Posts Tagged ‘datechguy's magnificent seven’

Photo by 2y.kang on Unsplash

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – In shocking, absolutely SHOCKING news, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports that “Only 43% of kindergarten students read on grade level, 54% of first graders, 56% of second graders and 53% of third graders.”

(Insert sarcasm).

Seriously, who didn’t see that one coming?

After teaching ELA at the high school level for twenty-five years, I am not at all shocked by these numbers; in fact, I’m surprised they aren’t worse.

One of the main reasons I left the classroom when I did, rather than get my thirty years in, was because of the terrible Louisiana Believes ELA curriculum. When the program rolled out, I ranted and raved and went into fits of depression. There were tears shed over this curriculum at the time by gifted ELA teachers I worked with who knew this program was terrible yet were powerless to change anything. All reading for pleasure was removed from the curriculum. Most fiction was stripped out. And while I’m a nonfiction fan, the nonfiction pieces my 10th graders had to read were the dullest, driest, most soul crushing texts you can imagine.

I’m all for challenging a student. That wasn’t what was happening.

The word “rigor” became code for all we loathed about the reading materials. Teachers were expected to embrace the new “rigorous texts” and lead students through multiple, yes, multiple readings of them; and students were expected to read these eight page speeches or scientific articles multiple times while annotating, highlighting, examining, discussing, and writing.

No tenth grader I’ve ever met is going to get excited about reading Carrie Chapman Catt’s speech on women’s suffrage.

Teachers were given this curriculum and the accompanying prepared slides, and a script, and we were expected to follow it “with fidelity.”

Meanwhile, students mentally checked out.

When I tell you that there was ZERO fiction, I’m not kidding. And the ELA supervisor at the time told me that if kids want to read for pleasure, they will do it on their own.

That was about six years ago. Each year since then the curriculum has been loosened a bit, and a bit more each year. Teachers were given a little more flexibility but not much.

To combat the growing apathy toward English from my students, I brought in a classroom library and man was the excitement back in the classroom! Kids clamored for books they wanted to read.

But by then, my own future was sealed. I had to leave the classroom because I had lost faith in the program. Trust was broken. Teachers lost all voice, all input, all creativity and freedom over their classes. I could not in good conscience lead students through material that crushed their desire to read and learn; and for the record, the great test scores the admins were looking for never happened. They started to rise a bit once the bonds loosened, but this new curriculum did not solve the ills of literacy.

And, based on what I’m reading today, it still hasn’t.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

By John Ruberry

After a long day at work earlier this month I clicked on the “Surprise Me” feature on Netflix. What popped up was Mike Myers’ new vehicle, The Pentaverate.

“Well,” I said to myself, “this might be pretty good.” 

In fact, The Pentaverate doesn’t even measure up to “pretty bad.” The six episode limited series is one of the worst shows I’ve suffered through. Oh, somehow I managed to view a couple episodes of The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer. I know about awful.

Warning: There are numerous spoilers and some rather disgusting things that I will mention in my review of this Netflix series.

The origin of The Pentaverate dates back to a throwaway line from Myers’ second film, So I Married an Axe Murderer, where the father of Myers’ lead character, also played by Myers, claims that a secret society, the Pentaverate, a five-man cabal, which at one time included Colonel Sanders as a member, rules the world. In this series narrator Jeremy Irons tells us, the original members of the Pentaverate discovered in 1347, contrary to the belief of the Catholic Church, it was fleas that spread the bubonic plague. 

As the first episode begins, the newest member of the group of five, Dr. Hobart Clark (Keegan-Michael Key), a scientist, is accepted into the Pentaverate after he is kidnapped. Apparently, he is the first non-white fellow of the all-male group, replacing a member who mysteriously died. The other members are played by Myers. Lord Lordington, an elderly Englishman, Bruce Baldwin, an Australian media mogul, who of course is based on Rupert Murdoch, Shep Gordon, a manager of various rock acts, a real person who is the subject of a documentary directed by Myers, and Mishu Ivanov, a Russian oligarch and Vladimir Putin crony.

Warning! Not-safe-for-work language in the trailer.

But Myers isn’t done with his roles. The lead character of The Pentaverate is Ken Scarborough, a television reporter who wears plaid sportscoats; he is a quirky throwback from the 1970s who does man-on-the-street interviews of other oddballs, while overshadowing them. Scarborough works for, wait for it, Toronto-based CACA news. Yep, caca. 

The other four Pentaverate members manufacture a story that Dr. Clark, who was invited into the secret society because they believe he can reverse climate change, is dead. Clark’s phony passing occurs while attempting to mimic an internet video fad–kissing your own anus. Clark’s room at Pentaverate headquarters is guarded by a sasquatch, who immediately defecates outside the scientist’s door. 

In addition to a Shrek cameo, Myers plays two other characters, internet personality Rex Smith, a stand-in for Alex Jones, and Anthony Lansdowne, a conspiracy theorist from New Hampshire. 

Besides being an assault on good taste, The Pentaverate is an attack on right-wingers, with the implied message that all conservatives are conspiracy whackos like Lansdowne. He is a believer, or has been a believer, in QAnon, Pizzagate, and the Illuminati. His last words as he falls to his death is, “But what about her emails?” 

