Thursday, August 25, 2005

Slaves to the Cell

Alright, so I've been attending this intensive AP training all week.

One of the reasons for my blogger silence.

Anyhizzle, I emerged from the morning session of this training. It has been so compressed and, did I mention intensive?, that when I stepped outside for a coffee break I could practically feel my cerebellum throbbing.

As I looked around the commons area I surveyed the landscape of professional educators in their summer garb. Some were talking, some drinking coffee, some smoking(ah, sweet nectar!), but most, regardless of what they were doing seemed to be on a cell phone.

I walked up the stairs to the men's room. I walked into a stall and realized the one next to me was occupied. As I was finishing my mission I heard my neighbors cell phone ring. And he actually answered the call! It gets better. It was apparently his wife or significant other. I could not help but overhear. This guy then starts yelling. "F_ _ck! Can't I even get a break from your drama when I take a shit!". Uh, well no, especially when you answer your phone while taking a dump. Suppressing laughter with every fiber in my being I rushed out of the bathroom. Yes, I managed to wash my hands on the way out.

As I descended the stairs I ran into a colleague I had not seen all summer. He began to chat with me, while he was on his phone! Later.

I get back to my seminar. About ten minutes into the session the presenter pauses to switch his cell to 'vibrate'.

At the lunch break I head out to grab something to eat that I'm sure will disagree with me. As I'm waiting at a red light I happen to glance in my rear view mirror and notice a young lady applying what appears to be eyeliner. . .while talking on her phone.

What the heck is going on?

I don't have a cell phone. I reject the cell phone. I can't afford one anyway. Besides, I just don't want to be reached out to and touched wherever I'm at.

I'm not even dissin' cell phones. I recognize their utility in some circumstances. But lately, and today seemd to be a capstone, that most people with a cell phone have become captive to it. How is it that human civilization got along with telephone technology for over a century without needing to take a phone with them everywhere? Including the bathroom.

And it is not just teenagers I'm talking about. Everyone I described from today was a grown adult. Has life become that important? Or have we manufactured the need for this device? What the heck is so important that we need to be on the phone all the time?

This is not a cell phone rant.

Peace and good health to all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Don't You Get it Dad?

Alright, so I'm up working. Trying to put together this AP World history class that I'm convinced I'm not qualified to teach. I'm listening to the Killers and it is driving me crazy trying to figure out what 80's band they remind me of (any ideas Scott??).

Screams erupt from the boys room. It is our 18 month old. I walk in because my wife has already gone to bed and her fibro has been really bad this week and I don't want her to get up. I pick up the baby, who is getting heavier by the nano-second, and try to console him. No luck.

I grab his blankey and walk him into the living room because I don't want his crying to wake my oldest because then I will have to sit through a 15 minute nonstop diatribe on the virtues of Pokemon and how Blazikan is much more powerful than Pidgeot. Don't get me started.

So me and the baby. I'm holding him, walking with him, speaking in soothing tones. Nothing.

I go to the kitchen and offer him juice. Nothing.

Back to the living room. He's still bothered by something.

I change his diaper. Nothing. Crying continues.

More walking, pacing, rocking. Nothing.

After I don't know how long, I figure he's alright but for whatever reason he's going to passively cry for awhile. Like a good father I put him down on the bean bag and turn on the T.V. and go back to work.

Less than two minutes later, he walks over and pats me on the knee and says "cup"! He then proceeds to walk into the kitchen and start yanking on the refrigerator door. To this he adds the plaintiff wail "mil, mil". It finally registers that he wants a cup of milk. I oblige him. We sit down together on the couch and watch how the Gaza pullout is going.

Once he downs the the cup of "mil", he grabs his blanket and shoves his thimb in his mouth, rolls neatly down the couch, looks at me and says "nigh, nigh". and walks into his room and waits for me in front of the crib. Getting the message I pick him up, and glide him into place where he immediately rolls over on his side, eyes closed, thumb still in mouth and blanket desperately clutched to the side of his face in true Linus fashion.

There is still so much I just don't understand.

Good night all.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

He's at it Again

Can you hear the drums beating?

In a stern warning to Iran, President Bush said “all options are on the table” if the Iranians refuse to comply with international demands to halt their nuclear program, pointedly noting he has already used force to protect U.S. security.

Bush’s statement during an interview on Israeli TV late Friday was unusually harsh. He previously said diplomacy should be used to persuade Iran to suspend its nuclear program and if that failed then the U.N. Security Council should impose sanctions.

The U.S. government and others fear Iran’s nuclear work is secretly designed to produce nuclear weapons. Iran’s leaders deny that, saying it is only for the generation of electricity.

In the interview, Bush said the United States and Israel “are united in our objective to make sure that Iran does not have a weapon.”

But, he said, if diplomacy fails “all options are on the table.”

“The use of force is the last option for any president. You know, we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country,” he said.

Can you believe this?!

We should not be surprised though. His re-election convinced this man that he is right for America, that America is behind him. You see, it only takes 51% to assure this man that all of America supports his misdirected, shortshighted, ignorant and narrowminded foreign policy.

If you voted for George W. Bush, this is what you voted for. An unrelenting series of confrontations, ultimatums, bypassing of international law and war. Never mind strengthening our borders, protecting our ports or re-enforcing our alliances. No, lets just say very similar things that we said before we invaded the last Muslim country we invaded. If they don't understand resolve, screw em'.

His public proclamations of his Christianity should make all believers shutter when he says things like this. Again, what is the message that is conveyed? A publicly confessing American president who says things like this? This guy is making a living out of war and many Christians support him. Do you have any idea what that does to our credibility?

