Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Cats vs. Butterflies

Ok, I don't think there is any life lesson in this story, but it happened today and I almost wet myself so I thought you all needed to share it with me.

After lunch, the kids are supposed to sit in "circle time" and read a book. Now, one of our children (who it seems to me is a few fries short of a happy meal) was wandering around, playing with the window, just being "out there". So I go over to him and what follows is our interaction.

Me:Herbert (name changed to protect the innocent...plus I have always wanted to write Herbert...just rolls off the fingers..Herbert...aahhh...) what are you doing? Why aren't you reading in Circle time?

Herbert: I can't!

M: Why not?

H: 'Cause I'm nervous.

M: What are you nervous about?

H: (Very seriously; almost in tears)The cats can't catch the butterflies.

M: (stunned pause...then): Why does that make you nervous?

H: Cause the cats jump and they can't catch them.

M: (thinking I need to be paid more for this)Go read your book...

If anyone can figure out what life changing maxim this demonstrates, feel free to share. If not, feel free to just laugh at the kids...the stupid, stupid kids...

Sunday, November 28, 2004


UK Blows Up Texas!!!!

Breaking News: In a startling development, the United Kingdom, tired of cowboy hats, southern drawl, and the Alamo (always with the Alamo...we could've had an Alamo..), has decided to nuke the State of Texas. Many noticed...few cared...

Sorry, just wanted to start off with a bang (ha...a bang!...get it...cause of the bomb...no...please don't go away...I have no friends...). However, recently I had an interesting conversation and, in an effort to drum up comments (looking for 1...,)I thought I would put up a post that was a little un PC. Here goes...

Texas is to the rest of the United States as the US is to most of the rest of the world. "What, what, what?!" you say, "You must elaborate in more paragraphs!" So I shall! I was talking to a former Texan about how it was interesting having lived in the UK what a different view of America and its politics, place in the world, etc. I found. I also said (and if any of my British friends read this, don't hate me...although I think Zhubin is the only person(British, American, Swahili...)who checks it...ever...) that it seemed to me that there was an inordinate amount of Brits who, when asked about the topic, seemed to have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder in regards to us across the pond. In fact, I seemed to feel throughout the year I lived there a kind of unconscious but semi-prevelant bias against America (except from my fiancee...I love you babe!). Now, I am not saying that we don't give them plenty of reasons! I would be the first to admit our faults. But it seems to go beyond that. It made me start thinking, "Now why do other countries feel so strongly about our country and our people, when the reverse of that among Americans towards other countries is largely not there?" And then the person I was talking to gave me an answer I hadn't thought of before and I thought it should be shared.

Most of us know Texans. Heck, both my parents and most of my extended family either live or come from there and through all my schooling, I have met any number of them. However, among most Texans (and I do say most...if you take offense to that, then you are probably in the group that isn't like this...you're perfect...just the way you are...) there is an almost palpable "Pro Texas" "We Rock" "I Crap Gold Because I Was Born In Dallas" feeling exhibited towards others...or at least that is how we perceive it. I say perceive it because in talking to my Texas person, they told me how proud they were of where they were from, how they thought it was the greatest place to live, and how they thought everyone else felt the exact same way about their own state. It was not until they lived elsewhere that they, for the first time, felt the intra-state feuding (North vs South, South vs Deep South, Deep South vs. Emancipation etc.). They relayed to me that they didn't ever compare themselves to other states, because there was no need to compare. Texas was the best state.

Now I know some of you are saying...so? But for the rest of you, I propose that this is not an arrogance, but a security and an insulation. Because of its size, power, and small migration rate Texas is one of the most insulated states. People are happy there, they love it, and nothing outside of Texas really makes that much difference to their daily lives. Ok...fair enough. They believe they live in the greatest place, but, according to what I can gather, figure that others would and should be as proud and secure in where they live.

