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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why? 

A most incredible story has unfolded here in the past few days. A local high school teacher and coach has been arrested for the murder of his wife.

The story is incredible and very sad. Here is a summary:

1) The police are called to John’s house in the wee hours of the morning. His wife is laying in bed with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. He has a gunshot wound to his middle finger.
2) He tells the police that he woke up to an intruder who had his gun (left on the dining room table) who was looking for his adopted daughter. The intruder ended up shooting his wife, struggling with him, and making off with $5000 in cash in a clear plastic bag that was also lying on the dining room table.
3) Two children (ages 15 and 9) were asleep in the home at the time
4) A day later he is arrested for the murder of his wife.
5) He told his family that he was a member of Israeli special forces and they are all leaving for Israel on a private plan the next day. It turns out there is no flight and his passport is expired.
6) He has been telling school officials that he is donating millions of dollars to the school for sports programs and academics. He cancels a meeting to prepare to hand over the funds the day before the murder, claiming to be ill.
7) He purchases a small handgun several days before the murder.
8) He tells family and friends that he is inheriting millions of dollars from his father and that he is now in control of a large corporation. He persuades his wife (a lawyer) to quit her job at the state Supreme Court to go to work for this corporation.
9) It turns out he is heavily in debt. There are no millions. There is no corporation. There is no job for his wife. There is nothing.
10) Police believe he boxed himself in with all these wild stories and saw the murder of his wife as the only way out. They had been married for 23 years.

Shocking. Sad. Incredible.

I’ve seen this guy around at a few events and have probably met him once or twice. I do know some people who have worked with him, but haven’t talked to any of them about this.

The whole thing leaves so many questions.

What kind of darkness could descend on a man that would enable him to point a gun at his sleeping wife’s head and pull the trigger with his children sleeping a short distance away?

How did he possibly think he would get away with it?

He had successful career. Why the lies? Why the wild stories? Why the promises?

How could he do this to his kids who have lost both of their parents now?

He took his wife’s life, forever scarring his children and all of those kids who looked up to him as a teacher and coach.

Why?

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Midweek Meandering 


It is midweek and summer is in full swing!


I’ve been working quite a bit this week on projects due in class this weekend. School finance…not exactly a sexy subject but something I need to learn well.


Those who stated on a previous post that I needed a better picture of the new baby were right. This one is much better. Isn’t he cute?


This story reports on a group of teenage girls who supposedly made a pact to get pregnant. One of the fathers was a 24 year old homeless man. It is no secret to those of use who work in high schools that pregnancy has certain glamour to it these days. Pregnant girls are lavished with attention, most of it positive. We’ve come quite a distance from my high school days when a pregnant girl was expected to go on homebound as soon as she was “showing”. I wouldn’t advocate going back to those days, but I see on a regular basis the devastating costs of teen pregnancy. Most of these girls are in no way ready to raise a child. They certainly don’t need to be getting that way on purpose!


So many kids these days are starved for attention that they will get it any way they can.


Like so many others I mourn the loss of George Carlin. Profane? Of course. Rude? You bet. Funny? Without a doubt. We will not see the likes of him again.


So how is YOUR week going?


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Clavinism 

I actually had a serious post on education written, but I think I'll save it for another day. Terri and I were talking and somehow the conversation came around to one of my favorite shows, "Cheers".

I loved "Cheers", one of the great ensemble sitcoms of all time. I loved the "Cliff" character. Who among us has not known a Cliff in their life? The know-it-all who seems to have an endless barrage of nonsensical trivia at his disposal? John Ratzenberger was truly magnificent in this role.

Perhaps my favorite episode involved Cliff appearing on Jeopardy. The categories? "Sons and Mothers" "Celibacy" "Bar Trivia"

So what happened? Watch the video. Even if you have already seen it several times as I have, it is a good for a few laughs.


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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Midweek Meandering 


It is midweek and it seems to be raining around here…both raindrops and babies!

Last week Terri’s close friend gave birth to her first child. Today it was her son’s girlfriend!

The birth of Aidan Paul makes Terri a grandmother and me…gulp…yes, that would make me that “g” word. No worries. I can handle it. He is a very handsome boy who weighed 6 lbs 7 oz and was as good natured as a newborn could be under the circumstances! We are excited about this new addition to our family.

Of course, this meant a long time in the hospital waiting room for the big event to happen. We watched a lot of Animal Planet. We went and got some food. Little Aidan was in no hurry to make his introduction to the world, so we waited.

Hospital waiting rooms must be specially designed to be functional but not too comfortable. I keep imagining some consultant saying, “don’t make those chairs TOO comfortable. We don’t want people sleeping out here!”.

But it is all worth it when you hold the little one in your arms. Just priceless.

Other than babies, I’ve just been enjoying a little time off. I’m still managing a few issues via email, but I haven’t been into the office this week. It may seem weird but it is a little hard to let go and just relax. Its school, school, school for nine months and then…quiet. However, I’m starting to get used to it!

Patrick wants to go fishing. I may take him if it will ever stop raining. Aubree would like a little solo dad time. I’ll try to work out something there too. It would be nice for all of us to go on a vacation somewhere too.

I do have my Nashville trip and some weekends with classes. Other than that it is time for a little R & R. It feels good.

So how is YOUR week going?


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lighting the Path 

I miss my dad….and it is Father’s Day.

