Merry Christmas from the family farm!
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Monday, December 21, 2015
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Friday, December 18, 2015
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.
Posted by Dave at 8:19 AM
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
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.
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.
Posted by Dave at 11:20 AM
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Monday, December 14, 2015
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Friday, December 11, 2015
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.
Posted by Dave at 3:00 PM
Thursday, December 10, 2015
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...
Posted by Dave at 11:00 AM
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
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.
Posted by Dave at 3:27 PM