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Everything posted by EleCivil

  1. I ended up covering a middle school English class, yesterday. They were reading a short story about Japanese internment camps, which spun off into a discussion about war in general. After taking a few questions, I had to stop and ask "You guys realize we're at war right now, correct? Does anyone know what country America is fighting in right now?" One kid raised his hand. His guess was "South Korea." They had no idea that a war in Afghanistan had been going on for the majority of the time they've been alive. I pulled up a world map and showed them where Iraq and Afghanistan were. Then a kid raised his hand and said "So...where are we on that map?" Yep. Not only did these kids not know that we were at war, but they did not know where to find America on a world map. Kid: "So, those guys like, got on a boat and came over here to fight us?" Me: "Well...funny story about that..." Every now and then, you'll hear someone speak about how we're disconnected from the war, but it came as a surprise exactly how disconnected some of my students were.
  2. What. No. What!? I'm out. There's...there's just too much stupid.
  3. Southern Baptist preacher's kid, chiming in. (Give it a bit to warm up - I've heard fast, revival-style arrangements of this one that very much fit the stompin' and clappin' kind of thing you're going for.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNQXQKflJNA (Originally an "African-American church song", but this was in EVERY white, Southern Baptist church I've ever been in. If you wanted to show that a character is more "liberal" for 1970, have them use this - it was released in '67, and for a church to play anything less than 25 years old is rather radical.)
  4. I like to think of it as "The Old Sky-Cake Dodge":
  5. Doesn't scare me too much. Remember that time Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was released right before the '08 elections, and everyone was certain that there was NO WAY the goofy, bumblin', war-monger cowboy would beat the boring yet intellectual war hero, especially after such a routing at the box office? And then he did? There's a good 30% on each side that thinks "their man" can do no wrong, and will vote for anyone with an ® or (D) next to their name. Those are the people going to see films like this.
  6. I never went to a Battle Cry rally when I was a kid (I think I was 18 by the time they started), but there were a lot of similar groups. Dress up the Bible with a lot of (generic) rock music, lasers, sports. Throw in a bunch of talk about fighting, war, battle, us vs. them. It takes some serious mental kung-fu to convince yourself that Christians are a persecuted minority in America, but they manage to do it. Add qualifiers like "Real, Bible-believeing, Evangelical Christians" - things that are all defined in the head of the definer - and say that the rest of those "so-called Christians" are just pretenders, working against the cause. Even at my most hardcore religious phase, this stuff left a bad taste in my mouth. All flash, no substance...and when you're dealing in answers to the ultimate questions, I wanted substance. "Let's all shout and watch lasers!" didn't appeal to me as much as "Let's look at the original Greek to see if this could be interpreted differently!"
  7. My first year teaching, I taught 4th graders. I then followed them to 5th grade, then 6th. These same kids are now 7th graders. I'm not in the classroom anymore - most of my day is spent riding a desk - but I still make time to visit that class. Today, I noticed that about half of them were wearing mismatched socks. You can easilly tell that these particular kids have been mine for 3 years straight. I was wearing mismatched socks as well. When the higher-ups questioned me about it, I said that my one white and one black sock was a Taoist religious expression, symbolizing yin and yang - an expression of the dual nature of man and my personal attempts to strive for balance. Their eyes glazed over and they let me go on my way. Point: EC.
  8. When I saw the topic title, I thought "Man, it would be cool if that was a Les Mis parody." I was not dissapointed. I must say, it's hard to NOT get a little amped when I hear that song.
  9. Jimmy NcNulty is a brit? Wow. Like you said, flawless. I can't speak to the show's realism when it comes to the police/drug dealing plotlines, but in season 4 they start to show what it's like in an inner-city public school, and it's dead on. You know all those "teacher movies" like Stand and Deliver, Freedom Writers, etc. that show an upper-middle class white lady going into an urban school? None of them really captured it the way The Wire did. That sense of isolation, frustration, seeking and clinging to small victories, sudden explosive violence - it got it all right. If you want to know what modern public education REALLY looks like, watch The Wire season 4. I'd also recommend it from a writer's standpoint - a lot of us write about school-aged characters, and The Wire is very realistic in depicting what it's like to be a child in poverty being raised in and around gangs. Having worked with a lot of kids in that situation, I'm glad this show had the guts to show what's really going on. Also from a writing standpoint, check out this scene (Warning: Profanity and some nudity, not safe for work): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sNZ7ulO1RQ This one short scene reveals the characters' relationship in a way that you couldn't do with a paragraph of exposition. "Show, Don't Tell" at its finest.
