09 September 2010

Creative Homecoming Themes Part 3

Our ballot for homecoming themes for this year's homecoming dance:

 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Everyone gets a golden ticket to the most scrumdiddlyumptious dancing event in a world of pure imagination. Even Nerds will have a delickoricious time as Slugworth tries to steal the secret of the Everlasting Gobstopper. Inside this dance, all of your dreams become realities, and some of your realities become dreams.
 3:10 to [School name]: Load up the Conestoga wagon and hoof it on over to sprawling  [school name] Ranch where you’ll whirl and gambol past the tumbleweed to the sweet sounds of banjos, lowing of cows, and the self-pity of Christian Bale. Join Doc Potter, Ben Wade, Zeke, Slick, and a host of Pinkertons at the squarest western dance this side of the OK Corral.

 Midnight in Gotham: A hearty dose of DC goodness will accompany you for an evening with the Dark Knight as he battles the Joker, Arkham Asylum, and chronic mumbling. Have Lucius Fox fuel up the Batmobile and make sure to tighten up your utility belt for an epic battle against the evil within. No one from Marvel will be admitted. This means you Iron Man.

 Medieval Knights: Forget the Dark Knight, join real knights at a rollicking medieval court. All of the Lords and Ladies of Castle [school name] assuredly will be taking their monthly baths for this special night of dancing among the minstrels and court jesters.

 Mystery in Savannah: The Spanish moss hangs languid in air heavy with humidity and expectation. The fog-shrouded dance floor evokes a sense of mystery. Ghosts of bandit-faced raccoons and other small mammals scurry with fear from the feet of revelers dancing the cobblestones of Olde Savannah.

Winner: Midnight in Gotham!  Second Place: Willy Wonka

Looks like I'll be building a city this year.


31 August 2010

Constituting America

A student of mine won a national award for a short film she made about the Constitution.  She will be going to Philadelphia in a few weeks to accept the prize. 

The organization that gave her the award is called Constituting America.  The organization's mission is to: "reach, educate and inform America's youth and her citizens about the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the foundation it sets forth regarding our freedoms and rights."  Constituting America was founded by the talented Janine Turner and is co-chaired by Cathy Gillespie.  The National Youth Director for CA is Janine's daughter Juliette. 

The Constituting America RV/Bus showed up to school on Friday, and Janine, Juliette, and Cathy were there to interview my student.  I had the pleasure of meeting them all and, because I suggested that my student enter the contest, I also ended up being interviewed by the crew.  I shall try to post more later about this thrilling and fascinating day.

My student's video can be seen at the website under the category "Best Short Film."  You might see someone you know in the film.  It was not his best performance. 



17 June 2010

Fathers' Day

I have posted about my dad before here, but considering that Sunday is Fathers' Day I thought I should post again about my dad and expand on what he has meant to me as a man and as a father.

In short, my Dad is the finest man I have ever known.  He possesses the rare double gifts of both wisdom and intelligence.  I have known a lot of smart people without a lick of wisdom and a lot of "uneducated" people who had more sense then a room full of Harvard dons.  My Dad has both.  I always knew he was smart, but it only in growing older and becoming a father myself have I realized how wise he is. 

My dad worked the bulk of his career at IBM.  He never talked about his job.  I tried to ask him from time to time about his work, but he would never tell me much more than that he was a programmer.  Like all jobs do to all men, it left him drained at the end of the day.  I remembering him coming home every day, kissing his wife, going up stairs to change, and then coming back down stairs to watch a bit of news or MASH while dinner was being finished up.  His job never seemed to consume him, I never remember him putting his job before us.  I would like to think that he was not one who lived to work, but rather he worked to live and to provide for his family.  I always figured that was why he didn't talk about his work at home, because his home and family was what he really cared about and why bring work to the dinner table?

My dad imparted to me a love of World War II movies and westerns.  Movies on TBS were my first education in American history.  Later he would indulge my growing interest in movies by taking me to see countless movies including the first Star Trek movie and the Star Wars trilogy.  I never knew what he thought of the movies, but I remember his quiet presence beside me.  I hope I thanked him for all the movies.  If I didn't, well, that is what this is for: thanks Pop.   

Later, when I became obsessed with space, he and Mom took me to Huntsville, Alabama.  Then it was every historical site on the way to family in Missouri and Virginia. 

As I said in my previous post, one of the greatest things he gave me was a sense of security.  If we ever had money problems (and I seriously doubt it) then I was never aware of it.  My Dad is both wonderfully generous and very careful with his money.  It is a great comfort to me that my Dad has planned his retirement so well that I don't have to worry about him and Mom needing to move into the basement.  Indeed, it is a great joy to see them both able to travel, and give, and enjoy retirement without financial worry.   All of those washed-out ziploc bags, hand-washed plastic wear, and extra-chunky powdered milks paid off.   

We always had everything we needed and more.  Christmas never left me wanting more (and still doesn't). 

When my mother was in the hospital several years ago for an extended near-death experience, my father was a paragon of all things a husband should be.  He took care of my Mom better than any nurse or doctor could.  He looked out for her and gently challenged the care she was being given.  When "gently" didn't work, he was strong and insistent for her.  Despite his own suffering, he was the anchor for us all.  He gave forgiveness and compassion to the surgeon responsible for the mistake that almost killed his wife even when it will still unsure if she would make it.  It was nearly impossible to pry him from his wife's side to get home for some rest, for who could take care of her better than him?  Indeed, I know I always felt better about things when he was there.  I still do.

He remains the strongest and hardest-working man I know.  He does what he does quietly and without complaint. 

There is much more I could and probably should say, but I hope this is enough to show my appreciation and love for Pop.


20 April 2010

The Faces of M.E.W.

Best viewed large (taken at Red Top Mountain):



A student reported on a recent assignment that Al Capone was incarcerated at Al Catraz.

Updated: I just discovered that my wife also posted about this day here.  She chose two of the same pictures for her post.

11 April 2010

Alas! A Lass Under the Bright Summer Sun

When I was a very young man, there was a young woman who attended the same church as I did. She seemed taller than she actually was. Her posture and carriage made her tall or at least higher than the other young women. She always wore pretty dresses and long hair and moved with the grace of a model. She didn't seem to walk so much as glide. I would say I had a crush on her, but I felt that she was so far above my station that I didn't feel the right to have a crush on her. I don't recall ever having the courage to speak to her. I admired her at a distance.

One very bright and sunny morning I found myself at an event where, by the fates, I was obligated to sit next to her. I tried to talk to her and be wise and witty, but mostly found I couldn't bring myself to look at her. I remember nothing of the conversation, but I remember feeling smaller and smaller and a sweat breaking out across my forehead. At last, I felt that I couldn't politely continue to carry on a conversation with her without looking in her direction. So I did. I fully expected a vision of heaven upon earth.  The sun shone full in her face, a blush of heat growing upon her cheeks, and a brown mustache lit up like the Vegas strip, sordid and mundane.

I turned away, wishing that I had never looked, that she would always have remained the faultless angel seen from afar as through a rose-coloured and hairless glass. If only I could shave that hairy lip from my brain then she would still live on eternally and infinitely beautiful, but the bristles grow forever more prickly in my brain as a reminder that the full sun brings light to the flaws of every man, woman, and child.  Alas for us all.