Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Guns



This was at the local CVS. Sometimes I think I live in the Wild Wild West. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ice Skating


Last night my niece performed in her Holiday Ice Show. She did an amazing job! She will be an Olympian! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

POV


I try to teach my students to always look at the opposing side's point of view.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Post Star Wars


The next morning after the 10 pm showing of Star Wars. Tough life for an eight year old. Good thing it was a Saturday. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars!


This was us last night heading to the theater to catch the new Star Wars. I will post a review in a few days. I don't want to give away any spoilers. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Attack of the Bobble Heads


A student gave me Yoda bobble head for Christmas today. Goes along very well with the Kylo Ren a student gave me a couple of days ago. 

I'm not going to make the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens tonight. Too many other things going on. We will catch it tomorrow. I fully expect to be disappointed. Hopefully not. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Departmental Christmas


I'm honored to work with the finest bunch of losers in Texas. Merry Christmas to the greatest Social Studies Department in the Lone Star State and America!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Star Wars Fatigue


Anyone who knows me can attest that I am a huge Star Wars fan. The very first movie I ever saw in the theater was Star Wars (it wasn't called A New Hope yet) in 1977 when I was four years old. I remember standing in line for the movie with my uncle and my Mom and Dad. I collected tons of Star Wars toys. I still have many of them lying around. From age four to eleven, Star Wars was my life.

Then the prequels came and disappointed. Then the new episodes were announced. I have watched every trailer for the J.J. Abrams and the anticipation has been growing.

Except...

In the past few weeks I've had a bit of Star Wars fatigue gnawing at me. The merchandising and cross promotions has been relentless. I mean, Star Wars always was a hard core merchandiser. But since Disney took over? They have taken it to a whole new level and I'm a pretty worn out on it all.

I still look forward to the movie. I've been trying to temper my expectations. But I'm so over the hype. And I'm over the labeling of every conceivable object with the Star Wars logo. I used to think Star Wars stuff was cool. But they've beaten the horse and jumped the shark big time. Now when I see Star Wars merch...I'm pretty much meh.

Hopefully the movie will be great.

photo: Kylo Ren bobble head given to me yesterday as a gift. Okay, I admit it's kinda cool. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The High Cost of Living


New 7/11 opening around the corner in a couple of days. Their gas prices are ridiculous. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Light at the End of the Tunnel


Exam Week. Light at the end of the tunnel, finally. Light for those giving the tests at least.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Groundbreaking


So after the "official" groundbreaking with all the "important" people (mayors, school board members, superintendents etc) some of us who actually use the building staged our own ceremony. Ours was more fun. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fett



Saw Boba Fett the other day. Seems he's put on some pounds. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Troll Shields


I'm currently smack dab in the middle of reading Salman Rushdie's excellent memoir "Joseph Anton." I have found it riveting and a real page-turner, a description not usually attributed to autobiographies.

But the thing that sticks in my mind as I read "Joseph Anton" is the question of how someone perseveres under stinging criticism. Rushdie's criticism involved existential threats to his very life by a foreign power. He was also attacked by many in the western world who assumed that since the title of his controversial work contained the word "Satanic" then the work must be satanic itself. This, of course, was not the case. The title referenced a story where the founder of a religion was tempted to include verses that seemed to betray the basic principles of his new religion. Later it was said that it must have been Satan himself that tempted and therefore the passages in question were referred to as the Satanic Verses. In the story, the figure resists the temptation and removes the verses from the holy book.

Well, such nuances were conveniently forgotten by some in the west and Rushdie found himself taking arrows from west and east.

I've always marveled at those who could survive terrible attacks and continue on. Martin Luther, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc etc etc.... How did these guys do it? I've never encountered criticism or attacks on even a fraction of the scale of these guys. Yet, it still hurts when someone says something awful and unfair about me. Granted it doesn't happen a lot and I'm not usually described as sensitive. I have the thick skin of a teacher of adolescents. If I didn't have an invisible insult shield I would not have survived over a decade and a half as an public educator.

But still, trolls can grate. They can bug. They can annoy, especially on social media and the blogosphere. With the advent of blogs and comment sections back in the late '90's, I was taken aback by the vitriol of what we now call trolls. I'm pretty good at taking things with a grain of salt. But I've never had to deal with the type of personal attacks leveled at Salman Rushdie. Not even close.

If you state the truth, you can be guaranteed that you will be attacked. They crucified the Son of God for speaking the truth. How can we expect anything less?

Personal faith is certainly an anchor during such times. My faith in God has helped me withstand much in this ridiculous world. I would like to know how the a-religious do it.

