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Texas President Norris Asks U.S. to Reconsider ‘Texit’

5 Jul

by Roger White


DATELINE: University Park, Texas; November 16, 2019. A scant six months after Texas was granted full secession rights by U.S. President Hillary Clinton and Congress, Texas President Chuck Norris has officially petitioned the United States to reconsider the Texas Republic’s momentous “Texit” vote and allow the prodigal state back into the Union.

Chuckie and Hillary

The Texas Republic, reeling from skyrocketing unemployment following the loss of more than 200,000 former federal jobs and 350,000 jobs related to former ties with the U.S., was hit with another devastating—and ironic—blow in August when Mexican President George Lopez ordered thousands of border agents to turn back Texans attempting to cross the border into Mexico to seek employment. Lopez also discussed plans with the Mexican Cabinet to construct a protective wall along the Rio Grande to “keep the Texican rapists and criminals out.”


Seventy-one percent of Texas voters opted to leave the United States in a milestone election in May 2019—an unprecedented move termed the “Texit,” which came into favor in the wake of the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union in 2016. Members of the “Texit” faction, led by Texas Vice-President Dan Patrick and Texas Secretary of the Interior Alex Jones, pushed the secession movement to success in the polls with promises of a completely rebranded Texas national identity, including such measures as the one man-one woman marriage doctrine, guarantees of government-funded automatic weapons for every household, abolition of left-wing elitist solar and wind power, and the mandatory death penalty for abortion providers.

kiddie guns

“These sorely needed changes in the way of life of true Texans mean liberty and freedom,” said Patrick, a former sportscaster and radio talk-show host. “Leftist intellectuals bent on destroying our way of life use that inflated claim of 179,000 household firearms accidents in the three months since we issued every Texan citizen his own AK-47 assault weapon, but I can tell you these numbers are not accurate. And besides, it’s a small price to pay for liberty. The bottom line here is liberty, and freedom. And liberty.”


Norris, elected Texas president shortly after the Texas Congress voted to move the new nation’s capital from Austin to University Park near SMU, cited growing “minor issues” problematic to the fledgling country—such as the estimated $100 billion unpaid water bill owed the United States for continued fresh-water supply, an almost total loss of international commerce brought about by a worldwide boycott of Texas goods and services due to the nation’s stance on gay and women’s rights, and a nationwide health crisis caused by Texas’ ban on environmental protections.


“In time, I am sure we Texans can find solutions to these trivial inconveniences,” said Norris, as he signed a presidential decree to transform every third high school in the Texas nation into maximum-security Prison Highpenitentiaries to fully house the nation’s burgeoning prison population. “But we feel that, given our close ties to our former country and knowing how the U.S. has lacked for decent Tex-Mex food and has suffered from practically zero decent NFL draft picks this year, it is time to reconsider our affiliation with the U.S.”


One issue that may stall progress in Norris’ talks with the U.S. is Clinton’s call for the immediate stand-down of Texas troops, which have maintained a tight ring around the breakaway state of Austin since June 2019, when the former state capital pledged allegiance to the United States and voted to secede from Texas. Weeks after Texas national troops surrounded the besieged city, Clinton called on U.S. air power to drop food, medicine, and supplies behind the “Fajita Curtain” into designated drop zones in the former Texas capital city.


The watershed incident that prompted Austin’s split with the Texas nation, according to Austin Governor Willie Nelson, came when Texas Attorney General Ted Cruz announced the nation’s new mandatory 30-year prison sentence for possession of marijuana. “They’re outta their minds,” Nelson said in a press release. “My entire band is locked up in Round Rock High School now—I mean Round Rock Maximum Security Facility No. 3.”


Latest word is that U.S. President Clinton is favoring the return of the Texas Republic into the American fold, with the conditions that Texas change its motto from “Don’t Mess with Texas” to “We Messed Up, Texas” and formally apologize to the nation for Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Enron debacle, and Rick Perry.


Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a morbidly obese dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr Syndrome. For further adventures, visit Or not.


Our Daughter Could Be a Banana Slug, or Maybe a Gorlok

10 Apr

by Roger White


There are certain events and milestones in one’s earthly existence that make one realize one is brushing up against one’s own mortality. Wifey and one—I mean, I—brushed up against one of these awareness-of-impending-antiquity events recently when we escorted our youngest offspring to a college and career fair at the convention center. Jamie’s a junior in high school now, and I’m a senior. In life.

