Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Week 7 Picks

***ST. LOUIS - New Orleans - The Rams coach is sick, which often leads to teams rallying for coach. Yup. 1-0
MINNESOTA -Green Bay*** - Two inconsistent teams, but GB is all rested up. Which apparently only helped a little. 1-1
HOUSTON - *** Indianapolis - Hee! Well, I called that. 2-1
***CINCINNATI - Pittsburgh - Oooh- a division match with Pittsburgh coming off a hard loss last week. So, when in doubt pick the home team. Well, that usually works. 2-2
PHILADELPHIA - San Diego*** - Hmmm - another close one, but Philly lost to Dallas (who we beat - just wanted to mention that) so I think SD will figure a way to do the same. But not this time. 2-3
*** MIAMI - Kansas City - Hmmm some more - the game's been pushed due to the wather and I figure the Dolphins are more accustomed to 'cane disruptions. Oh. 2-4
*** CLEVELAND - Detroit - Loser bowl. Hmmm. 2-5
*** WASHINGTON - San Francisco - Look! We're favored again! And by 12 points! Well, at least I have this. 3-5
*** SEATTLE - Dallas - Seattle's unbeaten at home. And this. 4-5
OAKLAND - Buffalo*** - Buffalo has revolving QBs and yet they still seem to win. And now Oakland remembers how to win. 4-6
*** CHICAGO - Baltimore - Two good defenses and not much else, but Chicago has a slightly better offense. That's more like it. 5-6
ARIZONA - Tennessee *** - McNair vs. Warner - please. Please show me how wrong I am? I guess. 5-7
*** N.Y. GIANTS - Denver - It should be a tough game, but if I think the Giants can bring the Broncos off this streak. Ha! (Although that's as much fun as I want the Giants to have for now). 6-7
Monday, Oct. 24
*** ATLANTA - N.Y. Jets - The Jets are fighting some injuries on their front line. So - not too bad, but not great. 7-7
So overall - 1-0-2. (I had some weeks where I forgot to post mine in advance.) So right now I'm at about Green Bay status.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I read this today in the Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/19/AR2005101902364.html (The site requires registration,if you like, go to Bugmenot.com to borrow an established registration.)
An English teacher at Cabin John Middle School assigned eighth graders to choose one of one hundred books that have been banned at one time or other. Students were encouraged to review the list with their parents as they made their selection. Part of the assignment was to understand what criteria is used in determining banned material. The assignment had been given to last year's class also, without incident.
But this year some parents (some being up to five, but I'll allow that the number might have grown in the assignment hadn't been quashed so quickly) objected.
Some of the books included explicit discussions of sex and/or presented a pro-homosexual viewpoint. And I can certainly see how some parents may not want their 12-13 year olds reading such material. But there are one hundred books on that list. Some were by Mark Twain, Roald Dahl and Madeline L'Engle. And the assignment encouraged parents to talk to their children about the list. So if there were titles on the list that they felt were inappropriate for their children, it was a perfect learning moment to have that conversation.
I'm not saying that parents can't attempt to raise their children with values or that they have to agree with everything that goes on in the world. Everyone doesn't even have to agree with me (shocking, I know). But hey, part of raising your children is teaching them what's going on in the rest of the world. Just like you tell your kids not to talk to strangers, you tell them hey - this book conflicts with my beliefs. Or I think you're to young for this information.
My mother was great at watching television with me - encouraging me to think about themes and messages within the shows and even the ads. So that now when I see the "Power Puff Girls" episode where one of the girls gets glasses and her sisters make fun of her, it drives me crazy. I have a friend who's mother didn't like "The Flintstones" because she thought it depicted a bad marital relationship. And my cousins weren't allowed to watch "Rugrats" because of Angela's behavior toward her sibling and his friends. But both my friend and my cousins knew why their parents' objected. So even if they didn't agree, they understood why their parents felt that way. They got their learning moment.
Sadly, the children of Cabin John Middle School, got a different message. Your parents don't even want you to know about this stuff. They don't trust you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bad Blogger

