Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The second is Mad Men. I didn't start watching it at first, and it took me some time to get into. Then once Netflix started streaming it, I watched the first four seasons back to back fairly quickly. There really aren't good guys and bad guys in this. There are even more shades of that than the people in the Walking Dead, and in this case it's more subtle and yet more real. I really enjoy watching the historical events of the 60s play out in the background. I almost with there were some way I could justify giving extra credit to students for watching this, as they would get a pretty good idea of one angle on the 60s.
The third is Breaking Bad. It's another one that I didn't watch at first, but I caught up very quickly. Ever season has gotten better and better than the last. Instead of subtle good guys and bad guys, you have one good guy. And over the course of the series, he becomes a bad guy. You watch that transformation happen. It's a much more graceful, natural swing than Anakin had in the Star Wars prequels. Bryan Cranston is absolutely brilliant. He not has earned each Emmy he has won. It's the best performance TV has ever seen.
Monday, April 29, 2013
I have showed it in class several times. It does a great job of showing the Cold War paranoia from the 50s. One thing that has encouraged me is the number of students who had seen it before I show it. That means it got out there a bit. But I don't mean a large number have seen it. I would guess about five per class had seen it previously. Another great sign is that none who have seen it before complain when they find out which movie they will see.
It's a fantastic movie. I always get a tear in my eye when the Giant says "Superman" at the very end, as do many others. Of course, I have to acknowledge that the voice actor is Vin Diesel. It's one of the times in my class when the tears shed are intended and encouraged. No comment on the other times.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Listen to his "Feelin Kinda Patton" album. The video version is replayed on Comedy Central every now and again, but the audio version is even better. There's some great bits about the Gay Pride Parade, Black Angus, TiVo, Dr. Pepper (not the drink), and Pissdrinkers. Each one of those is brilliant.
My favorite bit of his reinforced a belief I have in my life. Birthdays. You won't find them on this list because no one cares when it's your birthday. They say they do. They post something on your Facebook wall. But they don't. And they shouldn't. So you didn't die for 365 days. Wow. Neither did almost all of the seven billion people in the world. As Patton put is,
"Great. Go to work. Who gives a shit?"
Listen to the routine here, and then go away on your 33rd birthday.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
I tend to listen to The Beatles in streaks. When I hear a The Beatles tune, it sticks in my ear. I go home and play that album. And them I play another. And another. Keep repeating. And then I hit the point where I overplay them and relax for awhile. But a few months later, the whole process starts itself over again. That's why I initially skipped them.
The Beatles are the biggest band ever. They are the most influential ever. Those are easy statements to make, and they're probably accurate. So yeah, they are overrated. But compared to what? Their music is amazing. It's fun. It holds up.
So what's my favorite The Beatles song? Today maybe it's And Your Bird Can Sing. No, wait. I'm rather enjoying Things We Said Today. While My Guitar Gently Sleeps is great, too. But how can I like those more than You Won't See Me? And then I might hear A Day in the Life. That will be my favorite. Until I hear another song that I like better that day.
And the main reason why The Beatles are awesome is that you can put The in front of their name to make the sentence sound awkward. Awesome.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Perhaps the one thing that really hasn't held up over time is the laugh track. The best shows these days do without. Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is in a way a next generation of Seinfeld, is better for not haven't it. Since a lot of Seinfeld humor is cringe humor, it tends to take away from some scenes. These guys are assholes, as the final episode proved in court. That means it isn't always something a group should laugh at. I'm an asshole, so I should. But groups shouldn't.
Beyond that, the humor holds up quite nicely. I find there's always a few really good laughs still in each episode, as well as many quotable lines. It's always fun now when you hear Larry David's voice pop out of nowhere. It's fun to see Bryan Cranston show up in a few episodes pre-Malcolm in the Middle. Seinfeld makes a quite worthy fiftieth day of awesome.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
It didn't totally sink in with me until I started watching 30-50 movies a year how jaded you can really get by a boring, lousy, seen-it-all-before movie. And some interested special effects just aren't enough to justify it. Most people go to just a few movies a year. They're going less to see that movie than to escape. I get it. Just don't read what the critics have to say, because they're writing for people who want to see good movies.
