Bad teachers, quitting employees, gadgets on planes and gay apparel (5 x 8 – 11/1/13)


Kids today, eh? Can’t take a teacher throwing a backpack at them.

The story out of Mankato about the lawsuit against a teacher who threw the backpack at a sleeping student comes, coincidentally, as some old high school chums and I on Facebook last night were remembering the drill sergeants teachers we had in the ’70s.

“Bill Provenzani was one of the worst teachers,” one old pal noted. “Industrial Arts at BF. He seemed to take delight in belittling students. He pinned me against the wall one day. Today that’d be a court case.”

You don’t say.

Let’s check today’s Mankato Free Press:

Officer Thomas Winsell was told a student identified as K.M.B. in the complaint was watching a slide show with other students in Shoemaker’s class when the alleged assault occurred. The student, who was 17 at the time but recently had a birthday, said he wasn’t feeling well and was tired, so he put his head down on his desk.

Shoemaker, 53, had been talking during the slideshow but stopped talking after the student put his head down, the complaint said. The student reported he heard Shoemaker walk toward him before he was hit on the head with the backpack. Staff at the high school weighed the backpack after the incident and determined it weighed 11 pounds when it was thrown at the student’s head, the complaint said.

When the student lifted his head, Shoemaker was “in his face” and yelling at him, he reported. Shoemaker then asked the student if he was a leader on the football team and a leader on the wrestling team. When the student said he was, Shoemaker told him he should be a leader in the classroom as well, according to the complaint.

Shoemaker also asked the student to stay after class to talk to him. During that discussion, Shoemaker told him he had a temper and apologized for throwing a backpack at him, the student reported.

As usual, the school is citing data privacy rules for not saying whether the teacher has been suspended.

Discussion point: Describe the worst teacher you ever had.

2) I QUIT?

The economy must be getting better; more employees are quitting their jobs. In August, 2,364,000 workers quit, according to APM’s Marketplace.

“People quit jobs when they have an opportunity to go someplace else,” said Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at Wharton, told the show “Most everybody who quits voluntarily steps immediately into another job.”

The fascinating part? The economy needs people to quit their jobs to open up new opportunities.

But there’s a more important reason, for many people, according to Time. If people don’t quit their jobs, salaries don’t go up:

…if people are leaving their jobs for better options, either real or perceived, you can bet that money is one of the issues. Real wage growth has been stagnant in the U.S. for a decade, which is one reason our economy continues to putter along, given that consumer spending is such a large component on GDP. Pressure on employers to lift wages ultimately lifts spending.


What’s wrong with this Hallmark ornament?

Hallmark says it’s surprised at the reaction to changing the lyrics of “Deck the Halls,” which, of course, refers to “gay apparel,” and has since the 1600s.

“When the lyrics to ‘Deck the Halls’ were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry. Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation,” Hallmark says.

Where would Hallmark get the idea? Maybe here.


Christine Negroni, who writes the Flying Lessons blog for the Seattle PI website, has never been a fan of allowing electronic devices to be used at critical parts of an airline flight. She says there’s plenty of evidence to support the safety precautions of not using the devices.

But, she writes, yesterday’s decision by the FAA to allow people to use their devices during such times acknowledges a reality — people just had to have their devices and, besides, they don’t believe the warnings, which were repeated with yesterday’s announcement.

Here are five of the many alarming points made by the FAA’s advisory committee.

>> The potential for interference depends on the aircraft, its systems and the PED.
>> Even newer aircraft have sensitive receivers that may be vulnerable to emissions from PEDs.
>> Some ground based navigational aids may be as receptive to interference now as they were in the 1960s
>> Navigation assistance for ILS approaches may also impacted
>> Devices transmitting a signal like Wifi or Bluetooth, that can generate spurious signals, are an even greater concern.

Those troubles and more, however, had to be balanced against a population of travelers who did not believe the worries were real and voted with their power on buttons.

The majority of the flying public will trust the FAA is making this decision with air safety first and foremost because they want that to be the case.

The fact of the matter is that the facts don’t matter. With a report that suggest safety issues exist the FAA welcomes the widespread use of devices on airplanes. The science takes a backseat to other factors that are social, political, economic and logistical.

More tech: For The Tablet Generation, A Lesson In Digital Citizenship (NPR).


As we begin the month of November — how on earth did it get to be November already? — let us remember that there are people on the planet don’t have the seasons. So eat your winter or no spring for you.

More Minnesota: A flaw has been discovered in Minnesota’s attempt to create biking,walking, and snowmobiling trails across the nation’s finest state — they have to be maintained. The St. Cloud Times says the Lake Wobegon Trail is showing its age 15 years after it opened. County officials want to tap the Legacy Fund.

