Friday, December 30, 2011

My Ten Favorite "Wait, what?" Songs...

Have you ever heard a song? Fell in love with the music, the beat, the catchy little tune...but then you actually listened to the lyrics. That happened to me recently with that Foster the People song "Pumped up Kicks." I'll admit the first time I heard the song that I really didn't listen to the lyrics. I was just driving along tapping my fingers and humming. I mean I didn't even bother to look up the name of the group or song.

A couple days later, I was listening to the radio again, and there it was, and did he just say "Out run my gun?" This upbeat little diddy is about a kid thinking about killing other kids? Wait, what? Don't get me wrong...I still love the song, but I started thinking about some of those catchy little songs that have such wrong lyrics. So, I perused through my media player to see what other songs make you do a double take. This is not a perfect list. You may not find some of these songs peculiar, but here are my Ten Favorite "Wait, what?" Songs...

Friday, December 23, 2011

NFL Week 16 Picks...

Merry Christmas!!! Feliz Navidad!!! Happy Hanukkah!!! Happy Kwanzaa!!! Happy Festivus!!! Happy Winter Solstice!!! Happy Holidays!!!

Happy Holidays Wreath

Sleigh bells ring are you listening? It's the time in the NFL where the guys are either getting ready to book flights to their playoff destinations or rent that old U-Haul to clean out their lockers and begin their vacations a little early (see Cleveland, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Jacksonville, etc.) Well, I'm finally floating down from Cloud Nine after my Chiefs...that's right MY CHIEFS beat the undefeated Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers!!!! I couldn't believe it, especially since I picked against them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NFL Week 15 Picks...

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen! It is week 15 in the NFL, and time is running out for several teams. The Atlanta Falcons helped their cause by destroying Jacksonville 41-14 on Thursday Night Football. *Roddy White-did you have to jack TG in the end zone, man?* The Cowboys are positioning themselves as well with their 31-15 victory last night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. *Raheem Morris, you may need to brush up that old resume friend, signed Todd Haley and Tony Sparano* Tebow mania is in full effect. Whatever...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why I Don't Really Care for Tim Tebow...

"Tebow has changed NFL QB game" "Tim Tebow: All he does is win" "Rick Perry Compares himself to Tim Tebow" "Tebow wins again! Drug sniffing dog named after the football star makes a cocaine bust" " 'Tebowing': Dictionary Recognizes Tim Tebow Phenomenon"

You can barely turn on the television these days without seeing Tim Tebow smiling, Tim Tebow winning, Tim Tebow working out, Tim Tebow tebowing, Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow... Annoying right? Don't get me wrong. Tim Tebow is a great kid. He has a Heisman. He has two BCS Championship rings. He's a humanitarian. He's a devout Christian. He has worked as missionary. He is everything the NFL wishes in a poster boy. I get it. I really do. I really don't hate Tim Tebow the person. As a matter of fact, he is a great role model for kids, but Tim Tebow the football player? I can't stand that dude.

tim tebow

Sunday, December 11, 2011

NFL Week 14 Picks...

Welcome back, everybody!!! I am finally at a good place in my real life. Grad School is out until January, work is about to go on break, and the Chiefs are in the playoffs...okay, that last part is not true, but hey, like Meat Loaf said, two outta three ain't bad.

The Good Old Days
Hall of Fame Football

Saturday, December 3, 2011

NFL Week 13 Picks: Jim Mora Rant Edition

t seems like only yesterday that the football season started with the Saints and Green Bay opening the year. Now, there are only 5 weeks left in the season. Teams are scrambling to put together runs to try to make it to the playoffs. In the lead in the AFC are New England (8-3), Houston (8-3), Baltimore (8-3), Oakland (7-4), Pittsburgh (8-3), and Cincinnati (7-4). New York Jets, Tennessee, and Denver all have a 6-5 record and are trying to play their way into the pack. While in the NFC, the leaders are Green Bay (11-0), San Francisco (9-2), New Orleans (8-3), Dallas (7-4), Atlanta (7-4), and Chicago (7-4). Chicago and Houston are working with back up quarterbacks. Denver has Tim Tebow who has won 5 games in a row. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are playing like men possessed. Atlanta and Dallas are slowly getting their collective acts together. This last month is going to be awesome.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NFL Week 12 Picks...The Leftovers Edition

Happy Sunday, everybody!!! Well, Thanksgiving is over. Black Friday assaulted more victims, and Cyber Monday will begin tomorrow. Christmas is in full effect. Even the NBA is in the Christmas spirit giving their fans a season starting on Christmas Day. Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

Of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving with a turkey. This year, it was the Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh who may be staring down a suspension after stomping on a Packers player Evan Dietrich-Smith. As if that wasn't bad enough, he delivered the lamest "explanation" ever. Didn't matter at the end of the day the Packers smacked the Lions to stay perfect. The Cowboys served the Dolphins a hot plate of disappointment, and Big Brother John Harbaugh's Ravens defeated little brother Jim's 49ers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...Turkey Day Picks

Happy Thanksgiving Wishes

Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Everywhere throughout the country people are busy getting their turkey and fixings together to settle down for the grub fest of the year. You know, until Christmas...We gather the family together to give thanks for making it through another year together. I'd like to take a moment to thank those military men and women who protect this country. I also want to give a shoutout to my fellow teachers who are in the trenches every single day. I'm thankful for you guys, and even if the kids don't see it now, some of them will thank you someday, too. I'd like to thank God for my family, friends, and relatives. Every day, I know I'm blessed-even when they get on my last nerve, I am blessed to have them.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NFL Week 11 Picks-The Lee Corso Said What We were Thinking Edition

Earlier today, I was casually perusing Twitter like I do most Saturdays. With the exception of the occasional LSU game, I rarely watch college football. So, I definitely don't watch the pregame shows. Then, I started see posts about ESPN personality Lee Corso dropping the F-bomb during College Gameday. Soon the YouTube links followed, and sure enough he dropped the bomb.

The Twilight Saga...or Why I Would Rather Watch Paint Dry...

As an English teacher, I often let my students voice their opinions. We don't always necessarily talk about the literary canon; sometimes, we will take a day and chat about what they like or what they dislike. This can often help them with their writing. I've told this story before, but one of these conversations led to why I wouldn't let them read Harry Potter in my class. Well, I told them, the Harry Potter series was British Literature, and I taught American Literature. When they became seniors (I teach World Literature to the seniors), they had me over a barrel. Why couldn't they read Harry Potter? I responded that it wasn't part of the literary canon, and not enough had been written about it to make it a credible work, not to mention, it was below grade level-all of which was true.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NFL Week 10 Picks

It's week 10 in the NFL, and time is beginning to run out for many teams. Take my Chiefs who after a 4 game winning streak lost to the lowly Miami Dolphins, or the San Diego Chargers who are not what anyone thought they were. Everyone is wondering what's wrong with Philip Rivers. Personally, I think it may be the fact that two of his six kids are under the age of 2. Dude can't possibly be getting all of the sleep he needs. I know that would drive me to a state of lunacy. I kid, I kid...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NFL Week 9 Picks: A look back at the Folly...

