Saturday, December 7, 2013

I love smart asses

As someone who works in education, I have to say that I truly love when people start posting smart ass responses to test questions.

Perhaps it's because I used to do that kind of stuff. (Anyone from SHHS or BLS remember my 1,000 word essay on responsibility that included directing the teacher to be responsible enough to not throw out my essay but to at least recycle it as toilet paper?  Enough people copied it word for word because it was filled with that lovely high school snark kids love.)

But this one struck me this morning.  I love the literal snark and wonder two things: what does it say and does the teacher read Chinese?

If you need a good laugh, there are tons out there but here's a link to some of my favorites: 25 great test responses.

Go have a laugh, I have lesson plans to write and will probably look for more of these later when I need a break.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Goodbye Nelson Mandela

I first learned about apartheid from Gil Scott Heron as a white suburban girl in the mid-70s, long before most Americans had heard of Nelson Mandela or cared about the legalized abuse and segregation of an entire race.  I first heard the song "Johannesburg" in the mid-70's on WBCN.  I heard the reports about reporter Steven Biko, a white reporter who was killed in a police station in South Africa for reporting to the world about Apartheid and what was happening for real in South Africa, from Danny Schecter (the news dissector).

The world went on until the declaration, "I ain't gonna play Sun City," the South African equivalent of Las Vegas, echoed through the rock and roll world.  Paul Simon performed with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and taught the US that there was an injustice in the world that, tragically, made the worst of the Southern Jim Crow laws look like amateur hour.  Students began to demand divesture from South Africa and "shanty towns" appeared on college campuses.

In it all, Nelson Mandela was the shining light on the hill of dignity under the most extreme duress.

When he was freed from his 8x8 cell after 27 years, he did something even more amazing: he forgave.  Not a mumbled kid apology of convenience, he truly forgave and encouraged the rest of the world to do so in an effort for all of us to move on.  Right up until his end at the age of 95, he kept telling people to love and fight for justice.  He inspired, he uplifted and he did all the things a good and just human being should do in this world.

But he didn't do it as "look at me, I'm such a great person."  He did it as, "you can do this too."

One of the quotes that has stuck with me since a major speech he gave early on after his freedom has always been, "Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural.  It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings."  I humbly try to remember that and do what I can, when I can to work towards that goal.  When people ask me why I am so critical of "christians" (small c intentional here), it is because they don't live it.  Being a Christian means more than constantly posting "like if you love Jesus, share if you want his blessings, ignore if you want to go to hell...." type messages.  They teach their children that prayer is like throwing a coin in the wishing well - G0d will answer your prayers if you just  r e a l l y  believe.  They want to cut social aid in favor for less personal taxes because, well, if you don't want to be poor get off your ass and work.  (While ignoring that the stats on the working poor and working homeless are growing at alarming rates and justifying it as there are people who cheat the system and they don't want to support those people.)

I hope a new generation will learn about Mandela as a result of the publicity in the aftermath of his death but it is hard to explain to kids how things used to be when they only know what is now.  Perhaps part of my desire to teach is to address just that issue with kids - how to build on what went before to be even better.  I hope to buy a copy of the beautiful tribute Peter Reynolds posted this morning that I have on my page now to hang up in a classroom one day.

The headline at the Onion yesterday said goodbye declaring he was the one politician that would be missed.

They were, sadly, correct.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My take on this week's hot stove news.

I'm a Red Sox fan and have been for as long as I can pretty much remember.  I have seen players come and go over all those years and the best advice I can give someone is: get a grip.

Great players leave.  Lousy players leave.  No one in sports lasts forever.  Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Yaz, Cal Ripken, and so many more have come and go over the years.  Some stick with a team their whole career and others move around - it happens.

Like a hair cut, no matter how good or bad it is, your hair continues to grow and you'll have to get it cut again.  Same with sports.  Bobby Orr eventually retired as did Bobby Hull.  Larry Bird and Dr. J are known for a rivalry that was for the ages and is long since retired and a memory or point of history for kids today.  Sammy Sneed?  Ben Hogan?  Who are they?  Arnold Palmer, he's the ice tea guy right?

You get my point.

So when a kid at school asked me how I felt about Ells going to the Yankees, I shrugged and said, "He'll probably end up riding the pine pony on the DL next to Youk."

He smiled and said, "Yeah, probably.

My love affair with Ells ended the season he spent the whole summer at home in Arizona recovering from injured ribs.  It was the same season two other team mates taped up their ribs and went out and played and another team mate, Dustin Pedroia, sat on the field in cast over a broken foot practicing fielding from sitting and kneeling positions.

Ellsbury, in my opinion, is a lazy crybaby.  He gets a hangnail and he's out a game.  He stubs his toe in the clubhouse, better get the back up utility fielder suited up fast because he's playing at least one or two games.  So go let him be New York's expensive problem, the same way Wade Boggs, Johnny Damon, Kevin Youkilis and so many others have become.

For those of you who hate the Yanks for snagging Ells, get over it.  If you do a happy dance when we snag a player from them, remember turn about is fair play.

Right now I'm sitting here on a gray December day dreaming of April, the smell of the freshly mown grass and the call of, "Play Ball!" knowing that whomever the Sox field on that day will be worthy of play.