Every once in a while I like to think about how I met the people I consider friends and acquaintances. William Butler Yeats, a famous Irish poet, once wrote, “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met,” I love that quote because it perfectly represents any relationship before an acquaintance is made. I met a few interesting people this weekend, and as I sit and reminisce about the fun times I shared with my new friends, I am brought to the memory of first running into these “strangers.” I have blogged before about first impressions and their importance, but during everyday outings little attention is generally given to first impressions. Most people notice small things about others wherever they go, but overall I don’t believe people are always putting their best foot forward at every landing. A routine trip to the supermarket doesn’t often lead to meeting people but a simple conversation in any setting can trump a first impression. The most important step in meeting anyone is speaking to or interacting with the person, there doesn’t even need to be a formal introduction since, I honestly think that is a waste of time, but anything can turn into a lifelong relationship. It is too often an occurrence that people allow their own biases and preconceived notions to have control over their interactions with others, and many friendships never begin because of these cases. The best way to meet people and make friends is to converse, you may not become friends with everyone, but you will surely never miss out on some great conversations.
Growing up I was always taught of nine planets, we even had a clever mnemonic used to remember them, “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.” The first letter in each word denotes the name of one of our solar system’s planets in order: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. In the year 2006 the International Astronomical Union ruled that Pluto should be categorized as a dwarf planet and is no longer to be recognized with the larger planets. I have been upset about the ruling on Pluto for years, since it means my “mother serves us nothing,” but recent debates look to change how we see our planets. Over the past year there has been a push to revise the way we classify planets, which would effectively add Pluto back to our teachable solar system. I love the idea of bringing Pluto back into the list of planets, but it seems like the changes to our planetary classification system would also add several other planets to our solar system. Three of the largest “trans-Neptunian objects” aside from Pluto are Eris, Haumea, and Makemake, these celestial bodies are just a few of what may become the newest planets in our solar system. I will be eagerly following these planetary developments, hopefully we end up with a few new planets. I will start working on a mnemonic for the poor children who will soon be forced to memorize this new list of 17 or more planets in our solar system.
Jeopardy is probably my favorite trivia show, the show has been around for years and it has succeeded in keeping viewers and contestants consistently stumped by its ingenious questions. Jeopardy is a bit different from the standard trivia fare, as this show gives contestants answers and asks for the question as a response. Host, Alex Trebek, has done a fantastic job over the years, giving the answers to questions, and smugly correcting contestants for their incorrect responses. I have always wondered how and if the show could go on without Alex as the host, he has been a fixture on the show since before my birth, and I have grown to love his reactions to an absurd response by a contestant. We will all soon have to learn how the show goes on, as Trebek has announced that this will be his final season hosting. Over the past decade many long running television game shows have chosen a comedian to fill the role as the new host, and while I love the injection of comedy into an “old person’s” show, Jeopardy has an air about it that must be maintained. The new host of Jeopardy must be the kind of person who can be arrogant about his or her intelligence, without insulting the intelligence of the contestants. I can actually think of a few comedians who can fit the role held by Trebek, but in my opinion, the next host of jeopardy must be likable, intelligent, and a bit cocky. Jeopardy is a show that has no star, the show makes stars out of its contestants, I hope the new host can keep the focus on the show, and I hope the show stays the same in spite of the impending changes.
Today is a big day in sports, while the Major League Baseball season started yesterday with the Cardinals taking on the Cubs, today all other teams get a chance to play. My impressions of yesterday’s game were mostly positive as I love that baseball is back, but it seems like the Cubs just can’t shake their losing ways. The Cubs were shutout yesterday in this seasons inaugural game, and it is starting to look like all of the big changes they made in the offseason won’t help them win a championship this year. The Cubs have not won a championship since 1908, and while I would love to see this “curse” broken, the team needs to believe they can win before they start winning. I know there has only been one game, so I will hold further judgment until at least June, the Cubs will have plenty of time to figure things out before I chide their performance. The team I am most excited for this year, is the New York Yankees, the Yankees have been struggling the past few years, but barring any major injuries, I feel they may have a chance make the playoffs this year. All baseball fans have a strong opinion of the Yankees, and given the fact that the team is very old, the haters have been quite loud in their opposition. I am optimistic this year because the team is extremely talented, and as long as they stay healthy, the Yankees will be a formidable opponent to any team in the MLB.