It's week nine ladies and gentleman! It's hard to believe that the season is half over, but on the positive, my Chiefs are on a four game winning streak and tied for first in the AFC West!!! Now, I don't have any illusions that they will win the West, but it is awesome that they are still in the conversation. At the beginning of the season, I took a look at the NFL landscape and made bold predictions about how the season would unfold (not really, bold, but I made them none the less.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Favorite Stephen King Novels-Redux

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. As I may have mentioned, Stephen King is one of my favorite master of the macbre. So, in honor of Mr. King and Halloween is a repost of my favorite Stephen King novels.

"When I was a kid I believed everything I was told, everything I read, and every dispatch sent out by my own overheated imagination. This made for more than a few sleepless nights, but it also filled the world I lived in with colors and textures I would not have traded for a lifetime of restful nights." — Stephen King

It is no secret that, much to the chagrin of my college professors, Stephen King is my favorite author. Ever since my grandmother put my first Stephen King novel in my hands, I have been a fan. I love the way he tells a tale-always with a little bit of mischief. He has not only given me nightmares, but he has inspired my joy of writing. Plus, he's not afraid to use the language that we all use, even if that includes a few f-bombs :) Now, not every Stephen King novel is a blood and guts, nightmare painted horror fest, many of the novels explore relationships between husbands and wives, friendship, and our shared humanity. Many of my favorites deal with the friendships between the most unlikely people. I also love the fact that he often makes heroes out of people that are often the outcasts of society. It was difficult narrowing down my favorite novels. The criteria was simple. These are the ones I've read more than once and plan to read again. Keep in mind, these are not Stephen King's greatest hits. These are my 10 favorite novels.

Viruses, bugs, and blue screens...oh, my

Hey everybody!!! I'm finally back into cyber land!!! I didn't take a sabbatical. My computer has been experiencing the blue screen of death for the past week-probably from downloading video games. I'm a grown woman. I really need a new hobby. Any way, I'll be back to making picks next week!! I'm going to enjoy Monday Night Football, because my Chiefs are taking on the Chargers. Yeah, I'm picking the Chiefs. I might flip over to Monday Night Raw every now and again, because rumor has it that the Rock might make an appearance. The Rock and the Chiefs on Monday Night? Happy Halloween to me!!! Y'all keep it safe and as clean as you can this Halloween!!!

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson NYC 2009 Tribeca by David Shankbone

Chiefs vs Chargers

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NFL Week 6 Picks:

Good morning, y'all...It is Week 6 in the NFL, and what have we learned so far. The Packers, Bills, 49ers, and Lions are pretty darn good. The Chiefs, Vikings, Colts, and Eagles are pretty darn bad. The Cowboys, Falcons, Steelers, and Bears can't quite get themselves together. Ah, the NFL...gotta love it.

NFL-Beveled Logo Wallpaper

Sunday, October 9, 2011

NFL Week 5 Picks: Here come the byes...

It's is week five of the NFL season. Hard to believe that a quarter of the season is already over. Yesterday, the NFL saw the passing of one of the greats in the league Al Davis. Mr. Davis has always been one of the more colorful characters in the NFL, and even though most Chiefs fans saw Al Davis as the Emperor of the evil empire, we appreciate that amongst all the crazy (especially the release of Marcus Allen which led to his coming to Kansas City), there was a method to Al's madness, and the NFL has been a better place for it. RIP, Mr. Davis.

Al Davis - Great Oakland Raiders Owner Dies - RIP

Sunday, October 2, 2011

NFL Week 4 Picks: September is finally over...

Week Four brings a new month. Fall is in the air. There is a little more crisp to the air. Yes, it is finally feeling like football weather. Yet... There is all kinds of bizarro things happening in the NFL. Have you looked at the standings recently? The #1 team in the AFC East, not the Patriots, but the Buffalo Bills. AFC South Houston (Indy is in the basement without Peyton), the reigning AFC west champion Kansas City Chiefs haven't even sniffed a victory while the Raiders and Chargers are tied atop AFC West. Only the AFC North is about right with the exception of the Browns being tied with the Pittsburgh and Baltimore at the top.

Buffalo Bills, NFL.

The NFC hasn't been exempt from the crazy either. Detroit is tied for the top position in the North with the reigning Super Bowl Champs. My Super Bowl pick and reigning NFC South Champ Atlanta Falcons are looking up at every team in their division. The Eagles who many picked to continue roosting at the top of the NFC East have been kicked out of their nest by the Boys, Skins, and Giants who are tied for first.

Ndamukong Suh

Sunday, September 25, 2011

NFL Picks Week 3: 99 Problems...

Sigh, good morning, everybody...I sigh on behalf of the rest of Chiefs Nation. Last season, our beloved Chiefs surprised not only us, but everybody else, when they won the AFC West and finished the year with a 10-6 record. We thought, "Hey, we are finally turning it around!" I after all, the Chiefs had only won 10 games in the last three years (a dismal 10-38 record). Honestly, last year the Chiefs had a relatively soft schedule, they're wins were against San Diego (we play them twice a year most people thought it was a lucky win because San Diego always starts slow), Cleveland, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Arizona, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, and Tennessee Seriously, they basically played the AFC West, NFC West, and the NFC South. They lost the games they were suppose to Indy, Houston, San Diego, once to Denver, and inexplicably, twice to the Raiders.

Arrowhead Stadium

Saturday, September 17, 2011

NFL Week Two Picks: The "Did that just Happen?" Edition

Welcome to Week 2 of the 2011 NFL Season!! I hope last week was a good week for your teams, because it was a craptastic performance for some of my favorites. Honestly, The Chiefs are my team, but there are some teams that I root for from time to time. Take for example the New Orleans Saints who lost to the Pack on opening night, the Atlanta Falcons who were dismantled by the Bears as I watched, and of course, my Chiefs seemed to forget that they won their division last year as they were spanked heartily at Arrowhead Stadium by the Buffalo Bills. Let me say that again, the Buffalo Bills. *Winks, head nod* What's up, Shawne Merriman?

Matt Cassel - 1

Good news: Tony Gonzalez moved within 5 catches of moving past Terrell "I have no foreseeable job prospects besides my reality show" Owens for 5th place all time in receptions. T.O. currently has 1,078 while T.G. has 1,074. I don't think I need to remind you all that T.G. is a Tight End, right? Good luck, Tony. See you in second place at the end of the year!!! Only on this list. I'm sticking to my pick of the Falcons as Super Bowl Champs.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NFL Picks: Week One...And They're off...

Week One exploded with a bang with the Packers and Saints shoot out at Lambeau Field. I am so looking forward to the Pomp and Circumstance that come with the first games of the season, especially since they fall on the 10th anniversary of September 11th.

Ten Years Later...

WTC Twin Towers, pre-9/11 NYC

2001 began for me as 2000 had ended-unemployed. I had quit my job as a 7th grade teacher the previous spring and had spent the summer, fall, and winter looking for a job without success. I even spent 4 months in Atlanta looking for work. While there, I got a phone call from my former school district to return to Natchez for an interview. To make a long story short, I didn't get the job. A few days later, I saw an ad in the newspaper for an English teacher. I thought what the heck. A couple of days after the interview, I was hired.

