Wednesday, August 26, 2020

COVID Positive

Let’s face facts – these are dark times in our nation’s history. My mask is starting to smell funky but I can’t wash it because it’s paper, there’s a national coin shortage of some sort that may or may not be affecting us in some way, and it’s an election year, so ridiculous politicians keep trying to get our attention. Add in the fact that the kids won’t leave the house and insist on staying home all day distance “learning,” and it’s easy to get discouraged.

But, my friends, we must not despair. We must look on the bright side of things. Sure, distance learning is just about the worst thing ever, but let’s try to find the good in it, shall we?

Here are fifteen positive things I can think of about the fact that our kids now go to school in our living rooms:

1) Teachers are probably saving hundreds of dollars on air freshener because the classrooms don’t smell like stinky teenagers anymore.

2) Teachers can now drink during school hours.

3) This is a great time for kids to improve their grades. It’s so much easier for them to cheat on tests now.

4) With the need to use so much technology now to even take role each day, teachers are unknowingly padding their resumes with IT skills. This will come in handy for the eventual career change after the nervous breakdown.

5) Kids’ eye-hand coordination will improve dramatically, since the absence of sports has freed up so much more video game time.

6) It’s never been an easier time to be a PE teacher or a librarian. Apply today.

7) The food service and janitorial folks are getting a much-needed break.

8) On-campus disciplinary actions are down a dramatic 100%. Vice Principals are now freed up to snack and nap.

9) Kids have no pesky opportunities for social-emotional growth, not having to deal with their peers in person, so they can happily stagnate at home in front of the computer in their pajamas. Yay!

10) Instances of lost retainers in lunchroom trash cans also down 100%. Retainers are now conveniently lost at home.

11) No tri-fold poster science projects this year! This completely frees up your night before it was due.

12) Back to school night now has a full bar.

13) Parents, no need to leave work early this year to get to the third-grade performance of Friendly Neighborhood Helpers in the multipurpose room. You can stay at work, in your pajamas, in your makeshift bedroom home office with the door securely locked.

14) Snow days are finally available nationwide, any time the internet goes out.

15) And now that they don’t get together in person, it’s a lot tougher for the high school girls to get pregnant!

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

COVID-19 Shutdown Forced Homeschool Parent Log – Day 89

Forced Homeschool Parent Log – Day 89

The Summer of Bummer has officially ended with the lamest “start” of school since the middle ages when the illegitimate sons and daughters of royalty were forced to report to monasteries and nunneries to be hidden away forever.

Our seventh-grader started his exciting middle school run upstairs on a couch he made himself out of three chairs and a futon. Check the Woodshop and Home Ec. boxes simultaneously.

Our incoming freshman began his exciting high school years in our living room, on a regular swiveling office chair. Intro to Business credits!

Our sophomore was already sitting at his computer screen, so he just shrugged and said, “whatever.”

California just couldn’t figure out how to get everyone back to actual school. I’m not even going to pretend to understand the decision-making processes being used, but as a logic and numbers guy I still maintain that it would have been safer for the kids to be required to return to school as long as no one was allowed to drive there.

I can’t thank California enough for all the fun shopping and family IT manager opportunities this has provided me. Laptops, Chromebooks, monitors, Wi-Fi extenders, printer ink and paper, keyboards, mice, desk pads, swivel office chairs, protective floor mats for under the swivel office chairs, white boards and pens, and the list goes on. What ever would I do with my time and money if it wasn’t for school at home? Probably just waste it on stuff like food and retirement savings.

Also, without this opportunity, I never would have known if I could convert a single-family home into a working office. Turns out I can’t. It really ended up being a crappy excuse for an office inside a home that now looks like a crappy office. Sweet!

And the increase in screen time has been just what the doctor ordered for my teenagers! Their gooey developing brains are just soaking in all the goodness, and it shows any time we pry them away from their devices. What caring, cooperative, and patient personalities this is breeding!

