Friday, October 7, 2011

The 99ers Score

While the idea of the 99ers is somewhat cheesy (a selection of disgruntled citizens [read: hippies] representing 99% of the US population who own 10% of the wealth in this country), they are certainly being heard, albeit in a strange way. Their goal is to be noticed and to enact change, mainly on the front of being ousted from their homes because of too-few opportunities which are erroneously advertised as being available yet underutilized. So have they succeeded in these efforts? Well...they're on local news networks as "peace disturbers" who occasionally become violent; are on MSNBC as proletariats; and are on Fox News as "domestic terrorists." So how do YOU view them? (Half-rhetorical question...)

My wife works for one of the larger banks and takes the train into the city, and she passes by some of these people camped out and her word for them is: hippies. "They're not," she says, "at all like you and I; we would go out and do something if our lives were in this position." And while I'm sure she's right, I wonder if we ever could be in that same position and what we would do if we found ourselves in that position? Would I be able to finagle a way to keep a house if I was buried underwater, in a mortgage I couldn't ever possibly pay off, facing bleak job prospects, and feeling stymied by the same banks which encouraged me to take out said loan on a house I KNEW I couldn't afford? Well, I don't know...but I am pretty sure that I would try to find a first or a second job instead of camping out to protest employees who had nothing to do with the decisions that were made years ago (my wife didn't even work there until the housing market had already crashed). I also know that there are more effective methods for having your voice heard.

You can walk up to an executive and demand that they let you keep your home, but ultimately they don't control that. They don't have a magic phone number they can call which will go directly to the desk of the man whose finger is poised directly over the alluring red button which will oust you from your house. Your mortgage and your issues are tied up in a technological world, bound to generated computer sequences, algorithms determining your interest, payments and likelihood of foreclosure, and are controlled by staffers who look at these computer models and, based on sheer numbers, determine whether they should foreclose on you.

It's hard to blame a single person beyond yourself. So should these people look in the mirror to find where they should aim their blame? No. Well, maybe. Yes?

If you took out an excessive mortgage on a house you didn't need and couldn't afford and just assumed that everything would keep increasing exponentially until the end of time, then you are to blame. If you and your spouse had jobs making comfortable money and you purchased a home you could afford or was a little out of your price range and you both lost your jobs and you have been actively trying to find a new job or have a new job and are earning money that pales in comparison to what you once had, then I think you should have no blame. This, I think, is where the line should be drawn.

Perhaps to end the protests and employ some people, these large banks and lenders should hire, train and implement these mortgage reviewers to determine on a case-by-case basis (much like how most people used to get bank loans before our internet age) whether someone deserves a mortgage refinance even if they are underwater or deserves a break on their penalties. I know several families who have fallen on hard times as a result of this recession/depression, but I also know a few who have taken advantage of superfluous unemployment benefits ("finding" a job only as the final benefit check rolled in). I know people who bought a house they couldn't afford and are somehow still in it, and others who have been kicked out. And I know some who are stuck somewhere in the middle: a semi-affordable home, a new or lower-paying job, or different circumstances (children, new office location, etc.).

To these 99ers I say I hear and understand you, but I say end the protests. Want to be noticed and enact change? Want to be effective? You're becoming more spectacle than effective. Occupy Wall Street all you want, but if you want to be noticed, occupy your homes. Refuse to leave when the foreclosers arrive, and have a movement at that house. If the government will arrest one, they'll have to arrest all. And THAT will make an impact. 1,000 arrested to protect a home is much different than 1,000 standing in the streets with posters saying "let us keep our houses." One person who presents proof they have looked for a job, can afford their home again and won't saddle the taxpayers with misfortune but genuinely wants to try to afford something they almost could before deserves the opportunity. We are America; a land of opportunity, not a land of those who take advantage of opportunity and then expect to be given breaks. Like a big bank for instance. Oh, wait.

Alaska's New Airport

Alaska's newest airport, situated on a deserted island off the coast of the largest seafood manufacturing plant in the US, costs taxpayers $77 million. Again, $77 million, which is roughly the amount that the state of North Dakota is trying to cut out of their budget for the upcoming year.

