Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girls’ pants - Use it to get into their heads

Apathy Jack writes:

Let's see if Scroobuis Pip meets the criteria for Jack's Heroes List:

Slightly peculiar? Check.

Beard? Double check.

Quite remarkably clever? Check.

Go here for downloady things, including the lyrics to the above song. Go here for Scroobius' myspace (yes, yes, myspace gives you the AIDS, no one knows that better than I do, but you can dowload more of his tracks) and here for the project he's doing with some DJ which resulted in the above song.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Student 1 “Sir, can we watch 300? It’s about ancient Greece, so it’s relevant to Classics.”
Me “No! I hate field trips. They’re annoying to organise and fill me with anger, so we’re not going to the movies.”
Student 1 “Can we watch it on DVD?”
Me “Normally I’d say yes, but the DVD won’t be out until after I’ve left the school.”
Student 1 “What about if we got a burnt copy?”
Me “Sure, theoretically, why not?”
Student 1 “I happen to have one here.”
Me “Y’all just set me up, didn’t you?”
Student 1 “Just get the DVD player, Sir.”
Student 2 “Eeyew! Everybody! Angela eats talcum powder!”
Student 3 “What’s that?”
Student 4 “It’s like baby powder.”
Student 5 “Isn’t that the stuff you put on you after you shower?”
Student 6 “What? Eating it isn’t weird. You just put some on your hand, and lick it.”
Student 7 “Ew! Don’t you put that on, like... intimate areas?”
Student 6 “There’s nothing wrong with eating it!”
Me “I think I can clear this up. Angela is a big, big freak for eating talcum powder. However, if all of you started sharing the things you do at home that you think are completely normal, you’d find the rest of the class mocking you like you’re mocking Angela, because y’all are freaks. Everyone is a freak in their own way.”
Student 8 “That may be true, but at least we don’t eat talcum powder.”
Student 9 “Yuck! If there were cum stains on my undies, I’d change my undies!”
Me “I’m pleased to hear that, Cady, but hows about whatever you’re talking about with Nicole, you go back to talking about really quietly, so we don’t all hear things like that?”
Student 10 “Hey, Sione, turn it up!”
Student 11 “Yeah, but turn it up to an even number.”
Student 10 “Fourteen’s not loud enough. Up to fifteen!”
Student 11 “No! Keep it on an even number!”
Me “See, y’all are mocking Angela for being a freak because she eats talcum powder, but you can’t handle odd numbers.”
Student 11 “I don’t know what it is – they’ve just always freaked me out.”
Student 12 “Nine! Nine! Nine!”
Student 11 “Stop that!”
Student 13 “What are you doing?”
Student 12 “Jody’s scared of odd number.”
Student 13 “Heheh. Ten! Ten! Ten! Wait, shit!”
Student 14 “Another tits scene? This movie’s like a porno.”
Student 15 “You haven’t watched pornos, have you? This isn’t anything like a porno.”
Student 16 “How many pornos do you watch?”
Student 15 “I watched one when I was a little kid. My cousins were meant to be babysitting me, but they kicked me out of the house, locked the all doors, and watched a porno. I was trying to get back in, so I kept looking through the window, and I could see the TV. I didn’t understand it, I was like, ‘What are those people doing?’ My cousins were the worst babysitters.”
Student 17 “No worse than you.”
Student 15 “What? I wasn’t watching pornos, I was just drunk. Hey, at least I put the baby down to sleep before I got too drunk.”
Student 17 “No, I did that.”
Student 15 “Look, the important thing is that the baby was put down to sleep.”


Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Anzac Day

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:


You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The Hell where youth and laughter go
- Siegfried Sassoon


As an aside, the first picture is of a disfugured Fench soldier at an Armistice Day parade in 1918. I have it in a book, and it serves as the inspiration for this post juxtaposed with another disfigured soldier from a war ninety years later. I found it on the internet, by going here, and typing "850-16" into the "picture number" field, but alas it is obviously not of the quality of the image in the book. If anyone can find a link of the image of a decent size, or manages to find out how to get a login at the Roger Viollet site (my French is non-existant, my Allemande little better and fading) I would be grateful.

