Sunday, April 22, 2007


I have grown tired of the political parties in this country. I would gladly remain Republican because I believe in the tenants of Conservatism, but lately I wonder about the GOP. I worry about both the party’s commitment to conservatism, and also the moral character of the people who represent us. I have even criticized the president for the former, but not the latter. I believe that he is a moral man of strong character, and not a deceiver as some would like to believe he is. Others in the party have not impressed me with their moral character. I do not expect people to be perfect, in fact I fully embrace that we are fallen people in a fallen world, but when politicians do not repent, ask for forgiveness, and try to make amends, I have a problem. It was pointed out that the three popular Republican candidates (Giuliani, McCain, Gingrich) have six divorces among them, and have all committed adultery.

In addition to this, as a conservative I worry over the spending of our federal government. Again not were most would worry, but in other areas. I for instance do not worry about the military spending. I believe that all of that spending is why there are only (and I mean only) 3,000 + deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. In comparison with other conflicts, and considering the number of troops deployed, this is truly a low number. I believe that it is the technology found in American military equipment, and medical treatment that has kept this number low. I have problems with the amount of money spent on other things. Welfare, social security, pork barrel projects, New Orleans, and other money pits cause me to cringe. I have become irritated enough that I would consider voting for a candidate from another party (although not likely the Democrat Party), even if it means “throwing away” my vote. Or maybe I should start my own party. Hmmm….. that’s a good idea. More on that later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Job Fair

I have been catching my breath today after participating in my university's job fair yesterday. It was a job fair for teachers only and last Friday I found out that I was the only high school teacher in my program who had not found a job yet. This is largely due to the subject I teach (history). I began calling it a curse. Some people suggested that I teach English or math, but I responded that I really love history and would not be happy teaching math. However, as I have been joking, if I did teach math I could probably find a job before I finish this post. Alas I do not, so I will have to wait.

This went well though, and I suspect that I will be offered a job at least by the end of this summer, if not sooner. I really cannot wait to teach full time. I love student teaching, but I long to have my own classroom, and my own students.

As I near the end of my schooling to become a teacher there are a number of things that I must complete, and they seem cumbersome occasionally. Some one was complaining about all of the "hoops" that we must jump through to become teachers, and compared it to lawyers, and doctors. Honestly I think that the lawyer argument is week, but the doctor comparison is valid. I believe that it is important to make new teachers prove that they are capable of teaching before more than a hundred students depend on them to teach. Furthermore I believe that some older, I mean veteran, teachers do the same. I have seen some fairly irresponsible teaching methods in some of the high schools that I have been in. Watching movies every week is not an effective teaching strategy. Reading from the textbook is not an effective teaching strategy. There is much more to it than that.

Well pray for me as I wait by the phone for high schools to call me and ask me to come teach at their school. I am anxious about it, but confident that I will get a job. I only hope that it is one that I will love.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Words I dislike

Here is a list of words that I hate. It is a short list because I don’t want to take the time to remember all of the words that I don’t like. Some of them are because of someone who used them too much, others are because of what they mean, and still others are simply because they are French. Enjoy.

Kudos: I hate this word because when I was working in San Antonio an officer said it once and then suddenly everyone was using it. It was always, “hey I heard you got promoted, kudos,” or “be sure to give Sgt. Brunnengraeber kudos for the good work he did.” It drove me crazy, I hated hearing it, and it became the phrase of the millennium.

Global warming: To begin with I don’t think that there is such a thing as global warming. If there is a warm day in January suddenly every one thinks that it is global warming. What do the people in Cleveland think about it I wonder since they have been having severely cold weather this week? So bad in fact that they had to cancel all of the games in the Indians’ home opener series. How’s that for global warming? But besides that it is such a stupid phrase. Global warming. It sounds great to me, and yet it is supposedly a fact that is going to kill us all.

Metro-sexual: As if there wasn’t enough options to choose from when deciding one’s own sexuality (and I do think it is a choice), we had to add another. I don’t even understand where this phrase came from. Apparently if a man dresses well he is no longer simply heterosexual, but instead metro-sexual. I wonder what the opposite of metrosexual is? Rural-sexual? Scary. I vote to eliminate such terms from the English language on punishment of a nasty flogging.

Sashay: To me this word is useless and should be eliminated. It is entirely too French and connotes something girly or metro-sexual. Oops, I used that word, I mean transgender, or bisexual or bi curious. I don’t know. I just don’t like it.

Collage: I hate them. I never liked doing them in school, I will never assign one. I think they are stupid and should be banned from the classroom, or any other room for that matter. After they are banned, there will be no need for the word to continue being used, so it too should be removed from the dictionary and sent away with its cousin sashay.

