The legendary teacher of our time was Mrs. Seward, whose dreaded senior rhetoric class we began to hear about as freshmen. She was exacting and unforgiving, a tough grader. She spoke softly but firmly, and once stood looking dreamily out the window, her arms crossed, and said, “Oh, students, this morning I walked into my farmyard and listened to the worms making love.” She issued lists of Rhet Words we had to try to find in our reading. They figured in our grade. She had an eagle-eye for sharing. I found Thomas Wolfe to be a gold mine of Rhet Words. When I found a word, I’d copy it in pencil on the flyleaf. From my copy of Look Homeward, Angel: Scrofulous. Immanent.
She was hard, but she was good. She intimidated us with her standards. It was said that the University of Illinois simply waived the freshman rhetoric requirement for any graduate of Mrs. Seward’s. This was hyperbole, but it could have been true. When I walked into her class, I thought I knew it all. I’d already been writing for a year at the local paper, that summer full-time.She returned my first paper marked with a D, and I appealed to her in shock. “Mr. Ebert,” she told me, “when, oh, when, will you learn that the paragraph is a matter of style, and not of punctuation?” Mrs. Leseur confided at the reunion that when the faculty was voting on the members of a senior honor society, I was blackballed by one teacher for being a “smartass.” And who was that teacher? “Mrs. Seward.” Yes! True to her standards. This long-delayed information filled me with great happiness.
“Given the traditional outline of the gays-in-the-military debate, one might think that the special forces soldiers, guys from traditional military families who spend unusual amounts of time in close quarters, would be the most opposed to having gays serve openly. My admittedly limited experience suggests that this is not the case. As one former member of a special missions unit put it to me recently, “It’s really about competence. If you’re competent, it doesn’t matter who you are.” And then, switching instantly from an analytical posture to a machismo mode, he said, “If a guy saves my ass, he sure as hell can look at it.”—McChrystal’s Social Liberalism and the Integration of Gays in the Military - Politics - The Atlantic
“Same-sex marriage isn’t nearly the root of the problem, and we all know it. If it’s really so important that every child gets a mom and a dad, then there is an obvious policy solution: prohibit divorce after childbirth. Of course, divorced parents are numerous and politically powerful, and it’s always easier to scapegoat a minority.”—Means, Ends, and Same-Sex Marriage | Washington Examiner
“You don’t like that your coworker used me on that note about stealing her yogurt from the break room fridge? You don’t like that I’m all over your sister-in-law’s blog? You don’t like that I’m on the sign for that new Thai place? You think I’m pedestrian and tacky? Guess the fuck what, Picasso. We don’t all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros. Sorry the entire world can’t all be done in stark Eurotrash Swiss type. Sorry some people like to have fun. Sorry I’m standing in the way of your minimalist Bauhaus-esque fascist snoozefest. Maybe sometime you should take off your black turtleneck, stop compulsively adjusting your Tumblr theme, and lighten the fuck up for once.”—Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Short Imagined Monologues.
I believe at some point in the development of healthy people there must come a time when we instinctively try to understand how others feel. We may not succeed. There are many people in this world today who remain enigmas to me, and some who are offensive. But that is not because of their race. It is usually because of their beliefs.
That brings me back around to the story of the school mural. I began up above by imagining I was a student in Prescott, Arizona, with my face being painted over. That was easy for me. What I cannot imagine is what it would be like to be one of those people driving past in their cars day after day and screaming hateful things out of the window. How do you get to that place in your life? Were you raised as a racist, or become one on your own?
In short, Anthony Rendon is the real deal, and I want to see him playing for the Houston Astros.
The odds are, he’s going to be one of the top players drafted. So for the Astros to get a chance at him, they’re going to have to continue be bad. Not only are they going to have to continue being bad, they’re going to have to go back to being awful.
Things are starting to calm down around here a bit. In the last 4-6 weeks I’ve changed jobs and bought a house and had a birthday, along with the usually classes and Life, so it’s been a bit crazy. But now that things are settling down a bit I hope to get to some sort of regular posting.