The second soldier is Tyler Ziegel, you might remember him as the the chap who married his childhood sweetheart on Valentine's Day.

Apathy Jack writes:

Here, for ANZAC day, is something Olthwaite wrote a few years ago on a different blog. I'm presuming he won't mind me digging it up and bringing it to light again.


Thanks Old People

Now, seemingly everyone within range of a television has been watching or has at least seen the promo's for "Band of Brothers" on T.V. one, you might have also watched the excellent "Colour of War" documentary or the Sunday night Militaryfest on Prime (although that has now changed to a bit of science and anthropology - isn't Prime a beacon in the darkness). I've been watching all of these, and every now and then a thought crosses my mind.

Shit, thanks Old People.

And I'm not being sarcastic or cynical when I write this. Watching what our grandparents went through in the more realistic action scenes and stories told by veterans really brings home an awareness of what people our age - just like you or I or any number of our friends - endured sixty years ago.

Here are a few examples. On the first night of "Band of Brothers" when the paratroopers were over France about to jump out of their planes - unsurprisingly under heavy ground fire, a few planes became firebombs. Imagine flying one of those through that at night, or jumping out under a parachute while all that shit goes on around you. Or the first wave ashore for Operation Overlord being told that, well, they were probably all going to die - as well as the second wave - and that they just had to capture as much of the beach as they can, imagine being told that you are cannon fodder. Finally from the "Colour of War" series, a veteran was retelling the story of going ashore at Sicily almost in tears as he recalled how a shell exploded nearby while they were still in the water and how he has never eaten tripe since because it reminds him of the smell of swimming through people's guts. And then, he had to rescue an army pastor who had had his legs blown off and was still alive - holy fuck!

There are millions of stories like these from both sides, of bravery and horror - it's no wonder that some, like my grandfather, never talked about the war nor had any memorabilia on display. He threw out his uniform as well never wanting to have anything to do with the whole experience ever again.

What would I do in any of those situations - I have no idea. I don't know if I'd even get through training, but if I did I don't know if I'd go on autopilot and fight like a motherfucker or cower in a hole, I don't want to find out either but I'd like to think that I'd do the first if the cause is just. (I'd like to be a pilot, as an aside, I wonder what it would be like ten kilometers above Afghanistan at night in a space not much bigger than my computer desk with the constant noise of my jet engines for two hours. It'd be kinda nice but I'm probably being kinda naïve.)

Funny thing is, that 87 year old guy in the supermarket with the gammy hip and little basket of cat food walking at 1kmph and spending 8 minutes on a simple decision probably garroted an Italian at Cassino or sent a few Heinkels to the bottom of the Channel one night in 1941. And some dickhead skateboarders will try and buzz around him at as close range as possible on his way out to the Mini. Remember kids - he's killed people, and we should be grateful that he did and remember that killing people is sometimes necessary to ensure the freedom to be a dickhead skateboarder. Judging by the increased popularity that ANZAC days are getting people are realizing this as, which is good. Those who actually took part are getting fewer and fewer, Curly Blyth died last week, taking with him memories of two World Wars, and of times when the bad people looked like they were going to win. What's going on in the world at the moment is the closest we have ever come to anything like that feeling - and hopefully if we learn about how and why the mistakes of the past occurred we won't need to get any closer.

So, once again - Thanks Old People.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

“Hey Sir, how were your holidays? Do anything exciting?”
“I came in here and worked a lot. You?”
“I got a Brazilian!”

I was on the bus, aimlessly scrawling some musings about work. It was a formless thing vacillating between my anxieties over starting a new job, and exactly where the police can shove their new recruitment slogan. (“Get Better Work Stories” my entire arse. I’ve busted more drug dealers than they’ve had hot dinners. Of course, I always let mine go after a slap on the wrist with a brutally moist bus ticket...) But as I was languidly writing down some of the funny things the students had said in the course of the day, I was struck by the stark existential horror of writing a blog entry where I found myself calmly thinking “Hmm, better do a grammar check when I get home, to confirm that Brazilian has a capital in this context.”