And let’s not forget about my delightful screen time increase. What a nifty collection of emails I’ve received in the last few weeks. Just a quick count in my Gmail shows eighty-four emails in the past two weeks, many of them containing links to videos. That’s six a day, including weekends. A big shout out to the superintendent, principals, assistant principals, counselors, teachers, librarians, athletic departments, coaches, food service staff, front office personnel, custodians, yard duties, crossing guards, student body presidents, and activities directors for cranking those out! I’ve never been more informed about the unprecedented-ness of our unique and challenging situation.

Happily, the schools have also provided me with something to fill my downtime between emails and videos. Gone are the days of simply hearing at dinner about how class is going from your child, and talking quarterly with their teacher. We now have so many more options, digitally, to stay engaged in real-time while they are actually learning during each day, just down the hall.

I’ve had the pleasure of creating accounts with a number of different online learning platforms used in a wide variety between the fifteen different classes I am now invited to keep up with, through helpful reminder emails, each day.

It’s a darn good thing that all the California parents like myself were able to quit their jobs and stay home to manage all this learning!

Maybe I’ll enroll in online school while I’m at it. Perhaps some IT and education classes? That would probably help tremendously in my new role as home school office IT manager.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. The Wi-Fi is down. Everyone just got kicked out of class.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Flu Game Shame

I just finished watching “The Last Dance” on Netflix. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s the story of Michael Jordan’s career and the intertwined story of the Chicago Bulls’ twin three-peats. I must say, it doesn’t matter if you’re a sports fan or not – it is riveting television.

Along with Tiger King, it comes with my highest Netflix recommendation.

I remember the three-peats, but I was unaware of a very important fact that came to my attention in episode nine of the documentary – a fact that brings utter shame on the entire state of Utah.

It happened before the fifth game of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. The game was in Utah and the series was tied 2-2, and in a best-of-seven series, game five is huge.

Game five went down in the history books as “The Flu Game,” because Jordan was sick as a dog the night before, in bed all day before the game getting fluids through an IV, and looked like the walking dead when he went out onto the court.

I remember the flu game, but I did not know the real story. The story that casts a shadow of ignominy (Greek for “you suck”) over the entire beehive state.

Jordan and the Bulls were staying at the Marriott in Park City. It was 10:00 the night before game five. Jordan was in his hotel room hanging out with his bodyguards and his personal trainer. He was hungry and they were trying to find him some food.

The hotel’s room service was already closed, and no restaurants were open except for one pizza place that finally answered the phone. Jordan’s trainer ordered the pizza and a little while later five guys showed up to deliver it, all trying to get a peek inside the room.

The trainer paid for the pizza at the door and brought it into the room, but didn’t have a good feeling about the whole situation. When was the last time five pizza delivery guys brought you your large thin-crust peperoni? That is a full four more pizza guys than the industry standard single pizza guy.

Jordan’s trainer told the room about the group delivery and expressed his concerns, warning against touching the pizza for fear of foul play. It was obvious the pizza guys knew the food was going to the Bulls, and maybe they even knew it was going to Jordan himself. Michael was hungry enough that he said screw it and ate the whole pizza himself.

Four hours later, Jordan was hurling his guts out in the hotel bathroom.

Flu my ass.

But let’s just forget about the pizza for a minute. Here’s the thing, Utah – Jordan scored 38 points that night and even had the clutch three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the game to put it away. He beat you guys with the “flu.” That was impressive enough at the time when we all thought it was the actual flu, and served to show that you guys, as a basketball team, never really had a chance.

Now, not being able to beat the Bulls in the ‘90s is nothing to be ashamed of as a basketball team, but let’s face it – if you can’t even do it when Jordan is near death, that should tell you something.

Now let’s get back to the pizza and the tarnish of shame it brings upon your entire ridiculously straight-bordered state.

