celebrities, law, true crime

Bill Cosby has been sprung from the joint…

Last night, I was startled by a headline about the man who was once called “America’s Dad”. Bill Cosby, who has spent the best part of the last three years in a Pennsylvania prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, was released from the joint on a technicality. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s 2018 conviction for sexual assault, for which Cosby was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in a maximum security prison. As of September, Cosby would have served the minimum time of three years.

He’s out of the jug.

Cosby was released because of a “non-prosecution agreement” he had with a previous prosecutor who had decided not to prosecute Cosby for sexual assault. The agreement meant that Cosby should not have been charged. Although more than sixty women have come forward to allege that Cosby had also victimized them, the statute of limitations has passed, making any future prosecution unlikely. According to The New York Times:

In their 79-page opinion, the judges wrote that a previous prosecutor’s statement that Mr. Cosby would not face charges, which paved the way for Mr. Cosby to testify in a civil trial, meant that he should not have been charged in the case. It was a 6-to-1 ruling, with two of the judges in the majority dissenting on the remedy, which barred a retrial.

In 2005, Cosby was investigated following allegations from Andrea Constand that he had given her drugs and sexually assaulted her. Former Montgomery County district attorney, Bruce L. Castor, had stated in a press release, at the time, that he had found “insufficient evidence” to criminally prosecute Cosby. Ms. Constand then brought a civil suit against Cosby, which they settled in 2006. Cosby eventually paid Constand $3.38 million. In the course of that civil suit, Cosby made incriminating statements against himself, based on assurances by Castor that he would not be held criminally liable.

In December 2015, Bruce L. Castor’s successors reopened the criminal case against Cosby, just days before the 12 year statute of limitations would have expired. Over 60 women had come forward to accuse Cosby of sexually assaulting them– the case was gathering steam just as the #MeToo movement was heating up, which no doubt increased pressure for Cosby to be convicted.

Cosby had admitted during the 2006 civil suit that he had given “quaaludes to women he was pursuing for sex”. That evidence was used in the criminal case against him in 2015, but because he’d had that agreement with Castor, he never should have been charged. Consequently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that “…in light of these circumstances, the subsequent decision by successor D. A.s to prosecute Cosby violated Cosby’s due process rights.” 

Although I know a lot of people are disappointed that Cosby was released, personally, I don’t have much of a problem with it. Cosby is almost 84 years old, essentially blind, and extremely unlikely to repeat his crime. I doubt any women will be visiting him in an attempt to bolster their careers. I also doubt any women with sense would accept drinks or pills from Mr. Cosby. Any women that would do that should have their heads examined.

Cosby definitely should have been prosecuted years ago, but he wasn’t. And it does sound like his rights to due process were violated. Since I would hope for fairness and due process if I, or someone I love, was ever accused of a crime, I expect proper due process for other people. That includes people who are clearly guilty, which I believe wholeheartedly that Cosby is.

We should all remember that the fact that Cosby was released from prison on a technicality doesn’t make him any less culpable in his crimes against women. His reputation and career are now pretty much ruined. Hopefully, he’ll go home and live out his remaining years quietly with his faithful wife, Camille. Unfortunately, I don’t think Cosby will keep quiet. He’s always fancied himself someone with something to say, and I suspect being released from prison will embolden him. In fact, after being released, Cosby “called in to local Philadelphia radio station WDAS-FM, where he said the audience needed ‘clarity, they need guidance.'”

“Because this is not just a Black thing,” Cosby said. “This is for all the people who have been imprisoned wrongfully regardless of race, color, or creed. Because I met them in there. People who talked about what happened and what they did. And I know there are many liars out there.”

Camille Cosby, made some shameful comparisons of Cosby’s case to that of Emmett Till’s. Emmett Till was a black fourteen year old boy who was lynched in 1955 after being accused of “leering” at a white woman. Mrs. Cosby also blamed the media for “demonizing” Bill Cosby– although Cosby had no issues using the media to promote his long and successful career. It just doesn’t wash… but at least now that Cosby’s been released, some of the accusations of racism regarding his case might be put to rest.

As for Bruce L. Castor, he’s gone on to bigger things. This year, he served as a lawyer for Trump during his second impeachment trial. Castor says that he feels “exonerated” by the ruling allowing Cosby his freedom. According to The New York Times, Castor said:

“I was right back in 2005 and I’m right in 2021… I’m proud of our Supreme Court for having the courage to make an unpopular decision.”