So far so good? Ok, so what's the connection you ask? Well, is that not the behavior that the US portrays most everyday. Although most of us wouldn't dream of thinking that other countries were less than us, we, for the most part, do believe we live in the greatest nation on earth and are very secure in that. This is fine for us to feel that way, but the impression it puts out to the rest of the world is one of "we're better than you" rather than "I think we are great"...a subtle difference, I grant you, but a difference nonetheless. I propose that we are giving a "Texas" vibe to the rest of the world that doesn't have the luxury of insulation from the "outside world" that we enjoy in this country. We must understand that what some USers feel when bombarded with the fifteenth verse of God Bless Us Texas is what the rest of the world feels towards the US but exponentially.

So next time you hear the US being trashed by another country, you can see that it may not be as cut and dried as it appears. Give them the benefit of the doubt...and then hit them...cause heck...we're bigger and can do whatever we want...

Thursday, November 25, 2004



As Thanksgiving time approaches, I thought it would be poignant for my annual "Thanksgiving Thought" "What?" you say, "This is the first thanksgiving you've had a blog...wait...you've only had the blog for a few weeks...there's no annual anything...I hate you..." Well, to those I say...so?

Anywho, as with most of my entries recently, this one derives from my preschool experience. We have been teaching the little ones about the first thanksgiving, complete with the stories of the fun, hilarity, and all around mirth in abundance (oh and believe me...there was mirth...lots of mirth...). Such conversations as this abounded:

Me: What did they have at the first thanksgiving?

Kid A: Turkey

Kid B: Pumpkin Pie

Kid C: My dog

Kid D: Poop on me!!

Me: No! Stop it!

And so went the discussions.

However, this made me think. I began to look at what we teach young children and what we leave out.

In: Friends with Indians, party for thanksgiving, everyone loves everyone

Out: Half the original pilgrims dead, pitiful first year harvest, Plans for smallpox blankets...use double stitch...they'll never know...

In our society there is an arbitrary age that determines the line between the truth and the "story". Only when we gain in years are we allowed to know the ins and outs of what really happened. "Of course" you say, "Do we really want to explain dying of diptheria to a four year old?" And to that I say...yes...they have to learn sometime... No, I agree, but maybe that age should be younger than we think now. And maybe we should be more brutal across the board. Now before you pull out your stones, go with me for a second.

It seems to me that compassion, temperance, and wisdom are not so much traits that are acquired in joy and happiness, but rather in pain and sadness. To see the folly of our behaviors seems the only way to correct them and prevent their reoccurrence. Therefore, shouldn't we begin to tell the "entire" story to our children as early as possible? Shouldn't we give them as much of an untainted view of their world as possible? And, specifically, in a world that criticizes America for extreme ethocentrism and arrogance, what might the next generation of Americans be like if our whole bloody and often horrific history of our blunders and mistakes was as touted as our triumphs and glories? Might we not then have a generation of people who, although knowing and believing in the wonderful country that is America, also see that we are extremely fallible and operate more carefully and wisely in regards to matters foreign and at home?

In this last election, it seemed that "morality" was the major vote splitter, and this "morality" was, for all intents and purposes, the morality of Christianity. Now, being a Christian and one who agrees with most of these tenents, I still have to look at history and see that Christians were also in favor of slavery, the Crusades, and many other atrocities perpetrated by God-fearing, God-seeking men. I don't believe (before I get lots of angry letters...if anyone really reads this...which they probably don't...weeping...) nor am I comparing a Pro-life stance with a Pro-slavery stance (I mean...who's not for slavery...), I am merely saying that "morality" should be tempered by history. Only through knowledge of events and, most importantly, the meaning behind those events, can we truly make unequivicable (I probably spelled that wrong) decisions about the real truth.

Ok, soap box put away...

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2004


Secret of Life Found!!!!

And the secret of life is...7. Just think about it and it all becomes clear (eerie music begins)...Isn't it clearer now...look into my eyes...

Actually, I don't know the secret (or meaning) of life, but I just figured that it would be more fun to start my blog with an attention grabbing headline than just what I was going to be writing about. But now that you're reading, you have to finish...it's the law...in Utah...