The last event going on today that will round out this full day of sports is the college basketball championship game, The two teams who have made it to the final game are the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Duke Blue Devils. I have been extremely vocal in my support for Kentucky as they were the most talented team in the tournament, but Wisconsin found a way to defeat them in the Final Four. I really like the Wisconsin team, but I am a Duke fan and I will roll with the Blue Devils, the score of the game tonight will be 68 – 63 with Duke winning the championship. I hope all of the events going on today are enjoyable, and I hope every sports fan out there enjoys the action today.
Today is Easter, it is the most significant day of the year for Christians. Some people may think that Christians are a judgmental bunch, but that is just an extreme generalization. I am a Christian who does not fit the mold of what many people think Christians are, I respect all individuals and know that loving one another is the most important thing. I dislike that all Christians are generalized to be a certain way, when most of us are completely opposite of what the media portrays. I celebrate Easter because it is essentially the birth of my faith, faith is something that goes far beyond opinion and intellect, and that is why it can not really be effectively argued. Faith is seen by some as irrational, because it is the full belief in something that you can not rationally understand. In my opinion you have to have faith to really believe anything, without it you have no beliefs, and without beliefs, it is impossible to think beyond what you are told. Easter, to a Christian, is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which is the start of and central belief of Christianity. We believe Jesus’ death and resurrection is an example of what true love really is, as he died for those he loved, and came back to show he was who he said he was. I strive to show love and respect to everyone, and yes I fail at times, but that’s part of the journey called life, and part of myself that I work to change. My job here is not to change people, but to show them who I believe in, and through my actions get them to want to know who he is. I will spend this day reflecting on what Jesus did, and do my best to be the best person I can be, and share the love that was given to me.
Furious 7 was a “thrill ride” from start to finish. The Fast and The Furious movie franchise, which was once about cars, is now completely action, and I must say I couldn’t be more excited about the switch. I started watching this movie series around the forth installment, after it took the turn from a driving movie to more of a heist movie, and I was instantly hooked. I will not be releasing any spoilers about the film, all I will say is any Fast and Furious fan will love this movie. One of the stars of this film, Paul Walker, passed away during the making of this film, and I came into the theatre wondering how they would portray his character and how his final performance would honor his legacy. This movie was an inspiring tribute to Paul and the filmmakers perfectly captured his character, and the man behind the character. As for the film, it was just as anyone would expect, an overly dramatic, high energy action movie, full of unbelievable stunts, and physics defying movements that left me both awestruck and saying “how?” The action scenes and the writing of this movie perfectly blended all seven movies into what could possible be the final film in the franchise. The movie flowed smoothly, weaving in action and drama, leaving few if any lulls, and keeping me glued to the screen throughout. I honestly have no problems with the film, and I would recommend it to any adult who enjoys action movies, if you are on the fence about Furious 7, see it, it is well worth the money.
I am one of those people who loves to travel, but I am not really the biggest fan of sightseeing. When I travel I am more interested in interacting with the people of whatever region or country I am visiting, because they are actually the most interesting attraction of the region. I know that sounds weird but, have you ever realized how quickly things change in only a few years? In this technological era you could visit a country twice in as short as five years and find that you are experiencing completely different things, and seeing very different sights from what you observed on your first trip. The museums and ancient artifacts of different cultures have lasted for centuries, but each individual who lives and has seen the changes in their country only lasts about 90 years, and has a story that only they can really tell. When I travel, I like to get a sense of the heart of a country, and people are the element that makes any society move. Next time you travel, try and get to know some of the “townies,” not only do they know the best foods, but you can also learn some interesting things about the location you are visiting.
