It’s My Lucky Day

Note: We are studying hyperbole (exaggeration) in my seventh grade English Language Arts class.

This weekend, the most amazing thing happened!  I’ve been waiting my whole life for something as spectacular as what occurred on Saturday night.  It was as if the clouds parted and God himself came down from heavens and blessed me with good fortune.  “What happened?” you ask.  “Did you win the Power Ball, or Mega Millions?  Did someone offer to publish one of your books?  Did the Milwaukee Brewers call and ask you to be their bullpen catcher this season?

No.  None of those compare to the life changing event that occurred.  My favorite place in the universe, Scoop ‘deVille, has a sign outside that read, and I quote, “Free Scoop of Ice Cream if your name is…. DAVID.”

Don't let my pathetic attempt at drawing my ice cream cone ruin how awesome this event really was!

Don’t let my pathetic attempt at drawing my ice cream in a waffle cone ruin how awesome this event really was!

My first name is David!  I even showed them my ID after I strutted in the store.  I was like, “Check this, Ice Cream Lady.  Now give me my free scoop!”  That cookies and cream ice cream in the vanilla waffle cone tasted like sweet victory.

Movie Idea for Chris Rock

Here’s a good idea that I have for Chris Rock.  I’m not going to get around to writing this for a little while because I’m working on a different middle grade book called “The Axe” as of right now, but I wanted to jot down my thoughts quick.

Working Title: The White Standards (Not the best title, but it’s all I could think of).

Tagline: Teach the white out of them (Once again, not the best tagline, but it’s a start).

Elevator Pitch:  A liberal black teacher leaves his job at his city school and takes a job in a very conservative, predominately white high school.

Hi. I'm Chris Rock, and I want to work with Tiefsa!

Hi. I’m Chris Rock, and I want to work with Tiefsa!

Premise: Chris Rock is a high school social studies teacher in a city.  The charter school he is at closes due to mismanagement by the principal.  The principal was embezzling public funds, and the school was not performing well academically.  An old friend of Chris Rock’s learns about the school closing and contacts Chris (Let’s say his friend is played by George Clooney).

Clooney is the superintendent of a very successful public high school in the suburbs.  Because he needs the money, and because Chris Rock wants his own high school age kids to experience school in a predominately white conservative suburban school, Chris takes the job.

Here’s an example section of dialogue (Sorry if it isn’t formatted correctly, but it’s hard to do it right on the inter webs).

CHRIS
So you want me to teach in your school?

GEORGE
Yes.  That school desperately needs some different perspectives.

CHRIS
You know you don’t have to hire a black guy.  Just find some Asians, or Mexicans, or maybe a Canadian.

GEORGE
We have a teacher who is Chinese.

CHRIS
Let me guess.  They teach kids how to speak Chinese.

GEORGE
(sighs)
Well, technically he’s teaching Mandarin.  That’s the official language in China.

CHRIS
I’m so sorry for not being politically correct.  Do you have any Mexicans teaching Spanish?

GEORGE
No, but one of our Spanish teachers is from Columbia.

CHRIS
Are you sure you want me to teach Social Studies? Maybe I should be teaching Ebonics.

Once Rock starts teaching there, he immediately runs into some resistance.  The ideas he presents to the high school social studies students are too liberal.  A few of his students have parents on the school board, and they want him fired.  Also, Chris Rock’s kids aren’t adjusting well in the new school.  His kids are great students, but the white students are always bothering them with stereotypical expectations  (They think his kids should be great basketball players, love rap music, be in a gang, etc.).

Clooney supports Rock at every turn.  Clooney has kids of his own at the high school, and they become friends with Chris Rock’s children.  Rock’s daughter also starts dating Clooney’s son, to the dismay of both parents.  Towards the end of the school year, Clooney offers Rock a permanent position at the school, but Rock declines.  Instead, he pitches the idea that Clooney should start his own charter school in the city.

After much consideration, Clooney ends up resigning as superintendent and joins forces with Chris Rock.   The movie ends on the first day of the next school year at the new charter school that Clooney and Rock founded.  All of Rock’s children and Clooney’s children attend the new charter school.

Sounds hilarious, right?  I do think there would be several opportunities for levity in this movie.  I think it would fall somewhere between the drama/comedy umbrella.  So, it’s a dramedy.

If any of my three readers know Chris Rock or George Clooney, let them know of my script idea.  I wouldn’t mind working with them.  I do have one asking price.  They have to babysit my kids, so I could actually go to the movie theater with my wife to watch the movie.

