Friday, December 22, 2006

A Dynamite Christmas

I received the DVD of Napoleon Dynamite as an early Christmas gift over Thanksgiving. With Christmas Break starting Wednesday I was finally able to find time to pop it in and watch this great movie. A lot of people are entertained by this movie because it seems so bizarrely weird. But I enjoy it because it is so true to life in high school. I think a lot of people forget the oddballs and socially challenged people they went to school with. If you were one of those oddballs then that's another reason you might find it great. I see Napoleon Dynamites every day walking down the halls of Kaufman High School. I like this movie because although it is strangely goofy it ends on a heartwarming note. And it is an uncannily accurate depiction of the weirdness of high school.

Ironically enough during Homecoming Week at KHS we had a 'dress as your favorite movie character day.' There were a lot of Napoleons and Debs that day. What was ironic was the fact that most of the people who dressed up as Napoleon or Deb were from the elite crowd...people who pick on and mock the real Napoleons on a daily basis. The elites are so self-absorbed they can't even see themselves as the jocks, Summers and Tricias of the movie...people to despise for their snobbery, egotism and bullying. I fight for the Napoleons. I fight for the Pedros and Debs. That's one of the reason I teach.

Well, we'll be pretty busy the next two or three days and I may not have a chance to log back on before Christmas. So have a Merry Christmas and see you around the next snowman.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

DOGma or CATastrophe?

Often when I see a profile of someone I see them asked the question "Dog or cat?" I guess whether you are a dog person or a cat person is supposed to provide some deep insight into your psyche.

Now I have nothing against dogs. I like dogs. But from a socio-political view, dogs represent fascism. Think about it...dogs are dogmatically (pun intended) loyal, never questioning and are easily trained. They'll do anything to please their master. They'll make fools of themselves for a dry biscuit. They have no dignity. From one standpoint these qualities are what make dogs's best friend. And yes, I like happy dogs as the next person. But they happily conform to making their master happy at the expense of their own individual dignity.

But cats represent individual freedom. They kowtow to no one. They are not so easily trained or conditioned. They are selective about their food. They have a mind of their own. They know where to use the restroom without being trained. They show love and affection on their terms. They play when they want. And any cat owner can tell you that dignity is very important for a cat. Plus, they are not nearly as high maintennance as dogs. They can live on their own for days and they don't keep you up at night with incessant barking. They represent critical thought and individual freedom. I guess that's why more than twice as many people own cats than dogs in the United States.

But you notice...who's more slavishly vocal about their owners. The typical bellocosity of fascism. So when you read that next survey be wary of the pet chosen.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Last Look

Well, here it is. The last sonogram of our baby boy until D-Day (delivery day). The bags are packed (mostly). The nursery is finished (hopefully). We've completed child-birth classes, child-care classes and nursing classes. We have certificates to prove it! Now we wait. The target is just two weeks away...December 30th. The substitute lesson plans are ready. The car seat is in place. The clothes organized and the diapers ready. The iPod playlists to help lure the baby asleep are done (one jazz and one classical) and the iPod plugged into the bassinet's Mp3 jack. The name is chosen...although it's a closely guarded secret until the big day. Let the madness begin!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Season Wrap-up

Thoughts on the college football season...both the regular season that's wrapped and the bowl season that charging full steam ahead...

Wow! The Oklahoma Sooners win the Big XII Championship! Who would have thought after all the crap thrown their way. Stupid quarterbacks, corrupt officials, heartbreaking injuries and still the Sooners win the conference. A texas longhorn fan friend of mine at work told me that Thanksgiving weekend was the apocalypse for ut supporters. First ut loses to A&M...but worse yet, that loss send OU to the title game.

It was great to see the OU-Nebraska rivalry renewed. Growing up in Kansas City with all those displaced Husker fans that was the big game of the year for me. I didn't even know a texas fan until college. So all the trashtalking in football was with those cornfed bruisers from the north. Plus, OU-NU was a conference game and often determined a trip to the Orange Bowl. OU-texas was just a bitter non-conference game. So a strange year ended up great...even if the Sooners lose in the Fiesta (highly unlikely to the smurf turf crew of Boise State)...this year will be very satisfying for Sooner fans. This was the first year that the conference championship game seemed a reward for OU. Usually it's just another hurdle to a title with little upside. This year it was all gravy.

