Sometimes, when I can’t sleep at night, strange ideas come into my head.  Some of them end up on this blog; my wee-hours-brain figures if they’re amusing to me, somebody else might enjoy them too. One lady commented on a recent post of this genre, writing:

First of all: LOL

Secondly, I think the right is in desperate need of a more humorous approach to issues, or perhaps just a more humorous approach in general, to bring a more youthful gall to reinvigorate the movement again.

While I do agree with her, I think the Right has a far more robust sense of humor than the Left – generally speaking of course. Our educational systems, run mainly by leftists, certainly seems to lack a sense of humor. For example:

Teacher fired after assigning violent math problems to third graders

A Washington, D.C., charter school teacher has been fired after it was discovered the teacher had assigned third-grade students a number of math problems framed around violent and illegal scenarios.

At first, the unnamed teacher at the Trinidad Center City School claimed he had been ordered to assign the problems, but it was quickly discovered that the teacher had actually downloaded them from a free homeschooling website called “HomeschoolingParadise.com.”

“I was absolutely distressed,” Dr. Beverley Wheeler, the CEO of Center City PCS, which oversees Trinidad, told WUSA9.  “It doesn’t follow anything we do. We are about character, excellence and service and I found them to be violent and racist.”…

Here are some of the suggested math problems from the site. And to be clear, I’m not cherry-picking; almost any question picked at random will reflect the concerns expressed by Dr. Wheeler:

“I was sleeping one night when a hungry vampire sucked 3652 liters of blood from me and 1865 liters of blood from my little brother. How much blood did the hungry vampire drink that night?”

Another reads:

“I took a nap in a bog one day and woke up screaming. 3796 leeches, 2910 fleas and 1044 vampire bats were stuck to my bald head drinking my blood in ecstasy. How many bloodthirsty bloodsuckers were dining on my head?”

And check out this incredibly morbid problem:

“John’s father gave him 1359 marbles on his birthday. John swallowed 585 marbles and died. 9 of John’s friends came for his funeral the next day. John’s grieving father gave the remaining marbles to John’s friends in equal numbers. How many marbles did each friend get?”

Last I checked, most kids are warned against indulging in tobacco products. Nonetheless, Homeschooling Paradise offers this equation for children to ponder:

“John, Jack and Jim lit up their pipes after dinner and began blowing smoke rings. By the time they were finished, they had blown a total of 6437 smoke rings. If John blew 52 smoke rings and Jack blew 3896 smoke rings, how many smoke rings did Jim blow?”

I think they are rather funny – but then again I do sometimes have a morbid sense of humor.  Here are some others from the homeschooling site:

Jason, John, Brad and Calvin are in a tiny dinghy in the middle of the ocean. A huge wave capsizes their dinghy. A ferocious tiger shark chases the desperate people and in 5 h 24 min has eaten all of them. How long did it take the tiger shark on average to catch each person?

Green aliens landed in Chicago and rounded up 1479 math teachers. The bloodthirsty aliens then sucked the blood of 828 teachers and left them for dead. The aliens tied up the rest of the teachers and marched them into 3 UFOs. If there were an equal number of poor math teachers in each UFO, how many teachers were in each UFO?

I’m old enough to remember “Dick and Jane“. They were so boring that learning to read was not very exciting. I would much rather have been raised on leeches, tiger sharks and smoke rings. Aliens would have been even better!

Should we worry about children being exposed to math problems that include death and mayhem? I don’t think so. Nursery rhymes are full of references to disease and death. I remember my mother singing the “hearse song” to us as little children. Nobody thought much of it. Kids have to be introduced to the idea of death somehow. Pet ownership is one way. Stories, rhymes and songs also serve this function. While we’re at it, why not teach them some math too?