Stark existential horror, I tell you.

I’m sure this is all society’s fault, I’m just not sure how yet...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Variety Pack Part 1: The Correcting

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

First off, the Virginia Tech Massacre. Both Josh and Morthos have commented on other blogs that the scenario that "If everyone was allowed to have guns with them, someone would have been able to shoot the guy before too many people died." is "totally imaginary" in Josh's case, or "might equally have ended up a bigger, not smaller, bloodbath." according to Morthos.

Let's clear this misconception up. Situations where people have been given the right to defend themselves against armed maniacs have occured before, and have resulted in fewer deaths than there would have been. Such cases include:

January 16, 2002 Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges. Mikael confront Peter Odighizuwa who had killed six people.

Joel Myrick confronts Luke Woodham in late 1997 four and a half minutes before the police arrived.

On February 12th of that year, a gunman walked into a mall in Salt Lake City - like Virginia Tech a "gun free zone" - and started randomly killing people until Kenneth Hammond got his shotgun and pinned him down until police arrived.

March 5, 2001, Charles Williams kills two and wounds thirteen before being confronted with an armed Robert Clark.

Gun laws and gun free zones fail for the same reason why the War on Drugs and Prohibition fails<. Criminals don't care about the law, and when they ignore the law to go on a murderous rampage it is innocent civilians, many of whom with the ability to defend ythemselves and others, who suffer.

Regarding the debate at NotPC, I think David S has it summed up pretty well. I'd probably just add that Peter might be misunderstanding just what Josh and I are saying about evil because we analogised it with creationism. Josh and I were merely pointing out that the two are similar in that they both don't explain anything. I presume Peter also thinks we are saying that "Evil" and "Creationism" are both equally mythological notions best left to fairy stories - in short he's missed our point.

Righto, on to Hewligan. I'm going to side with everyone you have being arguing with and claim that new Zealand does not have a constitution, or a Bill of Rights. To my mind, both of the above are not just laws but special laws. They gaurantee your basic rights, set out how the state is structured and run, and are harder to change or amend than other laws. In proper constitutional nations like the United States, these pretty much apply. The Constitution comes first, at (at least in principle) limits the president, and the Supreme Court whose job it is to uphold the Constitution, has the final say. We do not have this in New Zealand. As Helen Clark said on election night in 199 "The State [i.e. not the constitution or Bill of Rights] is sovereign]."

We have a "constitution" only to the extent that the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is "Democratic" - in name only.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Chris Rock on the Columbine shooters, because I've been thinking about it recently:

Everybody wants to know what the kids was listening to, what sort of music was they listening to? Or what kind of movies was they watching? Who gives a fuck what they was watching? Whatever happened to "crazy"? What happened to "crazy"? What, you can't be crazy no more? Did we eliminate "crazy" from the dictionary? Fuck the records. Fuck the movies. Crazy!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

RSJS writes:

Apparently being questioned by Customs is a front page news article today. Old Mother Herald discusses some lass who spent up to two hours being questioned. Ooooh, the sniffers detected drugs but there weren’t any pills on her. Aaaaah, they questioned her age. Eeeeeeh, no-one actually makes that noise except grandfathers getting out of their chairs to go hit children with their canes. The point is, for fuck’s sake, there is a chain of events here that make me sad in my tummy.

1) Some bint gets questioned by customs.
2) Bint is so incensed at them thinking she was younger than her age she goes and finds a reporter to bitch at, a valuable use of the five days she is spending in our country to visit family
3) Reporter cares enough to submit this story to Old Mother Herald, who prints it along with some dire headline about this matter putting aforementioned bint off coming to New Zealand.
4) I read this and cry blood.

