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APS did not fire Knauber. Acting upon a disciplinary committee’s recommendation the district had shuffled him off to teach this fall at Volcano Vista High School. It appears now, though, that Knauber will be the dean of students at the state-chartered Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics & Science Academy in Albuquerque.

…the contraband – a digital scale, a marijuana grinder and sandwich baggies..

7.7.14, Albuquerque Journal, Editorial:  Decision time approaches on former Sandia AD

 

WANTED, DEAN OF STUDENTS: The Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy (SAMS) is a state-chartered public school currently seeking an innovative, caring full-time administratively licensed Dean of Students to engender positive academic behavior in its outstanding student body.  Candidates should have excellent “people” skills, be a positive and ethically flexible “team player” and have a good working knowledge of marijuana grinding equipment.  “Must haves” include extensive K-12 educational leadership experience, an extremely active imagination when considering what’s best for our school and specific familiarity with tools needed to facilitate the distribution of illegal drugs.  At SAMS we value going the extra mile in our passion to “plant” useful learning “tools” into its students and working colleagues. For more information, contact SAMS Administrator Al Baysinger on his beeper at 555-DOPE (or 555-WEED if he doesn’t get back to you right away, just chill).

I’ll eschew the essay today.  My plan was to make this post a photo essay, but the far less than broadband state of my hotel wireless makes that untenable.  So, instead, here’s are the top three signs that at least someone here thinks I’m now a bonafide Montrealer:

 

#3:  Corner of de Maissonneuve & Stanley Streets at Bixi Station while I’m getting a bike:

Tourist (in horrifically bad French):  Excusez-moi?  

(Tourist points at map of downtown with name of shop scribbled on it)

Tourist (haltingly in continued horrid French):  Où est cette boutique?

Me:  (in English) Well, I’m from New Mexico…

(Tourist’s shoulder unclench and a look of absolute relief sweeps over their face, a look that can only mean “I don’t have to try to speak French anymore with this guy!  Whoo-hoo!!!”)

 

#2:   Spanish-speaking (Castilian) tourist in town for optics and photonics (i.e., Sciency stuff)  convention at Palais des Congres at Bixi Station while I’m getting a bike (these Bixi Stations are real conversation starters, particularly as they are not terribly intuitive to the new user, in any language):

Tourist: ¿Cómo consigo una bicicleta?

Me:  (I start trying my bad Spanish, but it’s too bad and the confused guy is just more confused, so)…Well, I’m from the U.S., so…

Tourist (in very broken English): “How do I use bikes?”  (Proving once again that A: English always wins in these situations;  B: It wins because when the speaker is from the USA, it’s assumed they are stupid, rightly, and don’t know any other languages.  We, in particular I, are pathetic.

 

And the #1 sign at least somebody here thinks I’m a Local:  Corner of Rene Levesque & Saint Laurent Boulevards pretty late on a Francofolies evening (only a 200 feet or so from the festival entrance):

Pretty drunk young local obviously taking advantage of Canada’s continued policy of allowing those 18 to legally drink (in Canadian English, inflection included):  Excuse me, can you tell me where we can find a Dep?

Me (pointing up Saint Laurent):  There’s one on the right side about a block up by the Chinatown gate.

#1 made me so proud.  Recall, New Mexicans, somebody asking you what “Christmas” at the restaurant meant for the very first time?  *Give me a few more weeks and Je suis un vrai Montréalais! might well be achieved.

 

*As long as Google Translate is hardwired into my brain at all times.  Otherwise, I’m just the pathetic USAUSAUSA monolingual doofus.

 

 

 

 

 

As a Texan, the Province of Quebec’s resemblance to my home state oozes and seeps everywhere. Relative to their fellow provinces/states, both Quebec and Texas:

  • Tried once or more to become its own country
  • Speak a different language
  • Is dominated by a religion which is only a minority in the rest of the country
  • Tend to be extremely and perhaps undeservedly proud of provincial/statehood status over nation
  • Will not stop talking about how it’s “different here”
  • Is more proud of their provincial/state flag than most folks are of their national one

To use another comparison, it’s like the guy in rural Eastern Germany who, over shots of Jack Daniels in his completely Western United States-themed, right down to the John Wayne posters over his personal “bar” and pictures of horse-festooned guest sheets and blankets, guesthaus told me:

“Germany is Germany, and Bayern is Bayern.” 