The airport takes at least 1/2 hour to reach, and that's from the main island of 1,000 residents off its coast. From the mainland of Alaska, it would take a person at least a full day and at least two modes of transportation to reach the airport. Feel somehow cheated or that something isn't right? Well, what if I told you that the airport will mostly be used by Trident seafood company employees? But that's something you need to keep hush-hush about, especially since the mayor doesn't want to talk about it...

Watch for yourself...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Is teaching always teaching?

As a high school English teacher, teaching anything else seems like it should be the same. A student cannot possibly understand algebra without first understanding (and memorizing) their multiplication tables. The same can be said about progressively more difficult vocabulary and material. (Starting a student with Sartre or Tolstoy as opposed to Silverstein or Roald Dahl is suicidal.) But teaching something other than a subject area (i.e. guitar) is actually different than I thought it would be.

A family member wanted to learn guitar so I was enlisted as the guitar teacher once per week. My first thought for the initial lesson was the overview of the guitar (frets, strings, size, etc.), followed by the outlining of notes, scales and chords. The foundations of music and most songs. Then I thought about this translation into English. Would I begin by teaching a student about verbs, nouns, etc.? What about phonemes, syllables and derivations? No. When small children begin learning language they learn by imitation, then establish their own rules based on what they hear and repeat and the reception they receive. However, a guitar player can't replicate what he sees in front of him or what he hears without first knowing the positions chords create, how to create them and actually "what" a guitar is.

Do we as humans "know" what words are, how language is created, etc. without necessarily knowing the rules to it? If so, does that mean there is something instinctual left within us--an animal with no more instincts? Or am I to recognize that the visceral desire to communicate, to speak and to be heard is something that comes from the way we learn to form our sounds into something understandable? Is teaching then slightly different when it comes to a skill as opposed to a subject (one can't learn how to build a deck without first knowing what a 2x4 is, etc.)? If so, are there then different methods to teaching and can teaching English then be somehow modified as to teach it as a skill rather than a subject? Can I teach my students "how" to read literature as opposed to how to answer questions about it? Can I teach them "how" literature is made as opposed to how it's read? What about how to appreciate it as opposed to how to "get it over with"?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Passenger

What a righteous idea! 40 classic Hollywood movies snipped and recut to synthesize with one of the greatest early punk songs, Iggy Pop and The Stooges The Passenger. Kind of reminds me of when movies used to be really good (though I wasn't alive for most of these...) and kind of reminds me of when music used to be good (ended pretty much when I was 12.)

Evil in the Garden

Recently I've begun to notice that my squash plants appear to be, well, less-than-full. They've seemed to wilt, despite the zealous rainfall and feed I've given them, and they've been producing far fewer fruits than I'd anticipated. Well, after doing a brief bit of research I've discovered that a few of my squash plants have succumb to the squash vine borer. A relative of the squash bug, they're often found together, which I had no idea about. They're easily controlled with mild pesticides, but those same pesticides kill off a lot of green beans and cucumbers, exactly what I planted beside the squash plants...

Essentially the squash bugs look like crosses between little spiders and stink-bugs. Their sole purpose is to nibble, slowly, on the larger squash leaves until they wilt and die. Then they move on to the next squash leaf. They have no intention of killing the plant, rather they like it for its nutrients so they play a game of keeping it alive while still using it for food. Quite a "nice" parasitic relationship if I've ever heard one. However, the borer, which often accompanies the squash bug because it just follows their scent and let's them do all the work (read: lazy), burrows into the base of the plant and eats it from the inside out until the plant stem becomes hollowed and the plant dies.

The borer looks like a little lot like a grub and a little like a caterpillar. They actually will cocoon over the winter and start the process again next year unless an insecticide is used and a good rototilling is provided, to disturb their winter slumber. Dead give-aways of its presence include a sawdust-like substance at the base of the plant, a discoloration (often brown or tan) at the stem down to the roots and wilted leaves. Damn things. I guess I know what I'll be doing next year--planting them all separately and spraying them once in a while to prevent this from happening again.