It dawned on me, watching the myriad college counselors and admissions folks—some of them looking to be approximately 12 years old—that if our ol Methy himselfyoungest spawn is hunting higher education options, that must mean I’m way past AARP recruiting age. As in dirt, comma, older than. See Methuselah. See Codger. See your Chiropractor.

This preoccupation with my own demise and decay aside, my flabbers were downright gasted at just how many colleges, universities, service academies, trade schools, and other alleged higher ed institutions were represented at the fair.

Did you know, for example, that there is a Colorado School of Mines? At the little table set up for the Colorado School of Mines, I joked with the counselor that some of the school’s most prominent alumni must be Big Bad John, Darlin’ Clementine, and Loretta Lynn’s dad. The counselor didn’t appreciate the humor. I then asked the guy if they were looking for prospective students or prospector students. Again with the stone face. Tough crowd.

Actually, the now-peeved counselor explained, the Colorado School of Mines, a public research university devoted to engineering and applied science, has CSMone of the highest admissions standards in the country. This I did not know. I also did not know that they offer athletics. Their teams are—no, not the Miners—they’re the Orediggers. I went to point this out to Jamie, our college-hunting offspring, but she was long gone, off with her mom at the University of Hawaii table.

I noticed that the University of Hawaii table was jammed with people—young and old—poring over the brochures and literature, which seemed to feature many more scenes of island splendor than actual college information. Questions from prospective students also seemed not so much directed at curricula and faculty credentials as they were concerning recreation facilities and proximity to the beach.

Come to think of it, any college table associated with Hawaii (and there were more than you might think—Honolulu Community College, Leeward Community College, Windward Community College, Windy Leeward Land Ho School for Lei-Making) was overrun with eager would-be island scholars.

At the table set up for Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne (I think that’s, like, overseas somewhere), I noticed that they offered a Masters in Bursary Information. I asked what exactly that was, but I didn’t quite understand the answer. In fact, I wasn’t sure if the friendly muttonchopped representative was speaking English. From the brochure, I found that the ozNorthumbria also offers a PhD in Numeracy. Yeah. I suspect they also feature a BS in Proper Powdered-Wig Wearing (for pre-Law students), and a Bachelor’s of Understanding What the Hell Ozzy Osbourne Is Saying (BS in UWHOOIS).

Some of my other personal faves included the University of Arkansas-Monticello (primarily because their teams are known as the Boll Weevils), Webster University of St. Louis (the Gorloks, whatever a Gorlok is), Scottsdale Community College (the Fightin’ Artichokes), and the University of California-Santa Cruz (the Banana Slugs).

The UC-Santa Cruz lady made mention that despite a budget that is about half the size of similar schools, their athletics program boasted 15 All-Americans last year. She didn’t say exactly what sports that the Banana Slugs were named All-American in, but judging from the neon yellow mascot and the, oh, “relaxed” look in the UCSC lady’s eye, I would bet unicycle polo, dog surfing, and quidditch are among them.

Jamie came away from the fair with tons of brochures, pens, decals, and other freebies but with little notion of just where she plans to apply. Her mom and I figure any decent school that produces an independent Jamie the slugswith an expanded worldview and ability to make large bucks—and that does not require a second mortgage on our humble abode—would be just fine.

UC-Santa Cruz would be cool, though. I would be the owner of a bumper sticker that proclaims: “Proud Dad of a Banana Slug.”


Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a cat with Epstein-Barr. For further adventures, visit


Radicals (like Jefferson) Have No Place in School Lessons

20 Jan

by Roger White


Editor’s note: The following is an explanatory letter to Texas public school students from the State Board of Education regarding recent changes the board wants to see made to textbooks that will be on the state-approved list of instructional materials used by school districts all across our fair state.


Dear Students:


As you may or may not know, there has been a bit of controversy regarding what should and should not be included in the educational primers you young’uns read in school. As of late, we have even noticed that some radical critics (mainly outside liberal elite agitators from the North and tree-hugging limpy wrists from California) have poked fun at the values we seek to impart in your lesson books.