Yes, the BCS is a flawed system...but the title game is the right matchup. Florida deserves a shot at Ohio State. Michigan may very well be the second best team in the nation...but they had their shot at the Buckeyes and lost. Sure it was a heroic loss on the road by only three points. But it was a shot. Now it's someone else's turn.Of course my son is due to arrive right at the height of all this bowl madness so I may not be paying much attention this year. If I'm lucky I'll get the VCR set in time...but expected babies puts everything in perspective.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Loss of a Visionary

I was saddened to hear of the loss of AFL/NFL visionary Lamar Hunt last night. Hunt, the owner of my favorite team the Kansas City Chiefs, was one of the most humble and gentle-spirited entreprenuers America has seen in the last century. He was a shrewd businessman but he was known to treat others with respect and made decisions based off their merits and not on ego. Lamar Hunt's automated signature appeared on my paychecks when I worked at his World's of Fun amusement park in Kansas City for three summers during my high school years. I used to say to my high school peers you may make a little more money working for McDonalds but I work for Lamar Hunt. He will be missed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Conversations with the Cosmos

A year ago my grandmother-in-law got me a book on my wish list as a Christmas gift. The book was Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five: The Children's Crusade." Vonnegut tells the story of the World War II firebombing of Dresden, Germany. Vonnegut was there as an American P.O.W. in an underground bunker. He was among just a few to survive the horrendous fire storm that killed more civilians in one night than the atomic bomb did in Hiroshima. Worse, Dresden had no strategic or tactical value. It was a massacre with no military purpose. It was an excellent yet sobering read.

A few days later as I was pondering what to read next I picked up a book on our shelf that belongs to Kimberly. The book was "Disturbing the Universe" by Freeman Dyson. I had vaguely heard of Dyson and never heard much about the book. It was required reading for one of her SNU science classes back in college. I just picked it up by chance.The book is written by a world-reknowned scientist discussing the philosophy of modern science. I found the first two chapters engrossing and then I was stunned as I hit the third chapter. The third chapter was entitled "The Children's Crusade." Dyson writes about his experience as a scientist attached with the same bombing division that bombed Dresden in World War II. He said he always wanted to write a book about Dresden but that Vonnegut had beaten him to the punch and done a better job than he could have done. The third chapter of Dyson's book discusses Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five in length.

I was amazed. I had just read Slaughterhouse Five...a book that I had received a year earlier but only just picked up to read a few weeks ago. And I picked up Dyson's book by sheer accident. Was this mere coincidence? These types of coincidences have happened several times in the past year in my reading choices. Sometimes I purposely read several books that investigate a certain theme. But in the past year I have found several of my reading choices linked and yet I had chosen them randomly...often receiving them as gifts from others and not of my own volition. Is somebody trying to tell me something?

I will expound on my new theory of cosmic dialogue in an upcoming entry. But I often I subconsciously linking certain themes together? Or am I being led into certain directions of intellectual introspection by some outside force, i.e. God? Or is it all chance that I'm led down these paths of enlightenment? I'll write more about this later as this entry is beginning to ramble incoherently on subjects quite esoteric. But it kinda makes me wonder. And wondering is good.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Weezer and The Beach Boys

Yes, I'm still blogging. Life has gotten hectic recently. Sorry for the delay between blogs.

Many of you know that Weezer is one of my favorite bands. If I had my druthers I would name my soon-to-be-here son Rivers after Weezer's lead singer. My wife vetoed that idea very early on. Some parents play Mozart for their infant children to stimulate brain development. My Dad played The Beach Boys. Now I always knew there were some inherit similarities between The Beach Boys and Weezer. Weezer has been called the "Beach Boys of today" or "The Beach Boys on mescaline" by many critics. Weezer has even covered a couple of Beach Boys tunes. So knowing that I was indoctrinated with Brian Wilson melodies since I was in the womb I now wonder if that had anything to do with my love of the music of Weezer.

Now there is a website that details the similarities...some coincidental, some intentional...between Weezer and The Beach Boys. Some similarities are a stretch...others are very apparent...all are interesting. You can find the site here...