The misaligned ramblings of an anarchist, Buddhist, environmentalist, computer geek, freak, hippie, feminist, pre-service teacher, outraged civilian.. and a lot of other labels that never seem to adequetly describe me.

Ryan the Angry Buddhist

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Unauthorized duplication, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing.

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You're still reading this disclaimer? Why? Must we live our lives by disclaimers and legal propaganda.

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Saturday, January 01, 2005
Happy New Year!

A safe and joyous New Year for everybody. 

In Other News...

Aircraft Laser Incident in Parsippany, NJ
Edd has nothing further to say about his involvement in this incident.

Conservative Students vs. Liberal Profs
This is really such over-inflated crap.  I suppose we should have an educational system so detached from the real world that nobody has anything to say about anything for fear that it might hurt somebody's overly sensitive sensibilities.  I never knew a democrat could make a republican blush.  Part of education is being exposed to new paradigms and modes of thought.  The radicals on both sides of this issue are really taking it too far.  Reading the Koran for entrance into college?  Give me a break.  But putting up Wanted posters with professors' names and faces is really just shooting yourself in the foot, and as far as I'm concerned robs the conservatives in this issue of any legitimacy they might have actually had.  Instead of appearing like intellectual peers they come off like whiney little brats because somebody doesn't agree with their opinion.  Get over it and fuck off.

Posted at 12:31 pm by Ringworm
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Friday, December 24, 2004
The Stateless Somalia

The Raging Capitalist has a great perspective on 'anarcho-capitalism' in somalia.  Two things of note.  1) Anarcho-capitalism is something of a contradiction if you really think about it.  Its more like stateless capitalism than anything.  Its a fundamental paradox to think that anarchy can exist inside a hierarchical economic system.  2) I've been using Somalia as an example of the needless state for a little while now, and I'm glad to see that I'm not alone. 

There is a gross misperception that Somalia is a shithole that was sucked into the nether regions of hell after the U.S. pulled out.  The government collapsed, and the ensueing power vacumn brought a lot of tribal war.  From the Raging Captalist:

It is a land that has not had a functioning government in 13 years, and is moreover carved up by a pack of thuggish clan warlords, yet is has the following:

*Fast-growing cellular and internet services with the lowest fees in Africa.  Even land line telephone service has expanded: under the Siad-Barre government (overthrown in 1991) Somalia had only 17,000 telephone lines, while today it has 112,000.
*An expanding electrical grid, water supply, and informal banking network
*Functioning private hospitals... operating on a pay-per-service basis, and which contrary to the mythology about capitalism, offer of their own volition, free services to the poor.
*Thriving goods markets, including imports and exports, and even bigger ticket items like cars
*A literacy rate that, without public schools, is comparable to that of its neighbors
*A mixture of informal and tribal law to resolve disputes

Now I wouldn't argue that Somalia is beacon for anarchism, or even a good example.  But this does prove that a LOT of the things we imagine to be necessities of the state really aren't.  People are more than capable of taking care of themselves without the artificial structure of government. 

I do disagree with the Raging Capitalist on one important point though: "While they may need a government to keep thugs from plundering or destroying what they have achieved, they do NOT need some self-appointed pack of would-be economic philosopher kings (whether white liberal American Ivy Leaguers or third world pseudo-Marxist intellectuals) to tell them how to run their lives"

I disagree.  First, the government is a thug.  Taxes are legalized extortion and I think you'd be hard pressed to tell me there is an organization that has plundered and destroyed more then the state.  Personally I'd rather deal with a thug than a politician who shakes my hand while fucking me in the ass (sans lube).  More importantly, the only person that can protect you is you.  Not the state.  And frankly I'm disappointed that any self-respecting, gun-toting, NRA-loving Republican wouldn't believe the same.  The state cannot protect you, and frankly, its not under any legal obligation to do so anyway.  If you want to defend yourself, do it yourself. 

In other news...

I am the talk on everbody's mind.  Me and my love life. 

I've met This Girl.  (Names have been changed to protect the innocent).  She rocks my socks.  I could probably go on at great length about it, but I that's neither here nor there right now.  I am saving that entry for another day, reader.  Right now, it'll just have to be enough to say that I have this strange feeling that whatever happens, its going to be one hell of a thing.

Anyway.. we are the talk of the town, apparently.  All attempts at discretion are pretty much useless at this point.  Its not like I have anything to hide, but I also don't want to grease the wheels of the local rumor mill (if I can borrow that phrase, Edd).  All well. 

Honestly, I'm flattered that out of the millions of things people could talk about in their spare time, they choose me.  Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than knowing that somebody is talking about me when I am not around. 

Posted at 01:55 am by Ringworm
Comments (2)

Friday, December 10, 2004
i have a secret..

and i am not telling you what it is.

But I will say, that I am pretty damn excited about it. 

Stupid News:  Call to Prosecute Over Gay Jesus

In Education: Radical Drops Plans to Teach
I could probably learn a good lesson from this woman.  ;)

Posted at 10:01 am by Ringworm
Comments (1)

Monday, December 06, 2004
Coming down...

