Avitable here – you may remember me from Becky’s birthday post and the most epic motherfucking soul portrait EVER. The reason for my post today is that I just wrote a book called Interviews with Dead Celebrities which compiles a series of, well, interviews with, umm, dead celebrities, that I’ve written about on my site over the last few years. Then I added a bunch of new material to it, put it together and published it on Amazon.com.
This post is an exclusive look at one of the newly written interviews, previously unpublished online anywhere, and here to make love to your eyeballs. Please to be enjoying my interview with the deceased Diana, Princess of Wales:
Name: Diana, Princess of Wales
Born: July 1 1961
Died: August 31, 1997
Profession(s): Princess and member of the British Royal Family
Best known for: Princess Diana, known for her charitable endeavors, was also most famous for divorcing Prince Charles and later dying in a car crash in Paris with her companion Dodi Fayed, inspiring Elton John to write that song about her.
Fun fake fact: Her shit actually did not stink.
Avitable: Princess Diana, I apprec-
Diana: Knock it off. I know what you’re going to do, and I’m going to beat you to the punch.
Avitable: You know what I’m going to do?
Diana: Yes, and before you can start doing tasteless morbid jokes about me, I’m going to do them first.
Avitable: I don’t even know what you’re talking about!
Diana: Sure you do. Here we go.
What does world hunger and a Mercedes have in common?
Avitable: Diana can’t stop either.
Diana: There we go. What’s the difference between me and a blade of grass?
Avitable: About six feet.
Diana: Ha! What does Dodi stand for?
Avitable: Died On Direct Impact.
Diana: So hacky. What’s the difference between me and Casper the Ghost?
Avitable: Casper can go through walls.
Diana: Terrible! How am I like a cell phone?
Avitable: You both die in tunnels.
Diana: Okay, that one was slightly amusing. Why did I cross the road?
Avitable: Because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
Diana: Groan. When is a princess not a princess?
Avitable: When she turns into a pole.
Diana: Meh. What’s the one word I could have said that would have saved my life?
Diana: Haha! Okay, that one was good. I think I got that out of my system.
Avitable: I’m glad – that was fun, but I was going to use this time to talk about your charity work and all of the good things you did during your life?
Diana: Oh, well we can do that, then!
Avitable: Too late! Now I just want to tell Princess Diana jokes! What’s the difference between jelly and jam?
Diana: I don’t know.
Avitable: You can’t jelly a Mercedes into a pillar at 65 miles an hour.
Diana: Did you just write that yourself?
Diana: It’s probably the second worst thing ever written in my honor.
Avitable: What’s the first?
Diana: That dreadful song written by the queen.
Avitable: The Queen of England wrote a song?
Diana: No. I’m talking about Elton John.
Diana (bows): Thank you and good night.
If you enjoyed that interview, you can pick up Interviews with Dead Celebrities, currently available for the Kindle (or you can read it with the free Kindle app for your phone, iPad, or computer), and soon to be available in print.
If you didn’t enjoy it, you should buy a copy so you can make fun of it and deride it mercilessly. Either or . . .
It seems that every September, as the schools prepare to open, new reports about the state of America’s education are released and each seems more depressing than the next. Foundations, think tanks, politicians and professional organizations publish their papers and reports in which they basically tell us what we already know.
The numbers of American students who are equipped to compete with their peers from other areas of the world in many disciplines, including in technology, math and science, drops every year. Fewer students read and of those that do read, most are not familiar with the great classics and other high quality works of literature. Fewer students have the life skills that they will need to enter the work force after high school and a large percentage of high school students are lacking in basic general knowledge. The drop-out rate is high and fewer students are going on to college.
Figuring out the reasons for the decline in America’s educational system is the first challenge. Depending on whom you speak with you may hear that the education system is in trouble because there’s too much emphasis on testing or there’s too little emphasis on testing, because the teachers are incompetent or because the system won’t allow talented teachers to flourish, because the multi-cultural nature of the society prevents the system from functioning properly or because the system doesn’t properly harness the diversity of students, languages, cultures and ethnicities.
It’s easy to get caught up in the blame game but finding workable solutions is complex. New technologies and methodologies are being put to use in school districts throughout the country, oftentimes with good results. Teacher-training programs are relying on teacher-mentors to give teachers-in-training and new teachers the benefit of veteran teachers’ experience and knowledge.
One worrying statistic, however, comes from a recent study that was put out by the Rand Corporation, an education think tank. The study examines the outlook for American education in the 21st century and gives voice to the concern that the most talented and effective teachers — those with a high measured teaching ability — are more likely to leave their teaching positions for better-paying, less-stressful and more prestigious jobs. The study summarizes the situation, noting that while school districts differ in the extent in which their high-performing teachers are leaving the profession, all school districts are struggling with this problem. When less-experienced teachers remain in the classroom, it’s clear that the students’ don’t have the opportunity to advance at an optimal pace.
Figuring out how to encourage veteran, effective teachers to remain in the classroom is getting harder and harder. Class sizes are at an all-time high and teacher responsibilities are increasing at the same time that their salaries and benefits are decreasing. Some teacher-educators are involved in creating better teacher-training programs while other civic and governmental groups are working to raise teachers’ pay, bring community members into the schools as volunteers, improve teacher-administrator relations and provide more advancement opportunities for classroom teachers.
Public institutions are turning to private initiatives to help find a solution to this problem. One such initiative involves formally recognizing highly-effective teachers as a way to motivate these teachers as well as their colleagues to remain in the teaching profession. The Milken Family Foundation (MFF) has created a special award to address the issue of how the nation’s educational leadership can keep America’s best teachers in the classroom.
The Milken Educators Award is based on the idea that an effective teacher plays the most important role in a child’s education. Lowell Milken who created the Award, theorizes that when an exceptional teacher is recognized for his or her achievements, s/he is more likely to remain in the classroom.
MFF presents the Milken Educator Award annually to deserving teachers — our nation’s “unsung heroes” — who harness their vision and creativity to help shape their students’ successful integration into their post-school lives. Receipt of the Milken Educator Award has proven to encourage these outstanding teachers while generating enthusiasm among other educators as well.
The annual Milken Educator Awards honors highly effective K-12 teachers who teach in the public school system. Award recipients receive $25,000 that they can use for whatever they wish.
As of 2013 the Milken Family Foundation has invested over 135 million dollars in the Milken Education Award project.
This one time (…in band camp) I swore my bed was possessed. I had nightmares every night I slept in it, although, to be fair, none of them involved me spewing oatmeal or cottage cheese out of my mouth while levitating or turning my head around at a 360 degree turn, and my mom, having trouble sleeping one night, slept in it while I was off sleeping somewhere else (I can only surmise I was thoroughly up to no good). That night, she too, had a nightmare.
Clearly, the bed was possessed.
My mother and I decided that the best course of action was, naturally, to perform an exorcism. I mean, what else can you do when you have a (possibly) possessed bed? We burned some sage or incense or something and put up a crucifix that my brother had (allegedly) stolen from somewhere or another chanting, “The power of Christ compels you.”
It worked. The nightmares stopped.
I hadn’t thought about possession or The Exorcist until it dawned on me that they’d made an Exorcist Part II and then I was just plain annoyed – I mean, where can you go from there? (Answer: Egypt)
Last Wednesday, I was taking a gander at the snaps I’d taken of Alex’s first day of school on my mostly-broken iPhone and realized I should probably actually export the things to my computer. There were some pretty cute snaps in there and well, how else can I put together a long montage video to play at his high school prom? I mean, I do have a therapy fund set up for the kid – I may as well do as many horrifying things as I can while I can.
I sat all happy-crappy at my computer after plugging the glorified email machine into the back, waiting to see my gloriously bad photos get imported into iPhoto. This, of course, somehow made my computer extremely unhappy, so I had to sit there for upwards of 45 seconds while it flashed the circle button, which usually means I’ve got too many tabs open at once or have been looking at Internet porn so often that I’d managed to snag me a virus.
(better than an STD, I guess, but I’m unclear as to whether or not computers can catch those things)
Instead of my craptastic pictures taken through a broken lens, I got, well, these, which I promptly framed. Possessed iPhones don’t happen every day, y’know.
Amelia decided that the small kindergarten seats were bullshit and immediately found the teacher’s seat. At the time, she was NOT, in fact, possessed, although the doll behind her makes that statement questionable.
And my rose, which I’d been
lovingly trimming blackspot from, well, it appears to have been overtaken by The Devil. Partially.
Howdy there, Half of Alex! Happy first day of school! Don’t kill anyone, okay?
Who knew the kid was divided so neatly down the line?
This is only marginally better than the time Dave’s old camera decided that all pictures forevermore would look as though they’d come from a lens dripping with Vasoline. It was quite good for the complexion, but made everything appear to have been shot in soft-core porn lighting.
I guess it’s time for another exorcism, Pranksters.
So dish! What kinds of weird crap have your electronics done over the years?