Miserably hot, but that’s a good thing. Mainly because it’s not miserable for me. If you should have occasion to work at home, the full office regalia is not required; you can sit out back in a loincloth if you like. It’s different if you are a dog, which of course you are not, but my dog is a dog, and insists on sitting outside with me. I have no idea why. There’s not much he might miss, and there’s not much he could do about anything if he wished. It would be bad enough if he went in his Cool Cave of Dirt beneath the treehouse playset, but he sprawls in the sun and pants. Yes, it’s not enough he has to have fur, he has pants. I put him inside, where it is cool; I point to the commode, which has the coldest water in the house should he be so inclined; I tell him to sit and relax. Two minutes later: he’s at the back door, because he forgot where he was just a few minutes ago.

Lessons from dogs: Life always resets the moment the door’s opened.

Well, it’s supposed to cool off a bit, and heavy rains come Wednesday. This will be a relief for my daughter, who’s attending a summer event in a public school that has no air conditioning, and few fans. The kids sit around like day-old lettuce, and sweat. I don’t know why there’s no air conditioning. Other buildings constructed over the last few decades seem to have it, so I know it’s possible. This is one of the schools where she might go to high school, but every year I drop her off there for a summer program, and think No. Everyone speaks highly of the teachers and all that, and I’m sure they’re a smart, caring bunch, but the place is a dump, and one of the local moms described a trip there during actual high-school hours: she was called a BITCH by a kid for no particular reason, and all the other kids giggled and whooped.

I cannot imagine the misery that would have befallen anyone in my high school had such a word been deployed. In Junior High we had a vice-principal hated for his strict ways: Mr. Lear. Jack Lear. He had short hair and wore a suit and had creased pants and he wasn’t anyone’s friend. He was not interested in being anyone’s friend. He was here to train us, and when the bullets started flying, we’d thank him. Mr. Lear’s preferred method of getting a kid to behave was to lift him up by the short hairs on the nape of his neck, which are directly connected to the portions of the brain that handle pain, fear, humiliation, and resentment. What earned this? Horseplay. Tomfoolery. And, of course, hijinx. But if you said a bad word you walked on tiptoe to his office, held aloft by your neck hairs.

There were never any fights at school, and no one swore out loud.

I was disciplined twice in my entire school career – once for taking over the school library with squirt guns, barricading the doors, and pretending we were a domestic terrorist organization, the SLA. (Speech League of America, a parody of the Symbionese Liberation Army.) For that I was bade to leave the school for a day. In grade school I uttered a ripe Bronx cheer on my arm during orchestra class, and Miss Nelson made me stand in the hall. The principal walked past as I stood there; the shame was unbearable, especially since he had thought well of me since my monogram on Ants in the third grade.

My daughter has never been in trouble; it’s not her style. Today, though, she told me two boys came into their Lego robotics class and took over and didn’t even talk to her: huh, a girl. Did the teacher intercede? No. (The teacher, a high schooler, is also a girl.) I said I’d talk to that teacher, knowing the response I’d get:

No, Dad. I’ll handle it myself.

I like that. But she’s not one of those brassy little numbers who radiates that bratty self-confidence some kids have. You know what I mean: the ones who’ve been told from day one they are automatically entitled to their marvelous self-regard. I like that she has innate humility, and perhaps it’s a result of worrying more about her abilities and progress than the daily state of her self-esteem.

Drifted off for a moment, thinking. Realizing: I was never pushed. My mom let me have a long rope, partly – as my dad told me last time we were home – they didn’t know what to do with me. They let me go where I was interested, but insisted that I do some things I didn’t really want to do,. Piano, for example. I hated to practice, as 99.9% of kids hate to practice. But they made me do it – which is why I can write obvious but adequate jingles for newspaper videos now.

That might have pleased my long-suffering piano teachers. Mr. Lear would have been indifferent. One of those men you cannot possibly imagine listening to music in any form – Wagner, country, bluegrass, blues, rock, anything. But now that I think of it, he might have been the sort of guy who went home to the bachelor apartment, changed from a suit into a short-sleeved shirt, poured himself a Cutty Sark and listened to Yma Sumac while reading Popular Mechanics. You never know.