My weekend has been blur of joy, laughter, and late-night delirium.  The days have bled together into a giant mass that begins somewhere at 4:00 on Friday, and ended just a little while ago, 5:45 on a Monday.  I am behind on my paper and I could have probably spent some time grading papers, but it was a much needed (and desired) vacation from routine.

At one point or another my weekend has involved...
four women
two men
one tiny black kitten
a bonfire
the beatles
band of brothers, episode 9
one beautiful conversation
oral surgery
dawn on sweet air
an inflatable mattress
strolls through walmart
and more blue than you can shake a stick at.

I bet you're damn jealous of me right now.

Posted at 07:57 pm by Ringworm
Comments (3)

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Return of the Ex's

I lead one seriously strange life.

A series of completely random circumstances has interject not 1 but 2 of my ex's into my day.

The first is now engaged to .. some guy.  You can see the collision course this relationship is running from a mile back.  I hope everything turns out okay.

The second called me up wondering why I thought that money was the reason we broke up.  Which I know its not.  Money isn't the issue - time is.  After going through a routine argument I think I gave up, realizing that a) I don't need to explain my perspective at this point and b) we already broke up.

I think somebody is trying to say something. 

Posted at 12:20 am by Ringworm
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Friday, November 26, 2004
Rethinking Education

The other night I talked outside the Hampton Diner for hours on education.  It was enlightening.  I already believe the school system is dysfunctional, but the conversation has pushed me to rethink my assumption, or maybe to just become more conscious of all the things I already know:

1.  The current system is one of miseducation.  Unfortunately children are just as often taught not to think.  They are taught to conform, to follow the rules, to live inside the system.  This is evident in the very nature of the school system where bells and whistles move students along an assembly line of classes, and where getting work in on time and raising your hand accounts for as much of your grade as what you actually learned.  This is not education, it is miseducation.

2.  Buearocracy breeds dysfunction.  One of the biggest problems with education is that it is a top-down system, where administrators and politicians with little to no experience in the classroom dictate education policy to people better qualified to make those decisions.  More importantly, this beaurocracy slows down even simple decision making as information is brought up the hierarchy, taken to committee, brought down, etc. etc. etc.  Meanwhile, the people who should have the most say in education actually have the least.  Teachers are bound by a pre-determined formulaic curriculum dictated by politicians and beaurocrats.  Parents are compelled to send their students to institutions where they have no say in the curriculum, unless they can afford a private school.  And most importantly students are given the least choice of all.  The choices that are not dictated by buearocrats and politicians are usurped by parents and teachers.

3.  Beaurocrats are thieves.  Another large problem is that beaurocrats and administrators suck up a vast amount of resources that could be used toward (gasp) teaching children.  Superintendents, Principles, and Czars of Education are paid vast salaries to do nobody knows what.  They use school money to buy limousines for the district and 'fact finding' trips to England.

4.  Standards are violence against the Mind.  The one size fits all education model is not only a lie, it is intellectual violence.  While teachers are taught about differentiated learning, multi-culturalism, and appealing to a wide cross-section of students the schools they work in continue to work operate under a one size fits all mentality.  It is presumed that every students needs X amount of English literature, mathematics, science, etc regardless of need or want.  Students are taught to a complex web of national, state, and local standards regarldess of ability or skill, and they are taught to national and state standardized tests that have no merit in the real world.

5.  Schools are in the business of taxes.  Standardized tests do have a place in generating revenue, however.  Standardized tests are most frequently used to measure the value of real estate.  High test scores equal high real estate which equals high real estate taxes which equal greater revenue for the shool district and higher pension for the Superintendent.

6.  Maintaining hierarchy.  The other method real estate agents use to calculate the wealth of local land is the percentage of graduating seniors and college-bound seniors.  Thus, middle/upper class school districts have a vested interest in pushing every student toward college regardless of need or want, while failing students and others that do not fit the mold are encouraged to drop out before they can negatively effect the college-bound percentile.  In poorer school districts, students are discouraged from even applying to college; they are pushed toward Vo-Tech, Work Study, and other programs pushing low class students into the work force early and away from upper class education.

Other Misc. Dysfunction: Missionary Dating

You know.. I could probably come up with some witty comment about why we should mandate sterilization for some folks.  But I won't.  I'll just let the utter stupidity speak for itself.  (From ElvenSarah)

Posted at 11:19 am by Ringworm
Comments (1)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Quote of the Day:
"Our city schools will soon be forced to give up the exceedingly democratic idea that all are equal, and our society devoid of classes . . . and to begin a specialization of educational effort along many lines."
- Ellwood P. Cubberly, school reformer, 1909.

I am currently student-teaching in a middle school in Suburbia, New Jersey where the tracking of students is starting to slowly irritate me.  A number of educational and sociology professional have already commented at great length about the negetive effect of tracking. 

Tracking lends itself to a racist segregation of students.  Low track students are not given the same opportunities that high track students receive.  They recieve less qualified teachers, fewer academic classes, a 'dumbed-down' curriculum, and less money.

