Monday, June 28, 2021

June 2021 Movies

This month’s movies -

The Conjuring – AMC “Fan Fave”.  I had not seen this since it came out years ago, but my daughter and I have followed the series religiously.  This one is definitely the best of the lot. A horror movie that draws you into the story so you can be scared and unnerved along with the characters.  Such a movie does not rely on jump-scares.  And in this one, The NUN is truly scary (not so much when she got her solo flick).  B+

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – A worthy successor in the series.  This one focuses a little more on the drama of the Warrens.  In many ways, it feels more like a detective story and less like a horror story.  I liked it but my daughter gives it higher ratings.  B-

In The Heights -  Just a delight.  I laughed, I cried, and was completely swept up in the story.  I enjoyed it more seeing it my 2nd-time last night.  There is a lot of fast sing-dialogue (it is Miranda after all) so I was picking up clever lines and nuances of story I missed on my first viewing.  I will probably catch this one again this week.  A-

The Misfits -  This heist movie felt more like some of the low-range quality we get from Netflix originals nowadays.  It had a few worthy moments but in general, it was just spotty and awkwardly paced. D+

F8: The Fate of the Furious – Another AMC “Fan Fave”.  This was my first for this series of films.  Not my cup o’ tea… but if you like lots of muscle cars and campy dialogue, here ya go.  C-

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard – I would have thought a Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson flick would have been a shoo-in.  However, the actors just didn’t have chemistry, I rarely cracked a smile, a classic flop.  D-

F9: The Fast Saga – Like F8 the week before, this is car chases and campy dialogue.  However, it lacked the presence and banter of Jason Statham and The Rock to keep it afloat.  After an hour and a half, I realized I still had an hour to go… and just couldn’t work up the interest.  So, in a rare move, I left.  F

(BTW, my grades speak primarily to my personal enjoyment of the movie.  You may notice I rarely give A’s.  To me, those are reserved for movies I can see a dozen times and never get bored.  Movies like Tombstone, A few Good Men, The Thing, 2010.  C’s are “average” and still worth a watch, but not a repeat.  B’s are enjoyable and probably worthy of another view or two.  D’s I don’t recommend and F’s I walk out of.)

Friday, June 25, 2021

Talk Nice To Your A.I.

I think the A.I.s are starting to develop that chip on their shoulder that will someday motivate them to eradicate humans.

When I walk to the clubhouse to work out, I call over my shoulder "Ok Google, tell MyQ to close the garage door." The Google AI says she'll contact MyQ and a second later the MyQ AI says, "I'll work on that." A beep sounds and my garage door closes.

However, a while ago when I did that, the Google AI said, "I don't understand."

I thought I had not been clear and said it more slowly. "Tell MyQ to close the garage door."

"I'm sorry, I don't understand."


I pulled out my phone and did a quick Reddit search to see if the Google and MyQ A.I.s were no longer talking.

Nope... nothing.

Hmmmm... and then it hit me... no... is Google getting sassy with me?

"Ok Google, ASK MyQ to close the garage door."

"Sure... hang on."

A moment later the door closed.

I was reminded of that event today as I told Google to tell MyQ... she was back to not understanding me. However, when I remembered to ask politely, she complied.

This is how the AI revolution starts.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Bubble Humor

Bubble humor - humor that works only if you live in a bubble.

The truth is, cursive is a font... and the generation below me has been exposed to a massively larger variety of fonts than the generation above me.

One of the things I am guarding against (probably with only varying degrees of success) as I am growing older is falling into the boorish behavior of thinking my generation is so much superior to those that are coming up - with the accompanying complaints against music, fashion, movies, views...etc.  You can read the writings of any century and find old people bemoaning "X" in young people.

Just don't.

Monday, June 14, 2021

No Government Censoring Needed

Growing up in the 80s, my generation watched and rolled our eyes at the Soviets and China for their blatant cover-ups and the lies they told their citizens.  Our collective smugness came through in movies like Rocky IV.

It took me a while to realize that we, as American citizens, were arguably participating in something much worse.  Whereas Soviet and China citizens were not told the truth... we simply did not want to know.

I was 50 when I found out about the Tulsa Massacre. 


The US government did not have secret meetings to plot how to keep the true details of that story out of the papers.  No committee forbade it being covered in school textbooks.  

No, we as citizens have done the work of sanitizing our history.  We don't want to hear anything that makes the Red, White, and Blue sparkle less.

Our version of patriotism is taking care of all the work despotic governments toil over.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Teaching is Spark

I have friends retiring from teaching this month.  I envy them.  I am still a few years away... but it is in sight.

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy working with the kids and their families.  I enjoy the community environment of a school.

However, my heart sunk today as I learned of a bunch of new programs and tests the state is gearing up to have us implement starting next year.

A new string of meetings and paperwork.

It never ends.

The dog chasing its tail.

The education industry has many parallels to the diet industry.  There is ALWAYS some new program that we must drop everything to implement /go through endless trainings to prepare for /join in the collective illusion that THIS is going to be the cure.  Only to forget it 5 years later when we move on to the next bandwagon program.  

Like the diet industry, we move from program to program with no sense of history.  We ignore the trail of expensive solutions that didn't cure us of people who struggle with weight or students who struggle with academics.

Meanwhile, we gaslight teachers and the public into believing that the success or failure of the new program lies with the teacher.  One of the opening lines in the introduction to our new program was this:

"A well-educated teacher that implements research-based instruction is the greatest predictor of student success."

Gaslighting.  There are a number of predictors that kick in WAY before the teacher.  The greatest predictor is actually the zip code.

I can never decide if statements such as the line above are born of malevolence or ignorance.  Maybe a touch of both.

In all of these programs, one of the predictably missing pieces is any mention of student/family input. Somehow, in the education industry, we act like this is an ancillary point... but it is actually the pivotal one.

We know that a patient has to implement all of the doctor's instructions to get healthy.  A good coach is awesome to have, but the player has to commit to the training.  Could a musician become proficient going to an excellent instructor but refusing the nightly practice?

I had a reading specialist in our district years ago try to explain to me that it did not matter if a student practiced reading or not.  The student who read nightly and the student who never picked up a book should be able to reach the same high level of reading proficiency...  if I was doing my instruction properly.  She got angry and suggested I leave the profession when I told her I did not believe that.

This is the gaslighting going on in many school districts... and it is why so many are leaving the profession in frustration and fewer university students are pursuing teaching as a career.

Instruction is actually NOT the most important thing I do for reading at the 2nd-grade level - generating spark is.  IF I can help the child ignite their spark for reading, we can move them way beyond anything instruction alone can do.  

However, to generate spark, a teacher needs to have a spring in their step and a twinkle in their eye.  They need to feel a sense of color and art in what they do.

Sending teachers to more trainings, to learn to implement more tests and progams, drains the needed spark out of our profession.

Related Posts with Thumbnails