Monday, August 31, 2009

Literature- a dying art


That is the link to an article which proposes arguments that I find to go right along with the title I gave it.

I just found out from the NY Times (a personal favorite, although not necessarily a pure source of truth, mind you) that there is this revolution beginning in Middle School English in the US.  They let the kids pick what they want to read.  At first I was like, "Yay!  Duh!  Of course if you give kids options, they will be more vested in what they read; it's about time."  However this elation quickly faded when a teacher told of how instead of To Kill A Mockingbird (in my opinion, one of the greatest pieces of American literature), most of her students had opted to read the Captain Underpants series instead.

Excuse me?!?  First of all, I know that series is WAY below their grade reading level.  As if American kids don't get a crappy enough education already.  We're basically the only ones who aren't well versed in several languages by adulthood, the only ones who have the time and means to play record levels of video games and watch record levels of tv and eat and eat till we're all obese as heck and yet our test scores as compared to the rest of the world are well BELOW average.  We think we're SO great and world dominant, but China is coming and their students actually study! (But that's a way different topic)
(ancient library at Alexandria, from which there is a brick in the Washington Monument- so cool!)

I can understand when kids are in Elementary School and they may be at varying reading levels depending on what kind of learning was going on at home and they can basically choose among Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Goosebumps, etc.  At this age, most books are highly gender specific, so it is only fair to let them choose what they want to read.  And to be honest, I really don't think that there are ANY pieces of actually GOOD literature before about the Jr. High reading level.  Maybe the Little Prince, but they won't get the philosophy behind it anyway.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Montessori and the choices granted kids in that philosophy of teaching, but the difference there is if the 5th grader picks up The Little Prince on his own accord, his "teacher" or whatever they call them in this system would then have the opportunity to actually explain to the 5th grader the philosophical meanings if he or she were interested since there would be no confining subjects that the teacher MUST stick to.  This is awesome.  If a kid is eating something up, feed them more- they have obviously discovered a talent or natural propensity.

On the other hand, classroom free-for-all where there is complete disregard for the classics once you are old enough to start appreciating them is completely unacceptable.  What separates our generation from the generations of the past?  In my opinion, we have completely lost our sense of the humanities.  The art, literature, music, and philosophy that our very society was built upon has been replaced by the mindless Backstreet Boys, Twilight, texting, and materialism of our day.

I cannot accept the fact that teachers would honestly let students abandon their societal roots for a picture book about toilets.  It's both humiliating and shocking.  The one student who picks up Dickens over Harper Lee is not worth the 25 others in the class who run for comic books as a replacement for their literary education.  This is not education.  This is the stupifying of our country right before our very eyes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

sometimes blogger annoys me. I think it is the most under-worked branch of the world of Google. You'd think that a company that knows virtually everything would be able to know when its programs are annoying. Until then...bon appetit! :D

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Tech Revolution

So I was inspired by my mom's newest post which included a comic and so I did a quick search of something I have been thinking about lately- the pervasiveness of technology that is taking over our culture and how it is spreading even to the older generations. Case in point, my grandma is on Facebook. Not that I'm complaining, I helped her make her page, so there you go. It's almost a necessity so that my family members can actualy keep tabs on my nomadic life and see the photos along the way. Unfortunately, many people use FB time in the place of real social time. I was surprised when this week at church someone was actually asked to speak about the hazards of excessive online gaming. Whoa, the Bishop (an old guy) actually comprehended this issue and recognized that we need to hear about it! The talk was actually really good- he made the point that virtual living is just what it purports to be- virtual. Not real. He even quoted some of the lyrics from that Brad Paisley song "I'm So Much Cooler Online"- yeah, over the pulpit. It was awesome, rock on PA Saints!

I work down at the Pizza Pit
And I drive an old Hyundai
I still live with my mom and dad
I’m five foot three and overweight
I’m a sci fi fanatic mild asthmatic
Never been to second base
But there’s a whole ‘nother me
That you need to see
Go check out MySpace

‘Cause online I’m out in Hollywood
I’m six foot five and I look damn good
I drive a Maserati
I’m a black belt in karate
And I love a good glass of wine
It turns girls on that I’m mysterious
I tell ‘em I don’t want nothing serious
‘Cause even on a slow day I can have a three-way chat
With two women at one time
I’m so much cooler online
I’m so much cooler online

I get home I kiss my mom
And she fixes me a snack
I head down to my basement bedroom
And fire up my Mac
In real life the only time
I’ve ever even been to L.A.
Was when I got the chance with the marching band
To play tuba in the Rose Parade

But online I live in Malibu
I pose for Calvin Klein I’ve been in GQ
I’m single and I’m rich
And I got a set of six-pack abs that would blow your mind
It turns girls on that I’m mysterious
I tell ‘em I don’t want nothing serious
‘Cause even on a slow day I can have a three-way chat
With two women at one time I’m so much cooler online
Yeah, I’m cooler online

When you’ve got my kind of stats
It’s hard to get a date
Let alone a real girlfriend
But I grow another foot
and lose a bunch of weight
Every time I log in

Honestly, technology is such a good thing that I use everyday for school, research, communication with my family and friends, and as a means of expression and political activism. However, it is no replacement for social skills and real human interaction. Just don't get hopelessly sucked in.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Carlisle, Pennsylvania- my new home!

