The following are comments I made during 2012 in the Sunday Arizona Republic feature “Plugged-In” and to the Scottsdale Republic for their “Saturday Soundoff” feature. Following each comment is a current update.
From 5-17-2012: What is it about academics that some Scottsdale School Board members don’t understand? There is a proposal being debated that students should have to maintain a 2.0 grade average to participate in extracurricular activities like sports. A 2.0 equals “C” which is “fair” and isn’t asking too much. Currently, ”D” (poor) will suffice which even shocks many parents. Those supporting “D” have their heads in the sand. Extracurricular activities are a reward for decent grades and indicate maturity on the part of the student. High school goes by quickly and a transcript full of “D’s” will get the student nowhere. (Update: The Scottsdale School Board recently saw the light and decided that a 2.0 average will be mandatory for student participation in extracurricular activities.)
April 29, 2012: I had to make sure I wasn’t reading the April fool’s day edition of the Republic this morning when I saw a blurb in the Business section about Starbucks. Apparently, they have been using a red dye in their drinks derived from crushed bugs! After feedback from customers was negative, they decided to reformulate the dye using a tomato based extract. Really? I wonder how the millions of Starbucks’ customers feel now that they know their expensive red drinks contained the juice of beetles. Will this hurt Starbucks business? Maybe. Are the Tully’s stores celebrating? Yes! (Update: Not long after the report on bug juice was made public, Starbucks stopped using it. Gee! Really?)
March 4, 2012: I know some things about young partiers: they like to drink cheap, drink early, act immature, are not very profitable, and will depart an entertainment area as soon as something new comes along. In the Scottsdale Downtown entertainment district, at least one club owner knows that the latter two items are true. Hence, he will be offering live indoor entertainment in an effort to attract a “stable, older” audience. I’m sure the “stable, older” neighbors living in the area are happy and hoping that a precedent has been set so they can at least reclaim some of their serenity. (Update: The beat goes on in Downtown Scottsdale as plans are being carried out to further expand the younger mentality drinking spots. I have said that when the beach club fad wears out, there will be a ghost town in Scottsdale. I’ve seen it in other places. Those businesses are dealing with a fickle crowd that will move on to the next “cool” thing.
May 29, 2012: I understand the frustration of having inebriated people stumbling out of the bars during the evening and at closing time but is having a tower with spotlights going to solve anything? It seems like a Stalag 17 mindset with lights combing the area to catch those heading for the escape tunnel. How about taking the police off the tower and have them walking a beat watching for the drunks. Does Scottsdale have an old fashioned “paddy wagon”? If so, load up the extra snockered boozers and take them to the cooler for the night. They’ll learn a valuable lesson there. (Update: Even though Scottsdale police are frustrated with the drunken behavior in the Downtown entertainment area, it appears that the surveillance tower idea will be shelved for now. No word yet on my idea of the paddy wagon!
January 17, 2012: Some school kids are no longer being taught the importance of cursive writing. Several modern teachers think it is too “old fashioned.” They say printing can take the place of cursive. It can? Can you imagine not being able to sign your name? What would John Hancock say about that? As far as spelling correctly, there is computer spell check to save kids. I wonder if they even take spelling tests anymore. With texting so popular in their minds “you” is “u”, “great” is “gr8”, and “some” is “sum”. When you only get 140 characters, I guess you have to improvise, right? (Update: This is a trend that will probably not be reversed. I remember learning to write and print. Apparently the former is being phased out. I realize that times change but I can’t comprehend a world where people can’t sign their names. Will kids now ignore some great signatures of the past like John Hancock? I hope not.