Except Cosby actually admitted to drugging women he was pursuing for sex. Castor didn’t find sufficient evidence in 2005 to prosecute “America’s Dad”, but clearly Cosby was guilty. I don’t quite understand why Castor would congratulate himself for not finding evidence against Cosby in 2005, when it’s quite clear that Cosby had a long standing habit of sexually assaulting women and getting away with it.

I do think it’s good that Cosby went to prison. I’m sure that experience was very humiliating and educational for him, although upon his release from the joint, Cosby is claiming that a lot of people who have been imprisoned are innocent and have been victimized by “liars”. That may be true. There may be people in prison who don’t belong there. However, I don’t believe Cosby is among the innocent people who were falsely imprisoned. He openly admitted to drugging women he was pursuing for sex. Cosby’s release is strictly because court officials screwed up– not because someone “lied”.

I think Andrea Constand should be commended for bravely coming forward and doing her part to stop Cosby from hurting other women. If Cosby were younger and still posed a serious threat to women, I might be much more outraged that he’s been released from prison. But I honestly don’t think he will continue his habit of drugging and raping women. As a general rule, I think prison should be for people who are violent and pose a threat to others. That’s just my personal opinion.

I know a lot of people think Cosby should continue to rot in prison to serve as an “example” to others. But in my experience, people who are narcissistic criminals aren’t influenced by what happens to others. They think they’re above it, and they don’t ever expect to get caught. Cosby got away with his crimes for years. Why shouldn’t he have believed that he’d continue to get away with what he was doing? He didn’t learn from watching O.J. Simpson go to prison, did he? I notice we *finally* don’t hear much from O.J. anymore.

And look at Trump. Trump openly admitted to assaulting women and countless women have accused him of assaulting them, including a teenaged girl. Yet he was the president, and many people still want him to lead the country, despite his dismal record and obviously terrible leadership. Unfortunately, Americans are often hesitant to punish powerful, charismatic men. The proof of that is in the Jello Pudding Pop…

Anyway… while I empathize with everyone who is disappointed that Cosby is out of prison now, I don’t see how being outraged about this will make things better. What’s done is done. Cosby can’t be prosecuted again for this crime. That’s a feature of our legal system. So my being outraged about Cosby’s release will do nothing more than raise my blood pressure. Given the state of the world today, and the rising numbers of people getting sick with new variants of COVID-19, I figure I have bigger fish to fry. So since I can’t do anything about this, I wish Mr. Cosby luck, and I hope he stays out of trouble. He would do well to STFU and be grateful, too… maybe show some humility. I don’t think he will, though. His kind never does.

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education, poor judgment, stupid people, true crime

I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record!

Good morning, y’all… It’s my third Wednesday as a pseudo single person. Bill is supposed to come home sometime between tomorrow night and Friday night. Originally, the plan was for him to come back Friday night, but he needs to get a new ID card or he can’t work. Our cards expire on the 23rd, even though we just updated them in September. Bill is now on a new contract and that means new cards. Come to think of it, before long, I’ll also need a new regular military ID– the one I’d use in the USA if we were there.

In any case, Bill tried to get a new card made at an installation somewhat close to where he is right now, but that office ran out of ID cards on the day he was going to go. The other ID office near his current location is closed until the 29th. So then Bill said maybe he’d come home on Thursday night and get new cards made in Wiesbaden. I assume he’d be taking me, too, since I also need a new card, not that I spend any time on the installation during the COVID-19 mess. But then last night, he said getting one in Wiesbaden is also not possible. So now he says he will try to get one in Hohenfels, which was his original plan. Maybe they have a restock of IDs by now. If he does that, he says maybe he’ll be home Friday morning. That would be good.

It occurs to me how lucky we are to like each other so much. Yes, we love each other, but we also LIKE each other a lot. And we miss each other when we aren’t together. Bill’s business trips are boring for both of us. Sometimes I go with him, but then I end up hanging out by myself all day in a hotel room or wandering aimlessly. I am actually glad I got to go with him to Poland in November 2019, though. That was a pretty interesting trip. It would have been even better if we could have driven ourselves there rather than flown.