GUESS WHAT?! Yes, this is the phrase that I hear the most of during my teaching adventures. It is either in answer to a question or completely unsolicited. The funny thing, though, is that the "what" is always completely and utterly irrelevant to the happening at hand. An example:

Me:Ok guys. Has anyone had a moment when they made someone else sad?

Child: Guess what?!

Me: What?

Child: I have a turtle.

Me: That's great (sigh)

Or how about this one:

Me: Now listen up. Who did the Indians invite for thanksgiving?

Child: Guess what?!

Me: (hesitant) What...

Child: My belly button hurts.

Me: Umm...ok...(sigh of defeat)

Or my all time favorite:

Child: (running up to me on the playground) Guess what?!

Me: (coming out of reverie in which I am a pirate) Oh...umm...what...

Child: I have a secret.

Me: Ok, what is it?

Child: Umm...I forget (scampering off)

And then out comes the razor blades...

However, although these questions are more often than not nonsensical, it gave me insight into another human trait that is uniquely manifested in children. There is a need for attention that is painfully obvious in these little ones and it is a need that is so powerful as to take precedence over anything else going on. It is also an end in and of itself which is evidenced by the lack of a real "what" to any given "guess" question. It is as if they have subconsciously said "Ok get attention", but then forgot to go the next step and ask "Why?"

"That's great" some of you may say. "Kids want attention and they don't care what it's for. Freud move over...there's a new kid in town "(mockingly said...shame on you!!!) I would say to your sarcasm (oh and believe me I feel it...and I know where you live!) that this is a life lesson that we should all take notice of. I suggest that our need for attention doesn't diminish with age, but that we merely become more adept at determining socially viable "what"s to answer with, therefore getting the attention without necessarily showing that the attention was the end one hoped for all along. Maybe many of our desires wherein we see what we want having paramount imnportance are merely elaborate subconscious "what"s that are so convoluted as to make us believe that we are not merely vying for attention and focus.

So next time someone has to speak or share their opinion or has something so important that it seems they might explode without sharing to all who would listen, step back and see if maybe, just maybe, they are really just telling you a very believeable version of "I have a turtle". And, if they are, then do what we do to children...kick them...hard...in the knee...and then poop on them...they asked for it...

Monday, November 15, 2004


C-Dogg in the Big City!

I returned from a trip to our nation's capital yesterday (I say our nation's capital to those Americans reading this...to the rest of you I mean THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!!! MWA HA HA!!!). Now, I hadn't been to the Big D.C. since that fateful year in 1992 where I watched a young man from Arkansas take the oath of office...at least I think it was him...I was pretty far away...actually I may have been watching the mating of the cockatoo...hmmmm.... No, no, I think was at the inauguration of Clinton, but I haven't returned to the city since then, so I was excited to be back in the action. Had a nice lunch with Zhubin at the Capital City Grill (where one can enjoy such specialties as the Filibuster Burger, Senatorial Fries, and the one and only Congressional Chicken Fingers...I think they just stopped trying) and then went to the International Spy Museum where I took on an alias, saw videos of the most influential and infamous spies in US history, and saw the BIGGEST RECTAL TOOL KIT EVER!!!! Now, I have to take a minute here. I understand the need to hide tools in case of capture, but this "tool kit" was at least two inches in diameter and probably six to seven inches long! That's dedication folks...that's dedication!!! But all in all, it was a fun time with my cousins and a great weekend.

However, I did hear something while I was there that gave me a new insight into the American people. Apparently, the hottest ticket in town right now is the Texas Inaugural Ball held in D.C. by the...ummm...Texas Society of D.C....sure... Anywho, apparenly regardless of your politics, this is THE ticket to have. This, then, makes me think. If politics really take second place to a really good party, then isn't that the key to the next election. I mean if John Kerry had promised much better parties, complete with good food, great music, and chips-and-salsa carrying midgets, he would have won in a landslide. On the flip side, even without a health care plan, equal taxation, or standard intelligence, Bush could have taken ninety percent of the vote by merely promising the "tailgate to end all tailgates!!!"

I guess I just find it interesting to see that we can only truly be completely bi-partisan when there is an open bar...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Say What?!