  10. I saw this video the other day, and thought I'd share. A vlogger, The Nostalgia Chick, compares/contrasts Orson Scott Card and Chick-fil-A.
  11. In no part of the Bible does it say to use political force to coerce non-believers into acting like believers. If you go by the Bible, that's completely backwards - the idea is to convert to Christianity first, THEN you'll start acting Christ-like. Passage after passage speaks of how none are righteous, and simply acting right and following the rules aren't what gets you into heaven. But then again, we're back to playing in their yard. The Bible says some things are sinful. Yes, but there are no bullets in that gun. What is the Bible to a non-believer? It's an appeal to an unproven authority. To a non-believer, quoting God is quoting a fictional character. God says "Homosexuality is an abomination." Mr. T says "I pity the fool". One of these quotes is from a spiritual force that has not been proven to have ever said it, let alone exist, and it suggests that the supreme creator despises His own creations. The other is from a man who most definitely does exist (He's even on camera saying it! Many, many times!), and it suggests that one should have sympathy for the ignorant. Out of the two quotes, I would prefer to follow the second. (Though I think I'm preaching to the choir here. Er, so to speak.)
  12. ...That's not to say I don't like the cartoon, however.
  13. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1jSgODkRTsg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> School's back in session! This will be my first year as an administrator. Who's the boss? I'm the boss! Hahahaha! I'm going to make all the teachers wear mismatched socks and learn to juggle! I'm gonna kick down classroom doors and attack classes with Silly String! My reign of zany, zany terror begins now! ...Okay, not really. But I did just spend the past couple weeks training the new teachers and helping them set up their rooms. I'm so excited to see my students again! ...I suppose I could go back to school Rodney Dangerfield style, but unfortunately, I still don't think I'll be able to meet Vonnegut. <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tQnAhSzb4gY?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> ...So it goes.
  14. I always hated the argument about whether or not sexual orientation was a choice. It really doesn't matter - since when was it acceptable to descriminiate against someone because of their choices? Even if it's a choice that involves something you don't personally agree with? Even though we know it's BS, let's pretend that tomorrow, science proves conclusively that homosexuality is a conscious choice. ...So? It still hasn't been demonstrated that it's a less ethical choice than heterosexuality. Christianity is a choice - one that I don't agree with - but I still think Christians should be allowed to marry each other. Even gay Christians. When someone pulls the "Homosexuality is a choice!" card, and we respond with "No, it isn't. Here's the science," we're agreeing to play in their home field, so to speak. It's like we're saying "Sure, we're SINNERS, but we didn't CHOOSE to be sinners!" No. I'm not having that argument. The argument needs to be "Is it morally wrong to love someone of the same gender?" All of these side issues - whether it's a choice, whether it's "natural", etc. - are things pulled out by the other side to distract from the real argument, because they have no valid, reasonable way to support that argument. I'm not playing your game - you're making a claim about my morals. Now prove your claim, or step out of my way.
  15. I searched for "Spud" on Netflix, but the closest I got was "Spader". But that reminded me of how awesome James Spader is, which put me in a good mood. It was certainly not a loss in my book.
  16. Watched the trailer. Had no idea what was going on. But then I read the synopsis of the novel this is based on: The novel consists of six nested stories that take the reader from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Each tale is revealed to be a story that is read (or observed) by the main character in the next. All stories but the last are interrupted at some moment, and after the sixth story concludes at the center of the book, the novel "goes back" in time, "closing" each story as the book progresses in terms of pages but regresses in terms of the historical period in which the action takes place. Eventually, readers end where they started, with Adam Ewing in the Pacific Ocean, circa 1850. (source) Sounds interesting.