Watch out, Turkey. I’m a Locavore

Have you ever heard of that term before? My friend out in Southern California mentioned it yesterday in a conversation.  According to Wikipedia, which is always correct, a locavore is “a person interested in eating food that is locally produced” or to be more specific, “food grown within 100 miles of its point of purchase”.

I’m shocked I hadn’t heard this term earlier because where I live, in Southeastern Wisconsin, is the cultural mecca of the world.  My friend, let’s call him Art so I don’t have to keep saying “my friend” because Art is his real name, brought it up because he wants to hunt locally.  After I was done talking to Art, I read a little more about being a locavore.

According to all the research that I’m not going to link to because that’s a lot of work, there are several benefits to being a locavore.  Here are a few.  It’s good for the local economy, it’s better for the environment, the food is fresh, and it won’t be that processed or boxed food with lots of preservatives and additives that isn’t very good for your health.  The downsides are it is more expensive, you have to buy what’s in season, so their won’t be as much to choose from, especially here in Wisconsin when nothing’s growing in the winter.

Now, we all could do a little of this.  My family does some of this already, but we should do more.  Some of the things we do is grow a few things like potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and a few other things in are small vegetable garden.  We visit the town farmer’s market occasionally during the summer.  There are a few trips to farms too.  We pick a boatload of strawberries every June.  We eat as much as we can and then we can the rest.  I mean we make strawberry jam.  In the fall, we pick apples, but that’s where our locavore adventures pretty much end. 

That's my jam!

That’s my jam!

What got me intrigued though was what Art brought up about hunting.  There really is a lot of food wondering around on the edge of the suburbs that could be locavore fair.  Of course, there’s deer, but that’s not what I’m interested in.  I’m not a hunter, but I’ve strongly considered taking up the sport for one reason.  THE EVIL TURKEYS.  There are way too many turkeys that plague the area I live by.  They aren’t actually that bad, but I wouldn’t mine taking a few out.  Especially the ones that hang out by my front door.

Eating Because I’m Bored

I’m home alone today.  The kids are at school, and my wife is at work.  I have the day off because I’m a teacher, and the first semester just ended.

I still have plenty of papers to grade and such, but we didn’t have to come into work today.  Man is it weird being all alone.  I’m scared.  There is one thing that is comforting.  There’s a ton of food here, and there’s nothing stopping me from eating it all!

It's only my third bag of Doritos today.

It’s only my third bag of Doritos today.

Working from home would be tough for me because I think I’d just start eating out of boredom.  I mean, the refrigerator is right there!  It’s filled with all sorts of goodies.  Don’t forget about all the candy that we hide from the kids that I just end up eating.  Hello Gummi Worms and Peanut M&M’s.

I’d better go for a run and get out of this house.

My Rap Pseudonym is T-Money

In class today, the word of the day was pseudonym (a fake name).  I made all my students make up their own pseudonym as if they were a rapper.  I followed along and dubbed myself “T-Money”.  The next step was to write at least a four line rap verse where you mix your rap name into the lyrics.  We’re in a poetry unit, and adding rhythm to rhyme is fun to teach with rap songs.

Of course I participated along with them.  Here are the three different verses that T-Money threw down!

T-Money's Logo Green and Gold.  Oh, so bold.

T-Money’s Logo
Green and Gold.
Oh, so bold.

NUMBER ONE

Ya’ll better get to know me, I’m the greatest rapper ever
wrap my rhyming words around you like a Christmas sweater
My name’s T-MONEY and I’m legendary
A 38 year old rappin visionary

NUMBER TWO

Yeaaahhhh  Tick – Tock
Hip – Hop
Rock so hard
and I never stop
My names T-Money
There is none greater
I’m like Taylor Swift
cause I’m shaking off the haters

NUMBER THREE

I am T-Money  – Yeah
and I’m no phony – Yeah
some think it’s funny – Yeah
I love my pony – Yeah!

Any of you rappers out there, if you need me lace your next track with my sick rhymes, holla’ at me.  T-Money 4 Evah.

What’s Your Pain Level?

There’s something wrong with my upper back.  My left shoulder is all jacked up, and now my left arm is going numb at times.  I decided that a massage therapist could fix it, so I went to one the other day.  As he was attempting to fix me, he asked several times, “When I do this, what’s your pain level on a scale of one to ten?”

I wasn’t ready for this question.  I just said, “I think six?”

Today I’ve decided to create a pain level chart for myself, in case I get asked this question again.  I’m going to try and connect them to actual painful events in my life.

Oh no.

Oh no.

