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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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November 6, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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November 6, 1997
 

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10 Thursday, November 6, 1997 Pahmmp Valley Gazette Doing it yourself does not save money When it comes to work around the house, I'm about as useful as a hockey puck is to a baseball player. Same thing with cars. I have the perfect philosophy regard- ing vehicles. Put a key in the ignition and turn it. If it doesn't start, call someone. I got into an oil change kick sometime back. Decided it would be cheaper to do it myself. Although most places only charge a couple of bucks more than the oil costs -- what the heel a dollar saved is still saved. So I went out and spent $4.95 for an oil filter wrench and a couple bucks for an oil pan. Figured I'd make that back after a couple of changes. I got underneath the car and placed the pan under the oil plug and loosened the plug. Fact number one: The oil will never flow to the spot you placed the pan. I quickly moved the pan to the flowing oil after letting loose with a flew expletives. Fact number two: As the oil drains the flow will move to another position. Again, where the pan is not. Eventually the oil depletes and slowly begins to drip. This dripping will go on for about six hours if you let it. Now is the time to get out the handy, brand-new, oil and grease-soaked filter wrench. Fact number three: The oil filter is still full of oil and no matter how careful you are, when the filter is taken off nearly all of the oil will spill directly into your face. Fact number four: You will scrape at least three knuckles trying to get the filter off. I dropped the old filter into the pan of old oil and carefully pulled it out from under the car. Now, I wondered, what the beck am I supposed to do with this mess? For the time being I just set it aside. NORTHERN EXPOSURE by Dave Downing After ten minutes of moving the new filter around with the care usually taken during neurosurgery, I managed to get it into position and threaded back into the engine. I felt a little better about all of this now. I opened fourcans ofoil-- with my newly purchased oil funnel pusher-in-the-can thing-a-ma-jig -- and poured the oil into the engine. Fact numberfive: Never pour oil into the engine until you have put the plug back into the oil pan underneath the car. There I was, stranded in the garage. I had a pan full of old oil that I had no idea what to do with. Four quarts of fresh oil on the floor of the garage. A vehicle I didn't dare start because it had no oil in it and I am completely covered in ugly black oil and grease from head to toe. Clothes that would simply have to be thrown out and I would have to take more hot showers than my water tank could handle. I was walking around the back of the garage, cussing like a drunken sailor, when my dog appeared at the front of the garage. Fact number six: No matter how loud you yell and scream while calling your dog a stupid $#@%& the dog will run directly to you. Fortunately, the dog only got some fresh oil on her paws. It didn't even seem to discolor her blond paws.., just gave her feet a nice sheen to them. The trick now is to keep her out of the house for awhile. I began yelling, "Come on !" to the dog while backing out of the garage. I stepped on the oil pan, flipping it over, slipped and hit the cement harder than the rocket that landed in Esmeralda a few weeks ago. Now I'm laying flat on my back watching stars slowly go around and a strange black cocker spaniel that I've never seen before is sitting on my chest barking. It was about this time that my wife drove up. She looked around and said, "What in the hell is... good gawd, what happened to the dog?!" I'm laying flat on my back wondering if my skull is shattered and she's worried about the dog. So much for my mechanical abilities. I now make an appointment and take the car to Ford for every oil change. I'll never attempt that nonsense again. Every now and then a neighbor, or a friend, will say to me, "You're taking your car in for an oil change? Why don't you do it yourself and save some money?" Then he wonders why I silently stare fireballs at him. The status of American schooling At the latest round of international tests, conducted in 1994 and 1995, the U,S. nine and 10 year olds did us proud. They came in third among the 26 nations involved, a little behind Japan and South Korea. They have been performing this well for decades. But high school seniors are another story. They came in last, or near the bottom, far too many times. In the late 60s, American public schools stopped enforc- ing standards for academic achievement and discipline for older students. After all, older students resist. They just don't do what grown-ups tell them, the way little kids do.They do it only if they believe the grown-ups tell them, the way little kids do. They do it only if they believe the grown-ups are serious and they measure this by the consequences. They observe that nothing happens to the older kids if they don't meet the alleged standards. Such students stay in school, get promoted, graduate on time and frequently go on to college...whether they've learned anything or not. When I entered Purdue University in 1938, I was given an entrance exam. One item therein was to write a short essay. Upon its evaluation, the candidate was assigned to one of three c lasses: Advanced English, Regular English or Bonehead English. A surprising percentage of aspiring engineers were relegated to the latter category. In those days, a knowledge of written English was considexed essential to pursuing a uni- versity