I'm Back!!!

I know, I know, I know.  It was quite rude what I did.  I just disappeared without so much as a toodle-loo.  I've been a rather busy girl!  We started a new school year, and I started grad school.  Yeah, 15 years late, but you know what they say, "Better late than never."  Part of my program encourages the "teacher" to be a writer as well.  So, I'm going to do my very, very best to post at least once a week.  I want to thank all of you who still support Diana Dishes.  Love y'all!!!!!

I'm Ready for Some Football: Predictions without Merit!!!

Finally, football is back!!! The Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints put on a spectacular show Thursday night with the Pack winning 42-30. Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees were unbelievable. The Defenses...well...

Usually, around this time, I am getting my fantasy football season into gear. This year, I have decided the not play. No, I haven't completely given up on fantasy. I love playing. I just don't have a lot of free time these days. Now, I'm not a football expert. So, I'm not going to even pretend to be, but here are some of the things I'm looking forward to this NFL season.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad...

My father and I never had what you would call a great relationship. Fact is, I grew up with my grandmother, and I only spent the weekends with my parents. Most girls would love to be Daddy's princess, Daddy's little girl. I never had that. As a matter of fact, I don't actually recall calling him "Daddy." It was more "Hey, how you doing?" He and my mom divorced when I was really young, and those weekend visits became more of one weekend every month or so visits. A phone call from my dad was a rarity. Even though, he lived in the same city as we did.

I don't know a whole lot about my dad's side of the family, because we spent most of our time with our Mom's side of the family. Many of my relatives on my father's side had to introduce (and still have to) themselves to us, because we really only knew his mother and his brothers and sister. My father's father died before I was born.

My father remarried an older woman, who immediately took a disliking to my sister and me (I assume they married because we weren't invited to the service). I really never knew what her problem was. She probably took my extreme shyness as being rather snobby. Everybody else did so why shouldn't she. Fact is, I wasn't her biggest fan, but I was taught to be respectful, and I was.

One of the bad things about my father was he was an alcoholic. When he was drunk, he could become abusive. Never to me, but I have heard the stories. Fortunately, my mother was more than capable of taking care of herself. After one episode, he developed a healthy fear of my mom. Shortly, thereafter, they divorced. My mom never spoke badly about my father. She is one of those "experience is the best teacher type moms."

As he grew older, he tried to develop relationships with us. More so with my sister than me; my mother said I was too much like him. *Shrug* Maybe. There was never a bond there. He missed most Christmases. After age maybe 5, I can only remember receiving 2 presents from him. Both were less than spectacular. He was kind of like that uncle that you see every once in a while. That was our relationship. For example, during my high school graduation, there was a wedding reception going on next door because it was moved at the last minute to the convention center. My dad went to the wedding reception rather than make the effort to see his first born graduate. I told him that was a messed up way to celebrate my graduation. He shrugged. He didn't listen.

He developed hypertension and diabetes, but that didn't stop him from drinking or smoking. I can't be around smoke, so he would kind of respect that. I told him I wouldn't deal with him when he would drink. I also would tell him on every occasion that he would have to stop drinking and smoking if he wanted to see 50. He didn't listen.

On September 15, 1999, I had just left work and was screaming Lenny Kravitz's "American Woman" to the top of my lungs. The phone rang, and it was my mom. She told me that my dad had died. I felt like I'd been hit in the gut. My dad had a massive heart attack behind the wheel of one of the trucks he drove at his construction job. He had just gotten the job back after being fired for drinking. One week earlier, he told me he had been in the hospital (they never would tell us until after he was out). I told him that he was killing himself slowly. I told him he needed to let the cigarettes and the beer alone. He didn't listen.

Today would have been my dad's 59th birthday. I don't know what demons he was trying to drink away. I don't know why he didn't want a close relationship with my sister and me. I have, however, found peace with my dad's death. I loved my father. I wish he were still around. The thing I had to do was forgive him and forgive myself. I knew he was proud of me when I became a teacher. He didn't tell me, but he told others. I never knew his favorite color, his favorite singer, or movie. But, he was my dad, and I loved him. Happy Birthday, Dad...I hope you have found the peace you could not have here on earth...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Goodbye, Harry Potter...

The long awaited final chapter of the Harry Potter saga debuted at midnight this past Friday. Harry Potter lovers lined up dressed as their favorite characters to see the boy who lived in his final battle with he who must not be named. Harry Potter first appeared on June 30, 1997 (one month after I graduated from college) in London and made his American debut a little over a year later in 1998. I remember vaguely hearing about the novel, but paying very little attention to the hoopla that surrounded it, mostly because I was a new teacher, and I wasn't 12.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bless the Children...

Dear National Media,

I am writing this letter as a concerned citizen. I'm writing about a bias that has always existed in the media. It once again brought itself to the forefront with the the Casey Anthony trial. A little white girl goes missing or is murdered, and it explodes into a national story. It is a tragedy. I understand this. I understand that you guys cannot cover every single disappearance with the zealousness you did with Caylee Anthony, or Natalee Holloway,or Elizabeth Smart, or JonBenet Ramsey, or Phylicia Barnes. Oh, you don't know who Phylicia Barnes is?

The Verdict: Casey Anthony...

Earlier this afternoon, Casey Anthony was found not guilty of the 1st degree murder of her child. She was also found not guilty of manslaughter. She was found guilty of lying to a law enforcement officer. Immediately, people started giving their opinions. Many of which felt she got away with murder. That may be true. Heck, I thought she was guilty. I'm a fan of Law and Order, Cold Case, Cold Case Files, etc. I've watched many trials on Court TV, or what is now TruTV. I've also served on two grand juries, so suffices it to say, that I am not an expert.

Casey Anthony Mugshot

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Michael Jackson Tribute, Part 2

Let's be real. Michael Jackson didn't create the music video, but like Tony Gonzalez at tight end, he revolutionized the video and made it what it is today. (yeah,I went there. My blog...LOL) Sorry, Beyonce, Gaga, Katy, Justin, Rihanna, and Kanye..."Often imitated but never duplicated." Y'all will never be Michael. I don't even watch music videos any more. I always liked the cameos, too. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Iman, Joe Pesci, Marlon Brando, Naomi Campbell, Macaulay Culkin, he could get anybody to do his video. Not to mention people who received instant boosts in the business by appearing in them like Wesley Snipes, Stoney Jackson, Michael Delorenzo. These may not be the best MJ videos, but these are my favorite. By the way, there is little overlap between my favorite songs and favorite videos.

Michael Jackson Tribute, Part 1

Michael Jackson passed away 2 years ago today, and whether you liked him personally or not, I don't know how you could seeing as though very few people all actually had an opportunity to know him. Regardless, the man left us a vast catalog of music that will inspire generations of musicians to come. Pundits will debate forever and a day about what are his best works. I leave that to them. These are not his best works or even his biggest hits. These are my favorites. The ones I listen to over and over again...Enjoy...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Here We Go Again...