I don’t hate the whining baggage who started all this palaver. She is not of import to me. Nor is the reporter, making his money the only way he knows how while he dreams of making a mint with his erotic novel about the forbidden love of a farmer and his fistulated cow. Not even Old Mother Herald. Because it’s a supply and demand thing. Besom supplies whinge. Reporter supplies story. Paper supplies column inches. YOU CUNTS DEMAND. Somewhere out there is a target demographic, weighed, measured, recorded from tip to toe and analysed by machines bigger and more valve-filled than your bedroom, who this story is aimed at. You “OK” magazine-reading hand-wringing pisstanks.

…hang on. If these grand machines can analyse everything from the dandruff on your hobbit feet to the pustules on your scalp that pop when you brush your hair, then they must be able to figure out the advantage of pitching bullshit not only to the fans but to the foes as well. Perhaps Big Think COURTS anger and abuse knowing that one person who reads one nice story lets the buck stop there, while one angry middle-aged corporate zombie who reads something that fucks with their ulcer will trumpet it to dozens of unwilling listeners, spreading the attention like Marmite over a vast socio-economic slice of toast bread, free publicity for those advertisers selling you bee-shit supplements to smear on your buttocks or digital wonders that play music and films, read you bedtime stories and steal your dreams for the Dream Emperor on his jagged throne of raccoon penis-bones… Dear Sweet Jesus I am in the system, I am manipulated into posting this by electronic minds vastly superior to my own steam-powered thought-box, I am but a pawn in a game whose rules I’ll never learn, oh the inhumanity… Free will is a myth, god has been replaced by an Apple Mac, the devil is a teenage computer hacker from Norway and we’re all going to die. Thank you and good night.

Monday, April 16, 2007

More Musical Musings

That Morthos Stare writes:

Boomkat are/were a brother-sister duo whose chief claim to fame is that 'The Wreckoning' was the theme song to the short-lived 'Birds of Prey' TV series. I have to say that I like their album; it's one of those guilty pleasures I could never defend in a court of law. Still, 'What U Do 2 Me' deserves accolades because:

a) It's a duet between siblings where one sings to the other:

I aint to proud to beg
Come on lets bump and grind
All the way straight into bed
Your place or mine?

b) It contains the line:

I just can't keep my eyes of you baby

which, due to Karyn's accent, sounds like:

I just can't keep my eyes off your baby

Which, seeing that they are related, must have been a vertitable sight worth beholding.

Unfortunately the director of the music video must have realised that incest doesn't sell so the video is nowhere near as interesting as it could have been.

Morale to the story: It might seem innocent when you first wrote it but think again.


Josh writes:

I've delivered a close approximation of this rant elsewhere in the past -- if you've heard it before, you can go back to your catblogging.

A slightly deceptive post, this one -- what appears to be another "Argue More Gooder" post is actually an "Obsessive Pedantry" post in disguise. Or possibly the other way around (it gets a bit hazy).

What I want to talk about today is the argumentum ad hominem fallacy. Let me make this quiet clear: "ad hominem" does not mean "personal abuse" -- an ad hominem is when you try to argue against a person's position by introducing facts about the person that aren't relevant to their argument. An ad hominem may involve personal abuse (e.g. the irrelevant fact that you introduce may be "he's an arsehole"), but just because you've been abused doesn't mean the abusers have employed an ad hominem. Consider the following oversimplifications:

A: "I think Sue Bradford's bill should pass, because Section 59 needs to be amended."

B: "Yeah, but you don't have kids, so you don't know what you're talking about."
That's an ad hominem argument, but it doesn't involve personal abuse.
A: "I think abortion is wrong, because it's the murder of an innocent human being."

B: "Get your head out of your arse -- an undeveloped foetus doesn't count as a human being, you moron."
That argument contains abuse, but it's not ad hominem.

To say that Lucyna's views on homosexuality and its relation to Nazism are obviously, cartoonsihly false because she is a crazy person would indeed be an argumentum ad hominem fallacy. However, to say that Lucyna is a crazy person because of her obviously, cartoonsihly false beliefs on homosexuality and its relation to Nazism would not. For example.

