Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
January 20, 2017
Re: Trump’s inaugural address
Category: Current Events … Serious

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.

-posted by Wes | 8:51 pm | Comments (0)
June 23, 2016
Friendship is Magic
Category: Miscellany … Serious

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."

-posted by Wes | 1:00 am | Comments (0)
June 5, 2016
My weekend and stuff
Category: Miscellany … Serious … Travels

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...)

-posted by Wes | 9:19 pm | Comments (0)
April 17, 2016
A Prosaic Proposal
Category: Current Events … Serious

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...)

-posted by Wes | 5:44 pm | Comments (0)
April 12, 2016
I dislike terrorism, too?
Category: Serious … Travels

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
SMITH+WESSON

B) FREE ROCK SALT
DELIVERED BY 12 GAUGE

C) JIHAD FREE ZONE

D) TRUMP
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.

-posted by Wes | 9:19 pm | Comments (0)
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