Archive for the ‘Oy! Life!’ Category

Two years ago, I recorded every single commercial during the Super Bowl on CBS. All of my statistics can be found on this blog post.

This year, NAD asked for folks to keep track of the commercials to see which ones were captioned.

71% of the commercials were captioned two years ago.

This time around, I recorded 78 commercials from 6:30pm to the end of the Super Bowl. Amazingly, only threee were not captioned. That’s a stunning 96.2% of commercials captioned. That’s a huge, huge difference from two years ago. Kudos to NBC for stepping up with the captions this year.

The three that were not captioned? ERA (Employee Rights Act), Chevy OnStar, and NBC’s own “America’s Got Talent”, featuring Howard Stern.

My favorite commercials? The Fiat, The Volkswagen Dog/Darth Vader, Pepsi Elton John, and NBC’s spoof of Betty White.

Until next year!


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Just how far is far enough

Just how far is far enough?

The red circle represents the location of Park51

The building of Park51, the controversial mosque and community center two blocks from  Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, has raised furor over the last couple of months from two groups – these who don’t want to see a mosque built so close to the WTC site, and those who believe that every religious group has the right to practice their religion freely.

There are a lot of other factors involved in this, and I’m not going to repeat them all here. You can Google them yourself, but there is one simple point I want to make here.

Just how far is far enough to build a mosque in Manhattan?

Did you know that the center is being built by a private organization on land it legally owns. Twenty-nine out of 30 lower Manhattan community-board members voted to approve it. By every legal standard, the case for allowing Park51 to be built is, in the words of conservative UCLA constitutional-law professor Eugene Volokh, “open and shut.”

Did you know that the location is not even close to the 16-blocks that the WTC once occupied?

Did you know there is a mosque 12 blocks from the WTC site?

And, there is a mosque, Masjid Manhattan, three blocks from Ground Zero.

Tell me, how far is far enough?

This whole thing is ridiculous.

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What do teachers make?

I got this from a colleague today and being an educator myself, I related with this experience about the noble profession of being a teacher. Please read this story and pass it on as you see fit.


What Do Teachers Make?

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”

To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Bonnie.  Be honest. What do you make?” 

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began…)

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time, when their parents can’t make them sit for 5, without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.”

“You want to know what I make?” (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)

“I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn’t everything.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.”

“I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English, while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we live in the United States of America.”

“Finally, I make them understand that, if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.” (Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

“Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention, because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.”

“What do you make, Mr. CEO?” His jaw dropped, he went silent. 

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With most of the Wamarva region buried in 30+ inches of snow in the past six days, here are ten things I think…

10. This upcoming weekend will see a boom in the restaurant and retail business, especially with Valentine’s Day and people screaming to get out of their snow-caves.

9. There’s a spike in movie rentals this week. Like, duh.

8. In the upcoming days and weeks, there will be spikes in appointments with chiropractors and masseuses.

7. People will actually finish things they have put off for so long. Like household projects or cleaning duties.

6. We will probably never see this again — 47 states have snow on the ground. Three guesses who the other three states are.

5. People will have become adept to driving in snow and ice…and some people remain idiots.

4. There will be a boom in child births in October.

3. The Weather Channel is the most watched channel. And people will learn what the blue spots on the radar mean.

2. In spite of idiotic drivers, there are some creative souls out there. People have found creative ways to remove snow. Dustpan. Cookie sheet. Mixing bowl. Brooms. A towel wrapped around someone’s arm (props to NP).

1. Hot chocolate tastes so good with Kahula.

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A couple of years ago my ex and I wrote down every single commercial and noted whether it was captioned or not. We were surprised to see the rate close to 40% (captioned). With the Indy vs. Who Dat game and me home “snowed in” I had nothing better to do than list every single commercial and note if it was captioned or not.

Keep in mind there’s always a margin of error. I may not have caught every single commercial.

Here’s the list of commercials from the kickoff to right before the halftime analysis by CBS: (commercials NOT captioned will receive a “*”)

Bud Light House
Betty White Snickers
Tim Tebow
CBS Survivors
Hyundai musical
Doritos dog
Robin Hood trailer*
Doritos – “Stay away from my momma”
Bud Light asteroid
CBS NCIS headslap
Coke Simpson’s Burns
GoDaddy.com masseuse
Undercover Boss*
Doritos dead guy
Bud Light singing men
Monster.com beavers*
Wolfman trailer
CBS Halftime Show – The Who
Bridgestone Tires – Killer Whale/Bachelor Party
Sketchers’ Shape Ups shoes*
CBS Network #1
Budweiser bridge’s out
Shutter Island trailer*
CBS Cares (heart attack prevention)
CBS: Amazing Race
Careerbuilder.com Casual Friday
Dockers’ Free Pants
Hyundai presenting Brett Favre
Bud Light flight wreck (LOST)
Dove for Men
NFL Network Draft
CBS Bridgestone Halftime Show
Dodge Charger “I will do…”
Papa John’s
Alice in Wonderland trailer
Dr. Pepper: KISS
Tru.tv Troy Pomalau/Groundhog Day*
CBS: 2 1/2 Men*
Universal Studios Harry Potter*
Flo.tv Jim Nance*
Intel Processors
Flo.tv The Who’s “Generation”*
CBS NCIS: Los Angeles
Local cable, “Topper Shutt’s real name”*

Halftime statistics: 37/51 commercials captioned for 73%.

CBS, CSI:NY featuring Danica Patrick
CBS, Amazing Race
NFL Network
CBS, Undercover Boss
CBS, The Good Wife
CBS, March Madness*
CBS, Miami Medical
Backup Plan, trailer
CBS, The Mentalist
Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks*
Freight Railroad*
Ford featuring Mike Rowe/Ford Focus*
Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks*
Prince of Persia, trailer
Motorola, featuring Megan Fox
Volkswagen, featuring Stevie Wonder
Denny’s free Grand Slam
CBS, How I Met Your Mother*
Michelob Ultra featuring Lance Armstrong
HomeAway.com featuring the Griswolds
Bridgestone Tires, Australian accent
KGB “Answer 542542”
Coke, sleepwalking safari
ETrade talking babies
CBS, How I Met Your Mother
CBS, Survivor
Census 2010
Google, France search
CBS, Late Show with David Letterman*
Kia Sorento
Round-Up Weed Killer
Budweiser Select 55
CBS, Monday nights*
NFL Network “Thank You”
CBS, Masters golf tournament
Vizio Internet Apps
Emerald Nuts/Pop Secret
NFL Draft
CBS, Undercover Boss
Dante’s Inferno video game
Budweiser, the longhorn*
? (missed that one, but daughter states it was not captioned)*
? (missed that one but daughter states it is captioned)
CBS, NCIS: Los Angeles
CBS, Criminal Minds
Audi, the Green Police
Taco Bell featuring Charles Barkley
Doritos, “Tim loves Doritos”
Bud Light
Hyundai Sonata
Etrade, crying babies*
CBS, Amazing Race
Sketchers Shape Ups*
Denny’s free Grand Slam (birthday)
CBS comedy night lineup
CBS, The Mentalist
ETrade, airplane ride
Chunky Campbell soup
Flo.tv, Jim Nance*
CBS, Amazing Race
Cars.com, monkey*
Ford, featuring Mike Rowe

I stopped at the last set of commercials before the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy.

During the second half, there were 71 commercials, and a lot more were not captioned. For the second half, 50 of 71 were captioned for a 71% rate.

For the entire Super Bowl, there were a total of 122 commercials and 87 of these were captioned for 71%. The biggest flops of the entire night went to Ford, Flo.tv, and Sketchers shape-ups (shoes).

Big props go to Doritos and Coke for captioning every single commercial they presented. I would have mentioned Budweiser here, but they did not caption the commercial with the Clydesdale and the longhorn.

Worst commercials? Denny’s, Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks, and defeatthedebt.com. And, c’mon CBS. I know you hosted the Super Bowl this year on your network, but you didn’t have to swamp us with constant reminders of why you are the number #1 network in America. Thankyouveddymuch.

Best commercials? Dodge Charger’s “I will…”, Google’s Paris search, Snickers featuring Betty White, and Jalen “stay away from my momma” Doritos.

The game? I barely remember it, but I know it’s WHO DAT!

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Things I learned in high school

Now, instead of what I normally would do, which is bitch about how too many people in my profession buy into wholesome learning; bitch about how high school is slowly turning into an extension of middle school, where rigorous guidelines for … oh, I don’t know, handing in homework, are thrown completely out the door; and proclaim that middle school is the cause of the ills of the educational system, I’m going to have a little more fun.

I remembered that for half of my high school career I was a shy guy who tried to fit, then the last two years of high school I did a complete 180 and found myself in the middle of the fold. And that when I really thought about it, I could name quite a few things I remember from high school.

1. How to type correctly. Blame it on my AP European history course. I was expected to type Every. Single. Assignment. Now, this was way before I even had a laptop, much less a desktop. I had a Brother word processor with a fancy monitor. Call that a digital typewriter. In fact, my father has it now and he still uses it. I typed every single night. Because of this, it’s half the reason that by the end of my college career, I could pump out a 4-page paper in 90 minutes.

2. How to kiss. I remember my first kissing experience with a girl. I’m not talking about a “kissing dare” thing from a summer camp or anything like that. I am talking about a real, romantic kiss. We were on her bed. She had this really cool bedroom, and the lights were dimmed. It was romantic. We had our eyes locked on each other and I was trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything she said in the dimmed room. But what I really remembered is the kiss. It ended too quickly. Both the kiss and the girl. I went to a different high school months later. But what happened that night, I took with me. Oh, I forgot to add, it was already awkward because her mom was in the house too!

3. How to get a black eye. No, I didn’t get into a fight. I got a black eye playing pick-up football. I got myself stuck between the ball and a 6’4″ guy’s elbow. Me: 5’5″ and his elbow several inches above me. Bam. Now I have a misaligned eyebrow because of that black eye.

4. How to stand up for myself. When I was mainstreamed, I was subjected to taunting in the hallways. I would walk past groups of wannabe jocks who would make fun of me. Instead of becoming a gang banger and jumping on anyone who made fun of me, I took heed what my father always told me: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Instead, I learned that these little things in life aren’t worth wasting my breath on. I now know that I’ve made the best out of my experiences. Those guys who made fun of me? I’m pretty sure they’re still stuck at their parent’s house in Boiceville.

5. How cool teachers make your days better. I admit. I was a dork in the classrooms, but on the athletic fields, I removed that label. I made it a precise science to have cool teachers. In fact, I think that’s why I’m a teacher now. All of my cool teachers have been social studies teachers. Mr. Wildermuth and Mrs. McCarthy both made my long seven-classes-a-day worthwhile. I’ve always enjoyed those kind of teachers who nurture the soul. Mr. W and Mrs. McCarthy did that.

6. How to solve the Pythagorean Theorem. A squared plus B squared equals C squared. For some reason, this math phobic person really couldn’t follow algebra but for the life of me, I figured out geometry easily. Even to today, I still recall geometric formulas for areas and volumes in my head.

7. How universal themes exist throughout literature and culture. I don’t think I started to really appreciate literature until college, and even more so, appreciate it much more when I married a bibliophile. Some would gag when they hear which book resonates with me from high school, but A Thousand Acres from my AP English class is still fresh in my mind. Earlier this year, I had a long argument with a friend about why it’s important to read and my argument that so much of what we read and watch comes from the themes, motifs, etc. established in those works fell on the deaf ears (pun intended) of a Twilight fan. Anyway, this is where someone first made that point for me.

8. How NOT to be a dork while driving your first car. I’ll never forget the first day I brought my car to school — which happened to be the last day of school my sophomore year. My parents never knew this story, but I almost got into an accident with three other classmates. I was too excited about having my friends in my first car, and I didn’t properly measure the space between my car and the car stopped in front of me. In the blink of an eye, I smelled burnt rubber and my car had stopped so hard that it stalled. I meekly waved an apology to the woman in front of me and tried to adjust my heart from my stomach. I drove 30 MPH the rest of the way home.

So there you have it. You do learn things in high school.

And yes, I paid attention.

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Farewell, Frank

Yesterday while I was driving home from the movies with a friend, she told me that Frank McCourt had died.

Instantly, my mind raced back to the picture of the little boy on the cover of the book he published, Angela’s Ashes. angelas_ashes

Frank McCourt was known for his wit and his prose. And he should be. After all, he taught creative writing in Stuyvesant High School for nearly 30 years. McCourt was not an immigrant. He was born in the boroughs of NYC but moved with his family to Ireland — the native land of his parents — during the Great Depression.

I clicked with his writing mainly for two reasons: his words glued my eyes to the page, and he grew up in squalor in the area of Limerick, Ireland — the birthplace of my maternal grandfather and half of my genes come from the green land.

After Frank’s book was published, his older brother Malachy wrote his own memoirs. His first, A Monk Swimming, was a play on words that I did not get until I read the book. The title itself is the mispronunciation of Malachy’s efforts to say “among women” from the Catholic prayer, Hail Mary.

One of my favorite quotes from Ashes is this:

I’m on deck the dawn we sail into New York. I’m sure I’m in a film, that it will end and lights will come up in the Lyric Cinema. . . . Rich Americans in top hats white ties and tails must be going home to bed with the gorgeous women with white teeth. The rest are going to work in warm comfortable offices and no one has a care in the world.

While there’s no “fancy” words here, this resonates with the common man and how they perceived the world and the obvious rift between the rich and poor during the years post-Great Depression.

Frank won the Pulitzer Prize for Angela’s Ashes, and his subsequent sequels, ‘Tis and Teacher Man carry on the literary prowess that Frank started with Ashes.

Yesterday, the literary world lost a nice old bloke.

Goodbye, Frank. Have a pint on me.

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