Live at the Liberty

Judy, concierge and cook extraordinaire, may be the star chef tomorrow. Today the word is that there is a run on chocolate chip muffins.

The inch of snow we were promised looks like about three and fluffy on the sidewalks, slushy on the roads. Coming north up Elmwood it looked like the Providence side had 2 lanes plowed vs 1 lane in Warwick, but it’s messy and slow all over.

Parking? Fuggedaboutit. I saw a man riding his bike in the unplowed lane. The sidewalks were buried a week ago. It would be nice to have a snow day once in a while, but too much of a good thing… Back to work, or no check.

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6 responses

  1. Wait for tomorrow night-8″ to a foot expected-I bet they’ll have to cancel February break for the schools.I’m sure the teacher unions will caterwaul,but the hell with them.

  2. Does anyone know anything about a fire at The Classic Cafe ? I read that it was “small”, but that it caused them to be closed…

    observer, many families plan vacations (including trips to see relatives)to coincide with the school calendar…so the “caterwaul” sometimes is from parents, as well as unions….and oddly, union members have children ! (sometimes).

    1. Yes,noted-but educating children has to take priority,and to be fair,the teachers are off on snow days.
      It’s not like RI has had such great success in their public schools.
      having started school in 1951 in NYC and being able to say they offered a great education,I am sad to say that seems to be a thing of the past.
      So many countries have outpaced us,probably because they understand what education is about.
      I’m not saying you CAN”T get a good public education in RI,but instead of being standard,it’s become the exception-I can’t say why for sure because I have no expertise whatsoever in that area.

  3. Like “observer” I too had a good public education in NY in the 1950s, perhaps we were lucky to get good teachers who came of age in the depression when higher paid jobs were not available, so they became teachers.

    I had a career as a math prof and have to agree with Observer there has been a real decline. I think there are many reasons for this including:

    educational “reformers” who over decades have de-emphasized competence and stressed “discovery” “creativity” “self-esteem” and such – while worthwhile, they are not generally measurable so inevitably water things down;

    a desire to accomodate groups with low academic achievement into mainstream classes;

    a funding shift from high-acheivers to special education – whose students were once barely warehoused – I don’t want to go back to that – but the pendulum has swung too far this way;

    inreased stresses in family life – my father had a skilled clothing factory job which paid enough for my mother to afford not to work outside the home (so stayed home to encourage education) while I was growing up, and he was able to have my brother and I go to college and save for my parents retirement – unimaginable with a factory job these days after decades of union busting, cheap labor immigration policies driving down wages, “free trade” leading to offshoring, declining real minimum wages etc;

    teachers unions growing more powerful that generally protected mediocrity while (until now at least) resisting any real attempts at teacher evaluation;

    a socity consumed by low attention span media, celebrity fscination, instant gratification allures such as expanded gambling – all undermine th ethic of hard work at school.

    Just some thoughts

    1. I couldn’t have said it better.Just about everything barry refers to is correct,especially the emphasis on the more ephemeral aspects of education while not concentrating on the nut and bolts of learning facts.
      Now,I sucked as a math student-I’m learning disabled with math(except for plane geometry),but i still managed to pass all the courses.
      There were Regents exams which had to be passed to get an academic diploma-there were also commerical,general and(at vocational schools)technical diplomas.
      In the sixth grade we were assigned to read a book and correspond with the author.I received a personal postcard from Robert Heinlein which I still have somewhere.He had a good sense of humor.
      We had to learn where eveything was made or originated from(i.e.”naval stores” are from Georgia)-we had to learn geography in great detail,including being able to identify foreign heads of state,and learned American history in the same degree of detail,and this was in grade school!
      The education I got in a very mediocre high school was better than many students get in college today.
      Imagine making nitric acid in lab today-the personal injury shysters would be all over the place.
      The shifting of emphasis from developing gifted students to concentrating on Special Ed has tilted the whole system.
      We had non-English speakers in school back then-Hungarian refugees and Puerto Ricans to mention just two groups and there was no bilingual ed.
      My wife was born in Manhattan,but they spoke Spanish in her home,so went she started school,it was,in her words”monkey see,monkey do”.she has no accent in either langusge today.
      Our teachers were indeed Depression era folks and many of the male teachers were WW2 veterans.
      I have to say I admired many more of my teachers than I disliked.
      “Progress” is sometimes a relative term.
      Well,Barry we at least have the same frames of reference and come to almost identical solutions.
      The teachers’ unions can’t take ALL the blame-there are parents who are totally uninvolved with the education of their children and that puts a real damper on a child’s motivation to learn anything.
      My wife taught at a charter high school for a few years after she retired from her regular and she liked the way it was run.
      The students were from the Pawtucket-Central Falls area and the school sent every one of their students to college who chose to go that route.
      I mention this because the demographics were similar to CF High School.
      Chafee looks down his nose at charter schools.Sure,he and his brother went to Providence Country Day.I am sure his kids went to a private school.How nice for the Chafees.
      Most of us couldn’t or can’t.
      I might have been able to swing private school for my kids,but I decided they needed to go through the public school system.It worked out great for my daughter,and not at all for my son.Maybe I screwed up,but my son puts the responsibility on himself for having dropped out.He got a GED,but that doesn’t help in gettinga better job.
      I fear in another generation we will have third world level education in a superpower country.time is short to make reforms taht will amke more than a cosmetic difference.

  4. barry-I should have also mentioned that you were totally accurate in your assessment of what passes for society today-all that “bandwith” for dissemination of information and we get more drvel about Brittant Spears soiling a car seat than the oncoing war in Sri Lanka or the various separatist movements in China and their suppression.
    The TMZ’s of the media world far outnumber the CSPAN’s.
    I’m not an intellectual elitist-my specific point is that the media are making a full bore effort to dumb down the people at large with diversions-folks are so busy these days trying to just make a living that their discretionary time for obtaining information is limited and along comes the media peddling garbage.
    Newton Minow of the FCC once called television a “vast wasteland”back in the 50′s.Imagine what he’d say now.
    I have a lot more respect for my fellow men than the media does.I believe people would really appreciate serious programming if there were enough of it.
    I’m not knocking American Idol(I don’t watch it)becaause in our day the was the Ted Mack Amateur Hour and Arthur Godfrey.
    I try to catch Jeopardy every night,because it’s challenging and fun.There’s little to no extra hype involved.
    The shows that often are most informative come on Sunday morning early when a lot of people are sleeping or otherwise occupied.
    Too bad.I formed my strongest impression (negative)of Chafee from an interview that aired at 6:30 AM on a Sunday.Taricani and Rapelye had him making a real fool of himself,but most people missed it-I’m diabetic and have to get up at 5 to test my sugar and take a shot,so I get to se what’s on early.Lucky me.

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