  17. NYC City Council asks NYU to kick out Chic-Fil-A. Meanswhile, Sarah Palin posts pictures of herself and her family at Chick-Fil-A. The next battle in the culture war will be faught on a battlefield of fried chicken. There's something distinctly American about that.
  18. I think I can sum up that first one with just one scene. Let's try: --- CROSSOVER: Law and Order/Narnia, with Meta-Commentary as a Plot Device (Open on alley in New York City. Two a.m. Two drunken REVELERS stumble into alley, bickering.) REVELER 1: "I'm tellin' ya, ya ain't never BEEN with a women until ya been with a Turk. PURE dee-light!" REVELER 2: "Aw, you're full a- hey. Hey hey hey. Wait a minute." REVELER 1: "What? What?" REVELER 2: "There's somethin' back here. It...oh, god." REVELER 1: "What is it?" REVELER 2: (Turning to look at REVELER 1) Call the cops. Cut to black. <SFX: CLANG CLANG> (Same alley, later that morning. The sun is up. Several CSIs and BEAT COPS mill about, collecting evidence and securing the area. Detectives LOGAN and BRISCOE enter.) LOGAN: "What do we got?" CSI: "Multiple stab wounds around the face and groin. Homicide. I think." BRISCOE: "You think? What, did the guy trip with his pocketknife open? Over and over again?" CSI: "No, not that. He was definitely murdered. The '-cide' part is obvious. It's the 'homo'..." LOGAN: "Let's not get personal, now." CSI: "The victim wasn't human. He seems to be half human, half goat. Driver's license says his name was Mr. Tumnus. A faun." BEAT COP: "The correct term is 'Capricorn-American.'" LOGAN: "Half human, half goat? God, some of the sick things you see." BRISCOE: "Didn't take you for a bigot, Logan." LOGAN: "Just because two things CAN be crossed together doesn't mean they SHOULD. Things have their own natural habitats. Their own...realms. I'm not saying Tumnus deserved this, but there was a time when things like this stayed in the closet, you know?" BRISCOE: "Wardrobe, actually." LOGAN: "What?" BRISCOE points, indicating the suit TUMNUS is wearing. BRISCOE: "Our Capricorn-American friend had a fine taste in clothing. Let's find out what wardrobe he crawled out of." Cut to black. <SFX: CLANG CLANG>
  19. This site gives you a randomly generated terrible idea for fanfiction. Anyone up for the challenge? I got... I'm going to have to do this.
  20. Using their airtight logic, anything can be blamed on gays. Crazy guy shoots people. AFA: "It's because there are gays. Some people are gay, and some churches are too nice to gay people, so God made a dude shoot random people. Hey, it's all part of His plan." Economy plummets. AFA: "Too many gay investment bankers staring at each others' dividends all day. Disgusting." Car crashes up 10%. AFA: "Gay tires only hugging each other, not the road." AFA President loses house keys. AFA: "Probably stolen by a degenerate gay." Bullied gay teen commits suicide. AFA: "We try to reach out, but clearly, homosexuality is a destructive lifestyle." (I may have made up a couple of those in the middle.)
  21. http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/07/23/boston-mayor-blocks-chick-fil-a-franchise-from-city-over-homophobic-attitude/ Boston's Mayor is now pledging to fight attempts by Chick-Fil-A to put franchises in Boston. “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston,” Menino told the Boston Herald on Thursday. “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against the population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion. That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.” --- There are various groups that compile "Christian Yellow Pages" - Business directories with only Christian-owned businesses, so that the devout can be sure they aren't giving money to people with different beliefs (Also, there's the implication of "Hey, a Christian mechanic wouldn't cheat you! Not like one of those heathen mechanics that lubricate engines with the blood of the innocent.")*. Shepherd's Guide is a big one. *But really, the blood of the innocent is a LOT cheaper than oil, so it's Lucifer Motors for me.
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