Friday, December 26, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
I am the new District Leader for the Illinois Valley for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE), a part of the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE).
It was also our annual convention just last weekend up in Oak Brook, Illinois. I learned a ton of new things, like the fantastic idea of the "novel reduction." I can add that to literature circles and then actually do independent reading of whatever the heck book they want to read. Cool. Plus, I got to meet keynote speaker Tim Duggan, a professor who puts out CDs of Shakespeare and poetry with real music. I also got to meet and hang out with the hilarious Illinois Author of the Year, Simone Elkeles.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Anyway, yesterday I watched the Bears beat the Atlanta Falcons with only 11 seconds left. I probably jinxed them because I said, "Bears win!" Then I watched them lose on a fabulous throw by Matt Ryan with only one second left and a field goal.
But it was because of that damn squib kick. That put them in range of that nice little thirty yard pass to set them up for that field goal.
I'm not taking anything away from the Falcons. They won the game, even under the most adverse of circumstances (and Elam should have kicked that other field goal anyway). The Falcons kick returner also had just had a remarkable return, which is what the Bears were afraid of, I guess.
But to squib kick it, not to give their kick coverage unit the ability to stop the returner back at the 20-or-so, like about 90% of kicks in the NFL, they set themselves up to lose.
This is the equivalent in a game of eightball where you leave the cueball for your opponent with a perfect and easy shot at winning.
NO MORE SQUIB KICKS!
This is just another instance of watching a game and wondering if I could make better play calls than the coaching staff--just wondering.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
"If it don't kill you, it only makes you stronger."--Nietzsche by way of Bruce Willis
The Butcher Shop
--- On Fri, 8/29/08, John McCain <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: John McCain <email@example.com>
Friday, August 29, 2008
I was there in Alaska when she was running for governor and got to watch some of the debates. She always seemed cool and confident. Professional. The rest of the state was pretty darn excited.
And it highlights at least one argument. Anyone caught saying she doesn't have the experience better think then that it is actually better than Obama's experience. Two years as governor has to be better than two years as senator. And she is only the VICE presidential pick. What does that then say about Obama? This should be a masterstroke--you can't say she isn't qualified without also saying Obama isn't qualified. And he is running for president.
Vote McCain - Palin 2008!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The Butcher Shop:
Did you know that you can use your computer to help University of California scientists find the first evidence of life outside Earth? It's called SETI@home. The program analyzes data from the world's largest radio telescope, looking for signals from other planets and stars.
I'm running SETI@home on my computer, and so are hundreds of thousands of other people in 240 countries around the world. The SETI@home web site lets you meet them and exchange messages.
Running SETI@home is easy. All you have to do is install a program on your computer; it takes about 5 minutes, and it's simple and safe. Just visit the SETI@home web site. Thanks, and I hope to see you on SETI@home -
I live in the state of Illinois. I was born on the south side of Chicago (well, in Evergreen Park--close enough). However, I now live in Central Illinois. Farmland. Small towns, for the most part. The district I teach in has an entire enrollment K-12 of about 800 students. I live in a bit larger area, Bloomington-Normal, roughly 125,000 people in these twin cities.
I saw this picture of the electoral college and saw a lot of red. A lot of red. But then I remembered that in the 2004 election, Kerry won Illinois. Kerry is blue. How did Bush lose Illinois with all that red?
Cook County. Chicago.
Kerry won Cook County with 70% of that county's vote. That's a huge margin. The other counties he won by much lesser percentages: Alexander, Calhoun, Champaign (only had 50% to Bush's 49%), Fulton, Henderson, Jackson, Knox, Madison, Mercer, Peoria (by 70 votes), Putnam, Rock Island, St. Clair, and Whiteside. That's only 14 of the 102 counties.
So Kerry carrying Cook County with 70% or 1,439,724 votes to Bush's 29% or 597,405 (because somehow Libertarian Badnarik won 1% or 11,478 votes) was a logistical landslide that was able to help Kerry win the rest of the state.
On a sidenote, Bush won one of the other big counties, Will, with 52% of the vote; DuPage, with 54% of the vote. These are not landslides. Even with the big populations of these counties, those slim percentages didn't help overcome that margin from Cook.
The rest of Illinois' counties are quite small. This is the heartland. This is small town America for the most part. Huge tracts of farmlands between sparsely populated areas. Cook County is a different world, urban and gargantuan. Kids from my school district have specifically said how the times they visited the big city it scared the hell out of them.
My point of all this? Is it fair that one county carries an entire state?
Even when that county is not indicative of the rest of the state?
I know all this is moot. The rules are the rules. Is it right that one urban city overtakes the entire rest of the state? I don't want to take away Kerry's votes--fine, he won the urban area, indicative of Democrats. But could or should those electoral votes be separated?
