Friday, October 27, 2006
On Going Home
As some of my Sitemeter rated 15 readers may know, there are many places in this country that I can call home. I can claim roots in the states of Virginia, California, Utah, Missouri, Washington, Georgia, and Arizona. Add to that a few foreign countries and you'll understand why - when asked by people where I'm from - I usually reply that I'm from the United States Army. Most people get it. Some people don't.
Most of my adolescence was spent in Southern Colorado. Even though it has a place near and dear to my heart, its not a place I often get to go to. It the place I learned to play football, drive a car, and fall in love - not necessarily in that order.
So this week my professional duties required me to journey west to the place of my youth. I landed at the airport in Colorado Springs and immediately discovered something I had taken for granted during my residence. There is no air here. Coming from Virginia (sea level) to Colorado Springs (7,000 feet) is quite a shock to the system if you try any physical exertion what so ever. I'm not sure what passes for breathable atmosphere here, but it isn't air.
I'm always amazed by the beauty of God's Country. The mountains are stunningly spectacular. Pike's Peak towers over them with white capped elevations which seem so close, yet at 14,000 feet its not your everyday hiking trail. Though I lived in Southern Colorado for several years, I've never been to the top. I don't have a fear of heights, its just not anything I ever got around to doing.
It is different driving around town after so many years away. Many things and places have changed, some have remained. Perhaps I'll take some time and write some more about those things later. For now I'll just close with one thought. Its good to come home every now and then, where ever that home may be.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tag! You're It - Unless You Go To Willett Elementary
Warning! Rant Ahead!
Elementary School can be a rough place. Anytime you mix kindergarten age kids, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders all in the same square block there is a potential for trouble. Kids are bullied, made fun of, teased, and otherwise introduced into the rough and tumble world in which we live. Grade school playgrounds are, more often than not, the place where kids learn that life isn’t fair.
Every kid needs to learn this lesson. They need to learn how to deal with challenges in an environment where teacher isn’t looking over their shoulder every minute.
With the short, and growing ever shorter every year – according to my son anyway, recess periods kids often play short quick games which are often unsupervised by adult monitors. Pick up games of basketball, foursquare, kickball, dodgeball, and last but not least, Tag, have been played on courts and fields since schools began.
Well, in Attleboro, Massachusetts you can scratch Tag, touch football, or any other unsupervised game from kids’ recess activities. Gaylene Heppe, Willett Elementary School Principal and the ultimate approver of the ban stated:
[Recess is] a time when accidents can happen.Accidents during recess? I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you!
Now I don’t know about you, but my grade school experience wasn’t exactly accident free. I came home with plenty of bumps, bruises, scrapes and other assorted injuries. All of these mishaps can be attributed to one very obvious fact: I was a kid.
The administration at Willet Elementary banned Tag and other games for fear of being sued by some parent whose child comes home with a split lip. I can’t say that I blame them.
There was a time, at least in my memory, when parents just accepted the fact that kids sometimes behave badly and injure (intentionally or otherwise) other kids. If your kid got scraped up playing Tag on the playground, you slapped some bandages on him/her and sent them back to school the next day – often with the admonition to be more careful next time or run faster.
As a society, we are protective of our children. This is as it should be. But there comes a point at which we protect our children from so much that they enter the world unprepared to deal with the realities therein. The educational elite would have you believe playground games are bad. Well, elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked in the real world.
This world needs tough people who know how to deal with others. These lessons aren’t taught in the classroom. More often than not they are taught on the playground by games kids make up themselves. Life’s hard lessons are best learned early.
Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
ABC's Monday Night Follies
ABC has, for over three decades now, had a Monday night tradition of broadcasting NFL football in Prime Time. This night of television has been nearly sacred in the minds of men all over the world. Very little else of interest was on Monday night TV, therefore even if the game sucked guys would watch it. Wives, girlfriends and significant others ceded, reluctantly, that three to four hour block of time to the Gods of the Gridiron.
This season, MNF has moved to ESPN. I don't know what the ratings have been or whether or not viewership has improved. What I do know is that ABC has now created tension in marriages and other similar relationships across the country.
You see, what took the place of MNF on ABC is none other than the quasi-reality unrealistic dating show known as the Bachelor. To sum it up, 25 women throw themselves at a single guy in hopes that, by the end of the season, he'll make one of them Mrs. Bachelor. As far as I know, the Bachelor (as a series) is batting the goose egg on actual marriages.
None the less, for twelve or so weeks, one single girl goes home in tears because she is left rose-less.
Let me say this for the record. I don't watch this show. I watch football. I can't stand the catty estrogen driven fabricated drama inherent in putting 12 women in close proximity one to another. The Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro does watch this show. She gets great date ideas from it, few of which I can ever afford to attempt.
I have, however, been able to successfully guess the finalist in each of the Bachelor series - despite not having watched the show. I simply put on my "Shallow, Self-Centered, Testosterone Driven Guy" hat and pick the girl with the largest...ummm...eyes.
And if you believe that, I've got a bridge in New York with your name on it.
I implore ABC to put the Bachelor in a timeslot which will not conflict with Guy-TV, thereby restoring peace to marriages and balance to the force.