Nixon's Memoirs: November 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I want you to tell your friends about me...





You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight. As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
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Agreed, Senator Specter.

Let me premise this by saying I think Terrell Owens is a jerk, deserved to lose his job, and I in no way condone his actions.

But Senator Arlen Specter is absolutely right.

Imagine this happening in any other workplace:

"Yeah, Peter, hi, look we're going to go ahead and send you home, and stop paying you, oh, and you can't get another job anywhere in our industry. So if you could just go away and rot, that would be great."

If another team wants to shoot themselves in the foot by going ahead and signing Owens, let them! Especially if it's the Dallas Cowboys! (Jones is now under investigation for implying on a sports talk show that he might be interested in Owens.)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Walk like a panther!

I've just discovered that a large number of visitors to my site are here due to the simple fact that in a previous post, I mentioned that a waiter we had resembled LL Cool J, and linked to a little photo of the man. Now, an ethical dilema arises for me. Do I find and delete this link, and thereby eliminate a large portion of my blog traffic? Or do I leave it, knowing full well that people looking for photos of rappers aren't really honest visitors to my blog?

YOU make the call!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you have either made it safely to your destination, or that your visiting loved ones have all arrived safely at your home. Here in the Casablanca household, it will be me, my wife, my brother-in-law, and a dear friend of ours. Mrs. C is busily cooking up a massive feast, including turkey, casseroles, sweet potato pie, chocolate cake, deviled eggs, mac n' cheese, and more.

Meanwhile, Yahoo is reporting that many of our nation's food banks are running short of food this year due to donation burn-out resulting from Hurricane relief.

My church recently collected approx. 2400 holiday meals to be distributed to the Little Rock area, but I'm sure much more is needed by area food banks across the country. Please do what you can.

I will have to sleep during the Cowboys-Broncos match-up tomorrow, something I'm sure a lot of viewers will be doing. But I am looking forward to enjoying a trouncing of the Detroit Lions by by beloved Atlanta Falcons

Sports commentators were seemingly stuck yesterday on the "tradition" of Dallas and Detroit always playing on Thanksgiving. I personally like the tradition, because with those two teams playing, you are always guaranteed one game where you can let the triptophan take over and avoid annoying relatives. Were the "best matchups" suddenly put into the mix, it could make for some ugly family conflict. Plus, with sucky games on Thanksgiving, you never feel like you're giving up much when the women-folk of the clan manage to talk you out of football and instead force you to join the annual family archival photographic research. I may be only 34, but I still remember holidays where the lights went out, the 16 MM projector went up, and reels were stacked with care for an entire afteroon of grainy memories of aunts and uncles seemingly enjoying their childhood, possibly because there were no films for THEM to watch. Don't get me wrong, I miss those holidays like heck now, and would give up a lot just to sit on grandpa's lap one more time eating pecan pie and disbelieving my mother was ever that young.

But I have new memories to make.

This Christmas we'll be going back to Oklahoma. This will be the first family Christmas since grandma died, so I expect a lot of tears, a lot of memories, and I don't expect I'll miss football at all while we pop in the VHS transfers of those 16mm films, along with Camcordered memories of more recent holidays, and look at the wonder in all the nieces and nephews' eyes disbelieving that we were ever that young.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Celebrity Look-Alike!



myheritage.com is running a trial of their new facial recognition software. Right now you can submit an image and it will select which of 2400 celebrities you most resemble. As you can see above, It seems to think I closely resemble deceased French composer Olivier Messiaen. (Other more popular picks with Mrs. Casablanca were Richard Dean Anderson and Humphrey Bogart.) Oddly enough, the software stated that MRS. Casablanca most closely resembled Brad Pitt. Something is just totally WRONG with that.

I had fun with it for hours! And yes, it stated a submitted photo of Bruce Willis indeed looked like... Bruce Willis!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

As expected, make it so!






You scored as Enterprise D (from Star Trek). You have high ideals and know in your heart that humanity will continue to evolve into a better people. Now if only the borg would quit assimilating people.


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Shameless plug.