While it’s true neither Quebec or Texas has (yet) become the operational headquarters of anyone like Adolf Hitler, there is a generally silly and not worrying degree that several folks in both Quebec and Texas don’t really consider that necessarily a bad idea.  Perhaps the only problem, in this view, was that Hitler didn’t just stick to conquering Bayern (Bavaria) and making it an independent Nazi country.

But I exaggerate, something hard not to do when one brings Hitler into the comparison.

Just to clarify, I am not comparing Rick Perry with his periodic talk/untalk of “secession” (or the Parti Québécois) to Hitler.  That would be unfair.  Instead, all three (Bayern, Quebec, Texas), a few absolute nutjobs aside, really just want to publicly daydream about being a truly separate country and take as many chances as possible to complain about having to be in a country with people who speak other languages (the Southern German Bayern accent is about 30% toward its own language, too) and don’t “get” that their place is better than any other place in the country, get off my lawn and all that.

Lebensraum, I think it was once called, and I continue to apologize for all the Hitler comparisons.

And there is certainly nothing Hitlerian about today’s provincial, but really “national,” holiday here in Quebec, Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste It’s just a fun day with parades, billions of Quebecois flags, funny hats with cow horns and inexplicable bonfires.  Not to mention, in past years, the occasional separatist’s riot.  Yup, just like in Texas, but with Fleurs-de-lis instead of Lone Stars.

I wish I had taken a camera to last night’s pre-holiday bash up at Laurier Park, filled with the flag/cow horn stuff, good bands with button accordions and fiddles, beer and barbecue.   All that was missing was Willie Nelson.

And despite the rain today (btw, for your Burqueans who are used to hearing weather reports differently, when the weather forecast calls for a 90% chance of rain here, it means that it will rain 90% of the entire day, not “we’re really joking and there’s really only a 30% chance of any rain whatsoever), I’m going to try to find the parade (its route features, of course, the more Francophone areas) this morning before seeing more, perhaps irrational, national pride in action as Italy takes on Uruguay in a winner-moves-on World Cup fixture.

I’m hoping to see Rick Perry featured as some sort of “open carry” co-patriot Grand Marshall in a float dedicated to Quebec/Texas separatist/secession solidarity.  That would be perfect. I’m definitely bringing a camera, just in case.

 

 

 

“Sightseeing” has a great number of letters for a four-letter word, but it ranks right up there with **** and **** in its coarseness.  The idea of creating a list of things “one must see,” then dutifully checking them off along with the teeming throng, is not quality travel in your humble blogger’s opinion.

That’s not to say walking and observing what a place has to offer is universally loathsome.  The key is finding remarkable spots felt completely unremarkable by other tourists and even the locals.  In Montreal, such a place is “Windsor Gare” or the old Windsor Station for trains. Fodor’s book on Canada does briefly mention the station in  its “Exploring Montreal” with this off-putting comment:  “…serves no other purpose than to shelter a barbershop, a coffee shop and a barbecue restaurant.”  Not exactly the kind of talk that brings the teeming throng.

All the better, for when I happened across this extremely impressive building last evening, I was presented with a view exactly like this:

800px-Windsor_Station_in_Montréal

The only exception being that the gentleman barely discernible in the Wiki Commons photo above should be replaced by me.  Absolutely no other person walked through this dramatic, creaking with history, station hallway except myself.  Along the left side is what’s left of the arrival/departure board, and there is a photo history of the station in its heyday.  Most impressive was how well kept and preserved this station was, both this floor and the train platform floor down the stairs above.

It was all immaculate and open to the public pretty much all day.  I walked through the entire facility around 8:30 on a Saturday night, all the way along its corridors to the entrance to Bell Centre, home of the Canadiens, taking in the Canadiens “Hall of Fame” along the way, right down to the original center-circle from the old Montreal Forum.   I know nothing about hockey, but the vibe just about made me a lifelong Habs fan.

