Fifty Bucks for a Mission

This weekend my wife came down with strep throat so I got the unenviable task of tending to the kid’s schoolwork.   Sandwiching in school assignments between Piano, Tae Kwon Do, and Soccer, my eldest son was having trouble with some of his examinations.   (What happened to the good ole days, where extra-curricular activities consisted of throwing rocks at each other?)   My wife found if she got the following week’s homework on Friday, my son could get most of it done in a much more relaxed atmosphere and now he’s getting A’s on all of his tests.   There are reasons kids do better when there is a mom and a dad at home.          

Also this weekend we had the additional bonus of a school project.   I was very irritable.   I know I am too young to be so cantankerous, but I am quite overwhelmed right now.   It is one thing to manufacture one handgun, but to manufacture hundreds, or thousands, is a whole new deal.   I am knee deep in the machinery and tooling procurement required to mass produce my product.   I have engineering changes that have to be completed before we enter the market.   I am managing the development of our website which is integral to our whole marketing campaign.   My internet guy makes me  do a Podcast each month.   Supposedly this new technology is all the rage, and I agreed to participate, but what started out as a simple idea has turned into a technological fiasco.   There are just not enough hours in the day to complete all the work I need to finish, and the last thing I need is a homework assignment.

I managed to calm myself down long enough to take the kid to the store for materials for our project.   I asked the gal at the store where to find Styrofoam, and my son asked where to find a bell.   The attendant was very nice and said, Is this for your Mission Project?   She showed us to the section in the store that had everything you ever wanted to build a model of a mission.   There were little farm animals, Indians, mission roofing tiles, little priests and crosses, you name it.   They even had a mission kit for $19.99, which I was thrilled to find, mission accomplished!  

My kid notified me that we were not allowed to use the mission kit.   What the heck is the difference between cutting out a piece of Styrofoam from scratch, or getting a nicely die-cut kit which is ready to assemble?   Is this kid learning about California history, where the Spanish colonized and built a Mission system up and down our coast, or is he learning how to make stuff?   If he is learning how to make stuff, I don’t need any help from the school system, I own a machine shop for crying out loud.  

I really want to talk to the guy who figured out he could make a living providing arts and crafts stores with materials to build model missions for California school children.   American ingenuity never wavers.   I wonder how much kick back goes to clandestine school administrators to keep that mission project in the curriculum for years on end.

We went through the perfunctory steps of gathering glue guns and other mission paraphernalia.   We filled our basket with a bunch of materials that are likely to end up in the big round file a week from now.   After the cashier tallied up our plethora of junk, I was only fifty bucks in the hole.   We got home with all of our stuff ready to assemble and I showed my kid how to use an Exacto knife without cutting his hand off.   I had to yell at him a couple of times when he went astray.   We managed to get the thing together and I had to go back to the store for a tube of paint.   My wife was happy me and my kid got to bond.    

While our schools are teaching our kids to be nice to the environment, that there is no God, and that money is not the most important thing, China is turning out many times the engineers and scientists that we are.   While we pump out attorneys that venture to do nothing but bring lawsuits against or most productive and innovative companies, dragging down our economy, the Chinese are actually learning how to add.  

For the record, next to health, money is the most important thing.   Invariably, if you have lots of money, you are also likely to have better health.   If you disagree with me, don’t pay your taxes and find out how important money is.  

So while China is teaching their population basic skills like reading and writing, we are teaching our kids how to build a Styrofoam mission.   These skills are going to come in real handy when our kids grow up and decide they want to work in manufacturing.   Manufacturing is a real good business too, I ought to know, we only have to compete with Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Viet Nam, India


The mission project was actually done in March when I wrote this column.   I decided to post this piece because I just wasn’t in the mood to write about the anti-American zealots who have endeavored to denigrate and debase the patriotic work of our dedicated and loyal General, David Petraeus.

Copyright 2007 Jim Pontillo

11 thoughts on “Fifty Bucks for a Mission

  1. Sake Mike wrote: “you can see the you tube video dave of us made.”

    Great example of what the public schools are teaching our kids.
    Thanks Sake Mike.

  2. Jim,

    I agree we need better schools. However, I think you should make those mission kits, and compete against the competition. You could problem make the kits for 14.95. It might cut into your gun project, through.


  3. Mom,

    Are you retarded, I can’t compete with China for one. For two, I could probably make the kits, not “problem” make the kits, three, it might cut into my gun project, though, not “through”.

    You either had too much wine with lunch, or you’ve been talking to Sake Mike too much.

  4. Yeah, we had to do the “Mission” project with my granddaughter too. But we could use the basic Mission Kit. However, the extra details like tiled roof and real stucco got extra credit.
    When my kids were little, it was the standard styrafoam “Universe” every year (“the big yellow one is the sun”)!

  5. Oh, and by the way my comment I left. Was an inside joke for Dave who is a college graduate with a bachelors degree who accidentally mistyped something on the youtube video. Should we also blame the school for Dave’s typing error? Somehow I think not. My boss found this website and it has an evil authors section something tells me not only would you agree with their evil authors section but you would enjoy their top picks.
    Peace out, sake mike

  6. Public-school mom,
    I take it that your children attend the public-school system? Well, as much as I like to blame the school system for my shortcomings that would be hardly the case. So, the school system does not get the blame as you wished. The problem is with our politically correct society that doesn’t want to take responsibility or blame. They just want to do what feels good or do what makes somebody else feel good. This kind of logic leads to the delinquency of children” I know trust me”. This feel-good society a.k.a. liberals had all the answers to cure me. They did everything they could to keep me happy while attending school. But what I really needed was a yardstick swat to the butt. All these liberals did for me was put multiple Band-Aids on a wound that needed stitches.
    So, public-school mom blame away. But, remember to blame the school districts that are merely stuck falling extremely strict orders from the school board & politicians that are trying to teach our kids how to pass tests instead of teaching our kids how to use the skills of learning, all for the sake of looking good for themselves to keep their high-paying jobs would be an understatement of the truth. The problem is too many people believe what they hear and see and never truly research the facts. They are being scammed because these liberals say things that sound good and make the parents of the children feel good and for some reason things that feel good or sound good must be good. But, through my years of experience which I have screwed up many of them. I’ve learned that things that tend to sound good or feel-good are usually evil and only have short-term good effects with long-term bad effects.

  7. Hey Jim,
    like this article, it was funny. But you should not call your mom retarded.

    ps. I had lunch with her and she only had a petend beer.(michalob ultra)

    pss where are my shirts?

  8. Oh, by the way Sake Mike, my comment was only a poke-fun comment. Just relax. I noticed the author also poked-fun at his mom…..where’s the tirade mom!

  9. Dealer Girl,

    It is clear that you drank some of the same elixir as my mom…

    “Petend”? Try—pretend.

    I also believe “Michalob” is—Michelob.

  10. James,

    OK, you are right! I really screwed up that comment. No tirade from me. I always knew you were smarter than I. You have your dad’s smart genes.


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