Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


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


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.


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


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


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 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.