November 24, 2008

24 - Patriots - 24...

Pretty entertaining episode of 24 last night, with the following observations...

- Took awhile to get going; if you weren't a 24-phile, it would not have been unheard of to bail after the first 15 minutes.

- Tough subject, that recruiting kids to fight thing in Africa; so much so that even at the end when Jack completes his mission, with shades of fleeing Saigon, tough to see the thousands of innocents who remain in peril.

- Since 24 was cancelled due to the writer's strike last yr - but the show was already half-written, I wonder if the female president was more in line with what the handwriting on the wall was at the time of the strike -- not clear Republican leader and hilary the Dem frontrunner.

- Heard on D & C this AM on WEEI - late in the show, when the helicopter was chasing Jack and the kids along the river, you can clearly see a cameraman dressed in black next to Jack and the kids. Anyone who still has it on DVR will see it (I didn't see it, but it was a D&C emailer who alerted them to it, then they replayed it and saw the 24-cameraman).


* By the way how about Matt Cassel? They still have their fate a little out of their hands & may not even make the playoffs, but watching these games are a ton more exciting than last year -- watching Cassel's Game get better and better is incredible. Totally different offense & personnel, so it's not an equal comparison, but Cassel's 1st season is shaping up better than Brady's first foray (Brady never threw for over 300 yards the first season and now we have the Pat-precedent setting two consecutive games of 400 from Cassel -- that said, even last year, Brady never had consecutive games of 400).

And, the one thing I've heard from analysts (and seen with my eyes) is that Cassel is undoubtedly a better runner. I love when he goes for it -- as we all know from last week, it's no small thing being the only QB in NFL history to throw for 400 and run for 60 (although, for the purposese of that stat, I'd only go back to, say, '96, as rules and the game have changed significantly to promote the pass and offense in general -- as well as protect the Cube).

I won't do the ridiculous thing of talking about a QB controversy, because Brady is cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow, Joe-Montana-Brady, but how difficult will it be before Brady's new knee is tested to let Cassel go?


- Interesting how last night's 24 is a prologue to the season. It flowed in real time, but you can't tell me on Jan 11, when the season starts, it picks up from Jack's 'copter ride -- just the air-travel to the states would take up half of the 24 hrs.

- Interesting how the UN-guy is painted as not just uninformed and ineffective, but such a back-biting two-timing scoundrel. Love his UN-baby-blue outfits too ;).

- I'll bet the burn on Jack's face (ear?) becomes a non-factor in the new season -- even last night... seriously, could you imagine the huge puss-filled bubble that would have resulted from that torture burn. I kept pictured Jack lancing that thing and wrapping his face in gauze for the rest of the show -- but I am just fine suspending my disbelief too.

- Jon Voight as the bad guy -- tons of corruption wiothin the US gov't itself - although this isn't too unique to 24 storylines

- Looking at the new President's son, I think he could be groomed to be a carry-over character in other 24 seasons.

- In the previews for the new season... five words -- A Very Bad Tony Almeida (and, Jack's line to him in the previews, "Tell me what I need to know, or else I'll kill you and this time you'll stay dead).


Go Pats

November 7, 2008

Hopefully we all win

Obama wins -- it's the outcome I voted for, but there's a lot to do. However, the following story was found on today, and in and of itself, it's an incredible story. And I'd hazard a guess that this is not unique to this one classroom. I don't kid myself that the follow-through is not going to be a tough task, but the potential under-pinnings of what we have right now - socially, economically, and internationally - is the biggest in my lifetime, and even I can feel it...

In her own words: Teacher moved by students' joy over Obama win
November 7, 2008 11:57 AM

By Felicia Kazer

Boston teacher Felicia Kazer tells how Barack Obama's election transformed McCormack Middle School in Dorchester the day after the historic vote, stirring excitement, a sense of possibility, and unbridled joy in her students.

Wednesday was a great day to be a teacher.

The excitement started as soon as I entered the school in the morning. It turns out that a small group of students arrived before classes started to decorate our hallways with Barack Obama posters.

They had photocopied pictures of Obama's face. Under it they had written one word: "President."

By the time the rest of the student body arrived, our whole school had been plastered with these signs.

At 7:14 a.m., the hallways at my school looked very familiar: crowded, hectic and loud. Only on this morning, students weren't ignoring their teacher's requests to get to their homerooms because they were too busy gossiping about shoes or TV last night or one another.

Instead, they were simply too busy to get to class on time because they were all talking politics with their friends. It was stunning to overhear conversations between eighth-graders that included words like: electoral votes, democracy, and ballots. And it wasn't just a few kids -- it was all of them.

Felix, the tallest and coolest eighth-grade boy in homeroom 8F, came into our room with six Obama buttons on his sweatshirt. And as if this wasn't enough, he set the school trend for wearing the Obama posters that were once hanging all over the hallways. One minute he was asking to borrow some tape and the next minute the Obama printouts were all over his (and then all the other boys') torsos.

Meanwhile, I looked around my homeroom and had a shocking realization: This is a room filled with 13-year-olds, and all of them are in a good mood. But knowing how much their moods fluctuate during the course of a day, I was sure that by last class block the excitement would have subsided.

I was wrong.

I picked up 8C from lunch and on the way back to class I had to remind Lexxi that it wasn't appropriate hallway behavior to chant, "Obama,Obama, Obama" as loudly as she could.
By now, I had realized that my lesson on chemical formulas would be a hard-sell for such an over-stimulated and over-tired afternoon crew, so I decided to make them a deal.
"If we get all our work done this afternoon, we will spend the last 20 minutes of the day watching Obama's victory speech,'' I told them. "However, if we don't work efficiently, we won't have enough time."

When else would this be a successful incentive for adolescent children: Ifyou work hard, I'll let you listen silently to a grown-up give a long speech about our political process.

I couldn't believe it worked, but it did. The class only got off track a couple of times and I was easily able to re-focus them by providing one simple reminder: "President Obama would want us to get our work done."

As promised, at the end of the period we closed our chemistry books and tuned in to hear our next president give his victory speech. The first bell even rang and no one packed up their things.

Not only did they listen to Obama's speech intently, but a few times they began cheering so loudly I had to pause the speech and remind them that a class was taking place next door.
You remember this part of Obama's speech Tuesday night: "This victory is not my victory. This is your victory.''

To this, