Saturday, October 22, 2005

A Little Saturday Humor

So, here's a joke for your Saturday night enjoyment (I mean with SNL not so funny anymore and Mad TV never on due to sporting events, we all need a good joke. This one's an oldie but goldie. Enjoy (no, it's not meant to offend. It's just a joke).
Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy. However, if the Pope won, they would have to leave or convert. The Jewish people met and picked an aged, but wise, Rabbi Moishe to represent them in the debate. However, as Moishe spoke no Italian and the Pope spoke no Hebrew, they all agreed that it would be a "silent" debate.
On the chosen day, the Pope and Rabbi Moishe sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.
Rabbi Moishe looked back and raised one finger.
Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.
Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.
The Pope then brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.
Rabbi Moishe pulled out an apple.
With that, the Pope stood up and declared that he was beaten, that Rabbi Moishe was too clever and that the Jews could stay in Italy.
Later, the Cardinals met with the Pope, asking what had happened. The Pope said, "First, I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there is still only one God common to both our beliefs. Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. He had me beaten at my every move and I could not continue."
Meanwhile the Jewish community was gathered around Rabbi Moishe. "How did you win the debate?" they asked.
"I haven't a clue," said Moishe. "First he said to me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger! Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I said to him, we're staying right here."
"And then what?" asked a woman.
"Who knows?" said Moishe, "He took out his lunch so I took out mine."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ramblings for the Morning (10/21/05)

How strange. It's almost nine a.m., and I've done...nothing. It's a very odd feeling. I would say other teachers know what I mean, but I think many of the teachers I know already can relax at a moment's notice. Wonder what that's like....
Well, anyway, without furthur ado: NOT MY HAND! (seriously, do any of you know any of these?)
Lap it up:
Look at this man. Beyond just his utterly off appearance, this man managed to spend, according to the NY Daily News story, $241,000 on strippers and such at the famous Scores club in NY. Let's start with the club. Scores is like an even more upscale version of Sheiks here in Minneapolis. If you're a celebrity (be it Queen Latifah, a wrestler, David Beckham, or even Brad Pitt), you head to Scores for all your stripping needs. Now, company men also head to Scores (as is evident by this story), but most are smart enough to either take someone to help them (such as a sobber buddy. This is a person who doesn't drink and then makes sure you don't do anything stupid....You know, like pay the price of a condo in Minneapolis for strippers, or drive to Chicago in the middle of night, it's all relative. There were three other men, but they all drank). Now, McCormick is from Missouri. Yes, the same state my wife is from, and the same state where we went to college (also the strip clubs in Missouri are actually across the river in Illinois...but that's another story). He has three kids and is married. Oh, and his salary? Around $700,000 a year, so this Amex bill is about 1/3 of what he makes. No wonder he looks like a deer in headlights.
American Express is suing him and the Savvis company for the money. You see, he felt the charges were, "padded," so he didn't pay. That's a hell of a bill to miss. With 18.4% interest...ouch! So the question becomes this: did McCormick know what he was doing? The spokesman for Scores says you don't talk to the customers about the money they're spending. Also, they can't provide an itemized bill of where the money went. If it was all on a credit card, how do they not know where the money went? Did they just say, "Hmm. Charge him $10,000, and we'll just divy it up." Scores also has other lawsuits against that say roughly the same thing: The bills were padded.
Of course, on the other hand, there's the question of McCormick's sobriety at the time. Maybe he wasn't drunk, just excited about closing a billion (yes, with a b) dollar deal. Maybe he didn't have a single drink, but hoped that some of his companions (there were four guys in total) would pick up some of the bill. That would mean each guy would have a little over $60,000 to pay, or roughly what it would cost to go to the University of Minnesota (as an in-state student) for 4 years.
Personally, this story just saddens me. A great deal of people are dealing with money issues. This guy thought he only blew $20,000 on strippers. $20,000! That's only $10,000 less than the starting salary for teachers in about 20 states. Excess spending...seems to be the thing that America does the best nowadays.
Dead Men Get No Parking Tickets:

An Australian Traffic cop noticed a car was parked illegally and decided to slap on a parking ticket. He walked around the car, got the tags, wrote up the ticket, and walked off. Here's the problem. There was a guy in the passenger seat, and he was
dead. Reported missing only 9 days earlier, the 71 year old man apparently died in the car. The cop, who may have been in a rush, or may just not have really noticed, missed the dead guy in the driver's seat. Now, I bring up this story, because I noticed that many people have stopped observing the world around them. When I was in college, the Psychology department ran an experiment where they have students stand out in crowds and hold up random signs with instructions. For example, one sign read, "If you are reading this, shout, 'Great sign!' out loud." Next to the person holding the sign were two other students who would tick off how many people looked, how many people didn't, and how many people did what the sign said. Now it sounds odd, but it was an interesting experiment. The final tally said that most people didn't notice the sign. If they did, they didn't follow the instructions. What does that say about us? There's an urban legend that a man died in a subway car in Los Angeles, and no one noticed. I believe we're starting to become more and more introverted to the world. Instead of seeing each other, and the world around us, we only see our little space.
On another note, you have to feel bad for the person in the chicken suit or any one of those costumes (even mascots) who have to be out in the blazing sun. They're paid pretty much nothing, get yelled at by pretty much everyone, and, if you're a mascot, more often than not you're attacked by the opposing team and beaten. Sounds like fun doesn't it? Hello? Anyone? That's what I thought. I remember the guy at my high school got tackled by one opposing team's cheerleaders Those gals slapped him around. It was tough for him. He was made fun of for the rest of the year.
Lawyer Dead...No One Bats an Eye:
One of the defense lawyers for Saddam Hussein is dead. That was quick. Seriously. He was shot and dumped behind a mosque. Apparently people aren't happy about this new November court date, still, as Stephen Colbert put it, that's Sweeps time on TV.

Smile, You've Just Been Booked:
This is hysterical. Now, I'm not going to do a political rant here, but really like the fact that for his mugshot, Tom DeLay smiled. I think that's just plain funny. Everybody at the DMV for license pictures almost never smiles. Anybody who is arrested never smiles. You're not happy about the fact that you've been taken in by the Po-Po. It's not a "happy" thing. Yet, here's DeLay smiling as if he was having his picture taken for "Government Official of the Year." One commentator said, "He's smiling, because he's white and rich and will get off." I don't think that's what it is. I think he's smiling, because this experience is funny to him.
And finally....
Rules to Live By:
I recently discovered that a former student of mine posted some advice I gave her. Honestly, I was kind of shocked, but apparently she "liked what I had to say." So, I end this rambling by giving you the advice I gave her. You can decide for yourself if you like/hate/don't understand. whatever this advice.
Leab's Laws of Life (for his former student)
1. Adapt. Either fit into the situation, or make the situation fit you. Don't sulk or bitch. Just react.
2. Realize that the situation is hopeless, but not serious.
3. Don't panic.
4. When upset, take three deep breaths. This slows the heart rate and clears the mind.
5. Realize that life is incredibly short. If a yardstick represents the history of the universe, we are the last millimeter on that stick. Our lives are as short as a blink on our phones. If you sit around and mope and think woe is me all the time, life is going to pass you by.
6. Don't listen to anyone who tells you that right now is the best time of your life. Life gets so much better as time progresses.
Feel free to discuss.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Kicked When You're Down

I ran into one of my neighbors while I was out last night. He told me that Ed (the old guy across the street who yelled at his dog) died in the hospital. Talk about being kicked when you're down. Sure, he was old. Sure, he couldn't handle his dog and liked to yell at her, but he was a nice guy when you talked to him.
When I first met Ed, I was cleaning my yard, and he was struggling with a heavy bag. I offered to help him, and he was quite grateful. I ended up hearing about when he was in the Navy as well as about his wife, his previous dogs and more.
People who didn't really know Ed were afraid of him, because he liked to yell, but he was gentle person.
Daisy, his dog, has gone to live with his grandson (which will be better for her. He apparently has more room). It's not clear yet what will be done with Ed's place. I'm hoping the new neighbors will be nice.
Goodbye Ed. Thank you for being so kind when I first moved here.
Oh, and today is the one year anniversary of when the two students tried to "fork" my lawn. No one came by last night (as far as I know).