Updates still sporadic, but hey: here’s Comic Sins for the week. And here’s Black and White World. Rowr: Angie. See you at Tumblr, which didn’t work today because none of the queued posts auto-posted, and PopCrush!


75 Responses to Discipline & Initiative

  1. swschrad says:

    physics, physics… if the Law of Perspective is constantly violated in ComicLand, why not the rest?

    send in the Newsboy Legion, that’ll teach the lavender-pants villains.

  2. Battle Between the Two Earths

    (That’s a relief, more than two could be serious trouble)

    I stand here tonight ready to work with you to make Earth stronger. And we have much work to do, because the truth is, we still live on a planet where there are two different Earths…

    One, for all of those people who have lived the Earth dream and don’t have to worry, and another for most Eartlings, everybody else who struggle to make ends meet every single day. It doesn’t have to be that way.

  3. Baby M says:

    @Kev — “I think *all* administrators should be required to teach one class every day. This would go a long way toward keeping the people “at the top” actively engaged with education as it is now, as opposed to 20-30 years ago (which is when a lot of current admins last taught). It would also drive the people without a heart for teaching out of the profession, which would be a good thing.”

    As I revealed here the other day, I’m a decommissioned schoolteacher. What drove me to change careers was public school administrators. Little tin gods with hyperactive egos, the lot of ‘em.

  4. Normie says:

    To James and the others who are already lamenting the time when you bid goodbye to your children: Please believe me when I tell you that THEY NEVER REALLY LEAVE. They might change locations briefly, but as someone once said, “They come back – AND THEY BRING MORE!!!”

    Once teenagers get a drivers license and a car they get very busy and the only evidence you have of their existence is the dirty laundry that appears in the hamper and the food that disappears from the kitchen.

    In our case, we saw our kids more after they moved out then when they lived at home.

  5. browniejr says:

    bgbear- Who cuts your hair? Is there a mistress you want to deny now?

    (Made me laugh!)

    Doesn’t a “Battle” imply that we fire back? Looks mostly like a sneak attack on the cover (may be why people are having flashbacks…)

    In terms of perspective, the two guys on the roof outside could probably lob a grenade and take out most of twin-Earth’s Africa- the other Earthers must have to struggle because of their weak, puny little bodies!

  6. dcmatthews says:

    What earned this? Horseplay. Tomfoolery. And, of course, hijinx.

    Kev: Possibly even mayhem or hooliganism as well.

    What with all the shenanigans and goings-on… (MST3K The Movie)

    About that Comic Sins cover: it does make me want to read the story (that’s the job of a good comics cover, duh!). I’d like to find out if that’s simply a symbolic cover, or if we really were being attacked by an Earth the size of a weather balloon.

  7. dcmatthews says:

    Rats. Forgot to close my italics tag.

  8. Cory says:

    All you people who couldn’t imagine Neville Brand as a bad guy? – THE MAN WAS AL CAPONE on The Untouchables.

    He was the bane of Robert Stack’s existence.

  9. @browniejr: I am as faithful as my good friends Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

  10. Harvey Korman is the other guy in the meat carving film. He also worked with HGL in the dawn of his career, nudie films IIRC.

  11. Oops, nonsense comment about Harvey Korman and nudie films was sent to wrong blog. Go on with your lives.


  12. browniejr says:

    bgbear: Korman was in nudie films?!? The Great Gazoo, indeed! (ROFL!) ;)

  13. JamesS says:

    bgbear (roger h) says:
    June 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Oops, nonsense comment about Harvey Korman and nudie films was sent to wrong blog. Go on with your lives.

    And yet another window is opened upon the everyday Internet life of an otherwise normal-appearing person…

  14. hpoulter says:

    You can’t leave it at that, Roger Bbear. Which blog? Jabootu or another one of the B-Master? I recognize HGL as Herschell Gordon Lewis – I was just reading the review of She-Devils on Wheels on Jabootu last week

  15. hpoulter says:

    er, I meant “bgbear” of course.

  16. hpoulter says:

    And we all sincerely hope that Harvey did not appear nude in any nudies. Hedley Lamarr, Noooo!