In the two years that I have been doing my blog, I have written two posts about drunk driving: "Who is the Bad Guy" (2009) and "What's Past is Prologue" (2010). Here I am again writing about drunk driving. Earlier, this week Ryan Dunn, one of the member of the MTV's Jackass crew, was killed in a one car crash in Pennsylvania. The accident happened just 3 hours after he tweeted pictures of himself and friends having drinks in a local bar. One of the men in the picture with Dunn was also killed in the accident. Two days later, police confirmed that Dunn's blood alcohol level was .196 which was twice the legal limit.
Dunn and Zachary Hartwell died of blunt and thermal trauma when Dunn’s car flew off the road and burst into flames. Police said Wednesday the reconstruction investigation determined that Dunn’s vehicle was traveling between 132 and 140 miles per hour at the time of the collision. Dunn possessed a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license at the time of the collision. Source

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Top Ten Stephen King Novels

"When I was a kid I believed everything I was told, everything I read, and every dispatch sent out by my own overheated imagination. This made for more than a few sleepless nights, but it also filled the world I lived in with colors and textures I would not have traded for a lifetime of restful nights." — Stephen King

It is no secret that, much to the chagrin of my college professors, Stephen King is my favorite author. Ever since my grandmother put my first Stephen King novel in my hands, I have been a fan. I love the way he tells a tale-always with a little bit of mischief. He has not only given me nightmares, but he has inspired my joy of writing. Plus, he's not afraid to use the language that we all use, even if that includes a few f-bombs :) Now, not every Stephen King novel is a blood and guts, nightmare painted horror fest, many of the novels explore relationships between husbands and wives, friendship, and our shared humanity. Many of my favorites deal with the friendships between the most unlikely people. I also love the fact that he often makes heroes out of people that are often the outcasts of society. It was difficult narrowing down my favorite novels. The criteria was simple. These are the ones I've read more than once and plan to read again. Keep in mind, these are not Stephen King's greatest hits. These are my 10 favorite novels.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Top Ten Celebrity Crushes...

Since I'm celebrating my blogs 2nd birthday, I've decided that I don't want to be serious this week. I want to have a little fun. So, here's the first of my two top tens this week. My top ten crushes. We've all had crushes on celebrities, and if you say that you didn't you sir or miss are a liar. We've all had them, and often, we have come to regret them with that inevitable, what the hell was I thinking. Some are drop dead gorgeous; others are just plain weird. They are actors, athletes, and singers. Some of these guys I still kinda hold a torch for; others have been voted off the island. Without further ado here are my top ten crushes, how they won my little black heart....Feel free to openly mock me...

Happy Birthday, Diana Dishes!!!!

Hey, everybody!!! Today is June 16!!! Today, Diana Dishes turns 2 years old. I've gone from a blog read by me to 13 followers. I would like to take a moment to thank you guys for reading the thoughts of my blog about well...nothing...and everything. You have listened to my rants and my raves, and my ultimate goal has always been to entertain. I hope you have enjoyed. I hope to continue writing articles you will find scintillating...Okay...I can't keep a straight face with that one. Here's to another year!!! No champagne...the blog is not legal, and I don't drink. Here's cupcake instead. See ya!

Happy Birthday, Señor!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hello, My Name is Cheryl...and I'm a Hater...

It is nothing new for people to call me a hater. Heck, my family called me that long before it became a popular word in the "Urban Dictionary." Even my Twitter handle, CIH8U2, expresses my card-carrying hater status. I embrace the hater in me. I really a hater?

Merriam-Webster (my go-to dictionary) defines a "hater" as "[1] one who expresses or feels extreme enmity or active hostility; [2] one who has a strong aversion to or finds something very distasteful." Urban Dictionary defines it as "A person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person."
Let's examine that shall we.

I don't really hate people. Mostly, I need to get to know you before I will even dislike you. Okay, I'm lying. There are some people that just rub you the wrong way. I don't really care for them, I really don't want to meet them, and generally, spend most of my time trying not to think about them. Yet, their Stans won't let me be. I follow some pretty cool people, and I have some pretty cool followers on my Twitter Timeline. Then, there are the Stans. Not familiar with the term, well it's an allusion to Eminem's 2000 hit song "Stan." According to Urban Dictionary (hadn't quite made it to Merriam-Webster yet), a "stan" is "someone who is all up on their favorite artist's schlong, and can't take criticism or the slightest negative about said artist. But instead of "fans," they're called "Stans," get it?" [P.S. commas go inside the quotations marks Urban Dictionary].

Friday, June 3, 2011

All the Single Ladies...No Wonder He Didn't Put a Ring on It

Earlier this week, I decided against my better judgment to watch VH1's new romantic-comedy (although that genre is a stretch) Single Ladies. I wanted to support this Queen Latifah produced show. Yet, I knew it was gonna be bad. I knew in my heart of hearts it was going to be bad. Did that stop me from watching? No. It became a tweet fest because there was no basketball game, and I think we were all generally bored. For those of you who didn't watch, Single Ladies follows the lives of three friends in Atlanta, GA, Valerie Stokes (Stacey Dash), Keisha Greene (LisaRaye McCoy), and April Goldberg-Jenkins (Charity Shea). Cool, Sex in the City with an urban vibe, right? Wrong. Granted, I didn't care for Sex in the City either. I'm basing my criticisms on the parts I actually saw as I missed the first 5 or 10 minutes.

First of all, how old are these characters exactly. Early 30's, late 30's? It may not matter to you, but I like to have a little basis for a few things. LisaRaye and Stacey Dash were both born in 1966, which would make them both over 40, while Charity Shea was born in 1983 which would put her in her late 20's. Why would they be "girls"? I probably missed that, but while LisaRaye and Stacey look great for their age, am I to believe they are in their late 20's-early 30's? To quote Chad Ochocinco, "Child please..." I watched Stacey Dash on St. Elsewhere, and LisaRaye was playing Diamond when I was a first year teacher, I know Charity is the token white girl, but maybe she should be a little offended that the writers or casting directors think that she looks old enough to pass as their girl. Let's take a look at each girl shall we...

Friday, May 27, 2011

My 10 Favorite Books My Teacher Made Me Read

As I was kicking around my favorite quote website, I found this quote by Stanley Kubrick,
“I never learned anything at all in school and didn't read a book for pleasure until I was 19 years old.”
, with all due respect Mr. Kubrick, I do find that hard to believe, even though as a teacher I know students hate to be told what to read, and few read for pleasure. The quote did, however, get me to thinking about the novels and plays I "make" my students read, and the novels that my teachers "made" me read. Some I liked, and of course, some I disliked. This post is about the ones I actually enjoyed, even though I was required to read them. No, I'm not going to give anything away. You, too, may have to read them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Goodbye to the Oprah Winfrey Show...

Tomorrow will be the final episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. It is signing off after 25 years on the air. The show has had an amazing run. No show with a black star as it's center has lasted as long as the Oprah Winfrey Show. I've never been a huge fan of the Oprah Winfrey show, mostly because I really don't care for talk shows. Yet, I've always been an admirer of Oprah herself. Last week one of my students called Oprah Winfrey a fake. I took offense to that. Here is why...