Lansdowne, in his bumper-sticker laden van, which not surprisingly has a malfunctioning portable toilet, drives Scarborough and his pre-woke Doctor Who-like young female companion, Reilly Clayton (Lydia West) to New York City, which looks nothing like today’s NYC, but more like your standard Doctor Who “future metropolis.” Scarborough, recently fired by CACA, is convinced by Clayton and Lansdowne to infiltrate Pentaverate headquarters, and he does so after a painful penis tug initiation. 

Clark, following an intimate evening with the Pentaverate’s executive assistant Patty Davis (Debi Mazar) in the Moon Room studio–did the Pentaverate fake the moon landings?–suddenly dies, this time for real. He is promptly replaced by casino billionaire Skip Cho (Ken Jeong). Oh, I have never thought Jeong was funny. Jeong recently showed his true political colors after childishly storming off the set of The Masked Singer after Rudy Giuliani was revealed as a contestant.

Myers seemingly hasn’t emotionally moved on from being an 11-year-old. Flatulence jokes are among the things that ruined his cinema take on Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, a children’s film, by the way. Scatological so-called humor also undermined another Myers movie bomb, The Love Guru

Outside of Myers’ fading fame, why did Netflix greenlight this debacle? Could it be that woke Netflix executives fell in love with The Pentaverate’s snide attacks on conservatives, who they probably believe are personified by Smith and Lansdowne? I have liberal friends. Really, I do. And many of them insist that I take marching orders from Alex Jones.

Here’s a tip for Netflix and Myers: the first rule of comedy is that comedies need to be funny.

Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. Its stock value plummeted 35-percent last month. Yes, when you go woke you go broke. And I can’t think of a single Netflix dramatic series that is aimed at conservatives. Longmire was the closest show I can think of, but production of it ended in 2017, and Longmire was originally an A&E offering. And as I wrote in last week’s review of Ozark, that otherwise quite enjoyable show contorted itself to find ways to attack Republicans.

Over 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2020. That’s a lot of viewers, Netflix. We don’t live in vans with clogged toilets. We own televisions. 

Cloying use of easter eggs, that is, references to other works that do nothing to advance the story or add laughs–assuming of course there is even one laugh in The Pentaverate–is also another problem here. Winks to other Myers’ works, along with yet another tired replay of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as Game of Thrones, are simply annoying. Rob Lowe, a veteran of several Myers movies, makes an unnecessary appearance.

Myers’ acting, outside of his sympathetic portrayal of Scarborough, is subpar. In his review of The Cat in the Hat, Roger Ebert noticed that at times Myers sounded a bit like his Linda Richman “Coffee Talk” character from SNL. The use of convincing accents is supposed to be one of Myers’ strengths, but his Lansdowne character’s accent, rather than sounding like what you’ll hear from a rustic New Englander, varies from a Canadian to a New Yorker style of speech–that is, when Lansdowne isn’t coming across like Wayne Campbell from Wayne’s World.

Oh, when there is a crack within the five members of the Pentaverate, who do you think is behind it? Why of course! It’s the casino billionaire and the Murdoch stand-in. 

I hated The Pentaverate. Hated, hated, hated. If you have any sense of taste or decency, you will hate it too. 

You have been warned. 

Oh, if you think I am just a grumpy old man with a minority opinion on this actual sh*t show, as of May 15, the average critic score on Rotten Tomatoes is just 20 percent. Only once in the last week have I noticed The Pentaverate ranking as a top-ten most viewed program on Netflix. And based on the CGI and the A-List (to some people) cast, I imagine Netflix wasted a lot of money on this fiasco.

The Pentaverate is rated TV-MA for full frontal (possibly with use of prosthetics) nudity, animals engaged in sex, violence, suicide, adult situations, foul language, and scatological references. Well, at least no one smokes in it. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Because if I put in a real picture, well, you’d all call it click bait ;)

I sell firewood at my house. I cut down trees on my property (or cut up trees blown over by a storm), saw them into 16 inch pieces, split them with a hydraulic log splitter, and then dry them on a rack in the sun for almost a year. After that, I put them out in a nice, lighted stand at the end of my driveway. Most people pay me with cash, although quite a few are now paying me with Zelle. I give them more firewood then the 7-11 does for the same price, and everyone walks away happy.

Recently on the NextDoor App, some lady made the mistake of complaining that she couldn’t find any nice, split firewood for free. I and many others reminded her that properly split and dried firewood takes time and effort, and as such people like to be compensated for that time and effort. She scoffed at that notion.

I was going to ask if she stayed warm at night under a blanket in the form of the flag of the People’s Republic of China…but I decided against that.

Plenty of people want something for free. Americans are generous people, and while the pandemic drove down charitable donations, a majority of Americans still donate in some way. But donations are gifts, and you shouldn’t fault people for wanting compensation for their time and talent.

