Archive for January 2008

I’m Not Gay

January 31, 2008

(“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”). But even I can agree with most of this list of the ten sexiest quarterbacks of all time. No one can dispute that Brett Favre and Tom Brady are two of the hottest guys in the world.

But Tony Romo? I just don’t get it. It isn’t jealousy, like I said, I have no issue with most of the others. Nor is it my dislike of the Cowboys clouding my view of Romo. I don’t like the Patriots, either. Nope, Jessica Simpson or not, to me he looks like Harland Williams, the comedian I’ll always remember as the cop who unknowingly drinks Jeff Daniels’ pee in Dumb & Dumber.

Really, decide for yourself.


And Romo:


Again, “If I Woke Up Tomorrow . . .

January 20, 2008

 . . . with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.”

Last week I wanted my team to win, but I knew the best thing for football was a Packers win. Now I can root for my team without any conflicts. And who knows? The first time they played the Cowboys this year, they got spanked. The Pack whupped them in the second game of the year. So maybe the G-Men will get revenge on the Patriots, too.

The Giants also have Bill Simmons on their side. If you don’t already know, he is an ESPN columnist and unabashed Patriots fan. So much does he love the Pats, that two games before the Super Bowl he wrote a column debating whether of not his team was the greatest sports (not just NFL) team ever. If that isn’t asking for a loss, I don’t know what is. One of his readers even e-mailed to say of the column that it was:

the most thoroughly, breathtakingly, historically, cosmically, biblically STUPID thing you’ve ever done. If the Pats lose because of this, I will make it my life’s ambition to see to it that your daughter becomes a stripper and your son marries into the Manning family. Don’t think I can’t do it.

The Giants, of course, are the team that will benefit from Simmons’ tempting of the sports gods.

Even more interesting, though, is that thus far Simmons has picked against the Giants in every round. Here’s what he said last week:

Say you take the Giants and the Packers get the ball, march down the field and score a TD. Now it’s 7-0, and Eli runs out there with his hands in his pockets and his teeth chattering. They hand off twice, and his third throw flies over Amani Toomer’s head and nearly kills Green Bay’s equipment manager. As he’s running off the field with his teeth chattering, Fox cuts to Archie Manning sitting in the stands with one of those, “I should have smacked him around more when he was little” looks on his face. Then they cut to Favre on the Packers sidelines, who’s standing there with a big grin and thinking, “Holy crap, this is gonna be easier than I thought.”

So here’s my question: Doesn’t that scenario seem a little too realistic? I can’t take the Giants. I just can’t.

(Cut to everyone in the Tri-State area applauding happily.)

Now what does he do? Surely he won’t pick against his own team. But at 0-3 against the Giants, does he pick against them again, and risk creating more pro-Giants mojo? I can’t wait to find out.

Regardless, I’m not nearly as pessimistic about this game as I was last week.

How Do People Get This Stupid?

January 17, 2008

Being a parent and a professional educator has not made me any more sympathetic to the kind of lunacy exhibited by the petty-minded control freak parents and administrators in this story:

Matthew Lopez-Widish hasn’t cut his curly brown hair in four years, and he doesn’t plan to despite an ultimatum from high school administrators.

A few days before Christmas break at Kerens High School, about 15 miles east of Corsicana [TX] in a tiny town known as the birthplace of Big Tex, the straight-A student and at least four other students were called into the principal’s office.

Cut your hair by the time you return to school in January or be sent to alternative school, be removed from all extracurricular activities and risk not graduating, Matthew said the principal and assistant principal told him.

That is just stunningly foolish. One, the article tells us the kid is a straight A student. Two, if he’s going to be banned from graduating, then we can assume he’s on track to graduate right now. Three, if they’re going to ban him from extracurriculars, then he must be actively participating in them right now. In short, this kid is an excellent student with interests that stretch beyond the classroom who will soon graduate at the top of his class.

But he has long hair. So he needs to go to the same school as the crack dealers, gangsters, and pregnant twelve year olds. That makes sense.

Kids Can Be Very Considerate Sometimes

January 16, 2008

All week, we’ve had folks from some independent group observing our school. Today was my day to be observed.

I talked to the lady at lunch yesterday, and told her if she wanted to see an interesting class, to come to mine during sixth period. (That’s the one I half jokingly refer to as the Angola prep class.) Instead, she showed up for my best class. That was stroke of luck number one.

The second bit of luck wasn’t even luck. These kids are great anyway, but they were stupendous today. Everyone came into class, sat down quietly and worked diligently as I wandered around checking on them and providing help. When I began the discussion of today’s topic (the first political parties) I had several volunteers for every question, and always eventually got the correct answer. They were so good that the observer told me as she left the class “I wish you had been my history teacher.”

I almost felt guilty, wanting to explain that even on a normal day, a trained monkey could teach that particular class. Then today, they were even better than usual. Why? Well, it isn’t because I told them that all these strange people in their classes this week were from the alternative school and were deciding who would be going there next year. I told them that after my class. No. I think it’s just because they understood what was happening and wanted to make their school look the best it could.

Anyway, I need to bring them some candy tomorrow as a reward.

“If I Woke Up Tomorrow With My Head Sewn To The Carpet”

January 13, 2008

“I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.”

To put the same thing in another way, and to answer my Dad’s question, if I had bet on which Manning would be playing golf next weekend, it would definitely have been Eli.

Of course, now my team loyalties are in conflict with my general football fan loyalties; I think it’s obvious that Packers-Pats is a much more interesting Super Bowl than Giants-Pats. For one, the Giants have already had their shot at Brady and Company. For another, how amazing would it be for Brett Favre – toast a year ago – to finish his career by defeating the Evil Empire (of Football) to win the Super Bowl? Finally, given the man crush every announcer has on Favre, what could possibly be a better drinking game than taking a shot every time you hear his name in the Super Bowl?

I’m not the only one conflicted, either. The wife grew up in Mississippi and is a huge Ol’ Miss fan, so she always pulls for Eli. But Favre is also from Mississippi, and she’s in love with him, so she roots for the Pack, too. Neither of us know what to do.

I guess it’s all academic, though, as the NFC Championship is really a fight for the right to get slaughtered by the Pats.

It’s Not The Mercedes Marathon . . .

January 10, 2008

But to keep from feeling too depressed around the time that event occurs, I may go do the Run the Line half in Texarkana. Until I did four miles yesterday, I had not run at all since probably last October. Then I did 6.5 today. The times were slow, but I was pushing fifty pounds of babies in the jogger, and I felt great after both, so even with a rushed training schedule, I ought to do o.k. Not gonna set a personal record, but I shouldn’t embarrass myself, either.

The best part is that if I train by running with the babies, in addition to the extra resistance, I don’t even have to feel guilty about running after work instead of spending time with the family. Far from it, I’m treated as a wonderful husband and father, who spends time with his kids AND gives momma time to herself.

As for finding a 26.2 to replace the Mercedes, I’ve got two options: Dallas and Little Rock. Dallas is in early December, which is good because I won’t have to train while out of town for the holidays, but bad because I’ll have to start training in July. In Shreveport.  Ugh. Little Rock in in early March, which puts almost all the training in months when it’s too cold to ride the bike, but requires serious running through the holidays. Hmm, I guess I’ve got until July to make up my mind.

Playgroups and Magnets…not the refrigerator kind

January 9, 2008

Earlier this week, I hosted the first playgroup/luncheon in our new house. Actually, this gathering represented several firsts: my first chance to play hostess in my new house, my first time to host a playgroup, and the first time the babies had friends over and had to share their toys. Even with all these firsts, maybe because of all of them, everyone had a great time. There weren’t too many fists or toys thrown (you can’t expect none with seven children under the age of three in one house).