Well those are just a few of the words that I take issue with. There are more to be sure, but for now these are the ones that are especially bothersome to me. I am interested in what other people think of these words, and words that they don’t fancy as well. Let me know.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Note to the Reader: I wrote this short story from my actual experience in basic training. It was an assignment in the only english class I had in college. Enjoy.

From the moment we arrived at Ft. Leonardwood for Basic Combat Training for the US Army we were treated well. Of course leaving our homes and families was difficult, and Missouri was very different from our home states, but on the whole we were adjusting well. We were a group of about 250 soon to be soldiers, who came from all over the country. Some of us were dark, some light, some short, some tall, some thin some thick, some male, and some female. We were a patchwork quilt unit. We all came to “Reception Battalion” where all soldiers begin. It was like kindergarten for soldiers because there were two Drill Sergeants who took care of us. They made sure we got all of our new uniforms, our shots, our haircuts, and our meals. They were pleasant enough, but we were bored after a week of daycare, and were ready to move on. Reception was boring and we wished we could start doing something interesting. We got our wish.

On one particularly hot day in July, we all lined up in formation on the asphalt, “black top”. It was so hot in fact, that the asphalt was melting away like our individuality. Our boots stuck to the steaming surface. We were all anticipating what was going to happen. The “baby-sitters” said that our unit was coming to pick us up. We were excited. Finally, something was going to happen. Several large trucks appeared on the horizon. The heat blurred their image. We heard them better than we could see them. They made a loud rumbling sound that could be heard from quite a distance.

“Here they come,” one of our baby-sitters said, “I hope ya’ll are ready.” The man chuckled when he spoke as if he knew something we didn’t. His laughter began to make us nervous. We all watched together as the trucks slowly approached. Many of us shifted our feet, and looked around at each other. The trucks were getting closer. We all stared silently at the trucks. Drops of sweat rolled off our faces. Finally the trucks reached us and parked in rows across from our formation. There were about six trucks in all. We still just stared. Then some Drill Sergeants appeared from behind us, though from where exactly was unclear. All of them were broad, filling their uniforms with thick muscles. Their faces were dark and cold. No smiles or grins could be detected, and they scowled at us. Their uniforms were perfectly pressed and their boots reflected the sun’s glare. The men had large wide brimmed brown leather hats; the women had green ones. They let us know exactly what to do.

“Get in the trucks!” They yelled, “Move it! Move it! Move it! Get your butts in the trucks!” A few yelling Drill Sergeants shattered our organized formation. Everyone was running towards a truck. It was total pandemonium. We were all pushing and shoving, trying to get in the trucks as fast as we could, as if we would be shot for moving too slowly. Of course it wasn’t fast enough for the Drill Sergeants.

“Get on the trucks! Yer’ moving like pond water! Hurry up!” they continued yelling. We all climbed on the trucks; each of us carried a large duffel bag and a smaller one that carried our personal belongings. Finally, after much yelling we were all on the trucks. The Drill Sergeants slammed the doors shut and disappeared. We were glad for that, and let out a collective sigh, as if none of us had breathed since the arrival of the Drill Sergeants. We were all crammed tightly together in the large trucks. Images of the Holocaust came to our minds. Many of us were shaking. All of us were in shock. This was only the beginning.

The truck drove on… and on… and on. Finally it stopped. By now we had no idea where we were. The door swung open, and there standing at the opening was a large, thick sweaty, ugly man with a perfectly kept uniform, very shiny boots, and a wide brimmed brown leather hat. His uniform had “LOPEZ” written on it, but he did not introduce himself.

“Get out!” he yelled with a deep scratchy voice. Frozen with fear, we didn’t respond immediately. “NOW! MOVE IT!” We began leaping from the trucks, pouring out much like cockroaches released from a box. We clutched our duffel bags tightly to our bodies and ran. We did not know where we were running to, we only knew that walking was not an option. Fortunately for us there was another group of Drill Sergeants to guide us. All of them looked tough. All of them looked mean. All of them were loud.

“Stop! Where are you going?” one yelled. We froze. Before we could figure out where we were supposed to go he told us. “Go over there!” He commanded and pointed to another large area. We all looked to where he was pointing, still stopped in our tracks. “Line up! Move it! Go! Hurry up! Fall in!” We were running again. We ran as fast as we could in an attempt to avoid the wrath of the Drill Sergeants, which didn’t work, but it was the only thing we could think of to do. They yelled at us no matter how fast we moved. It was never fast enough.

As quickly as we had been scattered we reformed. A hurried mob formed into an organized formation again, all the while the Drill Sergeants yelled at us. Then suddenly it was quiet. They stared at us as if examining us for weaknesses. We weren’t allowed to move. We tried to stand still. Someone made eye contact with a Drill Sergeant, an unfortunate mistake.

