September 30, 2009

Nothing too much

Just taking it easy today...

In case you're curious...
  • "Easy" by Eddie Vedder
  • "Go to Hell" (YouTube version) by David Ford
  • "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck
  • "Coming" by David Motion and Sally Potter
  • "Laminated Cat" by Jeff Tweedy
  • "Shenandoah" by Richard Thompson
  • "On the Turning Away" by Pink Floyd
  • "Sweet Jane" by Cowboy Junkies
  • "You're the One" by Black Keys
Wonder if I'm starting to repeat any of these.  I try to include things you might not otherwise know, but these are some of my five-star songs, and those are somewhat limited.

Go meat!

Stupid Wine Me, Dine Me and their bacon posts.

No I just want bacon.

September 29, 2009

Gentlemen Broncos

The awesome is threatening to overwhelm me.

Long-lost media

It's been a while since I've mentioned the media that has been entering my brain and life.

So let's take a look at some of the highlights of late...

Inglorious Basterds - Tarantino is a wild director, willing to throw himself entirely into whatever style of filmmaking happens to be holding his attention at the moment.

In this one, he subsumes his typical patter heavy with pop culture references in favor of a film that spends much of its time in French, German, or Italian, forcing the audience to follow along through the subtitles. There are few funny moments in the film other than those that are delivers in the Appalachian drawl of Brad Pitt's outstanding turn as a character that is far more supporting than lead - in spite of what the previews suggest.

This is a period piece, an exploration of the motivations of men and women at war - not in an active, fighting war as you see in Saving Private Ryan but in a far-from-the-front war of Nazi occupied France. The star of this war show is Christopher Waltz as Standartenf├╝hrer Hanz Landa, a highly educated Nazi nicknamed "The Jew Hunter". It is his decisions around which the entire film turns, creating the female lead's motivation, allowing the climactic scene to take place, driving the film toward its surprising - to me, at least - finale.

The film is excellent, probably Tarantino's best since Pulp Fiction - though I enjoyed Kill Bill more. The lunacy of Brad Pitt's titular Basterds and the serious tone of the rest of the film balance each other well, and the glimpse into the British high command is a refreshing diversion from the main plotline.

Other than one moment of modern music - David Bowie's "Cat People" - the film is an outstanding period piece, a chance for Tarantino to fully subsume himself into a movie the way that Spike Lee has learned to do along the way from being the angry young man to a great director.

I'm thinking that Quentin may be on his way to being able to do the same.

Love is a Mix Tape - This one was tough.

He says it right there in the first chapter. His wife - the main character of the book - dies. She dies in the first chapter, but then in chapter two, we've flashed back to the author's childhood when he hasn't even met his future widow yet.

I was all okay with the book even through that opening until I found out that it's not a work of fiction. It's the tale of Rob Sheffield (Rolling Stone editor/writer) and his first wife, with whom he fell in love over music. It's also Rob's story of how music - and mix tapes in particular - were important to his formative years.

It's the story of a lost tradition. (Hell, I made an 8tracks playlist for tomorrow in like five minutes while I took a break from writing these reviews.)

It's a story for people of about my age and a little older (Sheffield has me by nine years), for people who understood the record store in High Fidelity, for people who spent hours sitting Indian style next to a boombox or a tape deck, for people who were thrilled when they finally got a double tape deck that would auto start when you hit one deck, for people who have ever loved.

It's a hell of a book.

Was Superman a Spy? - Yes, he kind of was. Or at least, he did what the government asked a couple of times.

If you're a comic book fan, this will be a moderately interesting read. It's a book - that's really a blog called Comic Book Legends Revealed - in only the loosest sense of the word in that it's a bunch of words on a bunch of pages.

The biggest problem here is that - as a succinct review points out - the book began as a blog and still reads as a blog - a series of at best loosely connected writings from the author. There is only a loose attempt to connect the disparate parts into coherent chapters and themes.

Some of the legends are interesting but many of them aren't legends that I'd ever heard or that I really ever cared about.

For diehards only...

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? - This, on the other hand, is an absolute classic in the field. It's a knock it out of the park, grand slam of awesomeness in the face of what clearly had a lot of chances to be dreck.

Neil Gaiman's ode to the silver/modern/golden age Batman as well as to Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? is framed as Batman watching his own funeral, seeing the villains take one side of the aisle and his Batman Family take the other - Catwoman getting to choose her side and open the tale by telling her story of how Batman died.