I continued walking along the empty corridors to where the trains used to stop, taking in how the city has integrated the old into the existing with a Metro stop replacing the Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks.  Exit from Bell Centre works seamlessly into the station itself, and one can imagine the whoops and despair that has filled those corridors over the hockey years.

It is a beautiful, wholly inspiring structure throughout, marvelously incorporating how old buildings can become useful in ways beyond  sheltering a “barbershop…”  The Windsor station and environs is easily my #1 “****”  suggestion so far, in a city full of quality ****.

It’s always fun to be right, as NM PED Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera would probably be the very first to tell you.  It’s fun your humble blogger rarely gets to have, being wrong, unlike Ms. Skandera,  almost all the time (e.g., picking Spain over Netherlands in the World Cup).   So when I write a little something two days ago about how NM PED perceives what might, possibly, be its own fault, it’s reassuring and fun to come across the following quote only a day later from Ms. Skandera:

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to say who’s at fault,” said Hanna Skandera, Secretary of Education. “I will say the data comes from the districts and we look to them to get accurate data and the evaluations are dependent on accurate data from our districts.”

QED.  The State rests, your honor.  Boo-yah.  Game. Set. Match. Etc. Etc.

 

P.S.:  One might retort that perhaps KOB is having a bit of  fun with quote juxtaposition here, and, if so, I say stop ruining my rare chance to be 100% correct about something.

 

Remember just a few days back when I was praising to the multitudes all the wonderfulness of Montreal’s Bixi bike share program? Well, forget everything I said about it.

An overreaction, perhaps.  Still, I did experience a wee bit of dissatisfaction with Bixi yesterday, after it cut off my service after I had used it to ride to Jean Drapeau island/park for a bit of riding through the greenery.  My Bixi key worked fine going out there…then nothing.  Fortunately, Metro has a stop out there and I made it back.  After some communication with the bankrupt bike share provide, Bixi told me some idiocy about a $1.75 charge on my VISA that had not cleared.  I wish $1.75 (Canadian) charges were all I had on my vibrant and growing VISA bill.

Anyway, I was informed all was well late yesterday and back into Bixi good graces.  Then I went out, inserted my key and…

 

nobixi

In case my brilliant photojournalism doesn’t convey it, I’ll point out that the key is in the slot and the lights they not be blinkin’.  No Bixi service for Scot.  Bixi has therefore helped my use of French by teaching me how to say “it is shit.”  I plan to repeatedly use my growing French vocabulary every time I stop by a Bixi station to uselessly use my key in coming hours/days.

Oh, and while we’re slamming on Bixi, I ran across a number of downtown Bixi stations sans (that’s French you know) bicycles last evening.

empty

 

C’est de la merde, as the Montreallers say.  I’ve wondered why many locals have looked askance when “Bixi” was mentioned.  Like the French language, such smirking looks are starting to make sense now.

Things That Can Be Blamed on the New Mexico Public Education Department

  1. Higher graduation rates
  2. Any K-12 success found anywhere in New Mexico, at anytime from 1988 to present, and for any reason

Things That Can NOT Be Blamed on the New Mexico Public Education Department

  1. Anything other than #1 and #2 above, including, but not limited to: inaccurate teacher evaluation reports; misleading and constantly changing teacher/principal evaluation criteria; poor End of Course test implementation; confusing/incorrect teacher certification information; Teachscape; the clip photos on Teachscape; a complete inability to provide adequate communication to districts, individual teachers or website users; rising needs for college remediation as actual academic standards for high school are lowered in a pitiful attempt to raise the graduation rate; our ubiquitously irritating holier-than-thou attitude toward everyone else involved in education, including parents; a knee-jerk tendency to blame everyone but the New Mexico Public Education Department; and, our blatantly simple Karl Rovian strategy to manipulate/control all K-12 education story narrative by releasing glossed/positive-spin information first to the Albuquerque Journal instead of districts/administrators/teachers, thus putting all such spin on Page One, while all stories pointing out what a load of crap we’ve been dishing out is harder to find and appears as whiny nitpicking.

It is hoped this short primer has been found useful.  Those with further questions can easily find answers via our website.  If you can’t, it’s your fault, not ours, as the primer clearly points out.