Wild Vs. Sharks (10/19/05)

This was the last game of the recent Wild homestand. You know, it's been interesting to hear people talk about the Wild on the national sports shows. Many believe that, "it's only been six or seven games. They won't stay this good." Still others think, "This is all smoke and mirrors." Whatever the case may be, the Wild were in fine form last night against a tough opponent: The San Jose Sharks. Though in 3rd place in the Pacific division, this is a team that is built for the long haul. Still, the Wild have been rolling. This was evident last night.
For the first time, the Wild started slow. With all of the scoring this team has done, the crowd was anxious that the Wild weren't really pressing harder. This could be because the team has new lines. With Marion Gaborik back, players had to be shifted around. Gaborik showed that he hadn't really lost a step. Sure, he was rusty at first. During one odd man rush, Gaborik was a little hasty and stepped into the offensive zone before Walz brought the puck in. Fans, who were wanting to see Gaborik's speed were not disappointed.
After 15 minutes of back and forth, the Wild finally put the first tally on the board. Gaborik, showing why he is the fastest player on the Wild, fired off a nifty pass to Willie Mitchell, who slammed the puck home for the first goal.
As the first period ended, many fans believed the game was already over. "This is what they do," one guy yelled. "We RULE!" Still, the Wild had only 6 shots, while the Sharks had 12. Manny Fernandez, playing in goal again, was fantastic. This was no more evident than during the opening of the second period.

While on the power play, the Sharks charged in and pinged the puck off the goal post. Fernandez did everything but use breakdance moves to keep the puck out. The Wild seemed to be totally outplayed this period. Once again the Wild were outshot 10-12. And it was in this period the Sharks would tie the game. Niko Dimitrakos deflected the puck off of Andrei Zyuzin's skate. How could anyone expect the goalie to stop that? The period ended with the score tied at 1. It was during this break that the fans who were so overly confident were now quieting down. "Um....They'll be fine...yeah...fine," said the same guy who only one period before was screaming about the team's dominance.
When the Wild took the ice for the third period, it was obvious that Jacques Lemaire had spent the break screaming at them. They were moving quicker, grinding it out, and hitting hard. Just 2 minutes in, Derek Boogaard, the team's new Matt Johnson (if you've been a fan since the beginning, that makes sense), scored his first goal. Boogaard is huge. He's 6-7 for cripes sake. Most players aren't above 6'0" tall. Only a few minutes later, the flood gates would open. First, Chouinard scored a short-handed goal. Now giving up a goal is embarassing, but giving up a short-handed goal is down right shameful. For the uninitiated, a team is short-handed when the other team is on a power play. The team on the power play is supposed to score, not the penalty killing team. A short-handed goal means the team on the power play is playing sloppy. This was the case.
The Wild would score three more goals in the third period. Pierre Marc-Bouchard, Todd White, and Filip Kuba would all tally goals. The highlight of the period, however, would be Boogaard. He got his first goal, and at ten minutes, he and Rob Davison would drop the gloves and do the dance. Davison had no chance. Boogaard is bigger and has a longer reach. It looked a great deal like Mike Tyson and Peter McBride. Remember McBride? He was the guy who lasted about two minutes. It was like that, but on skates. In the end, the Wild had won 6-1, the crowd had their goal- and blood-thirst satiated, and everyone (but the Sharks) was happy.
Unfortunately, there weren't too many off-ice moments.
Tonight's "Let's Play Hockey" guest was George Gwozdecky. He's the coach of the University of Denver hockey team. The crowd, obviously largely made up of Gopher fans, was none too thrilled.
Boogaard got the second star of the game and was given louder cheers than Fernandez, who received the first.
No really stupid comments or anything from the fans tonight. However, someone did mention a shutout for Fernandez in-between the first and second period. What happens? No shutout. It's proven, kids.
The Wild are out of town until Tuesday, so no games for me.
5 down, 36 to go.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ramblings for the Afternoon (10/19/05)

