Tag Archives: Education

Jury Duty Or Falling Through The Rabbit Hole!

21 Dec
Dear Readers,
Monday, December 10, 8:30 AM here I sit….
My day began…
Silent Investor out of the house very early, posted on my blog, read other blogs, enjoyed a most delicious cup of coffee, watched a little morning news/squawk box and into the shower. Son wasn’t awake, woke him up, finished dressing, got dogs and garbage out, got dogs back in, dropped son off at bus and straight to the court house I went….
Jury duty!
Now the last time I was called for jury duty was about 20 years ago in New Jersey. I sat in a small courtroom with about 15 other people. We were then asked to sit in the hall and about an hour later, called back into small courtroom and was told, “You all must have looked very scary, they settled.” We were thanked, and I arrived home before lunch.
But here in Cleveland…Ah here in Cleveland… Jury Duty is a completely different beast and I do mean beast. To sign in one must stand in a long line with the correct letter heading A-L – M-Z designating two separate lines. Once signed in, one gets to sit in a larger room with about 200 other potential jurors.
Around 8:45 AM a short 15-minute movie is shown. It starts off with a man bound and gaged with spectators dressed in what I would call witch-hanging attire.
About 2000 years ago in Europe there was a justice system called “Trial by Ordeal” They would put the accused hand in boiling water and if the hand was healed in three days they were presumed innocent. Another method, throwing the accused in a lake bound and gaged and if the person sunk they were presumed innocent.
The movie was informative about jury duty and intended to make us all feel quite thrilled we have trail by jury and hence thrilled to be part of what makes our country so great.
After the short movie was over, a judge was there to bestow his sense of humor, and speak to the jury pool regarding our responsibilities and the process of voir dire (seeking the truth).
Please know the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly (if at all at times) and about an hour and half  later I hear my name called over a loud speaker (names picked by random) I am to report to the 19th floor to Judge Peter Corrigan’s courtroom with 34 other potential jurors.
Little did I know at the time…Instead of falling through a rabbit hole as Alice did in “The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland” I took the elevator up…but trust me on this one, it was the exact same thing!
Stay tuned, more adventures coming!
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today in a free fall!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

The World of Symbolism!

11 Oct
Dear Readers,
Before I continue down this art path, I want to back track for a second to tell you a little bit about MOMA’s on-line course that I am involved in. It is the inspiration to yesterday and today’s posting….In some ways not my usual and in other ways spot on!
There are about 65 students (including me, oh how  I love calling myself a student) from all over the world. How do I know this you ask…great question! There is an inter-active cafe that was set up for our use.  In the beginning, we introduce ourselves, and now (week 2) it is an inter-active discussion platform between students and teacher. The teacher serves up a delicious thought provoking question/s for us to ponder, to respond,  to comment. The lessons are taught through a visual and audio lecture! A fabulous inter-active course! When I complete this course, I will definitely enroll in another course given by Larissa Bailiff and/or the MOMA.
WARNING: If anyone majored in art history you can stop reading now, for nothing past this point will interest you, far too simplistic….
But if  not, keep reading, for I am enthralled in the art world of the late 1800′ and would love to share the pleasures!
“Symbolism–it’s some pretty sexy, decadent, anxiety-laden content!”
-Larissa Bailiff,
Symbolism is the period I just finished, a very erotic and bold era!
The leaders of their time was James Ensor (Belgian), Edvard Munch (Norwegian), Henri Rousseau (French), Odilon Redon (French), Gustav Klimt (Austrian). “Paul Gauguin (Post-Impressionist) is also often associated with Symbolism because of the interior quality of his works.” 
Artist of symbolism turned their backs on Naturalism bring art into the spiritual world “based on an interior state rather than an outward or objective relation to the material world.” Dream-like state!
Objects and people – Symbolism expression. 
St John The Baptist 
Naked women (in a state of orgasm) – Danae’ (1907) 
Jewel tones and lurid colors
Blood red paint (femme fatale, horrifying, sexually charged)
The painting “Dangerous Cooks” by James Ensor, is a lovely example of the Symbolism era. Symbolism was not well received by the critics. Ensor’s painting strikes back at his critics….using bold and vibrant colors, painted his critics in the background  vomiting, hungry.  In the forefront of the painting, cooks preparing the martyrs (heads of well known contemporaries) to be served up to the critics to be “devoured”, eaten only for their vulgar pleasures. The center head, Ensor himself (symbolism “the meal”)  beheaded, symbolism for John the Baptist….about to be served up to the critics. He shows himself as a martyr, the critics as vultures..
Another great example of Symbolism …

1893 The Scream by Munch -illusionary state, based on a failed romance (originally titled Despair) human suffering but more of an expression (symbolism) of life’s conditions and emotions.