First Pizza Scenario: Assuming the pizza was purposely tainted in an attempt to disable one or more of the Bulls players, that means you had residents of Utah who had zero confidence in your ability to win a championship on your own. Nice fan base, losers. Shame on you.

Second Pizza Scenario: Assuming the food poisoning was accidental and the pizza was not purposely tainted, that means you have a state that can’t even make a pizza right. The city of Chicago beats the entire state of Utah in basketball and pizza. Shame on you.

Overriding Utah Food Scenario: You suck at food service in general. You have a state with major hotels that shut down room service before 10:00. Seriously? And your restaurants can’t muster the strength to stay open much past sunset either, huh? What a fun place to visit! Congratulations on being the lamest state anyone has ever heard of. Shame, shame, big, fat food service shame on you. Gordon Ramsay will be flying in soon to yell at you. Try not to faint from all the strong language.

I’m not even mad about the Jordan pizza thing. You got what you deserved with that one. I’m mad that if I visit your pretend state, apparently I won’t be able to get a cheeseburger at 11:00 at night.

Get it together, Utah. That is just sad.

And shameful.

See you soon (not you, Utah),



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


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Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Google+ You = Just You - Repost

A while back, I predicted a class action lawsuit would be coming against my former seventeenth-favorite social network, Google+. Sadly, I was right. Someone please tell my wife.

I got the email yesterday informing me of the impending legal action against Google With Cross. I was wrong about one thing, though. The suing class wasn’t as large as I thought it would be. I predicted the predatory lawyers would be able to round up as many as seven hipsters as plaintiffs. I overestimated the massive popularity and user base of Google Addition. They could only find four. This legal action brought to you by Matthew, Zak, Charles, and Eileen. Good luck with your lawsuit, you crazy kids.

Here’s the historical record of my prediction, so we can prove it to my wife. Enjoy!

I received some disturbing news last week. Google emailed me to inform me that my Google+ account would be shut down soon. You can imagine my surprise.

My first thought was, I have a Google+ account?

My second thought was, What the hell is Google+?

I’m totally kidding. I know Google+ was the social media network that Google came up with in an afternoon as a means to compete with Facebook. Sadly, it never really took off, and by “never really,” I mean that only fifty-six people in the entire world ever knew about it, and most of them worked at Google. Maybe they should have advertised it on Facebook?

My guess as to why it never gained any traction is that it had a symbol in the name. It was like The Social Network Formerly Known as Prince. When you don’t actually spell out your company name, you leave it far too open for interpretation.

Is it “Google Plus,” “Google Add,” “Google And,” “Google Positive,” “Google Lazy Person’s Ampersand,” or “Google Insert International Direct Dial Code Here?” No one ever knew for sure.

Here’s part of the nice note I received from Google Celtic Cross:

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers' expectations.

Apparently, one of the “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product” is not accidentally leaving a giant security gap for an entire week. That apparently does not “meet consumers' expectations.”

Originally, they had plans to drag out the shutdown of Google Line Doodle until August of 2019, but then they found out that they did an update that had a huge bug in it, leaving everyone’s accounts wide open for an entire week, so they have decided to pull the plug by April.

It’s unclear whether any sensitive data was leaked, but the good news for Google is that virtually everyone with a Google I Have Two Sticks account was a Google employee, and can’t sue them. Any class action lawsuits arising from the breach should only have about seven members, consisting of ultra-hipsters. Google can probably settle out of court with them for a few twelvers of PBR and some free Lyft coupons.

The nice note then had a ton of completely useless information about how I could retrieve all my photos from them. Apparently, they were still fooling themselves into thinking anyone actually used Google Swiss Flag, right up until the end.

The note concluded with this:

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.

Yes, you seven dedicated thought leaders meant the world to us!

Also, if any of you talented, passionate community builders out there are hiring, we would love to synergistically leverage our failed Google Skewed X platform skills in your workspace, as early as next Tuesday.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!