He has not fulfilled his promise to Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai remains embattled in his efforts to reshape his country because George Bush abandoned him for an unneccessary war in Iraq.

Iraq's future remains uncertain because this man did not have the wisdom to committ enough troops to the effort once he undertook the whole erroneous endeavor.

Hundreds of non Mexican illegal immigrants have streamed over the Mexican border into the U.S. possibly with terrorist ties because your president has ignored the border issue because he is preoccupied and has a short attention span to begin with.

And now, he says things like this about Iran. He does not understand the implications of what a use of force against Iran could do. Many Americans don't either and may not care. He does not understand because he is convinced he is right in all that he says and does. This conviction that he holds was substantiated by his re-relection.

This is what you voted for.

May God help America.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Gainful Employment

Well, it has taken five years and about $20,000, but my wife has completed school and has now been hired as a full time art teacher.

You would not believe how excited she is. This incredible woman has not only had to deal with fibromyalgia but gone back to school to get a second bachelors degree and a teaching credential. Oh yeah, she maintained a 4.0 GPA the entire time and gave birth to a another child during this time!

Finally, a whole group of high school students will have the world of art opened up to them like they could never have imagined.

The best part, she got hired at the school I teach at. How cool is that? We won't see each other constantly because we will be on opposite ends of the campus, but we'll see enough of each to make my days a whole lot better.

The bad news, at least for me? In some ways, my wife is a better teacher than I am. I better step up.

Be well all.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Last night my oldest boy and I attended his first ever professional baseball game. Angels vs. Orioles. It was free visor night.

Some of you may know that I absolutely abhor professional sports. But this is my kid we're talking about. I'm a dad, this is what you do.

My son recently joined the local pack of Cub Scouts. After pleading with us for some time, we have finally relented. Anyhizzle, this baseball game was the most recent summer outing with his pack. I had worked all day and was tired, hot and generally cranky. My son had been at Cub Scout camp all day and was therefore very jazzed about the whole endeavor. No chance of talking him out of it.

It took us over an hour and a half to get to the flingin' flangin' stadium due to the 'freeway' traffic. Parking was a crime. Once we parked we made our way to the entrance, it took so long from where we parked I began to commisserate with the Israelites. Walking to our seats was another adventure in and of itself. The crowd, the sweat, the smell of deep fried something. Our seats were so high up that I bumped my head on the space shuttle as it made its way over Anaheim. We made it to our seats, settled in and made small talk with some of the people we knew in the pack.

Then, the Star Spangled Banner.

I admit, I still get choked up toward the end of that little ditty. I thought about all of the imperfections of our great nation and how so many have fought and continue to fight to preserve our right to work toward a more perfect union. It is humbling. I explained to my son what the song was about and why we stand when it is played. Cool.

As the game went on, the various and marauding vendors made their rounds. Ice cream sandwich, $4.25. Bottle of Gatorade, $5.00. Hot dog,$3.75. Peanuts, $5.00. I could not believe it. Of course , this being my son's first baseball game we got the required hot dog, peanuts and soda. He had already eaten everything by the time I paid the vendor. Incredibly, he was still hungry and we had eaten dinner before we left for the game!

I taught him how to read the scoreboard. Explained what a full count was and what stealing bases really meant. It took a little while for me to tell him about batting averages, grandslam home runs, foul balls and ERAs. By the end of the 5th inning he had learned that you boo when the oppossing team's best hitter is at bat. He wasn't quite sure what to do during the seventh inning stretch but he caught on to the words of 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' quickly enough.

By the bottom of the eigth inning, the house lights were blazing, the temperature had cooled and I was more comfortable and able to enjoy the whole experience.

This was my boy's first ever real baseball game.

I looked at him and he felt my gaze and turned to me and smiled as he asked for yet another Red Vine. My boy. I'm supposed to teach him stuff about being a boy and eventually how to be the right kind of man. No pressure. He has recently turned eight and so much about him is changing. He has asked that he be allowed to let his hair grow out, which we agreed to. It is too long for my tastes, but as a parent you pick your battles. He has started skateboarding, he no longer exclusively asks to see animated movies and he just seems bigger somehow. I don't want to lose that little boy, but know I have to and look forward to relating to him on deeper things as he matures. Still, it is bitter sweet.

As the game came to a conclusion(Angels won 8 to 4), we began to exit. We stopped at the top of the stadium before heading down and looked across the parking lot and noticed all the parked cars bathed in the artificial light of the parking lot at 10:45 p.m. My son stopped and said "Hey dad, when you look at all those cars from up here doesn't it look like an army of sleeping beetles?" Yeah, I guess so. Only through the eyes of a eight year old boy. We made our way down to our car. We talked about the game the entire way down.

We talked for a few more minutes once we were in the car, talking about our favorite part of the game. He fell asleep before we got on the freeway. When we got home, I roused him form his slumber and guided him to the his room and got him dressed and put to bed. I kissed him on the cheek and whispered in his ear as I do every night " Good night Little Prince." I then turned to the crib where the baby lay sleeping and kissed him as well.

I'm a dad. This is what you do.

Blessings and peace to all.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Welcome to the 43rd Reich

Who needs a pesky system of checks and balances and confirmation of Presidential appointees when you can find a Constitutional loophole to get your way?

I'm so glad we have a level headed chief executive who is strong enough to 'stay the course' in his convictions, knowing that he is always right and everyone else is always wrong.

Here is a link to an article detailing der Bush's latest moves against our demockracy.

Do you think he'll seek to repeal the 22nd amendment* next?

Peace and good health to all.

*the 22nd amendment is the one limiting a president to two terms in office.