Artist (Symbolism) pushed the envelope of expression, using their paintings as a mode to express their opinions, feelings, emotions and fears. Music and poetry changed during this period due to the Symbolism influence .
My take away – Symbolism was a period of the bold (erotic), the public display of sensual expression, opinions, views…their “dream-like state”… ecstasy, anxiety, despair (Life as it is)
The World Fair in Paris 1889 was an opportunity for artist to get exposed/influenced to other artists.  A note worthy mention/thought given our world today, being able to be exposed/influenced to everything in the world (on-line art courses) without even leaving our homes, 
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today in a “dream-like state” and looking forward to learning about the next section  “Matisse &Fauvism”! AND giving much thanks and appreciation to my MOMA teacher Larissa  Bailiff for her time, efforts and incredible insights into the world of Modern Art! 
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

This Time of Year!

11 Sep
Dear Readers,
Another rainy Cleveland day (not complaining, well needed) with my staff at my feet as I think about the words a friend said to me this morning. She said as the Jewish holidays (the New Year) approach this is a time to reflect, look forward and to work towards personal fulfillment.
I really like that thought. Anytime for that matter would be a great time for such said positive thoughts but the timing of the Jewish New Year seems particularly perfect to me. The fall arrives with many changes and transitions; changing weather, changing colors, changing routines, changing clothes… confirming the perfect time for a change of perspective.
Which brings me to my post…
I read a wonderful article about raising successful children in the Wall Street Journal by Paul Tough titled “Opting Out of the Rug Rat Race”. This is it in a nut shell…STOP over scheduling, over indulgent, over protective, over controlling your child’s life! They actually did a study based on the General Education Development program (GED), a “…way for high-school dropouts to earn the equivalent of high-school diplomas.”
Mr. Tough writes,
“What matters most in a child’s development, they say, is not how much information we can stuff into her brain in the first few years of life. What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence. Economists refer to these as noncognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us often think of them as character.”…”When you talk today to teachers and administrators at high-achieving high schools, this is their greatest concern: that their students are so overly protected from adversity, in their homes and at school, that they never develop the crucial ability to overcome real setbacks and in the process to develop strength of character.”
Really? No Kidding? If you spoil the hell out of your child, making them think they can do no wrong. Protecting them from negative consequences/adversities, raising your child as your equal and continually bragging about precious, really that will not workout in your child’s best interest down the road? WOW what a shocker! Wasn’t expecting that one! Is anyone picking up my sarcasm because I’m spreading it on really thick?
For those of you with a parental IQ above 50 I know this comes as nothing new and confirms your thoughts and actions. And to you I say keep going, stay on track, your child’s happiness (resilience) will be your reward, happiness and comfort. I personally know it is not easy to deliver difficult consequences to someone you would gladly give up your life for and/or seeing your child struggling to learn life’s painful lessons can make the strongest parent crumble but hang in there, it is worth it! What you are teaching them is how to live and survive in this world without you, which should be every parent’s goal.
And for the rest of you in the parenting pool with a lower IQ I do not care for you are not reading my blog anyway. You are the kind of parent that thinks your child is an extension of yourself and hence does not have any time left  in your very important day between making excuses for your child/yourself, doing their homework, and in full belief you gave birth to our Holy Savior! Amen! 
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today in full reflections in honor of the New Year! I might have to work on the personal fulfillment portion a little bit longer!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

“Eugene Johnson’s First Day of School”