I have great admiration for Salman Rushdie. He is one of my favorite writers. I don't agree with much of his world view, but he is a hero of mine nonetheless. He is a hero of mine not because of infallibility or personal perfection. I look up to him for many reasons...spectacular writing, moral courage, brilliant imagination among other things. But his ability to persevere in the midst of stinging attack...I find that truly inspiring.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

To Sunshine and Happier Days


Started a new Moleskine today. Nothing like a fresh clean Moleskine with clear pages ready to be written upon. It took me a year to fill up my last Moleskine. I just didn't have the motivation to write as much as in the past. 2015 had great times, wonderful times. But unfortunately these times were too often overshadowed by tragedy, more tragedy than usual. Since September of 2014 I have lost my Grandmother, my Father, my wife's Grandmother and even a beloved cat. It's been a rough go of it.

But I have the naive hope that maybe the things written in this new Moleskine will be sunnier. And even if there is fog hopefully it won't be a malignant "Hound of the Baskervilles" fog. Hopefully any cloudiness will be a light mist, like those found in the mythical shire on a crisp morning. I really could use some sunnier times.

So I hope to write more, to get back into the habit. I need to write to pull myself from the mind-numbing screens of my iPhone and iPad. I need to write even if it's nonsense, especially if it's nonsense. I would like to do a better job of recording those little stories that blossom all around if one is truly paying attention. Each little story may seem trivial, meaningless or boring. But altogether, these narratives fill a meadow with a brightly colored carpet of exploding wildflowers. These meadows we stroll through, are our lives.

Writing helps me pay attention. The things of life slow down a bit. Writing brings me clarity. The fog dissipates faster. Writing forces me to engage, to act. And if all that sounds cheesy and if all that sounds like hack writing...so be it.

Here's to Sunshine and Happier Days...

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

TED Talk Tuesdays


I've been a fan of TED Talks for years. I've utilized them in my classroom and have personally been inspired by these amazing presentations on many an occasion. But over the last year I realized it had been awhile since I had watched one. So recently I implemented TED Talk Tuesdays. Every Tuesday, during my lunch break, I watch a TED Talk. TED Talks are usually required to be 18 minutes long so they fit in the lunch break perfectly. Today I watched one given several years ago by Dr. Spencer Wells about the origins of the Human species. They often spark my creativity and motivate me to finish the day out with excellence.


Monday, November 02, 2015

Champs


The Kansas City Royals are World Champions. 

From my Dad's eulogy which I read at his funeral on September 9th:

 "He loved baseball and nothing would give him greater pleasure than if the Kansas City Royals would win the World Series this year."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Skywalkers


For last Sunday's annual neighborhood Halloween Hayride he was Luke Skywalker (1977 A New Hope version) and his cousin was Princess Leia. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Royals Back In


Last year it was a shock. Now not so much. The pic above is from my ticket. Yep. I'm taking my son to the World Series  Stoked! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Roads



The road to the family farm in Indiana. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Unleavened


Salman Rushdie is one of my favorite authors. He is active on twitter and frequently interacts with his fans. Twice now he has responded to one of my tweets. This response was to a joke I made about Tolstoy's masterpiece Anna Karenina. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Back to the Past


Well, they're in it again. Just like 1985. C'mon KC. Let's beat those Jays. #ALCS

Thursday, October 01, 2015

One Month

Today marks a month since my Dad passed away. A month. Pretty shocking how fast time goes. I still can't believe he's gone. The days have gotten better, but the nights still sting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hipsters


Dad, me and Uncle Joe, back in the day. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

God Only Knows

My Dad was a superfan of The Beach Boys. He saw them live countless times including on their recent Fiftieth Anniversary Tour. On our living room bookshelf he had a piece of a tambourine that had shattered as Mike Love played it during a concert forty years ago. The tambourine broke in three pieces and flew out into the audience. My Dad grabbed the biggest piece as it flew his way. He had an autographed album cover by Brian Wilson hanging on the wall. He had several biographies on the group on the bookshelf. And he had every LP and then CD they ever produced...including rarities and international exports.

So I knew we had to play a Beach Boys song at his funeral service. I settled on God Only Knows, one of the most beautiful of Beach Boy songs, to play at the opening of the service. It was poignant and perfect. I'm sure that from here on out, every time I hear a Beach Boys song I'll think of him...and that's okay with me.

Here's God Only Knows, from the majestic Pet Sounds album...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dad's Eulogy


This is the eulogy I wrote for my Dad and read at his Funeral...words do not do him justice.

