Friday, February 26, 2016

Urge You On...

So I had the great privilege last night of meeting one of my literary heroes. Dave Eggers was the keynote speaker at the Highland Park Literary Festival and I got there early enough to actually meet him and get a book signed. He was very gracious with his time and we talked for a few minutes about the challenges of teaching in low income areas.

Not only is Eggers a hugely successful author...two of his books are being adapted to the big screen this year, both starring Tom Hanks no less...he runs an independent publishing agency, has founded several non-profit charity organizations, edits a literary journal, and produced documentaries among many other activities. He also is a huge advocate for teachers. He established a non-profit tutoring center in San Francisco for under-resourced kids. His tutoring centers have branched off to many cities. He has spoken out for public education time and time again. He is one of my inspirations on many levels. His TED Talk gives you an idea of his work on the behalf of educators. But he also knows how to write a good yarn.

So I was humbled to actually shake his hand and talk with him even for just a few minutes. The festival was held at my old stomping grounds, Highland Park High School...where I taught World History long ago. Last night was the first time I had been back on campus in ten years and I took the chance to swing by my old room. It was good to see that things hadn't changed all that much.

What he wrote in my book: "To Dave, I salute your work, sir. I urge you on."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Zen Construction Update: In the cacophony of construction, in the twisted metal of mankind's progress, a cardinal finds solace in the chaos of mud and steel. 

Monday, February 22, 2016


Just sitting at a French Cafe plotting the overthrow of the Second Estate. Or probably discussing Pokemon. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016


This photo appears in the new brouchure they're giving to our district's eighth graders about high school classes they can enroll in next year as freshmen. Look how engaged my freshmen are in World History! Every parent who sees this will demand their kid gets in my class. I'll probably have 200 students next year! Waiting lists!

This photo was totally staged. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

To China...

No joke, right outside my classroom window they are digging holes 53 feet deep into the Earth. That's over five stories into Terra Firma. Then they pour the concrete. 

Friday, February 19, 2016


Black History Month Continued. Thelonious Monk. The Mad Genius. You listen to his music and you start to see life in a different way.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Lose Your Head

My classes just recently wrapped up our studies of the French Revolution. One day I mentioned in passing that street vendors in Paris in the 1790's actually sold miniature guillotines during the height of the Reign of Terror. A few days later one of my students gifted me with a mini guillotine of my own. Said it had been laying around his house for years and his parents wanted rid of it. So he gave it to me. Awesome! It now holds a place of honor next to my miniature Ark of the Covenant.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Photo: This is the first photo that was ever posted on The Internet Lounge back in 2006. That's me in Mexico a long time ago. 

Today is the tenth anniversary of this blog. Wow. Can't believe I've been subjecting the internet to my nonsense for that long. Actually, Dave's Internet Lounge began as a Geocities website a few years before that. But I switched over to the Blogger platform in February of 2006 and the site became an actual blog. The word blog back then sounded very cool. Blogs were new and very fashionable. Now, everyone has a blog and the word is just a normal part of our vocabulary.

Things have changed quite a bit in ten years. I wasn't a Dad yet. Neither the iPhone or the iPad were invented yet. Smartphones didn't really exist. Facebook was new and Twitter was still a few months from launching when I published my first post.

I really keep this blog up for me. I appreciate my few readers but I keep this thing going to help force myself to write even when I don't really feel like it. I don't spend much time editing or planning my posts so they are often pretty rough. My posts have gotten shorter as I've gotten busier. And I try to be less political then back in the day on the Internet Lounge. I discovered that, quite surprisingly, people aren't really all that swayed by my blog posts when it comes to politics. I decided not to be another shouting voice in the void. The temptation still exists. Just this week I published and then subsequently deleted a post about G.O.P. obstructionism in replacing Scalia on the Supreme Court. But then I realized I was just adding to the noise.

So there's never really been a consistent theme on this blog. It really is, as my caption says, just various thoughts and ramblings that make their way into my brain. So thanks for stopping by every once in awhile. Maybe we'll be around for another ten years.

THIS is the first post that ever appeared on the lounge back in '06.

Friday, February 12, 2016


It's my wife's birthday today. I'm one lucky dude. Met her back in 1993 on a bus we were traveling on while doing promotions for our university's music department. Took me several years to convince her that I was worth her time. But by 1997 I had worn her down and she agreed to marry me. I have been blessed to have her in my life.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


So last night I attended my first Ash Wednesday Service. I'm sure I've been to church on Ash Wednesday before, but never to a service expressly dedicated to the receiving of ashes. I found the service very refreshing and relevant. The community recitation of a Church Confessional from the Methodist Hymnal was particularly moving.

We've now been attending a Methodist Church for six weeks and have found that I really enjoy the liturgy of our church services. I realize that every Methodist congregation may go about liturgy in different ways. I also know that even though my Nazarene experience did not usually include a lot of liturgy I do know that many Nazarene churches in recent years have begun to incorporate more traditional elements into their services.

I think this may be a reaction to the casual big screen format of many contemporary worship services of modern mega churches. These modern services can be quite moving. I've attended these type of churches over the years and even though there were times of great emotion I often found myself wanting more after awhile. I wanted something with more spiritual heft, something deeper. I think a lot of Gen X Christians are searching for authenticity and a connection with the historic church. For many who grew up in the casual worship styles of the 80's and 90's, liturgy provides an element of mysticism that is sometimes lacking in Praise and Worship services. P&W services can be very emotional but sometimes they lack spiritual depth.

Now, obviously this is coming from the perspective of someone who grew up outside of high church liturgy. I'm sure for many born and bred in it some of these rituals can be just that...rituals. Maybe after I've been a part of this style of worship for awhile my attitudes may change. I doubt it, but I realize it's possible. The church we're currently attending does sing a modern song each Sunday along with a traditional Methodist hymn. But the worship director has done an excellent job of using songs that complement each other rather than an artificial mashing up of old and new just to appease different demographics.

So far, our new church has walked a very nice line of feeling casual and modern yet incorporating traditional liturgy in ways I find inspiring. Right now I am enjoying the recitation of the Apostle's Creed, the Lord's Prayer, singing the Doxology and Gloria Patri. The acolytes coming in with their candles at the beginning and extinguishing them at the end of the service gives real poignancy and power to the moment. Communion every Sunday has had greater emotional impact for me than singing lots of rousing choruses over and over and over again. Personal preference I guess.

I'm going to enjoy this liturgy as long as I can. I hope it continues to move me. I feel a greater connection to my historic Christian for-bearers. As someone who traditionally has drifted towards rationality and dry intellectual spirituality, I find myself drawn to these mystical elements of the Christian faith. They have led to a revival of my spirit after a rough time and I am embracing them fully.

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Wynton Marsalis. You want to study Black History? Or American History? Or Human History. Marsalis will teach you through jazz. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


Black History Month. Coltrane. A Love Supreme. Out of this world.

Monday, February 01, 2016


First day of Black History Month. Throughout this month I would like to recognize contributions from African-Americans in history who have inspired me and influenced my thinking. 

Kicking off with Charlie Parker. Bird. From Kansas City. Definitely on the Mount Rushmore of Jazz with Louis, Duke and Trane. Check out some of his stuff...