Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Poor Car

I started having car trouble on Friday - when the 'Service Engine Soon' light came on as I was driving home from school. When I came out just a few minutes to take the car to the shop - it would not start. Bummer. Hopefully we find out what the problem is and it's relatively cheap to fix. If it is a transmission or major engine repairs, then it's curtains for the king! If it is only a starter or something, then I think it can be salvaged.

I hope.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sometimes, Less is Truly More...

One of the reasons I found that I could not support Barack Obama in the 2008 election was his tendency to want to butt in where he did not belong - places such as my wallet, my home, my kitchen, my car, and now my school. The president has indicated a desire to compel schools to go to longer days and more days over the course of the year.

I do not necessarily have a problem with the idea of longer or more days of school. Now, I do like my vacation, but I also teach summer school from around June 20-July 15 - so it is four weeks extra. My problem is the philosophical stance taken by President Obama and people who are like-minded that everything should be dictated from the top on down. The president was quoted in the story as saying we are using an agrarian type of calendar - and with not a lot of children working the fields anymore, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Ok, but how does it necessarily follow that we ought to go to school upwards of 300 more hours during the academic year?

I would have no problem if individual states or school districts mandated longer days/hours - that is their right. They are the ones who are in a better position to judge if the children in their school systems need more instruction, not Washington. This is what federalism is supposed to be. It's nice that the president is interested in education; he has two school-aged daughters, and yet, education is probably one of those things to which he would be better off taking a l'aissez faire approach.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Despondency in DC

So the Redskins lost to the lowly Detroit Lions, owners of a 19 game losing streak and the only team in NFL history to go 0-16? No sweat. I have the solution -

FIRE JIM ZORN!!!

Actually, I am only calling for that because I desperately want the entertainment on early morning sports talk radio (ESPN 980 "in HD" - whatever the hell that means) and since the Skins are really the only sports team people care about around here, the callers will be even more irate than normal. Hell, they were irate last week, and the Redskins WON! So I look forward to listening to Andy Pollin and Kevin Sheehan (whose voice is so annoying) talk about the sh*t sandwich the Redskins forced their paying customers to eat. I know they won't let me down!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guest Post: An Affair For the Ages

This is a guest post from my friend Dustin, about a very unusual love he has...Enjoy! ~ Josh

We all have our favorite sports teams that we show unconditional love for; even when they fail to score a touchdown in the red zone and only win 9-7. Growing up in College Park, the teams I expect to have a lifetime relationship with are the Washington Redskins, Capitals, Bullets Wizards, all University of Maryland teams and the Baltimore Orioles. Remember folks, no Washington baseball team until 2005 and the love for the Iron Man won’t allow me to go “Nat Crazy”.

I wore number 8 and tried to play shortstop. I’ve reenacted many long bombs to Art Monk in the front yard. I tried to hit on-timers like Peter Bondra in Gym Class (we used to get demerits if we didn’t call it P.E. in grade school). And I yelled SPRET [editor's note - that's TERPS, backwards - you have to attend MD games in the alumni section to get it] countless times after Maryland touchdowns while attending games since as far back as I can remember. But even through all the great moments, I have been having an affair with another team since the late 80s. It all started with a hat. A hat I still have in College Park. This hat was green and white with a palm tree on the front of the hat being blown over. Yes folks, it was a University of Miami Hurricane hat. And so it began.

I remember the hat was purchased for me by my parents while on vacation at Myrtle Beach, SC. The next thing I did was go into the dad’s brief case and pulled out all the sports preview magazines for the upcoming fall. What I learned were the teams Maryland football always lost to, were beaten by the Hurricanes and beaten pretty bad at times. For someone who loves football and learning about weather, the Canes were the perfect fit as my “second favorite” college football team.

Admit it, everyone has a team like that, whether it was Jordan’s Bulls, Montana’s 49ers or Free Shoes Florida State University….This is strictly outlawed in Bill Simmons’s 20 Rules of Being a Sports Fan, which I have gone on record as rules fans must follow.

However, from the days of Wide Right I and II to this season’s move up the polls, I have been pulling for “The U” while my Maryland Terps have struggled with finding success. Miami was one of the premier D-1 teams in the mid-80s and the early 90s. After Miami got in trouble with NCAA violations, the team’s success went down hill but former head coach Butch Davis built the team into a juggernaut.

A marquee win at the end of the 1999 season against UCLA put the school back in the national spotlight. The next year saw Wide Right III against Florida State and then a national championship in 2001. Following a repeat national championship appearance in 2002 and a BCS bowl game in 2003, the program went downhill again. After several years of rebuilding under head coach Randy Shannon, the program (2-0) is back in the top 10 for the first time in four seasons after two impressive wins against Georgia Tech and archrival Florida State.

Saturday, the young Hurricanes travel to Blacksburg, Va. to face the 11th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1). Though the teams first met 1998 with both teams ranked in the top-25, the schools have had a fierce rivalry. The 9th ranked Hurricanes will have a tough task in a hostile stadium against an extremely good Hokie defense. On Saturday, I’ll be rooting for the Hurricanes to knock off the Hokies. If Blacksburg wasn’t so far away, I bet I’d have enough nerve to go to the game wearing green and orange.

Saturday’s game reminds me of the games back in the late 80s when Miami played teams that a) I did not like and b) Maryland could not beat. It is no secret the Washington D.C. area is up in arms with the Hokies even though some [ed. - including the blogmaster!] would not consider them a local team since they are located in southwestern Virginia.

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has consistently put together top notch teams for more than a decade now. Miami has a chance to knock off a heavyweight Saturday. The key to the game will be the quarterback play. Some have said if Maryland Quarterback Chris Turner was the Hokie starting quarterback, Virginia Tech would be undefeated with a great shot to win the National Championship.

The game will be close. Miami will win, 27-17. Definitely an affair for the ages.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Today's Sign of the Apocalypse...

...Bible Prophecy Today is following me on Twitter!

In other news, Phillies piss me off, Grandma was a tad irritating, and I ate white pizza for dinner. What is white pizza, you ask? It is basically a rectangular crust with onions, rosemary, ground black pepper and mozzarella cheese. The cheese cannot be browned in any circumstance; the pizza looks like an albino. It does not, I repeat, does not contain any of the following: tomatoes, garlic sauce, alfredo sauce, broccoli, cauliflower, green or red peppers, or anything other than the above items. Sound good? You betcha.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Juvenile Humor of the Day

I laughed so hard at this. Reminds me of the Simpsons episode with the Springfield Film Festival. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17th

It has been already about 3 weeks since the start of the school year. It has been a tiring, but satisfying three weeks. This year, I have decided to go hi-tech in disseminating information - power points, the use of YouTube in the classroom, a timer on the screen for quizzes, a picture of the day, and a whole slew of other things. It's been quite exciting, but at the same time, a bit scary - let me explain.

When I started teaching a few years ago, I was very much old-school, even at the ripe old age of 22. I did all chalkboard writing and was very straightforward (read: plain). It's taken a while, but I have 'caught up with the times'. The reason this is a little scary is that I don't really have a safety net. I have put most of the eggs in one basket and therefore it has to succeed. In the words of Karl Malden as General Omar Bradley in Patton: "if you succeed, you're a big hero...if you fail, what happens to those kids?"

Obviously, this is not a life and death situation as the Sicily campaign was in 1943, but there is a certain truth to the idea that the students are lab rats for my new methods in teaching. We shall see...kids seem to be enjoying the show so far. Hopefully they enjoy it all the way through May 30, 2010.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Inglorious Return

First, let me apologize for falling off the face of the earth. No, I swear, I am alive and this is not some random bot writing this blog post. Sheer exhaustion over the past couple of weeks have prevented any kind of writing on this blog. It's been a long week, and the previous week denoted the start of the school year.

The start of any school year (especially as a teacher) is difficult because a) you are trying to get used to the sleep schedule again, b) you are trying to get into a rhythm, and c) you are trying to learn and get to know the students and their names. The first week is always extremely tiring and I will go and take a nap for an hour or two before the Phillies game. Emails are flying in from parents who want to know this and that, and I don't blame them at all - I prefer parents who are involved to those who aren't in any way.

This second week, while short, just had late nights every night. Between the Labor Day BBQ we had at my parents, Back to School Night on Tuesday, the start of bowling season on Wednesday, and going to Nats Park to watch the Phillies lose on Thursday, last night was just crash and burn time. 5 AM alarm calls and midnight bedtimes combined make not for rested times. Hopefully by the start of this coming week, the regularity of my sleep returns and thus will have the energy to blog on a regular basis as well. Anyway, it is good to be back and it is good to express in print again as well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Astros/Phillies Live Blog - 7 PM

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