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When I was younger, I would have dismissed these stunts with some nerdy, smarmy snark, but as I age I appreciate physical skill more and more.  Life is for living, and these guys have reached goals that are not only fulfilling for them, but inspiring and entertaining for others, as well, including me.  Some of these are clearly fake, but they all make for good viewing.

 

A great list here called, “50 Reasons We’re Living Through the Greatest Period in World History,” focusing on medical and technological advances, quite rightly.  We have now basically become the gods of the ancients, able to do unimaginably fantastic things.

It’s not just the lifestyle progress, though.  I’m reminded of a remark the historian Will Durant made when asked what the greatest period in history was.  He replied that it was today, because we have the largest inheritance of cultural experience and creations of any civilization.

Which brings us back to technological progress–the Internet brings us so much of that inheritance with ease and panache.

 

Graphic showing 35 simple productivity tips.  Saved to hard drive.

Nevada’s best-kept secret’ offers hiking, camping and stargazing.  Note to self: visit ASAP!

“The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken That Perfectly Capture The Human Experience”  Many of these are truly wonderful–thought-provoking and humbling.

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Sideways Editing

When revising writing that I’ve labelled “awkward,” students have a tendency to practice what I call “sideways editing.”  Instead of swapping out their initial phraseology for something more fluently developed, they rearrange the existing parts into an equally awkward sequel.

Here’s an example that I now use as an illustration in class:

First draft: The article had good ideas in it and related them to us good. 

is not substantially improved as

Second draft: The article’s ideas were good and they were related to the readers in good ways too.  

Every semester.  As I go over the syllabus with a new class, there is inevitably the response from a few freshmen, “Why do you take attendance?  That’s for kids— stop treating us like kids.”

The only reason people would have a problem with taking attendance is because they want to ditch class with no penalty.  It’s time to learn that there is no such thing as an action with no consequence.

“But if I can pass the class without being there every day, why should I always come?”

To which I’d explain that that’s not the point.  A critical part of college—perhaps the biggest part, in fact—is inculcating professionalism in students.  Across the board, regardless of major, molding students into professionals may be the number one goal.

And that means attendance.

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The LEGO Movie

Haven’t seen this one yet?  Definitely should.

The Lego Movie features voice talent from three of the best shows of the last ten years: Arrested Development (Will Arnett), Community (Alison Brie), and Parks and Recreation (Nick Offerman and Chris Pratt). It also stars Liam Neeson. Oh, and Morgan Freeman.

Lots of movies are about the importance of teamwork. Lots of movies are about the importance of individuality. Most of them aren’t even very good. But I don’t think there’s ever been a movie celebrating BOTH teamwork and individuality. And both themes are fully developed! That’s an impressive act of compositional acrobatics right there.

My notes on president Monson’s addresses at the April General Conference, 2014.  Obviously subjective, and subject to ongoing revision and improvement, but this helps me to pragmatically know how to “follow the prophet.”

 

IMPERATIVES

Priesthood Session: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage

  1. “…put ourselves in places and participate in activities where our thoughts are influenced for good and where the Spirit of the Lord will be comfortable.”
  2. (Quoting) “If you ever find yourself where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!”
  3. “…do… the right thing even though we may be afraid, defend… our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintain… those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status.”
  4. (Quoting) “Just be the same person you are in the dark that you are in the light.”

Sunday Morning: “Love—the Essence of the Gospel

  1. “…love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey.”
  2. “…love God, the Father of us all.”
  3. “…keep this truth [We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and, as such, are brothers and sisters] in mind, loving all of God’s children will become easier.”
  4. “…recognize someone’s need and then…respond.”
  5. (Quoting Pres. Kimball) “…remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve.”
  6. “…we must treat each other with kindness and respect.”
  7. “…strive always to be considerate and to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings and circumstances of those around us. Let us not demean or belittle. Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging. We must be careful that we do not destroy another person’s confidence through careless words or actions.”

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Mark Steyn, as always, is way ahead of the curve here.  By the time most of my fellow conservatives figure this out, I fear, we’ll be even more of a consciously inconsequential minority, a marginal annoyance with little functional power, than we already are.

*****

Where the Action Is,” National Review, 3/10/14

You can’t have conservative government in a liberal culture, and that’s the position the Republican party is in….Liberals expend tremendous effort changing the culture. Conservatives expend tremendous effort changing elected officials every other November — and then are surprised that it doesn’t make much difference. Culture trumps politics — which is why, once the question’s been settled culturally, conservatives are reduced to playing catch-up, twisting themselves into pretzels….

Culture is the long view; politics is the here and now. Yet in America vast cultural changes occur in nothing flat, while, under our sclerotic political institutions, men elected to two-year terms of office announce ambitious plans to balance the budget a decade after their terms end. Here, again, liberals show a greater understanding of where the action is….

So, no, I’m not particularly focused on a Tuesday in November in 2016. Liberals understand that it’s in the 729 days between elections that you win all the prizes that matter, on all the ground conservatives have largely abandoned.

What Is the Future of Conservatism?Commentary, January 2013

The Democrats used their brutal Romney-gives-you-cancer/ Ryan-offs-your-granny advertising in Ohio as bad cop to the good cop of Obama’s cultural cool. The trouble for conservatives is we have no good cop. That’s to say, we have no positive presence in the broader cultural space where real people actually live. We have all the talk-radio shows and cable networks we need, and the rest of the country is happy to leave us walled up in those redoubts. But culture trumps politics, and not just in the movies and pop songs, grade schools and mainline churches, but increasingly in the boardrooms, too. Instead of giving your hard-earned dollars to help drag some finger-in-the-windy squish with an R after his name over the finish line every other November, conservatives need to start fighting on the turf that matters. We risk winding up like the Shakers–dependent on conversion while eschewing all effective means thereof.

 

“The days are long, but the years are short.” –Gretchen Rubin.  One of the wisest things I’ve ever heard.

 

 

It’s always amazingly scary to think about how tiring, how busy and stressful most individual days are, but then to look back on the last year, or the last five years, or even the last ten years, and realize how much happened in them, and how much seems missed, and how it all went by so quickly.

I have children who are rapidly approaching adulthood, and I constantly wonder where their childhood went.  How did it disappear so suddenly?

I’ve now been teaching high school for more than three times as long as I went to high school, and the student part of my life actually feels like it lasted longer than this part.  Weird.

It’s true what they say, isn’t it?  At some point, every year seems to go by even faster than the year before.

I think if you’re not consciously being corny and sentimental, at least some of the time, you may not be doing it right.  There will likely be more regrets.

*sigh*  Don’t mind me.  I’m still just bummed out about How I Met Your Mother being over.

 

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