Saturday, September 23, 2017

I am Taking a Knee...

Friends, Americans, Countrymen lend me your ears. I come to support Colin Kaepernick. Now many of you are angry because this man and several other NFL players kneeled during the National Anthem. Even our president has taken time from not talking about the devastation in the American territory of Puerto Rico to take these athletes to task and demanding that owners fire the son of a b****. My fellow Americans, you are mad about their act, but not the act they are protesting. Our country is not perfect and it never has been. There has been many evil things done under the mantel of the flag. I’m not here for that. As Americans, it is our duty to point out and attempt to fix problems in this country. U.S. Police officers have killed over 700 citizens this year alone. 963 were killed by police officers last year. Look at this 2015 stat. In England in 24 YEARS, there were only 55 fatal police shootings. In 2015, American police officers had 54 fatal shootings in the first 24 days of the year. Folks, that is a problem. In many of those cases, nothing outside of termination or suspension happened to them. Some have committed flat out murder and are still on the job. That is a problem. They need better training and support. This is what those men are protesting. To the dude who tried to throw out that Pat Tillman didn’t die for them to kneel, understand something, our government covered up the truth about Tillman’s friendly fire death. His family had to fight for the truth beneath a government created image. At the end of the day, my point is forced patriotism is not patriotism...

So, I will be taking a knee for the remainder of the football season. You really have no idea how hard this is for me to not partake in the watching a sport I love, especially when my team is performing well. I know that some of you will not return to my little site after this. That's okay. No hard feelings. This is larger than that. I will be watching Harry Potter and ID Network tomorrow. I will be back on October 22 for the premiere of my weekly live blog of The Walking Dead.

Until next time, “Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”― George Orwell

Sunday, September 17, 2017

NFL Week 2: Uhm, What Just Happened

Well that was...something. Week one in the NFL was definitely one of those any given Sundays. First the Chiefs smacked the Patriots on opening night. Then, the Rams dropped 46 on the Colts. The Saints struggled on a Monday Night Football against the Vikings. The Bengals didn't even show up against the Ravens.

The Raiders, Cowboys, and Broncos looked really good in their first week, and you really have no idea how difficult it was for me to even say that statement. The Bills and the Lions also played well in week one, and the Falcons did not show much evidence of the Super Bowl meltdown during week one. 

The Dolphins and Buccaneers are both beginning their season after they had to postpone their game due to Hurricane Irma. Then there is this...LA will host not one, but two games today for the first time in over 23 years. Atlanta will open their 1.5 billion dollar stadium tonight on Sunday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers. The Patriots and the Saints are both trying to right the ship and not go 0-2 in New Orleans today.

I didn't perform all that well during week one. First, I forgot to predict the Thursday Night Game, and second, well, my picks left something to be desired. I did a respectable 7-7 in week one, but I have, and I expect better this week.

Sunday, September 17
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers: Carolina
Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts: Arizona
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs: Kansas City
New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints: New England
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh
Chicago Bear at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers: Los Angeles
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders: Oakland
Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos: Dallas
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams: Washington
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: Seattle
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons: Green Bay
Monday, September 18
Detroit Lions at New York Giants: Detroit
Monday, September 18
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers: Los Angeles

That's all, folks. Until next week, "Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble."-Shah Rukh Khan

Sunday, September 10, 2017

NFL Week One: Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!!!

Welcome back, everybody!!! I know that I haven't posted since the 20th Anniversary of the Harry Potter series. Still a little rusty. Plus, I've started a new job for the second time in two years. Why? I'm a mess mostly, but I've also started working at a college which is sooooooo much more awesome!!!

This is the eighth year that I have been writing about a lot of unnecessary stuff. Much like last year, I'll not only be posting about the NFL, but I will be here to live blog my favorites The Walking Dead and Stranger Things.  I'm not one hundred percent certain that I will make it through the entire season of American Horror Story: Cult. I'm starting to lose interest in the series. For now let's talk about the NFL.

The biggest story in the NFL this off season was not so much who moved where, who drafted whom, nor who will be suspended again this season. Nope, the biggest story since last preseason has and continues to be Colin Kaepernick, but I'm not discussing this here today. I will devote another post to that issue.