Roger Ebert wrote for me. And not just movies - his blogs were also great. I posted in this very blog about something he wrote about evolution that made someone like me, a science novice, understand it even better. But when I saw a movie I didn't especially like but he did, he made me see the merit of the movie. I didn't always agree, but I got it.
People seem to enjoy my year end top ten list. Roger Ebert is gone. I don't have that go to critic anymore I can rely on. My list will certainly suffer for it. Rogert Ebert is awesome.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
If one were to attempt to gain the information that I have of the Marvel Universe, such a holy grail that it is, there's one place to start. You have to go to Fantastic Four #1. After all, it is the beginning of Marvel Comics. All of the cornerstones of what makes that universe start there, and the legend builds as the series continues. You learn the origin of my favorite hero, The Thing, as well as that of the greatest villain, Dr. Doom.
Having been to the comic cons before it came out, I knew it. The guy who played Dr. Doom, the horribly cast Julian McMahon, gave all the wrong answers. He talked about liking Herbie the Robot from the old cartoon. No. Wrong. Bad. It was all, pun intended, doomed to fail.
I'm hoping that talks of the reboot go in the right direction. Much like Spider-Man and Batman, the FF has a great rogues gallery, which could create some great movie moments. In the meantime, grab some reprints of those early issues. You're gonna have a good time.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
|Aero = Awesome|
If you really want to condemn Columbus for the diseases he brought to America, that's fine. But you must also acknowledge the fact that he also opened the door for later Spaniards to bring chocolate to Europe and mix it with sugar to make its awesomely goodness.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
This summer, I'll be back there. This time I'm spending three night. I can't wait to enjoy two full days there. I'll probably repeat much of the hike this time, though not to all five towns. I'm going to do the most amazing parts again. And then I'll spend a day relaxing, probably on the beach and slowly roaming through the towns and grabbing a nice spot to sit and read.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
And now I'm back to do it again. I'm hoping to lose some pounds and some flab, but mostly I was the cardio fitness. I plan to do a lot of walking in Europe this summer. That means wearing a backpack, lots of hills, and tons of stairs. I want to go every single day without running out of steam.
Insanity is probably overkill, but I know that hiking to the top of a bell tower isn't going to destroy me. I finish on June 14th with my final fit test.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
|Image by Deviantart user Ionahipri|
And for those thinking that Disney and Star Wars don't go together clearly have never been on Star Tours. I'm looking forward to a few more rides. How about a Tauntaun-Go-Round?
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The Nude House of Wacky People from rae on Vimeo.
Monday, April 15, 2013
So what's the most awesome flavor? I like a scoop of banana and a scoop of chocolate together. It's a frozen banana.
And by the way, if you've ever been told that Gelato is simply the Italian word for ice cream and that they're the same, someone is a liar or ignorant. Here's a pretty good explanation.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Guests on the Daily Show can be hit or miss.Neil is never a miss. He's one of those people who you learn something new from every time you hear them speak. He's not only super brilliant but he can explain his ideas to the layman.
His love of science is infectious. When he speaks, I almost want to study science. I don't, but I read more science after watching or listening to something with Neil on it than I normally would. Just listen to him talk about Sir Isaac Newton.
Friday, April 12, 2013
The biggest complaint I usually hear about it is that they put too much dressing on them. To which I reply two things. First, I like the Miracle Whip dressing. Second, you can order it without or light on the dressing. They'll do that. And then you too can enjoy a tasty Nation's Giant Hamburger.
Are there more awesome burgers than Fuddruckers and Nation's? Yes. But not by a whole lot. And when they're consistently awesome at these two places that are both nearby and farther away, that makes them both awesome.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
But still, the burger itself has to be rather tasty. Their regular beef burger is pretty good. Their exotic burgers are even tastier. If you've ever hesitated to try the elk, buffalo, or ostrich, hesitate no longer. They're also healthier.
