Pet Peeves-Illegals in White Plains

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75 S Broadway Now being fixed 2016
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Mamaroneck Ave.
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Man from City Center Apartments toilets dog in Tibbits daily
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Franklin Ave Bottle People going to Stop & Shop
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Man sitting outside parked van on sidewalk N Broadway

 

Got a car? Parking in White Plains is a challenge unless you do it illegally. Police don’t seem to care or go after violators of minor ordinances like noise, illegal bicycling, littering, or even illegal parking in certain locations. Other violations ignored are poorly maintained sidewalks, and poorly maintained properties where no one lives or uses. Bicyclists disobeyed the law about 99.99% of time.

Other violations don’t even register as worthy of the police even noticing include some of the following:

  1.  Vehicles parking on sidewalks, in or  into  crosswalks, and parking is not permitted.
  2.  Bicycling everywhere and disobeying traffic laws (i.e. riding on sidewalks &  in crosswalks, going through traffic lights/stop signs, not signaling, going the wrong way against traffic, parking at signs, trees, over crosswalks and into sidewalks
  3.   Use of motorized scooters and motorized  bicycles, unicycles and hoover boards .
  4. Use of skateboards on streets/sidewalks.
  5. Gas Leaf blowers used at times when banned fir use and blowing everything into streets where cars are parked and traffic is moving. Using 2 or more loud blowers on the same property. And, using blowers at times not allowed.
  6.  Toileting dogs in city parks, on neighbors’ property and over heating/air vents.
  7. Leaving waste bags  in drains, trees, and under trees or on grass.
  8.  Throwing trash from a vehicle..
  9. Use of shopping carts stolen from stores and using them to carry belongings and bottles.
  10.  Smoking in city parks./land/schools.
  11.  Not keeping sidewalks where construction is taking place safe for pedestrians.
  12. ting radios from a car.
  13. Pedestrians crossing in front of moving traffic when not permitted. Cars actually stop for these illegal crossers but rarely for ones that have the right of way.
  14.  Leaving food for feral pigeons and cats on public or others private property without permission from owners.

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Nana Manga Series Ending Possibility

In my venture into Asian TV, I got interested in the manga series/books that many of the Japanese Dramas were based. Nana was one of those series but the author due to illness has stopped writing. There were enough flash forwards in the series to conclude a few things about possible endings and some were even written by others in Fan Fiction.

To complete the series for myself, I made my own conclusion: After Ren’s death, Nana O disappears and Black Stones disbands. Nobuo goes back to his hometown to work at his parent’s Hotel. Shinichi becomes an actor. Yasushi becomes a full time lawyer and continues his relationship with Miu. Nana O disappears and Nana I (Hachi) gives birth to a boy that is named Ren. Takumi becomes a music producer/manager as Trapnest disbands. Takumi becomes Layla’s manager and she continues to sing. Hachi goes into business with Miu and a detective is hired to look for Nana O.

Two or three years later Hachi has a girl with Takumi and this time there is no question of paternity. Naoki who stays a drummer with a different group, marries and continues his friendship with Takumi. Takumi spends a lot of time in England for work and has an apartment that his son Ren comes to stay during vacations.

Hachi, Yasushi, Shinichi and Nobuo stay friends and continue meeting at apartment that the Nanas shared. Nana O ends up in London and detective finds her singing at a club. The marriage of Hachi and Takumi had its ups and downs but they stay married with Takumi spending much of his time in London. Hachi comes to London and reunites with Nana O. They return to Japan and the series ends with a reunion concert.

Gertler’s Dilemma

Gertler’s Dilemma

A One Act Play by Sandra Harrison
Based on the Life and Death of Mark Gertler, British Artist (1891-1939)

Time: Around 5 pm on the night of June 23, 1939
Place: Mark Gertler’s studio in Highgate, London.

Curtain rises on an art studio where a middle aged man appears. He wipes his hands on a rag, takes off the coat and puts it over a chair. His hair is disheveled and he is constantly looking around. The sun has set and only the early evening sunrays come through the windows leaving the room with many shadows. He walks around the room like he is tidying up. He is restless; constantly putting his fingers through his hair. He checks his watch and continues to roam about the room. Occasionally, he picks up things in the room like a letter, or a paint brush. He picks up a newspaper that is on the floor and is about to throw it away when he decides instead to place it on the table. He sits and reads it.

A few minutes later, he puts down the paper, gets up and paces about the room. He stops at one point to pick up a rolled up canvas that he finds in one corner of the room. He unrolls it and it is the “Merry Go Round.” He takes down the canvas that is on the easel in the room and then opens the “Merry Go Round” as if he was to put it on the easel. Then he lets the canvas go so that it rolls back into itself. He walks about the room holding the canvas in one hand. He makes a fist with the other. He is about to throw the canvas to the floor but stops in the middle of the room.

Just then another man appears in the room. He is a younger version of the older man but the only real thing that is similar is their hair style. The younger man is dressed in clothes from an earlier time. The elder man is still in the center of the room and has not noticed the other. He then turns and throws the canvas back into the corner where he had found it. The young man picks it up and unrolls it.

Young Mark: (From the corner) Ah, your masterpiece, “The Merry-go- Round.”

Elder Mark: (Turning, noticing the younger man the elder Mark uses a cockney accent). Not  you….? Why do you bother?   I will… do it! Just go away!

Young Mark: No. Not, this time. Not, yet. I still think there’s time.

Elder Mark: Time for what?

Young Mark: I think I can talk you out of it. I did before.

Elder Mark: You think, you were the one who talked me out of it. No, it was the blood. I didn’t think  that there would be so much. No! You can’t talk me out of this. (He takes the canvas from  the younger man and starts to toss it away but the younger stops him and takes the canvas). This time, I intend to go to the end.

Young Mark: (Taking the canvas he sets it up on the easel by clipping it in place).There!

Elder Mark: What are you doing? (He again tries to take the canvas down but the younger man blocks
him) It belongs back there with the dust.

Young Mark: I disagree. It is an important serious work. Perhaps, your best.

Elder Mark: An important work? Rubbish.

Younger Mark: That’s not what D. H said.

Elder Mark: Rubbish! He only saw a copy (and starts to speak very quickly). And, it scared him so much  that he did not wish to see the original. His exact words were not very… complementary, if I  recall. But, this doesn’t matter. Everyone hated it. Even the people, who didn’t actually see it,  hated it. I should nev’er have done it. I should have nev’er painted it… but left it up here (he  points to his brain). I wanted people to take me seriously.

Young Mark: But, they did. Let’s see, D H said…

Elder Mark: I know what he said. It doesn’t matter. Everyone hated it.

Young Mark: It scared them. What did Lawrence say? Yes, it shows the, “dark instinctive forces in man.”

Elder Mark: He also said it was … a horrible work…

Young Mark: …and, beautiful. It is the best modern picture I have ever seen. I think it is great… and  true.”

Elder Mark: (Ignoring him) And,he also said it was terrifying. He was too frightened to come  and look at the original. Saw only the copy.

Younger Mark: But, he did say it was a great work.

Elder Mark: (He takes down the canvas and throws it back into a corner the room) So what? People want  pretty pictures, not great works. They want to decorate their homes with pretty little things. What I  paint is not for this. I paint with passion and want to inspire. This to me is wonderful. But no  one understands them?

Young Mark: You have to be patient. They will understand someday and maybe now with the coming of  another war, people will understand it. You should show it again. Remember? You want people to  think. You want people to know that the war machine is nothing to take lightly.

Elder Mark: What? War is popular. Pacifists are the unpopular ones. They are… unpatriotic…. unBritish.  Men are destined to go to war even when they don’t know what for. Now, this war? Oh, god I can’t  imagine. I don’t want to. This German, Hitler. The devil himself. I can’t live through another war. And, to think that Marjorie chooses to stay in France. And, with that man, no less. What about  Luke? He would be safer in England? But bloody hell, there’s nothing to do about it.

