a little bit of everything

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato

Thursday, August 18, 2005

He's Lost Something Alright

Rush Limbaugh regarding Cindy Sheehan's Iraq war protest:

"Frankly, I'm also fed up-not fed up. I retract that. I'm weary, ladies and gentlemen, of even having to express sympathy. 'Oh, she lost her son!' Yes, yes, yes, but (sigh) we all lose things."

Okay dumbass, we're not talking about someone's car keys, or a perscription for painkillers. She didn't misplace her son. Her son died fighting in a war that doesn't have much of a cause. And the cause we were originally given was a lie. She simply wants to know what good is going to come from her son's sacrifice. Is that such an out of line question? We should all be asking that and Bush should be giving us straight answers. Let's not forget he is an elected public official, so he works for us. It's not unreasonable for us to hold him accountable for his actions.

P.S. Mr. Limbaugh would you be so weary of expressing sympathy to a republican parent who 'lost' their son?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Teachers Have it Easy

We've all heard the saying before, "Those who can do, those who can't teach." It's one of the biggest loads of BS I've ever heard. I recently saw a rephrasing that is much more accurate, "Those who can do, those who can do more teach."

With the school year fast approaching I'm reminded of how much more we teachers do. Going into school well before the start of the year to prepare rooms and curriculum, continuing to work on curriculum for several hours at home, contacting students and parents, dealing with silly paperwork and inservice materials, and spending hundreds of dollars of our own money for student supplies and teaching materials. And this is all before the school year starts. Once the year starts we're spending countless hours outside of the teaching day working on lesson plans and grading, contacting parents, having our planning periods replaced by meetings, and still spending our own money on more supplies and materials.

For those of you who still think we "have it easy," you should read Teachers Have it Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers by Daniel Moulthrop, Ninive Clements Calegari, and Dave Eggers. If you can't put the time and effort into reading an entire book about teaching then at least read the Chicago Tribune's review of this book. Both the book and article, written by a former teacher, clearly describe what exactly teaching entails. It's much more than you can imagine. Marvin Hoffman, author of the Tribune's review puts it best:
Done right, teaching is one of the most intellectually challenging professions in the world, more challenging than many careers with much higher status and salaries. The kids in front of you really need you in ways that run infinitely deeper than most of my office-based friends ever feel needed at work. Every day is another page in a novel with a cast of 25-plus diverse and interesting characters.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Quote of the Week

From the letters to the editor section in the August 15 edition in Time Magazine regarding their cover story on
Karl Rove:

The media are making the Plame case far too complicated. Bush can
no more fire Rove than dummy Charlie McCarthy could fire ventriloquist
Edgar Bergen.

Edmund C. Valentine
Wabasso, FL

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sweet Neo Con

The Rolling Stones new album, "A Bigger Bang," will be released on September 6. I think it's pretty safe to say that the album won't be getting much fan fare from Bush and other conservatives. The song "Sweet Neo Con" pulls no punches when it comes to the right-leaners of America.

You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite
You call yourself a Patriot, well I think you're full of...

I still haven't figured out what they're full of but I know it's not good.

It's liberty for all, democracy's our style
Unless you disagree with us, then it's prison without trial

The Stones may be getting old but they're still holding onto their rebellious rocker style. I for one am eagerly awaiting the album's release.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Movie Theater Pet Peeves

The August 5, 2005 edition of Entertainment Weekly contains a 5 page feature about the many many things that are ruining our movie going experiences. This has been a popular topic as of late. Last month the Red Eye (an offshoot of the Chicago Tribune) did a 2 page spread about this same topic, and I've been seeing little segments here and there on the various entertainment shows. Ladies and Gentlemen it all comes down to this, our movie going experiences are getting worse. Despite the new technology, better film quality, and newly designed state of the art theaters, movie theaters still aren't getting it right.

So, what's the problem? According to both the Red Eye piece and the main article from Entertainment Weekly there's not just one problem but many problems. I'm sure that as soon as you read the title of this post you came up with your own list of things that drive you nuts when you go to the movies. Most of us share the same pet peeves; over-priced tickets/snacks, dirty theaters, talkers, idiots who don't turn off their cell phones, and the newest most talked about problem today, the commercials. It used to be that if a movie was supposed to start at 7:00 you could figure it would really start at 7:05 maybe 7:10 because of the previews, now you're sitting through 15-20 minutes of commercials and previews. Now the previews I don't mind, I actually enjoy them, but the commercial madness has got to stop. At a recent movie outing I counted SIX commercials before we got to the previews. SIX, and three of them were for the same damn product (H2O). And these aren't the little 30 second spots they air on TV these are long and often times stupid commercials. A helpful hint to the theater owners, ad execs, and product CEO's; just because the commercials resemble movies or trailers doesn't mean we're going to like them, in fact most of us find them to be more annoying than the normal commercials. This particular issue has been getting some press lately because several big wigs in the movie industry have issued statements saying they agree with us and urge theater owners to find another way to make a buck. Mega-producer Michael Bay was on Access Hollywood recently talking about this issue. I'm afraid to say that I don't think it's going to change. If Michael Bay and other studio big wigs can't get it to change I'm not sure what will. I for one am implementing my own protest, I will not buy Aquafina water as long as I keep seeing their stupid commercials at the movies.

Another issue or pet peeve I'd like to address is one I haven't seen written about yet, but it is definitely towards the top of my list...self-serve butter for the popcorn. What the hell is that about? The AMC and Cineplex Odeon chains seem to be the only theaters doing this and if they know what's good for them they'll stop. I'm not a big fan of the soda self-serve thing either. For one, it may be quicker for the concession stand kids but it's longer for us (you know your customers), I don't know why it's so difficult for people to pick a drink and get it but it is. The self-serve thing also adds to the cleanliness issue that is already troublesome for most theaters. With so many people getting drinks and popcorn butter at the same time it's going to get dirty, people are going to spill and make a mess of the lids and straws, and the whole butter area can be a sticky gross mess. My biggest beef with self-serve concessions is the lack of service. I'm already spending an outrageous amount of money on popcorn and soda and then you're going to make me get it myself.

Okay people I've been rambling for long enough, now it's your turn. Big or small, obvious or obscure, we've all got them. What are your movie theater pet peeves?

A Nation Torn Apart

Forget red states vs. blue states, liberals and conservatives, and all the other silly debates and name-calling. We've got a bigger issue to deal with, right now you need to decide: Who's a better pop slut, I mean princess, Britney or Christina? Just when I thought they put away their claws and agreed to disagree Christina, by way of contactmusic.com, comes out with some not so great advice to Brit. Apparently her career is doomed now that she's pregnant.

"She's let herself go, I can't see a comback in the cards."

Really? You mean marrying a white-trash back-up dancer who stepped out on his pregnant girlfriend, making out all around town with him, eating cheetos, drinking 40's, and walking barefoot into a gas station bathroom on more than one occasion isn't a good career move.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Get a grip people, it's a movie!

Round and round we go. I'm not blind to the fact that The Da Vinci Code is a contraversial book. In fact I enjoy it, and the questions and debates it spurs. The one teeny tiny provision I have on those debates is that they be based in logic and make sense.

The movie version of The Da Vinci Code is currently being filmed in Europe with such Hollywood heavyweights as Tom Hanks and Ron Howard. Like most fans of the book I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the film, and I am fully aware that the movie isn't going to be exactly like the book. For length purposes alone it'd be impossible to match the book page for page, but I am completely confident that Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman (the same men who brought us A Beautiful Mind) will stay true to Dan Brown's work. Unfortunately there are some people out there pressuring Sony Pictures and the filmakers to make the movie more Catholic friendly. According to an article in Sunday's New York Times there are people out there who wish to "Sprinkle Holy Water on The Da Vinci Code." Good god people, it's a movie!

Not only is it just a movie, it's a movie based on a book. What would be the point in spending millions of dollars to secure the rights for the best-selling book if you're going to completely change the plot. Granted most books turned movies are inaccurate to a point but the main plot usually remains. It makes absolutely no sense to ask, or pressure, a studio into changing the plot of a movie. If I were the studio I would be more concerned with the millions of Da Vinci Code readers. If you disappoint us there goes your shot at a Dan Brown franchise.

I've heard all the arguments and I understand that people think this book is sacriligious, but there are also a lot of people out there who've enjoyed the book and it's inspection of religion. Some are afraid that people will take this book too seriously and believe that everything Brown writes is fact. But you know what, how do we know that the Bible wasn't written by the 'Dan Brown' of that time?

It boils down to this...if you don't like what the movie has to say, don't go see it. If you didn't like horror movies, would you go see one? No. Just because you have a moral, or factual objection to a movie doesn't mean studios are going to stop making them. I've got moral objections to stupid movies with no plot and toilet humor, but that doesn't stop people from making Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Farewell Mr. Jennings

Late last evening Peter Jennings, whose name is synonymous with news, lost his battle with cancer. Mr. Jennings was part of the Big 3 newsmen who dominated the air waves for the last two decades. He was one of the few comforting faces in times of tragedy and he will be missed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

They Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Tuna

It started as a normal Tuesday at Country Lakes Golf Club in Naperville, IL. Golf carts were being shined, the club house was being stocked, and balls were being washed all in preparation for a mid-day golf outing. What wasn't normal? The scantily clad "caddies" that accompanied the golfers along the course. You see, this golf outing was being sponsored by Blackjack's Gentleman's Club. The problem was these "caddies" did more than choose clubs and shag balls, they also took their clothes off and performed sex acts (allegedly). What's the problem you may ask? Well, besides the fact that it's illegal, the Country Lakes Golf Club happens to be surrounded by several hundred townhomes and single family homes. Homes with nice backyards where children play. Homes with picturesque windows complete with lovely views of the rolling greens. Homes with a nice view of...a stripper's butt crack? Wait, that doesn't sound right. It didn't look right either. Many of the Country Lakes Golf Club residents were enraged by this display and a couple even video taped it to submit to the police, as well as local TV stations. No arrests have been made as of yet but police are still reviewing the tape, and reviewing it, and reviewing it.

All this time I thought golf was a gentlemen's game, not a gentleman's club game. Golf and strippers, they go together like peanut butter and tuna.

Watch your back Nike

In the hopes of becoming a bigger threat to Nike Adidas announced that they're buying Reebok.

Soccer V-neck Tee.........................$30.00
Clima Revolution Running Shoes............$90.00
Reebok Co.................................$3.8 billion
Chance to boost sales over Nike...........Priceless

Schools of Thought

From Zay N. Smith's QT column in the Chicago Sun-Times:

President Bush endorses the teaching of the Old Testament
story of creation alongside the evolution theory in science
classes, "to expose people to different schools of thought."

And when is someone going to inform geology students that Earth
is only 6,008 years old?

There are many changes that need to be made in our science classes.

Bush must not have been exposed to the "school of thought" that states there is a separation of church and state. The Old Testament story is not a "school of thought" it's the basis for a religion. Does Bush think we should also add the creation stories from all other religions as well as those from the Native Americans, Aboriginies, Pygmies, etc. to our science curriculum. I doubt it.

God help me if I'm ever exposed to Bush's "school of thought."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I never did like him

Part of me hates to be a part of the Aniston/Pitt media frenzy, but I guess I'll get over it. While the Aniston/Pitt split has been in the media spotlight since the news broke in early January it's having a major upswing now with Jen's Vanity Fair interview hitting stands soon. Early on in all the hoopla I was feeling for both of them. But with Pretty Boy Brad's actions as of late, I'm not feeling so sorry for him anymore. Even if he's telling the truth and he didn't cheat on Jen, in the physical sense, I'm pretty sure he did emotionally. In any case they're just a couple of celebrities, no different from the thousands of other people who get divorced, and whatever did or didn't happen is really none of our business.

Here's an interesting preview from the Vanity Fair article. In response to the rumors that they separated because she didn't want to have kids yet Aniston retorts,

"A man divorcing would never be accused of choosing career over children. I've never in my life said I didn't want children. I did and I do and I will!"

You go Jen!

Roid Roofie?

Here are some interesting stats provided by Richard Roeper in regards to Rafael Palmeiro's accidental steroid use:

Maybe someone slipped him a steroids roofie. Or maybe there's some other
explanation that will exonerate Raffy.

In the meantime, a few stats.

When Willie Mays was 24 he hit 51 home runs.
When Mickey Mantle was 24 he hit 52 home runs.
When Alex Rodriguez was 24 he hit 41 homers.
When Albert Pujols was 24 he hit 46 homers.
When Rafael Palmerio was 24 he hit 8 home runs. Eight!

After Jose Canseco joined Palmeiro's Texas Rangers, Raffy suddenly turned into
a big-time slugger. His average yearly home run output increased threefold.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Besides, some sluggers just take longer to reach their prime.

And it's great to see good ole George W. is sticking up for his "friend" and fellow Ranger. "He's testified in public, and I believe him." Right, because everyone who testifies in public tells the truth. And if I'm not mistaken isn't this the same George W. who, a few years ago, focused most of his State of the Union address on doping in America rather than his plan to capture Bin Laden, who is still at large today. It's just so impressive to have a president publicly denounce steroids then turn around and support a steroid user. I guess Bush too is a, oh what's the word I'm looking for.....oh yeah.....flip-flopper!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Roid Rage

If an Olympic athlete uses steroids they are banned from competition, their medal is taken away, and they are subject to suspension from their sport organization. A very stiff yet fair penalty.

Up until this year if a professional baseball player used steroids they'd get away with it because for some strange reason the baseball bosses didn't feel it was important to test for. Of course they didn't. If they tested all of the players in the MLB how many of baseball's superstars would test positive? I'm guessing a majority seeing as hitting stats have dropped this season. And if a majority of your superstars have tested positive that's not going to bode well for the wallets of the team owners.

Enter Jose Canseco, a self described bad boy of baseball, and his popular book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball got Big. Unless you've been living under a rock the last 6 months you know that in his book Canseco exposes the rampant use of steroids in baseball. Strange as it is this doesn't come to much of a surprise to anyone, except to the players actually using steroids. While Canseco could have gone about this in a more noble manner, there was no reason to give such graphic details about the actual injecting of steroids, and he brazenly diminishes the risk of steroids, at least it woke people up. Congress held a hearing to investigate the use of performance enhancing drugs and the MLB has finally instituted a policy regarding performance enhancing drugs. This new policy seems to be pretty weak but Commissioner Bud Selig claims to be committed to reaching a zero tolerance policy. I guess Selig is easing into this zero tolerance policy in order to give his superstar sluggers an opportunity to ease off the juice. Today Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for 10 measly little days for violating the current policy. The only thing more laughable than his suspension is his claim that he doesn't know how the steroids got into his body.

What kind of message does this send to our young athletes? Steroid use amongst teenagers has been steadily rising in this country, but baseball, a sport that is supposed to be our national pastime, has been turning their heads or issuing slaps on the wrist. The risks of using steroids far outweigh the benefits, and the risks alone should be enough reason to ban it from sports, but let's put it into simpler terms...it's cheating. Cheating is not allowed in sports and using steroids is a form of cheating.