And I can't ignore the burger buns. They are light, fluffy, and delicious.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
If it weren't for The Soup, I wouldn't know Greg Kelly.
I wouldn't know the Honey Boo Boo's mom, the Human Thumb.
I wouldn't know Donka Doo Balls.
And if you don't know those people, you don't know 'Murica. Watch The Soup.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
I liked the movie when I first saw it, but didn't absolutely love it. I bought the soundtrack and listened to it on my trip to Eastern Europe soon after. As one of the lead characters was from the Czech Republic, I listened to it a few times while I was there. And continued to listen to it for the rest of the trip. And when I got home. And pretty much ever since. It's always on hand in my car and every mp3 player I have. I have probably listened to that more than any of other full album since then.
Here's the best song, followed by my second favorite.
Monday, April 8, 2013
OK, game on.
You don't make it.
That's the difference. You fail at saving the world.
Luckily for you, you still have your trusty Ocarina of Time. You get to jump back in time three days. That's where the game really starts. You figure out how you can save the world, but it's going to take a lot of work. You need to gather some
|Made out of nightmares, not cheese.|
During those three days, you start to learn the actions and patterns of the people. They repeat themselves. You turn into the Link version of Groundhog Day. But here's the thing that takes this game to a new level. These people are living tragic lives. That's in addition to their impending doom at the end of the three days.
|So sweet.They're going to die, though.|
The music is also amazing - it compounds the tragicness and sadness - but that's for a different post.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
As I mentioned before, it hasn't been obtained. Not everyone has an even playing field. We don't play nice with people who arrive here after they are born. And if you're born the wrong race or gender, it's an uphill battle.
But we've been working on that since our country started. One of the themes that I take through my class is that when America began, it was set up for everyone have certain unalienable rights - provided you were a white, land-owning male. And step by step, we've eliminated those three requirement. Legally, at least, and when it comes to voting. Something I was excited for in teaching this new curriculum, 11th grade US History, is that we actually got to eliminate all three barriers.
The first, land-owning, is eliminated around the time Andrew Jackson become president. The second, white, takes the Civil War. And then we have a bit of a hiccup that takes 100 years to overcome. We didn't quite finish that in the eighth grade class because the course ends soon after the Civil War. We end it with Jim Crow in place and women still without the vote.Since we're (theoretically) going up to the present in the 11th grade curriculum, I get to teach it all.
And yet it isn't finished. Somehow, there are STILL people today trying to limit voting rights. This is yet another reason to teach history. We're going through another civil rights movement in regards to gay rights. Education and job opportunities aren't equal for all communities, and those are usually distinguished by race.
But I know history. And that gives me optimism for the future. These ideals are growing. We can get there. I just hope the American Empire doesn't fall before it happens. But if we can hold on to this country, we stand a chance. In the immortal words of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, "America - Fuck Yeah!"
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Friday, April 5, 2013
Thursday, April 4, 2013
I enjoy the roast pork sandwich from DiNics (as does everyone else in the world - it's one of the top sandwiches. It is sliced roast pork on a delicious roll with sharp provolone. Then I opted for sweet peppers, though purists prefer the broccoli rab.
|Roast Pork sandwich from DiNic's|
Yeah, the history here is incredible. We'll be at Independence Hall tomorrow morning, and we'll see the Liberty Bell and some Benjamin Franklin stuff. But Rocky and great food. That's what it's about right now.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I can't remember anyone telling me that the Marine Corp Memorial (Iwo Jima) was their favorite memorial. But I think it just gets overshadowed by the others. People never look up at it then keep walking. Everyone stops to enjoy it. It's pretty awesome.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Our morning was filled with a visit to the amazing (and awesome) Arlington National Cemetery. We usually include a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but we weren't able to schedule one this year. Still, it's a part of DC that is essential for any visit.