Picture included for your pleasure disgust.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Guilty Pleasure

One of my less-secretive guilty pleasures is watching a few of the many paranormal shows on television. I really enjoy Ghost Adventures more than the rest, though it's pretty embellished and clearly unnaturally dramatized for television. I find the brief moments of seeming paranormal activity to be very intriguing and though I doubt I'd ever become a paranormal investigator, I do have to admit these shows pique my interests in something that, surprisingly, is very relevant to teaching.

When I say this, I don't mean that I preach about the quest for ghosts in the classroom, but certain stories, especially Shakespeare, are riddled with mentions of ghosts: Hamlet, Macbeth, Harry Potter and of course, The Crucible. While it doesn't specifically mention ghosts, the girls do swear they've seen "spirits" and other manifestations of evil or demonic entities. And while I can't help notice the interest in the paranormal is surging, I wonder when there will be definitive "proof" discovered.

One can argue every orb is a dust particle or a bug or some type of life refraction or reflection. One can argue that "shadow figures," noises, disembodied voices, etc. are all photographic blemishes or echoes from something nearby. And one can certainly argue that no one will ever know what exists on "the other side" because no one on earth can teach us how to die (thanks, Franz Wright). But certainly we can dream. We can pretend and we can strive to discover, prove and compile. I wonder, though, in our current technological age, why no one has found this incontrovertible proof if, in fact, there is an afterlife.

Regardless, I'd love to do an investigative session just once. I'd love to set off with a group of friends, armed with paranormal researching equipment, a haunted, spooky or notoriously mysteriously location, and hunt for any signs that there's something else after we inhale our last breath here on earth.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Procrastination is an evil monster. It lurks in the middle of the night (and occasionally all day), and wreaks havoc upon plans and futures.

If I procrastinate on procrastinating, would that make me efficient? Or would it make me even lazier? When philosophy extends unto procrastination, one knows it's time for bed.

Did Confucius say that?

Ars Blogging and Poetica

As any follower of my blog has recognized, I'm again going through spurts of flood and drought, today obviously being the flood. Writing is something magical to me, and creative writing is the zenith of this experience. It's such a euphoric experience, leaving the writer with a feeling of transcendence. Lately though, writer's block has been getting the better of me. It's such a terrible feeling to view your work as trash, reading each succeeding line with more disgust. It's an even worse feeling to open up some of your previous work and also metaphorically vomit. The best remedy I've discovered is to take a break, step away and let the ideas resurface after an extended period of time.

In the interim, I've been brooding on what to write next, what to insert into this blog, and doing a lot of work on the deck, in the yard and catching back up on my reading. I have a lot on my plate when it comes to writing, and a lot of self-imposed goals and achievements to live up to/attain, and it's frustrating to know that writer's block, procrastination and other endeavors interfere with these successes.

It's every writer's dream to write something indelible and "great," something praise-worthy and even, dare I write it, award-winning. And conversely, every writer's nightmare to be trapped in writer's block, to write into and within oblivion, or to write something not self-satisfying and critically satisfying or acclaimed. It's always gratifying to hear or read that your work was impacting, praised or cherished by someone, or at the very least appreciated, but the first step to this feeling is to satisfy yourself with actually writing, something I've had a lot of difficulty with these past few weeks. Perhaps it's the post-residency hangover; maybe I'm so inundated with ideas and new knowledge that I don't know how to proceed in an organized and efficient manner. Maybe there's too much going on to focus on my writing, or maybe, like in my previous post, I'm too preoccupied with reality to sit down and write poetry, something that won't earn money or change the world. It's something that arguably is distracting from the real world, unless I write about the real world, of course. But my life is only so interesting in comparison to what's occurring outside my window and far away, viewed from my television.

To write or not to write, that is not the question, but the struggle.

The London Riots

Will all of the turmoil surrounding the stock markets, the US credit rating downgrade, the financial calamities in Europe and the speculation over what will or will not happen, it's no wonder that the rioting and uprisings have spread from emerging and unstable nations like Yemen and Egypt, where unemployment is rampant among the more democratic youth, to places like Greece and now London.