Dr. John Timothy White was born January 6, 1951 in Gary, Indiana to Lester and Betty White. He passed away on September 3rd, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. He spent most of his growing up years in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he graduated from Will Rogers High School in 1969. It was at Will Rogers where he met the love of his life and wife of 43 years, Kathryn Diane Reinking. He attended college at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma earning a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and a Masters of Arts in Theology. He then earned a Masters of Christian Education from Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri and a PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. 

He served as a Pastor for the Church of the Nazarene for over thirty years. He served as Senior Pastor in Vinita, Oklahoma; Severy, Kansas; McPherson, Kansas; Pryor, Oklahoma and finally at Dallas Central Church of the Nazarene in Dallas, Texas for the final twelve years of his life. He had a great love for the Church of the Nazarene and its essential doctrine that anyone can be saved, and made holy by the supernatural grace of Jesus Christ. He gave his life to preaching that good news. St. Francis Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.” Tim White’s best sermon was his life. His compassion was endless and his love for others without boundaries. 


He was notorious for bringing his own bottle of BBQ sauce to barbecue restaurants. He was one of America’s foremost experts on Nazarene General Superintendent Hiram F. Reynolds on whom he wrote his Doctoral Dissertation. He was informally one of America’s greatest experts on The Beach Boys. He loved baseball and nothing would give him greater pleasure than if the Kansas City Royals would win the World Series this year. He loved Kansas Jayhawk basketball and wore their bright blue and red colors everywhere he went. He loved collecting toy cars and electric trains. He also loved the study of theology and collected an enormous collection of volumes of the works of John Wesley, Arminius and C.S. Lewis among others. He was a published author of numerous articles and a book on the life of the Apostle Paul. 


He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He took great pleasure in teaching his grandson the finer points of baseball and giving him a toy car every Sunday. He loved history, especially Civil War History. He and his wife would visit Civil War Battlefields and participate in re-enactments. He once won an award for his Union Army Chaplain uniform. He was proud of his various collections including Roy Rogers toys, flashlights, and baseball cards to name just a few. 


He is survived by his wife Kathy and his two children, David White of Forney, Texas and Elizabeth Thompson of Garland, Texas; his Daughter-in-law Kimberly White and grandson Jackson White; His Brothers Joey White of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Philip White of Bethany, Oklahoma and their wives Susan and Marilyn White; His Father-in-law and Mother-in-law Bob and Joyce Reinking of Tulsa, Oklahoma and his Brother-in-law Richard Reinking and wife Karen Reinking of Tulsa, Oklahoma and his Sister-in-law Linda Reinking of Owasso, Oklahoma. He was also very proud of his all his nephews and nieces; Greg, Jeff (and his wife Allison and their children Ethan, Brooklyn and Hannah), Emily, Allison (and her husband Steven), Courtney, Casey, Angela (and her Husband Corey and two daughters Lauren and Isabel), Amy (and her Husband Wayne), Rachael (and her husband Shawn), and Daniel.


His was a life well lived, a life lived for others. His was a life lived for Jesus Christ

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dad


Been a rough couple of weeks. A week ago today my Dad passed away. Although he had been seriously ill the last several months, his passing was unexpected. It was quite a shock. 

My Dad was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Nice to a fault. Forgave everyone without hesitation. I was blessed to have him as a father. 

Still hurts but I know he's not suffering and he's in a much better place. Enjoy your loved ones while you can. You never know how much time you have to spend with them. Cherish every moment. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Can't Hide



She has indeed taken over everything. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Good Spot



I have been parking in this spot for sixteen years...since the 90's! Today is the last time I'll be able to park here. Tonight the entire parking lot will be fenced off and turned into a contruction zone. They are building a new high school. That building there will be razed next summer...that's my classroom window there in the center. It was a great spot. I could see my car from my classroom. It will be even sadder when my classroom goes the wrecking ball. But progress must roll on!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

sigh...


So the meetings have begun. And there will be time when the scene above will float into my head. This scene will help me stay alive. 


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

End of Summer



Gotta go back to work tomorrow. I love my job. But knowing I'll be spending less time with my family is always a bummer. My wife actually had to return to work last week. It's been a fun week with me and the boy. So knowing tomorrow work begins again we went out and played tennis. 

It was a fantastic summer. First year as a Table Leader at the AP grading in Utah. Spectacular vacation in St. Croix. Camping at Cooper Lake State Park, traveling to Indiana and Oklahoma to visit family, and getting a ton of projects done. Went by fast. Too fast. 

We are blessed to have fulfilling jobs and time to spend with family. Tomorrow: time to get back to work. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kansas City BBQ


Texans love to brag about their barbecue. Since I moved to Texas I have done my best to convince my Texas friends that they haven't had real barbecue until they've had KC BBQ. Eighteen years in DFW and I haven't found a barbecue joint that comes close to Kansas City barbecue. 