I took the day off. Partially for sanity, but really because I had to get blood work done at the hospital. I HATE the hospital, but we'll get to that.
So, without further ado (and keeping with the recent theme): LET'S GET PISSED!
I HATE the hospital:
I've talked about this in a
previous post. I really don't like hospitals or doctors. They're depressing and, due to ever changing insurance issues, most are losing that wonderful bed side manner. (Please note the sarcasm.) Now, I had to go and have blood drawn today in order to have it analyzed (the why is not important). So, armed with a form and an appointment, I headed to my clinic here in Robbinsdale.
The thing about this clinic is that if you have to wait (and inevitably you me), you will observe humanity at its best and (more likely) worst. Let me take you through my few hours (yes, I said hours...2 to be exact) at the clinic to enlighten.
I arrived to find a line at the check-in counter. There were six people in front of me and nine people sitting in the waiting area. Almost everyone was older and waiting for flu shots. As we stood in line, a man in a motorized scooter pulled up to the doors. A sign told him that the Handicap button wasn't working. He was alone. I turned to see NO ONE helping him. Not a single person moved to help this guy. So, I stepped out of line and opened the door for him and held it. After a quick, "Thank you," he sped off to another part of the clinic.
When I tried to step back to where I was, the people who had been behind me told me to, "go to the back of the line." What does this tell us about humanity right now? Are we so utterly afraid of getting "The Bird Flu" that we can't spare a second to help someone? And if we go out of our way to help, people won't recognize it? I did what I was told. I made a comment about, "How wonderful it is to see Americans helping each other with little or no selfishness," but the irony (and the comment) pretty much fell on (possibly literally) deaf ears.
Once through the check-in line, I sit and wait. Some women play with their children, some people read, and one couple decides to have a very vocal fight about (and I'm not kidding) the cable bill. The entire waiting area learns that the older gentleman apparently ordered a porn flick. You don't want to watch. This is a private matter, and yet how do you not listen when they are screaming only feet from you? The best moment, however, was a woman who came in with her stroller, sat down, looked over at me, cocked her head like a puppy, and then got up, and walked over to a new seat on the other side of the room from me. There wasn't more room, just women in the other seats.
As I waited, I watched the same man on the motorized scooter try to leave. Again, no one helped him. How could no one move? He kept trying to open the door himself, but he couldn't. Once again, I helped him. What surprised me was his answer this time. He stopped, looked up at me, and said, "Thanks. Most people won't come near me. I'm surprised you did. Thanks for not ignoring me." What does that say about us? He's handicapped and ignored. What a wonderful world we live in at present.

After what felt like an eternity, I was called in by a nurse in order to have my blood drawn. Once again, my luck, as it were, continued. I met Tara, the nurse, who introduced me to Nancy, who would be taking my blood. Nancy, though she had a sweet face, had a look of uneasiness. Why? She's a nurse in training. That's right, I would be having my blood taken by a lady who had only done this...once before. Yee-haw...let the good times roll! Again, a very sweet girl, but a little unsure of herself. She tapped my arm a few times and then decided on outside vein. This vein had never been tapped before...EVER. So, she took a deep breath, counted to 3, and jammed the needle in to the vein. At first, no problem, the needle was in and the blood was flowing. Now, they have to take two cultures, which means she has to switch vials. Normally, no problem. For me (and it's always me), there's a problem. You see, when she went to switch the vials, she pushed the second one in too hard, and the needle went further into my arm. Tara, who had been watching this, starts saying, "Whoa! Nancy! Not so hard. Relax. Back it up a bit." I, on the other hand, am trying not to show the pain that I am now feeling (It's the macho, retrosexual male in me). When we're done, Nancy looks at me and says, "Now that wasn't so bad, was it?" As compared to what? Having my toenails pulled out?
With a bandage on my arm, I left the hospital with pain going up and down my arm (not good) and feeling annoyed at the way people treat each other. I watched in horror as one woman pushed another out of the way to try and get her flu shot first. Does one minute make that much of a difference? Have we really fallen prey to the fears that media portray? "Get your shot now, or you'll DIE!" Fear makes us turn from civilized to primal. That's why fear is a great weapon. Oh and I still hate hospitals.
How about a jump?
On my way back from the hospital, I stopped at a grocery store to grab a few things. Pulling in, I noticed a woman with the hood of her car up, and asking people for help. Every single person she asked either ignored her, or told her they couldn't help. Now, I do suffer from the White Knight Syndrome. Most men do. They want to ride in, save the day, and ride out. Any man who denies this is probably lying.
With that in mind, I went over to see if I could help. Turns out her car won't start. Hey, I have jumper cables in my car, and having driven to the store, obviously it works, so I offer to help. She was ecstatic. Every person who had come before me had blown her off. One guy told her to (and I quote), "Fuck off," and one gal said she would help if she had the cables. Well, this stranded woman actually had cables and told this gal, "I have the cables." The gal, was silent for a moment, and just said, "Well, that's nice. Good luck." How horrible is that?