London has been, for all intensive purposes, the most widely recognized European city for most people in the world. Paris would probably follow at a close second, but London's population and commuter-base makes it a much larger city per population and economy than Paris. So to see a city like this, which is such a focal point and mecca for so many across Europe and the world, to crumble so quickly is surely a sign of the times.

What makes these riots so fierce isn't the rebellion from police shooting a suspect who was a <30 father of four, but the pent up frustration and angst from the economic downward spiral. The tension has been percolating for quite some time, stemming from the lack of economic adaptation in the years preceding the economic collapse of 2008. Why have so many young people taken to the streets? Is it because rioting is a young people's "sport"? Is it because the victim was a young person? Or is it because the governments of so many large cities and countries are too concerned with politics to listen to the youth? Are America and London inextricably tied to the same fate and is London the canary in the coal mine for America?

I for one am in favor of peaceful demonstrations. Period. I think they should happen anywhere as often as possible. I'm not in support of looting, rioting, and interruption of daily activities, let me make that perfectly apparent. But if I were traveling into work and passed a group of protestors raising awareness of our government's lack of cohesion and agreement, or about the skyrocketing unemployment rates, about the rampant greed and avarice of those too preoccupied with themselves to notice the middle class, then I would gladly tip my cap to them.

But is that all they want? A tip of the cap? A few dollars or a few more followers? No. Any demonstrations purpose is to enact change. These rioters feel the only plausible way to enact change is to inflict destruction. It's undeniable, cannot be hidden or sugarcoated. It's destruction. It's man at his most visceral. So where should the line be drawn? Do buildings need to be engulfed for change to be enacted, or is it something that's ignored once the rioting calms? Do TV networks need to be hijacked and messages broadcast across pirated radiowaves for the need for change to be felt by the public? Do demonstrations need to become the norm? Do people need to march en masse?

There's more than politics at work here. The present generation cannot tolerate being held down. In America there is insouciance and apathy, while in Europe there is a revolution coming to a head. Can America really pretend like the same won't happen here? Our news glosses over any kind of demonstrations and pretends like Europe is an exception. We're the exception and it's only a matter of time before we cannot be excluded from this any more. I'm not advocating for destruction. I'm advocating for ignorance to evaporate. I'm championing a call for fantasy to be extinguished. There shouldn't be an economic gap so great that an entire generation of college graduates can become known as "the lost generation" due to a lack of jobs. There shouldn't be a portion of society that can profit from others becoming unemployed. And I'm not the only one who thinks this.

Our television provides an escape from reality and as my wife so astutely observed, "the news is too depressing, the world is crazy." Exactly. It's crazed because the illusion is fading and how long can we hold onto an ethereal bubble before it bursts? What will be the reverberation when it does? Will it be change? Will it be compromise? Will it be calamity?

Stay tuned. The revolution will be televised.

A Real-Life Sardine.

I'm pretty sure that if I lived in a space this cramped I would go absolutely insane. Kudos to this guy, though, he actually came up with some very clever and economical ways to use the extremely limited space that he had. If he was paying like $200/month for this place, I'd be much more impressed. However, I cannot justify spending $800/month for 78sf and considering that to be a deal because you're only "minutes" from the activities you like most. Nor could I justify being a grown adult and sharing a bathroom down the hallway with four other people...roommates are one thing, but that bathroom was outside in the hall and down the hall for the other people living there.

I especially enjoyed the comments, one of which stated that they pay half of what this guy pays for a 2 bedroom which happens to be an extra 10 minute walk or 3 minute train ride away. I'd definitely opt for space and comfort. Maybe it's that this guy felt he had something to prove being an architect? Y'know, ironically an architect lives in the smallest square footage possible yet designs expansive and sprawling structures and homes? I bet that's the ticket.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Blues

Around this time of summer, many of us teachers feel a bit of summertime blues. It's not that I'm begging to go back to working my long hours, or I'm not grateful for this reprieve to read and plan for the upcoming year so I actually have time to have a life once the school bell rings, but I feel a bit of emptiness right now without a seeming purpose each morning. Am I waking up to teach my students about great literature, or showing to them how to relate the classroom to their futures? Nope. And the lack of this is a kind of withdrawal.

