As senioritis turns to freshmanitis . . .? Thursday, Apr 28 2016 


Popping open the college schedule is more entertaining than today’s English IV lesson

For most of the past 20 years, I’ve viewed end-of-school year processes from the college campus.  These days, teaching in a high school for the first time in almost that same number of years, I feel like I’m looking at that same process through the other end of the telescope.  Instead of teaching college freshmen who were high school seniors just months ago, I’m teaching high school seniors who will be college freshmen in a few short months.  For most of the past nine months, the seniors have languished in deep-seated throes of senioritis, that debilitating condition of the high school seniors’ spirit that prompts irresistible fits of laziness and disinspiration.

In these last days of their senior year, though, for as much as they’re weary and mentally depleted for their school work, they’re coming alive to the new reality of their future: college!  I sense their senioritis is turning into freshmanitis as they nervously contemplate what lies around the next bend in the rivers of their lives.

This growing condition has been coming on In the last few weeks after several groups of my English IV class have gone to LSUE for orientation and early registration.  A popular topic of distraction has become their college schedules.  They log in to my.lsue and compare one another’s schedules, asking one another and me about this teacher or that teacher at LSUE, looking to see who among their peers has some of the same classes, giving advice to one another about what teachers to schedule, where to park, who to ask on campus about this or that, and on and on.  The day before yesterday, after several had been to LSUE the day before, those conversations hijacked the lesson plan in English IV.  Their conversations about going to college were earnest, their attention focused, their tone edgy and nervous.  Forgetting my original plan to teach an expository writing lesson felt like the right thing to do, so I abandoned them to the interest that had become so consuming.

We had fun in a highly teachable moment—-the subject wasn’t English IV, but maybe it was something bigger: RealLife 101?

Prince is Dead: Prince Who? Friday, Apr 22 2016 

A rock ‘n roll icon died today in his late 50’s.  He went by the name of “Prince.”

So, what?  A lot of people died today.  Little people. Obscure people.  Ordinary people.  Why aren’t their names memorialized in the evening news?  Why aren’t their stories made into network documentaries?   What did Prince have going for him that the little people didn’t?

Is it that he was a substance abuser?   Or profane? Did he die prematurely because of a profligate lifestyle?

Was he an advocate for ideals that are wholesome and just?

Of course not.  He was a drug-head weird-oh.  Talented beyond measure, sure.  But a talented-beyond-measure weird-oh.

Prediction: The circumstances of his death aren’t known publicly yet, but once they are, we’ll learn that he died from some kind of abuse.

And our culture exalts this lifestyle?

My soul sickens every time one of these creepy pop icons dies.  Not because they die, but because of the adoring popular reaction.   These people are weird!  What does our culture revere in  brokenness?

Seed/Weed/Feed: The Merry-go-Round of Herbicidal Madness Saturday, Apr 16 2016 

In years gone by, spring weeds never bothered me.   I just mowed more often this time of year. In mature middle-age, though, I’ve grown less and less tolerant of those assorted late winter/early spring trashy weeds and grasses that flourish and thrive as the spring lengthens into longer, warmer days.


A common symptom of spring fever is weed and feed madness: Not terminal, but certainly maddening.

Right now, the war and assault on trashy weeds and grass rages in full fury.  I have 3 or four species of herbicides to kill every manner of these offensive plants as soon as they sprout.  I patrol the yard daily with varied sprayers and poisons to strategically kill the weeds without harming the good stuff.

If I’d be a little more patient, the warmer weather will eventually take the problem away, because the trashy plants will succumb to summer’s heat as the desirable lawn takes over and dominates.  But I’ve decided the war-on-weeds is fun.  In this sub-tropical greenhouse climate, the competition between the teeming weeds and my determined opposition makes good sport.  Plus, the daily chores give me something to do in the afternoon, keeping me off the streets and out of trouble.  And it’s a biblical charge, for I labor to subdue the earth—- at least the 130’X 65′ part of it that I own.

A Lune for Springrise Saturday Saturday, Apr 9 2016 

Photo on 4-9-16 at 8.28 AM.jpgA lune is a 13-syllable, 3-line poem adaptable to any subject.  Some poets called the form “American haiku.”  I like the form because it’s terse, concise: No syllables to waste!  Here’s this morning’s meditation from the patio: 

Wisteria vines
frame sun’s rise:
Holy Saturday!

Patio Dwelling Season 2016: Arrived Sunday, Apr 3 2016 

patio april 16

We’ve hung out on the patio frequently since March began, but the weather hasn’t cooperated consistently enough to formally declare the season open to full-time patio dwelling.  We’ve been in and out, depending on the conditions.  But now that Easter is behind, spring is sprung, and the long-range weather forecast appears favorably moderate, I make the “open patio dwelling season” declaration today.   If you knock and no one answers, come around to the back yard and here’s where you’ll find us most evenings and weekends from now till the dog daze of summer and mosquitoes drive us back into the AC.