For example, espresso-sippin’ instigators such as the National Center for Science Education claim that the global-warming lie is real and that the science textbooks we propose are not presenting fair evidence. We don’t care that 97 percent of climatologists (whatever they are) say that humans are responsible warming schmarmingfor global warming, we see no such facts to put in your books. Besides, you know who says that global warming is real, don’t you? Scientists. Commie, God-hating scientists—the same ones who say the Earth is billions of years old and that we descended from flea-ridden monkeys. All true Texans understand that the Earth is no older than 5,000 years because that’s when God made it. Evolution theories and global-warming conspiracy rumors come from the same dangerous secular humanists who planted those “dinosaur bones” all over the place just to confuse everyone.


And just because this so-called expert egghead group called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is global warming, don’t you believe it. Our own panel, the Heartland Institute, has proven otherwise. You don’t need a Ph.D. to know that global warming isn’t real—just look at all the snowstorms and ice up north, like in Oklahoma.


Here are some other changes—corrections, we like to call them—you may notice in your lesson books:


* Students will learn the historical importance of such stalwart political and spirituajeffersonl forces for liberty and justice such as Barry Goldwater, Jerry Falwell, Newt Gingrich, and Phyllis Schlafly. Less emphasis will be placed on minor, more radical figures, such as left-leaning Thomas Jefferson.


* Knowing that this preoccupation with the separation of church and state is the handiwork of radicals and socialist activists, the State Board of Education has blocked a proposal that students learn why the Founding Fathers opposed the establishment of a state religion in the Bill of Rights. We feel the Founding Fathers may have had a bit to drink when they were working on that part of the Bill.


* The Board has required more emphasis in high school government class on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. The Board also feels that this Amendment should be moved up a notch to become the First Amendment and that the term “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” be amended to read “A well-armed Texan, being necessary to the security of a free State…”


* Now that history has vindicated Joe McCarthy and his love of the American ol joeway, the Board insists that students learn of his patriotic efforts to cleanse the country of any communist infiltration and other dangerous thoughts. Also, any reference from here on to the term “McCarthyism” should be revised to “red-blooded American McCarthyism.”


* Understanding that slavery was really a long time ago and that the country should just move forward and get over it, the Board has decided to remove the word “slavery” from any mention of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and instead refer to it in textbooks as the “Atlantic triangular trade.”


These recommended corrections should guide textbook purchases and classroom instruction over the next decade, and not just in Texas. The State Board proudly understands that textbook publishers all across America usually bow to our wishes because, as we all know, Texas purchases almost 50 million textbooks every year, more than any other state. Yee haw!


Now, learn good, li’l pardners.



The Texas State Board of Education


Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit


This Installment Should Wet Your Appetite. Literally.

7 Oct

by Roger White

“It’s only words…”

True, Messrs. Gibb. But then words are all we have, in a sense.

I can understand when my daughter bursts in the front door, famished from her school day, and exclaims, “I could literally eat a horse.” I get it when an irate Facebook poster pronounces that the myriad evil-doings of the Obama Administration should be “nipped in eaty horsythe butt.” I realize that my kiddo could not sit at the table and consume an entire equine, and I know that the angry online Limbaugh actually wants to nip our dear POTUS in the bud, not in the posterior. I’m hoping on this one.

But when I read in a local newspaper’s restaurant review how the delightful menu of a new downtown eatery will “certainly wet my appetite,” then I start to lose hope. I do enjoy having my appetite whetted, but I’ve never savored the notion of having my appetite drowned.

This wasn’t in the Gazette, Will, so worry not.

Weekly, it seems, adherence to standards of correct grammar slips and slides down the well-greased slope of sloppy English employed by not only everyday people, ersatz authors, cashiers and bosses, and television snake-oil salesmen, but also civic leaders, teachers, and professional journalists—the very enlightened ones who should know better. Surely it’s not coincidence that the graph of language correctness falls in direct proportion to the rise of communications technology. In the days of instant messaging, pondering the spelling of a possessive proper noun just seems old-fashioned, I guess.

For that matter, who’s to say that this migration away from hard and fast rules is necessarily wrong? It may well be simply the natural order—a Darwinistic evolution of our native tongue, hastened by smartphones and Youtube. Rules of punctuation, letter-writing etiquette, cursive penmanship may all be truly obsolete. “I before e except after c” may go the way of the dodo.