Finally two of my buddies took me up on checking out KC BBQ for themselves. These guys are really into their BBQ. And they are hardcore Texans. They were pretty skeptical. So we decided to make a mad dash, one night trip up to KC. Eight hours is not a long trip for KC BBQ. 

We got up to KC around 7 pm and went straight to Gates BBQ on The Paseo. I was a bit worried that maybe it would not be as good as I remembered. Maybe I was living off childhood nostalgia. It had been twelve years since I had last tasted KC shortends. But as soon as we opened the door I knew my memory had not failed me. The aroma was intoxicating. I ordered shortends. They ordered ribs and sausage. Just a couple of bites in and they had to concede that it was the best they had ever had. It was so good I almost cried. 

The next day we had an early lunch at Johnny's BBQ in Mission. Johnny's was my Dad's favorite BBQ place when we were living in KC. As kids we used to complain about how often we ate there. It's located across the road from my old high school and was just a little dive. But Guy Fieri's show featured the place a few years ago and they've become so popular they've opened a second Johnny's. It was nicer inside then I remembered. And the ribs were also amazing. Better then anything I've had in Texas by far. Soon there was a line out the door. 

We took off back to Texas feeling quite satisfied. I'm telling you, if you dig BBQ, a quick overnight trip to KC is worth it. 

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Athena



Two weeks we rolled over to the animal shelter and adopted Athena into our home. She is wild. Always moving. Two weeks and she thinks she owns the place. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

St. Croix and so on.


Been a long time since a rock and roll. Everything, by which I mean everything, cooks by so fast. Another school year passes off very nicely. Then I'm off to Salt Lake City to grade AP exams, this year as a Table Leader, by which I mean I lead a table of graders. Then home for three days. Then off to St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Oh my gosh a nice place. A spectacular place worthy of many a platitude that don't do justice. Back in the Mainland for three days and off to an East Texas lake for two days for a vacation from our vacation. I take my vacations seriously. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Doomed


Great. SI has put Kansas City on their cover. The season is over. Nice run, Royals. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bye Dave


So you have to understand, I modeled my entire junior high persona after David Letterman. Back then I had to record Late Night on our VCR and watch it after school. It came on way too late for a seventh grader. Channel 4, at that time the NBC affiliate in Kansas City, shoved in Wheel of Fortune in between The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman. So Letterman didn't come on until midnight.

Letterman back then was bizarre and weird and edgy. His humor was even more caustic in those days. Being snarky and sarcastic seemed the perfect defense for a seventh grader who wasn't the fastest, tallest or best looking kid in class. So I loved Late Night. Watching that show made you feel like you were part of some inside joke told by cool weirdos.

Then Letterman got shafted out of the Tonight Show gig and watching him on CBS was like thumbing your nose at Jay Leno and the establishment Leno represented. I always thought Leno personified the dumbing down of America. He was a corporate stooge in my eyes.

I was a junior in college when Letterman moved to the Late Show. Things were definitely different at the Ed Sullivan Theater. He tried to broaden his appeal and some of his edginess softened. The Late Show was great but it rarely reached the bizarreness of Late Night. After I got a real job and a kid we only watched the Late Show during the summers and then only sporadically. It seemed to have grown a bit repetitive to me.

But I will miss Letterman. He's a part of my early adolescence. I adopted his demeanor and style of humor for many difficult years in the jungle of junior high and early high school. It is truly the end of an era for many of us who grew up watching him. Bye Dave.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Meadows


The Meadows Building on Central Expressway is one of my favorite buildings in Dallas. It's a mid-century classic. I imagine it's where Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce would office if Don Draper lived in Texas. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Daze


For the first time in weeks I feel as though  I am finally coming out of a daze. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Family emergencies are settling down. My spring grad class is over with the required ten-page paper done and in the books. The school year is wrapping up, my seniors are already gone. I finally am beginning to exhale a bit easier.

Random thoughts:

Yesterday's biker gang shootout in Waco is disturbing on so many levels. So many of my friends belong to peaceful motorcycle groups that when I see large packs of bikers it does not cross my mind that they could be a criminal gang. I see bikers and I see guys just having fun on the road on cool rides. I had relegated biker gangs to old movies. Naively, I didn't even know biker gangs still were active. I feel terrible that groups of guys who now ride for fun will possibly be looked at in fear or concern as they roll down the freeway. I have been at that very shopping strip in Waco a couple of times. I've eaten at the next door Panera Bread with my family and gone to the Starbucks right by the Twin Peaks. That exit has always been a great place to stop when traveling between Austin and Dallas. Now, to see such violence at that same place is unsettling.

