, and many Instagram users are calling some of the designs “disgusting” and “tasteless” in response. The garments at the center of the controversy? A series of sweatshirts embroidered with the names of several school shootings locations, including Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Each of the sweatshirts features tattered details and distressing that resemble bullet holes.

Why? Who does this? Who buys this?

Listen, I’m about as open as they come where dark or off-color humor is concerned. My friends will tell you I’ve told jokes about many a touchy subject. I mean, to me there is no correlation between feeling empathy for something and your ability to laugh about it. That said, man does this make me cringe. Hey, I don’t know what my line is but I do know this clothing line crossed it. Here are some examples, but be warned. It’s tasteless, callous, stupid and reprehensible.

 

 

SOURCE – Pizza Hut finally found a new place to hide cheese… inside of a giant Cheez-It.

The pizza chain just announced the addition of a brand new item to their menu, called the Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

The Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza was created after Pizza Hut realized that their largest fan base — college students — was also fond of Cheez-Its, according to a press release.

Now available nationwide, the new “pizza” looks like a giant Cheez-It, albeit stuffed with mozzarella cheese (pepperoni is also available). A single order comes with four large squares containing the mozzarella inside a cheese-baked crust. It also comes packed with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Sweet God Almighty. I promise you that there is no ocean I wouldn’t swim across, no mountain I wouldn’t climb, no fire I wouldn’t walk through to try the new Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza. Then again, there are a couple Huts within 12-miles of me so that’s not really necessary I guess. Anyway, how in the hell did it take someone this long to come up with this idea? I mean really? Pizza? Cheez-Its? ‘Tis a match made in heaven, man.

PS- In my exhaustive research I came across a recipe for Cheez-It Crusted Chicken Fingers and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

So yeah, I ran across this site called The Loon Preservation Committee and now I can’t get enough of loons, man. I swear I watched their Loon Cam for 7 1/2 hours straight last night. Just went into a trance like you read about. Anywho, the site has awesome links like “Mortality and Nest Failure”, “Loons and Lead”, and “Banding and Tracking Loons”. They even have a Loon Census and a link that shows you how to build Nest Rafts for Loons:


Dude, that’s a man-made Nest Raft for Loons. Cool. I guess nesting loons face a variety of challenges during their 27-day incubation of eggs. Loon nests are vulnerable to natural or human-induced water level changes that can flood nests or leave them stranded out of reach of parents, which makes me sad. Floating nest rafts rise and fall with water levels and help loons cope with these water level changes. Nest rafts also provide alternate nest sites to help loons displaced from traditional sites by shoreline development or recreational use of lakes, and offer protection from raccoons, eagles and other scavengers whose populations have increased due to the availability of human refuse.

They even have Loon Cruises up in New Hampshire on Squam Lake. The route of the cruise (which lasts 90-minutes) is chosen to maximize loon observations, because hell yes it does. Tickets are $27, which seems a little steep but how often do you get a chance to observe a loon up close? The answer is never, man. Can you say Bucket List?

Did you know that loons have solid bones, making them less buoyant? Because of this they are extremely powerful swimmers. They can also dive to depths of up to 200-feet for durations of up to 5-minutes which is freaking incredible. And get this – loons can achieve a flying speed of up to 80-miles per hour! Finally, the amazing loon can stay in the air for hundreds of miles in one flight! That’s crazy, dude.

And because their legs are located towards the back part of their bodies, it is very difficult for loons to walk or to take flight from land. In fact, it is often difficult for them to take off from water; the loon will usually need the help of wind. To take off, loons will need to use a runway – first they will figure out which way the wind is blowing, and then run straight into it while flapping their wings like a boss. Once they have enough air rushing beneath their wings, they can become airborne. Because of the loons need for a runway, they must be careful only to land in areas where there will be enough surface water for them to take off again.

You can find this and much more on the website. Here’s a link, because I know you’re dying to find out more about loons:

https://www.loon.org/

Enjoy!

And whether that level is upward or downward is entirely up to you. See, Cam wore this ensemble at his post-game presser last night and it set the internet ablaze. Some say he looked like the Queen of England, others say he resembled the wolf disguised as the grandmother in Little Red Riding Hood. He reminded me of Mother Goose but that’s just me. Cam had a terrible game, and afterwards he gave us this gem of a quote: “It’s time for me to look at myself in the mirror.” I agree Cam. I agree.

As of yesterday, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy had been a major league manager from 1995-2019. His career record? 1995-2019. Mind blown.

I’m sort of disappointed in Seagal.

Good stuff. Well, mostly.

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I’ve always been fascinated by abandoned places, whether they be houses, cars, or anything really. For instance, there’s something about looking at an old abandoned house and knowing that it was once someone’s dream, a place where maybe kids were running around, a home that somebody took great pride in but now it just sits there, overtaken by nature. Why did they leave? What happened? To me that’s very intriguing.

With that in mind, here are 12 photos of abandoned places that I particularly like. I hope you like them too.

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Barley Pops per state.

Oh my.

According to data gathered on all 50-states by the National Federation of State High Schools Association, more girls are playing on boys football teams than ever before. For the 2018-2019 school year 2,404 girls played 11-man tackle football on boys teams at the high school level. That’s more than has ever been recorded in the NFHSA’s history.

Hell of a grab, man. Reminds me of the pizza guy and umbrella guy who made those great saves awhile back. Good stuff.

I know, I know. Another blog about words. Deal with it. What follows are several examples of weird idiosyncrasies in the English language. Mind blowing stuff, man. Trust me on this one.

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Big word guy here. Everyone knows that. I’ve written several blogs about words, including the classics William Shakespeare, Rad Bro of Avon and Inventor of Words, 7 Redundancies We Need To Eliminate, Moving Forward, Allow Me To Reiterate, A Message To Social Media Users, 11 Examples of Why We Should Let Kids Name Stuff, Mispronounced Words: My Top 10, My 15 Favorite Palindromes, Here Are Some Words That Need To Make A Comeback, Word Up! Snorkel, Curds and Uranus and the legendary Cool Beans! Words and Phrases That Need to Make a Comeback.

So yeah, a lot.

And I once had a kid claim that “dude” was a word that only young folk should use, so of course I had to point out to him that it’s been around for at least 150-years, and that it was even used with regularity back in the stone age when I was in high school. And yes, I wrote about that too, in the blog The Etymology of Dude. 

Which brings me to today’s little piece about words that are older than you think. Let us proceed . . .

HIPSTER

Seriously. “Hipster” shows up in the 1941 Dictionary of Hash House Lingo (yes there was such a thing) and it meant “a know-it-all.” The words hip and hep had been around since the early 1900s, meaning being up on the latest and knowing what’s what. And by the way, I’m old enough to remember beatniks being called hep cats. God I’m old.

UNFRIEND

Think “unfriend” is a word brought upon us by Facebook? Naw. It’s been around a long time. It shows up in this example from 1659: “I Hope, Sir, that we are not mutually Un-friended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us.” Cool. On a related note, if you don’t think I’m going to use the word “betwixt” henceforth you’re out of your gourd.

HANG OUT

Hang out has been used as a verb for passing the time since at least the 1830s. In the Pickwick Papers Charles Dickens wrote: “I say, old boy, where do you hang out?” True story.

PUKE

Puke has been around since the 16th century, man. The word, not actual puke. That’s been around forever. Anyway, while it is often claimed that Shakespeare invented the term, puke has been found in earlier sources. It meant then what it means now, to vomit. To hurl. Barf. Heave. Spew. Upchuck. You get the picture. But it also used to be a causative verb, meaning to make someone vomit with a tonic or potion. Your doctor might have you purged, bled, and puked for your own good. That’s disgusting, but I get it. Sometimes puking does make you feel better.

FUNKY

Funky was used as a term describing music back in the 1930s, but the “strong smell” meaning has been around long before that. Since the 1600s funk was slang for the stale smell of tobacco smoke, and by extension, anything that stank. Cheeses, rooms, hobos, and especially ship’s quarters could be described as “funky.” And oh by the way, I saw Wild Cherry perform “Play That Funky Music (White Boy)” on High Street in Columbus, Ohio 6-months before they hit it big. Boom.

FRIGGING

Wait, what you say? I kid you not. Frigging has been around since the late 1500s and has served as the more family-friendly substitute for that other F-word. Check out this 1943 quote, man:  “This shunting frigging new arrangement has got every flaming thing foxed up.” People used to talk way cooler than they do now, amirite?

LEGIT

Legit as a shortening of legitimate has been around since the 1890s. It started as theater slang for things associated with legitimate (as opposed to vaudeville or burlesque) theater. From the 1920s on, it referred to underworld or shady occupations or places. If you were “on the legit” you were being honest. Kewl.

So there ya go. Words that are older than you thought they were. I hope you learned something today, kids.

 

 

 

(Travel And Leisure)–The Von Braun Rotating Space Station will likely be the first commercial space station in history. It is due to be completed in 2025, and some people are already calling it the first space hotel in history. Alatorre spoke to Dezeen about the design for the space station, making it sound like the world’s most futuristic and luxurious getaway. The station will have “many of the things you see on cruise ships: restaurants, bars, musical concerts, movie screenings, and educational seminars,” Alatorre said.

Hotel visitors will have fancier technology than what’s on board the International Space Station (ISS). Space tourists will have toilets and showers that function more like what’s on Earth. Drinking water will be brought from our planet and non-potable water will be recycled throughout the station.