  17. chrisbcritter says:

    Memories? Oh boy. Sweet Mrs. Rohrhoff. Maddest she got was when some girl in class did something or other and she snapped “That is NOT ladylike!”
    Mr. Roschmann – disciplinarian with a decent sense of humor. I gave a wise-guy answer to a question once which got a few laughs. He calmly walked up to me, and I knew he was going to bop me on the head, so I threw my hands over my head. He bopped me in the stomach instead, and when I grabbed my stomach, THEN he bopped me on the head. Perfect Moe Howard timing. Lesson learned: Teacher is top banana; student is stooge.
    Cry Terror – good little suspenser although I did notice Inger’s Chrysler had New York plates in some scenes and California plates in others.

  18. ssmart says:

    Harvey Korman nakid, my eyes are bleeding.

  19. Marjorie J Birch says:

    The Vice Principal at my high school was Mr. Shreck. “Schreck” is German for “terror”, I think. (I did look it up.) Perfect name for him. Very mean looking man — and I have also wondered if they have a warehouse full of vice-principal types.

    And yet his school career came to an odd end — he was investigated for the inappropriate use of school facilities — he had a florist business on the side and used the school greenhouse to start some carnations. He resigned, to avoid scandal and embarrassment and continued to raise flowers… as an easily intimidated seventh-grader, I would never have suspected him of doing anything so gentle.

    Why were teachers scarier then? The last time I attended a high school reunion, I was musing upon this with a classmate. “Can you believe how we FEARED all those old women?” I asked her. “Nowadays, if some hapless pedagogue dared to say ‘well, you didn’t do your homework, you’ll have to stay after school to finish it,’ the little moppet would probably lisp ‘You’ll hear from my lawyer in the morning!’”

  20. kevin says:

    Holy crap James, talk about coincidences. I read this, and then saw the obit in the paper for one Jean F. Leier, whose husband was one Jack Leier.

    They met at a ND teachers college, so I do believe it is the same Jack Leier we recall from Ben Franklin Jr. High, circa 1971.


    Jean spent her childhood in Minot and graduated from Minot State Teachers College in 1950. In September of 1950, she married Jack Leier and moved to Fargo in 1951.

    In Fargo, she and Jack raised five children. Jean was a loving wife and mother who was mainly a homemaker but worked as a furrier and seamstress when her children were grown.

    After retirement, Jean and Jack spent winters down south and settled in Altamonte Springs, FL in 1999.

    Jean is survived by her husband, Jack and children: Michael, Paula, Robert (Rachel), Barbara (Shane) Grovum, and five grandchildren: Anna, Jaclyn, Alison, David in Altamonte Springs and

  21. SeanF says:

    What, no mention of the “Star Trek” connection in “Cry Terror!”?

    It’s Kenneth Tobey, BTW.

  22. yes, on Jabootu and Herschel Gordon Lewis.

    Korman did not appear nude as far as I know.

    IMDB only has Korman listed in HGL’d “Living Venus” that may not have been a nudie at all, just lotso bikini and undies so, I may be wrong on a lot of this.

  23. ech says:

    So, I found one good linke to Travellers Premium Company. Google has the October 18, 1952 issue of Billboard, with a blurb about the new Christmas and goodwill gift catalog from them and saying that they needed reps for “their extensive line of gifts and premiums, said Samuel Dorf, president.”

    My employer uses one of these companies to handle employment anniversary gifts. You get a catalog in the mail and get to select a gift from those for your number of years of service or below. It includes company logo watches, pins, cuff links, and non-logo stuff like binoculars, kitchen items, etc.

  24. oldtimer says:

    Jack Lear! He wasn’t vice principal yet when I was at Ben Franklin. But I think I had a class from him. English? Science? Can’t remember. Odd duck. Seemed real old. Probably all of 30 or so!

  25. Emily says:

    My daughter’s high school was constructed by a man who also builds prisons. It looks like one; big concrete thing. Ugly.

    It is, however, one of Newsweek’s Top 500 High Schools, and does terrific.

    The theory of one teacher is that this is because the special ed kids for the district are housed at this high school. She says the kids pull together and become protective of them, and it starts a special atmosphere.

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