I am a poor little black girl from Mississippi. I, too, saw education as a way out; however, it was to help others get out. In Oprah, I saw someone who was not ashamed to be educated. I saw a woman who encouraged people to pick up a book and read. I saw someone who could sit down at a table with presidents and princes, but wouldn't mind shooting the breeze on the front porch either. She is everything to everyone.

Oprah Winfrey (2004)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Respect...

Yesterday was an extraordinarily busy day. I've said a thousand times the beginning and the end of the school year are the toughest. So imagine my surprise, as I was finally sitting down to dinner, when my sister announced that Randy "Macho Man" Savage had died. My mouth dropped open, because I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it. I grew up watching Randy Savage. I even use to mock his signature, "Ooooh, Yeah!!" right down to the veins popping out of the neck.

I think of all the athletes pro wrestlers get the least amount of respect. Maybe it's the freakishly, cartoon bodies. Maybe it's the rampant steroid use. Maybe it's the choreographed endings to the matches. Maybe it's the over the top storylines. Whatever the reason. Pro wrestlers are the ugly step-sisters to other sports.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Different Verse, Same as the First

It seems that every year around this time; I find myself commenting on the alcohol problem in this country. In 2009, I wrote "Who is the Real Bad Guy," and in 2010, I wrote "What's Past is Prologue..." Here I am again, writing yet again about this problem-teens and alcohol. Earlier this week, the following item appeared on my homepage "Facebook Photos Land 11 Athletes Lengthy Suspensions." A parent saw these athletes on Facebook acting inappropriately and turned their names in to the principal. Before Yahoo and a problem with the comments, I decided to read a few. *side note: I probably should stop that practice because it only succeeds in making me angry.* They were yelling at the "Busy-body mom whose kid probably wasn't invited," "Jealous mom who wasn't included when she was in high school," or "kids will be kids, and the school can't control what our kids do after school, that's the parent's responsibility." Au contraire mon frere...

The James Tate Conundrum

here have been two news stories that I've been paying attention to this week. One was all over the place, and the other I just happened to see when I opened my Yahoo home page. The first story was about Connecticut high school senior James Tate. James Tate, the young romantic, entered his school's campus way after hours (around 1 a.m.) to tape a cardboard prom proposal to one of his classmates. Awwwww...and she said yes!!!

But, young James had to be punished. The principal gave him a 1 day in-school suspension. Boooooo!!! But, it gets worse...young James made to fatal mistake of getting suspended after the April 1st deadline.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

This is my 100th Post!!!! I really wanted to do something special with this post. When I was in 4th grade, I made a crucial decision in my life. I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. This was not because I couldn't do other things. This was something that I have always wanted to do. To be surrounded by books, to impart the knowledge that I have received from those books, and to influence someone positively was the main reason behind my becoming a teacher. Even the hard work, I love it. I complain, who doesn't, but nothing feels better than when I've finally reached that unmotivated student. There is no better feeling than seeing your former students succeed. I've always hated that quote, "Those who can-do; those who can't-teach." I swear, H. L. Menchen. That is by far is the biggest insult to those who give of themselves every day to educate our youth. I don't recall where I heard this, but this quote is more appropriate, "Those who can do, do it because of a teacher." None of us would be anywhere without a teacher, and I'm not just talking about the one's in the classroom. Someone taught you everything you know, and for that you should thank them, which is what I'm going to do.

I would like to take this moment to thank all of those men and women who have shaped me over years, my elementary teachers, my junior high teachers, my high school teachers, my college professors, and all of those teachers who have mentored me since I became a teacher. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for having had each of you touch my life.

The person I would like to thank the most is my grandmother Marguerite Johnson Jones. My "Momma Dear" was the first teacher I ever had. She brought me books from as far back as I can remember. She made sure that I was never without books. She worked as many as 3 jobs at a time to take care of her six kids, basically as a single parent, and she raised three grandchildren, a great grandchild and a great-great grandchild. She taught me about football (she loved the 49ers, especially Joe Montana and Jerry Rice), pro wrestling (she loved the Junkyard Dog), cooking (she made a mean potato salad which I inherited), and she taught me about people. She was my teacher, my mom, my nurse, my counselor, and my best friend. My grandmother's birthday was April 27. She would have been 84 years old. It has been 7 years since she passed away. I always took the opportunity to tell her how much she meant to me. Even so, I would like to thank her again for all that she gave me. Thank you, Momma Dear. I still miss you...

So, take the time to thank those teacher's who have made a difference in your life. Remember, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”~Carl Jung

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Top Ten Favorite Movies...

I love movies. I love nothing better than to gather up my Kansas City Chiefs blanket (which looks remarkably well for being over 15 years old), a bowl of popcorn, a Diet Coke, and watch a good movie. Now, like you, I've watched a ton of movies. I watch all kinds of movies, made for TV, action, comedy, musicals, foreign language films you name it. According to, if a person went to the movies once a month during their life they could see at least 840 movies, 3390 if they went every week. Last week I stumbled over a website called Here you can check off all the movies you have ever seen. Three hours after I started, I was up to 745, which doesn't begin to touch the number I've actually seen. Those were the ones I could come up with based on their lists.

Picking a favorite movie is difficult. I love movies for different reasons. The movie moved me in a way I didn't expect. It made me laugh until I cried. It made me cry. It made me angry. Some movies that I loved as a child, I hate now that I'm an adult. Mostly, my favorite movies are movies I want to see again and again. Movies that I will watch every time TNT plays it. Movies that I know by heart. By the way, this list could easily change in the next month, week, or hour. But as of right now, these are my 10 favorite movies.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Top Ten Favorites-NFL Players

Sorry, I've been away so long, but I have been busy at the real job. I've decided that I want to have a little fun with my blog. I can't take all of the credit. It was a trending topic on Twitter-100 things about me. Most of my followers by now know that I have ADD and sitting still long enough to write 100 things about myself is well...difficult. While I'm not going to do the 100, I'm going try each week to throwout a My top ten. It may be things I like, things I dislike, or just something that caught my attention. Besides, there may not be a football season, and I won't have a heck of a lot else to talk about until the season (if there is one) starts. My first top 10 list is my favorite NFL Players. Not the greatest of all time, but my favorites

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sticks and Stones...

Last Sunday night, ESPN aired the latest edition to its 30 for 30 series. The subject this time was Michigan's Fab Five-Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, Chris Webber, and Jalen Rose. The Documentary was executive produced by one of the Fab 5 members-Jalen Rose. Many expected the doc to be polarizing because you either loved or hated the Fab 5. It, however, became polarizing for an entirely different reason. It all started with Jalen Rose expressing his thoughts as an 18 year old out loud, "Schools like Duke didn't recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms." This would include Duke Standout, Grant Hill who responded on to the comment on Wednesday in The New York Times. Some have criticized both Jalen and Grant, while others support both Jalen and Grant. The fact is it is bigger than both men a fact that I appreciate that Chris Broussard, Jesse Washington, and Michael Wilbon discussed.