There are a host of new head coaches hoping to take their teams in a new direction. You have Vance Joseph in Denver, Anthony Lynn in Los Angeles (Chargers), Doug Marrone in Jacksonville, Sean McDermott in Buffalo, Sean McVay in Los Angeles (Rams), and Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. You have many new faces in new places among the player rankings, too. Brandon Cooks showed his value on opening night as he starts his career in New England. After many years with Minnesota, Adrian Peterson is banking on showing he still has gas in New Orleans. Fans as well as Jeremy Maclin were shocked when the Chiefs released the veteran receiver, but he found a new home in Baltimore. Marshawn Lynch is trying to help his hometown Raiders rise to the top of the AFC West. Victor Cruz left the East Coast for the midwest with a new start in Chicago. Not to mention, Jay Cutler's brief retirement before heading to Miami after Ryan Tannehill went down with an injury. Even former players made some moves in the offseason. Tony Romo is moving to the CBS broadcast booth pushing Phil Simms to the NFL Today who also hired Nate Burleson to replace Bart Scott who was let go. Tony Gonzalez left CBS for FOX who will be joined by Michael Vick. Steve Smith is headed to the NFL Network.

Did you see opening night? DID YOU SEE WHAT MY CHIEFS DID TO THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ON OPENING NIGHT? I didn't write this post earlier because I didn't want to jinx my boys, but was that an opening night or what? That debut of Kareem Hunt! If you had taken a shot every time Cris Collinsworth reminded us that he fumbled on his first play, you would have been drunk by halftime, but way to go Kareem in overcoming that bumpy start! Also, Alex Smith showing us all his deep ball threat. Patrick Mahomes may be the future, but Alex showed that he is the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. You'll get your chance rookie, but not this year. The only bad news from the game was the loss of Pro Bowl Safety Eric Berry. Best Wishes, EB, we will you back next season.

So, the Patriots began the season with undefeated hopes, which were dashed by the Kansas City Chiefs, but I have no doubt that the Pats and Brady will be making their annual appearance in the post season. Atlanta, what in the world happened to y'all in the Super Bowl? So, who am I picking this year. My annual mistakes that's what. Here we go...

NFC East: Dallas 
NFC South: Carolina (division rarely has a repeat winner)
NFC North: Green Bay 
NFC West: Seattle
Wildcards: New York, New Orleans

AFC East: New England
AFC South: Houston
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC West: Kansas City
Wildcards: Denver, Baltimore

NFC Champ: Green Bay                  AFC Champ: Kansas City
Super Bowl Champs: Kansas City

Look I like picking oddly. What better oddly than the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

Well, traditionally, I do better in the regular season than the post. Last year, I finished the regular season with a 164-89 record. So, here are my Week One Picks.

I finished the regular season 164-89 record.
Sunday, September 10
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: New York
Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears: Atlanta
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals: Baltimore
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns: Pittsburgh
Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions: Arizona
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans: Houston
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans: Oakland
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: Washington
Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Rams: Indianapolis
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers: Green Bay
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers: Carolina
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys: New York
Monday, September 11
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings: New Orleans
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos: Denver

Miami and Tampa Bay has been postponed due to Hurricane Irma. Prayers to those in Florida and Houston.

That's it, guys. Until next week, The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.” ― Steve Maraboli

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy 20th Anniversary, Harry Potter!!!!

Image result for harry potter and the sorcerer's stone
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Welcome back, everybody!!! It has been a while since I have written a post.  I thought that today would be a great day to write one because today is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. On this day in 1997, Harry Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were first introduced to the world, and a mad kind of fandom was  born.  The novel had been rejected by 12 publishers before Scholastic decided to take a chance with J. K. Rowling and her boy wizard. 

“I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. 'Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Frankly, I was much like those rejecting publishers, I had heard of the book, but truly didn't pay much attention, because I was busy interviewing for a job after graduating from college. (Fun Fact: Two of my favorite fandoms were born in 1997:  Tony Gonzalez was drafted by the Chiefs, and Harry Potter was published. 1997 was a great year!!!) Besides, it was a kids novel, and I was beyond that. I was too busy trying to reread Romeo and Juliet, The Crucible, and Of Mice and Men, as I began my career as a High School teacher.  Who had time for a book about a little boy wizard?

“There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Fast forward to 2005, almost 10 years later, I am now four years into my third teaching job (the one that was supposed to last one year but lasted fifteen).  Every year, my senior class would have to write a literary research paper.  I would have them pick from a long list of texts that were pre-chosen by me. The list included works by Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, JRR Tolkien, William Shakespeare to name a few.  One of my seniors (CHS Class of 2006) asked if he could do Harry Potter for his research paper. I actually laughed out loud before I answered him and with absolutely no pretense, told him no.  He asked me why not. I'm scrambling because seriously, you could not BS this group of kids. My legit answer was because it was not yet a part of the highly revered "literary canon." Another student asked why not? I responded that it was too new and not many literary criticisms had been written about them. Besides, I continued, you guys can only write about novels I have readThere was a literal collective gasp, because these students had grown up with Harry Potter and could not fathom that I had not read any of them. Keep in mind, I taught three preps, I was reading approximately 12 novels a year just to keep up with these classes. That, however, did not deter them. They challenged me to read the series. I told them I would, but I really had no plans to until they kept checking up on me.

