Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mental Slave Emancipator Volume #2

That Show. You know the show. The one Bill Cosby redid..Kids Say the Darnedest Things. Well, Educators need one called Parents Say the Dumbest Sh*** and Need to Shut Up Talking To Me.

Picture it... Harlem... 2009 (RIP Sophia and Dorothy), a student shamefully disrespects my learning space [see Emancipator #1 Friday Fiasco). So, as retribution part one, I stripped her and her co-conspirators of all worldly belongings from cell phones to book bags. No one was leaving the building without going thru me!! Part of their sentence was to spend all of the minutes they missed that morning with me after school. One young lady didn't take her phone.

Her father called, her mother called, they called Friday, they called Saturday, they called in the morn, they called in the eve. Each time to the same voicemail! Such dedicated parents (after all a cellphone for 14 year old 7Th grader is of grave importance), they found themselves in front of the school Saturday afternoon, again calling me! My apologies for just WORKING and NOT LIVING there...Apparently she "really needs her phone for this weekend" says the father. Ummm..she really needs to be in the 8th grade, she really needs to read because her September diagnostic lists her reading at 4th grade level. When I informed you of these things you weren't hunting me down for a tutor! As for the mom, I didn't even know she was alive! ( But I got your number now! hehe!)

Now Monday, I am not usually one to hold grudges, the punishment ensued. They were each sent to a lower grade class to tutor a child during the 7th grade recess. ( I felt they weren't socially ready for the outside world yet, bad decision makers). Cellphone gal copped major 'tude. Once again, daddy was called. She complained about her punishment and the fact that I had her phone and TOLD me that her daddy said "I better give her the phone today." See, now she gotta get it! Had me get all Sabrina (hi Mommy!!) on her!! Pointer finger up, check, body close enough to instill fear but not molestation, check, teeth clenched, check...let the bad gyal games begin! I told her I have a daddy and HE won't tell me what I better do so she can let the masses know her daddy ain't saying anything to me!! Now, he can ASK me, but that's how that goes. I also informed her and this infamous daddy that I'm not giving her JACK and he can inconvenience himself and come GET the phone because clearly she has lost her mind and I would hate for her to lose the phone.

He arrived at day's end and we spoke. He basically informed me the parents were talking about me that weekend and were severely upset about the phone. Those ill thoughts from her parents must have transferred into cockiness from the idea of her parents coming to curse me out. That plan didn't go over well....

At the end, her dad asked me not to punish her. He said he would "prefer that he or her mother take care of punishment themselves." What??!!?? That's a nice idea, but for 7 hours a day, everyday, she is in MY HOUSE and her attitude and actions are NOT okay. She will be handled accordingly. If you do not like my punishments, I am open to suggestions. Keep in mind her actions and the repercussions affect 30 other watchful eyes.
I haven't heard a suggestion yet, but I have heard that a young lady in the 3RD grade needs help reading...
I'm on it.......

Mental Slave Emancipator Volume #1

So, my mama instilled in me early on that it is important to sustain the community from which you came by serving it, giving of your time.  I am doing the highest form, zero zing zing of community service...I am a teacher.

"What do you mean community service, shooooot you get paid AND summers off", they exclaimed.  To that I reply, and speak for all educators, What- the- f*%*- ever!!
Now, over the past 3 years of working with our beloved black and Latino babies, I have experienced every emotion: happy, glad, sad, mad.  BUT Friday, oooooohhhhh boy, Friday?? This was something new.....

After taking attendance, I noticed 3 of my darlings had gone missing! Out of 30 kids, you may say "Big Deal!" But these were unlikely absences from folks likely to be together.  Hmmmm......
Armed with my Blackberry, prepared to call parents, I taught my 1st period class...2ND period rolled around and Oh My! in strolls 3 little children of God [for lack of a better, OK maybe not better, but more suitable term]. They sashayed in with black bodega bags and matching pajama pants on [ they swear they are linen pants, but when your swag is on -5, they're PJs shorty]
Kicked out on impact, they found themselves exiled to the white line in the hallway awaiting my presence as I changed into Bitch-On-Wheels regalia.  I proceeded to seek out and destroy all black plastic bags like a government issued thermal missile.  And like a screaming-while-beating-parent I commenced to talk to the remaining students about thinking twice before crossing me with such blatant kiss-my-ass techniques.  

The other kids sat stunned, pencils in hand, as I raced through the maze of desks, wild eyed like a crazed discipline junkie, shrieking phrases like "YOU WILL NOT WALK UP AND THROUGH HERE LIKE YOU RUN THINGS, DO YOU UNDERSTAND??" In meek unison they replied,nervously, "yes miss Ayersssss", and nodded their heads uncontrollably.
They nodded, chorally answered my rants, and copied work from the board and pretended not to notice me winding thru the pathways collecting bodega bags, going to the trash bin, unraveling warm "chopped cheese" sandwiches and candy, squashing the sandwiches and disposing (because it will not be in tact for you to even THINK about eating it)
They pretended not to notice me float on my witch broom carrying soda bottles under more pressure than I was, trying to unscrew tops hastily while the soda exploded into the sink and the bottles flew into the trash.

