Double Trouble…

May 20, 2008 - 6 Responses

As most of you know, my baby sister is 18 weeks pregnant. Yesterday she had her Dr. appointment and they were concerned because she was too big for how far along she was. They had intended to do an ultrasound later in the week when Shane could be there, but because they needed to find out what was going on, they went ahead and did it right way. It turns out that Miss. Alaina is expecting twin boys! Wow! 🙂 Everyone around here is pretty excited…although it looks like she’s going to be even more miserable than usual come this July! The due date is in mid-October (can’t think of it off the top of my head) and she’ll be 19 weeks on Thu!

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Really?

May 14, 2008 - 2 Responses

Teehee…

 

Gaaaah!

May 13, 2008 - Leave a Response

I hate finals! 😦

My new best friend

May 8, 2008 - 3 Responses

This site is officially the best thing since Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (heehee). It has a database of books/magazine articles/etc and all you need to do is type in the name of the book and it will automatically pull up the rest of the information for your works cited page (providing that your book is actually in the database). Another thing that is awesome about this is that you can just enter the url of a website and it will also load information from it (author, date created, etc). The next best thing it does? It compiles everything into the perfect Works Cited page. Yes, I know, it’s lazy, but after writing a paper for hours on end it is a godsend! No tabbing or worrying about getting the format right. You choose what format you want and just download it…and bang there it is on your computer in a Word document exactly the way it should be. Oh, yeah, and it will save your bibliography for you so you can go back to it any time. Did I mention it was free too? Amazing. Yes, I know you did not expect to be reading a advertisement here, but it is truely the best thing that I’ve discovered in some time. If you’re a student…you need this! If you’re a teacher…be nice to your students and tell them about this site…they will love you forever and ever, I promise!

And my taxes are paying for this ad?

May 7, 2008 - Leave a Response

“Bill was having trouble speaking and couldn’t raise one arm. I knew something wasn’t right!”

Brilliant deduction…what clued you in?

Unite Spaceship Earth!!!

May 6, 2008 - 3 Responses

Ok, so probably no one else will find this as interesting as I do. I LOVE Dr. Bronner’s soap – yay for peppermint! And the lavendar is really good too. You can use it on pretty much anything (but not on your hair if it’s too long) and the entire bottle is covered (supposedly over 300 words on each) with Dr. Bronner’s “teachings” and such. I wanted to see if I could find them all typed out because its totally crazy, but instead I found this….

 

 

The speech that got me essentially boo-ed off stage!

May 2, 2008 - One Response

 

            How many of you grew up thinking that one day you were going to find that ‘special someone,’ settle down, and have the perfect family? Some of you might have already done so – well, maybe with the exception of the perfect part. But imagine if you were ready to say I do…and the federal government told you that you couldn’t because your someone didn’t fit the government’s criteria, how would you feel? In fact, there are a million other reasons that the federal government should have no say in marriages. Ever heard of separation of church and state? Well, why should an atheist be forced to participate in the religious act of marriage simply for legal reasons? What happens when a church thinks a couple has a valid relationship, but the government refuses to acknowledge it? That’s just the beginning of the problems that government-issued marriages cause. What about the couples who don’t marry just because they don’t want to lose the benefits of being a single parent? That’s something a lot of us college students can relate to, because right a single mother – even one who has a significant other helping her raise her children – can go to school and pay virtually nothing. You might be sitting there thinking “so what? It doesn’t really matter to me,” but I’m here to convince you otherwise. First, I’ll talk about one of the reasons that the government has denied people the right to marry and the religious impact that this has had on their lives. Next, we’ll discuss some of the more legal issues that the current way of viewing marriage causes.  And finally, we’ll talk about one way that these problems can be solved.

            Nick Martin and Christina Prado have a 1 year old daughter. They have been together for many years and want to get married – but they are having a much harder time of it than they ever expected. According to All Things Considered on NPR, Prado is an undocumented immigrant. Even though her boyfriend and would-be husband is a U.S. citizen, a law in Alabama is keeping Martin from marrying the woman he loves.

            Some of you might still be thinking “so what? I’m not in love with an illegal immigrant?” but think about this.According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, a couple cannot have sex outside of marriage – but what happens if the couple is prevented from marrying by the government? Father Tom Ackerman says that “Whatever their legal status is, they are Catholics. From the Catholic perspective…they have a right to receive the sacraments.” Maybe so, but when a religious leader performs a marriage his actions are not only on behalf of the church – he is also acting on behalf of the state. When the church believes that the marriage is legitimate but the state does not, the government is trespassing on the church and couple’s religious freedom.

