The typing habits of Big Fabes.

Writing and reporting used to pay my bills.
Teaching is my new passion.
Trying to make education better in increments.
My diet soda consumption is far too high.
Sometimes, I write things here.
Solidarity forever.

Jun 6

Wisconsin aftermath.

Well, Walker won the recall. I was once a Wisconsin resident, but am no longer and have not been for a number of years.

There will be no recriminations or sour grapes here — just honest soul searching about what it means to identify with the union movement and be, on some level, a union activist in a state that is far more hostile to unions than Wisconsin will ever be.

I mean, if a state known for once electing socialists can so quickly turn its back on public unions, what hope can I hold out that my collective-bargaining-less public union here in Texas can even begin to hold the center against what will, increasingly, be a right-wing onslaught. 

Have I backed the wrong beliefs? Will being a building steward be totally meaningless (instead of mostly meaningless) in three years?

I’m not moving, but I expect to be overwhelmed. 


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Jan 27

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Jan 26
Have you ever seen/read/heard something so magnificent that it made you throw up your hands and admit your contributions to said genre were so woefully insignificant that just attempting to form them would be to profane the universe in a very significant way?
This book did it to me.
You might say, “Jim, a young-adult book about teenagers with cancer? That’s your undoing?”
Yes. It is. Not a crier by nature, I spent the last third of this book bawling. And laughing. But mainly bawling. But mainly laughing.
If John Green isn’t one of the five best novelists alive in America today… Well, just read the book and be prepared to experience the world as a sadder, but more magical place in the aftermath.

Have you ever seen/read/heard something so magnificent that it made you throw up your hands and admit your contributions to said genre were so woefully insignificant that just attempting to form them would be to profane the universe in a very significant way?

This book did it to me.

You might say, “Jim, a young-adult book about teenagers with cancer? That’s your undoing?”

Yes. It is. Not a crier by nature, I spent the last third of this book bawling. And laughing. But mainly bawling. But mainly laughing.

If John Green isn’t one of the five best novelists alive in America today… Well, just read the book and be prepared to experience the world as a sadder, but more magical place in the aftermath.


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Dec 17

Last conversation before winter break.

  • Student from LifeSkills class: You're a mouse.
  • Me: I'm a mouse?
  • Student: You eat cheese.
  • Me: You eat cheese, too. Are you a mouse?
  • Student: No! You're a mouse.

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Dec 15

My own Esquire-style interview.

I’ll never be famous enough to justify my own Esquire-style interview (or talented enough to conduct such an interview), so I’ve created my own:

* Anyone who wants to destroy the power of labor unions is inherently against free markets. Organizing is a legal right, and labor is part of a free market. Eroding that right is to degrade free markets.

* TV is the ultimate time burglar. Other than a few sterling examples of entertainment, I don’t feel good when I’m watching TV.

* I’m impervious to negativity, but pervious to cookies.

* I understand why bright, young teachers leave the classroom to go into education reform. Fighting the classroom by classroom fight is exhausting and frustrating. Moving away from such a small sphere of influence to influence a whole school, district or state is very appealing. But, it doesn’t matter how many great minds we have in reform. If we can’t win the battle in the individual classroom, all the top-down reform won’t matter a bit.

* I love my wife. She’s taught me to enjoy cooking, activism and my faith.

* Sometimes you just gotta take a nap. But, there’s a such thing as too much. More than 30 minutes and you’re doing more harm than good.

* I miss being an observer and recorder of events. I am, however, excited about my ability to take part in events, instead of just observing. Now I just need to figure out the best way to do it given my talents.

* I’m ashamed I was ever a conservative. What the hell are these people thinking? Yes, government does create jobs. It is the most reliable job creator ever.

* Subcompact cars are the best. There’s not a parking spot I can’t fit into.

* Can’t wait for winter break to start. A few quiet weeks to think and reflect are so valuable. And, there’s a Northwestern bowl game here in Houston. Huzzah and go Cats!


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Jul 29

Even official-er.

Dear Student:

Your written/oral comprehensive examination or graduate project has been graded by your committee; it is my pleasure to inform you that you have passed.  The Graduate Studies office has received all required paperwork and grades from your department and you have applied and paid for graduation.  You have met all requirements for your degree and are scheduled to graduate in August 2011. On behalf of the Graduate Faculty of Lamar University, I congratulate you, and wish you continued success in your chosen field.

Sincerely,



Victor Zaloom
Interim Dean, College of Graduate Studies


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Jul 26
“You look him in the eye and you say ‘Your state economy is based on energy. With oil at $100 per barrel, you better have created a lot of jobs.’” Guy at the table next to me at Starbucks making a surprisingly cogent argument against Gov. Perry’s potential campaign boast of job creation in Texas.

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Excerpts from a letter to my Congressman.

Dear Rep. Culberson,

I am writing to you, asking you to commit to supporting spending on the social safety net programs in our country.

My wife and I both have great jobs, she as an XXX and me as a public school teacher. We have a great cash flow and hope buy a home and start a family in coming years. That said, please consider raising taxes on families like mine. Moving from X percent to X+1 percent wouldn’t make us happy, but we’d understand the need to help support vital programs to help the young, poor and elderly.

As a public school teacher, I can see how frayed this safety net already is. Some of my students get their only meals at school. They lack access to health care. They attend a school that, while filled with passionate teachers, is old and crumbling.

Cutting spending and reducing debt is a noble goal, but it is far less noble than making sure the least among us have access to basic rights. Please reconsider your position on balancing the budget and the debt ceiling. Increasing revenues must be part of the deal because cuts alone will fall on those who can least afford it.


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