I actually thought it was okay -- certainly among the least egotistical examples of public speaking ever offered up by the Donald. I bristled a few times (referencing "all talk, no action" politicians seemed ill advised considering he just applied those words to a man who nearly died fighting for civil rights), and I laughed when he promised to "never, ever let [us] down" (dude lets me down every time he spews inanity via Twitter). But my expectations were very low and he did exceed them -- and I was able to sit through the entire speech while sober -- so I give him props for that.
Today, as a student and I perused a list of writing prompts in search of an engaging topic, we happened upon one that tasked students with describing how to make a new friend.
"How about that one?" I said. "That looks like a fun prompt."
"I don't have much to write about that," replied the student. "My best friend -- he just came up to me and said, 'Will you be my best friend?' I said, 'Okay!' And we've been best friends for three years."
And I was fascinated by this revelation, because it just seemed so simple -- and because, I guess, that really is how friendship works for children. I think that's even how one of my most enduring childhood friendships started; we met in the 2nd grade and remained close until our sophomore year of high school, when he matter-of-factly informed me that we could no longer be friends because he needed to be with "his own kind." (He was Korean American. I am not.)
I smiled at my student and said, "Huh! Maybe I should try that."
But then it dawned on me that I *had* actually tried that -- and in the past few days, no less. When I asked if that person wanted to be friends, the answer was an unequivocal "no." (The explanation -- which I didn't ask for -- was this: "You and I are just so different.")
My student smiled back and said, "It couldn't hurt."
So I get that everyone has pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and that staying positive (at least according to general wisdom) means appreciating the good ones while mostly ignoring the bad ones... but I think it's kind of interesting that my negative experiences are frequently bizarre or memorable -- or costly -- enough that I'm inclined to comment on them to the exclusion of the more uplifting ones. (more...)
At the high school where I teach an SAT prep course, there's been some controversy over a student essay. Apparently, after reading and analyzing Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," students were assigned to write their own satiric piece -- and one student wrote a piece about racism that a number of students found highly offensive. (Some of those upset students are in my class; before Wednesday's session began, I read the essay and we chatted about it briefly.) (more...)
I got to work an hour or so early today, and since it was such a beautiful day I decided to take a delightful walk along the trail near the tutoring center. Seriously, it was a super pleasant walk and I should plan to arrive early far more often than I actually manage it! Still, here's a multiple-choice question for you.
Which of the following yard signs did I see during my walk?
A) THIS PROPERTY PROTECTED BY
B) FREE ROCK SALT
DELIVERED BY 12 GAUGE
C) JIHAD FREE ZONE
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN
E) ALL OF THE ABOVE
Again -- it was a lovely walk. I think people sometimes get the impression that I post with the intent to complain or to spread negativity or to garner sympathy, but mostly I just think those observations provide for more interesting discussion than simply noting that I went for a relaxing walk (not that I won't post those sorts of comments as well). Like, what kind of person publicly displays a sign like (C)? At face value, it's basically the equivalent of "I DISLIKE TERRORISM" -- except I'd wager that most of us dislike terrorism. (I hope that I never find myself in a place that I am conclusively convinced is NOT a "jihad free zone.") So why would a person feel the need to express that sentiment in bold, capital letters unless he/she intends to suggest something beyond the simple meaning of the words? And given that likelihood, how should we interpret the sign? Is it making a positive/worthwhile comment, or is it functionally the equivalent of "I KINDA SUCK"? Hmmm.