Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Me and My Pumas

So I was attending the UIL Superconference at Tyler Junior College in beautiful Tyler, Texas last week. The campus is lined with these massive trees with twisting branches. I wish I could tell you what kind of trees they were but I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to botany. They look like some kind of live oak or post oak.

Anyway, I was walking through the campus when I find my way blocked by a tribe of high school UIL participants from another school. It had been raining so I didn't want to circumvent this crowd by walking on the grass. So I simply said "excuse me" and they apologized and made a path for me.

As I passed them I heard a girl say "I like your shoes." I assumed they were referring to someone else so I kept walking. She, however, was insistent that I know that she liked my footwear and said louder, "I said I like your shoes!" The shoes I was wearing are awfully puma sneakers with a white stripe. I turned around and acknowledged the compliment with a brief thanks and kept walking. Right then, one of my students saw me walking from the opposite path and shouted "Mr. White!" in order to get my attention.

I heard someone behind me in my shoe complimenting crowd say "dude, he's a teacher!"

Yep, that's right...I, at age 37, was mistaken for a student...I'm assuming they thought I was a college student. I guess hipness never ages...


Monday, September 27, 2010

Red River Karma

I love this week of the year. OU-texas week. As I watched the shortcows get bruised by the Bruins I had mixed emotions (like watching Sarah Palin going over a cliff in your new Ferrari). I'm supposed to hope ut goes undefeated going into the Red River Shootout (the name change to rivalry is so lame) in order to create more interest in the game and hopefully help OU's title hopes in defeating a highly ranked opponent.

But I can never root for texas...even if it's in the supposed best interest of OU. Rooting for your most hated rival comes back to haunt you in dangerous ways (Siddhartha Gautama would have called it bad karma). For 2008...OU lost to texas (bad calls by the refs)...ut lost to Texas Tech. ut fans began to openly root for OU to beat Tech thinking that would help their title chances. I warned my shortcow friends that they were playing with mystic fire. You should never root for your matter what.

Sure enough...OU doesn't just beat Tech...they smash them completely. The victory was so impressive OU bypassed ut in the polls and got to play in the National Title game.

So yeah, I'm happy ut got smashed by UCLA. texas needs to quit scheduling the Bruins...especially for home games.

Note: Check out the Kansas City Chiefs. 3-0! Who woulda thunk? The playoffs may not be so ridiculous to think about. I know they still have a long way to go and others have had great starts and missed the playoffs (last year's Broncos)...but I'm enjoying the ride as long as I can.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I saw a student entering my classroom with a book. This shocked me. A student with a book…and not a book assigned by any class. This student is actually reading…get this…wait for it…FOR FUN!?! Unbelievable.

Anyway, I snidely asked the student if her book was about vampires. Seems most of the books my students are reading these days are about vampires…grim, dark-humored emo pansy vampires.

This student recoiled in horror and said, “NO…this book is not about vampires (she said with great indignation). It’s about evil fairies.”

Evil Fairies. I have never heard of evil fairies. And the thought of them scares me. And then I realized I don’t have a class rule against evil fairies. So here you go…another addendum to my class rules…


I hope that clears up any ambiguity about evil fairies in my classroom.


Mr. White
picture: yes...I, Mr. White, created the graphic on this post using microsoft paint. I am awesome. I am a graphic-design master...I am, oh nevermind.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rest in Peace Milburn/Antioch

I was reading my old hometown newspaper's website ( when I ran across a story about my old school district. I clicked on the story and was horrified to discover that the Shawnee Mission School District will be closing down my old middle school next year. Antioch Middle School will be murdered as an entity due to budgetary contraints resulting from declining enrollment. When I attended AMS we had about 750 students. Today there is less than 450. This decline in enrollment is district wide. In 1970 the SMSD had 45,000 students. Today the SMSD has around 23,000 students district wide. Not quite sure what's going on in Johnson County...I've been in Texas the last 12 years.

Antioch Middle School was originally built in 1955 as Milburn Junior High on land domained from the Milburn Country Club. It was a beautiful setting for a school and I often allowed my gaze to wander out the window during math class to watch the bourgeosie play golf. I even caddied at the club for a brief time. I was a proud Milburn Trojan my 7th Grade year. But the next summer they shut down nearby (an early foreshadowing of Milburn's fate) Old Mission Junior High, brought their students to us and converted all the junior highs in the district to middle schools. All 9th Graders moved to the high schools and the middle schools housed only 7th and 8th graders.