Young Mark: I agree, that Luke would be safer here, but that’s why you must be here when he returns.

Elder Mark: I knew you would just twist things around. It doesn’t matter about Luke being with me. I  was never a good father. All I have done is brought him pain. All those surgeries? The pain? I wish  ….. I could have taken them for him. I only brought him pain. What type of father does this to his son? Not a bloody good one, that’s for certain.

Young Mark: How can you think this? Your son loves you and I know he would want you-

Elder Mark: He doesn’t see me. What does it matter?

Young Mark: It will. He expects you to be here. An absent father is always better than a dead one.

Elder Mark: He will understand. Marjorie will explain it to him.

Young Mark: Like this can just be explained away. No one will understand it. So how will he? Not your  brothers, nor your sister. Not anyone. They will only think how selfish you were to do such a  thing. It is unthinkable, unforgivable. You leave your burdens with them. How pitiful.

Elder Mark: But, what about me? I can’t bear it. I need to end this. I can and I will. It’s my choice, not theirs.

Young Mark: We all have choices. You need to make the right one.. Everyone endures pain. Even people who are happy…

Elder Mark: (Shouting) I am a failure. As a man, a husband,  a father, a brother and yes as a  painter! I can’t pay for own keep for god’s sake! Never mind provide for others. Just a failure all  around.

Young Mark: You are not a failure. And, you’ve been in debt all your life. So that’s it? You can’t pay your bills? You’ve managed before… you will manage.

Elder Mark: The medical bills? The loans from the Jewish Educational Aid Society? It is endless. But this is worse.

Young Mark: Your brothers will help you. Your friends?

Elder Mark: My brothers have done enough. They have their own families to think of. I hate asking for money. I feel ashamed. I can’t even support myself or my family. This was the most difficult thing I ever had to do. Do you know how miserable I must have been to beg?. Asking my family to help me when they are so poor? I felt hopeless and alone.

Young Mark: But…

Elder Mark: I am going to lose my job and then what? War time has never been good for artists. I do not fear being part of it but England is and no war has been good for me. I cannot create the work I  want to. I have never been able to do the work that sells. I need to have artist freedom to create  great works that I wish to paint. And, not just the ones others wish to buy.

Young Mark: This is nothing new. You have been this way before. You can get through this.

Elder Mark: But do I want to? My desire is gone. I can’t endure life. I am cheapened by my poverty. That’s all there is. Don’t you see? My work, that’s all that’s ever been important to me  The roundabout is like life you know, not just war. The ride goes round and round, like the cycle of life. You get on at birth and then off at death. No one has control of this cycle at birth but after that they do, more and more as they stay on the ride. I choose to get off this merry go  round. It is my choice and I am ready. Otherwise, I am just waiting to die.

Young Mark: But what about the things in live that people experience that give them great joy and  happiness. Accomplishments? Love?

Elder Mark: Yes, now that’s the rub. These things don’t guarantee happiness. Perhaps it is more a state of mind than the experience itself. I have accomplished many things. My work that I thought was great has only been a disappointment. And, love? I know I have loved but was this really loves?  Unless one is loved back can one’s love be true? Was I ever loved?

Young Mark: Your mother loved you unconditionally.

Elder Mark: I mean real love. My mother loved me so much but she was my mother. I was her youngest  and in her eyes the darling boy who could do no wrong. But, she’s gone. Memories are not enough.  She was always there for me but I can not live on memories alone.

Young Mark: There are others.

Elder Mark: Oh? Even my best friends are gone.

Young Mark: So, this is because of Carrington?

Elder Mark: What? I closed doors on this part of my life long ago.

Young Mark: But, her death must have had an effect on you. Her death was a suicide. She shot herself.

Elder Mark: I know this but I don’t think this is about her. Not now. Maybe our break up was. My reason for doing it before.  But, not now. This time I am ready.