Anyway… on to today’s topic. I cannot, for the life of me, understand the mentality of some people– mothers especially– who feel the need to commit crimes on behalf of their children. Especially crimes that are more about their egos than preserving life or limb. I mean, I can understand a woman going all “mama bear” on someone who literally threatens or hurts her child somehow. But what about the moms who feel like they need to engage in fraud, harassment, or computer crimes to make sure her little darling(s) is/are on top of the heap? We’ve spent the last two years hearing about Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin committing fraud and cheating to get their daughters into good schools. But more ordinary moms of more modest means also commit these crimes on behalf of their children.

I ran across two such stories yesterday involving meddlesome moms who are now in legal trouble because they couldn’t or wouldn’t let their daughters achieve things on their own. In one case, the mom and daughter were both involved and BOTH of them got arrested. I’m sure that will look good on the girl’s permanent record.

Case #1

Meet Raffaela Spone, a 50 year old mom from Chalfont, Pennsylvania. She is currently facing misdemeanor charges for producing “deep fake” nudes of her daughters’ rivals on her high school cheerleading team. Ms. Spone was arrested on March 5, having been charged with three counts of cyber harassment of a child and three counts of harassment. In her mug shot, she stares blank faced at the camera, her heavily lined eyes glaring, her thin, maroon lips pursed into a line. She wears a chartreuse colored top and a necklace, indicating that fashion and looking snappy is important to her.

Ms. Spone allegedly doctored photos of her daughters’ rivals on a Doylestown area cheerleading team, creating realistic looking images that make it look like the girls were photographed nude, vaping, or drinking beer in bikinis. She sent these fake photos to cheerleading coaches in an effort to get the girls kicked off their team. She also texted the photos to the girls themselves and suggested that at least one of them should kill herself. The three victimized girls were all on the same team as Spone’s daughter, but investigators don’t think she had anything to do with the harassment or was aware of what her mother was doing.

A case like this has all the trappings of a Lifetime movie. In fact, back in the 1993, HBO made a satirical movie about Wanda Holloway, a mother in Texas who actually hired a hitman to kill her daughter’s cheerleading rival. Fortunately, the would be hitman turned Wanda in and the plot failed. In that film rendition, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, Holly Hunter played Wanda Holloway. In 1992, ABC also made a movie about Wanda Holloway, Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story, with Lesley Ann Warren playing Wanda. I haven’t seen either film. Maybe I’ll seek them out today.

I wonder if Raffaela Spone thinks someone might portray her on film someday. I’m sure Lifetime would be all over it. At least in this case, no one was physically hurt and murder was never on the table. If she is convicted, Raffaela Spone could spend six months to a year in prison. Mitigating matters is the fact that in one of the doctored photos that was supposed to appear to be a nude, Spone had digitally removed the bikini in the photo and overlaid flesh colored bars that gave the photo a “Barbie doll” effect, with no genitalia showing. Had anything private been showing, Spone would be facing much more serious charges.

Meanwhile, I’m sure everyone in their town now knows who Spone’s daughter is, even though she wasn’t implicated in the case. In her quest to cheat for her daughter, Spone has made things much worse for her. Even though the daughter wasn’t involved, her permanent record now has a blight. Hopefully, the people of that community are empathetic. I can only imagine Spone is probably a nightmare when she’s behind closed doors, particularly if she’s willing to go to these lengths to cheat for her daughter.

Case #2

We now move south to Florida, where a 17 year old high school student and her mother, Laura Rose Carroll, who also happens to be an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, have been arrested for hacking the school’s computer system. Ms. Carroll is alleged to have logged into the school’s computer system and casted 246 votes for her daughter, who was on the Homecoming Court. Ms. Carroll’s efforts, had they not been discovered, would have resulted in her daughter winning the contest under false pretenses.

The list of charges against Laura Rose Carroll and her daughter is long. According to The Hill, “the mother and daughter will be charged with offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, criminal use of personally identifiable information and conspiracy to commit these offenses.” Arrest records also indicate that Ms. Carroll’s daughter also had improper access to her mother’s “FOCUS” account. I’m assuming that FOCUS is some kind of school computer system that has all of the permanent records of the students in the school system. Naturally, that would include personal information that should not be accessible to anyone who doesn’t specifically need access to such personal and confidential information. A witness claims that the daughter had access to the FOCUS account for a long time and use it frequently to get information about test scores and grades. The daughter also allegedly divulged private information about other students to her friends.

