Zealots, Ethics, Buying Clubs, Snowdays and…

…stepping away from the precipice.

Since last Tuesday’s closed door school board meeting about negotiations I’ve spent the week stepping back from the precipice. The first verse of AA’s serenity prayer has been my mantra,

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

As my old colleague, George Balach, once observed to quiet nervous observers when I beat him to get elected Chair of the School Board, Harry still has just one vote. So much is beyond my control that jumping off a cliff won’t improve things. I have to work for the future with that one vote and my good cheer. My Mom always told me that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

So, to the old readers who are beginning to come back to the blog I’ll explain that this post will be a little catch all and catch up on the stuff I usually categorize under Harry’s Diary.


I’ve been reading a new book out loud to Claudia. This one is her recommendation from her book club. Its Zealot, the Life and Times of Jesus Christ by Reza Aslan. I’m about six chapters in and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. That’s probably why a quick Google Search comes up with so many links debunking and dismissing it. Its very readable and makes for a good history, so far, of the situation on the Ground in the Holy Land in the time of Roman occupation. It accords well with a dozen or more books I’ve read on the subject since the great wave of the Moral Majority swept into and carried away the Republican Party.


Our men’s church group had the nephew of one of our elder statesmen come to speak to us about business ethics this morning. I had to write up the intro in our church bulletin for the meeting and talked to Ikonic’s Marketing guy Parnell Phill. He gave us a thoughtful wide ranging discussion that I particularly appreciated in my renewed capacity as a Duluth School Board member. I guess I should remind readers, especially after mentioning my new current read aloud book, that I’m an Agnostic who has sung for twenty years in our church choir.

Ethics isn’t tied to religion but allied with it. I won’t rehash the points he discussed in detail but just say that among the things it had me thinking about are:

Is an organization no better ethically than its least ethical employee? That’s taken from the chain metaphor about the weakest link. Just remember that in an organization some links are bigger than others.

Is there a reset button for a link that has failed or do we consign that link (person) to purgatory for all time? In Christian theology this would be the redemption button.

The reset button set off our elder statesman, Richard Pearson. A former Hermantown School Superintendent and liberator of nazi concentration camps Pearson mentioned his vehement opposition to “zero tolerance” laws. I concurred and mentioned that at one time in America the reset button was moving out west where your youthful trespasses could be forgotten. That’s not so easy today in the age of Social Security numbers and dozens of other ways to track a person for a lifetime. Is it even possible for a reset button today? Well, the voters just gave me one and I’m fully prepared to offer reset buttons at others.

Buying Clubs:

This is a reference to the movie we live streamed last night that just won two best actor Oscars, The Dallas Buyer’s Club. If you can look past the R rating which it surely must have (not a problem for me) it was a movie about a reset button. Claudia and I both thought it an excellent movie. The Oscars were well deserved.

and oh yeah, the School District and Snowdays:

We seem, with the help of our teachers, to have come up with a satisfactory resolution to this issue, providing that the snow stops…….Don’t look outside!

BTW. I’m the Board member who asked if the twelve minute addition to the school day would mean an extra two minutes for secondary classes. When told that this would be the case I raised my arms above my head and shouted “Halelujah.” If only the snow was the only thing beyond my control.

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