“What is most irksome about the Tea Party Patriots is their expropriation of the word patriot, with the implication that if you disagree with them, you’re not a patriot, or at least you’re less patriotic than they are. Without getting all ask-notty about it, I think a movement labeling itself patriotic should have some obligation to demonstrate patriotism in a way other than demanding a tax cut. In their rhetoric, the Tea Party Patriots do not sound as if they love their country very much: they have nothing but gripes. Yes, of course, these are gripes against the government, not against the country itself. But that distinction becomes hard to maintain when you have nothing good to say about the government and nothing but whines to offer the country.”—My Country, Tis of Me - Magazine - The Atlantic
“Jeff Bagwell is one of the greatest people I have ever met. It has nothing to do with the fact that he is a future Hall of Famer. For me, his most amazing attribute is his ability to lead. He is a great leader because he cares about people. While most relationships in baseball are based on whether you are a rookie or a veteran, where the more days you have, the more respect you are given, Bagwell doesn’t care about this pettiness.”—So You Think You Know Jeff Bagwell? « Morgan Ensberg’s Baseball IQ
“Like an abusive husband telling his bruised wife that he only hits her because he loves her, Mr. Sprigg and his friends at the Family Research Council do indeed bear a special animosity towards gay people. I won’t guess at its roots, and it’s not really my concern; it is, however, a matter of public concern that the damaged, rotting illness in the hearts of people like Mr. Sprigg not influence public policy.”—Visitations
“Yeah, pretty much if the kid is in the vicinity, I’m hers. She grudgingly makes an exception when I walk onstage. All my free time is hers, and she will be shocked and appalled if I have designs otherwise. It’s a real reality check, just how much love and attention one needs to grow well. It was startling … because this work has traditionally been done by women, it was really a reawakening for my feminism. It’s like, ‘Right! Of course women aren’t running the world, they’re busy raising kids.’”—Ani DiFranco learning to balance motherhood and music | Entertainment | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
“Now people have started linking Foursquare to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, so some people’s Twitter feeds read like an itinerary. “Joe is at Taco Bell.” “Joe is at Wal-Mart.” “Joe is at Tian’an Men Massage Parlor.” Shut the fuck up, Joe. We don’t care where you are! And if we did, we would text or call or email and say “Where are you?” Is that so hard?”—If You Use Foursquare, You Are an Annoying Jackass - Foursquare - Gawker
I had chosen the desire to “belong” over kindness. I had placed my own fantasy idea of a high school “moment” over someone’s actual, real-life feelings. I know, “belonging” and the myth of “glory days” can be pretty powerful stuff when you’re a teenager — but who am I kidding? I acted like a total jerk, and I’ve never really forgiven myself for my behavior.
I think there are quite a few teenagers in Mississippi who are going to be feeling much the same way some day, if they don’t already. The losers in these two stories ultimately aren’t Troy or Constance McMillen, but those sad sacks among us who can’t muster the courage to resist the pull of the crowd. What the truly cool kids know is that it’s always better to dance alone than to sway in time with a roomful of bigots.
This whole Mississippi school stages fake prom incident makes me sick to my stomach. Yes, high school kids are cruel. In this case, they seem to have had full support from their parents and the school, and that is disgusting.
“With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: “I could give a flying crap about the political process.” Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. “We’re an entertainment company,” Beck says”—Glenn Beck Inc - Forbes.com
“The gayborhoods succeeded in their fundamental mission: to offer safety, community and empowerment. But maybe they succeeded too well, because it turns out other people want that stuff too. Suddenly, everyone wanted to live there. And like avatars on Pandora, that popularity is what killed it. The rainbow flag that gays planted signaled to other assorted demographics – hipsters, liberal-leaning couples with young kids, actual artists, myself – that the neighborhood had been conquered, with flair. So we came, hungry for cheap space and a higher cool quotient. The death may have gone unrecognized by some. But for me, a straight man with a proclivity towards societally marginalized people (and neighborhoods), the kind of gayborhood where I lived has disappeared.”—There Goes the Gayborhood - Business and Poltiics - Obit Magazine
Language is at the heart of the largely immigrant student body’s struggles. Although Lee celebrates the more than 40 languages from around the world spoken among its 1,850 students, the number of students considered “English language learners” is 780, greater than the entire populations of some high schools.
In many cases, students are over age for their grade, were under-schooled in their native countries, or are illiterate in their home languages. In a few instances, the home language hasn’t even been written yet.
“The amount of ground our students have to make up just to get to average is pretty tremendous. And that was not something I was ready for,” Castro said.
Each year, the student turnover among the highly transient population is an astounding 30 percent.
Yet Lee’s performance is measured by the same standards and timetables as are the state’s most stable, affluent schools. Its teachers are subject to the same methods of appraisal.
With a playing field so unfair, Castro said he was surprised to find such drive among many students and teachers to succeed. They do so, he said, despite that fact that they attend school in an aged, broken building that resembles a prison from the outside. The district has allowed part of the facade to fall in the grass. The city lets gang graffiti linger on nearby buildings.