10 Sep
Dear Readers,
Even though Thing One and Thing Two (my neighbor’s children) had the most wonderful first day and days of school sadly there were others in Cleveland not as lucky…and who ever said money can’t buy love didn’t have a five year old in the Cleveland school system!
Unlike Mr. Morris (author “Eugene Johnson’s First Day of School”) I have no faith in blindly pouring more money in the hands of (idiots) Cleveland’s school administrators. They have not proven why they are still in their present jobs much less anything else regarding money (“large tax level”)! If the people in positions of power (Cleveland School Administrators) cannot figure out a school was demolished a year earlier how and why should we have any faith in their ability to manage even more money and more children. 
The Cleveland schools remind me of a quote; “Sometimes forgiving someone is like giving a gunman another bullet.”
You have to understand I am the kind of person that believes when it comes to an education luck should have nothing to do with it. Below is an article about Eugene Johnson’s first day of Kindergarten published in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland’s newspaper). As miserable as it was for Eugene Johnson, Mr. Morris comes to an incredibly inadequate conclusion. 
The article below confirms and reaffirms the knowledge the Cleveland schools need to be taken over without delay. Immediately firing the present administrators, institutionalize accountability, like the rest of corporate America! If you send a client to a meeting in a building that had been demolished a year earlier, you would get fired, as you should. 
Mr. Morris I stand firm in my opinion; pouring good money after bad makes absolutely no sense in fact could even in danger many more children’s lives. My conclusion – Fire all that were responsible!
Please read the article below…
“Eugene Johnson’s first day of kindergarten was a complete disaster: Phillip Morris
Eugene Johnson strapped on his Spiderman book bag early Wednesday morning and headed out the front door with a single thought in mind. Breakfast at the school where he would be starting Kindergarten.
He didn’t care that he and his mother had to walk 25 minutes down Cleveland’s 130th Street in order to catch the No. 22 RTA bus on Lorain Avenue.
He didn’t care that he would have to ride that bus for 10 minute, get off near 99th Street, and walk still another 10 minutes to Almira Elementary.
He didn’t even care that his mother woke him at 6:30 that morning and made him get extra clean for the first day of school.
He didn’t care because he’s 6. And when you’re 6, the first day of school is exciting – especially when you’ve been told that breakfast is going to be served.
There’s no way Eugene, a smallish boy, who dreams of owning his own computer, could have know that the Cleveland Metropolitan School district was about to teach him an important lesson, a lesson that will likely remain with him for sometime:
Life doesn’t always come with a breakfast.
“When he found out that he wasn’t going to get breakfast, he just started crying. I wanted to cry too,” Shanesha King, the mother, said Friday morning.
Eugene Johnson didn’t get his eagerly anticipated school breakfast Wednesday morning because the building the school district told him to report to at 3375 West 99th Street no longer exists.
He was instructed to report to Almira Elementary School, which was built in 1916 and demolished in 2010.
The place where the school once stood is now a large hole in the ground — the scene of a fresh construction site and home of a future Cleveland school.
Mistakes happen.
But try explaining that reality to a boy on his first day of school. Try explaining bureaucratic errors, like non-existent buildings or phantom addresses, to a kid who had spent days debating whether to carry the Scooby Doo, or the Spiderman book bag on Day One.
Try explaining to a boy, who had been dreaming of new friends and breakfast, that his first day of school is one he’s likely never to forget, for all of the wrong reasons.
Cleveland remains a sprawling district, filled with transient families that often move multiple times throughout a single academic year. It’s a difficult task to track students.
With a mobility rate of 30 percent, children can easily disappear within the system as families migrate throughout the city, and in and out of the district.
But how do you send a boy – and 293 other students — to a school that was closed in 2009 and demolished a year later?
No one seems to have a good answer. Roseann Canfora, the district’s communication’s officer, said the mistake was realized Tuesday, the day before school began. A phone message was hastily recorded and dialed to the 294 families that had been instructed to take their children to the vacant lot on West. 99th.
But it’s not at all clear how many children, like Eugene, still showed up at the wrong site, because the district didn’t have working contact telephone numbers for all of the parents.
Interestingly enough, no signs were posted at the erroneous address redirecting people to the proper location off of West 117th street. No district employee was assigned to the hole in the ground, to point parents and their young children to the building that now temporarily housing Almira elementary, some two miles away.
In the big scheme of things, the mistake of sending nearly 300 Cleveland school children to an active construction site is far from the worst thing that could happen to the district.
There’s no reason to believe that this embarrassing mistake need distract from the district’s stated goal of becoming “a premier school district in the United States of America.”
But still, one cannot help but wonder the following:
If the administration figured out, belatedly, that it had directed scores of families to the wrong address, why didn’t it simply have someone waiting at the hole in the ground with coffee, fruit and cookies?
That simple measure would have stopped one little boy’s first day of school from being a complete disaster. And it would have made an impoverished Cleveland mother feel a little bit better about the $5 she was needlessly forced to spend on an all day bus pass.
It’s simple things like that — and getting children graduated — that help get large tax levies passed.
By Phillip Morris, The Plain Dealer – Friday, August 24, 2012
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today fed up with “bureaucratic errors” and “large tax levies” because putting money in the hands of the stupid and the entitled only creates a hot mess, as poor Eugene Johnson knows all too well!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

“Tis The Season” (Graduation)

30 May

Dear Readers,

Tis the season (graduation) is now upon us! Let the games begin!

There are graduations from nursery school, kindergarten, third grade, fourth grade, sixth grade and eighth grade. There are high school, college, master programs and PHD graduations.

There are four and five year olds that walk across the stage to receive a diploma, with a professional camera crew videoing every move. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings in attendance to watch four-year olds graduate, reminiscing about the day in March (right before spring break) Jordan actually walked in to school for the first time without crying and the teacher was actually able to stop taking Advil with her morning coffee.

Then there are elementary school graduations (fifth or sixth grade) whenever their elementary school ends and middle school begins. Graduating from the elementary school building to the middle school building. Then there is the eighth grade graduation. Again kids graduating from one building to another, for in the fall their lockers will be in a different building called The High School.” Please know these building graduations are with all the pomp and circumstance as a High School graduation and even some colleges.

