Friday, October 26, 2012

Thanks for the laughs, GOP

The satirists are out in force.  Thanks for the laughs, GOP.

In response to Donald Trump's offer of a $5 million dollar donation to a charity in return for the release of the president's college records and passport, Stephen Colbert makes an offer of his own:  "Mr. Trump, I will write you a check for one million dollars from Colbert Super PAC (you know I've got it) to the charity of your choice...if you will let me dip my balls in your mouth."

Giving real news coverage (or even Fox News coverage) to Trump's idiotic and racist demands is like saying his ideas have ANY value in a political discussion.  Colbert shows us the right way to deal with this kind of ridiculous nonsense.  That's right, dip some balls in his mouth to shut him the hell up.

Colbert also has to reset the "Days without a GOP Rape Mention" board after Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock asserted that " is a gift from God.  And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

I realize there are people who think that "Dick" is absolutely correct.  To you, I say, "Good for you.  Don't have an abortion, then.  And I truly hope that you do find that new life a blessing." Believers must in turn realize that not everyone else believes in the same God (or even in any God at all).  Thus, limiting access to abortion, the morning-after pill, or even birth control, based on your personal religious beliefs, is not appropriate in a country that was based on religious freedom.

And here's another fake news source that makes you think more than the real thing.  John Stewart weighs in on Dick Mourdock's rape comments.  Here is the crux of the issue for me and why, even as I laugh at Stewart's remarks about "Fetus Club," I am also seriously afraid of the GOP vision for America.  Jon Stewart says, "In other words, according to the Republican party platform and the man who wants to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, if a woman wants to have a baby--In vitro fertilization?  She cannot.  Rape?  She has to."  That, my friends, is some scary shit.

Another hilarious clip was about undecided voters.  There is such an incredible difference between the president and his challenger that I can't imagine how anyone who hasn't been asleep for the past several months could possibly still be undecided.  SNL explains here:

Here is Tina Fey, talking about Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin.

Hey, GOP members, look down.  If you have a penis, SHUT UP!  As entertaining as it is to watch everyone make fun of you, it would be much more productive (not reproductive) if you stopped trying to fit government in my uterus and did something about creating jobs.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Celebrating Banned Books Week 2012

I celebrated Banned Books Week by reading two books that have made the ALA's most challenged list for more than one year, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (which I've read before) and Deadline by Chris Crutcher.

I read Perks a couple of years ago, but wanted to reread it before going to see the movie (Emma Watson as Sam--yay!).  If a frank treatment of homosexuality, sexually active teens who use drugs and/or alcohol, and child abuse offends you, then you will probably hate both the book and the movie.  I love this book because it definitely pushes the envelope of YA literature and takes on some serious topics.  Charlie is an academically gifted, but socially awkward high school freshman who becomes friends with two seniors, Patrick and Sam.  Their friendship helps Charlie learn to live his life, rather than to simply observe others, and to come to terms with trauma in his past.

As I would with any book to movie adaptation, I strongly suggest that you read the book before seeing the movie.  For a reminder to do just that, try out this website to receive a monthly newsletter:

I started read Deadline several months ago and then got interrupted when Bill and I had to drop everything, pack up the house, and make yet another cross-country move.  I finally found it again while unpacking one of my many boxes of books and happily curled up with it this afternoon.  The main character, 18-year-old Ben Wolf, goes in for a sports physical and finds out that he has a terminal disease that will kill him in a year.  He decides to try to live an entire lifetime during his senior year and takes all kinds of risks that he would have only dreamed of before (like going out for football and finally talking to his dream girl).  As he prepares to die, Ben examines his relationships and finds it ever more difficult to keep his secret from those he loves.  As always, Chris Crutcher takes on a multitude of issues--racism, child abuse, teen pregnancy, censorship, suicide--that some will find offensive.  The scene where Ben's favorite teacher burns a book is one I found especially delightful.  Add to that some mildly explicit sex scenes and some profanity and the book banners start pulling out their torches.

To see Chris Crutcher's awesome responses to multiple attempts to ban his books, check out his website here.

I went to John Green's website after noticing his wonderful book, Looking for Alaska, on one of the ALA's top challenged lists.  I found this nerd warrior response video that made me go, "Whoa, I need to read more of this guy's books."  Check it out!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Let's Make Fun of Twilight

I have to admit to a love of fairytales and happy endings. When I first encountered Stephenie Meyer's book, Twilight, I must further admit that I kinda liked it. I could relate to Bella--an awkward, bookish girl with low self-esteem. Maybe it had something to do with my job as a middle school teacher, constantly surrounded by teenage angst, but Bella made sense to me. And I also liked the fact that the story was set in a real place, and that she based some of the backstory on genuine Quileute legends. I am fascinated by stories that blend realism and fantasy.

Okay, with that out of the way...

Even though the writing wasn't stellar, I continued reading the books and recommending them to my students. These books definitely strike a chord with teen girls, especially reluctant readers. And then came Breaking Dawn. Getting to the end of that book killed the series for me. I have not recommended these books to a single person since.

A message that young girls (and fully-grown women) do not need is that they are not important, that their only purpose in life is to have children and sacrifice themselves for everyone else. I ran across this humorous article with summaries of how Twilight might have been written by famous authors. The following, Twilight by Dr. Seuss, was posted in the comments below the original article. Not only is it hilarious, but it will save you a lot of time if you are curious about the books, but don't want to slog through them.

Twilight, by Dr. Seuss
Jake likes a girl. Her name is Bella.
Bella likes a different fella.
See this vamp? This is Ed.
Ed is pale. Ed is dead.
Ed saved Bella from a van.
Ed must be a special man.
Ed won't kill boys. He won't kill girls.
Ed gets fed on deer and squirrels.
This is James. He's a tracker.
He's a sort of vamp attacker.
James hunts Bella for a thrill.
Will Ed kill him? Yes, he will.
But James gave her a little bite.
Will she be a vamp? She might!
Edward fixes Bella's cut.
She won't be a vampire.
She becomes one. Read some more.
She's a vampire in book 4.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Bio in Tagxedo

Thanks to Pinterest, I discovered this very cool site today where you can create word clouds. Here is my self-portrait, which I'll use to introduce myself to my new students when I head back into the classroom next week.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"What Teachers Make" by Taylor Mali

This video, produced by SemiColon Productions, is a beautifully done version of Taylor Mali's poem, "What Teachers Make."  The endless attacks on teachers and the mindset that we are somehow greedy monsters for asking for a salary that is in line with our level of education and expertise gets to me sometimes, especially as high-stakes testing takes more and more of the fun and creativity out of the profession.  A big thank you to Taylor Mali for a poem that gives me a shot of encouragement every time I hear it and reminds me why I will always be a teacher.  And much more gratitude than I can ever express to all the wonderful, caring teachers I have known over the years.  Most of all, this video reminds me of my grandfather, a teacher to the core, and my inspiration to be a person who makes a difference in the lives of children.

For homework, go thank a teacher.