Da Dodo

However, for this installation, kids, I’m calling out the lazy operators of our lexicon. Relaxed rules and metamorphosed language aside, a blooper is still a blooper. Case in point: misused and mangled common sayings. And it’s not “case and point,” by the way. Here are some more colloquial clunkers:

  • Should of. As in, “I should of slowed down before the cop started shooting at my tires.” It may sound like should of, but no. It’s “should have.”


  • Free reign. I see this one a lot, and it’s easy to slip up here. But the saying doesn’t mean “free rule.” It comes from the days of horsemanship. To give your horse “free rein” was to loosen your hold on the reins to allow your steed more freedom of movement. Hopefully, your daughter didn’t come home afterward and literally eat your horse.
  • Hunger pains. That same daughter who wants to devour your herbivorous quadruped is suffering not from “hunger pains” but hunger pangs. Pangs, my friend, not pains. It pains me to have to point this out to you.
  • Peak your interest. This should actually be clumped together with “wet your appetite,” but I’m too lazy to box up this paragraph and move it. But anyway, it’s “pique your interest”—to stimulate, not unlike to whet or sharpen. I pique, you pique, she piques.
  • A mute point. Please. It’s not a point that lacks the ability to speak. It’s a moot point. Am I tilting at windmills here?
  • whatPour over. Librarians would really hate it if people poured over their documents. You pore over documents. Not unlike “wetting an appetite,” pouring over a document would get downright messy. Those poor documents.


  • Extract revenge. This could get ugly, too. If you’re looking to “extract revenge,” it likely involves pulling something out of your intended victim. Yuck. What you want to do, then, is exact revenge. No extractions, please.
  • He did a complete 360 and reversed course. No he didn’t. He did a 180. If the guy did a 360, he turned a silly circle and ended up facing the exact same way he started. Shee.

That’s all I can bring to mind now. We’ll revisit, perhaps with nice scones and tea next time. I know there are many more misused and abused terms in my language suppository; I’ll drudge them up soon. I’m sure your waiting with baited breath. Irregardless, I know many of you could care less. Literally.


Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit

Fly High, Young One, But Visit the Ol’ Nest Please

27 Aug

by Roger White


“…the eyes of Texas are upon you,

’Til Gabriel blows his horn.”


The wife and I recently experienced the hopeful heartbreak of helping our firstborn bird to fly the nest. Somebody should have prepped us for this one. Jokes and tender clichés aside, this was a much more difficult task than we ever imagined. We pitched in as Lindsey gathered necessities and knickknacks from her room—the only room she’s ever called her own in her lifetime—and moved into her dorm at The University of Texas at Austin. Now, it is true that we live in Austin, and it is true that Linz is only about 11 minutes away, but to her emotionally fragile parents, she may as well have enrolled at the University of Guam. Our baby’s gone! The dingoes have eaten our baby! Wait, that’s different.

Linz in her dorm

The days that have passed since our lovely Longhorn’s departure have been filled with little melancholy milestones, and they have come upon us at odd and unexpected times. You veteran parents know what I mean: the first quiet night it hits you that she’s really not around; the first time you start to call her down for supper and realize there’s no need; the first time you walk into her darkened room to empty her wastebasket, only to see that there’s no trash to empty. I don’t think my eyes have been this stubbornly moist since the last time I watched “Brian’s Song.”


Funny, but one of the things we found that we miss most is Linz’s morning call, that melodious rumbling din we’ve all become quite accustomed to around our household. Every family member always knew when our oldest offspring was up and at ’em when Linz blew her nose in that unique honk of hers.


“Linz, you up? Almost time for school.”




“She’s up.”


How I miss that whawnnnk.


young bird old birdOf course, from our daughter’s point of view, she may be regretting the fact that she didn’t look into the University of Guam. It’s only been a matter of days, and yet the wife and I have found dozens of reasons (excuses) to drop in on our undergrad at the Forty Acres. “Hi, sweetie, I figured you could use some more highlighters.” “I’m at the front desk, Linz, I thought you might need another blanket.” “It’s us again, Linz. We have a rutabaga.” “Linz, the front desk people are giving us dirty looks again.” You get the idea. We lobbied to have our own dorm key made, but the UT people frowned upon that notion.


It’s an exciting time for the young bird, full of nervous anticipation, hard work, new people, grand adventure, as she flies on her way. Kind of tough on us old birds, though, back in the old nest. We still have one fledgling not quite ready to take wing. When that baby flies in a couple of years, we may be ready for the old bird asylum.