Why bring this up now? Well, to lend more weight to Hewligan's most recent link to us for one thing. But also to express annoyance at people's habit of referring any abuse directed at them in response to something they've said as "ad hominems" when they're not. Saying "Waah! People were mean to me!" doesn't sound as impressive as "People can only resort to ad hominems in reply to me", but it's usually more accurate.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Little River Band

That Morthos Stare writes:

I came to music late. The first album I bought was Elastica's self-titled CD in 1995 and the first album I hunted down was Artificial Joy Club's 'Melt' in 1996.

The key moment in the want to purchase these albums was the TV (let us now shed a tear for the long-gone, fondly-remembered JuiceTV, killed by capitalism and TVNZ (the most unlikely combination)). Now that the Internet is capable of doing everything I decided to go back in time and rewatch these music videos; the trip has been most informative.

One: Artificial Joy Club's 'Sick & Beautiful'

She can't dance. I can't believe I had sexual fantasies about this woman. She.




Two: Elastica's 'Connection'

Why the long faces, girls? I know one of you is having trouble with the band but another of you is having sex with Damon Albarn. You're the darlings of the British Press and whilst it takes you forever to produce a sub-standard follow-up to your debut album at the moment you are gods. Give us a smile. Just one.

Also, the guy appears to be on drugs.

Moral to the story: Never use time machines.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I have been using the Internet for too damn long

Josh writes:

I'm afraid I'm too much of a poorly-read philistine to be greatly upset over the death of Kurt Vonnegut. I have, however, been thinking about Batman slash fiction.

It all started when a friend gave a rundown of his five most hated films in recent times. The Star Wars prequels got an entry to themselves, which contained the following:

Lucas really tried to pull out some stops in Episode III, but even Yoda channeling Bruce Lee couldn't save it. Even two jedi crash-landing a burning spaceship from orbit couldn't save it. You couldn't have saved it if Batman showed up in it.
My train of thought following reading this was pretty much as follows:
  1. Heh, Batman in Star Wars -- that would be a fanboy geek's dream come true.

  2. In fact, I bet there's Batman/Star Wars fan fiction out there already.

  3. Hell, I bet there's Batman/Star Wars slash fiction out there already. With pictures.

  4. A couple of seconds of Google would be all it takes to post a humourous link as a response to my friend's post...

  5. No:

    1. I've got this far in my life without encountering the image of the Caped Crusader giving Darth Maul a handjob while R2 stands by ready to deploy his lube dispenser; no need to change things now.

    2. I don't need to check to see if it exists: this is the Internet -- I know it does.

  6. I have been using the Internet for too damn long.
Take that, Blogger's Code of Conduct!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Conversation between me and my flatmate last night...

Apathy Jack writes:

“I’m leaving, can I have a biscuit?”
“You mean you’re actually leaving the house? Where are you going?”
“I’m going to hang out with Petals.”
“You’re leaving the house and you’re going to hang out with human beings?”
“I didn’t want to! She forced me!”
“What a bitch.”
“That’s what I kept calling her! But it didn’t do any good.”
“How is she forcing you?”
“She’s taping Heroes for me.”
“Fair enough. Have fun.”
“I probably won’t...”

I always go a little peculiar in the holidays. I think it’s probably because I’m too boundlessly sociable. I’m going to have to cut back on the human contact from now on...

Monday, April 09, 2007

I shot my load and shouted 'Praise the Lord!'

Apathy Jack writes:

You know what I've been remiss in advertising? The fact that Meat-Bix have their first EP out. It's called, in that hip ironic fashion that cool people employ, Collection vol.4, and is purchasable wherever good music is sold (which means basically Real Groovy - at least that's the only place I've seen it, but it's easily findable in the new singles or the NZ alternative sections).