I'm not trying to compare teaching to drug usage, of course, but the withdrawal from both I think speaks to the kind of dependence we teachers have on our profession. We didn't enter into it to clock a 9-5 and "put in our time," and anyone who gets into the profession for that should be extracted. True teachers enter into this profession to make a difference and try to preserve (or hopefully resurrect) an enjoyment (or love) of learning and, for me, literature.

Without this constant struggle and the persistent energy put into it, I feel like my adrenaline is waning to the point of near-depression, i.e. summer blues. Which inevitably brings me to a solution to the summer blues: year-round teaching, which also means year-round schooling.

I like to say I'm an advocate for year-round schooling, but I don't know enough about it to 100% support it--how would it change the curriculum for teachers and for students? How would transitions, jobs, ceremonies (graduations, games), etc. all work out? What about length of individual school day in relation to longer school year? Regardless, I think it's necessary and our country is moving closer to acceptance of the idea of year-round schooling: few kids still help out on the family farms during the summer; we're losing ground on other countries every year in terms of memory, test scores and achievement; and there is far too much downtime for our students.

Would it be easier for both students and teachers to receive a couple weeks off steadily throughout an entire year or is it better to lop off the end of the school year with a 2 1/2 month vacation? Is it better mentally to give less opportunity for students to forget what they've learned? Is it better for an educator to stay in this mode of persistence and, over time, would it make the struggle easier?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Difference Between and Writer and a Teacher

When I woke up this morning and viewed my news feed I was elated to see that Lesley University is again ranked as the #6 Low-Residency MFA program in the country. Boom.

What makes it so special? Well, among the current MFA students, alumni, and prospective applicants, the majority listed the program's flexibility and support system as their top reasons; second to these aspects was the interdisciplinary requirement of the program, i.e. being able to write in a different genre than your focus, bridging off and taking a class at any college you want in any subject that may intrigue you, beginning a lit. journal, etc. (I did magazine writing, a blog, curriculum development, etc.)

After scanning the reviews of the higher ranked MFA programs and reading some of the scathing (and even scandalous [read: professors trying to seduce students at the residencies]) reviews of the other MFA programs, I again find myself proud and to be a current student and soon-to-be alumnus of Lesley's MFA program. The faculty who have mentored me might have published a book every other year and they might not be at the top of the who's who list of poets and writers, but they're great teachers, and that's what so many of these programs lack.

Which brings me to the point for this post. How important is it for a great poet or writer to be a great teacher? (Or vice versa for that matter) Some raters said that they would rather learn through gleaning wisdom, mimicking, and enduring the sometimes aggressive nature of workshopping from the brilliant minds of writers who are constantly publishing. Others, like myself, found more value (figuratively and literally), pertinence and meaningful learning from good teachers, as opposed to great writers.

Those who can't, teach. Remember that? I sure do.

It was one of my greatest fears when I became a teacher. It had been my dream from an early age to be a writer, but I realized early on that that road was a lonely, poor one. I still wanted to be immersed in literature, but I didn't want to waste and pine for something greater, whether it be money, happiness or self-worth (though I don't think I could quite rationalize it in those terms at that age...)

Then I had a talk with a great teacher my freshmen year of high school. He suggested I think more seriously about becoming an English teacher. "Why not?" I remember him saying. "It's rewarding in so many ways, and you never have to give up writing in your free time."

Those words resounded like rain on a tin roof when I was looking into MFA programs. My inner monologue echoed with doubts and that annoying "you can't be both!" Would I still be an effective teacher if I was so focused on writing? Would I be a great writer if I was so focused on teaching? Then, at the end of one of my first days teaching, I found myself at a crossroads. Do I take "The Road Less Traveled" I remember thinking, and then snickering.

Then it struck me. Like understanding in a car crash.

