In high school geometry class Mrs. Casey ( who hated me* ) demanded that we pronounce the word "congruent" as KON-grent instead of kon-GROO-ent. She was adamant about it, to the point where she immediately and loudly corrected anyone who used the GROO ...

Gentlemen, the word is KON-grent, there is no GROO in it. You must pronounce the word correctly to learn it and apply it. How can you master the concept if you can't master the pronunciation!

I suppose it was just a chain yanker for her, or perhaps she thought it actually made a difference in the geometry world. Who knows? But it was her class, that's the way she wanted it and that's the way it was. We all said KON-grent.

I thought about Mrs. Casey and congruency as I was pondering the whole auto industry bailout thing. Oh, excuse me, I meant "bridge loan."

The government and the auto execs cannot solve this problem because it's not a money problem, it's a congruency problem. The auto makers exist in a market, but somehow they think the solution to their problems exists outside of the world in which they live. Why would the government, a monopoly that prints money, literally, and whose "customers" are more like "subjects", know anything about markets? It's crazy, that's like going to the post office for medical treatment ... oh, wait, they want us to do that too, don't they?

In a market there is no such thing as "too big to fail."

It's incongruent and inconsistent. That's the problem with many things that are driving me crazy lately. Terrorists and lunatics use violence, but we must use diplomacy? Some say that science negates the need for religion, yet some of the same people use science to justify worshipping Gaia and they shout down scientists who disagree with them! The private sector people investing in and trading bad mortgages must be prosecuted, but Dodd and Frank and all the other creators of the problem should not be? In two weeks we hear more than we want to know about Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber, but we elect a president who is still a mystery?

I don't understand why our actions are not consistent with American principles. Did someone change them and not tell me? Perhaps we need Mrs. Casey to explain 'America' ...

Gentlemen, this is America, not Europe, not Asia or any other place where 'government' is synonymous with 'nanny.' You should learn what being an American means and be congruent with THAT in all your actions.

Great presidents, and great leaders in general, know who they are, what they stand for and can communicate those principles. And countries aren't great because they have an auto industry, they are great because of their principles. Too many people think this is a money problem, and they are either for or against the bailout, er, bridge loan, based upon economics. It's NOT the economy and it never should have been. It's about principles, or is that the change you wanted?

* Mrs. Casey really did hate me, and I blame Curtis Haynes. It was the first day of class and Mrs. Casey said "I don't assign homework" and Curtis said, "Good, because I don't do homework." ... at which point Mrs. Casey spun around and looked directly at me. She thought I said it. With her red, jowly face shaking she said, "And I don't tolerate smart asses." She tried to get me kicked out of National Honor Society. She accused me of cheating and sent me to the principal because I had the same answer as someone else on a test. My defense was, "It's GEOMETRY. We're SUPPOSED to have the same answer!" On the last day of school I tried to make nice and told her I was sorry we did not get along but that I learned a lot. Her last words to me were "You little bastard. Do not darken my door again." I now say kon-GROO-ent.


  1. She didn't forget you either. More than a decade later I had her for Algebra II. The first day of class, she paused on my name during roll call to ask if I was related to you.

    Seems like that question from a teacher yielded a 50/50 shot as to whether or not being your kid brother was a good or bad thing.

    It didn't take long to figure out that as far as Mrs. Casey was concerned, it didn't bring her any added joy that day. She proactively put me on notice, as the all the other kids in the class wondered what in the world was going on.

  2. AHA! See! Proof! I wasn't just paranoid! ;)