            According to the Tuscaloosa News, the Diocese of Birmingham say that the law forces couples to live in sin because the government controls whether an individual can receive the sacraments of the church. Essentially, by forbidding couples to marry, the government has also taken away their right to follow their religious beliefs. And, the San Francisco Chronicle says that “every day, more than 100,000 couples in [California]… hear that their love and committed relationships are not as good as the love and relationships of the strangers who are telling them they have no right to marry.”

            We’ve talked about a few people that have been denied the right to marry, but what about the people who don’t get married in order to escape paying higher taxes? Even couples who can get married are opting out because they can get tax breaks by remaining single. According to The Heritage Foundation, a person who makes about $9 an hour ends up forfeiting about $900 in tax refunds and paying $2,800 in taxes in order to get married. Take the case of my friends, Laura and Andy. They have lived together for nine years, have two children, and own a home together…but they aren’t married. Laura and Andy are both committed to one another and their family, but because they can get free food, college courses, and sometimes even housing as long as Laura is a single mother, the couple chooses not to marry. This creates a problem, because according to Fox News, “Utah taxpayers spend as much as $276 million/year for costs associated with divorced and unwed parents.” Under the current system of acknowledging a committed relationship, the couple is able to “cheat the system” by not getting married. Or what about a lesbian couple that I know? Both women are mothers, but since the government won’t allow the couple to marry, they are receiving the benefits of being single mothers by default. According to Forbes, “Even though affording a down payment [on a home] is tough for most singles, they stand to benefit more than married people from the tax code.”

            So how can we fix these problems? The answer is actually very simple: Civil Unions.

 Not only would government issued Civil Unions fix the religious problem attached to marriage, it would also take care of the problem of couples living together without marrying in order to receive tax breaks. If our government issued Civil Unions to couples, it would not need to bother with marriages. Couples could be married by their religious leader regardless of the government’s views about the legitimacy of the marriage. If a certain church held the belief that homosexual couples should not marry, then they would not be forced to marry the couples – and vice versa: if a church felt that a homosexual marriage was acceptable, then they would have the right to sanctify that marriage. The same would hold true for the Catholic Church – solving the dilemma that they are currently facing with undocumented immigrants.

            Regardless of whether or not they were married, every couple would be seen equally in the eyes of the government. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a report by a state-review commission found that “Civil-union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.” If the government only issued Civil Unions, homosexuals would no longer have the status of ‘separate but equal’ in the eyes of the government either, because everyone would have Civil Unions.

            Of course, the practice of taxing people differently would not go away completely – and this is the purpose of the Civil Union. After any couple – married or not – has lived together for five years, the government would automatically issue them a Civil Union, meaning that all of the people trying to or even inadvertently escaping higher taxes by being unwed would be automatically accounted for. Married couples may argue that this creates problems when they have children before the five years are up, but it actually gives them an advantage by allowing them to have the tax benefits that single parents do for those five years. Many people worry that allowing Civil Unions for non-traditional families would destroy the family unit. But there are many ways that the government could easily fix this problem and encourage a stronger family structure. By requiring a couple to live together for at least five years before they receive a Civil Union, the government encourages stability. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 52% of adults 25 and older have been divorced. The five-year stipulation may be enough of an encouragement for couples to stay together – it’s likely that they’ll think “hey, I’ve made it five years…why should I leave now?”

            I’m sure we can all agree that the problems created by government-issued marriages are serious ones. The government is virtually standing in the back of the room waiting to pipe up when it hears “speak now or forever hold your peace.” And people are slipping through the cracks of the federal tax system because our government hasn’t adapted to the changes in society. It’s obvious that the idea of government-issued Civil Unions it is capable of fixing even the most serious of these problems. course, this change is never going to happen unless we start talking about it. I encourage you to write to your senator or congressperson about this issue because it is an important one. Even if you don’t want to write a letter, you can make a difference just by talking about the idea. Remember – the problem isn’t fixed just because we’ve thought of a solution for it; so please, spread the word and encourage debate – generations from now they’re going to thank you for it.

 

 

 


Works Cited

 

Alabama Immigration Law Causing Marriage Discord.” All Things Considered. April 25,    2008.             <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89958678&gt;       Retrieved 26 April, 2008.

Carter, Laurie. “Don’t deny couples the right to marry.” The San Francisco Chronicle. March 5,       2008. <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/05/EDL9VCR5F.DTL&gt;      Retrieved 26 April, 2008

“Divorced and Unwed Parents Cost Utah Taxpayers a Bundle.” Fox. April 15, 2008.             <http://www.myfoxutah.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail;jsessionid=9D299C701E61D70            35EC205CA377C4EC7?contentId=6317319&version=2&locale=EN-            US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1> Retrieved 27 April 2008

Hester, Tom Jr. “Civil-union law under fire.” The Philidephia Inquirer. February 20, 2008             <http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20080220_Civil-union_law_under_fire.html&gt; Retrieved 24 April, 2008

“No SSN? No license to marry.” Tuscaloosa News. December 16, 2007
            <http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20071216/NEWS/476548576/1007&gt;          Retrieved 26 April, 2008.

