Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More information we have, the less we learn

Good Morning and it sure feels like we've skipped to summer!

We were watching TV late last week (yeah, one of those stupid pawn reality shows) and a guy was trying to sell a pair of Dr. J's sneakers.
While the bickering went on between the TV guys, the teenager asked, "Who is Dr. J?"
Over the weekend, we took a trip to Washington D.C. and walked through the American History Museum. One of the exhibits contained Archie Bunker's chair. The 12-year old asked, "Who is Archie Bunker?"
My answer to both those questions was "Look it up and learn."
Technology has given us the ability to learn all about everything. Want to know what the Vikings ate while sailing to Greenland? Google it.
Want to find out the top song on May 27, 1972? Go online.
Who is Dr. J? Well, that question should never get asked.
The problem, though, is with so much information, I fear we are losing something.
When I wanted to learn about Jackie Robinson, I read books and watched the movies. Now, there's not investment. A quick search calls up a Wikipedia page and a scan of the text pulls in the information.
How much of it sticks, though? I mean, really, we've all be sucked into the hole where we start reading about something, click on something else, then something else and forget the original search.
All the info obviously is not bad, we just have to use it the correct way.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Gardening without a green thumb

Good Morning and can you believe it's almost Memorial Day?

So, I got the flowers and tomatoes all planted last week. I even picked up all the right fertilizer and dirt this year.
A week into growing, the plants haven't died yet. I call that a good season.
See, I have the opposite of a green thumb. I could take the heartiest plant and shrink it to nothing in a few weeks.
Heck, I've even had a cactus die on me and you don't have to do anything to a cactus.
This year, though, is going to be different. I'm going to water the plants. I'm going to make sure the rabbits (where did they all come from) don't eat the leaves.
I'm confident in my work.
Now, if only I could get a few tomatoes to actually ripen.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Oh those college speakers

Good Morning and it's way too nice out this morning to be inside!

OK, a little bit of truth here, I don't remember who spoke at my college graduation. I know he was some kind of judge or lawyer or something.
I probably should have been paying attention. I know that. I'm sure the class was told such good things as "make your mark" or "get out in the world" or "in 10 years this college degree won't be worth the paper it's printed on" or "remember the Alamo."
Maybe if the speaker was Bill Clinton or George Clinton or Clint Eastwood, the speech may have mattered to me. At the time, though, I was happy to be among family and friends and, well, didn't really care.
So, when I read about the controversies surrounding so many college commencement speakers this year, I began to wonder what I missed.
Maybe I'll go hang around a lawyer's office.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

12 years of learning

Good Morning and welcome to the muck!

Here are a few things I've learned over the past 12 years:
If you play hide-and-seek, make sure you check all the boxes.
Don't walk past a candy store with somebody who has a sweet tooth.
When standing in line for Santa, make sure everybody stands with you.
Keeping the camera running on Christmas morning leads to some unexpected sweetness.
Minecraft is not only a game, it's life.
When you least expect it, something nice happens.
Being scared is OK.
Fighting with your brother and sister, well, not OK.
School days it's not so easy to get certain people out of bed.
Off days, they are up at 5 a.m.
A slow burn can turn into an explosion in a matter of minutes.
Missing school is easy if you can somehow convince everybody you are sick.
Sometimes, you need to miss school just because it's a nice day to miss.
Zombies can be terrifying. Vampires are kind of boring.
If it wasn't for Brendan, my life would not be full.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sports? Yeah, that's not real life

Good Morning and welcome to summer!

Remember when former Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens was doing push ups in his driveway. Remember when he was saying he needed a raise to feed his family after making $9 million in 2004. He was set to get $4.5 million in 2005.
Yeah, that's not real life. I don't think any professional athlete can relate to real life.
Do they care if the minimum wage is raised? Only if it means the price of pizza is going up.
OK, here's another one.
Earlier this season, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable to pitch because he had worked three days in a row. He was unable to enter yesterday's game because he had a stiff neck.
Probably got that stiff neck carrying his $13 million check to the bank.
Sorry, it's not reality.
If I called work and said I was unavailable today because I had worked three days in a row, they would probably tell me to find a new place of work.
Sore neck? Now you are becoming a sore someplace else.
Then there's the whole flu-like symptoms thing. What the heck is that? How many times have we heard about that one? I mean Allen Iverson used to miss practice with flu-like symptoms every day.
Yeah, right. I have flu-like symptoms all the time. Not only don't I get any sympathy, but I also have to go into work.
So, I don't want to hear it. Next time you don't want to come into a game, just tell it like it is: you are a pampered prima donna who just wants to sit in the sun.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's time to outlaw homework

Good Morning and welcome to Springtime on the 'Net!

I never really understood the point of teachers giving homework. I mean, really, we were just in school for nine hours, why do I need to do extra work at home.
As I moved through my school years, I pushed off enough homework assignments that many of my mornings were spent frantically finishing 100 division problems.
Now, though, it seems even more pointless.
It's almost like teachers these days feel like they have to give homework, because, well, they had to do homework. I very rarely see the point when the schoolies come home and pull out their stuff.
Sometimes, I feel like just telling them to put down gibberish and get outside.
School is different these days. Students are subjected to biased standardized testing and inundated with work, work, work during the day.
It's time to take a No Homework stand.
Who's with me?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The satisfaction, then the pain

Good Morning and welcome to another May day!

A few years ago, my brother was talking about training for the Ironman competition. Yes, that crazy, swim a lot of miles, bike a lot of miles and then run a marathon. He was talking about how tired he was, but was able to keep going because he was determined to get it done.
When his first one was over, he immediately signed up for the next year's race (or whatever you call it).
He started talking about how he thought anybody could do it. He looked at me and said, "You could do it. It's just swimming and riding a bike. Then you can walk the 26 miles if you had to."
Yeah, right.
Anyway, both my brothers were with me Sunday during the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, the 10-mile tour of the city. Of course, it's a 10-mile tour you need to get done in 2 and a half hours.
We were among the 40,000 who decided it would be a cool thing.
You know what, it really was cool. It was exciting. It was a miracle.
Somehow, I was able to finish the whole 10 miles under the cutoff point (if my brothers weren't there, by the way, I wouldn't have lasted 2 miles).
Making it to the finish line was overwhelming. The pain later was just a bit of a nuisance. If we could have signed up for next year, we would have done it right away.
I finally understood what he was talking about.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Time to lace up the sneakers

Good Morning and welcome to the river!

In a couple of days, I'll be doing something I never thought about doing. I was pleasantly (if not healthy) happy with my sedentary lifestyle. I liked watching TV. I liked having a few (too many) beers in the backyard. I enjoyed pizza and burgers.
It was all fine with me until one day I did not feel well. I stood up and got dizzy and thought, "Hmm, maybe I should do something."
So, I joined the YMCA and started working out on the machines. I hadn't done it for years, so it was a slow go at first.
One day in November, another member was wearing a Broad Street Run T-shirt.
Once again, my brain started talking. "There's a goal for you."
So, I worked out. I ran on the street. I put in miles. I ate better. I had setbacks (my calves are still painful enough that I have a slight fear I won't finish). I started a Facebook page where friends have been offering encouragement and kept me going.
This Sunday, I'll be attempting to run (very, very slowly mind you) all the way down Broad Street in Philadelphia with about 40,000 other people. Most (if not all) will finish before I will.
It's not a race for me, though.
This is a change. I'm determined to show my children you can do anything you want. Don't let others bring you down. Don't let others say you can't do something.
Now, who wants to let me borrow their hot tub Sunday afternoon?