As some of you may know, I am doing a number of jobs to make money while I wait for my wedding and subsequent move back to the United Kingdom. One of these jobs is at a preschool...yes, it's true...I am being entrusted with the minds of tomorrow...mwa ha ha!!!! I am working as the teacher's assistant and thought I would take a moment today and relate a story.

We were out on the playground running, swinging, digging for Truman Capote's remains, when I hear from a jungle gym something that sounds like "C'mon guys...poop on me!" Thinking I must've heard wrong, I go to aforementioned gym de jungle and saw a boy in the middle, standing watching the other kids swinging and saying, "Poop on me!" Now I remember being that age when dirt rocked, mud was divine, and peeling a scab was a good afternoon's entertainment, but even then I might've thought twice about "Poop on me."

However, let's look at it another way. Maybe I witnessed one of the great moments of epiphany common when working with children. Maybe "Poop on me" was merely a way of saying, "Let me join in your game. I am lonely down here in this hole and would like to endear myself to your swinging game even to the point of debasing myself. I am in need of love and friendship and would give even my dignity to be part of something greater than myself!" Maybe this child was reaching out to the dominating ruling class in the only way he knew how. Maybe by "pooping", others would join in his revolt to commonality and rise up into a powerful class demanding the right for equal jungle gym time for all who would care to swing!!!!

Or maybe he just wanted them to poop on him...

Makes you think...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Britain Vs. America: The Ultimate Throw Down

I am engaged to a Brit. There...I said it. Now, what most of these United States and the people living within do not, and verily cannot know, is that cross cultural differences ABOUND! Furthermore, these differences are never as great as in the realm of...wait for it...POLITICS!!!

Oh no...there he goes. I know that everyone and their mother has posted his/her/its thoughts about the election and given great insight into what everyone else should think (so many brilliant people on the net...I swear...), but I figured I would take a minute and try to give a brief thought (I say brief because I'll probably get bored writing it if it's too long and make a sandwich...speaking of which...) as to why the rest of the world, most especially Britain, would rather eat their own food (boiled everything people!) than have anything to do with the man, the myth, the de-taxenator...George W. Bush! I have talked to a number of people about this because of my experience over there and I thought you'd be dying to know really what I thought. So here it is.

It is actually not too difficult to figure out why America rubs so much of the world the wrong way. Let me explain in an analogy. Let's say you are at home with your brothers and sisters. Now your oldest brother (the biggest, strongest, and, funnily enough, one with the biggest GDP) is in charge while mom is away...where is she, you ask...I don't know...let's say...jail. So brother is in charge and needs to get you all to do the dishes, not a fun task, but one that needs to be done. Are you more likely to respond favorably if told, "Although I am the oldest, I value your opinions equally. The dishes need to be done, but I am willing to be merely a leader among equals and we can discuss the best and most favorable way, across the board, to do the dishes and maybe even make cookies." or "I'm doing the dishes with or without you...however, if you don't help...I'm telling mom you killed the dog...oh and you're evil...an axis of evil!"?

I'm not necessarily saying that what we have done is wrong. Saddam was a horrible leader (almost as bad a the Saudi leaders...oops, I digress...) and shouldn't be in power, but our alienating strongarm unilateral tactics have put us in a position where we may win the battle in Iraq, but lose the war in being a respected leader among the world.

In closing, I have heard on countless shows how people say we have to do the right thing regardless and they don't care what the other countries think. If, however, we want to be the "moral" leaders of the world, shouldn't we be the type of country that people WANT to follow?

Just a thought...

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Thus it begins...

Well, I've done it. I have buckled to the pressure from the various insidious factions and have become infected with "the blog", as it is called in polite conversation. However, instead of looking at it as merely another fetter to which I will be tied (such as the cell phone, e-mail address, and the Simpsons), I will use this as an outlet for the many insightful, nay brilliant, observations that I would tell you face to face...were you not walking away...please come back...sigh...

But know that as long as I am here, the truth shall always be of secondary importance to a well thought out joke...I'm just saying...

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