In my own limited experience I have noticed this:

High track students don't necessarily belong there.  In my Suburbia Middle School, about half the students in G&T (Gifted and Talented) should not be there.  They qualify because their brother/sister was there.  Their test scores are high, but their academic scores are low.  They cannot do the work, or they feel they don't have to because they are 'too smart'.  Its also nearly impossible to give them anything below a B (even a B is hard to give) because of pressure from parents.  Even though half the class deserves a C, they won't see it.

On the other hand, low track students are taught to do poorly.  Its expected.  They are the 'dumb' class - no joke, I've heard a teacher call classes dumb, stupid, or worthless.  When I taught these students, I expected all of them to do well.  'I don't know,' 'I don't care,' or 'I'm too dumb' don't cut it with me.  Strangely enough.. all the 'dumb' kids got A's and B's from me.  Go figure.


Posted at 04:13 pm by Ringworm
Comments (4)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
What happened to Small?

Its a relatively minor issue in the grand scheme of life.. (I think..)

But what happened to Small?

I didn't really notice it at first.  I walked into the Jefferson Diner some months ago and asked for a small soda with my grilled cheese and french fries.  When the waiter returned, I was surprised to find myself staring down a liter of soda and ice. 

It was an isolated incident, I thought.

Then I'm going to get a slice of pizza at the local pizza joint.  Again, I ask for a small soda.  I get a 16 oz. cup. 

In what reality is 16 ounces of liquid small? 

And I watch "Supersize Me" and find out that is going on everywhere.  Apparently.  I don't eat enough fast food, so its been happening without my ever noticing.  The sizes just keep getting bigger, and bigger.  After large it was extra-large, then supersized, the SUPER-supersized.  Next: SUPER-Dupper-Dupper-Supersized.  It will be a small drum of soda, with a cheap plastic straw poking through the top.

7-11 sells fountain soda by the gallon now.  Who is drinking this much liquid?  When did we become this thirsty in America?

Talk to enough drug addicts and this whole scenario seems a little familiar. 

But its not just soda.  Everything is huge.  Soda drinks, french fries, even restaurant portions.  And the biggest thing of all is our collective asses, with so much obecity running rampant.

I think America is the only country rich enough where we can afford to be allergic to food, or eat so much it kills us.  God bless America.

Posted at 09:24 pm by Ringworm
Comments (3)

Monday, November 08, 2004
Questions for the Right

Pinko-Commie-Bleeding-Heart-Liberal Article of the Day:
How to win an election - cheat

Questions for the Right:

  • Why does the Pro-Life right support the death penalty?
  • How can you complain about abortion being used for birth control, when you refuse to educate people about birth control in the first place? 
  • Why is terrorism deplorable, but war necessary?  Isn't terrorism just the free-market alternative to war?
  • Speaking of the War on Terror, how do you declare war on an noun?  And if you can declare war on a noun, shouldn't we be looking toward more offending and troublesome nouns, like onomatopoeia?  Or how about antidisestablishmentarianism?  I mean there's like 3 prefixes and suffixes in there!
  • Why are they activist judges when they side with the left, and judges when they side with the right?
  • How can we spread democracy abroud when we don't have it here?

Unrelated to Politics:
I'm going to see Macbeth on Friday.  Unfortunately with The Girl gone, I have an empty seat next to me.  I don't know who to take - if anybody. 


Posted at 10:29 pm by Ringworm
Comments (4)

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I'm having trouble writing tonight.

I usually do.  Its hard for me to find a single thread of thought that follows a nice and neat progression.  Today its just a little more noticable.

I'm sad. 

And this very plain fact has been smacking me in the face all day, no matter how hard I try to avoid it.  I work, check my e-mail, read the news, read a couple blogs, watch a documentary, plan a trip to the MET (but don't go).  And I do it all with a sort of quiet fugue, like I'm not really here.  Which I'm not.  I'm crawled up into some corner of my mind trying not to be here.

I miss The Girl.

That's what it really comes down to.  I miss her.  And as much as I would like to see her I cannot, and as much as I would like things to work out, they won't. 

I don't even really understand too much of what happened.  The particulars elude me.  The fine details of why I am an inadequete partner seem so.. lofty, or perhaps just superficial.  Maybe she was expecting too much.  Maybe I'm expecting too much.

Things I do know:
1. The priorities in my life are: God, School, Work, Relationships with others.  In that order.  I don't really expect anybody to miss a class or work or sacrafice their sleep to see me - asking me to do the same is unreasonable at best.  And if once a week is all my time and money can afford, that's the best I can do. 
2. You will never understand me.  Don't even try.  Its an insult to even try.  You wouldn't try to put the ocean in a dixie cup.  Don't assume that you will understand me in a couple weeks, months, or years.  I've known me for 22 years, and frankly I'm still not sure who I am. 
3. My ability to comprehend your reality is not directly correlated to my affection for you.
4. Sometimes, forgetting to call just means I forgot to call.  I am also prone to forget birthdays, major holidays, the year, and my telephone number.  Tragically, these are not exagerations.  However, I will remember that when we kissed you were wearing the same jacket you wore the other night, it was one a.m. and the pier was cold as all hell.

Things I do not know:
1. How two people can be so similar, and so different.

Posted at 09:19 pm by Ringworm
Comments (6)

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