Young Mark: But, before you didn’t go through with it. Perhaps, you always had the hope that Carrington  would come back to you.

Elder Mark: Never.

Young Mark: I think Carrington’s death is a part of this.

Elder Mark: She was gone from my life long before. I knew years ago that I would never have her. Her  letters were just her way of keeping me there just in case we things didn’t work out as she planned. Maybe, they never did, for her either but that was her problem.

Young Mark: Her death by her own hand is just an excuse for yours. It is interesting that she used a  gun. Just like you had tried to do those first two times.

Elder Mark: She shot herself because of Lynton. He died. It must have painful for her. It just proves that she never, never ever loved me. I was just a thing she played with while it was convenient. She threw me away for a man who could never sexually satisfy her. Can that be love?

Young Mark: For her it had to be enough. What choice did she have? But, I do believe she cared for  you. She knew you before Lynton. Those years at the Slade. What about all those times? Those letters must count for something.

Elder Mark: So, what of it? I was the only one she could talk art with and she just strung me along. For ten years. My god, ten years. She drove me crazy. I did things that I still regret. I was like an animal. My lust! My hunger for her. How could I attack Lynton like I did. The things I said. Such hateful things. I loved her. I don’t think anyone could be hers completely. She had so much vitality. She was just one of those women who drove men wild. I lost friends because of my love for her. How could I have blamed them? It was the madness. My jealousy. I could never share her and that was probably the only way one could be with her. The only one she truly wanted was Lynton. He loved her but not sexually. She was jealous of his lovers for God’s sake.

Young Mark: Yes, but you never stopped loving her yourself.

Elder Mark: None of us could. She had that impact on people.

Young Mark: So, then, why not think this through? There will be others.

Elder Mark: You make it sound like finding someone to share your life is so easy. No, I am finished with love.

Young Mark: How harsh.

Elder Mark: Yes, but I have to be realistic. Finding that person that can share everything with you and still love you. That is impossible to find. At least I had my time.

Young Mark: But, there are always other things to consider.

Elder Mark: Yes, but I have my own concerns.

Young Mark: What about being Jewish? Jewish law prohibits suicide. Have you abandoned that too?

Elder Mark: Being Jewish? I have not felt Jewish for a long time. I can’t even speak Yiddish anymore. The last time I was in a synagogue was when I took Marjorie. It was such a shock. I don’t belong in this world anymore. I have no connection to that part of my life anymore. I don’t know how my being Jewish ever helped me.

Young Mark: How you forget. All those paintings. You were hailed for that work.

Elder Mark: I never wanted my Jewishness to define me, or my art.

Young Mark: And, the Jewish Educational Aid Society? What about William Rosenthal and his support?

Elder Mark: Yes, I appreciated this but now the Society wants their money. My Jewishness was helpful but it was also a hindrance. I could never find the place between these worlds that were a part of me. Many people helped me but still I was a failure as a working artist.

Young Mark: There is still time to resolve this. This can be your reason to live. You can still find peace. Go back to your roots.

Elder Mark: I can’t. I won’t. I can’t go back to what I have long forgotten.

Young Mark: Your family can help you. Let them help you. They deserve that right.

Elder Mark: The right? Over my life? My life is in my hands. And, no ones else’s.

Young Mark: No, I do not believe this. You owe people, your life, your being, the your ever essence of life.

Elder Mark: No, no, no! And, besides, it doesn’t matter. I can’t endure.

Young Mark: You have struggled to hard just to give up. There is always tomorrow.

Elder Mark: My isolation is extraordinary. I am alone. Yes, if only I was like my brothers. To be an ordinary workman. I should have been. But, no, I desire perfection and brilliance. How can I endure with an unordinary life. Oh! God! Do I deserve this? To be so tormented by my own ambition? I am cut off from my own family by class. And, by them I have been raised to be equal to a class I hate! They do not understand me, not them. I am an outcast. I laugh at all the dozens of notices of me from before (he goes to his desk and grabs up a papers in his fist and waves them at the younger man). A lot of them praising my talents. Oh! Yes I am quite well known …and yet alone!