“Don’t look at me Private!” he shouted getting in the face of the unfortunate soldier who looked at him. The Drill Sergeant was as close to the soldier’s face as his wide hat would allow. “Don’t ever look at me! Do you want to fight me?” The soldier began shaking. “Well? Do you think you can take me?”

“No Drill Sergeant,” the soldier stammered.

“I didn’t think so! Is there anyone here that thinks they can take me?” He paused for an answer, but one did not come. “Answer me!”

“No Drill Sergeant,” we answered in a weak, scared voice. “Maybe he likes you,” another Drill Sergeant suggested. Now he was really upset. “Is that it Private? Do you like me? You think I’m cute?” He questioned. The soldier’s eyes were wide like a deer in headlights; he began shaking his head violently in an attempt to deny the latest accusations. “No Drill Sergeant!”

“No!” the Drill Sergeant responded. “You don’t like me?” He glared at the private.

“No Drill Sergeant.”

“Why the hell not? I’m a likable guy”. Another soldier began laughing. This too was a mistake. The Drill Sergeant pounced on him like a lion on a fawn. “Am I funny to you private!?! Do I make you laugh!?! What did I say that you thought was so funny that you could just laugh in formation?”

“Nothing Drill Sergeant.”

“So I’m not funny?”

“No, I mean yes, I mean, I don’t know Drill Sergeant.” The Drill Sergeant could smell fear and it excited him. “Well what is it private? Do you think I’m funny?”

“No Drill Sergeant.”

“Well why the hell not. I have a great sense of humor. I got a joke for you. DO SOME PUSH-UPS!!!” The soldier fell to the ground as if a bomb had just gone off. The rest of us still stood frozen, trying not to attract any unwanted attention from the Drill Sergeants. A huge black man got up on a small platform with a megaphone. The man was massive, built like a freight train. Most of us had only seen men this big on TV. We were sure that that man could kill anyone of us if he wished it. No doubt he knew how and had done so before. The Drill sergeants were still circling our formation, periodically attacking us when something was out of line. The man spoke in a loud voice made metallic by the megaphone.

“I am your 1st Sergeant. Welcome to Basic Training.” He spoke slowly and purposefully making sure we all heard what he was saying. “In the next three months my Drill Sergeants will turn you bunch of lazy, sloppy, ugly losers into soldiers. It will not be easy, but if you do what you are told when you are told to do it you will all get through this. Forget about your homes and families. This is your new home, and the people around you are your new family. You will succeed together or you will fail together, but whatever you do, you will do it together. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Remember that, and now I will turn you over to my Drill Sergeants for the rest of the day. They are your new parents.” With that he completed his speech.

Without hesitation the Drill Sergeants began their assault. Barking orders, making us do push-ups and other exercises, taunting us, and testing us. They ripped us apart. Any courage we brought with us had failed. Any pride we brought with us was gone. Any wit, any grace, any confidence we brought had failed. They broke us down. The only thoughts we had were thoughts of trying to avoid punishment. Like animals we could only think about survival. It was amazing. Thinking was not necessary. They would tell us what to do from then on. We all came there different. We were from different states, different families, and even different cultures. Now we were the same. When we came there we were white, black, brown, yellow or red. Now we were all army green. We had little in common when we arrived. Now we all had something in common, survival. It was us versus them. That was how they wanted it. Once individuals, we were now one body, one mind, one unit, a unit of combat soldiers.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bad Luck Poem

Well as I mentioned earlier things have not been going great lately. Today I laughed when I read an e-mail from my friend Samantha who is going through similar trails. In response to her creative letter, I wrote a poem to express what I have been going through lately. It is a bit corny, but I like it anyways, and maybe you will too.

A few weeks ago
I woke up and got ready to go
I went to the kitchen when lo and behold
There was a puddle there and the fridge wasn't cold

I cleaned it up and off to work I went
Brandi called me up and told me it was spent
How could that be? We had it only six years?
No matter, we needed a new one from SEARS

$1700 for a new fridge they said
They brought it out but dropped it instead
Living out of a cooler for a week is no way to get fed
Finally we got one, but there were more things to dread

We had our health, but then started day care
Ever since then our kids learned to share
Toys and games but mostly viruses I fear
Added misery to our home where once there was cheer

Two ear infections and strep throat was the diagnosis
Over and over a trip to the pharmacist
When I finally thought I might develop a psychosis
Madelyn caught flu and threw up on my clothes

Hanging on, trying to make it through
My computer froze up and I don't know what to do
I have to take it in, for I don't want to buy one new
But no doubt that will cost me too

All and all I guess I can't complain
We're all still alive and all still sane
Still I wish that things would get better
If nothing else, at least it's nice weather

Wait…is that rain on the radar?