Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Have You Ever Wondered How My Blog Looks In Arabic?

What do you mean it has never occurred to you to wonder what my blog looks like in Arabic? I think it probably actually reads better in Arabic than English. Take a look at this. (Somebody from Riyadi, Saudi Arabia, visted my blog to read my report on Silas Marner. They used google translate to translate it into Arabian.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stand By Me

I must be the last person in the world to have seen this video of musicians around the world joined through the miracle of electronics in singing "Stand By Me." If you haven't seen it, this is worth watching and hearing. By the end, I almost had a lump in my throat.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Movie Report: The Class

The Class, or as it was known in France, Entre les murs, (Between the Walls) is certainly no To Sir With Love, nor its host of imitators over the last 40 years who uniformly portray an idealistic young teacher winning over skeptical students with enthusiasm and dedication.

The movie is about a school in Paris, ethnically diverse, but like middle schools everywhere, or at least in the United States, one where learning often gets lost in the battle between teachers and teen hormones. The movie shows it like it is; students are more than a handful; looking for any weakness or diversion to keep from spending time learning. But unlike Sidney Poitier's perfect character in To Sir With Love, this teacher is well-intentioned, but flawed. His students push him beyond what any teacher should be pushed, but he gets in trouble when he reacts with inappropriate language.

This is a must-see movie if you're a middle-school teacher. It was written by a teacher, and is loosely based on a year at his school. It probably should be seen in the company of a teacher. For a non-teacher, it starts a little slowly. I went with The Wife, who teaches English as a Second Language in middle school and she loved it. For myself, about half way through the movie, I leaned over and whispered, "Is the plot going to start pretty soon?"

The movie was nominated (but didn't win) for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, and has won a host of other awards, including the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. I left the theater disappointed at the slow pacing and was prepared to give it three stars. But a little lobbying at dinner by The Wife convinced me to give it an extra star for its authenticity. There were no heroes nor villains. That's worth at least a star in the cinema these days.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Well, At Least It's Something

February is over with, not a single blog entry by me. I have lots of excuses -- busyness; blues, blahs, bored. I'm still not feeling very creative, so I'm going to steal an idea from my friend, Catch Her In the Wry.

Here’s a meme that’s been going around. It’s called the bucket list. You have to review all 100 items and put in bold the ones you’ve already achieved in life. So, here is my bucket list (kind of the opposite from the movie, The Bucket List, which was a list of things you still wanted to achieve before you kicked the bucket. It was not a very good movie, but did have three pieces of wonderful advice for older men, which I won't repeat here):

I HAVE…

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii .
5.Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo

11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Ridden an elephant