There has been quite a bit of talk lately about standardized testing in the school systems, it seems as though almost every other commercial during the news is a political ad bashing standardized tests. Many of these commercials involve parents sitting in meeting room, speaking about how their child is stressed, or about how these tests are taking up a disproportionate amount of time that could be allotted to learning more important things. One of these commercials truly struck me, it involved a father speaking about how his first grader came home drained and depressed from the amount of learning he had to “endure” in school, all due to these tests. That commercial is extremely upsetting to me, not because the child was “drained” from school, but the fact that learning too much at school is considered a bad thing. Maybe it’s just me, or due to my upbringing, but I was always taught to treat school as my job, and I did my best to learn and excel at everything I was taught. If something at school was too hard, I asked my parents for help or did extra research, but I can honestly say I was never so heavily burdened by the amount of work given at school that I felt like quitting. I understand that everybody learns at a different pace, and I feel as though schools are doing their best to work with everyone, but this commercial made it seem as though this child was just going to school for fun, then he happened to be blindsided by the necessity of learning. As for standardized testing, I don’t agree that it should be used to grade teachers, I think it should be used as a benchmark for student growth. Students should be required to take a test at the start and at the midpoint of each year to assess their growth, and teachers should be rated on the overall growth of their students, as well as individual grades. The United States is already falling behind other countries when it comes to math, science, and even reading, so I find it hard to believe that lightening the workload will help us catch up. I am not fully sure of what will come out of these standardized testing debates, but one thing I do know is that the actual learning aspect of school must stay the most important, in order for the United States to stay intellectually relevant in this ever changing world.
In honor of today, I was just going to leave this blank, but where is the fun in that?
April Fools is a day taken once a year to make a fool of one another by playing generally harmless pranks. The idea behind April Fools’ Day is actually an old one, as many cultures, over many centuries, have had a day in which they fooled their fellow man for whatever reason, but has the “foolishness” of this day gone too far? I have seen many pranks today, from the seemingly harmless “I’m pregnant” jokes down to the cruel burning bag of dog feces pranks, and I just wonder where do we leave the realm of harmless joke and fall into the field of ruthless bullying. Jokes these days have become extremely elaborate and in some cases extremely dangerous, as many try to reach new heights of annoyance with their coworkers and significant others. The pranks many are pulling today can easily be interpreted as crazy, mean, or even hateful to an outside observer. I don’t want to be too serious in post about April Fools, since I would be fooling myself, but I hope people use today wisely. Make sure you keep all of your jokes clean and friendly, because April 2nd can quickly be April breakups or firing day. Here are some pictures of my top four favorite breeds of dogs, consider it my uninspired April Fools’ Day gift to you, the reader, Happy April Fools’ Day.
I was thinking today that I haven’t read any good poetry in a very long time, perhaps I am just looking in the wrong places or maybe poetry isn’t as popular as it once was, but I really used to enjoy it and I would love to find some good poetry books. There are many famous poets that have helped shape the landscape of literature but there is one in which I remember fondly, and a poem I could never forget. That author is Robert Frost and the poem is “The Road Not Taken.”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I read this poem a long time ago, possibly over 15 years ago, and it makes more sense to me now as an adult. Not to say it was a confusing poem as a child, but that I didn’t have the life experience to fully understand it. In this poem the narrator is unsure of which path to take, and when he decides which one to take, he is pleased with his final decision. The line in this poem that strikes me most is the final one, I am of the school of thought that believes everything will turn out fine, if you are able to fight through the difficulty. The final line of this poem makes it seem as though traveling the less traveled path was the modifier in the narrator’s life, when it may have actually just been another event or plot on the line graph that is life. Many people would disagree with my reading of the poem, but that is why I love poetry. Poetry can be read and understood in many different ways, but one thing is true, no matter what the author decided the poem would be about, it is ultimately the reader who makes their own interpretation of the work that brings it to life.