career. Today, thousands of high school graduates can not write an effective business letter or an intelligible report. Our industries have had to institute training programs to teach the fundamentals of English and mathematics that these employ- ees must know to perform their jobs. The faults are widely distributed. There are the economic factors that force both husband and wife to work...in order to maintain a decent standard of living. Many parents, today, are poor role models; their children observe that they lie, cheat and occasionally steal in their daily relationships. It rubs off. There are the idiotic educational policies that teach "whole language" instead of "phonetics" and place unearned "self Changing Patterns by Richard Reul 0000IIIIIIIIIIII H V////////2111111111111"IlI""IllIIII esteem" ahead of "performance." Also, there are the well meant cultural diversity teachings that drive children apart, rather than bring them together. Arthur Hu, aChinese-American living in Kirkland, Wash., has some pertinent observations. He notes that blacks, bussed to white schools, scored no better than if they had remained in their own neighborhoods. Likewise, transplanted Hispan- its did not improve. White students from poor areas were similarly disadvantaged but children of affluent whites did no better. Only Asians, poor or rich, generally excelled in the public schools. They studied and worked. Home-schooled children, of all ettmie backgrounds, also did well. But any student can excel if they have the proper motiva- tion. One poor Hispanic family in Texas sent four children to Harvard. The Barclay school in Baltimore, adopting a strict approach to mistakes, has scored highly. Seattle's Zion pri- vate school boasts above average test scores. Whitney Young Magnet High in Chicago rivals many suburban schools. With students that are mostly black and Hispanic, it ranks well above most high schools. In Georgia, the Davidson Fine Arts Magnet at Richmond, with 42 percent black students, pro- duced the best SAT scores. The bottom line is work, study and more work. Parental and school discipline are essential. Students must learn that survival in today's world requires the acquisition of knowl- edge and techniques. Under Affirmative Action, standards were lowered for minority students and their grades were inflated. This was no way to help them. Courses must be relevant. Everyone needs to live on a budget but the related techniques are seldom taught in school. Neither are the fundamentals of problem solving, which are essential to holding any job. Students are not taught how to prepare a resume, conduct themselves at a job interview or about standards of dress. Much of the blame for these omissions can be assigned to the National Education Association, which has become an entrenched and powerful political lobby. Supported by the U.S. Department of Education, its prime motivation is to preserve its power and not to educate. Federal control of education policies crushes local initiative. Each of us can remember one or two teachers we had who inspired us. The chances are that they were not appreciated by the administrators and rewarded proportionately. There is still a lot of truth in the old saying: "Those who can...do. Those who can't do...teada. Those who can't teach...teach Educa- tion [" "Time Enough for Love" Not too long ago I got hold of a copy of Robert Heinlein's book, "Time Enough For Love" which first came out in 1973, and according to the printing history given in the front of this book, it has gone through 18 following printings. I can see why it's a science fiction story. The guy is long-lived, at least 2000 years. His life hadn't ended by the time the book ended. I hope I don't have to wait as long to read the sequel, although if I did this, might also be interesting. There's not a facet of history that Heinlein doesn't explore in the course of writing this book. There is sex, which always catches the readers attention, computers, space travel, religion (not in too good a light but he makes some good points), genetics, cloning (this was in 1973 when the book came out which shows how far out and ahead Heinlein was) and the lists that he puts forth could go on and on and does, for 85 pages. After you have gotten hung up on the story,The author takes art intermission where he does short little bits taken from the plot's heroes notes. These alone make the book, in my opinion, worth reading. At the risk of incurring the publisher's wrath about reprinting without getting their permission, I will take Slim Sez by Slim Sirnes the liberty of laying a few on you. Seeing as how I am already in legal trouble by doing this. I might as well confess to other crimes that I am guilty of like removing the labels found underneath mattresses and cushions. I'm a sensitive sor and I find these labels cause lumps which make for uncomfortable sleeping and sitting. Kinda like some gal I read about who had problems with a pea under her mattress, sleeping on one. Back to the subject at hand, the experts from the heroes notes. "Always listen to experts, they'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it. "A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits. "Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness, etc. "It's amazing how much "mature wisdom" resembles being too tired. "A motion to adjourn is always in order. "$100 placed at seven percent interest compounded quarterly for 200 yeats will increase to more than $100.000,000, by which time it will be worth nothing. "Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed." And finally and maybe this applies to me, writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private. Next ifI can get the book back from the library I will do a review of Dave Barry's book. "Guide to Guys." Till then, have a good one.