Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What are we teaching kids these days?

Every year the DECA chapter at the high school where I work puts on a Veteran's Day Assembly. It's really great. They make biscuits and gravy, kids interact with them, they invite a special speaker, the choir sings, the band plays. It's nice.

Not this year.

Okay, okay...the band was good. I'm sure the food was good. The choir sounded great. But the speaker? What were they thinking? They obviously didn't ask for a copy beforehand (which I wouldn't think they would...but maybe they will in the future).

The speaker was a veteran who teaches at a high school where our Superintendent used to work. I guess they're buds. I'm guessing that's how our speaker got the invitation.

His speech started out okay. I guess. It was all over the place though. He talked to the kids about jobs - mainly just advertising the two careers he's held: a teacher, and a member of the military. Okay...but what does that have to do with Veteran's Day? Then it got worse.

He told the kids about two students he had in the past. The first was Suzy. "Suzy is what we would've called a hippie in my day. She has red hair, piercings all over, and tattoos." (Holy crap! Lock her up!) Then he went on to say how Suzy would not stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. "Suzy works in fast food now. She has a boyfriend. She'll probably work in fast food in 10 years, and have a boyfriend; maybe the same one, maybe different." Apparently not saying the pledge leads to all sortsa horrible crap. Who knew?

The second student? He signed up to serve our wonderful country. Now he's had his education paid for and is an upstanding citizen. Be like Tyler, not like Suzy. "Suzy wanted to be her own person. Tyler is serving his country. Are you going to be like Suzy, or Tyler?"

What's wrong with being a unique individual?

Then an Army recruiter got up. His speech was short. Seriously, it was like 1 minute. He was nervous. But in this nervous speech? "If someone comes into my country and blows up buildings, I want to be able to return the favor." Uh...what? So now it's a good idea to promote revenge? Nice. Real nice.

Seriously. The entire ceremony completely missed the point of Veteran's day. I felt bad for the Veterans. They deserve better. So do my students.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: Masquerade

Masquerade (Blue Bloods, #2) Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The second book in the series seemed just as good as the first. It didn't summarize everything in the first book (thank you!!) like some series books seem to do.

In this book Schuyler is trying to find out more about the Silver Bloods and throughout all the twists and turns in the story readers are trying to figure out just who the bad guy really is. My gut feeling from the first book seemed dead on, on both don't expect this story to throw you for a loop.

However, it was still good. It stayed away (mostly) from the mushy romantics and kept me interested. And just like all good series (unfortunately, I really am a sucker for series), it left me wanting to read the next one, which I promptly started about 1 minute after finishing.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

The Million Dollar Dog.

We'd been looking for a house. Mom and Dad wanted to move, Mom said she wanted to live out in the country and the road by our house was just getting to busy with all the traffic. So that Saturday morning we all piled in the Geo and drove down the road.

Of course, I thought we were going to look at a farm. Let me just tell you now, I was in no mood for this. The last thing I wanted was to move. Especially out in the country!

When we pulled in the driveway Mom and Dad told us we were there to pick out a puppy. Maybe it was because we weren't expecting it, or maybe it's just because no one can resist an adorable fuzzball, but we shot out of the car and made for the puppies! They were cute, of course, and so tiny. I wanted one of the fat little fuzzy guys, but of course my brothers chose the skinny one. That day we welcomed Buck into our family.

This has to be about 13 years ago. We still lived in our old house, so I can't be more than 11. Oh, and my family is weird :)

Why did we call him the million dollar dog? If only you knew. It all started with an innocent game of baseball, when Buck happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was hit in the eye with a baseball bat and for the rest of his life was blind in one eye. But did he complain? Nope! Seriously, you might think I'm a horrible person right now, but I swear he was the happiest dog alive.

Not long after the bat incident, Buck came down with Parvo (he got this while at the vet recovering from his injury). So, Mom nursed him back to health. A few years later Buck got lime's disease. Then I accidentally ran over him with the truck.

I know, I know. But picture this. We (my Granddaddy and I) were driving the red rocket (that's what we called the old farm truck) through the field. Dad had just finished building a new pond on the back of our property and we were hauling a truck full of square hay bails out to spread over the dam so the grass would grow. Buck (the million dollar dog) and Jenny (our somewhat annoying dalmation) were riding happily on the top of all those bails. What happens next? For some reason Buck decides to run off the bails, but instead of going off the back, he takes a shortcut over the cab of the truck, onto the hood, and straight off the front. Of course, I freaked. "Oh my GOD! I just killed our dog!!" I'm sitting there crying while Granddaddy shook his head saying, "Damn dog."

Buck and Jenny. They loved each other. :)

I dried my tears when Buck simply got up and ran off, still heading towards the pond. I tell ya, that dog was tough.

Well, we got Buck when I was about 11 years old, which means he was about thirteen last year when Marly & Me came out in theatres. E and I went to see the movie and I bawled at the end. You see, Buck was getting old. Poor guy hadn't been able to jump in the back of the truck for about a year - and boy did he love the back of the truck. He'd sit there for hours.

Oh yeah, he was spoiled, too. :) Right there? He's eyeing the ice cream.

He was old. We'd been talking to Mom about ending his suffering, but times were tough at the moment, what with the loss of our other favorite dog, Sneaker. It was just too tough to talk to Dad about it. He gets a little attached to those of the furry variety. Just a little ;)

When I was home this weekend Mom asked if I noticed if anything was missing. It took a moment, but when I noticed the empty dog bed in the garage I knew Buck was finally at peace. He really was one of the best dogs. A big furry lug who just loved taking walks around the farm, was the perfect size for a big hug, and loved everyone he met...well, except for our old real estate agent. I'll miss you Buck. You were one of the good ones.

Such a beautiful dog. Seriously.

Review: Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, #1) Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
So I've been trying to read books that my female students seem to be in love with and I picked this one up. After reading Twilight I was wary of this one, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Unlike Twilight, which was ridiculously corny and mushy (sorry, I'm just not that girl), this was refreshing. I feel in the future this book will probably be challenged because of it's view on vampires and their ex-role in Paradise, but it's an interesting twist on the story.

I'm not going to try and explain the complicated vampire history, but I'll point out a couple things I enjoyed. I really liked how the author tied the vampire's history back to the beginning of the New World (Roanoke) and before. History's just cook, okay? Obviously, as with most teen novels, there are always sections I just kind of skim over - those would include all descriptions of designers, makeup, etc. I'm not interested, so I try not to let those interfere with my opinion on the story. So, that point aside (and the fact that some characters are incredibly shallow and will most likely end up as the "bad" guy), the plot was interesting, kept me reading, and I'll be finishing the series.

:) But then, I finish every series. I even suffered through Twilight.

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