It was a metaphor forged by my sub-conscience; the analogy that threaded uncertainty into twine then rope strong enough to support my doubts. Frost's "The Road Not Taken" is usually taught in high school as a decision and individualistic poem--do you want to be the one who takes the path everyone else does, or will you set off on your own? Will you be the one to make a difference, change a life, etc.? It was always one of my favorite poems, until I really looked at it in college.

Wait, he isn't saying that the path has made all the difference because he's done great things...he's actually saying he wishes he had gone the other way. See that one word there, that "Sigh," that's the ticket! He's actually talking about regret; he's suggested that we all take chances, but realize that after taking those chances we can sometimes be regretful.

Why are so many kids misinterpreting it? Simple. They have teachers who aren't writers themselves. Not every teacher can extrapolate the nuance of a poem the way a writer who has studied those poems can. I know more about poetry from writing and studying it outside of high school and college than I learned from within the classroom (save certain classes).

What kids need is a teacher who understands writing, who can speak more in depth and passionately about a poem than what's written in the teacher's guide. They need someone who's taken the risks of a writer and has succeeded and faltered.

There is no single path that we must take. There is only the path we take. Will I sigh one day? Doubtful. There's so much value and gratification in teaching that isn't recognized until one is actually in the classroom.

(Getting metaphorical now...) As a teacher, one can never look back and "sigh." One can only hope to improve the path for others; to leave behind tools to clear the jungle.

To my students: you will find yourself in that jungle one day--mountains, rocks, trees, and small paths. The way is tangled and uncertain. I will bring a machete.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Got Heeeem

I must admit that I am a huge fan of Brian Wilson. This guy is not only a lights out closer, but he totally has one of the best and rarest senses of humors in all of sports, especially baseball. Most players seem to be one-dimensional or monetarily fixated; not Wilson, he's entertainment personified and even championed Showtime into following his team, The San Francisco Giants, for this entire season. The Franchise has already premiered, and I must say that it was pretty riveting; the only disappointment: not enough Wilson! He could totally have been in The Hangover, or hosted SNL, or been the posterboy for either the Chuck Norris or The Most Interesting Man in the World craze.

And he just appeared at the ESPY awards wearing a full body spandex tuxedo complete with orange bow tie, mohawk and, of course, the most righteous beard in baseball.

Got heeeeem.

Harry Potter Finale

The wife, our friends, Chris and Alyscia, and I went to see the final installment of the Harry Potter epic last night and to sum it up in a word: magic.

All punning aside, the movie seemed far more mature than the others and definitely had a direction. At no point did I feel like the exposition was taking the momentum away, which I had felt with some of the earlier movies. There was darkness, depression, yet it was filled with so much hope. Love blossomed and allegiances blossomed, and the world changed drastically, but it never felt like the end was near.

In the final installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Return of the King, I remember feeling (both when reading and viewing) that all hope was coming to an end, Gandolf had died, Frodo surely was going to perish, the ring was growing evil though the forces of good were trying to take it to be destroyed, and the sheer number of men vs. orcs, goblins, etc. was worrisome. There seemed little hope, which I suppose is what made it so heart-wrenching and sad. Harry Potter wasn't anywhere near as sad.

Though we've grown up with a lot of the characters in these books and almost feel like we have a connection to them, the method in which the movie went about showing or, at times, detailing instead of showing, these characters' deaths was very glossed over and quick. It focused more on the living than the dead, which reflects what Dumbledore says about never pitying the dead, but to instead pity the living. I suppose the entire book being jammed into such a small chunk of time defeats any ability to truly illustrate the verve of the entire story, all the subplots, and all the exposition, but it did a great job in keeping the important scenes intact, even if it didn't show all of them.

The emotion and the acting, however, was the best of any Potter film so far. Not only has Harry turned into a hero, but Ron is no longer the blathering fool one would expect to make a trite or comic comment; instead Ron and Hermione become heroes in their own right, discover and embrace their love for one another, and display some true acting prowess as they develop and hone their characters to near perfection.