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

So, I relented, and I went to our school library checked out all of the available novels from the library, there was still a waiting list from some of those novels, but as a teacher, I could jump the line. (perks). I left school for Christmas break armed with the first six novels courtesy of the library and another student who loaned me Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I read all 6 novels over Christmas vacation. I literally could not put them down. I devoured ever page as they were my favorite potato chips, just aimlessly, following page after page with Harry, Hermione, and Ron on their various adventures.

“We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I met the professors:  Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Sybill Trelawney, and the revolving door of Defense against the Dark Arts teachers. I identified with all of these teachers at one point of other in my teaching career. I liked Snape because, he always wore black, he was a bit snarky, and he really was the only one who would keep Harry in check. I told someone one time who said that Snape was unreasonably hard on Harry to the point of bullying. First I reminded them of all the stuff Dumbledore did to Harry, then I reminded them, that a lot of times teachers are the hardest on the students they see the most potential in, and they feel like they are wasting it, but I digress. 

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By the time I finished Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, I could not believe there was nothing else, but I was sure of something. I was sure that Harry was a horcrux, and it was one of the few times that I could not wait for vacation to be over, so I could discuss my theories with my students. When we started back, most were impressed that I was finished with all of the books in a two week period. We discussed favorite characters, theories, characters who we were sad to see go, and characters we would not miss. We discussed the horcruxes, and this novice Potterhead discussed my theory about Harry and how Dumbledore more or less tells Harry this in Chamber of Secrets. We all loved the books for different reasons, but in the end, we all loved these books. We also agreed that waiting another whole year for the Deathly Hallows was going to be a misery.

“No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” 

― J.K. Rowling

Thanks to the Class of 2006, I have been hooked on Potter ever since. A couple of them, who of course had graduated by then, contacted me on Facebook after I finished The Deathly Hallows. Now, my students have challenged me to read series before Percy Jackson-hated it, Hunger Games-loved it, Twilight-hated it (y'all know that), and Lemony Snicket-hated it.  None of those series resonate with me the way the Harry Potter books do. I do try to read other works every year. I challenge myself to read at least 15-20 books a year, because as a teacher, I have to read so much for work, that reading for pleasure some times takes a back seat. I try to read the series every other year. 

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I love this series for many, many reasons, (and yes, Snape has always been one of my favorite characters), but it teaches young people about standing up for what's right even if it isn't popular. It teaches friendship, love, and acceptance. My favorite characters:

Harry-because of his sheer determination. He overcomes so many tragedies, and on more than one occasion willing to sacrifice himself for others.

Hermione-because I was Hermione in school. Not the know it all, except with my friends, but the girl who always knew the library was the place to go find the answer, and I was fiercely devoted to my friends.

Luna-because she was unabashedly herself. She was not afraid to be different in a world that was already so vastly different. 

Fred and George-the twins who could find humor in a funeral. I was truly heartbroken when Fred died, and I cry every time.

“You're a prefect? Oh Ronnie! That's everyone in the family!"

"What are Fred and I? Next door neighbors?” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Snape-Yeah, yeah, yeah, he was a jerk, yes, he was abusive to Harry, yes, he took out his anger over James on Harry. I still liked him. He was snarky, so am I, and sometimes, Harry was little know it all jerk who deserved it. There, I said it!!! In the end though, when you find out about his devotion to Lily, you go back to all those little moments throughout the novel when you knew at the end of the day, he was going to protect Lily's baby.

McGonagall-The stern protector of Hogwarts and her students. She always saw their potential and would not accept anything but the best from them.

My favorite novel in the series: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Even though, we lost a lot of our favorites in this novel, so many secrets were revealed, especially the Lily and Snape storyline. 