Hook ’em, Linz. We know you’ll do wondrous things. And we hope you remember where the old nest is. We have fresh fruit and Ramen!


“…The eyes of your folks are upon you,

So Lindsey blow your horn!”


P.S. It was close, but Mr. R.L. Mitchell of Baton Rouge beat Bob Kolar of Austin to win the “Find the Fib Follies” contest from our last episode. They both correctly guessed that the weeeinventor of the “para-shirt” story was about as factual as a three-dollar bill—but R.L. wins the big bucks by beating Bob to the “send” button. A bunch of other folks got it right, too, but they were too slow. You know who you are. I gotta make up better whoppers. Thanks for the kind words, guys. You like me! You really, really like me! Oh!


Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit


Suburban Worldsick Blues

27 May

by Roger White


With a tip of the hat to a master chronicler of the American age, it must be noted that Bob Dylan never lived in a 3/2/2 with central heat/air and two and a half mortgages during a time when, by all appearances, our society is on the verge of utter decay—all viewable with the click of a mouse or touch of a pad.


So I give you “Suburban Worldsick Blues.”


Perry’s in the Capitol, railin’ against abortion,

I’m lookin’ at my taxes thinkin’ it’s extortion,

The man in the trench coat shootin’ up the school halls

Says he got bullied so everybody must fall.


Look out, dad, the economy is bad,

God knows what we did, but the country’s on the skids.


You better duck down, turn page, watch out for road rage,

Another mass swhyhooting, another senseless rampage,

Sterling’s on his cell phone reminiscin’ ’bout slavery,

Miley’s twerkin’ onstage, scandalous behavery.


Look out, mom, Gotta stay calm,

Soldiers in Kabul dodging roadside bombs.


Get sick, get well, they’re laying off again at Dell,

Are we winnin’ whatever war, it’s gettin’ kinda hard to tell,

Presidenidiotst says our healthcare system’s unfit,

All Congress says is where’s your birth certificate?


Well, Hormel, GM organizin’ recalls,

Bad meat, bad brakes, pickets down at town hall,

Daughter’s college fees call for medical sedation,

Building border walls to stifle immigration.


Look out, pop, no tellin’ where it stops,

Younger daughter’s boyfriend working at a head shop.


Mortgage underwater, excess beer consumption,

Viagra wants to help with that erectile dysfunction,

The factonoworkry just made a Chapter 11 declaration,

School board says it’s gonna teach divine creation.


Text tweet online, your selfie looking so fine,

Kids in Bosnia steppin’ on old land mines.

Icebergs meltin’, droughts killin’ all the wheat,

Just global warmin’ lies of the liberal elite.


Well, get dressed, get stressed, face the day’s traffic mess,

Oops, your job’s just been outsourced to Bangladesh.

Don’t follow leaders, take pills for all the cedars,

Find yourself a new position as a Walmart greeter.


Look out, mama, you’re dyin’ from the trauma,

Increase yer Prozac dosage, tune in the dalai lama.


Well, jump down a manhole, filibuster gun control,

thebardThink I saw a shadow up there beyond the grassy knoll,

Headin’ to the car, another day in the loony ward,

Shakin’ yer head ’cause the vandals keyed yer new Ford.


Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit



College Twerk-Study Program? No, Thank You

19 Mar

by Roger White  

Shakespeare nailed it when he said it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Or was that Kipling? Whatever. That’s what it is, all right. Around our house, it’s the best of times because our eldest offspring has been accepted into two top-tier universities. And it’s the worst of times because our eldest offspring has been accepted into two top-tier universities.

As parents, we couldn’t be more proud—or more terrified. If you haven’t window-shopped prices of higher education lately, let me explain it this way: Imagine you are a master chemist and you’ve cooked world-class blue crystal meth for years until you’ve amassed eight barrels of nicely laundered cash. Now, imagine a gang of neo-Nazi thugs meets you in the desert, shoots your DEA agent brother-in-law, and takes seven of your cashcashcashcash barrels, leaving you with only one. OK, never mind. Bad analogy. I’m in no way likening college to a gang of neo-Nazi thugs. In fact, let me state for the record here and now that I am extremely pro-higher education. However, I am also extremely pro-eating food on a daily basis and pro-paying the light bill and pro-not living in the highway median with the nocturnal wildlife and those creepy guys in the wool sweaters who hang out at the stoplight.

Yes, folks, college be expensive. Sticker shock isn’t the term for it. It’s more like sticker electrocution. With two girls nearing high school graduation, the wife and I figure that I can retire around age 146. The good news is I can gear down to a part-time job at about age 125 or so.

greenstampsNeedless to say, we are hunting high and low and medium for any and all forms of financial aid, scholarships, grants, loans, subsidies, handouts, lottery tickets, coupons, cash-back programs, and loose change. We’ll take S&H green stamps if you have them.

This is why I was morbidly curious when I read somewhere that a rapper by the name of Juicy J recently offered a $50,000 college scholarship to “the best chick who can twerk.” If you’ve been cave-dwelling or living in Nebraska of late, twerking is, and I’m quoting here, “a type of dancing in which an individual, usually a female, dances to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrusand a low squatting stance.” Yeah. It’s that highly objectionable derriere-jiggling move that an obviously chemically-altered Miley Cyrus performed on stage last year at the MTV Video Music Awards. Needless to say, I’ll never watch Hannah Montana the same way again. Not that I ever watched Hannah Montana. No, seriously. I only watched a few episodes because my kids were watching it. Actually a cute show, although I thought the guy playing Hannah’s dad just wasn’t believable in that role.

Anyway, no daughter of mine is going to twerk for anybody anywhere, if I have something to say about it. At least not for anything less than a full ride, textbooks, and room and board.

This got me thinking, if a rapper can step up and sponsor this unique, albeit disgusting, higher ed opportunity, why can’t others? How about Apple offering a Texting Tuition Scholarship? I know for a fact my youngest can text and tweet longer and faster than anyone I know. Sprint could perhaps pony up big money for the Best Selfie Student Grant Program. Maybe the automotive industry could get behind a Guess the Next GM Recall Scholarship. Or what about a Dennis Rodman Foreign Policy International Studies Student Loan Program? The potential here is unlimited.

Unfortunately, my retirement account isn’t. Pass the peanut butter and crackers, please.

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures,

Rolling the Jargon Dice

21 Feb

by Roger White

Understand as I launch into this column that I work for an education association. And I have worked for this education association for a long, long time. In my long, long time with this education association, I’ve learned many things. However, I think the main thing I’ve learned is that people in the education world speak a language that is very different from normal humans. (Now, let me tell you that I’m talking management types here—you know, campus administrators and on up. If actual teachers talked this way, all of America’s children would be wandering about, zombie-like and unblinking. Like Joaquin Phoenix.)

Anyway, in my tenure here, I have come not only to understand education jargon, I have learned to embrace it. Therefore, I founded EJUCIMUSE.

And here at the EJUCIMUSE Headquarters (EJUCIMUSE being an acronym for Education Jargon Use Cause It Makes Us Sound Elite, of course), in our ever-vigilant attempts to utilize jargon, gibberish, and edu-speak whenever possible, we are proud to announce the creation of the MANURE Generator.

MANURE (Mechanism to Advance New Understanding for Renewal in Education) is the brainchild of Jerry Taylor, educational technology director for Arcadia Middle School in Greece, New York. Taylor unveiled the MANURE Generator not long ago in the National School Boards Association’s School Board News newsletter, and it has been getting rave reviews . . . I mean, its outcomes-based approach dynamic has received initial focus-group consensus.

Here’s how MANURE was formed: According to Taylor, throughout his 30-year career as a teacher (also known in some circles as transitive knowledge facilitator), he noticed that many teach–, sorry, many transitive knowledge facilitators and knowledge transfer management personnel (administrators) sometimes fall behind in their utilization of proper edu-speak. So Taylor made MANURE. This fascinating device not only can keep edu-speak proponents up-to-the-minute, it makes a great party game and a nice dessert topping.

Now here’s how MANURE works: If you are ever caught at a meeting, focus group, performance evaluation, or happy hour shop talk without the latest edu-speak term or phrase, simply whip out your pocket-sized MANURE Generator and a pair of dice. You’ll soon be spouting the most eloquent of nonsensical jargon.

The MANURE Generator consists of three columns of words. These could be called Column A, B, and C. But for our purposes, we’ll call them Initializing Column I(a), Activating Column II(b), and Terminus Column III(c).