Throughout Catwoman's telling - and the entirely different tellings from the other characters - Batman's disjointed voice is seen to refute all of the tales of his death, speaking to an unseen, unidentified, female narrator. Batman refutes Alfred's tale of hiring former actors to keep a depressive Bruce Wayne busy and hopeful. He refutes Robin's tale - told in four panels - as well as those of a dozen other characters who get only a panel or two to tell their tale.

Here there be spoilers - highlight to read

And in the end, we learn that Batman hasn't died because he never can die but that he must always die.  To quote HeroesOnline...
The story ends with Bruce Wayne coming to the understanding that he is Batman, he is destined to be Batman and the only way Batman’s story can ever end is with his death. But…. the story can never end.

Regardless of how many times you re-invent the character, one thing will always remain: Batman is at heart a boy’s revenge fantasy. He must always succeed because he is stronger and smarter than every other human. He can overcome any adversity and win the day for the greater good--just like a hero should.


But Gaiman makes it clear that this is not going have a happy ending. Batman will not retire to suburbia like Superman. Martha Wayne’s joy cannot equal Superman’s wink; hence the original feeling of anger and disappointment.

But Gaiman is reaching for something more, something richer, something darker and something that is NOT happy. Batman is the absolute dark reflection of the Christ figure. Instead of dying for our sins—which the previous 40 odd pages publicly offered the readers—Bruce Wayne is destined to remain alive in tragedy and torment to entertain us over and over and over.

No matter who is drawing him, no matter who is writing him, no matter who fights temporally for the right to wear the cowl, Bruce Wayne will always be the little boy kneeling in a filthy alley surrounded by blood and bodies and a broken strain of pearls. Forever.

Bruce Wayne is in hell and God help us, as readers of his exploits, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This isn't the death of Batman. This isn't the final battle, the last throwdown with the Joker.

This is a wake, a look back, an exploration of the Batman mythos.

Even though we all know that Bruce Wayne will be back with us someday - maybe in a year, maybe in five years, but he'll be back, this is one hell of a Batman story.

Gaiman does it better than anybody else ever could have.

September 28, 2009

Where I come from...

We had no students at Princeton on Friday.  Instead we spent the day involved in professional development workshops focused primarily on differentiated instruction.

The first 'workshop', however, had nothing at all to do with differentiated instruction.  From seven until eight-thirty, we were asked to do something that a number of our students choose to do: write a poem based on the starter of "Where I come from..." and then share that poem with the staffers around us.  Each group was then asked to nominate one poem to be read before the entire group, the readers ringing the whole group and reading their way around.

Some of the staff members took the assignment very seriously, writing of their childhood and bringing themselves to tears as they shared their poems.  Others wrote humorous poems or challenged themselves by limiting themselves to the haiku structure [cough]Calen[/cough].

I wrote nothing.  I spent the ten minutes considering some educational ideas that had been running through my brain that morning.  Then, when it came to be my turn to share, I simply told the five other teachers that I'd written nothing, that I had no interest in the activity.

And I didn't, kinda don't.  There's something off-putting to me about sharing intimate details with coworkers.  With you folks, on the other hand...
I come from contradictions.

My home state is a land of summer swelter and winter storms, of driving backroads through rolling hills in a state known for being flat as a board, of Indiana homes receiving media broadcast from Kentucky, of city folks growing up a scant few miles from corn fields.

Mine is a family that values education but doesn't have a history of being educated.  Mine is only the second generation of college attendees on both sides, but mine was likely the first for which college was fully assumed and expected.

My parents have one and zero siblings, but the next generation back saw more than a dozen siblings. The nuclear families were close - one set of grandparents within walking distance, the other a short hop across the river - but the rest of the family was hugely distant - in Arizona, Florida, California, Missouri, or the far west side of my hometown.

My father teaches at the high school that he attended, lives not five miles from the home he grew up in. His parents moved once in his life - a move that required them to carry furniture across a single driveway to their new home. My mother lived in a half dozen states before she was in high school. I have inherited both their desperate wanderlust and strong desire never to leave home.

One loves music to the point of near obsession, loves to go see movies, has almost no interest in sports, reads constantly. The other couldn't name a popular song from the past thirty years, prefers sitting on the couch, has coached tennis and football and swimming, and still hasn't opened the books that I got him for his birthday a dozen years ago.

They taught me to achieve - national merit, National Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa, top student teacher, chemistry leadership award, leader of a nationally recognized campaign - but to always pass off the praise that comes with those achievements.

