By June 17, 2014 Uncategorized 5 Comments

Human beings have the God-given capacity for incredible creativity, innovation, and genius. From our humble beginnings as hunters and gatherers living in cave dwellings, we have done rather well for ourselves.

At the same time, humans also possess a seemingly unlimited potential for stupidity.

There is “stupid” and then there is “crazy, off-the-chart stupid”—the kind of stupid that can get you seriously injured or killed.

Take a look at some of our fellow human beings displaying this latter type of stupidity:





Most of the stupid things we do are not life-threatening like the examples above. Yet, if we are honest, we have all done stupid things in our lives for which we are not proud, and likely thankful that we are still alive or didn’t hurt anybody else as a result of our stupidity. Maybe I am just speaking for the male segment of our species, but stupidity can also certainly cross gender lines. I am not being sexist. I just think men just do stupid better (note that all of the pictures above are of men).

If I was going to write a blog detailing all of the stupid things I have done in my life, well…it would not all fit here. It would have to be a book—a rather thick one to be honest.

Let me just share two from recent history.

A few years ago, I decided to run a marathon on my 50th birthday. I searched online and found the marathon closest to the date of my birthday: the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in Green Bay Wisconsin. I trained well for about six months and had a great race. That’s obviously not the stupid part. This is: less than 6 weeks later, there was another race here in Tulsa. It was called the Midnight Madness Ultramarathon and involved running five 10.3 miles loops around River Parks. Yes, you read that correctly. The Midnight Madness run was 51.5 miles and started at 11:59 pm on July 1st, 2011. The temperature at start time was 82 degrees.

After finishing the Green Bay Marathon, I took a few weeks off from running and traveled to Florida the week of the race. We drove home the night before and I got about four hours of sleep before heading to the start line. My thinking at the time was that I would be fine if I just ran a little slower than my normal pace, walked up the hills, and took in enough water and electrolytes to compensate for the 90+ temperatures. Heck, if I could run one marathon, why not two back-to-back? I really had no idea what I was about to do.

It did not take me too long after about mile 20 to realize that this was not the smartest thing I had ever done. However, the Marine in me would not allow me to quit. I finished the race at 11:00 am the next morning after losing ten pounds of fluids and having cramps in nearly every muscle of my body. I actually had to physically pull my thumb apart from the palm of my hand because it had locked itself in place from cramping. My body took over two weeks to fully recover from this experience.

The crazy thing is I would like to do it again someday. I know: STUPID!

I am more embarrassed to share this second stupid thing I did.

In November, 2010, I cast a vote for Janet Costello Barresi to be the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

I am sure some of you feel my pain. As a lifelong Republican, I thought I was voting for the right person to be state superintendent. I was wrong, VERY wrong! I know that now.

But, after taking time to read some of Barresi’s campaign statements from four years ago, I realize that my vote may not have been born of stupidity, rather out of political deception. Take a look at a few direct quotes from Dr. Barresi’s interview with the CapitolBeatOK on July 11, 2010.

My 15 years of involvement with this issue have taught me some important lessons. Local control is very important to the process of maintaining schools within our communities. I’ve learned what devastation underfunded and unfunded mandates can cause for public schools, and how mandates are restricting creativity within those schools.”

I believe we underestimate what’s possible when an effective education leader gets to staff and run her or his own school, developing a group of teachers and staff devoted to one goal: excellence. Strong accountability and transparency are fundamental to school reform.

We have a system that is driven to an unhealthy degree by testing.  … Instead of concentrating on what is best for students and children, a lot of the dynamic has been dominated by tests themselves, and by the design companies. The debate has been territorial and tied to pass rates. What happens then is that teachers are stuck in a crazy rush from one test to another from the first day of school until April. Then, in the closing weeks they and the students have lost the energy to respond to whatever the test might tell them. The tests are not suitable and a lot of the learning is mere memorization, which is then lost soon after the test.

We should be looking at using a handful of reliable and proven instruments, like the ACT and the Iowa tests, and not the mishmash of standardized tests, self-developed instruments, the state now has.

When it comes to testing, we need quicker and more productive turn-around time. There has to be a tighter tie between the results of a test and the work done with the individual child, how they are performing and how to look forward so they can do better.

Rather than so much reliance on standardized tests we need a return to formative tests of the kind you and I remember. Those were tests that regularly checked progress, for instance weekly spelling tests, pop quizzes and other instruments that measured progress regularly, identified gaps, allowed time for teachers to intervene and to fix gaps for the student.

As for the administrative side of the job, I plan to run an efficient and effective education department.

My campaign is not focused on politics, not focused on power. It’s focused on children. It’s not focused on minutiae, on kingdoms or bureaucracies, it’s focused on achievement.

All I can say now is the person who made those quotes is not the same state superintendent we have in office now. It was a classic scheme of bait and switch and a lot of us fell for it.

Stupid choices often come with negative consequences. We have certainly suffered for the last three and a half years with Barresi at the helm of the SDE. But, as they say, “good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgment.”

This famous quote also applies: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I will not be fooled this time.

And if you happen to know anyone who might be inclined to balance a unicycle on the edge of a cliff; drop a tire on their gonads; pet a Great White shark; run a 51 mile race in the summer with little training; or cast a vote for Janet Costello Barresi, please remind them that they are about to do something very, very stupid.

They will appreciate you later. DUH!

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