I didn't watch the documentary. Why you ask? Because I could not care less about the Fab 5. There I said it. I didn't like the Fab 5. So, what? (I didn't watch the documentary on the University of Miami for the same reason.) Why didn't I care about the Fab 5 at the time? One, it was my senior year in high school, and I was preparing myself for college. Two, I didn't care for NCAA basketball and had pretty much stopped watching NBA basketball. Three, my sports had been essentially limited to the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers, the Atlanta Braves, and WCW wrestling. The only reason I even saw any of their games during March Madness was because we didn't have cable, and I was limited to 5 channels. Nothing else was on. I watched Duke's wins only because it was on. If you've read this blog, you have picked up on the fact that I'm rather an odd duck, but I have something in common with both Grant Hill and Jalen Rose. Let me explain...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I am a Teacher...

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
John F. Kennedy
The last few weeks, there have been various opinions batted around about teachers. They are overpaid, they are undereducated, they are underachieving, they are failing the children. Really? I want to take the opportunity to clear up some myths about teaching.

Gatsby Revisited...

Every Spring, I try to complete my American Literary canon by assigning my students to read F. Scoot Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. I discuss Fitzgerald's role in the Lost Generation, the Jazz Age in America, and the difference between the aristocracy and the nouveau riche. The novel is 86 years old, but I still think that it holds up today. Today's Nouveau riche are still trying to keep up with the Aristocracy. Their antics are even more outlandish than they were in the 1920's, except now they can invite us along on the journey with their "reality" shows. So, last year I wrote a series of articles about Gatsby's relevance today. I called the series "The Gatsby Complex." Hope you enjoy!!

"The Gatsby Complex, Part One: The Lost Generation"
"The Gatsby Complex, Part 2: The Tom Buchanans"
"The Gatsby Complex, Part 3: The Ladies of Gatsby"
"The Gatsby Complex, Part 4: Gatsby"

"They were careless people,. . .--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."~F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Can't Be Life...

Every morning, I open my Google News page to see what is happening in the world. As I was scanning the headlines, this one caught my attention: "11-Year-Old Girl Gang-Raped by 18 Men in Texas." I was horrified. I have a 10 year old niece, and the idea that anyone would do this to a child mortified me.

It wasn't enough that these "men" (and I use that term loosely as they range in age from middle schoolers to 27) raped this child in two seperate locations. They took photos and videotaped the assault. The assault, which happened in November, came to the attention of authorities after one of the little girls schoolmates saw the video and reported it to a teacher. As I read the article, the writer was commenting on how the media especially the New York Times had been treating the event. It appeared that most articles appeared to be blaming the little girl for what happened to her.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lead Us Not Into Temptation...

"What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong..."~Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of my favorite novels. I just recently taught this novel to my students; however, this isn't about Huck Finn. It's about that quote, "Troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong..."

Like many of you, I am a grown up. According to my mother, I've been a grown up since I was 7. My mother could depend on me to be the one amongst her children to do the right thing. That said, I'm not perfect. Of my mom's five children, I was the least spoiled, because I feared the rod. I was the snitch, or as my sister called me the "stool pigeon" and "Miss Goody Two Shoes." I was the kid who conscious of someone copying my paper would write the wrong answers and change them when that child proudly gave the teacher his/her paper. I was the kid covering my paper with a piece of notebook paper or with the patented head on the desk arm wrap. I'm the girl who accepted a zero on my project because I refused to do the other people's work. That was me. The Good Girl.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thou Doth Protest Too Much

John Denver once said,
"Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same."
I used to believe that as well. Music brings us together. Last Sunday, however, I began to have my doubts. This time last Sunday Twitter was a buzz with Grammy Fever-from who was wearing what to what artists were winning and why, and who had the best performance or not. Then came the Best New Artist Moment. This is when I think I truly realized today music often separates us.

As I pondered this notion, I realized that it was not so much the music. It is ignorance and musical prejudice. First off, it is ignorance about what the Grammys really are. The Grammys are not predictors of longevity. They are not about popularity. Many music "fans" do not understand this concept.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why I'm Not Married....

Yesterday, while I was at work, one of the ladies I follow on Twitter tweeted a link to Tracy McMillan's article for Huffington Post entitled "Why You're Not Married." I decided to read it, because, well, I'm 36, and my family is a little confused as to why I'm not married. They are also a little concerned about why I've only had one meaningful relationship in my entire life. They were also curious as to why I have only been on about a dozen actual dates (most of which were during that meaningful realtionship). One uncle even hypothosized that I was a lesbian. I'm not. So, I decided to read the article to see what my problem was. Ms. McMillian presented her top six reasons for women my age aren't married.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Time to Name the Champ...Super Bowl XLV

Welcome back, everybody!!! This is the most bittersweet day on my yearly calendar...Super Bowl Sunday. Every year, along with everybody else, I partake in the gluttony of wings, dips, chips, etc. as we all watch to see who will wear the crown. The last time one of my teams actually made the Super Bowl was 1994 in Super Bowl XXIX when the San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl. My Chiefs haven't been to the big game since their win at Super Bowl IV in 1969. So, every year I throw myself on some random bandwagon just to have a rooting interest. Last year, I rooted for the Saints. I just wanted them to win so badly, and they did.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of either of these teams. I don't actually hate either team. (I don't like Ben Roethlisberger or Hines Ward, but I try not to hold it against the whole team. Then again, I don't really like Aaron Rodgers, either.)

The Pack haven't been to the big game since 1997 (jeez, that was the year I graduated from college). Bet Lord Favre is still smarting that Desmond Howard won the Super Bowl MVP that year. The Steelers are going for their 3rd ring in 6 years (2005, 2008).

On the Green Bay Packers, I love Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, Greg Jennings, and Charles Woodson, not to mention Donald Driver is a Alcornite. I carried the Packers as my fantasy defense most of the year. Plus, they have Kevin Greene as an assistant coach. I love Kevin Greene. The guy was a pro wrestler! How can you not love these guys.

With the Pittsburgh Steelers, I love Troy Polamalu (the hair, the reckless abandon, the hair), James "I'm gonna mess up your quarterback" Harrison, James Farrior.

Btw, do you guys realize that if the Steelers win, Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich will have more Super Bowl rings than Peyton Manning. Charlie Batch will have the same number as Tom Brady. tee-hee...

Packers or Steelers...Packers or Steelers...Statistically, they are practically the same team. That said, I'm going with the...The Green Bay Packers. I know...I know...I'm still going with the Pack.

So, I'm off to watch the last game of the 2010 season with most of America. We are all hoping that the NFL and NFLPA will come up with a new CBA without depriving us of football. Enjoy the game while you can boys and girls...It might be the last for a while.

Until next time, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”~Vince Lombardi

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Honor of the Fallen...

On January 28, 1986, I awoke to a severe bout with a bug. A 24-hour bug had been going around the school, and apparently it was my turn to suffer the consequences. Normally, I would have been more than happy to miss school, but this day we were going to have a special treat. Back then there weren't many opportunities to watch television at school. We didn't have a whole lot of them, this was back when teachers were still making us watch those film strips with the narrator, who put you to sleep five minutes after the lights went out.