And here they are:

Initializing Column          Activating Column        Terminus Column

2.         Integrated                                 Behavioral                                Strategies

3.         Individualized                         Relevant                                    Methodology

4.         Criteria                                       Assessment                              Cooperative

5.         Flexible                                      Prescriptive                              Analysis

6.         Authentic                                  Perceptual                                Learning

7.         Facilitated                                Interaction                               Functions

8.         Responsive                               Modular                                   Objectives

9.         Alternative                               Diagnostic                                Concept

10.       Performance                            Structured                               Recovery

11.       Cognitive                                   Situational                                Management

12.       Systemic                                   Evaluative                                 Reform

Simply roll the dice (otherwise known as the MANURE Generator Activation Modules) to select a word from the Initializing Column, a word from the Activating Column, and one from the Terminus Column. Do you want fried or steamed rice with that? Note that since you can’t roll a 1, the columns start at No. 2, Einstein. Voila! It’s that easy.

You’ll have your colleagues wanting desperately to know more about Facilitated Situational Objectives with quick rolls of 7, 11, and 8. Land on 11, 2, 6 and you have created the Cognitive Behavioral Learning school of thought.

The great thing is, you don’t necessarily have to work in the education world to avail yourself of this sensational tool. A tinker here and there to the columns as necessary can produce a powerful jargon generator for any business. In other words, put your hands in the MANURE, work it around a bit, and you can easily shape it to your liking.

Then I believe you should wash your hands.

I must say that we here at EJUCIMUSE have been so impressed by Taylor’s MANURE that we unanimously voted him Edu-Speak Vociferator of the Biennium. We got a plaque for him and everything, but Taylor couldn’t make the awards ceremony. He was giving a lecture in Washington, D.C., on Alternative Diagnostic Recovery.

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat daschund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit

A Family Fix for Texas’ Fiscal Funk

26 Jan

by Roger White

Life in my family is surely like life in many families across Texas and the nation: Mom and dad work to pay the bills; we try hard not to extend our credit beyond our means; our kids must tend to their academics before they can play; and we try to give back what we can to causes we cherish.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about Texas’ fiscal situation—namely the 82nd Legislature’s estimated $27 billion deficit and the dire conditions our public school districts face in the months and years ahead. It is tragic. Schools are being closed; teachers are being laid off by the hundreds; facility construction, renewal, and maintenance are stagnating; and, most importantly, our students are facing the prospect of not receiving the education they so deserve.


Schoolwork First, then Playtime

I have a simple solution—simplistic, actually. What if we thought of our state, and everything in it, as one big Lone-Star-sized family? And in that aspect, we prioritize things. For example, we tend to the state’s academics before we can play. Now, think about this for a minute. If we as a people truly hold the education of our children in the highest regard, why then are we paying college football coaches, for instance, millions of dollars while our public school teachers struggle to make ends meet?

Don’t get me wrong. I like football as much as the next guy, but does a man who instructs players in how to block and tackle in what is essentially a kid’s game really need to be making more than $500,000 a year? USA Today reported some of the top Texas college coaches’ salaries as of 2010 as the following (not including bonuses):

• Mack Brown, University of Texas, $5.1 million (the highest-paid coach in college football)

• Mike Sherman, Texas A&M, $1.8 million

• Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech, $1.5 million

• Kevin Sumlin, Houston, $1 million


It may just be me, but I think half a million bucks is a fine salary, no matter the job. So say the state put a ceiling on outrageous pay such as this—call it the Outrageous Salary Ceiling. If we instituted an OSC on college coaches and mandate that the universities donate the savings to state coffers, from these four salaries alone you would save $7.4 million.

And speaking of children’s games, Forbes Magazine listed the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans of the National Football League as having the Number 1 and Number 5 top net financial worth rankings, respectively, in the league as of 2009. The Cowboys were listed as being worth $1.85 billion; the Texans $1.71 billion. If the state could issue a Kids’ Games Tax on these franchises of $100 million each, there’s $200 million right there.

Forbes also listed the state’s three National Basketball Association teams—Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs—as having the number 6 ($470 million), 7 ($446 million), and 10 ($398 million) top net worth rankings, respectively, in the league as of December 2009. Applying a KGT to these franchises at, say, $30 million each would give the state another $90 million.