Royals still in first place.

Rain rain and more rain. Early Sunday morning we got another three inches according to my backyard rain gauge. Wish some of that rain would now head west to California. But it is nice to be out of the drought that has plagued our area for so long.

And oh yeah, Salman Rushdie mentioned me in a tweet!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Ball


The past month has been weird. Tons of rain, hospital stays and other out of the ordinary craziness. But one thing that's gone very well is J's baseball debut. After years of soccer he started baseball this spring. He got the game ball after his first game with a 2 for 3 performance. Then he topped that this past week going 3 for 3 with 3 runs and 4 RBI's. His coaches are great and his team full of great kids. The Southside Bombers have been a bright spot in a stressful few weeks. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Future Classroom



Our high school is building a new building. The old one will soon be torn down and a new gleaming facilty will take its place. Probably be a year or so before I have to relocate. 

I have mixed emotions being that I've been in the same classroom for the past fourteen years. I love my room. It's big, near the teacher's lounge, and has a window that overlooks my parking space. It's quirky and feels like a second home. 

My new room will be smaller as all newly built classrooms are. It won't have carpet and will probably be on a second floor. I'm sure it will be high-tech. But it will probably be sterile in a modernist way. 

So I'm making plans for its decor. I'm going to deck it out like Indiana Jones's classroom in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Old artifacts and big desk. Vintage posters and globes. I need to find an antique flip chalkboard. 

Irony. The new mod Apple Store looking classroom transformed into an old school prep school or Ivy League lecture hall. 

Please keep your eye out for that rolling flip chalkboard!  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New Blog Post


I haven't blogged lately. So in order to get the ball rolling again I just decided to post this...this post about nothing in particular. This photo has no correlation to this post. Just posting for posting sake. 



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tesla



We are raising an entire of generation of kids who think Tesla is a car and not a 90's rock band. And apparently the rock band was named after a guy who discovered electricity or something. 

Friday, February 06, 2015

...like a dog


Actually saw someone try to defend Brian Williams saying that the difference between Williams and other news anchors is that he confessed his lie. 

Well, he did indeed confess...after he was caught. Does that really count? Because if he hadn't been ratted out by the pilots of the helicopter and Stars and Stripes, do you seriously think he would have confessed?

And they're right...those Fox News Anchors have a lot, I mean A LOT, of confessing to do.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Triplets



Can you tell which one is me?

#triplets

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Sheep


I was listening to sports radio this morning. ESPN's Mike and Mike to be precise. Mike Greenberg was expressing his shock that despite being the most watched TV show in history he couldn't believe that more people didn't watch the Super Bowl last Sunday. Despite pulling a staggering 49 rating Greenberg could not fathom that over 2/3rds of Americans did not watch what he described as a piece of Americana. He implied that it was almost un-American NOT to watch the game.

At that moment I resolved to not watch next year's game.

Of course if the Kansas City Chiefs miraculously make the game I'll go back on that.

But I got caught in the great trap. I watched a game I cared nothing about. I had no rooting interest in the game. I even watched the commercials because I wanted to be able to talk about them the next day. I didn't want to be left out of the conversations the next day. I was glad that I watched the most ridiculous call in the history of football so I could skewer Pete Carroll along with everyone else in America.

I suspect that most of us watch the game because we don't want to be left out of a huge cultural event. So there's pressure to subject yourself to commercial marketing that glorifies materialism.There's pressure to watch a game that causes unbelievable harm to the participants. There were at least three major injuries in the Super Bowl and untold concussive effects on just about everyone on the field. We are peer pressured to support a league that sweeps murder (Ray Lewis), spousal abuse (Ray Lewis) and child abuse (Adrian Peterson) under the rug. Those are just three examples.

I'm conflicted. I'm a football fan. I was entertained on Sunday. I keep up with the news of my favorite team. But when I stop and think and look at things from a distance I question why I support such a corrupt system. Caught. We've all been caught in trap. I am a sheep.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Six More Weeks...


So apparently he saw his shadow this morning. Six more weeks of winter. Nice. 

And oh yeah, about last night...

Worst call in the history of the universe. 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Groundhog's Day Eve


Today is Superbowl Sunday. However, I prefer to think of today as Groundhog's Day Eve. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chick Church


I love the Baptists. Some of my closest friends are Baptists. But the SBC position on women is so 19th century. Above is a flyer for a special divided service at a local Baptist church. Seriously? Calling women "chicks?" SMH.