Young Mark: You wrote this to Carrington back in 1912.

Elder Mark: Nothing has changed. I  do not belong anywhere. I never really fit in to any group or class. Being an artist has done this to me. It isolates me from the rest of society. And, poverty is the root of it all.

Young Mark: And, yet you paint these people in “society,” this world you live in. Your work transcends time, and class. Your friends were of a class outside your own beginnings.

Elder Mark: I needed them to support my work. I entertained them. It served a purpose. Some kept me around for amusement and others…lusted for me.

Young Mark: You were a good looking man. You still are. You know? You still have an attraction. Your students respect you and some even have crushes on you.

(Mark starts gathering rags from around the studio. He then stuffs them under the door and makes sure the windows are air tight and locked. He then takes a mattress and places it under the door knob so that no one can enter from the outside. He turns on the gas and the stove. He lies down on the floor and with open arms and waits).

Elder Mark: (from the floor) You can go now.

Young Mark: No, I think I’ll stay. There is always hope that someone will come.

Elder Mark: Suit yourself. No one is coming. I made sure of it. (And with this said the older man lies still with his arms spread wide. There is a smile on his face).

Young Mark:</strong) (stands by as the room darken).

Addendum:
Mark Gertler died on June 29, 1939 at the age of 47. He was survived by his wife Marjorie (though separated) and their son Luke, as well as his two brothers and two sisters. Mark was buried in Willesden cemetery with a plain gravestone. After his death, there were two exhibits of his work and more recently there was a retrospective at the Ben Uri Gallery in London in 2002.

Mark Gertler likeness was portrayed in some literary works of fiction. His paintings are still being used as covers of books, the inspiration for curriculum and even short films. His works can be found in different parts of the world. Most notable is the “Merry Go Round” which is owned by the Tate of London, England.

Facebook: White Plains, New York: A City of Contrasts

Complicated: White Plains’ Four Masters

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No curb cut; sidewalk blocked. Cop not directing traffic. Area has many pedestrians with disabilities. How is a wheel chair to navigate through this? Told officer there was no ramp and he basically laughed it off.

The four governments (Federal, State, County and City) in White Plains that operated agencies, offices, courts, parks, roads, housing and even the waterways all complicate the running of the city. Governments are huge bureaucracies that have elected officials who bring in cohorts to become department heads with their own agendas.  Often these heads are men who protect their domains by discarding criticism and input from the public.

Often my calls/e-mails/letters go unanswered and are passed on to those with little power to enact change. When speaking to some of these government heads, I often feel like they don’t care and get treated rudely. I recently called the Transportation  Commissioner’s office and was told me that I was not listening to him when he was talking.  He kept cutting me off. I called to voice my concerns about recent traffic lanes marked in the city and not to listen to a bureaucrat who spoke to me  like I was a child. The Mayor called me months back after I told the woman who answered the phone in his office that he never responds to my correspondence.He was timing me and complained that I was taking up too much of his time. I am surprised he didn’t send me a bill like a lawyer does. And, still nothing happened to correct the dangerous construction sites that I was complaining about.

Often the government has long time employees that are left to do their jobs without much oversight or regulation. And, when out in the public they blatantly disobey city, state or national laws. City workers including law enforcement personal have been seen by me smoking in prohibited areas, driving through red lights, making illegal turns, parking in crosswalks, using hand held cell phones while driving, and texting while on duty.

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City worker on hand held cell while driving.

Views from Newest Lyon Parking Lot in White Plains

Views from the top level of White Plains’ newest parking garage. Great addition to the city that needs more parking spaces.
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White Plains: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

White Plains has a lot going for it with a walkable downtown to shops, movies, the theatre, the arts, sport centers, restaurants, medical centers, businesses and government offices and courts at every level: Federal, State, County and City. Home to residents with a choice of houses, condominiums, co-ops and rental apartments at all income levels. Also, home to religious organizations/centers/schools, private schools/colleges, as well as other organizations/agencies serving the local community and beyond. The city is a transportation hub for New York City, Westchester/Rockland County, Connecticut and the rest of the state by auto, bus, train and airplane. But, at street level one can find many problems that need to be addressed for safety and health reasons and to keep the city going.