My least favorite: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I like to call this one Harry Potter and the Nonstop Teenage Angst. Harry was at his most annoying in this novel. I seriously wanted to punch him myself or at least turn him over to Voldemort. Sheesh. I know he was recovering from the trauma of Goblet of Fire, but geez kid!! Oh, and Sirius was just as annoying, plus I didn't like the writing in this one. I don't know why, it is the only one I feel this way about.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

You noticed that Dumbledore is not on my list of favorite characters. In my mind, he is like Glinda the good witch, Gandalf the Grey, and Haymitch Abernathy. Why? Hey, inexperienced kid, I'm going to send you on a perilous journey, I may show up from time to time to help you out, you may die to accomplish this mission, and I more than okay with that. You know grand scheme of things and all. I did agree with Dumbledore on one thing. “One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” 

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

In the end, J.K. Rowling masterfully created a world that even in its darkest moments, you still want to visit. She gave a generation of children and adults a wonderful series that when you are reading it, it feels like you are visiting an old friend. Thank you, Ms. Rowling for giving us the most wondrous world of Harry Potter!!! Happy Anniversary, Harry Potter!!!!

“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.

"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dead Viewing: Season 7, Episode 16: "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"

***You may want to stop here.***
***There will be spoilers.***
***This is not a review. It is just my thoughts as I'm watching the show.***

***I update during commercials.***

I believe this opening of Sasha listening to music is her death scene.  I don't think she is going to make it to the next season.  Awwww...a flashback to Abraham. Just like when Tyrese died. He saw all the one's he lost when he died. Negan's back. He still thinks Sasha will help him get Rick back in check. Really, smiley face pancake Negan. 

Back to Alexandria. Dwight and Rick. Tara is all in Dwight's face about Denise.  Daryl wants to kill Dwight now. Yes, Dwight, Daryl wants to kill you. Tara wants to kill you, too. See, Daryl is not a murderer. Dwight is straight plotting, but I don't trust this guy as far as I can throw him. If he is lying, I'm going to kill him real slow. Tara is going to get herself killed being foolish. Calm down. Dwight will get what's coming to him.

At least Sasha is getting better music than Daryl. Negan wants them to stand down and then kill three of them with Lucille. Just one person has to die. Man, I hate Negan. These flashbacks are killing me slowly. Jesus and Mggie plotting for Hillside, and no one has checked on Gregory. Wait, is that Judith? What is going on with Morgan? Carol armed, Shiva ready to pounce, and now Zeke convincing Morgan to get with the program. Zeke with that Tiger man...


Junkyard crew rolling in on bikes and dump trucks...Jadis, really? they are laying down the trap. Abraham and his quips, oh how I missed him. Eugene escorting Sasha. These Sasha flashbacks. Wait, they are going in being led by Eugene. Rosita is looking like, can I just shoot him now. What just happened?  The bomb didn't go off. Man, the junk yard people turned. this like watching the WWE. Eff you Jadis and Dwight!!!! Freaking non-talking right junkyard hobos.

Negan, just makes me sick. I just can't get this dude.  Eugene turned on them, what did you expect Negan?  They got Sasha in a coffin? Man, I freaking hate Negan. You are not getting Daryl back. Negan is the worse stand up comedian. Y'all the suspense is killing me, and I think Sasha took the pill in the coffin.  These flashbacks with Abraham makes me miss what could have been.  Yeah, Sasha took the pill. She sacrificed herself for everybody. Carl is a BA with that gun. Sasha got one of the Saviors. This heifer just shot Rick!!!! And pushed him off the lookout!!!! I can't right now...Somebody has to kill Jadis. I need Carol to take out Jadis. C'mon, Michonne, don't let trashheap beat you. Man, they got Carl. Michonne finally took down Trashheap. Filthy garbage people what did they trade twelve of?  He can't kill Carl.  Not Carl...

Was that Michonne? That can't be Michonne. Nooooooo, not Michonne. Rick is good at talking crap man.  You are all already, dead. Rick ain't playing. There ya go Shiva. Alexandria will not fall. Is the tiger?  Maggie and Hilltop!!!!! Negan cannot believe what is happening. Shiva is eating some people. Who knew Zeke could pop caps. Warzone. Who is watching Judith? Negan rolling out flipping everybody off.  Trash-heap fell off the building. Michonne is Alive!!!!!

Negan is looking at Eugene, he knows that something hinky happened with Sasha. They knnow Sasha killed herself. Jesus took down walker. Maggie delivered the blow. Morgan and Carol side-by-side.  Michonne and Rosita healing. Dwight left the figure. The voice-over by Maggie at the end where she said they were following Glenn's lead. All the sobs. This was a great episode!!!!  It has been a great season, although we lost some great characters, the war has just begun.  Where is Gregory?  Will Oceanside join up? So many questions. Sigh...

See you in OCTOBER!!!!