Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Education: "No" Counts As Advice

I don't know about you, but it was my understanding that teachers' jobs were to nurture and instruct their students, not to play god-games with their lives; and teachers' aides were to aid them in that effort. That should be left to professionals, namely, police, lawyers, and politicians.

According to Huffington Post, a 14-year-old special-needs student was allegedly raped by another 16-year-old special-needs student in the process of trying to catch the known harasser in the act. The plan was brought to a Vice Principal's attention before put into action, and said Vice Principal claims to have not provided any advice or directive.

That in itself is an act of negligence. "No, don't do that" would have been perfectly reasonable advice. Instead, she effectively washed her hands of it, neither condoning nor discouraging the plan.

The 16-year-old boy had in his student file, notes regarding inappropriate behavior by the student, yet special supervision of him was denied because "he hadn't been caught" and, according to, the school had a policy regarding not punishing students for things they hadn't been caught doing.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that students (special needs or otherwise) should be punished for things they are rumored to be doing, but "special supervision" doesn't necessarily equate to punishment; it just means that he can't be left alone with other students.

It's like a lifeguard paying extra attention to kids who are roughhousing in a swimming pool; the kids aren't asked to stop (which would be punishment), merely a closer eye is kept on them.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Food: The Customer Isn't Always Right

The state and Heinz aficionados are in an uproar about a Florida chef who won't allow ketchup in his restaurant. claims ketchup is "as American as apple pie," as homage to the traditional claim of defining what "American" is.

Randall Munroe of xkcd has a better "definition" when it comes to defining what makes American America:

xkcd #1357
While customers are well within their right to refuse to patronize Mad Fresh Bistro, so too does Chef Xavier Duclos have the right to refuse to serve it. Furthermore, I see no reason he could not refuse to allow customers to smuggle it in, much in the way that theatres refuse to allow you to smuggle in your own candy and pop, though I suspect he would likely lose more business than he could bear if he tried to pull that stunt.

Regardless, I back his decision. It's his restaurant, and he can serve what condiments as he wishes. As my mother taught me in matters of cooking: make it the way the reciepe says the first time, and after that you can play around with it. If it tastes good with the sauce it is given, why add more?

I'll tell you this much: there's no ketchup or catsup in my kitchen, and I'm not of the "backwards" or "behind the times" 3 percent that still uses dial-up internet as The Wire seems to correlate with non-ketchup keepers.