So, I move my car over, set up the cables, and she tries it. We hear a clunking. It's not the battery. Her car radio is working, so she has power, but the car still won't start.
This woman (Brenda) is upset. She's on the verge of tears. I reassured her and asked her if there's anyone she can call. "I don't have my phone," she tells me. "My husband has it." So, I pull out my phone and tell her to call him. Then to call her mechanic. If you judged me from the look on her face, you would think I was insane. Here's this guy from out of the blue, and he's tried to help, and he's offering up his phone so you can make calls. In the modern world, this doesn't happen as much as you think. It's sad really. Much like at the hospital, modern society has become more introverted. We talk, but only via electronic communication. No longer do we look at each other in the eye and talk. Very rarely do we actually help each other. Look at Hurricane Katrina. At first, we were all united and giving. Two weeks later, we're sick of hearing about New Orleans. Maybe not everybody, but a great deal of people have moved on to the next thing. Let's see what happens with Wilma.
Back the story, however. I waited. I told her to get in my car (as I had heat), and we waited until the mechanic showed up. When he came, I left. I took of to finish my other errands. She offered me money for helping her, which I thought was so weird. I told her it's not about money. It's about helping each other. "The next time someone is in trouble, help them. Take that money and give it to a homeless guy." Again, that puppy look came out again. I could tell she thought I was either nuts or playing an angle. I nodded, told the mechanic to check the alternator, and I left. I noticed she watched me leave. She was probably wondering who the hell I was.
And finally....
More Hockey (Get over it Worm!)
Yeah, there's a game tonight. The Wild will be playing against the San Jose Sharks, and, yes, I will be talking about it.
A former student has asked me to post about a story she heard me talking about, so I will be talking about it later.
Also, I will once again open up the
Smurf Post for anyone who wants to comment on it (read the part with the poster).
Have a peachy day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cooling Off

I had a post. Blogger lost it.
I'm still angry.
Not sure yet how I'm going to dial it back. I've tried some of the things that used to cool me down, but they aren't working.
I'm still frustrated.
I still can't sleep.
They say the Snake gets all the lines. So why do I feel so empty-headed?
MEA is this week. Maybe I just need time.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Anger and Arnold

It's a tough thing to realize.
I'm angry almost all the time now.
I feel like people are turning into sheep. No one thinks about anything anymore, they just hear it, accept it, and move on. I know not everyone is that way, but a majority of people are. I had a conversation with a class last week about questioning authority. Yes, I am a teacher, but I believe that students have to question. In order to better learn, they MUST question those who came before them.
I worry that they won't do this, or they won't do it correctly. There's a difference between having an informed opinion and just parroting what someone else said (such as a parent or celebrity).
I worry because one day I will be a father, and I don't want my child growing up in an Orwellian world. Sure, people (heck, even me sometimes) say we're there, but we aren't totally yet. I can question my government and not be arrested (all the time).
I'm angry, because I can't really talk to anyone about the way I feel. Most people just think that I'm overly philosophical or just plain crazy. "Who cares if no one thinks anymore? Doesn't that mean the world will run smoother?" Sure, Ignorance is bliss.
I'm angry, because I can't sleep through the night anymore, and I refuse to take a drug or anything. Honestly, I don't think it would help. I am a very light sleeper, thus when my cat drops his toy on the living room floor (one floor below me) I wake up. It's terrible. My sister thinks my chi is out of balance. I don't know.
When I can't sleep, I do things to occupy my mind. Sometimes it's reading, sometimes it's a puzzle or even cleaning, but sometimes it's watching TV.
A few nights ago, the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, The Running Man, was on late night cable. I honestly hadn't seen it since 1993 (though it came out in 1987).
What's amazing about the film is even though it came out almost 20 years ago, it actually showed where this country would go and may still go.
For those of you who haven't seen the film, this is the plot:
In the year 2017, the world's resources dried up. With nothing left, the governments of the world united to keep everyone under rule. The laws are simple and enforced with an iron fist. There's only one TV station, and it's programming is mostly reality television. The most popular show is
"The Running Man" which has criminals trying to escape "Stalkers" in order to win freedom. It's the only form of entertainment. All other art is censored and banned.
Ben Richards (Arnie) is a former cop put in jail for not following orders during a food riot. After escaping from prison (along with some friends in "The Resistance), Arnie lays low, but is soon caught and given a choice: Either go on the show, or watch your friends do it and die. What choice does he have?
The host of the show, Killian (played by Richard Dawson in a role not to far from real life for him) double-crosses Richards and sends him and his friends into the "Game Zone."
Long story short, Arnie's pals die, he makes it to The Resistance and then broadcasts the truth about the game and life to the world. The film ends with Richards killing Killian using the rocket chairs that send the players into the Game Zone.
Now I know what you're thinking: "An Arnold Schwarzenegger film has insight into our world? You're nuts!"
Let's look at some of the aspects of the film:
Someone controls what you see and hear. Well, that's true. Look beyond, "If it bleeds, it leads," and you will see that our news stations talk about Iraq with music behind it and mass amounts of flippant remarks. It almost desensitizes the viewer.

