Friday, April 22, 2005

Nomar-Unlucky or Unnatural?

Bob Ryan has a piece in today's Globe that implies something that I'm sure crossed the minds of the Nation before:
"Look, I'm hardly the first person to raise the question. When he was with the Red Sox, who was bold enough to link our fair shortstop, a noted workout guy, with the dreaded S-word? But he did go from, like, standard athlete issue normal to ultra-buffed in one winter, and he has been -- there is no other way to say it -- systematically breaking down for the past six years, so you can't help wondering just what he's been putting into his body other than Wheaties and sirloin steaks. If we're going to assume that Mark McGwire's physical breakdown was because of a reliance on steroids, then it would be quite logical to adopt the same line of thinking about Nomar. It's a legitimate question."

A really good question. Nomar did go from fit to ripped real quick, and seems to break down real easy. I love the guy and what he did for Boston, but you really have to think. Or do you? Is it fair to Nomar to speculate?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Word of Advice

Andrew Sullivan posts an email he recieved after blogging about his despair in the choice of pope. I reproduce it here in its entirety. It is something that really makes a strong point. Are we often tied to our traditional familial faiths because that is all we know and that is what raised us?
I can understand your sense that you cannot leave the church. But I know from experience that it is just that--a sense. You have felt the presence of God at Mass? I have too. You can feel it elsewhere but you cannot know that until you look. The gospels speak to you? I know you don't seriously think they speak only though the Catholic Church. As for the family/mother analogy, it simply isn't a good one. There is no biology here no matter how like that it may feel. Still, it can be valid in this way: If the church is your mother you have been, still are, and if the events of today are any indication, will increasingly be abused by her. Mentally, spiritually, and perhaps even physically abused. I feel for the pain I see in your writing. I have felt it too. But you have to take the advice you would give to anyone in an abusive relationship: get out.
It may be difficult, seem almost impossible, but that is the bottom line. I got out myself. I can assure you there is a rich and rewarding spiritual life to be had elsewhere. Religion is a choice. Please, for your own sake, choose a non-abusive one.

Sullivan has some great posts up about the new pope and his own conflicted view. Read them.

On the Grand Inquisitor

Jack Miles has an insightful and though-provoking piece up on the new Pope, Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Ratzinger. The part that struck me and really illustrates my own conflicted view on my ancestral Church:
Those of us who left then have sometimes been faulted for making too much of a mere sexual controversy. Perhaps, but I have always seen us as more like Böll's clown, trying, pathetically, to take church authority seriously, exquisitely aware of the danger that by issuing ever more absolute prohibitions that are ever more widely ignored, the pope may consolidate his power over fewer and fewer.

Is the Church doomed to atrophy if it does not at least accept the idea that things like birth control, married priests, and a greater role for women can be discussed rather than dismissed without debate? I fear the answer is yes.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A Word of Warning from the Good Doctor

Just a bit of enlightened thought before I go to bed for the night.
I was driving home from class and accidentally tuned to The Savage Nation. Boy, did I learn alot, and I am so glad I stumbled across his progressive and enriching radio show. Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that according to Dr. Savage, the greatest threat that this country has ever faced from within its own borders is the radical homosexual lobby? I didn't. But now I do, so I can keep a lookout for those homosexuals that want to destroy this great nation. And Dr. Savage is the only one that is standing up to these people! Bush, Fox News, Coulter, O'Reilly...none of them! They are all beholden to the homosexuals!
To support Dr. Savage's crusade, click here!

What is American English?

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English

30% Yankee

15% Upper Midwestern

10% Dixie

0% Midwestern

No surprise, really, though I'm not sure where upper Midwestern comes from. I spent the first 17 and one half years of my life in New England, so the 30% Yankee is not suprising. But 10% Dixie? Ugh. Time to clear out my vocabulary! ;-)

It's a Holiday Today!!!

Today is a holiday celebrated only in Massachusetts. What is the holiday and what does it celebrate?

Hint: it reminds us, once again, of the important and central role the great state of Massachusetts has had in this great nation's history!

Schools, Experience, and Purpose

I was re-reading John Dewey's Experience and Education today, and this quote stuck with me:
"Nonetheless, growth depends upon the presence of difficulty to be overcome by the exercise of intelligence. Once more, it is part of the educator's responsibility to see equally to two things: First, that the problem grows out of the conditions of the experience being had in the present, and that it is within the range of the capacity of students; and secondly, that it is such that it arouses in the learner an active quest for information and for production of new ideas."

Dewey, ultimately, was dismayed by what so-called 'progressive education' had wrought in his name, and sought to restore the important link between experience and learning, the latter of which had at times been abandoned or neglected by those that struggled with his ideas. Subject matter and content area learning was important, and experiential learning, Dewey felt, was the best path to ensure that students cared to learn.

The question for today is: Should schools serve all students equally and seek the same outcome for all students? Neill argues that if a child's natural level is that of a street sweeper, he should be allowed to be a street sweeper if that is what he wants. I think he phrases it along the lines of being a happy street sweeper versus a neurotic scholar. If the answer to the question is yes, don't we have to determine what the purpose of education actually IS and what the outcome SHOULD be?

The Sox Win, the Yanks Still Suck

So the Red Sox made it 5 in a row today, beating the Jays 12 to 7. Manny found his swing with two homeruns, but also made two lapses in a bright noon outfield that led to runs. Net gain of 3, I think. :)

Meanwhile, the Yanks score 13 in the second inning on the Rays...and go on to win 19 to 8. Again, the Yank staff gives up 8 runs. That pleases me, despite thos bastards winning.

Weeping, or Laughing, for the Future

A couple of things heard in history class recently:

Student 1(Discussing Copernicus and his Polish origin, with a student commenting on my own Polish origin): Mr. M, do you speak Polish?

Me: No, but...

Student2:Poland has it's own language?

Me: ???????? What do you think they speak???

Student 2: I don't know, Spanish or something!

Me: Oh my god.

Story 2:

Student 1 (in response to a discussion of Johannes Kepler): is he that guy that the holiday is named after?

Me: what holiday?

Student 1: You know, Johns Kepler?

Me: You mean YOM KIPPUR???

Student 1: oh yeah!!! so is he?

Me: Shoot me now.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

So I have been pondering my future, and I have no idea what to do. I am currently pursuing my PhD in Social Studies Education and teaching history to tenth graders at a rural school with few resources. Next fall, I will be teaching college juniors the History of Education in America, my first college class that is not simply dual enrollment, and I am eager to get started! However, I also have two other possibilities. One is that I go to PK Yonge, UF's lab school, to teach probably economics and government. My tuition would be taken care of, but I really didn't like the environment when I interned there, and I have some issues with some people there. And yet...I would certainly be able to continue my own education and college teaching with no hassles. My second opportunity is to teach pre-AP in an International Baccalaureate program, a desire I have had since I started teaching, but it may cause problems with my own college classes and teaching due to the schedule.
Ultimately, I can remain at the school am I at now, which I know wants me and respects me and also will allow me to take a paid sabbatical after 7 years of employment (next year would be 4). They also could work around my UF schedule, I think. But...there are so few resources, and they refuse to consider Advanced Placement...and the 40 mile drive one way...
Damn. I have about 4 days to make a decision.
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