I went to the release party a few weeks back. It took place in a strip club lit by bright red lights shining through tacky - and mostly broken - glass chandeliers, with peeling paint, ripped velvet curtains, and a sign informing that "Dancers dance for tips". No film-maker would ever shoot his 'dingy strip club' scene there, because the place was too much of a cliche - it fulfilled the stereotype so perfectly that audiences simply wouldn't buy it.

Once on stage, the band opened with Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, and then peppered their set with the Buck Rogers theme, and a note-perfect version of the Sylvester McCoy era Dr.Who theme.

These guys are a lot of fun, and you should buy their album. For a taste, go to their myspace page (they have a website, but it's a bit rubbish) and listen to some tracks. My personal favourite is 'Hard On For Jesus'. You'll get why when you listen to it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A unique child delivered of a unique mother

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Speaking for myself, and probably for most of the people likely to read this as well, there is little more rewarding than indulging in skillful use of the English language. Be it the written word or on screen or on the radio, observing someone with mastery of the enormous variety of skills that can be used with our language, alliterations, cliches, double entendres, dangling participles...

Stephen Fry is a favourite of mine, hell I'll even watch the Baftas if he's hosting just for his vignettes. Clive James, hat tip Paul, is another. Within the Brain Stab fold, Apathy Jack toils each day to bring out appreciation for, and ability with English from his "plastics". And it is to Apathy Jack, or rather his progeny, that the following is directed - though the following is good advice to all.

The aforementioned Mr James, in his book "Unreliable Memoirs", explains in one brief sentence just what Good English is, and in a few more just how he came to realise it. Also serving as a comforting reminder that The Muses for Clive James did not come naturally but had to be worked at just like for the rest of us. The important bits are in bold below, I'm just quoting a bit more for indulgence.

"The need to be approved of aided my progress, if progress it was. I never stopped admiring the talent of Spencer and Keith Cameron, but gradually at first, and then quicker all the time, my own activities took a different course. The desire to amuse overcame the desire to shock. By my second year I was already writing a good proportion of the Revue, and by my third year I was writing almost half of it. Against my will but according to my instincts, I recognised that when I mimicked Spencer's mannerisms I made no connection with the audience, and that when what I wrote was my own idea, the audience laughed. I tried to hold them in contempt for that, but could not quite succeed. So I tried to hold myself in contempt instead, but could not quite succeed at that either. It was already occuring to me that in these matters practice might be wiser than theory."

"My year at the Herald can be briefly recounted. The editor of the Saturday magazine page was a veteran journalist called Leicester Cotton. He was a sweet man whose days of adventure were long behind. We shared a partitioned-off cubicle just big enough to hold two desks. While he got on with choosing the serials and book excerpts which would fill the main part of the page, it was my part of the task to rewrite all those unsolicited contributions which might just make a piece. All I had to do was change everything in them and they would be fine. apart from the invaluable parsing lessons at school, these months doing rewrites were probably the best practical training I ever received. Characteristically I failed to realise it at first. But gradually the sheer weight of negative evidence began to convince me that writing is essentially a matter of saying things in the right order. It certainly has little to do with the creative urge per se. Invariably the most prolific contributors were the ones who could not write a sentence without saying the opposite of what they meant. One man, a resident in Woy Woy, sent us a new novel every month. Each novel took the form of twenty thick exercise books held together in a bundle. Each exercise book was full to the brim with neat handwriting. The man must have written more compulsively than Enid Blyton, who at least stopped for the occasional meal. Unlike Enid Blyton, however, he could not write even a single phrase that made any sense at all."

That good effective writing, and for that read good effective communication, is simply the art of saying what you want to say in the right order and in your own style might seem blindingly obvious, but it took Clive James well into university and after to realise it. (Another important point is the one about the "prolific". The most important tool that I use is a rule of George Orwell's, basically, If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.)