Eh, I can’t tell you I’m on board with this. I’ve never been a big space guy so I’m a little ambivalent. I mean, that’s a cool view and all but how long could you look out at space or the earth before you got bored? And you’d only have that cool earth view half the time at the least, right? Or maybe you could see it from either side of the spaceship, I don’t know. I was never a Star Trek guy. Plus there’s the whole possibility of dying thing. That’s always a negative. Anywho, hard pass for me.

PS- Watch that video below. Wild stuff, man.

PPS- The thing is named after Wernher Von Braun, who was influential in building the USA space program. Cool.

PPPS- He was also a Nazi. Not cool.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Shoal Tent, the inflatable tent that allows you to suffer a grisly death on a river, creek, pond, or lake while camping. Because really kids, isn’t it everyone’s dream to doze off whilst drifting lazily down a river, come upon a sharp-edged rock and awake in a wet blackness as your nylon tent engulfs and entombs you as you sink to your watery grave to be eaten by a Bullhead Catfish?

Seriously, do you just float away in this death-trap or are you anchored to a tree or something? And how do you go to the, you know, bathroom? Can you imagine trying to steer that thing? Imagine stepping from your Floating Tent o’ Death to your canoe or vice versa. What could go wrong? And dude, is this is a Door Dash for bears or what? Yeesh. I can see a couple grizzlies spotting this baby floating downstream and one of them saying, “Oh look. Lunch is here.”

PS- The Shoal Tent us currently on backorder, so if you want to go to sleep on a river and never wake up you’ll need to wait at least six weeks.

PPS- Waterfalls and/or rapids. 

PPPS- This was largely stolen from the website Deadspin.

Well, you can’t question his enthusiasm.

PS- The Jackson State mascot is named Wavee Dave. Awesome.

LeHigh’s Davis Maxie gave no damns and no mercy for this dude. Pray for him.

Over the years I’ve told several stories that involved Jigger. Jigger was my brother-in-law and my principal, but most of all he was my friend. Whether it was going on vacations together, working together, or just hanging out, something interesting was always happening with him. If you don’t believe me, simply type “Jigger” into that search box on the left and hit enter. This site is full of Jigger stories.

For some reason this latest memory popped into my head the other day, and I’ve no idea why. It was the late 80s and Sis, Jigger, Twana and I had decided to take a camping trip through upstate New York.

Were we campers? We were not. Did we have camping gear? Nah. But hey, when Jigger got an idea in his head everyone sort of got swept up in the wave of his personality. It was that strong.

So, we went to K-Mart, bought some cheap gear and set out into the great unknown. The very first night we found a little campground somewhere south of Niagara Falls, parked our cars, set up or cheap little pup tents far away from anyone else, and built a fire. We were good to go.

Or so we thought.

It started around 10:00 that night as we were sitting around in our lawn chairs, having some adult beverages and cooking some hot dogs over the campfire. Somewhere, far in the distance, we heard a strange noise. It was sort of a faint wail, a cry of pain or distress from what sounded like an animal. We listened for a minute and dismissed it as being too far away to be a threat.

We chatted a few more minutes, then Jigger held up his hand to quiet everyone down, cocked his head, and said, “Is that thing getting closer?”

The answer was yes.

As we listened, the noise from the creature was indeed drawing closer and closer.

I guess we all stood up when the thing was maybe 100-yards out, wondering what the hell we were supposed to do. Find a weapon? Climb a tree? Run?

It turned out we didn’t have time for any of those, because before we could act it was upon us. There, bursting out of the woods, was an animal clearly possessed. It was a raccoon, and something was definitely wrong. Maybe it had rabies or something but that beast was crazed, man. It was running awkwardly, snapping its jaws and still screaming like a damn demented forest goblin.

The raccoon did a couple circles around the fire, sometimes on its hind legs, as we all darted around, high-stepping and screaming in panic, looking for somewhere to hide before the freak leaped up, ripped a vein out of one of our necks and killed us.

Then it turned, ran directly through the fire, and disappeared into the woods on the other side.

We all stood there in shock, staring at the smoke, sparks and flames the demon left in its wake as the wailing noises slowly faded into the night.

After a bit of time we started laughing, amazed at what had happened and how we’d reacted to it. And yes, we all decided it might be a good idea to sleep in the cars that night.

Those $12.99 K-Mart pup tents just didn’t seem like a good idea at the time.

PS- The next morning I woke up to the sounds of Jigger frying bacon over the campfire and singing “Rocky Raccoon” by The Beatles, because of course he was. 

Bonus raccoon gif because raccoons are cool.

South Dakota, man.

No? Huh.

I was hoping the squid would make a run at that woman and eat her. My ears, man.

Actually a bunch of mattresses were set up for an outdoor movie and they decided to make a run for it. Wild stuff.