That brings us to breast milk. The expectation from quite a few people is that breast milk should be donated to a breast milk bank. That’s all well and good, but as I noted in my book (which you should absolutely read!), when my wife attempted to donate to our local bank, the number of rules and restrictions were outrageous. For example, if you take any supplement outside of prenatal vitamins, it precludes you from donating. I find it absurd that taking glucosamine sulfate means that you should dump perfectly good breast milk down the drain because the milk bank won’t take it.

Then there is the fact that breast milk donations get sold. At non-profit milk banks, this is touted as a way to cover freezers, employee pay and other expenses. Most milk banks sell breast milk at around five dollars an ounce.

To help defray the costs of screening donors and managing donated breast milk, nonprofit milk banks typically charge recipients a fee of about $5 per ounce of milk. “Although the milk is donated, there are expenses, such as milk processing, milk distribution, and buying of pasteurizers, freezers, and bottles,” Noble said

Healthline.com

Insurance coverage is hit or miss, and you’re stuck with the bill if your insurance says no.

Now, you can always buy formula…oh wait, not right now. Hence the increased interest in breast milk banks. And, hence the increased interest in purchasing breast milk through websites like Only The Breast (yup, that’s a real, non-pornographic website). Which has sparked lots of debate on whether people are justified to sell their breast milk.

To which I say, if you want to sell it, you’re 100% justified in doing so.

It is a pain to hook up to a breast pump, put everthing in a nice bag, freeze the milk and then store it. To make substantial milk, you’re eating more calories then normal, which costs more money. All this work, and yet some people think its unethical to pay people for their time and effort. The fake science studies people have even “questioned” the safety of purchasing breast milk, but can’t point to any significant cases where someone sold dangerous breast milk. While, on the contrary, there are plenty of cases of bad formula, but that hasn’t stopped hospitals from pushing it on mothers.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, linking this push of formula on mothers, and then a shortage of formula spiking the price which brings more money to formula companies, would be pretty easy. Did we create this crisis to further some other agenda? It doesn’t look good.

Selling breast milk undercuts milk banks and makes it easier to get milk locally. It compensates women for their time, effort and calories, and it encourages money to stay locally instead of fueling some big corporations that have every incentive to profit from formula shortages and breast milk donations that they can markup on their own.

Which is exactly why many interested people want you to believe its unethical. People that, just like my firewood example, don’t place any value on your time or effort.

Moms, if you’ve got extra milk, check out OnlyTheBreast, or talk in your mom groups about selling or donating your milk on your own terms. Don’t feel bad asking for some compensation, if nothing else for the time it took you to bag everything and stay hooked up to an uncomfortable machine. You could help solve the formula crisis, since its not like the US government is going to anytime soon.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. While you’re getting ready for Memorial Day, why dont you buy one of my books on Amazon and help me out?

The title of this article is an example of extreme satire and irony.  The behavior of the proponents of abortion has been as atrocious as we’ve all come to expect.  Their behavior has not sunk to the level we all witnessed during last summer, when ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter were rioting almost nightly.  There is a good chance that could happen. I believe that they are just warming up.

Abortion has become a religious sacrament to those who inhabit the left side of the political spectrum.  The slaughter of unborn children, up until the moment of birth, is a sacred right to the vast majority of modern Democrats. Because abortion is seen as a sacred right, any threat to abortion is met with religious fervor. 

Marxism is at the very core of the political left.  Individual life has very little value to a Marxist because that family of philosophies is based on collectivism.  Violence and intimidation are the tactics most often used by the political left because they operate under the mistaken belief that the ends always justify the means.

This past Sunday, which was Mother’s Day, leftists decided interrupting Catholic Masses was an acceptable tactic to protest the leaked end to Roe versus Wade.  As you can see from this article, they mistakenly believe they have the right to interrupt a church service.

After interrupting Mass, the protesters feel like they can get irate when asked to leave. “I have a right as an American!” one of the pro-baby-killing activists screams as she’s walked out of the church. And while she certainly has the right to protest, she doesn’t have the right to do so inside a church, especially as Mass is being conducted.

I understand leftists seem to have an issue understanding the difference between private and public property—the communist brain disease destroys the ability to understand such concepts early on—but the church is private property, and they don’t even have to be allowed on the grounds, let alone in the building.

This Tweet documents the startling events that took place during Mass in one Catholic Cathedral

As you can see from this Tweet by journalist Any Ngo, things turned violent in Los Angeles.

Democrat politicians, such as the mayor of Chicago, are openly calling for violence.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot encouraged violence on Monday in a tweet asserting the U.S. Supreme Court’s leaked opinion draft signaling the downfall of Roe v. Wade means the justices will come for the“LGBTQ+ community” next.

“To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community—the Supreme Court is coming for us next. This moment has to be a call to arms,” she wrote on Twitter. “We will not surrender our rights without a fight—a fight to victory!”

The conduct of the so called pro abortion activists has deteriorated to the level where they  firebombed a pregnancy center, then gloated about it in a rather ghastly manner.

‘BURN LITTLE JESUS FREAKS’: ABORTION ACTIVISTS LEAVE VILE VOICEMAILS FOR CHRISTIAN ORG THAT WAS FIREBOMBED