This day the whole school was going to watch the Space Shuttle Challenger launch. As a kid, the shuttle launches had always fascinated me. I never wanted to be an astronaut mind you, but I lived in the country where you could see every star in the sky, and space was just so fascinating to me. My grandmother gave me a book on constellations, and I would spend hours on the front steps trying to find Orion's belt, the Leo Constellation (I'm a Leo), and the Pleiades which was my favorite.

The Challenger launch was also special, because Dr. Ronald McNair was going up and so was Christa McAuliffe, a teacher. Ronald McNair was only the second African-American to orbit the earth. (Guion Bluford was the first). I thought it was amazing that someone my mom's age was doing such amazing things. Plus, he was a black man (from the south no less) which made me so proud.
I've always wanted to be a teacher, so I thought Christa McAuliffe was the coolest training for the spot to be the first civilian in space. It was going to be so cool to watch the launch with my friends. We had been talking about seeing Mrs. McAuliffe's lessons from space and how neat the lessons were going to be. Alas, I was stuck at home watching by myself.

I remember every detail. My grandmother had pull out sofa in the living room which she had made up for me, so I could watch tv. I watched the coverage as they showed Mrs. McAuliffe's school anxiously awaiting the launch. I watched as they panned the crowd and showed her parents and their excitement. I watched as the countdown began. I watched the liftoff holding my breath...

73 seconds was over. Most of us didn't quite know what was going on. I remember vaguely thinking, "Is that suppose to happen? That can't be right?" I remember the silence in those auditoriums, and Mrs. McAuliffe's parents' stunned looks. Then, it hit you like a ton of bricks. They were gone. All of them. 73 seconds...

Dan Rather shook most of us from that stunned silence. I remember the tears falling, even as I quite couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that this had happened...I don't think I had ever let myself believe that anything bad could happen. I was born 7 years after Apollo 1. I had only ever seen successful launches. I was devastated. The nation was devastated. President Reagan was going to deliver his State of the Union Address that night, but found himself instead having to comfort a grieving nation.

That day seems just like yesterday to me, but it happened 25 years ago tomorrow. Twenty-five years have just flown by...

I would like to take a moment to those who gave their lives for the pursuit of space...the quest for knowledge, and made the ultimate sacrifice...

  • Commander Francis R. (Dick) Scobee
  • Pilot Michael J. Smith
  • Mission specialists Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka and Judith A. Resnik
  • Payload specialists Gregory B. Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe, who was to have been the first teacher in space

President Reagan eulogized them by so eloquently stating

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'

Thank you.

Thank you and may God Bless you. You were true heroes...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The AFC-NFC Championships Games Are Here...But, There is a Tear in My Beer*

Happy Championship weekend, everybody! The final four teams will be taking the field shortly to decide who will travel to Dallas for the chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy as the winners of Super Bowl XLV...yet...I can't help but be a little sad...

The AFC-NFC Championship games signal an ending to the season. After today, there will only be two more NFL games until next season. *Technically, no one counts the Pro Bowl, but it's still football.* After the Super Bowl, we have to wait until August to see our favorite teams take the field again...I watch the Combine, the Draft, but really, it doesn't take the place of the action on the field. Watching quarterbacks flee from Ray Lewis, watching Tony Gonzalez stretch his arms for a pass, watching my Chiefs win the AFC West...I love this game! So, could I'm wishing, hoping, praying, crossing my fingers, singing Rose Royce, that the owners and players reach out to each other and agree on a new CBA.

By the way, I am glad that Tony Gonzalez will be returning for a 15th season, even though I missed the announcement on Jim Rome is Burning. *note to self, join the 21st century and invest in a DVR.* Now, to get Shawne Merriman up and running...

Any who, here are my picks:

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears. Readers, you know that I have no love for Jay Cutler, but here he is. I don't trust him because some times his play looks as if he has been attending the Brett Favre School for Quarterbacks under the tutelage of Prof. Jake Delhomme. I picked the Packers at the beginning of the season to go to the Super Bowl, even though I picked against them last week. (For the record: it wasn't so much that I didn't think they could beat the Falcons, as much as, I wanted Tony Gonzalez to finally win a playoff game.) I'm a cheesehead today. I'm picking the Packers.

New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. Well, the Steelers ruined my Super Bowl picks by beating the Ravens. So here we are Jets and Steelers. Like Cutler, I don't like Ben Roethlisberger. *cough* Jerk. Yeah, he has two rings...blah, blah, blah. He doesn't get the credit like Peyton and other elite quarterbacks...yada, yada, yada. I don't care. I like the Steelers, but he's their quarterback, soooo...They won't lose because of Ben, although I wish they would. These are two great defenses. I'm just hoping somebody survives to see the Super Bowl. I'm picking the Jets.

That's it, y'all. Until next week, "Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors."~Frank Gifford

*Rootbeer, Y'all know I don't drink. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebrating 25 Years of Dr. King's Holiday

Twenty-five years ago today, we celebrated the first Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. I was 11 years old and about to put a ribbon on my 6th grade year. I vaguely knew who Dr. King was, but I didn't know much about him, because like most kids we tend to read what our teacher requires us to read. I read other things, but mostly smuggled copies of Stephen King. It wasn't until my tenth grade year that I became interested in the things for which Dr. King fought. I know, I was a little late, but you have to understand, I spent from kindergarten until ninth grade in predominately white schools. I had only had 6 black teachers during that time period. I live in Mississippi, guess what wasn't really discussed.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.

During my 10th grade year, my whole world changed. My school district had ruled to be practicing segregation. The year was 1989. My high school went from 70% white, 30% black to 20% white, 80% black overnight. That year, I also had a unique individual as a history teacher. Ironically, he was a white man, but he opened my eyes to so many history events that I never even thought about including the Civil Rights movement. I started reading about Dr. King, Malcolm X, Anne Moody, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston, Medgar Evers, Margaret Walker Alexander, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, and Alex Haley.

When I began working at my current school, I was the only black teacher in the jr/sr high school. Nine years later, I still am. I was given the task to presenting the annual Black History Month program. No, I do not teach history. I assume that they only trusted me to do it right. Every year, it amazes me how many of our African American children can name every member of Lil Wayne's entourage, but don't know who Medgar Evers is. There is a clinic named after him in Fayette, Mississippi. I have students who pass it every day and didn't know who he was. They can tell you everything about Biggie and Tupac, but who asked my co-worker if Ghosts of Mississippi was a true story.

I'm saying we have a long way to go as a people. We concern ourselves with too many of the wrong things. I look at some of the "role models" our children have, and I have to shake my head. We have a finally have a black president Barack Obama, but it seems that any child who adopt his route is a "sell-out" or an assimilationist. Why? Children, who try to better themselves with an education, are mocked in our society. Why? Our children are encouraged to be entertainers or athletes instead of doctors or lawyers. Why? We need to take a hard look at ourselves, as a people.

Dr. King and many others died to make it possible for us to do many of the great things we are accomplishing as a people. Have we accomplished his dream? How would he see us "his children" today? Would he be proud? I think yes and no.