Litter with garbage can just next to mail box.

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Summer 2014: Construction area on Main St going on for over 3 years for Cambria Hotel Suites. Area shown is walkway for pedestrians during the sidewalk construction. Pedestrians were expected to walk between trucks and the orange barrier. The hotel is going up at the former A&P store site. Hotel opened but area is still under construction with a number of restaurants and Planet Fitness. They banned me from FB for Hotel when I complained and said they should offer people in area who put up with construction free drinks and discounts on rooms.

Benches in White Plains, NY

Benches I  paid over $4000 were purchased by  City of White Plains to replace the old no longer maintained Anderson Parklet (1971).Aa parklet_edited

I rededicated the memorial to honor my father who died on September 11, 2013. He was 93 and lived most of his life in Yonkers, NY. I posted an entry on my blog you can read.

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Still waiting for plantings. City tossed plantings that had been there.  The workers put the Amy Anderson plaque in a tree root. It is covered with dirt. Often garbage can goes on it.  I put some small rocks/stones along with grass/flax seeds in dirt but only a little grass has grown by tree. Many cigarette butts around this area.

In 2018, City took plaque out of root and reinstalled in front of tree as I had envisioned from the start.

 

How to Survive Teaching, When You’re Down and Out, But Not Ready to Quit Just Yet!

This idea came to me many years ago while I was still teaching. I did write some things down but I never did much with it. This is just some of the things I remember.

The teaching profession for me was a “calling” and I wanted to be a teacher from an early age. I remember that as a young child, I used to teach my brother and a neighbor in the back yard. They were some of my early “victims.”

When I was in high school I became interested in working with disabled children. A friend of my sister asked me to volunteer in a play group for children with brain injury. This is before LD (Learning Disability) was created. I not only got hooked but took over from my sister’s friend when she went to college in finding other volunteers to work with the children. I taught swimming and developed an activity involving movement and poetry.

I also went to Pinsly Day Camp in Tarrytown and as a teen I became a counselor. Of course, I did my fair share of babysitting “back when.” I started at 50 cents an hour. As the late Erma Bomback, stated women who did a lot of babysitting didn’t end up having children. This was the same with me. I knew what to expect and it was not something I planned for or could afford.

And, so I became a Special Ed. Teacher but instead of working in an elementary school, I spent most of my career working with teenagers and lots of them were very challenging. Teaching is a “thankless job.” Schools are not only blamed for what is wrong with our society but are expected to do something about it. When news about child abuse came out in a vengeance, schools then were required to report any evidence of this. Teachers now have to take courses on bullying. I actually kept a folder with the letters and cards I received over the years thanking me for helping children.

My biggest challenge was the teens who said they were going to kill themselves and then there were the pregnant teens who wanted my advice. I was fortunate I never saw any evidence of child abuse because I know some one who reported a child to the authorities and got a negative response from the mother of the child and the administration. The child was abusing himself by burning cigarettes into his own skin. I even had a student who turned her own parents into the authorities. We found out when the girl refused to take her finals (wanting to fail). She was being beaten when her grades went from A’s to B’s. Another teacher and I had been sending weekly reports home about how our students were doing to keep parents informed and to partner with us in helping the students improve. The other teacher and I were horrified to find this out. We had to reexamine the sending of weekly reports home which for most of our students were very helpful.