Bonus I: Oh, hey, another complicated marriage proposal:

Here’s the back story.

Bonus II: When you take your last breath on the planet, do you really want to be known primarily as the guy who blew up a whale? This might be the finest piece of newswriting and delivery ever, however.

Years later, the late Mr. Thornton declined to be interviewed about exploding blubber. “No, it seems like whenever I talk to the media, it blows up in my face,” he said.

Are fringe candidates a distraction?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: This week on the Friday Roundtable, our panelists will look at what takes to succeed in business as a woman, and the role that gender plays when you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder.

Second hour: The Makers Coalition is working with business, educators and non-profits to increase sewing/textile skilled workers in the state. As people are more conscientious about buying local or American made goods, businesses are finding they need to “revive a dying trade”, as CNN says, to meet consumer demands. Euan Kerr will speak to one of the founders of The Makers Coalition about their work and their partnership with Dunwoody Institute.

Third hour: Iraq war veteran Kevin Powers’ new novel follows two young American soldiers as they try to stay alive in Al Tafar, Iraq. He’ll join us on The Daily Circuit to talk about his experiences in war and writing ‘The Yellow Birds’ as a way of processing and coping with his time in the Middle East. (Rebroadcast)

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm):LIVE from the Westminster Town Hall Forum: Mike Mulcahy hosts Minneapolis Mayoral debate with eight candidates.

Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – A year after Hurricane Sandy, how have the coastlines recovered? Ira Flatow looks at the recovery efforts. Should we rebuild or retreat? And what might future coastlines look like? Plus, know how your digital camera works? Build your own and find out.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR hosts the final debate in the Minneapolis mayor’s race, with the leading 8 candidates sharing a stage in Minneapolis. MPR’s Curtis Gilbert will wrap it up.

  • MrE85

    3) I translated “Hallmark” into Gaelic. It’s pronounced “Chicken @#$!”
    B2) Thar she blows up?

  • jon

    @#1) when I was in highschool a kid fell asleep in class… the teacher saw this, and whispered that everyone should as quietly as possible pack up their bags and leave the classroom a few minutes before the bell went off.
    once in the hallway he directed us to stand along the wall on either side of the door to the room, he also took up a stop right next to the door, and we waited for the bell to ring… when it did the sleeping kid sprung up not seeing anyone else in the room ran out of the classroom to figure out what time it was and what class he was supposed to be going to, only to find all of his classmates, and the teacher waiting for him, laughing hysterically.

    @#4) Put me in the “Don’t believe it” category.

  • DavidG

    I had biology professor throw an eraser at me when I briefly dozed off in lecture in college.

    But, I don’t know, and 11 pouud object thrown at someone’s head? That does seem a bit dangerous.

  • Kassie

    My worst teacher was the one who refused to teach and would just let us work on a never ending group project for days on end. I called him on it. The next day he decided he would sit up in the front of the room and talk at us about something. I must of rolled my eyes because he asked me if I had something better to do. I replied, “yes, I told you that yesterday.” He then kicked me out. Only class I was ever kicked out of.

  • Roger

    1) I’ve had orchestra and choir directors throw their batons at disruptive students. Maybe there should be a nerf version for those hot-headed conductors.
    3) The ornament would have been better as an ugly Christmas sweater. Words not needed.

  • John Peschken

    1) Brings me back to Sophomore Geometry. Brother John was deadly with a chalkboard eraser, all the way from the front to the back of the room. Big puff of chalk dust. We thought it was hilarious.

  • Dave

    “The economy needs people to quit their jobs to open up new opportunities.”

    That’s fascinating?

  • Dave

    Also, the Hallmark thing. Shouldn’t they also have replaced the word “don?” No one uses that word anymore; it’s almost as obsolete as “gay” in this context.

    • Diana

      “Let’s put on our festive clothing!”

  • Cara Ashenbrener

    My 9th grade algebra teacher stood in outside his door with a paddle. I was never late to that class!

  • bri-bri

    My worst teacher was, strangely, one of my favorites. Mr. H. taught 8th grade geography. He had a wonderful, goofy uncle-like rapport with students, which you’d think would neatly set the stage for a whole lotta learning. However, his lessons were largely rambling lectures that offered little to guide us through related homework, and the tests, oh god the tests: he’d clearly written the tests in his first year on the job and never bothered to revise them. About 1/3 of the questions were on topics that were NEVER COVERED. When we protested during test reviews, he simply claimed that we should’ve been able to “reason them out”. Great guy, awful teacher.