The same can be said about Reality TV. Are we that far from a show called, "The Most Dangerous Game!" Ted Nugent leads five contestants on a hunt for a homeless man in the backwoods of West Virginia. Who will kill..."The Most Dangerous Game!"
Now all through the film, the host and directors of the show try to down play the fact that Richards is able to kill the Stalkers. They even try to turn him onto their side for ratings. Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor apparently tells his camera crew, if the person is drowning, film it till the last second, then get someone to try and save them. THAT will sell. The sad part is he's absolutely right. Most of America would watch that. We watch and discuss, because it's not us.
To me, the most fascinating aspect of the audience in the film is how they cheer for the contestants' deaths, but are silent when the Stalkers die. Aren't we the same way? We cheer when the Nazi/Terrorist/bad guy dies in the film or even real life, but when the American/British/Counterterrorist/good guy gets killed, we mourn. Shouldn't all death be sad? Shouldn't we mourn for everyone? Networks use music, light, and every other trick to draw the viewer into that emotion. The Running Man shows this as well. As the show is winding down, they have sad music playing as they remember, "The fallen gladiators. The brave patriots."
The film plays on the Orwellian idea that there's no such thing as a utopia. Rather only distopia. If you get a chance, watch it with that in mind.
Is it a perfect film? Not by any means. This is a film where Mick Fleetwood (yes, THAT Mick Fleetwood) plays the leader of the resistance. You expect him to start banging on drums at any minute.
Richard Dawson chews the scenery, but he also spoofs his own popularity as the host of Family Feud. This was a man who was a little too touchy-feely and a little too-much of a know it all. Anyone who finds him annoying gets their revenge here.
Back to the subject at hand, however.
I'm angry, because I feel like we are slowly but surely turning into those audience members. They tell us, "Boo," and we scream. No questions asked. Is this a recent development? Oh hell no! This has gone on for a long time, but with TV becoming the main medium (say what you will, but more people watch TV than ANYTHING else now), it's becoming easier to control.
I will end with this. I know I have been picking on Christians alot lately. I'm sorry. I work with a few hardcore Christians who like to tell me everyday that I will burn in hell and that God hates me. He might. Who knows? I also have found that in my life, only Christians, not any other religion, have attacked my life choices and friends' life choices. Very vocally. Does this speak for all Christians? Of course not, but where are the ones who step up and say, "Hey that man's choice is his?" and why aren't they around to stop those who aren't acting nicely?
I'm sorry that I have pushed so much, but I'm not sorry for everything I have said. Some of it is true.
Maybe I've turned into the old Worm. Maybe I need to just stop and walk away and say screw it, because the world's not getting better in my view. It's starting to hurt to see how much my students are going to be burdened with, to see how much my child or my neice will be burdened with in the future.
I'm angry, and people just listen to what I say and tell me I'm wrong, or Un-American, or a horrible person.
I'm angry, because the people who read my blog leave me no real feedback except for the negative. You want to know why I write about the hockey games? People respond to it in a positive manner. Hell, they just respond. No one gave me anything about the Smurf poster. Nothing. How can you not have an opinion? Everyone is now a pundit.
I'm angry, because I feel like I work my ass off in the classroom, on my blog, and in life and it gets me nowhere.
I'm angry, because I just don't see the point of it all anymore. The light at the end of the tunnel is the #4 train coming to hit me.
I'm angry, because in a world full of sheep, I feel like a goat.
I'm angry, and I just don't know how to stop it.
Of course what do I know? I'm just a meaningless speck on the window of the universe. I could be wrong.