Being a teacher, one walks a difficult line and now after keeping my mouth shut for over 30 years, I am finding this all very therapeutic. Teachers do not have “freedom of speech” and one has to watch one’s behavior that can be considered “unbecoming of a teacher” under Education Law and one can get fired for something said in and out of the classroom. This was also the case in my personal life and living in the same community where I taught in had its challenges. Some students outside of school, were quite frightening when I happened to “bump into them” on the streets. I had one student scream my name and curse me out on the streets and one even made threatening comments. I was cursed at and called lots of horrible things but luckily I was never physically harmed. My life, home and even car was threaten by numerous students. Believe me, they knew where I lived and knew my car. Three teachers at WPHS had holes put in all four of their tires so they all went flat at about the same time. One teacher said they went flat on highway in NYC. There were always the threat of weapons including guns, knives and even a stick with nails coming out of it. I even had a student tell me he took a contract out on me. Students would ask me what I would do if they held a gun to my head or even shot me. These kids were not kidding either. We were “the enemy.” My students did not come to school to learn. They came for lunch, socializing with friends, sports and to have a good time. Where as a teacher, was I to fit into this world.

The kids at Yonkers Learning Center (which closed because a grant was not renewed) rioted back in 1977. This was scary with one kid busting the window in my door (one inch thick with wire in it) with his hand. My students ended up diving under the tables. It was really scary and the whole thing was instigated by a girl who came to the program instead of going to jail (stole a car) and was living in a group home next to the school. I taught Science and everything I tried to get for experiments went missing so I had to lock every up. One kid put marihauana seeds in the girl who stole a car’s peas she was growing for a biology project. She took the seedlings home during vacation and brought back the potted plants with marijuana growing better than the peas. She had “weeds” and the kid who planted the seeds was found out and his parents were called in and the director gave them the plants in a milk container filled with soil. The marijuana student also told me about how his neighbor would come home every Friday nightand leave the keys in the trunk of the car so he would go out driving with the car. I learned how to steal a car as well that year.

SO why would you still want to be as teacher after reading this? I really don’t know but there is having to work only 185 days a year, a good salary (in Westchester) and a pension. And, like I said, I had a “calling” and happen to have the skills. I was good at motivating and teaching students to go beyond the “disability” and succeed. Of course, I could not and no one can help every student. I figured if I could touch one student enough to make a change each year, it was worth it.

Some of the things I learned that were very helpful are  the following:

1. Behavior Modification for class room control is difficult. I received training in college for this. The only one you can control is yourself, so if you change your own behavior you can change the behavior of others. Point and raise your finger and others will  look in that direction. Ignoring someone is one of the greatest techniques but one has to expect the behavior you are targeting will get worse before it stops. Elementary kids are easier and when I was student teaching in Stamford Ct back in 1974, I used plastic chips to enforce good behavior. The children could then trade them in for little things they may want. I never used food but things like a ball or small toy. After a while just the  clink of chip in cup would get a positive response.

2. Control of classroom (behavior) is important but one thing I learned in College: If what you are doing isn’t working, “Stop.” You need to access how you run your classroom and do something .It could be as simple as rearranging furniture, but if one shares a room with another teacher, this might not be possible. My students usually me a “honeymoon period,” a short time at the start of the year when they were cooperative and/or attentive but then would completely change. Be prepared to adjust.

3. Observe other teachers and ask them for advice. Ask others you trust to observe and make comments after. Listen.

4 . Less is more. Talk less. Project but do not shout. Soft calm talk gives you more control. Students have to be quiet to hear you. They need to do the work. Be an active listener.

Don’t react to a crazed student. Zip your mouth, walk to desk and record what is said.  If the behavior doesn’t look like it is ending, call for help. Know your limits.

5. Act happy and enthusiastic. You will feel happier and motivate your students to succeed.

6. Never promise or threaten what you can’t do. “If you don’t stop, I’ll kick you out,” statements only work if you do this. So try, “If you don’t stop, I will.”

How I Got Addicted to Asian TV/Movies and Comics and How You Can Too

My addiction (a healthy one) to Asian Television/Movies began during the 2007/8 writers’ strike. In search of something new, I began watching classic British films on youtube.com. Listed beside the film parts were some Asian selections that came with English subtitles. After trying one, I got interested in viewing more.