Likewise, Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros and Texas Rangers are 10th and 11th, respectively, in their league’s list of net worth rankings, coming in at $453 million and $451 million. The Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League are worth $227 million. A $30 million KGT on these franchises adds yet another $90 million.

We’re at $387.4 million saved, just from placing academics ahead of athletics.

Giving Back

Now, keeping in the family milieu, what about giving back what we can? Turning again to Forbes, the magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest Americans contains the following 25 richest Texans (followed by their net wealth):

• Alice Walton (Wal-Mart)                             $20 billion                                          

• Michael Dell (Dell)                                       $14 billion

• Andrew Beal (banking, real estate)              $6 billion

• Charles Butt (supermarkets)                         $5.3 billion

• Richard Kinder (pipelines)                           $5.2 billion

• Harold Simmons (investments)                    $5 billion

• Ray Lee Hunt (oil, real estate)                     $4.3 billion

• John Paul DeJoria (hair products, tequila)    $4.2 billion

• Robert Rowling (investments)                     $4.1 billion

• Robert Bass (oil, investments)                      $4 billion

• H. Ross Perot Sr. (computers, real estate)    $3.4 billion

• John Arnold (hedge funds)                          $3.3 billion

• Randa Williams (pipelines)                           $3.1 billion

• Dannine Avara (pipelines)                            $3.1 billion

• Milane Frantz (pipelines)                              $3.1 billion

• Scott Duncan (pipelines)                              $3.1 billion

• Trevor Rees-Jones (oil, gas)                          $3 billion

• Timothy Headington (oil, investments)        $2.65 billion

• Mark Cuban (                      $2.5 billion

• Richard Rainwater (real estate, energy)       $2.3 billion

• Rodney Lewis (natural gas)                         $2.25 billion

• Lee Bass (oil, investments)                           $2 billion

• George Mitchell (energy)                             $2 billion

• Sid Bass (oil, investments)                           $2 billion

• Jerry Jones (NFL team owner)                     $2 billion

If you’re not certain how much one billion dollars is, it’s a thousand million dollars. Each of the above fine folks has at least two thousand million bucks, some much more. If each of these billionaires contributed $500 million each, they would not only get fantastic tax write-offs, they would add $12.5 billion to the state’s sadly depleted account. Now we’re at $12,887,400,000.

The next-richest Texans, according to Forbes, are the following:

Jeffrey Hildebrand (oil)                                  $1.9 billion

David Bonderman (leveraged buyouts)          $1.8 billion

Kelcy Warren (pipelines)                                $1.8 billion

Edward Bass (oil, investments)                      $1.5 billion

Joe Jamail (lawsuits)                                       $1.5 billion

Thomas Friedkin (car dealerships)                  $1.5 billion

Drayton McLane (Wal-Mart, logistics)           $1.45 billion

Robert McNair (energy, sports)                      $1.4 billion

Gerald J. Ford (banking)                                 $1.4 billion

T. Boone Pickens (oil, investments)                $1.4 billion

H. Ross Perot Jr. (computers, real estate)       $1.4 billion

Chistopher Goldsbury (salsa)                          $1.3 billion

Billy Joe McCombs (radio, oil, real estate)     $1.3 billion

Ray Davis (pipelines)                                      $1.3 billion

Todd Wagner (                      $1.2 billion

Kenneth Adams (oil)                                      $1.15 billion

William Moncrief (oil)                                    $1.1 billion

Kenny Troutt (communications)                     $1.1 billion

Samuel Wyly (investments)                            $1 billion

Darwin Deason (computers)                           $1 billion

Since these guys have a paltry $1 billion or so, let’s say they give only $250 million each. That’s $5 billion, which brings our total to more than $17.88 billion.

Throw in $750 million in federal education money Governor Rick Perry so blithely rejected because, as Perry said, Texas “would have to follow national curriculum standards” (what is he smoking?), and we now have well more than $18 billion. I’ll put my money where my mouth is and throw in $100, which tops us off at $18,637,400,100. That would pay plenty of teacher salaries; that could open lots of shiny, new school buildings.

I realize this is a ridiculous exercise. Things don’t work this way. It’s also just as ridiculous, however, that Texas public education should be in such a desperate financial situation. What if we really did make education a priority?

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat daschund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit