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Archive for April, 2008

Dr. Pepper the Turtle

Since September, I’ve been part of a coaching team training our best minds at our school where I work for the Academic Bowl.

Last night, we lost in the Academic Bowl national championship finals to a team that performed better than we did. But I could never be prouder of my team.

While we lost to Indiana School for the Deaf 45-38, the real score was much closer than that — we performed as well as they did, we were head to head throughout much of the match, but the final round was the determining factor as they answered three more questions correctly than we did.

It has been a very tiring, but positive weekend for me and my team. I am proud of my players and all they have accomplished. In the regionals and nationals, we went a combined 17-2 and we can proudly say we are the second best academic team in the nation.

Our star player, Allison Weiner, who was the last remaining member of the 2005 team, won the Most Outstanding Player award last night (she also won it at the regionals). She answered close to 60% of the questions she buzzed in, and had “fire fingers” as some coaches claim, reading the questions quickly but carefully, outblinking her opponents.

The rest of our team stood up to their challenge and was able to rise up to our (coaches) demands and excel in areas they never had before.

Oh…the title of this blog? Dr. Pepper the Turtle? He’s our mascot.

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You got to give props to my wife — she sure has pretty good connections.

In her most recent blog this morning, she found a link that analyzed the remaining four three presidential candidates’ views on disability.

In a nutshell –

Clinton has a good plan — supporting IDEA and a better health care system.

Obama has it better than her — he supports a better educational system, a better support system for people with disabilities, and a better plan.

McCain’s plan sucks — major B.O. Straight from the horse’s mouth (i.e. McCain’s campaign website), he says that we need to 1) cut costs; and 2) don’t become disabled.

Well, there you have it. Our wonderful three candidates for the leader of the Free World United States.

P.S. Doesn’t anyone here HATE it when people say that the POTUS is the leader of the free world? He (and eventually a she) is NOT. The POTUS is simply the elected leader of the United States, not the United Countries of the World, thankyouverymuch.

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An Idiot on the Road

Today Alli and I were driving home from picking up Leah from a visit to her friend’s house and on the way home on Montgomery Village Avenue, I noticed a car that was driving a bit over the lines and passed that car.

Then all of a sudden in my rear view mirror something zoomed two lanes to my left and it was the same car. At the next stop light, Alli and I happened to look into the car and saw what looked like a two-year-old boy moving around in the back seat. He wasn’t buckled in, nor was he in a child seat. The mother apparently was talking to the boy and seemed to be yelling at him. Alli and I just stared at her and I told her “That’s so dumb that the child isn’t restrained.”

Then all of a sudden the back window opens and the woman yells “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!”  I was caught off guard but quickly gestured “nothing” and looked away.

Sheesh, the nerve. What an idiot. First, not even restraining her son, and then worrying so much about what other drivers were looking at. If I had time to respond, I’d have said “YOU” instead of nothing.

Then again, I don’t want to face a woman who’s about to go cuckoo on the road. The last thing I want to do is to face road rage. Alli put it this way: “At least she was yelling at you, not her son.”

Sad, isn’t it?

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Sure, the title can be misleading. But read this.

Tonight we (we refers to the immediate family) went out for dinner with my sister in law and mother in law at a Japanese-Thai restaurant at the Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg.

Sushi Siam is thy name.

Thy food sucks.

Why?

My sister in law had food that looked like, and tasted like — you guess it — wet dog.

It looked awful, like noodles that were overcooked and slimy, and tasted like shit. When asked by our server how our food was my sister in law even told her that she didn’t like her food. The server smiled, nodded, and walked away.

Then 15 minutes later (that’s another thing, the service sucked. For one thing, my sister in law and I didn’t get our food until nearly 5 minutes after everyone did), when the server cleared our table, she asked my sister in law if she wanted to take the food home. My sister in law repeated her disgust. She again smiled and walked away.

ONLY then did she come back a few minutes later asking if my sister in law wanted something else. Of course, my sister in law had lost her appetite. Who could blame her — a wet dog in front of her for 20 minutes.

What does a wet dog look like, anyway? Something disgusting from a Japanese-Thai restaurant. We’re not going there again!

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Olympic Torch Situation

The Olympic torch flame route was disrupted today in Paris by thousands of demonstrators who are protesting China’s human rights record, its illegal takeover of Tibet and China’s ignorance of the situation in Darfur and Sudan.

It wasn’t the only site where protests occurred. Over the weekend protesters in London, England also attempted to extinguish the flame, block the route, and find any physical way to hinder the flame’s route across seven continents and 85,000 miles before arriving in China on May 4.

The majority of demonstrators have been campaigning for a free Tibet — one that has been under Chinese control since the 1950s. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet has been in exile in India ever since, unable to go back to his homeland. China has argued that they have legitimate claim to the land as it was part of the Chinese empire in the early centuries. China has also said they boast claim to the Buddhist heritage and that it is actually part of Chinese culture. Other reports have suggested China is controlling Tibet due to the vast amount of natural resources that have not been exploited yet.

Today in San Francisco, pro-Tibet activists scaled up the Golden Gate Bridge to unfurl two large banners (see above). What a gutsy move.

I’m all for free speech and democracy in action. I’m also against Chinese rule of Tibet. I’m against their support of Sudan (they do business with Sudan, and as a result they are financing the war and the starvation in Darfur), and I’m a vocal critic of China’s long history of human rights violations, particularly of journalists who speak up against the communist government. As an ardent supporter of free speech, it is every person’s right to voice their displeasure.

But, to block the route, try to extinguish the flame, and create chaos of the world’s premiere sporting event? I have mixed feelings about this.

1) I’m pleased to see that attention is being diverted to the issues in China;
2) It’s long overdue that China cleans up their act;
3) The Olympics are a sporting event, not a political event;
4) There are OTHER issues out there we should be advocating for (global warming, genocide, Middle East crisis to name a few);

Can we simply protest the Olympic torch while it passes through continents without disrupting anything? Unfortunately, it won’t happen.

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Being a father to a 6-year-old stubborn lil’ redhead can be exhausting sometimes. Last night Leah had finished dinner (she cleaned her plate and got seconds, so that’s good) and promptly asked for dessert. The following conversation transpired. Of course it was in ASL, but me in no mood to gloss, so here it is:

Leah: I want dessert.

Dad: What do you want?

L: Candy.

D: What candy?

L gets up, walks into kitchen and brings bag of leftover candy.

D: No.

L: I WANT candy.

Looks at Mom, sitting next to me, signing rapidly as to make sure L doesn’t see what I say.

D: (to Mom) Tell her about the surprise?  (nods)  Ok. We have a surprise for you. Close your eyes and close your nose.

L is excited. D puts an orange in front of her, taps her. 

L: What? Orange? Surprise?

D: Yes. That’s your dessert.

L: No! You’re teasing!

D: No, I’m not teasing. Eat that orange.

What ensued the next few minutes was whining and the start of the eye waterfalls as she realized we were serious about eating an orange for dessert. Leah kept demanding that she have candy.

D: No. I already told you, no candy tonight.

Mom: You cannot have dessert every night.

L: I want!

D: (Gets up, goes to the kitchen, grabs the ziploc bag of candy, walks back to the dining room, opens patio door, throws bag of candy into rain. L whimpers ad runs to patio door.)

L: Why did you throw it?

D: Cause I said NO candy. You don’t need candy!

L: I WANT CANDY!!!

Then here, D sat down on the floor next to a sobbing L, explaining that candy is NOT important and that she needs to stop her whining and crying. D then gives an ultimatum.

D: If you don’t stop crying, you’re going to bed NOW.  (L stops and says she will stop.)

Now, mom and I have surprise for you. Do you want it?

L: Yes. Candy?

D: NO! Not candy. Something else. But I do NOT want to see you cry or whine again. Here’s your orange.

L: NO! Starts whimpering.

D: I said NO whining! What’s wrong with the orange?

L: I don’t want an orange!

(Looks at Mom — signs “This is impossible.”)

M: I don’t understand why you don’t want an orange.

L: I don’t want orange for dessert. I want candy.

M: There won’t be candy, ice cream, or other things for dessert. Eat your orange.

L: NO!

D: If you don’t stop, you’re going to bed and you won’t get a surprise dessert. Do you want it?

L: Yes.

D: Then go sit down. (sits down) Close your eyes and nose.

D gets floam and places it in front of Leah and she says NO, and D fakes eating it. Then asks Leah to cover eyes/nose again and places a potato in front of her. She looks confused again. Then D places a box of cake mix in front of her. L eyes widen. 

L: Cake?

D: Yes. Mom will make cake. You want?

L: Yes!

Nearly 50 minutes later, we’re enjoying fresh baked, warm spice cake for dessert. Thus ended the Chronicles of Candy. 

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I didn’t play any tricks on anybody today. In fact, I “educated” my high school students on the history of April Fool’s Day. They all apparently enjoyed the mini-lesson, I hope.

Here’s what’s not a joke — I saw the headline on Yahoo! News and opened the link, half expecting a Sidd Fitch story (which happens to be my favorite all-time April Fool’s hoax), but this story is ridiculous.

A group of third graders had plotted to harm and possibly kill their elementary school teacher.

That is really, really sick. And these kids are too young to be charged with anything. What can the school do, really? Suspend them? Expel them? Parents of other classmates are asking for the school to expel these students, citing the danger threat that they posed by bringing in weapons to the classroom.

I hope this never happens to me or any of my co-workers.

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