High school graduations are important unlike all the “building graduations” that come before. For many it will end/limit their time at home (thank God). They will go off to college embracing a new life, environment, new friends, and new teachers and for many they will experience life for the first time without their parent’s filters! Many college freshmen will for the first time actually have to share a bedroom/bathroom with someone else. For other high school graduates the military is their next step in to the “real world” and then there will be others, high school will be their last educational degree.

Part of the season’s festivities for high schools and grades below are the award ceremonies for measurable and non-measurable achievements. There is a sports night filled with awards and lovely words said about each child (regardless of playing time) there are awards for perfect attendance (maybe the parents should get that award.) There are hours of long ceremonies to hand out awards for academics, singing, music, theater, foreign languages (which are all my favorites), for being a really nice person, for being a team player, for being enthusiastic and for “gosh darn it” I just want to give you an award, and an award for turning your life around (no one knows how or why) but we are all so proud! They give awards to teachers for teaching, for retiring teachers, there are “shout outs” a student that happened to get hold of a microphone, either in giving out an award (to another class mate) or accepting an award saying something nice about another person …and the list goes on. AND sometimes the awards seem to take on a life of their own, please see the link below from the Huffington Post…Tis the season!


At graduation there will be speakers, Principals, Head Masters, Ministers, Guest Speakers, Board of Trustees and Students all trying to be inspirational, insightful and moving with a hint of humor.

And lets not forget the gatherings, the celebrations for all the graduates that go on for a few months before and after graduation. There are end of school parties, senior breakfast (parents go to high school very early in the morning to set up/prepare and more parents arrive to clean up after the seniors) senior proms, after parties, graduation parties at homes, Country Clubs, parks and/or graduation party weekends in the Bahamas’. And last but certainly not lease…the graduation gifts!

College graduations are my favorite. It truly is the most wonderful moment in time especially if your child has worked their tail off and graduates with honors. Having your child inducted “Magna Cum Laude,” watching them sign a historical book (over 100 years of tradition) making them an official member of a higher standard of academic excellence club, is a humbling experience as a parent and stepparent. Having your child receive a departmental award (money is given to students for their dedication, hard work and achieving success in their chosen field) OR having your child graduate from the honors college with honors…for you know for that high level success in life has nothing to do with you (the parent) and everything and all to do with your child (the graduating student.)

As a divorced mother (and remarried) it is a wonderful time when a family (Modern families) Parents, Stepparents, significant others, former in-laws etc., can come together with joy in their hearts. I was so grateful that my former husband and I were/are on great terms. We had been able to work through the pain of divorce and blame etc. move forward in a positive direction. Put the past behind us, remembering only the good/wonderful times we shared and be thankful. I give my former husband credit for everything he did and didn’t do which created opportunities for me (to support their father or to provide!) AND because of all the hard work of forgiving, letting go of the past and moving forward we actual honored our children with the ability to add joy, fun and laughter to the graduation weekend instead of making it awkward and difficult for all. In addition, it gave me an opportunity to show my children how a loving and gracious person should act, (life might not go as planned) but as my mother would say, ”children do as we do and not as we say.” The graduation weekend take away, life is about hard work, wide accepting arms and many loving hearts of support (regardless of blood lines)…. which we all felt. My former husband was most gracious to my husband and showed true respect and appreciation. Now in my opinion that was our gift to our children showing respect to each other and our children were most appreciative!

For many parents graduations can be sad for it will end friendships. They were friendships of convenience, standing around the lacrosse games; football games or swim meets to watch/support your child and hence other children on the playing fields. You got to know other parents and children throughout the years attending the same school events. You didn’t need to make plans to get together because they would just be there at the game. Parents sometimes would gather before and after games, supporting the team and each other in the life called parenting. There are parents whose social life is so attached to their child’s activities that graduation creates a huge void in their life.

But in this moment in time Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS and quote a dear friend’s husband. Their son graduated this year from a very prestige’s college, their son got a job that landed him in Chicago and he secured an apartment without any help from his parents. Sam said to his wife. “I’m not going to be impressed because Parker did what he was suppose to do, graduate, get a job and get a place to live without our help” Amen! I would say their son gave his parents the most wonderful graduation gift…by his actions he proved what fabulous parents they were!

Again, it has been my pleasure telling you what to do and what NOT to do!

Kindest regards,


President and CEO


“A Person is a Person…”

18 Apr

Dear Readers,


Umautu Ngumuntu Ngabantu


(A person is a person because of other people)


African Proverb via Tribe of Fire)


By unconditional Love





Asklotta and staff takes great pleasure in today as we MIND YOUR BUSINESS, if a picture is worth a thousand words…we want to know what words are speaking to you?




Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!



Kindest regards,




President and CEO




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