Given who Ms. Carroll is, it’s highly likely that everyone knows who her daughter is, despite her name not being printed in the media due to her age. Not knowing anything at all about this duo and not finding the news articles about them particularly illuminating, I wonder what the conditions were that led to this mother-daughter crime spree. Which one of them is the more toxically ambitious of the two? Is it mom who wants to see her daughter crowned in a means to stroke her own ego and, perhaps, vicariously live through her daughter’s achievements, even if they were ill gotten? Or is it the daughter who convinced her mother to help her cheat? It will be interesting to see if the media reveals any more details about this case.

I suspect Ms. Carroll is now unemployed. If she’s not unemployed yet, she probably will be very soon. Her bond was set at $8500, while her daughter was carted off to juvenile hall. I wonder if it was worth it to them.

These cases make me appreciate my mom more. I mean, hell, my mom won a beauty contest when she was 16 years old. I’m sure she would have loved it if I had been pretty and popular instead of outspoken and obnoxious. Fortunately, my mom is not ambitious for anyone but herself, and she pretty much stayed out of my life once I was at puberty. She stuck to paying the bills and encouraging me to get a job and GTFO on my own. She sure as hell wasn’t involved in my horse shows, which was what I was doing when I was a teen. She didn’t even look at my report cards. At the time, I thought that made her uncaring, but now I think she did me a solid. Anything I achieved, I did so legitimately and mostly on my own. At least neither of us were ever arrested for cheating or harassment or any other embarrassing misdeed that would have wound up on my permanent record. I have the satisfaction of knowing I can do things on my own… which I’ve been unhappily proving for almost three weeks now.

On another note… for some reason, as I type this, I am reminded of this classic song by Violent Femmes… the album this song comes from never ages, even though the lead singer can’t sing. What he has is vocal charisma. I’m sure it’s served him well over the years.

“I hope you know that this will go down on your PERMANENT RECORD!” Oh yeah?
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true crime

Is sending someone to prison ever an act of compassion?

Yesterday, I read a news story about a 36 year old Pennsylvania woman named Ashley Menser who was in the news recently because in 2018, she pleaded guilty to stealing $109.63 worth of “groceries” and the judge decided to sentence her to incarceration for at least ten months in prison. That would have been shocking enough. Ms. Menser is also very sick with cancer and could die within weeks.

According to The New York Times, she has advanced uterine and cervical cancer and needs to have a hysterectomy and tissue around the uterus removed. A post on PennLive.com states that Ms. Menser has advanced ovarian cancer. She is mentally ill as well, and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder over the loss of her child. At one time, she was addicted to opioids, and she currently takes powerful psychiatric medication that affects her ability to be able to tell what is real, and what isn’t. According to her attorney, Scot Feeman speaking to The New York Times,

“With the psychiatric medicine, she has trouble discerning what’s real and what’s not,” Mr. Feeman said. He said Ms. Menser was distraught after the sentencing, and that he intends to ask the judge to reconsider.

“She is in a lot of pain, and very ill,” he said, “and she’s very concerned about her health prospects going forward.”

Then, I read that Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, a Democrat, was prepared to personally write out a check for the value of the items Ms. Menser took from a Weis Markets store. Mr. Fetterman was shocked by the extreme sentence, even though Ms. Menser did plead guilty to a third degree felony and had a record of minor theft and drug charges. Even the powers that be at Weis Markets seem to be wanting to distance themselves from Ms. Menser’s case, which is proving to be somewhat a public relations nightmare. In a statement to the media, and without mentioning Ashley Menser’s name, a spokesperson for the market said,

“After she left our store, we alerted local law enforcement, who subsequently arrested her. Since then, we have not participated in the judicial or sentencing process.”

In other words, it’s not even like anyone at Weis Markets was dying to see Ashley Menser sent off to prison for such a long time. However, district attorney Pier Hess Graf issued a statement defending the sentence handed down by Judge Samuel A. Kline. She noted Ms. Menser’s rap sheet, which includes 13 prior theft convictions. Ms. Graf also noted that the judge recommended that Menser be sent to a state facility as soon as possible, so that her health conditions can be addressed. He also allowed for a special parole consideration, that could see her out of prison within seven and one-quarter months.

Having read about this– and I did look at another source, which seemed to show Ms. Menser in a less sympathetic light than The New York Times does, I still think the sentence is ridiculous overkill. Nevertheless, a couple of friends seem to think that the judge may be doing Menser a favor. The first friend admitted that she didn’t read the article, probably because it’s behind a paywall. But her comment was something along the lines of, “well, at least she’ll get medical treatment.”

Another friend had the same thought. Like my other friend who opined on this story, she wondered if sending Ms. Menser to prison is somehow an act of “compassion”. Both of them seemed to think Ms. Menser doesn’t have access to medical care when, in fact, she had an oncology appointment scheduled for the day of her sentencing. They probably think that because she stole “groceries”, although it turns out that Ms. Menser didn’t simply steal food.

I’ll admit that I don’t know a lot about Ms. Menser or the Pennsylvania prison system. For all I know, their state run prison facilities may offer top notch medical care for inmates. I just think that too many people are in prison in the United States, especially for non-violent crimes. Moreover, what I have read about American prisons and the quality of healthcare allotted to prisoners, particularly in for profit facilities, makes me think that sending Ashley Menser to prison would be signing her death warrant.

I decided to check out the comments on this story on The New York Times‘ Facebook page. Again– I was baffled by how many people posted comments along the lines of, “At least she’ll be treated…” and “It’s crappy healthcare, but it’s something.” I’m guessing the people commenting also didn’t read the article, which makes it clear that Ashley Menser has access to physicians and even had plans to visit her oncologist on the day she was sentenced. Menser was hoping for house arrest, so she could continue to be treated for her illness, which I’m sad to say, probably will lead to an early death for her regardless.

It boggles my mind that so many people think jailing Ashley Menser over petty theft is a good thing, and I would think that even if she weren’t so ill. Prison is expensive on many levels. Yes, the actual incarceration does cost money from taxpayers and the incarcerated person’s family, but it also costs in terms of “baggage”, which makes moving on from mistakes more difficult. The United States incarcerates a whole lot of people, and for some private companies, putting people behind bars and keeping them there has become a lucrative source of income. But what effect does all of this jailing have on society? And do people who go to prison really “benefit” from the experience? I would guess sometimes they do, but most of the time, they really don’t. Personally, I think prison should mainly be a place to send dangerous people, not non-violent offenders– with some exceptions for very serious non-violent crimes.

Ashley Menser stole “groceries” valued at about $110. According to the PennLive article, she didn’t actually steal food. The items she shoplifted reportedly included makeup, hair dye, a candle, and a “Super Skinny Serum” product. However, as Menser’s attorney pointed out, Ashley Menser is mentally ill and takes psychiatric medication that makes it difficult for her to know what is real, and what isn’t. I’m not at all saying that she shouldn’t be punished for stealing. She has no right to be a thief, and this is obviously a long standing problem for her, given her prior convictions. But even if she wasn’t so ill, I’d still think this prison sentence is overkill.

It will probably cost the state a lot of money to take care of Ms. Menser’s medical needs; the grocery store where she stole the items doesn’t seem interested in seeing her go to prison; and her crime was non-violent. Incarcerating Ashley Menser no doubt costs taxpayers a whole lot more than the value of what she stole, even without the cost of her medical care (of which she may have to pay for herself– some states do make inmates pay for their care– I admittedly don’t know if Pennsylvania is one of those states). Why can’t she complete her sentence on house arrest, under those conditions? What good will come out of warehousing Ashley Menser in prison, where despite the state prison’s greater ability to treat her medical problems over the local jail’s, she’s still going to get poorer care than she otherwise would?

Lieutenant Governor Fetterman ultimately did not deliver a check to Weis Markets to pay restitution on Ashley Menser’s behalf. Instead, he says he’s going to work with the company’s executives to see if they will issue a statement requesting that the court reevaluate the sentence handed down to Ashley Menser. He says,

“I know they don’t want this. Nobody wants this. My hope is to get them on board and say, ‘This has gone far enough.’”

Adding that he is still prepared to pay restitution for Ashley Menser, Fetterman continues,

“If there is no victim, why carry this out? Why are we arguing over whether a woman with cancer should be denied the ability to see her doctor?”

What’s even sadder to me, though, is that so many Americans think that the judge might be doing Ashley Menser a solid by sending her to prison, where she’s constitutionally guaranteed healthcare. The reality is, even though she’s guaranteed healthcare as a prisoner, it’s almost certainly not going to be as appropriate as what she’s already arranged for herself. This isn’t a case of someone who doesn’t have support or access to medical care. So many Americans lack health insurance and access to affordable healthcare, though, that they think this might be a “favor” or an act of mercy. It’s sad on many levels. I think a lot of Americans just have a law and order mindset and like to see people sent to prison… until, of course, it is they or a loved one facing time in the joint.