It is also my birthday. How lucky am I?

I was thinking about him Friday. I moved offices within the building and was unpacking my things. I have several of his things scattered around my office. A wooden paddle with his name (and mine) painted on it, given to him by a senior class when he was teaching. A golden clock purchased in Europe. A lettermen’s “K” from his coaching days, framed in a glass case. An iron phoenix, given to him by his company to symbolize the computer system he created. A basketball coaching book titled, “The Smart Take From the Strong”.

Dad’s stuff. ..now my stuff.

My new office is out of the main office area and I was all alone. I placed the iron phoenix on my desk and sighed aloud, “oh dad.” There was no one around to hear me. I don’t even know why I said it.

Sure I do. I just miss my dad.

A driving force for much of my life was to make my father proud of me. Not because he demanded it…he didn’t. Not because I had to…because I didn’t. I think it was because he shined the light for me and showed me the path. If I veered away from it he didn’t get angry. He just kept shining the light. I wanted to do it. I just didn’t always know how.

That is how he was. He shined the light and lit the path.

He shined it through a painfully shy childhood. He shined it through the pains of adolescence. He shined it through disappointments and stupid mistakes. He shined it through difficult divorces, through financial difficulties, through career decisions.

This is the way son. I hope you find it. I’m here if you do or don’t.

My dad still lights the path.

Fatherhood is so complicated in many ways and in another sense it is simple. Be there. Love your kids. Teach them. Light the path. Encourage them to follow it. Be there.

I know now what he felt when he looked at me as an angst-ridden adolescent. Man, do I know.

My dad didn’t like to curse around us, so he invented other sayings to take the place of profanity. “Thunderation!”, would boom from his small body when he was really angry. He was funny like that. The first time I saw alcohol touch his lips I was seventeen years old and at dinner with him and a high ranking Chinese energy official. He let me have a small glass of wine…my first ever. He smiled and said, “don’t tell your mother!” I didn’t….I still haven’t.

Oh dad.

I’m 47 years old today. I’m a father like you…well, hopefully like you. The kids irritate me sometimes. There are times when I’m not as patient as I’d like to be. Sometimes I’m not the man I want to be. I do try Dad, as I know you did. I love my kids so much it hurts. I know you felt this way.

I do miss you. I’m still trying to live up, only now it is to be the kind of dad you were. It is not a bad ambition to have.

My dad raised his sons to be decent and kind to others, to be fair, to not jump to conclusions, that people can change, to not give up too quickly.

He described fatherhood as a “benign dictatorship”, usually benign, with the dictator sometimes having to make an appearance.

Most of all he kept the path lit.

Keep lighting the path.

Happy Father’s Day.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Midweek Meandering 

It is midweek and my summer vacation (such as it is) will start in a couple of days. Of course, several weekends during that time will be taken up by classes. Still, I should find a little time to rest and recharge my batteries for a few weeks.

I’m excited to be going to Nashville for a conference in a few weeks. I haven’t been there in many years and I’m sure we will find some fun things to do. The conference is reported to be a very good one, so hopefully I will come home with some ideas for next year.

What to do with my time off other than go to classes and write papers? There are some projects around the house that need to get done. I would like to take a couple of mini-vacations in there somewhere. There are a few good books that need to get read.

It really needs to stop raining for a few days so I can mow my lawn.

I’m enjoying the N.B.A. finals The Celtics and Lakers again! It doesn’t seem that long ago that we watched Larry Bird and Magic Johnson battle it out in the finals year after year.

Its kinda funny looking at the N.B.A. website. I was such a huge basketball fan as a boy, and I used to regularly write the N.B.A. office asking for memorabilia, statistics, etc. They almost always sent me something.

I also wrote famous political figures and asked for autographed pictures as well. I wonder where that 8x11 of Richard Nixon, with “Brian, best wishes to you” anyway? I was so excited when the large envelope with the return address “The White House” arrived in our mailbox. I think I was more excited about that than the picture. I took it around and showed it off for days.

I just really loved getting mail, and the only way to get it back then was to write and ask for something.

Did I mention I only have a couple more official work days?

So how is YOUR week going?


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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Midweek Meandering 

It is midweek, windy and balmy in good ole Oklahoma.

Thus was not the case a few days ago when a hailstorm left my yard covered in white chunks of hail. There aren’t very many cars around here without the tell-tale dings from recent hailstorms.

School is out and the kids are still in England. It is quite at work. It is quite at home. Its just….quiet! I actually sit down in my office to do a project and complete it. The hustle and bustle of my everyday life has been replaced by calm.

This is good. We need the time at work to plan for next year, to work on our budget, to hire new teachers, to order supplies, to schedule 1300 students into the correct classes, to create programs and work to improve existing ones, to come up with strategies to improve areas of concern. Many do not realize the complexity of a large school, what goes in to making it operate on all cylinders when kids walk in the door to start the new school year. I miss the interaction with students, but we need this time.

I’ve enjoyed the quiet at home as well but I do miss the kids. We go to Dallas on Saturday to pick them up. I can’t wait to here all the details of their trip!

In another week I’ll be off for my summer vacation. This vacation will be interrupted by a trip to Nashville to attend a professional convention, and I’ll be back at work in late July. The summer just gets shorter, but that’s ok.

The dog days of summer are upon us. I’m so ready!

So how is YOUR week going?


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