Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Neighborhood for teachers everywhere! Anything and everything is fair game!

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? April 22, 2009

Escape From New York Comes True

Wow! It’s been almost 16 months since my last post, and it is amazing to see the changes in the world and my own life during that span. It’s been an interesting time, hasn’t it?

Let’s see … Hillary didn’t make it, Obama did, but Hillie is playing Secretary of State. I looked at my prediction for an Obama v. McCain Presidential Race and was amazed at my accuracy; overall, it was a good, fair race. The one black spot was the biased attacks from the media on Sarah Palin. Once again, anyone who turns to network news in this country is a damned fool.

In the world of “Nothing Changes” (so true), a hockey fan found this blog yesterday searching for stuff on one of my favorite whipping boys, Colin “Soupy” Campbell (see Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell. Our beloved Soupy issued another in a long series of ridiculous suspensions to Boston’s Milan Lucic (one game) for a cross-check that was little more than a love tap … but Soupy did not suspend Ian Lappierre or Mike Komisarek of “Les Habitants” for their cheap shots. Little matter as the Canadiens got flushed down the bowl in four by the Bruins. And, for all the miserable Canadiens fans who booed the “The Star Spangled Banner” on Monday night, go to hell!

Imus, who recently announced that he is battling cancer, survived his first year at Citadel and WABC-AM (New York) in grand fashion and, despite a few backhanded stabs at him, was doing some of the very best radio of his career. While the snipers are still ready to take Imus out, he is not going to leave himself open. The New York Rangers … well, it’s kind of like when Ron Swoboda was playing right field for the Metsies: every day is a new adventure for the Garden Faithful. Even being up 3-1 on OvieCaps doesn’t make a Ranger fan feel safe. Bloomberg … well, he and the entire NYC Department of Education can also kiss my grits.

So what changes are happening in Mr. Smith’s Neighborhood … or, should I say Senor Smith’s Barrio?

Mr. Smith’s Neighborhood has relocated to the great state of New Mexico, a lovely land blessed with a governor who also has a flair for headlines. Looks like I brought Uncle Bill the same luck that Elliot Spitzer and David Patterson were enjoying when I left New York. Good Old Bill had to turn down a cabinet post from Obama when it was discovered that there was some financial hanky panky back home … you don’t want a cabinet member who’s under investigation, but I guess it’s okay to have a him as governor. At least he hasn’t gotten caught with his zipper down yet, but there is always hope.

I escaped New York and the New York City Dept. of Education after working for the worst principal in the entire school system. Rumor has it that NYC has made the decision to shut down Roberto Clemente (C.I.S. 166) after this year, and it is a great decision if, for no other reason, to get rid of the school adminsitration. My favorite moment from last year was when our great leader stood up in front of the staff and said, “I’m white, look … I’m white. It doesn’t rub off. I am also rich. I grew up rich. Get over it.” And she couldn’t understand why a staff comprised largely of minorities accused her of bigotry and racism.

So why leave New York? I couldn’t handle the commute anymore, paying $125 per month for parking pissed me off, the cost of living was ridiculous, stress smacks you in the face the moment you wake up in the morning, and the weather is attrocious. But moving back to New Mexico has been my dream for a very long time. I lived here 27 years ago … it was the best place on the planet then and it still is now. The sky is bluer than blue, the air is clean and the high desert country is open and free. The mountains and mesas, which are more brownish than green, make you feel like you are in a John Wayne western everyday.

I did not have to shovel any snow this winter, nor have I spent a single day sweating from the humidity, In fact, I haven’t used a hair dryer in ages because my hair dries within minutes after a shower. I have a great job … it isn’t perfect but I like it most days. I have a great house … it isn’t perfect but it is very liveable. Instead of driving an hour each way to work (about 90 miles roundtrip), my commute is one mile each way.

Actually, the one thing I have enjoyed more than anything else is gazing at the stars at night. The clean air, high elevation and lack of bright city lights make star-gazing fabulous. It is not a lifestyle for everyone, but it is working for me.

One of the reasons I stopped writing last year was that I had to watch my mother die slowly. The one-year anniversary of my mother’s death is coming up, and it is time to move on with life.

If you are living in the New York City area and you have a loved one dying of cancer, DO NOT have them admitted to Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. You would be better off leaving them in a gutter somewhere. The adminsitrators and doctors there were among the lowest people whom I have ever met, and my mother’s suffering was beyond words. One of the key administrators told my family lie after lie, and she did everything except drive a stake through my mother’s heart. Coincidentally, my mother just happened to die the very last day that Medicare paid for her care (or lack thereof).


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