Mail Mondays (10/17/05)

Wow, so I got some intersting comments and emails this week. Some, I can use. Some...not so much.
So, let's get to those comments and mailings. (Remember, names are changed. )
I recently had a post on Ashley Smith and her (former?) drug habit. One astute reader commented by saying:
I remember they were mentioning Ashley Smith's problem with drugs, as though they were in the past in early stories. They also mentioned that she lost custody of her daughter due to her problems, right? So I wasn't all that shocked that she still had some around, but maybe that's just me. Do you think she should be arrested just to balance the scales of justice? Was being held hostage not enough?
Astute Reader
Here's the thing, A.R. It's not about the "balance" of justice. The problem I have is with your last statement. "Was being held hostage not enough?" Here's the thing: I truly feel bad that she was held hostage. Granted, for her trouble she received national attention, the thanks of the author of The Purpose Driven Life, and a big book deal. Now, here's the issue I have (and you may definitely feel free to disagree with me). If Smith had been a black woman, and she had been held hostage by a white man, and she had given him Crystal Meth, the country would have turned on her. It wouldn't have been, "Poor woman." No, they would have gone after her
character for having the drugs. "Was being held hostage not enough?" Let me ask you this: A man in Oregon had terminal cancer and was in a lot of pain. He smoked Marijuana to help with that pain. He was arrested and even tried. Wasn't the fact that he was dying enough? Apparently not. If you use the "Wasn't X enough?" argument, then no one should blame Ted Kennedy for what happened at Chappaquiddick. I mean two (count 'em TWO) of his brother's were assassinated. Shouldn't we leave the poor man alone? Hasn't he suffered enough? Yet, there he is, the Republican's favorite target.
Wow, that means we can't pick on Cheney (Heart thing), Bush (He was an alcoholic), Clinton (He had heart surgery), or anyone else. "Was being held hostage not enough?" No. She is now revered in some parts of the Christian community, yet she used the wrong means to do it. They focused on the whole "God" aspect and sort of undercut the use of Crystal Meth. That's not ok. That's like saying, "Jesus is great, if you don't look at his sins." Huh? "Hey, Hitler had a radical way to help Germany...if you forget about his plan to kill all the Jews." If she wasn't a cute, blonde, white girl, this would not be playing out the way it is. Should she go to jail? No. Should she be considered a hero, however? Absolutely not. When the chips are down, she's a tweaker. Plain and simple. If you're supposedly clean, you shouldn't have it in your home. Period. Find me some people in AA who keep alcohol in their home. Seriously. Maybe there are, but those who I know tell me that the temptation would be too great, regardless of how strong your faith is.
Another went all the way back to a
previous post from the beginning of September. While the post was a rambling, this person concentrated on a statement I made about hypocritic Christians. Essentially, I believed (and still do) that it is hypocritical for any Chrisitan to say that Christianity has never been as extreme as Islam. This person's response is below:
I've never prayed to a pee stain. I've never given money to a guy on TV. But I haven't cut the head off of anyone for not being a Christian. yet. Sorry The islamist extremists are extreme. And its not hypocrysy to say so.
A Good Christian
Look, I'm not disagreeing that Islam has extremists. Nor am I saying that these extremists aren't extreme. What I want to get across is that Christians have the same. People pray to a cheese sandwhich that has a Virgin Mary on it. People give money to guys on TV that say, "I'm close with God, and I can get you close too...for $100." The difference is that we only focus on the Islamic extremists now. There are Muslim and Islamic people who aren't blowing people up, but we don't really hear about them.
As for Christianity, have you ever heard of the Inquisition? You need something more current? How about all of Catholicism. You are LITERALLY eating the body of Christ and LITERALLY drinking his blood. Look up
transubstantiation. Yet, Jeffrey Dahmer was a monster? How about the Ku Klux Klan burning crosses in the name of God. Wait, how about the fact that the guys who dragged Matthew Shepard on the road were not only against homosexuals, but said God was too, so it's ok.
Every aspect of life has extremes. There are extreme sports fans, extreme political opinions, and extreme aspects of religion. It's a part of life. Christians may not blow up people yet (though hey, McVeigh did, and people might have cheered him if he hadn't killed children), but they will blow up an abortion clinic. Isn't that a little extreme?
Of course, what do I know? I believe Jesus would be great pot-head. I could be wrong.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Wild Vs. Ducks (10/16/05)

