Archive for January, 2006

Lower Education

20 January 2006 at 6:05 pm
by Jonah

The average amount spent on each public school student differs by state, from the District of Columbia at $12,046 to Utah at $4,674 per student. (Utah comes in 33rd as ranked by success.)

The average yearly private school tuition in this country is $4,689. Yet scholars from private schools consistently outperform those who attend public schools.

Quote from an interesting article about education in America:

While many people say, “We need to spend more money on our schools,” there actually isn’t a link between spending and student achievement…National graduation rates and achievement scores are flat, while spending on education has increased more than 100 percent since 1971. More money hasn’t helped American kids.


“Frequently Asked Questions about Education in America,”
“Results of the 2005 Smartest State Award,”
“Public vs. Private Education,”

Actual Fact: 95% of today’s 500,000 racehorses descend from a single stallion — the Darley Arabian, born in 1700.

Not working this morning…

20 January 2006 at 11:44 am
by Berck

There’s an airfield there somewhere.

I just went to get the mail.

19 January 2006 at 5:28 pm
by Berck

(And stopped to throw it in the dumpster.)

Dumpster is such a weird, pretentious word.

Pollack Joke

15 January 2006 at 4:31 pm
by Jonah

An interesting aspect of my job is that my boss is brother to someone very famous. He may still have a price on his head of 1 kilogram of gold (though, I’m not sure how one would collect that from Al Qaeda). And he just came out with a new book last week.

I’m talking about L. Paul Bremer. We call him “Jerry.”

Mostly, this past week this triva has meant taking a break from entering 2005 receipts and statements into a tax database and watching Jerry on the Today show or listening to him on Fresh Air. Jerry is going to be on the Daily Show, which Berck and I try to watch every day (actually, the day after, since we don’t have a TV). So I wrote him an e-mail telling him what to expect from an interview with Jon Stewart. There are enough people on there who don’t seem to know what they’re getting into.

I know what Jerry’s e-mail address is because Duncan called me from a meeting on Friday asking me to look it up Jerry’s number. He’d gotten a call from a Polish journalist seeing if they could get an interview with Jerry that day. Duncan told me to call Jerry’s assistant and see what they wanted to do. I called the number marked “Business” in Duncan’s contact folder. But Duncan is bad about putting people’s home numbers in the “Business” field, so I either reached his assistant or his wife. In either case, she told me that I should give the Polish journalist Jerry’s e-mail address because Jerry was doing interviews all day and would have his cell phone off. I jotted down the e-mail address Duncan had listed there and waited for the journalist to call back.

He did rather quickly. (Caller ID said it was a call “outside of area.”) I identified myself and read the e-mail address off to him, spelling the first part of it out.

“Okay,” he said in his fluent but unmistakable Polish accent, “I will read it to you again.
J as in ‘Joanna,’
B as in ‘brotherhood,’
R as in ‘republic,’
E as in ‘England,’
M as in ‘motherland’…”
and so on.

I almost burst out laughing, but he was being quite serious. When I told Michele about it later, she laughed and asked, “Was he being funny?”

“No,” I answered. “He was being Polish!”

Utility Work Ahead

15 January 2006 at 12:59 pm
by Berck

On Thursday, a truck stopped in front of our apartment. Three guys got out and dug two potholes with a jackhammer and drove off. On Friday, a truck came and left a T-handle sticking out of the hole, with water coming out of it. Water has continued to come out of the hole. Today, a backhoe and a dump truck came by and they started putting the road into the dumptruck. In addition, we no longer have water.