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book reviews

A review of Tony Danza’s I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High

Having had it on my Kindle app for ages, I finally finished reading Tony Danza’s 2012 book, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High. Now that I’ve finally read this book that’s been sitting on my Kindle since January 2014, I’m left with a couple of thoughts. First, I’m really glad I finally read the book. Second, Tony Danza would have been a fine teacher. The kids who had him at Northeast High were very lucky to have him, if even half of what he’s written in this book is true.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s. I remember Mr. Danza on Taxi, but I especially remember him as single dad, Tony Micelli, on Who’s the Boss. I don’t remember him being a particularly gifted actor, but I do think he’s entertaining. In the 80s, he was also really cute. I was so jealous of Alyssa Milano, who played his daughter. I was jealous of her for many reasons, though, not just because she got to be Tony Danza’s sitcom offspring. Danza explains in his book that his character on Who’s the Boss, Tony Micelli, eventually goes back to college to become a teacher. As it turns out, Danza had always wanted to be a teacher, but got sucked into the wonderful world of show business instead.

Back in September 2009, Danza jumped at the chance when he got the opportunity to make a reality show called Teach: Tony Danza for A&E. Although the production of Teach ended prematurely due to “lack of drama” and Danza’s refusal to allow producers to manufacture it, Danza decided to stick it out at the high school for the whole year. He taught 10th grade high school English at Northeast High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The series premiered on A&E in October 2010, and according to Danza, aired at a time when it was guaranteed not to succeed. Filming was mostly done during the fall semester of the 2009-10 school year, with a few unaired episodes filmed during the spring semester.

This book is about the whole year Danza spent teaching. Although I’m not surprised that Danza has the ability to write, I was surprised by how personal and poignant this book is. Yes, he’s an actor, but as I mentioned earlier in this post, I’ve never thought of him as an Oscar contender. Consequently, his voice rings true as he writes about how challenging his year was and how much he came to care deeply about his students and the teachers he met. I’m sure it helps that he’s also a millionaire and only taught one class, but… in all honesty, his writing came across as sincere to me. I’m sure that if any of Danza’s teachers are still alive, they were touched by his title. I believe he really means it.

I can see by the reviews left on Amazon, many of which were written by veteran teachers with decades in the field, I’m not the only one who believes Mr. Danza’s passion for teaching young people. He struggles with the decision to stop teaching. At one point, he candidly explains to one of his students who is tempted to quit trying that he and his second wife of decades, Tracy Robinson, are having marital difficulties. I see by Wikipedia that Danza did divorce his wife, but at the time he was teaching the class, he was struggling with the decision to split from her.

I noticed at least one instance in which Danza exercises some bad judgment, of which he bravely admits. He had taken his students on a field trip that involved an overnight and decided to have a drink in the hotel bar. Another teacher gave him a stern talking to about that, reminding him that they could all lose their jobs by drinking while supervising the kids. Danza also improperly uses the word “jettison”, which appears to be a common error among those who are vocabulary challenged. Danza used the word to mean “rocketed” or “propelled”. “She jettisoned herself to the front of the classroom.” However, the word jettison is defined as casting something off or discarding something, particularly on a sailing vessel or an aircraft. I’m a little surprised an editor didn’t catch and correct that error.

I was glad that Danza didn’t spend the whole book writing about the reality show. Instead, his focus was almost entirely on the students he taught and the other teachers and administrators at the school. He really comes across as a caring and nurturing teacher, which every child– particularly every teenager– needs. Most of all, he drives home the fact that teaching isn’t an easy job, nor does it pay a lot, but the personal rewards can be tremendous for those who can do the job and love it. Danza obviously loved it for the time he did it, although not enough to quit show biz and permanently jump into the education trenches.

I appreciate that Tony Danza took the time and opportunity to get in on this project. Was his year really like an actual teacher’s year? I’m not sure it was. For the first half of the year, there were cameras in the room. But he did stick around for the second half of the year and, though he doesn’t have to get by on a teacher’s salary, nor did he teach as many classes as “real” teachers teach, he did get a taste of what the job is like. I give him kudos for trying it, especially since he says that was his original career goal before he became a television star. It seems crazy that he “missed the boat” on teaching and became a celebrity instead… it’s probably usually the other way around, particularly for teachers in the performing arts.

Anyway, if you want the link to purchase this book… here it is.

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