1. When someone tries to pull my hair.  (I’m pretty much bald)

2. Getting shot in my chest or back by a nerf dart gun.  This happens daily at my house.

3. Getting shot in the face by a nerf dart gun.  That stings a little more.  Don’t hurt the moneymaker, kids!  This doesn’t happen as often because the kids know I go into full on rage mode after a head shot.  Before a back alley fight between newscasters, Ron Burgandy in Anchorman established this rule.  “Rule number one.  No touching of the hair or face.”

4. Whacking your knee unsuspectedly against a table leg.  I hate it when you go to sit down, and hidden beneath the table is the edge of a table leg ready to sabotage you.

5. The sudden pain of razor sharp knees or elbows colliding with my back.  For some reason, my children find it hilarious to jump onto me if I am ever lying down on my stomach.  They did this once while my head was underneath the sink cabinet because I was replacing the faucet.  Those demons!

6. When a strange man digs out cramped muscles in your back.

7. Getting my finger smashed between two bowling balls.  That hurt so bad, and it made my nail fall off.  I hate it when I can feel my pulse in my throbbing finger.

8. When I bite through my tongue.  I got hit in the lower jaw with a baseball once, which caused me to bite down onto my tongue and it split the front of it in half.l

9. The stabbing feeling in the lower right side of my abdomen when my appendix was about to burst.  Thankfully it didn’t, but when I woke up from surgery, it still hurt wicked bad.

10. Getting a shot of novocaine directly into my tongue. They had to do this so they could stitch my tongue back together.

So, now I’m prepared for that question.  Remember, this is my pain level gauge.  I can’t vouch for childbirth, because I’m a man.  My father has a great saying about that too.  “If it were men who gave birth, the human race would have died out a long time ago.”

Now I ask you, “What’s Your Pain Level?”

 

The Stupid Stage

My kids are an inspiration to me, in so many ways, but I’d like to highlight one example where they are making me a better person, that is, until I hurt myself following their lead.

I have an expression I coined for myself whenever I am learning a new task.  I call this “The Stupid Stage”.  It’s not the nicest phrase, but that’s how I feel whenever I am trying to do something new.  I feel so stupid because I don’t understand how to do this new task, and I’m afraid other people will watch me and think, “That guy looks so stupid!”

I bring this up because over the weekend, my kids, my wife, and I all went cross country skiing.  Now, I’ve only tried cross country skiing a few times in my life, so I‘m pretty awful at it.  I’ve never been able to move out of “The Stupid Stage”.  I awkwardly try to push through the snow as I go uphill, and pray I don’t fall on the downhills.

Don't fall, stickman!

Don’t fall, stickman!

My kids are my inspiration.  They don’t even think about how good or bad they are at it.  They just strap on the skis and get after it.  There is no worries about “The Stupid Stage”  To them, starting out something new is “The Funny Stage”.

They don’t care if they fall or fail.  Matter of fact, once they get the hang of something, it just makes them even more bold.  For instance, my five year old fell a lot when skiing, but he kept on getting after it.  Once he was halfway good, he wanted to try the hills again and again.  I wish he had some sense of fear, or worries about what other people think, but nope, he doesn’t.  None of them do.  They don’t listen to their parents worries or concerns, like, “Slow down.  You might fall.  Don’t try that…”

I want to be like them.  I want to take more risks in life and not worry about how I look.  That’s how I can learn.  No more “The Stupid Stage” expression for me.  I now will embrace “The Funny Stage.”   Well, I do worry about falling down when I’m trying to ski.  It hurts when you’re old and you fall, but it does look funny.

The Packers Snatched Defeat from The Jaws of Victory

I’m a Green Bay Packers fan, and yesterday was a terrible day for me.  The collapse that I witnessed was historical.  If you weren’t following along, I’ll sum up what happened for you.

As my Uncle Dick said, “The Packers managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Aaaand, that’s exactly what happened. There are so many different times where if the Packers were to make one play, JUST ONE MORE PLAY, they would have won.  Now the sad part is, there are about 120 plays per game.  Off the top of my head, I’ll list how many chances the Packers had to make JUST ONE MORE PLAY!

My sad attempt at the Packers logo.

My sad attempt at the Packers logo.

1. Rodgers was picked off in the end zone in the first quarter.

2-5. I should list like number two through 400 for this one because of how many times the Packers were in Seattle territory without scoring.  Anyways, the Packers were on the one yard line for several plays on two drives in a row.  They had to settle for field goals that are shorter than kicking an extra point!

6. Third and 19!  Let me say this again.  Third and 19 to go.  The Packers rush three players.  Russell Wilson sits back in the pocket, makes himself a sandwich, eats it, takes a potty break, comes back, and then completes a pass way down the field.  WHY RUSH THREE.  GET HIM LIKE YOU DID FOR EVERY OTHER PLAY IN THE GAME.  The Seahawks score later on that drive.  As the great Herm Edwards said, “You play to win the game!”