The best part for me was the fact that all five of us moms were able to stand in the kitchen to eat while the kids sat around the kitchen table. That may not sound like a big deal to most people, but for those of you who (1) know me and how much I love to cook and entertain and (2) witnessed the devastating loss of kitchen space that occurred when we moved from Birmingham to the rental here in Shreveport, having that many people in my kitchen again was simply wonderful.

After eating our fill of pizza, cookies, and brownies, we all retired to the babies’ playroom. This room is much smaller, but we still all fit. The kids (mine included) had a grand time playing with all the toys that have accumulated over the last few months. I’m pretty sure that Mac and Omi are now the coolest kids in the neighborhood because they have a tent set up in their playroom. (One of the little boys asked his mom, as they were leaving, “Can we come back tomorrow?”)

So, a great time was had by all. However, one point of conversation bothered me. As we were sitting in the playroom, I overheard one of the moms with older children encouraging another mom (of a three-year-old) to have her son tested as soon as possible. Being nosy, I asked what kind of tests little Ben needed. As it turns out, nothing is wrong with Ben, the moms were just discussing which magnet school he would be attending. Thinking that I had misunderstood, I said “Oh, you mean for later?” The mom responded, “No, for kindergarten.”

A magnet kindergarten?! Still thinking that I was missing something, I asked for further clarification. Apparently, no one sends their kids to the local neighborhood school in Shreveport. I was told that I really should have Mac and Omi tested by the time they’re four, if I want them to get into a good magnet elementary program. Had I been secretly transported to a playgroup in a rich, suburban, Northeastern town (no offense to all of you who live in such towns!)? I seriously thought these kinds of ideas only happened in movies or in the aforementioned areas. But I was mistaken.

Seeing as how we chose our house based primarily on its proximity to the local elementary school (which, by the way, is one of the best in the city), I doubt there will be any testing of my babies. Besides, what tests can they possibly give to a four-year-old that can adequately measure his aptitude for future years? The very idea is ridiculous. I want my babies to enjoy their childhood as much as possible, not to begin stressing over test scores when they’ve barely mastered using a fork.

Standardless Tests

January 9, 2008

It’s the spring semester, which means standardized test madness is in full effect. My kids had to take a practice test today; 40 questions, 17 of which covered materials we’re not scheduled to cover in class until after today. But I’m not writing about the usefulness of testing kids on material they have not covered, or whether that usefulness outweighs the costs of losing a class period in which they would have learned some of it.

No, my gripe is that no one knows ahead of time what is going to be on these tests. In Louisiana – and probably every state – each subject has a list of “standards,” the REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF that the teachers must teach and the kids must learn. Not a problem, maybe a good idea, except that the standards are extremely vague. For example, take the one we covered in class yesterday:

Describe major events and issues involving early presidencies.

“Early presidencies?” Washington and Adams? TJ, too? James Madison? Who knows what it means. How about “events and issues?” I guess, depending on the time, you’ve got to include Marbury v. Madison and the Louisiana purchase. But what about fights with Injuns in the west? Or the election of 1800? Does the Whiskey Rebellion count? What about Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton?

I know what I think is important about the first few presidencies, but I don’t make the standardized test. And the person who does make the test doesn’t tell me exactly what’s on it. So if we have different ideas about what matters, the kids get screwed.

“From Zero To Naked In 6.2 Beers”

January 8, 2008

That was on a shirt worn by a middle aged woman who I saw picking up her two kids from the school today.

My first thought was: Good God, please someone stop her at five.

Second thought was: I guess that’s why threats of calling parents aren’t all that effective in my school.

Third though: I hope the apple falls very, very far from the tree.

Fourth thought: I can be a real elitist sometimes.

Today Was The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

January 7, 2008

Really, it was. Today was the first time I left our new house to go to my new job. Henceforth, we are settled.

In other words, whenever someone writes my biography, today should be the day after which there will no longer be anything interesting to write.