“Saying ‘I Do’….To Higher Taxes.” The Heritage Foundation. August 30, 2000. <             http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed083000.cfm&gt; Retrieved 24 April, 2008.

“Valentine’s Day 2008: Feb. 14” U.S. Census Bureau. February 14, 2008.     <http://www.census.gov/Press-            Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/010968.html>             Retrieved 24 April, 2008.

Van Riper, Tom. “The Cost Of Being Married Versus Being Single.” Forbes. July 25, 2006.             <http://www.forbes.com/2006/07/25/singles-marriage-money-   cx_tvr_06singles_0725costs.html> Retrieved 25 April, 2008.

 

 

           

 

 

 

Beh-rer, Beh-rer, Beh-rer, Beh-rer, AAAAAAAH!

April 25, 2008 - 3 Responses

This is like the cutest thing in the world (right up there with Cha-lie bit me!)

 

Sad Sad Day!

April 9, 2008 - 2 Responses

So here’s the outline for a speech I did Tues. I thought it was interesting enough to post, but I’m too lazy to re-write it as a blog right now. Oh, but I got a new job…I’m going to be working at “The Picture People” now. Yay. 🙂

Introduction

 

I.          Remember your reaction when you learned that Pluto was no longer a planet?

A.         If you’re like most Americans, I bet I can guess what went through your head.

B.         “What?! You mean those poor kids aren’t going to get to learn that My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas thing?!”

II.         Get ready for another one of those moments.

A.         On February 8th of this year Polaroid announced that it was going to stop making film for their cameras.

B.         In other words, be prepared to meet an entire generation of people who don’t understand the lyrics, “shake it like a Polaroid picture.”

III.        Of course, it’s something much more than a set of lyrics that we’re losing with this change and that is why I’d like to talk to you some today about the Polaroid camera.

A.         First, we’ll discuss the beginnings of Polaroid.

B.         Next, we’ll talk about the impact that Polaroid has had on American culture.

C.         And finally, we’ll learn about the company’s decision to stop the production of both their instant picture cameras and film.

 

Body

 

I.          Polarization is a technique that allows a material to filter different light waves.

A.         In 1926, Harvard student Edwin Land quit school in order to pursue the study of this material.

1.          He believed that he could develop a material that would block all light waves causing glare, but still allow other waves through.

2.          According to the Funding Universe website, “Land applied to patent this process in 1929, and a patent was granted in 1934.

B.         It wasn’t until 1943 – after several contracts with the United States military during World War II – that the Polaroid Company finally came into its own.

1.          I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but the product that gave the company its success was the instant camera.

a.          On Christmas Day, 1943, Land’s daughter wanted to see the pictures her parents had taken that day and it was this request that started the Polaroid Company’s research on a remarkable path

b.         Land was able to take an instant picture of himself at the meeting of the Optical Society of America on February 21, 1947 with a working model of the system – the photograph developed in less than a minute and the story made international news.

 

Transition:  With the successful technology, Polaroid had the potential to become a success as instantly as its pictures were developed.

 

II.         As you all probably know – Polaroid did become a cultural icon.

A.         According to the Boston Globe, “In the years following World War II, Polaroid’s instant photography products…made its brand name famous worldwide.”

1.          In fact, in 2005 PC World named the Polaroid Swinger one of the “50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years”

2.          And according to The Daily Record, one of the defining images of the JFK assassination was taken on a Polaroid.

b.          However, in the age where our pictures pop up in a screen on the back of our cameras as soon as we take them, the so-called magic of Polaroid is lost on most of us and the only reason that the company has sustained itself until now is because of the many artists whose medium is Polaroid.

1.          Stefanie Schneider, a German-born American photographer –  is only one example of the artists who use this technology for their art.

a.          Chuck Close is an American painter who’s work is derived from Polaroid

i.           In a recent interview for NPR’s All Things Considered, Close said that he has a Polaroid of every painting he’s ever done –

ii.          a number reaching somewhere around 2,000.

b.         According to All Things Considered, 70-year-old Elsa Dorfman has worked solely with Polaroid for decades. 

2.          Surprisingly enough, it is the flaws in the technology that has allowed Polaroid to continue to be a powerful force in the art field.

a.          Schneider intentionally uses expired Polaroid film in order to give her artwork a more surreal feeling.

b.         The very fact that an artist never knows exactly what to expect when they take a picture with Polaroid is what has sustained interest in it.