7. Morgan Burnett picks the ball off late in the fourth quarter, and he slides down!  WHY SLIDE?!  I know there wasn’t much time left, but go for the jugular.  Don’t worry about fumbling.  RUN DOWN THE FIELD AS FAR AS YOU CAN!

8-10.  All we needed was one more first down.  JUST ONE MORE, but we ran the ball three times, like everyone in the world knew we would, and then we have to punt.

11. The onside kick.  Some dude, I’m trying to wipe his name from my memory so he doesn’t live on in infamy like Bill Buckner, although he does have the same initials, missed the onsides kick.  It went through his hands and smacked him in the head.  Seattle recovered and drove down for another touchdown.

12.  Russell Wilson was flushed from the pocket during a two point conversion and heaved a prayer up into the air.  His prayer was answered when some dude caught it on the goal line.  Seattle took a three point lead.

Lucky number 13.  Aaron Rodgers called TAILS on the coin flip.  Who calls tails?  Honestly!  HEADS WE WIN!  I admit the last one is a stretch.

Alright.  I got it out of my system.  My rant is over, although I know I missed a bunch of other plays where they could have won.  Now I have to go cry.

Twitter Poetry #PoemCrawl

Last night, I saw the hashtag #PoemCrawl on my trending topics in Twitter.  I decided to check out what the fuss was.  Turns out, a person on Twitter with the name BarMaiden and the handle @poemcrawl tweets out ideas for short poems.  I decided to give it a shot.  Here’s the poems I came up with, and naturally, all of them are 140 characters or less.

Words to incorporate: “in wonder”

My first ball game
with Dad
at the big park
huge grandstands
loud fans a sparkling
green and brown diamond
I stared in wonder

Words to incorporate: “first bite”

The sting of scraped knees
and burned hands
first bite
of the pavement
on my new bike

Words to incorporate: “fragrant beauty”

She’s gone
won’t be back
all that’s left
a forgotten sweater
smells like her
fragrant beauty

Words to incorporate: “faded imprint”

Old Queen
mattress
faded imprint
widow

Words to incorporate: “falling like snow”

The years
and years
they go
falling like snow

Words to incorporate: “little notes”

Little notes
on little sheets of paper
age 18
the last year
living with mother
I’ll be home late
but I’ll wake you
when I’m home

It was a fun writing exercise to say the least.  I was glad I did it, and I hope to try again the next time BarMaiden sends out the call for the #PoemCrawl.  You should too!

It is only Minor Surgery if It isn’t on You

Having surgery is brutal.  A friend of mine was talking about how his wife might have to have knee surgery.  The best case scenario for her is called arthroscopic knee surgery, more commonly called a “scope”.

I’ve had that surgery, on both knees actually.  They aren’t fun.  That procedure is an outpatient surgery though, where they knock you out do the surgery, and send you on your way before the day is over.  Another term they use for a procedure like that is “minor” surgery.  Let me say this, though.  It’s only minor surgery if it isn’t on you.

On the bright side, yes, they did work.  Yes, my knees are better now because of them, but getting knocked out with anesthesia and then getting cut into is scary stuff.  One moment, you’re getting rolled into the surgery room with some IV’s in your arms.  The next moment, you’re all sore and groggy sitting in recovery.

I am impressed with the marvels of modern medicine, though.  The cool part about the “scope” was the fact that the doctor can take pictures of the insides of your knee with this little camera they insert into the knee joint.  That way, they don’t have to make big incisions, just a couple of little ones.  One for the camera, and one or two for the tools they insert to clean up the cartilage damage in your knee.  The doctor looks at a video monitor of the camera in your knee as he does his work.

I laughed at the doctor, not intentionally, after the surgery was over.  He brought me pictures of the inside of my knee.  He was like, “Here’s a few pictures of your meniscus (the cartilage) before we did surgery.  As you can see, there’s some damage here.”

I nodded my head like I understood, but the picture to me looked like blobs of grossness all over.

That's what the inside of my knee looks like.

That’s what the inside of my knee looks like.

The doctor continued as he pulled out a new set of pictures, “Now look at these pictures after I cleaned up the damage and smoothed out the meniscus.”

Like an ungrateful jerk, I chuckled.  The doctor frowned.  I said, “I’m sorry, but the after pictures, to me at least, look no different than the gross ones you showed me just before.”

I don’t remember his exact words, but they were something along the lines like, “Well, I assure you, your knee is much better off now.”