Friday, February 25, 2011

$2500 Essay

My son has been applying for scholarships in preparation for college next year.  James Patterson offered an essay contest and L. placed second, winning a $2500 scholarship.  Congratulations!
The prompt: 
How has your favorite book pushed you towards what you’d like to do in life?
Seventh Grade was an eventful year.  It was a milieu of hormones, differing classroom environments and a general raising of academic expectations.  I could truly be described as a tabula rasa; educated in many fields, but lacking any governing attraction between the fields of mathematics, philosophy, history, and the physical sciences. 
Reading was a favored pastime of mine, used to while away spare moments between classes.  I devoured Dickens, tackled Tolkien, and humbled myself with Homer.  Beyond all these, I fell in love with Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court".  The fanciful narrative had all that an adolescent boy could hope for: tom-foolery, combat, and a slight bit of romance for flavor. 
By the end of the novel, my dream had taken form:  I wanted to be the Hank Morgan of the Modern Era (absenting the blow to the head and the messy affairs of time travel).  Rather, I wanted to emulate what Twain's protagonist stood for: a beam of scientific intellect among the ignorant masses, called to govern by responsibility to the people rather than by avarice.  Fermentation and actualization of this realization would take years. 
Every time I entered my science classroom, I would remember how Hank had blown up Merlin's tower through the use of gunpowder (chemistry) or how he defeated the army of the Catholic Church using an electric fence (physics).  Each example made it quite clear that he who understands the dictates of the language of Physical Science had great control over the machinations of the world. 
Further study would only increase my ability to manipulate the world around me, and considering the general dearth of scientifically minded individuals in my classrooms, it seemed to not only offer a viable career pending college graduation, but also engendered the technocratic style of leadership. 
My junior year of high school would highlight a second field where our Modern Man had changed medieval Britain.  Economics came quite naturally to me.  Whether it be an analytical approach to problems developed over several years of painstaking lab assessments in chemistry or just a natural understanding gleaned by the side notes of the many novels I read, the flow of money not only made logical sense in my mind but also struck me as one of the most important classes I would take that year.  
 It had been years since I last cracked open the book, and yet I found myself striving, again, to become Mark Twain's Hank Morgan.  I had become a technocrat, the only real political assignment that could be given to the North Eastern factory worker.  With such a background it is no surprise that I have chosen to double major in Chemical Physics and Economics at Rice University in Houston, Texas.  With the education I receive there, I will undoubtedly be able to push our country forward, similar to a certain Connecticut Yankee.
Author: L.D.C.B.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Where Have All the Fathers Gone?

It is award season and the airwaves are full of ceremonies celebrating just about everything.  It is understandable that we want to recognize our favorites, we want others to see we are recognizing our favorites and if there is money to be made by televising the recognizing of our favorites the ceremony will surely be found on one of the many, many cable channels.

I have no problem with these shows, my angst is generated from the behavior of these favorites and the implied acceptance of their behavior.

The Today show was the culprit who ignited my irritation.  They were showing the fashions displayed at the Golden Globes and commenting on the number of starletts who have chosen to give birth as single mothers and how wonderfully they have draped their "baby bumps."  (On a subsequent episode of the Today show it was said the "baby bump" is the new accessory.)

I'll admit to having crossed that generational line of finding these girls naive and ignornant in their lack of knowledge of what, even today, will be the struggles for a single mother.  This debate alone has it's own legs but I want to address a different issue;

Where are the fathers? 

What has happened to the men?  Marriage may not be expected yet the mother's appearance in public with no mention of his name gives the indication that he has cast his progeny to the wind, along with his obligations and self respect. 

Man up!  You have made a child, you have a responsibility to that child, and if your proud of sleeping around be proud enough to attach your name to the results...

....I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Fireplace Moment

A fireplace was not a 'must have' when house shopping.  My general impression; they were messy and an added chore. I didn't mind the smokey smell and under someone else's care, were comforting and romantic but the upkeep outweighed the positive aspects for me. 
Our first Texas home just happened to have a fireplace.  It was large, well built, a gas starter with a clean out built into the bottom that was accessed through a chute located on the patio. 

I fell in love with the fireplace. 

I became a master fire-starter. 

In our second Texas home there just happened to be a fireplace, smaller, with a gas starter but no clean out chute.  Oh whoa, my disappoinment was minimial, my love for the warmth and comfort was not diminished by the extra upkeep.

In the time honored tradition of CBS Sunday Morning News - Moments of Nature I want to leave you with a warm Fireplace Moment.   Enjoy.
(Filmed on Super Bowl Weekend)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Be Mine!

Here comes Valentine’s Day, a wonderful opportunity to express love and appreciation to the people who make our lives worth living.  Valentine's are not just for the coupled, everyone should be loved and appreicated so think outside the dated and married and send Valentines.

Gifts are fun to give and receive, great tips can be found here.  Today, a week ahead of the big day, is a good time to visit our gift receiving expectations, and adjust them.

Some things for us all to consider:

1. If you are not big on receiving gifts, or have verbally said you don’t care (whether that is true or you were speaking through another emotion at the moment), those words will be considered truth so don’t get angry because he is doing what you said.

2. If you’ve made a specific gift request you’ve taken it out of his hands. If he’s happy and you are happy, good deal. If he doesn’t get what you asked for find out why, it may be more financial than emotional.

3. Don’t drop hints and then be angry if he didn’t pick up on them. NO ONE can read your mind and it is your fault for expecting him to. You should visit number 2, it will make for a happier holiday.

4. He may not seem interested in receiving on Valentine’s Day but showing up unexpectedly with his favorite candy bar or soda, delivered with a kiss, will speak volumes.

5. You may not have a significant other that will bring you expressions of love but you don’t have to look far to be significant to someone. Don’t let self pity and loneliness have their way, push them aside with thoughtfulness and express your love and appreciation. An example:

Last year our son gave us a heartwarming valentine.  He set the laptop computer on the kitchen table pulling up valentine wallpaper and composing his own ode of appreciation. He then sprinkled the table with red and pink chocolate candies. He did this the night before so we would find it in the morning.

Share the love of Christ on February 14th; be a grateful Valentine or make someone your Valentine.  This holiday does not have to pass unexpressed.