As corn syrup and red dye #4 dripped through my weary, trembling-from -intense-anger fingers, so did 3 little girls' hopes of having a good day, week, weekend, hell, rest of the school year!!
The emotion that day?? Slaphappy. And no longer does that mean "extreme delight"...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mad Cow Desires: The Quest for the Best Burger

Following are the words of a bonafide city girl. Don't get me wrong, I looove to be in foreign lands, but I am a Brooklyn Babe at heart! I have cheated on The City and involved myself in fancy flirtations with Atlanta, San Diego and Orlando to name a few, but I have returned and am finding myself needing to get to know my beau once again...

I was a tourist in my own town, a sight for sore eyes wandering his windy streets. Visitors look to me for advice, something to soothe their souls in a spot that can, at times, be cold. What will I have to offer?

From this inquiry, the idea was born: I will set out on a journey to find all things at the top of their NY game... starting with food!

Why should you listen to me??

A wise City Gal once told me " there are TWO types of people in the world, cookers and eaters." Which one am I? I tried both to find where my niche lay! Cooking wasn't horrible except I felt I was setting women back 100 years staying in a kitchen that long (plus my curls wouldn't keep under the intense heat...) Eating? Well, that came more naturally. So, in the interest of suffrage and maintaining balance with the Universe, I hereby declare myself an EATER!

While there may be more important things to discuss in the world today, I plan to take a break from those worldly topics and discuss food and fun!! Of course, you are more than welcome to rant about politics and Niche over a suggested slice or that crab cake I recommend.

The 1st category: Where is the BEST burger??

As a child, my mother joked with me about how serious I was about food. I was adamant about flavor, decor and service from an early age. Over the years that trait has become fine tuned!I didn't just eat food, I savored it. One thing I did not sample living with my mom was red meat or pork. In undergrad, none of my friends ate pork or beef either so, I went along with life sampling a barrage of chicken dishes and relishing in succulent seafood until....

I was off on my own in Florida working at an office 5 minutes from a McDonald's. One evening, at the tender age of 23, I went and decided the cloud that suffocated my life, aka Mom (lol!), must be cleared away!! I was NOT ordering a fish sandwich dammit!! I would order a 1/4 pounder!! Freeeeedom!! One bite and I was ready to sue my mother for child neglect and ask for meat reparations. But if this 3 dollar beef treat was tasty, there MUST be better ones!! After a host of samplings it has been found that not all burgers are created equally, but here are a few created to keep you in bovine bliss....

5 Napkin Burger: This Hell's Kitchen diner-esque, trendy spot has one of the best burgers. Their burger menu is not extensive, but it is 10 ounces of goodness! The signature burger is placed on a soft, lightly toasted bun (no seeds) smothered in: comte cheese (Gruyère de Comté- a French, white cheese with a fairly mild flavor and smooth texture); caramelized onions; and rosemary aioli (basically this is creamy garlic mayo with a hint of rosemary) and served with thin cut french fries (the fries are OK)
They have other offerings besides burgers like Lobster Sliders, Ahi Tuna burger and sushi for your non-believer friends and they boast a full bar. The price is moderate, but probably thought to be expensive for a burger and fries at 14 bucks. You will abandon thoughts of recession once the juices and gooey cheese drip onto the plate!! I am sure you can ask for as many napkins as you want so, be ready to request at least 2!

Lyla's Cafe Creperie: Snuggled in the center of Harlem you will find this bistro modeled after life in Paris. It is not a burger joint, but they do it well. Their nicely sized burger is nestled within a brioche bun served with your choice of cheese (including Brie), a small mixed green salad or FABULOUS hand cut, thinly sliced fries. The seasoning is mild and tastefully blended and your taste buds will applaud once the morsels hit your tongue!! These prices are a bit easier on the pocket, especially for such obscenely good flavor, at 9 bucks. There is a pretty extensive menu, with breakfast served all day and their specialty is crepes. So, you can also experience this beefy goodness in a savory crepe (or "salty crepe" as we like to say in France, hi Clo Clo!!)

Honorable Mention (because it's not in NY, but if this will force a franchise opening so be it...)Backyard Burger-fast food that tastes like you came from a house party BBQ..amazing...if you're in the South go..NOW!!

While many folks visit NYC and hear wondrous tales of Jackson Hole, I will be the 1st to admit I was once a believer in their dry burger. But I have seen SOME of the light and urge YOU to do the same. Tell a friend! Let the revolution begin!! !
Whew! All of this tasting has me thinking I should probably do a sit up or two...Check back for a new section of Mad Cow Desires and look for future food frenzies! Off to the Wii!!