For those who like good English, there is more Stephen Fry at the and. for those who don't, here's Kane Bunce

We hear all the time that global warming is happening and that not cutting carbon emissions will hurt us economically. But will it really do so? I argue that it is the other way around. Capping carbon emissions will hurt the economy, as I will demonstrate. But before I do that, I must explain why it will hurt the economy.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Josh writes:

Good on Steve Maharey. I've long held that swearing is entirely Big and Hard and Clever, and frankly, it is infinitely preferable to the sort of embarrassing schoolyard shit that normally goes on in the debating chamber when people want to have a go at each other. I'd much rather have MPs who tell each other to get fucked than MPs who make smug innuendos and what they choose to believe are Wildean putdowns (but which actually have the same guile and sophistication as the average online April Folls Day "joke").

I have to say I gained respect for Mr. Maharey by him saying what he thinks. Of course, I lost it all instantly when he tried to backpedal and claim he said something else, but there you go.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

So, in class today we got into a discussion about the mechanics of exactly how one can catch a social disease from oral sex.

I asked my students how many conversations like this they thought I’d be having at the Catholic girls’ school I am going to teach at.

They seemed to think I’d be having quite a lot more...

I’m pleased it’s the holidays tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Last year a student came to me in quite some distress. The Guidance Councillor was away, so she didn’t know how she was going to get at his supply of morning after pills. I gave her my cashflow card, and pointed her at the chemist down the road. She vigorously resisted, saying she couldn’t accept my money. I told her: “Look, either I pay for a morning after pill today, or I pay for an abortion in a month, and I know which one is cheaper.”

Well, it took more than a couple of months, as it turns out...

She called me because, having finished high school, she is in a new city where she doesn’t know anybody except the ex-boyfriend with whom she recently shared one uncharacteristically careless night.

She knew what had to be done right away, but this situation has confused her, made her forget certain things. Things like the fact that she knows her ex-boyfriend doesn’t love her anymore. Things like the fact that their relationship couldn’t work, and that she had come to terms with that.

She’s been drinking a lot recently.

She got talking to a woman in a bar and, as is her way, shared a bit too much. This Good Samaritan didn’t care for the idea of someone drinking while pregnant, talk of a termination notwithstanding, so beat the hell out of my girl under the noses of the bouncers, screaming “You deserve to die too!”

She had the abortion today, and rang me to make sure I wasn’t angry at her. She asked me over and over, because, she says, I always get angry when people get pregnant. I had to explain again and again that I’m never really angry, just sad.

You know, this ridiculous life of mine gets to me sometimes...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

I’ll miss some of the things about Hoodrat...

While looking for our tech guy to tell him that our good TV was broken, I pass the library, freshly tagged with four foot high scrawlings. Shortly thereafter, I wander to the canteen. On my way there, the Deputy Head Girl shows me the girl's toilets. They are covered in blood. I don't mean that there were a few splotches - there are always splotches around Hoodrat - I mean there were pools of it on the floor, handprints smeared across the wall. I follow the spoor through the corridor, until I meet the Guidance Councillor following it from the other direction. Leaving him to deal with it, I walk back past the bathroom, where the roving cleaner the school employs has already cleaned the worst of it, and I walk past the library, which is in possession of several shiny spots, where the graffiti has been scrubbed off.

It may be putting a band-aid over a bullet hole, but I will miss it.

Some things I won’t miss...

It wasn’t only the English department employing relievers at the start of this year – there were three Technology (what we used to call Woodwork and Metalwork, rolled into one) classes being babysat because Hoodrat couldn’t find a teacher. At least the ten English classes were doing work - the Tech classes were having no relief prepared. So, after eight weeks of the students playing touch rugby outside a workshop, Hoodrat Management have given up trying to find a teacher, and have dissolved this option. This means that several dozen students don’t get to do Technology, but rather have to integrate themselves into other classes two months into the teaching program.

Some students are talking about complaining to the Principal. Others are talking about going straight to the press. At least one member of staff has mentioned going not to the Ministry, but all the way to the Minister of Education to have this clusterfuck exposed.

It really won’t suck to go to a school where this sort of thing doesn’t happen.

(And in answer to those who ask how I can be sure it doesn’t happen at the new school: This sort of unspeakable wrongness doesn’t happen at ANY school. Anywhere.)