So here I am in sweet old Carlisle and I wanted to share a bit of what it is like!

This is my actual law building- one of the top five (I believe) oldest law schools in the country...therefore, it needs a little renovation. We'll be back in here for classes next semester!

This is my new house! It is located in the Downtown Carlisle Historic District and I live upstairs

This is around the corner from my house- it made me laugh ;D

Interesting factoids:
-Carlisle is about 15 miles from Harrisburg, the state capital (and considered for the US capital at one point)
-It's about 40 minutes from Gettysburg
-Almost 2 hours directly north of DC
-Home to the 2nd oldest military barracks in the US (and apparently where my Grandpa Bill was once stationed)
-Where Molly Pitcher is buried
-Visited my George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and other cool dudes back in the day


The Beach...IN DELAWARE!!

(whoa-there's foliage!)

So, I have lived in Southern California my entire life (until that college thing) and so the beach was always there. However, until yesterday, I had NEVER been to the beach on the East Coast. So here are a couple photos of my Atlantic Ocean journey!

So I think the place we were at was called Indian River Beach in Rehoboth, DE, or something like that. I'm still learning about this boardwalk phenomenon, as opposed to the pier. There was definitely not any good surfable waves here, unless you want your brain smashed. Basically huge swells came out of nowhere and come crashing about a yard from shore and then about 10 ft into the water and beyond there are virtually no waves at all. Strange. But thrilling! The big challeng was to just get into the water.(period) Think The Wedge in Orange County or Makena Beach in Hawaii.

Some nice features:
-the actual stretch of sand between land and water is minimal- no toting coolers for a mile before getting to the water
-there are actually some plants
-the lifeguards where blue, it's nice to mix it up I guess

Less nice features:
-thunderstorms that come out of nowhere
-obviously the brain-smashing waves
-very thickly grained sand, more ouchy, although brushes off things better

A heart-warming success!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tax Evasion Woes

We all knew that large scale tax evasion was getting out of control when several months ago one after another of Obama's cabinet picks were being disqualified on account of their HUGE histories tax evasion. And now, as the government gets hard pressed for money, they are FINALLY cracking down on this and its about time. I think they waited so long primarily because politicians operate with the aid of greedy people. People who want there policies furthered and will donate to political campaigns. Those same greedy people apparently just can't bear to have their precious money go to those that they don't approve of, as happens with taxes. Yes, those same greedy who are probably in the best position to financially contribute to the country through their tax dollars and yet, they are people who consistently evade their taxes. Not because if they pay taxes their kids won't eat, not because they have a serious issue with the tax system that they are trying to make a statement about (see note below), but just because they are greedy. And the government has been sitting back letting them get away with it, I feel, because they are their financial allies. It's disgusting.

I feel like it is a long-standing joke that rich drug dealer types hide their money in overseas Swiss banks and, as it turns out, its not such a joke anymore. Today the New York Times released a front page article stating that UBS (one of the largest Swiss banks with many international clients) has made a bargain with our IRS to turn over thousands of names representing Americans they suspect of large-scale tax evasion.

It's about time we got honest here.

NOTE: the reason I had to include this bit about making a statement was because I adore the character played by Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stanger Than Fiction who specifically didn't pay for the 22% percentage of her taxes that she had calculated went tothings she morally abhorred.

Ana Pascal: Listen, I'm a big supporter of fixing potholes and erecting swing sets and building shelters. I am more than happy to pay those taxes. I'm just not such a big fan of the percentage that the government uses for national defense, corporate bailouts, and campaign discretionary funds. So, I didn't pay those taxes. I think I sent a letter to that effect with my return.
Harold Crick: Would it be the letter that beings "Dear Imperialist Swine"?

Not exactly right, but better than greed.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My 1st Movie Trailer!!

So last night I decided that sleeping would take the backseat to playing with iMovie on my laptop.  What emerged was the preliminary trailer of a little film that I like to call THE EVANMEISTER STRIKES BACK!  Needless to say, I am quite proud.  I will now attempt to post what I have so far!  (NOTE: you have to read the intro fast!)


So...I hope that you can appreciate the obvious genius behind this { ;) } as well as the fact that those two minutes took over two hours to compile!  haha  Hopefully there will be more to come!