Sorry - I've been a bad blogger. Well - here's some random assorted pieces of information first.
"Veronica Mars" is back on - second season. Check it out if you haven't already. The DVD's of the first season are available for sale. They were rushed out, so there are very limited extras. But you can download a "Pilot" commentary from creator Rob Thomas' wesbite.
"House" is also back on - although it's currently on a break due to baseball playoffs.
So far, none of the new shows have triggered similar levels of obsession, so you are safe (depending on your perspective) from new ranting about shows. (Just those same two for now.)
And my football picks - sorry - I slacked off a bit on those. I'll try to be better.
And just a directional announcement of sorts. When I started this blogs I had visions of me being hilarious and funny and stuff. But generally my intent was to keep this fairly apolitical and areligious. And while there will still be plenty of that (unless you consider television a religion) I decided - to paraphrase Melissa Etheridge - if I try to keep that out of my stuff - you're not really listening (or reading) to me anyway. So - there will be that. May do some stuff will alternate identities so if you don't love my politics or religion or both you can just pay attention to the stuff that works for you. We shall see.
And now back to your irregularly scheduled programming.

No Prom

I'm sure many of you have heard about the high school in New York that decided to cancel their prom. Now I realize this is certainly not a tragedy on the scale of - for example - a hurricane. And certainly no one is promised prom when they go to high school - they are promised education. However, this incident (for lack of a better word) raised some interesting things for me.
I work as an Adult Advisor to high school age youth, so have had some interesting conversations both with teens and adults about youth empowerment. Like so many things I can see a number of sides here, so if you came here for the definitive answer, you can stop reading right now.
First - the school administration absolutely has the right to make this decision. Second, it is my understanding that they sent a letter to parents in March reviewing their concerns and indicating they were seriously considering moving the date of prom or canceling it, so this is not completely out of the blue for parents and students. (Unless entering students and parents didn't get this letter - which is possible).
Second - I went to a high school that made it very clear to us that the school takes on a huge liability hosting an event that has a high probability of underage drinking. If a student gets caught drunk and/or injured as a result of their drinking even if it is before or after the event, the school still can be held partially responsible since these events are considered to be tangential to the one that they held.
Also, my senior year - after a drinking incident associated with a fall ball - they considered canceling prom. The students mobilized and signed a pledge to not drink or ingest other illegal substances before, during or after prom. (Yes - this was a tad silly since we were already not supposed to participate in those behaviors - both from a legal standpoint and because it was also a campus rule, but I think they appreciated our better understanding of our need to do this. Or to not get caught.)
But I have a number of concerns. To start with, in the March letter that the school sent, they recommended parents watch "American Pie" as a movie that explained the current teen culture. I consider that ridiculous. There have always been movies that depict certain 'youth culture' behaviors, and some of those movies become 'classics' because they have some resonance with the generation and certainly "American Pie" might fit into that category. And while there are a number of characters in the movie one can identify with, I don't think anyone considers the movie as a whole to be a true to life depiction. Certainly there are incidents and pieces within it that are very believable, but like a lot of comedy, each storyline goes more for hyperbole that documentary. And teenagers know this. They are not dumb.
Now the school said it has several principles that it is trying to instill in these kids and the culture of excess, the pressure (even if rooted in myth) to have sex, and the lack of responsibility that has come to surround prom, makes them feel it is no longer an event they can support. But here is my question, what is taking it away teaching them?
If there is pressure to outdo classmates, wouldn't that permeate everyday life as well. Certainly a fancy dress event might contain better opportunities for expenditure (and I do understand that the school can't hold the event and then monitor expenditure) but there are cars and purses and and sneakers and cell phones and televisions. There are plenty of ways to spend money and prom is only one.
If there is pressure to have sex (and let me just tell you I went to prom and didn't have sex) - isn't that part of the values they should have already been talking to the kids about. (It's a Catholic school.) And let's face it, people of all ages have sex when they want to. It's often easier to do it when not in fancy dress, if you ask me.
And if responsibility is an issue, how does taking away an event due to behaviors of preceding classes teach responsibility? Let em tell you - it doesn't. It teaches teens - yet again - that people in power can make judgments about your ability to handle something, without knowing you. Without giving you an opportunity to understand their concerns and address them. And I know a letter went out - but it went to parents. And I may be wrong, but I get the impression there was no attempt to meet with this years seniors and give them an opportunity to address these concerns. So instead of teaching them empowerment, we have taught them the opposite.
It is my understanding that some of the seniors and parents are mobilizing to look into holding their own prom or having an alternate event that the school would be willing to sponsor. I wish them luck.