They trained me to mock everyone, to never take anything too seriously, to question authority, but to be supportive of people, to consider every possibility before acting, and to hold our authority figures in hugely high regard. To salute the flag but not be jingoistic.

I grew up loving my hometown, cheering for the home teams - the New Albany Bulldogs and Indiana Hoosiers - but I couldn't get a job in my one try to work at the former and passed up a chance at a scholarship to attend the latter, instead heading two hours up river to a state that I had barely ever even visited.

I find myself unwilling to speak about my background to people with whom I have worked for nearly a decade, but I am able to tell these very same things to the black void of the internet, opening those same secrets up for the entire world to see.

September 27, 2009

A horrible list

Wizard magazine, the foremost fan-boy comic publication, celebrated its 200th issue earlier this year with a big couple of issues that included their list of the 200 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time. They also had a list of the 200 Greatest Comics of Wizard's Time - that list was fairly spot on.

Thankfully, just after Wizard published their list, Razorfine took them to task because the list of characters stunk.

I once read a book in which a writer was ranking baseball players - probably Rob Neyer, the quote sounds like him - in which the writer said that any method that names Babe Ruth as the best baseball player of all time is boring, and any method that names anyone but Babe Ruth the best baseball player of all time is wrong. Admittedly, it's a strong paraphrase there, but I think it's important to consider here.

Yes, it would be a boring thing to say that Superman is the greatest comic character of all time. It would be boring to do the same with Batman. Heck even Spider-Man would be only the most minor of upsets.

But to choose anyone but those three is ludicrous and clearly designed to incite morons like me to rant and rave. Hence, it's been effective. But still...c'mon...

Continuing to nail his legacy

I can't bring myself to say that this is any sort of beginning of the end for the current administration. It's pretty typical that a second-term president will spend his lame-duck term enacting legislation and policies that he might not be able to move forward if he had to worry about another election, so I really shouldn't be surprised.


President Bush's neutering of the Endangered Species Act is phenomenal.
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said late Monday the changes were needed to ensure that the Endangered Species Act would not be used as a "back door" to regulate the gases blamed for global warming. In May, the polar bear became the first species declared as threatened because of climate change. Warming temperatures are expected to melt the sea ice the bear depends on for survival.
Well, no, we wouldn't want greenhouse gases regulated, would we?
The Interior Department said such consultations are no longer necessary because federal agencies have developed expertise to review their own construction and development projects, according to the 30-page draft obtained by the AP.
Sure, wouldn't want to actually consult those stupid science guys to find out if we're gonna kill or harm or poison the animals.
The reviews have helped safeguard protected species such as bald eagles, Florida panthers and whooping cranes. A federal government handbook from 1998 described the consultations as "some of the most valuable and powerful tools to conserve listed species."

In recent years, however, some federal agencies and private developers have complained that the process results in delays and increased construction costs.
Oooooh...delays...and even costs involved in protecting the environment. I hear those are going to be featured in a new horror movie next year. A half dozen attractive twenty-somethings will be trapped in a rural area, and their lives will be threatened by delays and increased construction costs.

Remember to get out and vote in November, folks.

September 25, 2009

Ah, Robert Carlyle

A master of all accents British...and occasionally Russian, too...and German...

September 24, 2009

Take a look...

I'm proud of the charity work that I - that we - do at Princeton High School.

We raise $30,000+ every year.  This past weekend we helped the LLS by handing out water at a local marathon.  We've been involved with MyLion.  We help out at Taste of the World.

We do good work.

But if we change the world this way, it will be as one of a few hundred thousand drops of water that eventually cause the glass to spill over.  We aren't changing the game.  We aren't creating entirely new ways for the world to be a better place.

Josh Silver is changing the game.

Holy crap is he changing the game.

If you can, help him raise a few bucks to change the game for the people around the world who need his help.

September 23, 2009


I had no clue at all that robberies like this really happened.

I kind of thought they were reserved for movies and tv shows.

It's been broughten

Waste a little time today throwing a digital cheerleader around the gym.

There's a challenge to see how few shots you can use to complete all the tasks, but I think it's just fun to figure out what the heck the tasks are.

I managed them thirteen shots and managed to make junior varsity.

Not a game I'd play multiple times (okay, I played it twice to see if I could do better than the first time), but fun for a few secs.

September 22, 2009


Take a look at these cute Marvel Anime clothes.

I'm thinking that I want the hoodie.

September 21, 2009

The Oddee-tees

I'm a sucker for blogs of lists, especially if those lists are full of entertaining photos.