After doing a search by specific titles, I came across websites that had links to Asian TV/movies. I most enjoyed the Japanese shows and even started reading the Manga that some of the shows were based on. There are also a number of websites that have the comic series and Amazon/E-Bay started to sell some of my favorite titles(like Nana). I am not much a fan of Chinese shows ( from Taiwan, Hong Kong or Mainland China)because of the female voices which I think are dubbed and the quickness of the dialog that was too fast to follow along with the subtitles. I also found some of the (South) Korean programs quite entertaining.

Most of the TV dramas run for a number of episodes before the series ends. Occasionally, a series continues for a new season and some have specials that follow but most come to a conclusion after one run. Some of the new seasons have different characters. At first, many of the sites had no commercials but some of those sites (like mysoju.com) are no longer available. Now, even Hulu.com has Korean dramas available. Korean shows are usually longer with 16 to 20 episodes while the Japanese shows are shorter with about 9 to 12 episodes. Many of the Korean shows are “melodramas” but this has been changing. The Korean movies are very inventive and some are so good that they have been redone for an American audience. One example of this is the South Korean film, “II Mare” which was remade into “The Lake House.” A number of Japanese dramas have been remade by South Korea. The Japanese drama “Antique” was remade by the Koreans into a movie also named “Antique Bakery.” The Manga series of the same name is also worth reading.

Many of the Korean Dramas and movies have common elements (i.e. putting hands in a partner’s pocket, kneeling and bowing to apologize, a pouring rain scene funerals scenes, and characters being carried on someone’s back after getting drunk or sick), handsome leading men and women (usually under 40) while the Japanese shows are more reflective of the Japanese society with a realistic looking cast. Of course, the Japanese leading men and women are usually gorgeous and under 40 but there are usually many other characters that are more reflective of the real Japanese society. The oldest actors/actresses also seem to be in many of the series. There are few fat people (though this is changing) and the actors/actresses that come from outside of Asian seem to come from the same “pool” playing different bit parts in all the dramas.

There are many shows with similar themes about family, food, schools, hospitals, crime, and gangsters. And, then there are the historical themed dramas which I don’t usual watch. The movies are much different than the TV dramas and in many ways resemble the western style with more action, violence and sex. Some of the horror and science fiction shows are quite scary.

I have checked many of the things being portrayed online to see how realistic the dramas are to the real culture. I have some interesting things about South Korea and Japan. There has been a lot of changes in both countries and the TV/Movies reflect many of these changes.
Some of the dramas and TV shows I have enjoyed are the following:
II Mare (Korean Movie)
Antique Bakery (Korean Movie)
A Love to Kill (Korean Drama)
Attic Cat (Korean Drama)
Oohlala Couple (Korean Drama that is really funny)
Gourmet (Korean Drama)
Pasta (Korean Drama)
Antique (Japanese Drama)
Anego (Japanese Drama)
Abarenbo Mama (Japanese Drama)
Around 40 (Japanese Drama)
Remote (Japanese Drama)
Nana (Japanese Movie)
Absolute Boyfriend (Japanese Drama)
Asunaro hakusho (Japanese Drama)
At Home Dad (Japanese Drama)
Atami no Sousakan (Japanese Drama)
Ataru (Japanese Drama)
Baby and Me (Korean Movie)
Bartender (Japanese Drama)
Bitter Sugar (Japanese Drama)
Bloody Monday and Season 2 (Japanese Drama)
Blue Bird (Japanese Drama)
Boss and Boss 2 (Japanese Drama)
Brother Beat (Japanese Drama)
Change (Japanese Drama)
Coffee Prince (Korean Drama)
Fashion King (Korean Drama)
I’m a Cyborg but That’s Ok (Korean Movie)
Iryu Team Medical Dragon, 2 and 3 (Japanese Drama)
Death Note, Death Note 2 and 3(Japanese Movies)
Densha Otoko (Japanese Movie and Drama)
Freeter, Ie o Kau (Japanese Drama)

Enjoy!

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