On the heels of their first home loss, the Wild were out for blood. Luckily the unfortunately named Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were in town. Though the Brothers Neidermayer are now playing for the Ducks, the rest of the team doesn't seem to be hustling. J.S. Giguere, once a total brick wall, is now a shell of a goalie. Perhaps they miss Martin Gerber now? Well, let's review the game.
Right off the bat, the Wild came out fast and furious. Almost six minutes in to the period, Brian Rolston slammed home a power play goal. Here's my first question: Why aren't the sports pundits coming out and apologizing to the team for such an underestimation? They have the league's top power play AND penalty kill. How about them apples?
Eight minutes later, on their second power play, Filip Kuba slapped in his first goal of the season off a Chouinard rebound. It's good to see Kuba getting his points. He is one of the longest tenured Wild players.
On the other side of the ice, Manny Fernandez (starting in place of Roloson) was superb. He faced 7 shots in the first period and pushed aside every single one. The highlight of the first period however was not a save or a goal. No, it was Derek Boogaard's two (count 'em: TWO!) fights. The first, with Kip Brennan, came right after a face off. Boogaard was able to whomp on Brennan until Brennan fell to the ice. The crowd exploded with cheers even louder than when the team scored. The Ducks, already down a goal, had their little bit of momentum taken away. Only 9 minutes later, Boogaard dropped the gloves again and started brawling with Todd Fedoruk. This time, the Duck player was able to pull Boogaard's jersey almost clean off, but showing that Wild enthusiasm and grit, Boogaard kept swinging even though he couldn't see. Fans were shouting directions at Derek. "He's on your left...YOUR LEFT!!!! Swing!!" Because he won both fights (and he really did), the momentum of the game was totally on the Wild's side.
The second period saw things slow down. The Wild got a goal from Bouchard (and Marc Chouinard got his third assist and point of the night) with seven minutes left in the period. Though he only saved five shots, Manny Fernandez was looking impressive and had people murmuring about a shut out (again, an old superstition: Never talk about the shutout. It's bad luck).
The third period was a big period for Manny Fernandez. After facing a combined 12 shots in the first two periods, Manny would face 17 shots in the third period. Once again, the Wild owned the period. Kyle Wanvig made it 4-0 about 4 minutes in to the period. Being that it was a rough day for most Minnesota sports fans (wow, don't those Vikings suck?), many were elated to see at least one team doing well. Others were so happy that they left early (for shame people). Sadly, with only a 14 seconds left, the Ducks were able to get a goal and end the shutout. Still, fans knew what an incredible game he had and gave him a well-deserved standing ovation. When the horn sounded, Minnesota fans saw their beloved Wild down those (Not-so) Mighty Ducks 4-1.
Interesting notes during the game:
The "Let's Play Hockey" moment was done by two players from the Minnesota Swarm. "The what?" you ask. The Minnesota Swarm...You know...The Lacrosse team...Hello? Ok, well, there's a Lacrosse team in this town now...Really.
In-between the first and second period, they had some pee-wee hockey action (by the Little Chippers, no less). One kid had a beautiful breakaway goal that had the crowd really cheering for him. Of course there were other fans screaming for the little tots to hit each other or start fighting. Though there was some (inadvertant) tripping, the game was clean. The best moment, however, came after it was finished. The Wild announcer brought out the kid who hit the breakaway goal. This was the conversation:
Wild Announcer: We have Jimmy, the star of the game, with us. Jimmy what were you thinking when you hit that breakaway goal?
Kid: What?
WA: When you hit that goal. What did you think about that?
K: What are you talking about?
WA: Well, nice playing Jimmy....
One fan astutely said, "Perhaps that wasn't the right kid?" (It turned out it wasn't.)
Another great moment came when the camera man found a fan in a Vikings jersey. Almost immediately the fans started booing. The fan turned bright red and quickly grabbed a hockey stick that read "Minnesota Wild." He then asked the camera guy to zoom in and held the stick up to the camera. Looks like the Vikings are in some hot water up here in the frozen north.
All in all, it was quite an exciting game on a sleepy Sunday evening.
I mentioned shutout superstition earlier. You see, you never talk about the shutout when it's happening. It's like a no-hitter. Halfway through the third period, several fans, including the guy next to me, began talking about how, "Manny's going to get his shutout." NO, NO, NO! You never talk about it. That's a gremlin. Ever see the film Forget Paris? You never say, "Piece of cake." Why? Because it will be anything but. Same with the shutout. "He's got it," said the fan. What happened? Goal! There goes the shutout.
Then again what do I know? I was the guy telling people, "Don't talk about his inevitable shutout." I could be wrong.
4 down, 37 to go.