They have lists of the fifteen wackiest band names...ten most controversial music videos...twenty funniest newspaper headlines ever...fifteen awful photoshop mistakes...ten smallest animals...and like a hundred other lists.

Kill some time today, folks.

September 18, 2009

I'm mad about you, baby

My favorite sitcom of all time...

And the best guest stars...

September 17, 2009

The random ten jumps back

Two things to point out today

First, Blogger added a feature that I've been looking forward to using for a couple of years now.  It's not all that often that I post drastically (and often pointlessly long entries) or something that I want to hide behind a jump link, but these things do pop up from time to time on the blog.  Now - as I learned from Blogger Buzz, and if you're not occasionally checking it, you're a fool - that has become an option.

Plus it also gives me the option to post questions on the mainpage and throw the answer behind a jump link.  I haven't done that this time, but I have decided to put today's random ten behind a jump cut.

September 15, 2009

No reason to wait

No reason to wait for stuff this good.

And while you're atit, check out the ten weirdest Muppet Show moments.


Everybody's seen the Chuck Norris facts website. No biggie there, but did you know that there are dozens and dozens of such memetic sites?

For example, Randall Monroe facts tells us that [w]hen nesting, Velociraptors consider the possibility of a Randall attack and that [o]ne time, Randall Munroe, while exiting a black hole, cut himself (he was teaching himself how to whittle)... one of the drops of blood became Nikola Tesla, the other became Albert Einstien.

Or that Alton Brown facts reminds us that Alton Brown doesn't reduce sauces - [h]e demoralizes sauces - and that Alton Brown's freezer operates at minus-twenty-seven degrees. Kelvin.

And finally - at least finally in terms of how willing I am to read through these lists - Stephen Colbert truths wants you to know that Stephen Colbert knows what Willis is talkin' 'bout and Stephen Colbert invented horcruxes.

In case you weren't aware...

September 14, 2009

I want it...

I checked out The Doo Wop Box: Vol 3 from the Cincy library and stumbled upon a real gem, "Whole Lot of Love" by Godfrey Daniel.

I hadn't, of course, heard of Godfrey Daniel, but I sure wish I could track down Take a Sad Song.... Seems like they were an anonymous group - or a producer or the members of the Amboy Dukes - who did covers of 60's and 70's songs in various 50's styles.

For example...
Doo wop is one of the group's greatest strengths, and they use it effectively on tracks like "Whole Lotta Love" and "Honky Tonk Women"


Versions of "Hey Jude" bookend the album, and the closing take is a stirring, Righteous Brothers-like epic, a production gem that salutes masters Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, and George Martin. Stunning and dramatic, it may be the finest Beatles cover version on record.


the Del Shannon treatment of "Woodstock," complete with slippery organ solo


a Rudy Vallee–ish crooner fronting a Goodman-like combo for the ultimate throwback cover of Buddy Miles' "Them Changes."
This sounds like a blast to hear, but sadly, it's never shown up on cd or - as far as I can tell - in the digital realm at all, though you can check out samples of all the tracks here and here.

The latter site also has a customer review which purports to tell the true story of Godfrey Daniel...
The album is only Andy Soloman ('ALL' vocals, and 'All' instruments) and Dave Palmer (Drums). Studio musicians appear on two cuts credited as the Charles Soloman Orchestra. Dave co-produced with Andy, and engineered|mixed as well. The album is mixed in mono, except for the splash cymbal ending on 'Groovin' which is stereo. It was born out of a send up demo Andy made with Dave on a sound-on-sound Sony TC-630 reel-to-reel recorder in 1969. While making The Amboy Dukes last original lineup album 'Marraige' for Polydor records, lengendary producer|engineer Eddie Kramer heard the doo-wop version of 'Hey Jude' and totally flipped out. The Atlantic deal soon followed. Dave left the band to become an engineer at Electric Lady Studios with Eddie, and Andy eventually left Ted for a career in commercial music writing. That's the true backstory...Dave Palmer is my cousin.
From Godfrey Daniel, it's on to Big Daddy and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. And I'm thinking that's about the end of the genre.

By the way, if anybody out there is able to find the Godfrey Daniel tracks in full digital sound, I would be most grateful.

September 13, 2009

La la la la la la la la la...

Am I the only one who seems to constantly have the Smurfs theme song running through their head?

September 12, 2009

Holy crap

That is certainly not an ending I would have ever envisioned from Serena. code of conduct

And somebody has to have audio of what exactly was said to the line judge.

Edit: CBS just showed the incident again (about ten minutes after the loss - correctly explained by the tournament official as a point penalty on match point and not a default), this time allowing the censored audio to play.

Serena clearly threatens the line judge ("I will shove this f****** ball down your f****** throat") and utters the f-word four times. If she was not cited for a second code violation, I feel like that might even have been a bigger controversy. Those are words beyond anything that John McEnroe ever uttered on the tennis court.

There should be no doubt whatsoever that Serena earned her two code violations - the first for racket abuse at the end of the first set. Both were perfect examples of the behavior that the code of conduct is designed to prevent, that have no place on the court, and need to be firmly punished.

The two replays that were shown of the second foot fault were sadly inconclusive but did suggest that Serena did not foot fault. I didn't see the replay of the foot fault called in the first set.

While it is sad that an apparently missed call or over zealous line judge sparked the outburst from Serena, Kim Clijsters won this match in convincing fashion, outplaying Serena for the vast majority of the match and Serena reacted about as poorly to the bad call as I have seen any player - professional or amateur - react.
I give the man credit.

At least he recognizes that he's become a joke.

September 11, 2009

The dichotomy

The video was filmed out the window of an apartment looking at the Twin Towers on 9/11.  The video starts after the plane has hit the first tower - maybe after the plane has hit the second tower - and omits the collapses of the tower, something I was admitting to kind of wanting to see when I clicked on the video.

But the comments at the bottom are phenomenal...
I was bummed when the video cut out on the most important parts, the plane hitting and the towers falling. These are the parts of the video the public needs to see to answer questions. Why are they not there? Can we see a version that hasn't been tampered with? I appreciate you sharing your video with the public, but all it does is add the conspiracy theories. I don't believe the official 9/11 story and I would like to recieve answers about the missing parts of this video.


Please you is also in the conspiracy to hide? for you to set up the video and not just shown as a rioja rioja really burn?. That this assembly of the sound cuts in key moments, where the second plane's impact, please stop laughing and the world.


What happen to your video when number two tower was hit.......are you hiding something......? then you are a part of this evil hoax.


And on that day -- and every day since -- there were 3,000 abortions. In the United States. The people in this country can't even identify who the enemy is. Pogo was right: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Rather than amend the policies that provoke such attacks* the US has committed to killing everybody in the world with the capacity and gonads to launch them. All financed by Joe and Jane Taxpayer to the tune of millions of dollars per minute and vastly more expensive than the policy of not 'messing with' other people needlessly that Mr. & Mrs. Taxpayer believe(d) that the government was pursuing to start with.

I grow less and less patriotic with each passing day.

* and that's assuming the conspiracy theory people are wrong -- a proof not yet established to my satisfaction.

I'm in a glass box of emotion

Philip Glass today, folks...



Einstein on the Beach

"Metamorphosis 1"

"Mad Rush"

"Truman Sleeps"

"Voor 11 September"

September 10, 2009

Wikiing a wiki

I'm a narcissist, I'll admit it.

I've thought about putting myself on Wikipedia. 

I've thought about setting up a wiki for my classroom so newbies could have some sort of guidance - from students, not from me - as to what my class is actually like and what they need to do to succeed.

Or maybe a wiki about Princeton High School - or the whole Princeton district - to gather all the info we can before the info goes away.  (Though, honestly, the info I want is held by the people least likely to use a wiki - oldsters.)

I haven't actually done any of these, but not necessarily because I think they're bad ideas...more because I don't actually know how to set up a wiki.

Thankfully, Wikia now lets anybody set up a wiki using their site.

Anybody wanna give the princeton or Dusch wiki a try?

September 9, 2009

Aylah says shut up

Pardon our ramblings: regrets

No, I'm not buying Beatles Rock Band today. I'm probably not buying it at all.

I've got Guitar Hero III for the PS2, and I haven't played that in like six months. I got through the easy setting and like four songs of medium and just don't have any interest in going further. So I'm thinking that looking to buy another game in the series wouldn't be a great decision.

I doubt it would be a decision that I would regret or anything, just not something that I feel the need to do.
It's those regrets that I'm here to ramble about today.

See, the thing is that I don't have them.

I just don't.
I know there are people who look back on their roads taken or not taken and wish that they'd headed down the other path, but I'm just not one of those folks.

I'm happy with where my life is, and I know tat where I am - who I am - is a compilation of every single decision that I've made to get me here. If any one of those had been made differently - a street crossing made instead of avoided, a word spoken when I instead chose to stay silent (or, more likely, the opposite), a cliff jumped from - then something would have changed.

The change might've been minor, changing a memory or a single neural connection in my brain. The change might've been significant, having never gone to Scotland, having never landed at Princeton, getting hit by a bus. Even the minor things, however, could have lead to a hundred different changes down the road, and I could've been an entirely different person leading an entirely different life.
Sure, there are things that I look back on and kind of wish that I would have done differently because I think I took the road less entertaining or less fun, but I don't in any way actually regret my decisions.

One that pops into my brain was my decision - not really a conscious one - as I was in Scotland to date two women, both Americans in the same program that I was on.

Oh, I enjoyed my time spent with both of them - one relationship ended by me (badly handled, I'm sorry to say) and one ended by the girl (not The Girl, just the girl I was dating at the time). I have no regrets about the relationships themselves - maybe wish I would've been a little quicker and more decisive about ending the second one - just kind of wish that I'd gotten to know a lady who didn't have the same background as I did.

Plus, now I have no clue what the Scottish lassies do to woo a man.
There are a couple of other - non-Scottish - incidents when I look back on them and realize that I just might not have noticed that I had a different route to take.

There was a time in high school when I went with ColdNorthGamer to a girl's house, a friend of a girl that he was then starting to date. I knew it was going to be just the four of us - Gamer and his girl, me and a volleyball player from a neighboring school. In retrospect, I realize that I probably was supposed to be some sort of wingman. I have to admit that I had no clue at the time. Not that I've got much game now, but at least I'd like to think that I could entertain te girl a little more directly than I did that night watching videos.

A similar situation happened once at Wabash - weirdly sort of involving Gamer again. It was my freshman year, and none of my friends had joined me in choosing to matriculate to Wabash. A number of them had chosen, however, to attend Purdue, and a group of them had found a way to borrow a car and drive down to see me in Crawfordsville - or they were driving back from somewhere or something. Either way, I was hanging out at an all-campus party waiting for my friends.

As I was waiting, a trio of girls - rare enough on an all-male campus - came up to me asking if I could direct them to the Lambda Chi house, my fraternity house. I happily obliged, stepping to the doorway and pointing down the street toward our house. One of the girls asked if I'd be willing to walk them that way, it being dark or something - memory fades, admittedly. I declined because I was where my friends were supposed to meet me.

When I mentioned the story to one of the upperclassmen the next day, they pointed out that I just might have had a different road to take there, that perhaps I again hadn't noticed that an opportunity might have been presenting itself to me and I'd just let the doorway slip right on by.
I have a number of other times where I made decisions and had to live with the pretty unpleasant consequences of those decisions, but I don't have any regrets on the decisions that I made. If I'd made them any differently, it's entirely possible that all of my roads from that point forward would've been taken in some sort of alternate universe, one in which I'd attended IU instead of Wabash, parked my car in the garage instead of on the driveway, waited a day to drive back for senior comprehensive exams, not hit Zack Bonifer with a lunchbox in fifth grade, simply closed Brent's email.
One thing I certainly don't regret is starting this blog.

That was a good decision.

September 8, 2009

Update: Your handwriting as a font

A while back I posted that I wanted a font of my own handwriting but was reluctant because it cost nine bucks.

Now, however, thanks to stumble upon, I've found a site that offers the same service but for free. Check out the free service FontCapture. It's been posted for like three weeks and has already been improved upon by its designer...may just get better and better.

Gimme a week or so and I'll upload what I get from their service. I'm all good being your guinea pig.

September 7, 2009

Whoring out this blog

So, the time has come when I have to take down the Ad-Free Blog icon down in the bottom right.

I have succumbed to the man, to the greater corporate machine and turned this blog into a money-making venture.

Admittedly, it's because Blogger Buzz announced a new gadget teamed with SocialVibe. The new gadget - which has been up since Thursday morning - allows you to click through, rate a clip or do some other thing that engages you with the advertisers (my first click through made me choose which Melrose Place character I am - I didn't have to watch the clips, just picked one). Once that engagement is made, the advertisers make a small donation - and I'm not really sure how much they're making, need to check on that - to the charity of my choosing.

I, of course, chose the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I'd ask you to take a minute from time to time and click through on the gadget. It's a minute or so out of your time, but any donation can do an amazing amount of good through the Society.

September 6, 2009

The seventh hour of the Today Show

September 5, 2009

Though the blog is swollen, rawhide

This week's links were gathered while the tumbleweeds tumbled and the rumblestrips rumbled...

September 4, 2009

Nine by Five: Name that flick

All nine of these actors had smallish parts in a movie together. I have omitted that movie from all of their respective top five lists.

Name the missing movie.

Favorite Steven Martin films (all more than cameos)
  • LA Story
  • Shopgirl
  • My Blue Heaven
  • The Jerk
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • Honorable mention: Bowfinger
Favorite Mel Brooks films
  • History of the World: Part I
  • Spaceballs
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights
  • To Be or Not To Be
    Honorable mention: Mad About You cameos "firm embrace!"
Favorite James Coburn films
  • Charade
  • Payback
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Young Guns II
  • Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
Favorite Elliott Gould films
  • Ocean's 11
  • American History X
  • MASH
  • Ocean's 13
  • Ocean's 12
Favorite Madeline Kahn films
  • Clue
  • History of the World: Part I
  • Young Frankenstein
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Yellowbeard
Favorite Cloris Leachman films
  • History of the World: Part I
  • Young Frankenstein
  • Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
  • The Last Picture Show
  • High Anxiety
Favorite Richard Pryor films
  • The Wiz
  • The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
  • Brewster's Millions
  • Superman III
  • The Toy
Favorite Dom DeLouise films
  • Johnny Dangerously
  • History of the World: Part 1
  • Cannonball Run
  • Smokey & the Bandit II
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Favorite Carol Kane films
  • The Princess Bride
  • My Blue Heaven
  • Scrooged
  • Transylvania 6-5000
  • Annie Hall

September 3, 2009

Moving right along...

Apparently it won't take all that long...

With proof...

OSU will be back in session soon enough

So, it's going to be like that, is it?

Don't bring your weak 33 in here.

Pardon our ramblings: consequences

New title for any ramblings. From here on out, any ramblings will be titled Pardon our ramblings: and then the topic of the ramblings.

Rants just might be retitled to Pardon our rants:, too.

Feel free to avoid them. It's your dime.
I've been thinking a lot about consequences lately.

Every decision that we make...every decision that we don't make...they all have consequences, both positive and negative. There is simply no way around it.
Last Friday, two of our students -
I say our students because they're Princeton students and because they're honors students. I had one of the two in class a couple of years ago, the third of three sibling, both of the older that I knew far better. He wasn't the best student I've ever had or the one to whom I was the closest. The other wasn't a student I had, but he was a student who had helped out with Pasta for Pennies last year and seemed like a nice guy. He probably is.
Two of our students showed up at a road football game drunk - or high - or drunk and high.

I wasn't there. I can't say for certain. My knowledge pretty much all comes third hand - from a person who was there and saw them get caught, from a teacher who heard from a teacher, from somebody else.

Either way, they were certainly caught and might've admitted to being drunk - or high - or drunk and high. At this point, they're both suspended for ten days pending expulsion. It's pretty likely that they'll serve their full ten days and then come back to school. If other similar situations are any indication, they'll have to do some diversionary training - out-patient, class kind of stuff.

This week I heard some students talking about the fact that it wasn't fair because other students had been at the same game in the same condition but hadn't gotten caught, that the now-suspended students told the truth when asked about their condition and got in more trouble because they admitted their transgressions.

It's a tough time of life, the teenage years. It's a time when you look to the world to be just, to be fair, to be right, and when it doesn't live up, you curse the world, you look for answers, you search. And it's the time to do that. I have no problems with that.

Most of the teenagers that I work with have - generally - their crap together and are really in training to be adults. They've passed the simple tests of getting to high school, navigating youthful rituals, and they're ready to see how the world starts treating them as young adults. They're ready to see if the world will act the way that they want it to, they way they think it should when they start making their decisions.

And sometimes it doesn't.

Which sucks.

But I feel like there's a bigger lesson here, something about consequences.

Every time you do something, we can reasonably judge what the consequences will be. And every time we do something, we need to look at how likely those consequences are.

And every time we do something, we need to accept the consequences if and when they come.

Yes, those students likely looked at their actions and saw a possible outcome in which they broke the rules - the laws - and then went to the game, enjoyed themselves, were hidden by their friends, and headed home without any significant negative consequences.

They also likely - whether consciously or not - saw a different outcome in which they broke the same rules, went to the same game, enjoyed themselves equally, weren't hidden quite as well by their friends, and found themselves facing expulsion and an extra year at PHS. Added to that consequence, they could have seen themselves suspended from all sports for the year. They could have seen themselves disappointing their friends and teammates, their parents, their teachers. They could have seen themselves doing damage to their reputations - something that will likely stay with them far longer than any sports or academic suspension ever could.

They should even have seen a far worse consequence in which their choices lead to deaths on the road to or from the football game - held half a hour or more from the school.

Yes, those last two sets of consequences were less likely than the first. They were far more likely to get away with their decisions than they were to get caught. But the cost of the consequences were are simply far to high to make the decision they made.

If they're lucky, the long-term consequences with which they'll come away is a lesson learned about bad decisions and their consequences.
Every time I choose to write for you instead of cutting my grass, instead of grading my papers, instead of setting up for a lab, instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour, I accept consequences.

And I would like to think that I'm far enough along in my understanding of that fact to not place blame for those consequences on anyone's shoulders but my own.

Every time I stop by The Cone on the way home for a pumpkin milkshake (which is, admittedly, far too often), I recognize that my consequences will come in the form of breathing more heavily than I should when cutting the grass, a bellyache when I don't tell The Girl about the milkshake and proceed to eat a normal full dinner like I hadn't eaten since my 9:30am lunch, likely a shortened lifespan, heartburn, clogged arteries.

And yet I keep stopping.

Just because I know the consequences - sometimes when I know that those consequences are ridiculously horrific and horribly likely to happen - doesn't mean I always make the right choice.

It just means that I don't get to pass the buck when and if those consequences come to pass.

I made decisions all the time knowing full well that the consequences are too high, that the consequences are too likely, and I in some cases I keep making the same decisions.
Everyone - big, small, rich, poor - has consequences.
A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
Sometimes that weighing of the consequences are really well worded.
A world without consequences isn't a world in which I would want to live...

We ignore negative consequences
  • because the consequences are too far in the future to seem real
  • because the consequences are too unlikely
  • because the consequences are too small to worry about
  • because we're stupid and think that just because somebody else got away with it, we'll get away with it, too
  • because the positive consequences (often guaranteed) outweigh the negative consequences (often hoped to not be guaranteed)

It's amazing how often we don't realize just what the consequences of our actions are likely to be.

Every time Calen and I work with students at a Pasta for Pennies event, we try to impress upon them the consequences of their actions. Every time we do anything, we have to recognize that anything with a possible consequence of us losing our campaign - every time a student says "oh, send the black kid to the cops with a gun" (it was a starter's pistol for the race, I swear)...every time a band behaves badly in rehearsals...every time one of our students is anything but over polite to a possible donor...every time we push a little too hard on a teacher to get his or her class involved - we risk losing the entire campaign, having to scale it back, not being able to help the LLS as much as we always have been able to.

And those consequences simply are too high to ever risk, no matter how unlikely they are.
I know a teacher who admitted to me once that she missed doing some of the illegal things that she did when she was in college. She specifically mentioned partaking of a particular illegal substance.

She doesn't miss it often, but she admitted that if there wasn't the possible consequence of losing her livelihood - her teaching license, her job, her profession - she probably would continue to partake.

But she knows that the consequences are far too high, no matter how unlikely those consequences may be.

A times B times C is way higher than X for her.

She knows that.

She doesn't regret her decision.

She doesn't lament her decision.

She doesn't blame someone else.

She accepts her decision and knows the consequences of that, too.
To quote Steve Martin, [f]inally, I can't overstress the importance of having a powerful closing sentence.

September 2, 2009

Ain't happening

We're going old-school here, to the game Mini Putt, and I'll straight up call you wack chumps out...

There is no way...


You beat a 35 34 for eighteen holes...



Consider yourselves challenged!

September 1, 2009

Steve Martin

I dig Steve Martin...

He's like the absolute modern epitome of a Renaissance man.

He's got the Wild and Crazy Guy thing...

He's got the Excuse Me! thing...

He's actually a heck of a banjo player...

Seriously...he just released a full album of banjo music with only one funny song...

He wrote Shopgirl - book and screenplay - and did a great job acting in the film...

He had a small part in Grand Canyon but turned in an amazingly movie performance...

His book Pure Drivel is absolute comedic genius...there's an essay in which he laments the lack of e's for the writing so he writes without all...check an excerpt...

He's just straight-up hilarious...

He wrote my favorite movie ever, LA Story...

And he was, spectacularly, Ruprecht...

He loves the Muppets...

The man is clearly a catch...