They changed the name of Milburn to the boring name of Antioch Middle School (Nancy Kassabaum Middle School was also in the running). They changed the mascot and all the old traditions. They took off a giant Trojan Soldier sculpture off the front wall and ripped out the Trojan Warrior embedded in the front lobby tiles...the one that if you stepped on you would be beaten up by older students. Milburn was dead and Antioch born...until now when they plan to kill it off completely next year.

To add insult to injury all those Antioch students will now be shipped to our hated arch rivals...Hocker (as in hocking a loogie) Grove Middle School. Hocker...the dump that got to keep their school's name in 1986 because of the rabid parent protests. That's like shutting down OU and sending all the students to ut if not actually a million times worse.

The news of this closing depressed me more than I would have guessed. Schools house a lot of memories. There is nothing sadder than an empty classroom or an empty school building. Think about the millions of stories that took place in those rooms. At least we'll have the memories. The last time I saw the building was seven years ago...and then we only passed by on the road. I'm thinking I may have to make one last pilgrimage before the end comes. At least my 8th Grade Record in the 440 meter four-man relay will now be frozen forever never to be broken.

R.I.P. Milburn Junior High 1955-1986
R.I.P. Antioch Middle School 1986-2011

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weezer Day #8

Today Weezer released their 8th album "Hurley" named after a character on one of my favorite (and recently ended) shows LOST. Hugo "Hurley" Ramos appears on the cover...aka Jorge Garcia.

Great album...closer to Pinkerton than anything they've done in a long long time.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Singh is King

Pulled out of Walmart behind a man in a small pickup truck this evening. The driver was apparently South Asian in ethnicity...I'm guessing India. He had the coolest back window decal ever.

Singh is King.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Heathen Love Story

So the other night a tornado touched down in Seagoville. The news warned that it was heading to Forney. Channel 8’s Pete Delkus helpfully advised that if you had children in Forney to put their bicycle helmets on. We were at the dinner table eating salmon and steamed broccoli and couldn’t be bothered with such trivialities. We sat, ate and watched the rain with a window open to let out smoke from a burning piece of fish in the broiler.

Then it got darker and darker…and there it was.

About 300 yards east of us…past the goat farm…in direct sight of our dining room window, full rotation of a tornado in the sky. Hooks and fingers of clouds swirling with malign intent like a witch’s hand over her cauldron.

Kim said “Is that a tornado?” I said “I think it is.” But I spoke with great uncertainty because there were no sirens blaring as usual in such events in Forney. I didn’t know then that they were malfunctioning (I bet the football scoreboard works great!) and would remain silent.

Kim asked if we should take cover. I had already cleared out our one and only interior closet ready to dive in. The cats were closed up in the study. But the lack of sirens and wind convinced us to finish the wonderful salmon. It was eerily calm and I figured we could shelter within seconds if things started getting crazy.

So the three of us ate in silence and followed the stirring whirlpool in the clouds that minutes earlier had destroyed a Seagoville man’s classic red ‘vette. It moved left to right heading slowly north and soon the sun peeked through the trailing clouds.

Meanwhile the vast and ancient gulf between urbanity and rurality reared it’s ugly head as another tornado hit Dallas proper. All news outlets immediately and swiftly forgot about Kaufman County. Kicked to the curb we were! Not a mention of points east for over 30 minutes despite the still threatening tornado in the clouds over downtown Forney. It was an apalling lack of concern about our welfare. It was if we had been erased from existence. Surely they could have utilized split screens or something.

But as the tornado headed north toward Rockwall it also passed over the small hamlet of Heath…ironic since the word heathen comes from heath. Heathen…a term which ancient town dwellers used to prejoratively label those outside the town’s influence and who lived on the heath ground cover. These ”outsiders” were viewed as barbaric, Godless and uncivilized.

I guess that’s how “civilized” Dallas feels about us heathen eastsiders in the year C.E. 2010. Ah, us heathens are accustomed to the prejudice of our fickle neighbors to the west.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Televangelist or Dental Product?

"Lists" is a regular feature on the online literary journal McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Here is a recent list for your reading entertainment...

Televangelist or Dental Product?


1. Popoff
2. Orajel
3. Osteen
4. Duplantis
5. Elmex
6. Biotene
7. Paulk
8. Clinpro
9. Dr. Collins
10. Quiboloy

Televangelists: 1, 3, 4, 7, 10
Dental Products: 2, 5, 6, 8, 9

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Killer Pencils

Love this picture I saw on Boing Boing. These are Woody Guthrie inspired pencils. He had this phrase engraved on his guitar...Oh yeah, Woody was from Oklahoma.