Fourth of July, 2009.

Happy 233rd Birthday to the United States of America!

I got an e-mail from our President today. I’m on the mailing list because I contributed $14 to his campaign by purchasing a yard sign for my classroom (I’m on mailing list for the same reason, but I only contributed $7 to his campaign because he didn’t charge me an extra seven dollars for shipping and handling). Frankly, I was expecting to read that in the spirit of Independence Day, I should support thus-and-such a policy, but thankfully there was no such politicking in the body of the letter.

However, there was a P.S.:

Our nation’s birthday is also an ideal time to consider serving in your local community. You can find many great ideas for service opportunities near you at

Let me repeat the name of the website that, on this anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, the President suggests I visit:

I suspect that no-one involved in writing, editing, approving or sending this e-mail saw the irony.

Actually, my head and neck hurt so much right now that I’m not sure “irony” was the right word there. If not, then let’s keep it simple and substitute “problem.” Either way, someone in either D.C. or Chicago needs to read a book.

It occurred to me a few days ago that since Michael Jackson’s death last week, I hadn’t heard anyone mention or play a particular song of his: “Leave Me Alone.”