I don't know. I just wanted to examine for myself how a mostly red state lost to the blues.
It's just something to live in my county, McLean, knowing that Obama will carry Illinois with ease, yet in 2004 Bush won McLean with 58%. Obama will probably lose this county by the same margin. I live in a county that votes Republican yet in a state that will vote Democrat.
Am I adequately represented?
(Information taken from http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004//pages/results/states/IL/P/00/county.000.html)
I made sure my legislators know exactly how I feel about these potentially damaging proposals. I took action here, and I urge you to do the same. It just takes a minute, but it can change the future of energy for America. Please visit and take action today.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Read a couple of short stories in preparation for class:
"Blues in the Night" by Jennifer Jenkinson--I found it off of eastoftheweb.com and it was a romance story. I was trying to find something for teenage girls. Unfortunately, it had to end with way too much physical romance. So that one's out.
Also found "Gossamer" by David Gaffney at that site that is okay. An interesting story about a guy that poses as a night janitor at the place he works to find out what goes on at night. Pretty good.
"Sherlock Holmes in The Case of the Cardboard Box" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is actually a great Sherlock story. Very tidy little answers on what is completely misunderstood at first, then it all falls together, making it seem like you should have seen it the whole time. This is one of the good ones.
"Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" by H. P. Lovecraft. Not one of his better tales but short and sweet. I swear, this guy could prove that Bigfoot existed, or Area 51--reading his stories feels like reading history.
Comics read lately:
Longshot #1 (Marvel, 1985) off the Marvel.com digital comics website--how I hate that interface but always wanted to read this.
Logan #1 (Marvel, 2008) part of the new series of Wolverine and his origins, I guess. I read it online for free thru Marvel's digital comics--it was one of their weekly freebies, you know, to get you to buy the next one. It works though because I seriously want to find out what happens next. I am intrigued by Wolverine's past. He is such a deep, three-dimensional character now.
The Invincible Iron Man #1 (2008) also off the Marvel.com digital comics website. Neat story that I now have to go out and buy the rest of the story, so I guess these free digital comics work in that they hook you like drugs.
Conan the King #21 (Marvel, 1984)
The Black Hood #4 (DC, Impact Comics, 1992)
Thor #263 (Marvel, 1977) amazingly, the sequel to a quarter bin comic I bought two conventions ago. Unbelievable conicidence. I didn't even know it when I bought this one.
The Adventures of Superman #617, 618 with Mr. Mxyzptlk in real bad-ass mode.
Ezra #1 (Arcana, no year 2007 or 2008) Sucked. Absolutely bad. No idea what is going on, story choppy and what appear to be two stories end without knowledge of ending--is one a preview? The only redeeming factor is the cool cover by Studio Mute Ant.
Super Powers, Volume 3 #1-4 (DC, 1986) four issue limited series about Darkseid getting back his power on Apokolips...these Super Powers mags I think were supposed to be introuctory for kids.
From the Reign of the Supermen storyline:
Green Lantern #46
Action Comics #691
Superman: The Man of Steel #26
The Adventures of Superman #505
The Phantom Zone #1 (DC, 1982) written by the great one Steve Gerber! Gene Colan draws! It's Superman! It's a treasure!
Detective Comics #613 Batman kicks two guys into a garbage truck when it is on.
L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 #63 (1994) with Superman and Lobo
Green Arrow Annual #5 (DC, 1992) part of the Eclipso series of annuals that year.
Robotech: The Macross Saga #12 (Comico, 1986)
Power of the Valkyrie #1-4 (Arcana/Bluewater, 2006-07) one of the worst comic series I ever read. I hate the writing of Darren G. Davis.
Strikeforce: Morituri #11, 12, 13
Detective Comics #476 (1978) with those Joker clown fish that I swear must have been an inspiration for that one Batman: The Animated Series episode.
Detective Comics #480 (1978)
The New Teen Titans #1 (1984) , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The Adventures of Superman #623 (2004) what a great story on the inspiration of Superman
Superman #345 (1980)
Action Comics #719 (1996) with the Batman and the Joker and a devious plan that almost makes Superman kill the Joker to save Lois' life.
DC Comics Presents #66 (1984) Superman and the Demon tackle Blackbriar Thorn
The Brave and the Bold #128 (1976) Batman and Mister Miracle foil a plot by Granny Goodness
Neverland by Dave Kiersh published by Bodega is a strange tale of a strange man about ready to settle down from this childish ways in order to love someone. It's an interesting cartooning style and a strange way to tell the tale, sort of through a dream. Worth picking up.
Monday, August 18, 2008