Today, we celebrate his birthday and the changes he helped to bring about in this country. There is a climate of hatred that is again working its way across our country. We all have to work to make this our country better. We need to do more service. We all need to better educate ourselves. We all need to vote. We need to make our voices heard. We need to unite as a people...not as just black people or white people, but as Americans.

Happy Birthday, Brother Martin. My sincere wish is that we all continue to make strides to continue to make this world a better place.

"Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Paging the Geico Pothole...

Welcome back, everybody... Well, the NFL Playoffs are in full effect, and like every season since 1994, the Chiefs will not be advancing past the first round of the playoffs. I must say overall I was proud of my Chiefs. Jamaal Charles is becoming a legitimate threat. Dwayne Bowe was awesome when they remembered that he was on the team. Dexter McCluster will get better as he gets more time. Matt Cassel scares the hell out of me for all the wrong reasons. Tamba Hali, Glenn Dorsey, Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, and Javier Arenas will only get better. I have a lot of hope for my Chiefs next year.

That game, however, was hard for me to watch. At first it was great, like when you get a new set of tire on your car. Everything is running smoothly, and you are enjoying the ride. Second quarter, you think there is a leak in one of the tires, but you don't worry. You put a little air in it, check the pressure, and continue on your way. Third quarter, you know there is a problem. You get the tire patched, but it's still leaking. Fourth quarter, the tire pops, your car spins out of control, and you hit a wall. That's what it was like watching the Ravens dismantle my Chiefs last week. They are a young team. They survived the playoff crash with very few injuries, now off to the repair shop to fix all of the problems and have a successful 2011 season.

Watching the Saints/Seahawks game was equally disturbing. I kept wanting Drew Brees and the boys to come back, but alas it was for naught and the Seahawks became the first team in NFL History with a losing record to win a playoff game. (This only futher drives home the fact that the Chiefs have not won a playoff game since January 16, 1994.)

Peyton Manning's playoff woes continues as Nick Folk and the Jets kicked their way into the second round. Finally, Aaron Rodgers and his skully swepted into Philly to knock the Eagles out of the playoffs.

So, here are my picks for this week:

The Baltimore Ravens vs. The Pittsburgh SteelersEarlier this year I picked the Ravens to go to the Super Bowl; therefore, I will, against my better judgement, pick the Baltimore Ravens. Yesterday, I heard this great stat about the Ravens and the Steelers on Mike and Mike in the Morning. (Yeah, I don't know why I still listen to them). In their last four games with each other, each team is 2-2. Each team has scored 67 points in those match ups. They had the same record 12-4 going into the playoffs. Talk about evenly matched, and they just flat out hate each other. I'm going with the Ravens.

The Green Bay Packers
vs. The Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have only lost 2 home games since Matt Ryan arrived in Atlanta. That said they are taking on the Green Bay Packers who earlier this year I picked to go to the Super Bowl. If you've even half read this blog, you know that Tony Gonzalez is one of my all time favorite players. I would love to see TG get a playoff victory. I know a lot of Chiefs fans are still bitter that TG is a Falcon. I'm not one of these. So, good luck, Tony!!! I'm picking the Falcons.

The Seattle Seahawks vs. The Chicago Bears
I don't know how the math worked out that Chicago ended up with the Seahawks, but whatever. This is one of those games that I couldn't care less about. I've hated Jay Cutler since he has his crybaby attitude first suited up as a Bronco. Seattle? I'm still rolling my eyes at the fact they are even here. (What happened Saints?) I'm picking the Bears.

The New York Jets
vs. The New England Patriots
The Jets use to be one of those innocuous teams that I really never paid much attention to. Since Brett Favre and Rex Ryan hit New York, it has been all Jets, all the time. Brett is back in Mississippi contemplating how badly his life has gone and possibly bailing his sister out of jail, but Rex and the boys have picked up where Favre lefted off leaving sound bites and controversy in their wake. Quite frankly they have become rather annoying. On the other side of this rivalry, you have Bill "Mumbles" Belichick and Tom "Bieber" Brady. They don't say much in public, yet somehow they are equally annonying. I expect a tough game from both sides, and I don't expect the Jets defense to just let Brady walk into the Championships. Even so, I'm picking the Patriots.

Those are the picks, boys and girls. Until next week, "The upcoming playoffs are filled with intrigue. Who will be left standing when it's all said and done? Who will proclaim, 'We did it, we won!'?"~Bob Frantz. Good luck to all the teams!!! Lets go, Tony G!!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Birds are Falling, and I'm Eating a Little Crow

Welcome to the first Round of the NFL Playoffs, ladies and gents! I always find myself a little sad during the first week of the playoffs, because that means that in a mere four weeks, the NFL season will end with Super Bowl XLV. An added dilemma this year is the possible lockout if the NFL does not hammer out their CBA. There is enough crazy dramas in the world. Could we resolve this gentleman? The 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh as their new coach, and most of us collectively yawned. Miami retained Tony Sparano after they couldn't get Harbaugh. The Bengals and Marvin Lewis hemmed and hawed before deciding to finally stay married instead of playing the field. The Titans decided to stick with Jeff Fisher for the 17th season.

Earlier this year I made my predictions for the NFL Season...Looking back, I didn't fare too badly.
AFC East Champions-New England Patriots. My Pick-New York Jets
AFC North Champions-Pittsburgh Steelers. My Pick-Baltimore Ravens
AFC South Champions-Indianapolis Colts. My Pick-Indianapolis Colts
AFC West Champions-Kansas City Chiefs. My Pick-San Diego Chargers

AFC Wildcards-Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets. My Picks-New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans

Seriously, I picked the Titans? What was I thinking? Clearly I wasn't. I definitely didn't see my Chiefs jumping the Raiders, much less the Chargers.

NFC East Champions-Philadelphia Eagles My Pick-Dallas Cowboys
NFC North Champions-Chicago Bears My Pick-Green Bay Packers
NFC South Champions-Atlanta Falcons My Pick-Atlanta Falcons
NFC West Champions-Seattle Seahawks My Pick-San Francisco 49ers

NFC Wildcards-New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers. My Picks-New Orleans Saints, New York Giants

I completely read the NFC, because I thought that Dallas and New York were going to take the top spot. New York missed it by thismuch. I drank the 49ers Kool Aid, and it left a horrible taste in my mouth. The Seahawks...smh...there are no words for the NFC West division. None at all.

Last week, I posted a 10-6 record which brought my season total to 92-66. Not bad...So here are my picks for the Wildcard Round...

Saturday, January 8
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks-New Orleans Saints
New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts-New York Jets

Sunday, January 9
Baltimore Ravens v. Kansas City Chiefs-I have to pick my Chiefs...I know, I had Baltimore going to the Super Bowl, but I have to go with my heart and not my brain.
Green Bay Packers v. Philadelphia Eagles-Green Bay. I picked them earlier. I'm gonna stick with the Pack.

Byes-New England, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Chicago

Good luck, guys. Those are my wayward picks...check back to mock my failure next week...
Until next week, “It was all self-inflicted. We were in the driver’s seat. And then we were in the passenger seat. And now we’re in the back seat.”-Keith Bullock. Go Chiefs!!!!