The visuals were also amazing, and while not trying to give anything away, the journey into Gringotts, as well as the battle of Hogwarts itself was stunning. The flashbacks that so often mire movies were also very carefully orchestrated with a sort of half-pastel half-sepia with a touch of sulfuric look to them, which I felt was more accurately reflective of what a dream or memory sequence might resemble.

More than once the audience erupted into applause, and more than once or twice I heard or saw people crying, even those who I knew had not read the books...

Which brings me to the inevitable given the time frame for its release and the latest news out of the bookworld (i.e. Borders' death)--how can a book, a story, or a movie of this magnitude, with this kind of draw and following dictate that books are dead? Well, simply it can't.

Books must live on, much like Harry's world. The industry itself is paralyzed, hurt, injured and, at times, on fire (read: 451) but there is a large population that is still drawn to the epic stories and unforgettable characters, to the struggle of good vs. evil that seems all too real in today's world.

What the world needs, and what the book industry could have used decades ago to increase readerships instead of dwindle them, are authors and books that focus on what is important and affective, not what is effective. We don't need stories like Twilight and teenie "thrillers" that live totally in the drama-filled lives of how many purses should I buy, should I date this boy, etc. or ones that focus on the trite aspects of life, but of those that teach a lesson through demonstration and personal integrity. Harry and the rest of the Potter characters display the characteristics which build strong individuals: loyalty, perseverance, steadfastness, growth, humility, heroism and sacrifice.

We need to instill these in today's youth before Borders becomes the canary in the coal mine for the entire book industry.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heat Wave!

Feeling like one. Call it.


While I feel I could go on ad infinitum in reference to Casey Anthony's "innocence," I think I'll leave it be said that someone will get her.

I love rap humor disguised in Sesame Street...

World Cup

Yes, I was extremely excited to watch The World Cup last summer and yes, I was equally as excited to watch the Women's World Cup this summer, but the short-lived fanaticism here in the US was disappointing both times. One would assume that with the football season and its contracts seeming more like a WWE script, that there would be at least a small shift toward sports like rugby and soccer in which the players realize that playing and entertaining are the important aspects of the career. But no. The majority of the German crowd was in the US' corner for their matches, but American attendance was paltry. I've blogged before about this nation's disconnect from the remainder of the world in terms of sports, but soccer is the biggest conundrum. Why do we push children to play soccer until age 13 and then drop it completely off the face of the planet?

There was a recent news article citing multiple school districts that were considering soccer to be the sport that could be eliminated from their budgets with the least amount of opposition. Why? Because few people see the importance in soccer when football is much "manlier" for boys to play. The greatest bane to their plan? Title 9, which asserts that there should be an equal number of sports for girls and boys...Bane? Obstacle? Seriously?

Though I suppose in a country in which more people watched the Super Bowl than the Presidential inauguration, the initial first 24 hour coverage of the Japanese tsunami, ANY space shuttle liftoff, or any other sporting event, etc. etc. etc. I shouldn't be surprised.

The US women put on a tremendous show, were inspirational and played excellent team soccer; though they made a few mistakes which ultimately cost them the game, namely the disorganization in front of the goal which led to Japan's easy tying goal, they made huge progress from the team that barely qualified.

Best part of watching this year, see below:

Don You Go Rounin Roun to Re Ro

What really happened to Stonehenge...

Why, no matter how hard I try, I can't hate Peyton Manning

Quite a Long Time

It's been more than a year since the last blog, but I feel it's time to resurrect at least one of my blogs, so I'll hop back to this one, grasping some semblance of the achievements I once blogged about, and try to build a display case (read: this reestablished blog) for them.

Quite a lot of developments have happened since this blog was put on hiatus, which will all be no doubt recompiled here from the various other blogs which will be deleted. The new focus of this blog will be unfocused; it will reflect me day to day in writing, personal life, hobbies, interests and the random panoply of wackiness the internet has to offer. My promise to myself and my readers is to no longer write on five separate blogs with five separate directions that all seem to meld together and then overwhelm me into oblivion and/or obscurity. Besides, who makes money off their blogs anyway?