Monday, December 22, 2008

The Excitement of the Holidays

It's hard to say who is more excited about Christmas at our house. Andrea is giddy with excitement as she goes from store to store buying presents for everyone. Matthew is just excited to have the possibility of presents. He isn't even concerned with what kind of presents. If you ask him what he wants, he is probably going to tell you he wants a box. He will then correct himself and let you know he wants a green box.

I'm also excited. I can't wait to wake him up early on Christmas and tell him that Santa has been here. We will then run downstairs and fight over who opens up the presents. I can already see him at the tree. He won't have any clothes, just a droopy diaper. He won't want to change it because to man exciting things are happening.

Although Matthew doesn't know for sure what role Santa plays in all the presents, he is quick to figure it out. Every time there is food around the house he wants to put some out for Santa. Once he saw a couple of pickles on my plate and asked me if I liked them. When I told him I didn't, he quickly grabbed them off my plate and ran to the tray we have ready for Santa and put them there. He came back to me very proud and stated, "Santa likes pickles".

Then the discussion has turned to how Santa gets in the houses out here. With no fire places we have to think of everything. One of the friends told his son that Santa comes in through the vent. I like to think Santa gets in the same way that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy do: through the use of magic.

To top the excitement off, we even had snow here in Vegas. It was a snow day and everything. Some of our friends had 8 inches of snow in their yard. That just isn't natural. Of course, they called off school the next day and the sun was shining and it was warm. It was awesome. There isn't even a plan for making the day up. It seems they don't have a plan for such a thing.

That's the snow blurred view as I see it. Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nevada Education Cuts Continue

Well, the slaughtering of education in Nevada continues. The Clark County School District Board of Directors was asked to consider proposed budget cuts by Superintendent Walt Rulffes. The proposed cuts of $120 million come after earlier cuts of $130 million across the board. The cuts are proposed for the 2009-2010 school year with the budget taking effect July 1, 2009.

The results of the lost programs and personnel will be devastating on the 5th largest school district in the United States. The cuts were called for by the nation's worst governor, Jim Gibbons. It appears that Governor Gibbons agenda has been that of George W's from the start which is to take the education system out of the local control protected by the United States Constitution. Many people believe that the goal of many is the eventual privatization of education.

It's evident that in today's tough budget climate tough decisions are necessary, but governments need to take the hands off policy that middle schools across the nation have: hand's off education. It's improbable that without further staffing and program allocation that school districts can meet the admirable goal of leaving no child left behind. If Gibbons and his cronies continue to get their way, the inner city youth of American will continue to fall behind and the haves will continue to control the have nots.

Anyway, that's the view as I see it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Clowns Are Back in Carson City

Strike up the band, there’s a party coming to Carson City.

The state budget shortfall projected anywhere from $120 million to $330 million depending on what numbers you want to look at have caused Governor Jim Gibbons to call a special session for Nevada legislators. The timing of the session seems odd to most observers, but not to those who have looked at the Governor’s tenure with skepticism from the start.

Let’s forget that Senator Bob Coffin asked Gibbons to call a special session back in December. The Governor assured him that the state could make the necessary cuts to right the sinking financial ship without the entire legislature in session. As recently as three weeks ago, Gibbons stated that a special session would not be needed. Something smells in Northern Nevada and this time it isn’t a result of the seasonal wildfires.

Gibbons acts appalled when someone had the audacity to suggest that he called the special session as a way to change the focus of his recent text message scandal. What better way to take your scandal of sending thousands of messages to a married woman (not your own wife) out of the daily news than to get folks all fired up about budget issues. Not to mention the fact that he was accused of harassment right before the election anyway. Since then, his wife has moved out, filed for divorce, and taken up residence in the guest house at the governor’s mansion. It turns out the governor himself was just a part-time resident of the mansion anyway. Some ugly words were exchanged and then they made nice, probably until his term ends.

Meanwhile, government agencies (including school districts) are left waiting on a budget that should take effect July 1. This is the stuff that can only take place in a state like Nevada. For a while, every day another Clark County Commissioner was in the news for corruption. The state as a whole has a checkered history of mob affiliations. As everyone knows, the mayor of Las Vegas was the mouthpiece for the mob scene in Las Vegas for years. Of course that has done little to hamper the popularity of the self-identified “happiest mayor in America”.

