Don’t Be Knockin’ Education

A very dull knife in the drawerYesterday (October 1st, 2009) our local free newspaper in Tampa (tbt* – published a verbatim letter to the editors that they received from an 11th grade student in the area who disagreed with Obama’s push for education reform that includes longer school years/weeks in a long-winded, error-laden piece of mess. Read the original letter to the editors here: “A student’s letter to tbt*”

I’ll be the first to tell you there are a lot of stupid people out there. Students, teachers, parents, workers, bosses… all walks of life. By definition, 50% of the population has a less than average intelligence – something to think about while driving. Despite those terrible statistics that Jay Leno exposes on a regular basis, don’t knock the rest of academia and those who love to learn and keep on learning after it’s not required.

That said, that article is a piece of work… I mean, a piece of art. I’ve spent a good many years proofreading papers and always spot typographic errors in publications. I was an editor for 3 years and know what things look like when a stupid person writes something. To even consider that letter to the editor as a contribution to society is laughable. Even numbskulls know about capitalizing sentences – what they don’t know is how to use parenthetical statements (which that person did twice). There is also a sign of significant intelligence in the actual ideas of the letter, though I’m not sure which provoked the tbt* editors more: the atrocious spelling or the position on the topic that the student took. The very existence of the letter should set off some alarms to the validity of the piece as written by an idiot.

Two more points for kickers: 1) would tbt* have published the piece if it was written with perfect prose – would it have made its way out of a pile of letters they receive every day? 2) if it was written by a dolt, they would have not known how poor the grammar was and would have omitted the request for anonymity.

Here is the first page of the replies to the editor that tbt* received in response to the student letter: Replies to the editor

I am calling for a full-scale investigation of the author to have tbt* report back that said author is actually an honor roll student with plans to attend the USF Honor’s College next fall, but is fearful of any action the university may take against their application if this was attributed to them. Is Open for Business - ready for traffic! - ready for traffic!

I’ve been working hard, too hard in some family members’ minds, on my freelance site over the last two weeks. Now that it’s done, I can relax and reap the rewards for a job very well done.

I am in a very unique position at iThemes in that I am the front line of contact with our customers, not just one of the front line. There are only so many things that we offer for support that is included in the price of our premium WordPress themes. We can’t train someone from scratch how to use WordPress or learn enough CSS and HTML code to change their site. We offer answers to specific questions, but projects need to be directed elsewhere.

For the last couple of months, I have been directing them my way for some literal moonlighting. I typically start my second work day around 9-10pm and work until midnight on projects. It’s great money, creates networking contacts, and makes iThemes to be an all-around solution, even if one has to pay for certain services.

It became rather tedious, though, to reply to someone that they can contact a moderator or myself for services and write a long e-mail about my services and fees and hope they e-mailed me back on my personal e-mail. Since I’d been holding on to for about 15 months waiting to finally develop some content, I decided to make it about promoting me and what I do rather than me forcing myself into writing or producing material. Now I can simply refer people to my namesake domain (I sure hope they spell both names right later) and they can see that I am the real deal with testimonials and links to prove it. Not to mention the theme I’m running – /horn toot!

I’m quite proud of what I did at the bottom of my home page, though I openly admit that my wife had a LOT of very constructive and helpful suggestions about certain elements of the home page and it now passes with flying colors in her very distinguishing design opinion. Please check out that little area and the hover action on the guy, especially. I’d have to say I’m more proud of the bird and my graphic and code work putting that together, but the Image is Everything ad is definitely my best marketing work to date.

Customized code turned these from text areas to this!

Customized code turned these from text areas to this!

This is actually our latest iThemes release, and the first of 2009 for our rapidly expanding group of 2009 Theme Club customers. By purchasing the Club package, customers are entitled to every theme we produce this calendar year, so the release of this theme, called Architect (demo site here), produced a new wave of sign-ups today. My fingers were quite busy creating new member site logins for their download access since the value of receiving our premium themes at less than $35 per multi-use license them is $100 off per theme! The more themes we produce over our promised number reduces the cost per theme to the customer even more.

Gallery – December 2002 – Roatan