 

Transition:  Obviously, the ratio of artists who use this medium to those who do not is considerably low – almost as low as the ratio of artists to us “take a thousand save two” photographers.

 

III.        As with any business, the shortage of consumers has caused Polaroid considerable trouble – forcing the company to announce that they would no longer make the technology required for Instant Film Cameras.

A.         According to The Boston Globe, “They’re obsolete and futuristic at the same time, which is a hard trick to pull off, but the glory – and downfall – of Polaroid was managing to do it.”

1.          The Washington Post began their article about Polaroid’s announcement by saying, “The artsy, instantly gratifying Polaroid images, reeking of processing chemicals, have finally been done in by endless Flickr Web pages full of digital images, flawlessly produced by cameras that do not require film, emulsion or anything bigger than a shirt pocket to carry them around.”

2.          Today we have digital cameras that are not only able to remotely access our printers and print pictures, but are also capable of showing us our picture immediately after we have taken it – unlike the Polaroid which takes anywhere from thirty seconds to a minute.

a.          Although it was ahead of it’s time some 70 years ago, Polaroid has been trying to play catch-up since the 1990s.

b.         According to Mark Feeny of The Boston Globe,“It’s not as if “instant photography” died in an instant, [but] once digital cameras became affordable, its days were numbered.”

 

Conclusion

 

I.          Since its beginnings in 1926, the Polaroid Company has been enthusiastic about researching products that were useful to the public.

A.         Land’s development of the instant-picture camera was a huge success in its day, but is now an outdated process.

B.         Although it is still a much loved icon of our past, the Polaroid Company acknowledges that technology passed them by decades ago.

C.         And they will make only enough film to sustain Polaroid fans until 2009.

II.         So don’t be surprised, ten-or-so years from now, if you’re riding in your car listening to Outkast and your son or daughter looks up at you and says “what’s a Polaroid picture?”

 

Creative Teaching Awards

April 2, 2008 - 3 Responses

Subject: Animal care

Winner: Leslie Davis, of Savannah, Georgia

Approach: In May 2002, Davis assembled her elementary school students and took them to a nearby park – where they stole a duck from the pond. Then they went back to the school, where they planned to release the duck as a prank.

Reaction: The 23-year-old teacher was charged with public drunkenness, obstruction, and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

 ____________________________________________

Subject: Fasion

Winner: Vice Principal Rita Wilson, Rancho Bernardo High School, Poway, California

Approach: During the 2002 April Dance, Ms. Wilson wanted to make sure that female students were following the dress code. So, as they were entering the building, she lifted up the girls’ skirts to see if they were wearing thong underwear, which was prohibited. According to a source, she even did so in front of male students.

Reacion: The Poway Unified School District investigated and concluded that the vice principal “used poor judgment”…then demoted her to a classroom teaching job.

 ____________________________________________ 

Subject: Civics

Winner: School administrators at Hamilton High School, in Chandler, Arizona

Approach: As part of a law-enforcement training class, four students took part in a “gun drill,” storming school hallways with fake guns, shouting “Don’t make me do it!” But apparently someone had failed to warn the faculty about the drill.

 Reaction: Panicked students and teachers locked down the classrooms until they were sure they were safe. The instructor who planned the drill – Police Officer Andy McIlveen – was acked not to return to the school district. Said Assistant Principal Dave Constance, “This is not an appropriate way to teach school safety.”

  ____________________________________________

Subject: Humanities

Winner: Ronald Cummings, of Santa Ana, California

Approach: For some reason, Cummings drove a group of students – a 14-year-old boy and two 18-year-olds – to a gange fight and then gave them a cigarette lighter that looked exactly like a pistol.

Reacion: Immediately put on leave from the school, he was  charged by police with contributing to the delinquency of minors, making terrorist threats, and using a fake firearm in a threatening manner. He faces eight years in prison.

 ____________________________________________ 

Subject: History

Winner: School officials in West Palm Beach, Florida

Approach: To make sure students would fulfill state requirements in history, the officials developed a 100-question test – and then required that students answer only 23 of them correctly to pass.

Reaction: Not much. Some teachers complained, but the school board defended the low gread scale…and the test went on anyway. Bottom line: The students can get three-quarters of the answers wrong and still pass.

 ____________________________________________

Subject: Ethics

Winner: Third-grade teacher Betty Bettis and gym teacher Thomas L. Sims, of Kansas City, Missouri

Approach: When a lunch money collection in Bettis’s class came up $5 short, the teacher strip searched the students. She took the girls into a restroom, had them strip to their underwear, and then had them check each others’ panties. Sims took the boys into the gym and had them strip and shake their underwear.

Reaction: OUtraged parents made the story international news. One student even went on a talk show to describe the incident. By the way, they found the missing money in a rest room…but not as a result of the strip search.