As it stands right now, the state of Nevada could do a lot better than the current head of the state executive branch. I would like to nominate several candidates although I’m amazed that there has been a recall petition up to this point. I think the dog that was a mayor in California for 12 years should be our next governor. If you don’t want a canine mayor, maybe the Governator will come here from California, or the former governor of Minnesota, Jessie “the body” Ventura. It seems that a governor from the entertainment world would at least liven things up in our doldrums state.

Anyway, that’s the view from where I sit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A real Down Home Mystery

It’s quite a mystery around the Cole house the last couple of weeks. About a month ago I let you know that poor Lil Matthew was forced to get off the bottle forever (seemed like a good idea: even my father gave up the bottle some time ago). It was a pretty trying time for me, although he seemed to go with the flow the way little kids can do.

However, the news got worse. Some friends of ours from back home (Iowa) were out here visiting before his brother’s wedding down on the strip; they stayed with us and we spent some time out at Red Rock and just enjoying the company that only Iowa folks can share (that’s a story for another day: Hopefully we will be seeing them during the ISU – UNLV football whooping that will be taking place in August). Unfortunately, on the Thursday that they arrived the lil dude’s Padres blankie went missing.

It is quite a mystery, because I have turned the house upside down looking for it. I don’t understand how it could just disappear. I even went on Ebay looking to see if it was on the auction block. Those of you that know my wife will understand that everything is up for sale at our house. If it can be listed on-line, there is a good chance we will sell it. But in this case I wasn’t able to find it on sale their either.

The poor guy, first his bottle and now the PADRES BLANKIE. Obviously, he got over it right away and just moved on to another blankie but it is driving me crazy. I got that blanket for him during a give-away at the Padres game where a bunch of us guys from Vegas went to PETCO Park and saw the Padres whip up on someone. So there is a lot of sentimental value there regarding the blankie. My friend Mike said he would give his up so that Matthew can have a Padres blanket again, so I may need to take him up on that offer soon. I can’t have the little dude going through life without such an important part of brainwashing development. How can I possibly guarantee that he ends up a life-long Padres fan if he doesn’t see something everyday that reminds him of the Friars?

I know such brainwashing works; because I still follow the Cornhuskers to this day and growing up in Central Iowa there would be no real reason to follow them. My only guess could be that my family of Nebraska natives turned me on to them. Besides, I’ve got my work cut out for me. All of our friends out here follow the Cubs, so I definitely need an advantage. Even our triple A team, the 51’s, are part of the LA Dodgers organization so he will get exposed to the Dodgers too.

The biggest regret that I have about losing the blankie is that I didn’t search the Tighes before they left. I’m sure they couldn’t think of a better souvenir than a Padres blanket straight from the city. It would have been easy to put in their luggage and they knew I didn’t have the sophisticated security system of the airport, so they would easily be the proud new owners of a Padres blanket.

I mean, why else would you come to Vegas? Anyway, that’s how I see it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bye Bye Bottle

A few months ago it was a sad few days at the Cole household. The one true love that our little dude had was the love of his bottle. I’m not talking a little crush here, but a true infatuation. We let him keep it longer than many people suggested simply because it was the one thing that immediately fired him up. The neighbors down the block could probably here him screaming when the clock reached 8:00 PM and we went to the cupboard and pulled out that bottle.

Matthew would quickly run all around the house to tell everyone inside that there was a bottle. It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I had ever saw true joy before until that bottle came out of hiding every night.

We decided that we would take it away while we were out of town. We went to San Diego for a weekend and simply told him that we didn’t have it. He accepted that right away since he doesn’t get to have it at the babysitter’s house and he seemed to know that it was just something for our house.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t a huge issue when we got home. He seemed to sense that it was coming. I think I took it harder than he did. For quite a while I missed the pure joy on his face and in his eyes that accompanied that nightly ritual. He’s since replaced it with other things that make him excited and happy. He loves it when his mom comes home from tutoring and reads him a story or right before bed time I give him tickle attacks and he returns the favor. Few things get him more excited than playing hide and seek. He even gets to the point where he tells me where to hide.

But I really miss that bottle. It seems unfair to take anything from someone who gets so much joy out of something so simple….it doesn’t seem right. In a couple of more months, I’ll probably be over it but I’m not sure why we punished me by taking it from me. Everyone should have a bottle, at least that is the view as I see it.