On behalf of you, the readers, I've nominated myself for a 2005 Weblog award.

Feel free to nominate yourself for something there as well, and when voting comes around, remember your pal Nixon, won't you?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ok, here I am

My mother visited this past weekend, which took my attention away from the computer (as it should be) and set me even further behind.

Okay, it's old news now I know, but the recent report on schools that "inflate" grades has been on my mind. As the spouse of a school teacher, I have sort of an inside track as to what goes on, at least in her experience. The problem being addressed is that students are making good grades in class, and then performing below average on standardized tests such as the PSAT/NMSQT, ACT, etc. Students are graduating from high school with 4.0 GPA's (and higher for AP students) and then getting to colleges and having to take REMEDIAL classes.

Here's the problem. From what I've heard, it's not the teachers inflating the grades. Teachers want to give the grade that the child has earned, and though they are often quite lenient with time frames, legibility, etc., they still have standards to maintain! Many students are on what is known as a "504" plan, which requires teachers to develop an "Individual Educational Program" (IEP) for each student with identified learning disabilities. These IEP's can be as simple as allowing more time to complete the work, allowing the use of reference materials, calculators, etc. Or even require the teacher to not count off for things such as grammar or spelling. The result is little Timmy or Tammy turns in a torn page of monkey scrawl and the teacher has to give them an "A" for it.

In addition to the "IEP", it seems to be a growing trend, at the last two schools where my wife has taught, one of which is on the "needs improvement" list, if a parent(s)/guardian(s) of ANY student, 504 or not, comes in and complains about a grade, and the teacher refuses to change it, they then go to the administration, who asks the teacher to change it, and then changes it themselves if the teacher refuses.

How is it possible for a student in ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) classes to wind up needing remediation in college? How about if AP teachers are instructed by the administration to "dumb down" their criteria AND curriculum in order to get more minority students into and to pass AP classes? I find that to be insulting to both the teacher, and minority students!

For a reality check here, I graduated from high school with a 2.7 GPA, yes I was a lazy little Nixon. I went to OU and continued my lazy ways, but NEVER needed a remedial class! I got my degree (minus tooth skin) and consider myself to be of slightly above-average intelligence.

But now, with notable exceptions of course, I see some students who are far below their grade level and are well on their way to becoming a drain on the economy. A student on the bus at my wife's previous school was doing an assigned reading of "The Red Badge of Courage." I had also been assigned this book in school (in 8th grade) so I asked him what class it was for. "AP English III" he replied.

ZOINKS! During my sophomore year, I was reading "An American Tragedy" for crying out loud!

My overall point is that if we continue to "dumb down" our schools just to make everyone feel good about themselves, we're going to end up with some very dumb people in power! Looking around at the present leadership (in general, not specifying anyone) I don't think we can afford to lose any more IQ points, people!

I'm reminded of a story I heard where a school took twenty random students from the general school population, and told the teacher that she was getting the top 20 students in the school to teach. She was highly excited, and took extra effort to come up with the most challenging material she could for her class. At the end of the year, her 20 students were in fact the top 20 students in the school! The teacher was then given the student's ACTUAL transcripts from previous years (she had been given faked ones to start.) Imagine if every teacher (and administrator) actually respected and believed in their students enough to challenge them and make them earn a grade rather than just hand one to them?

Is it any wonder that companies are sending tutors into the classroom? Is it any wonder that the owner of the largest media outlet in Oklahoma essentially BOUGHT the College of Journalism at OU? (It is now named after the man.)

We as educators, administrators, parents, and citizens of our community must see to it that our children receive the BEST education possible!

Middle Earth

Elvish
Elvish


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blogger bloopers

Everytime I've had the time this week to blog, blogger hasn't been working properly. Today, I don't have the time, but it seems to be working fine. So, this will be a quickie.

OU is 5-3, one win away from a bowl, but none of the three remaining games are a sure thing. It should be exciting. We're off next week, but will gather for the game against Texas A&M on 11/12 at West End per usual.

I have some commentary on the big "Grade Inflation" story forthcoming, so stay tuned!

Thanks for checking up on me!




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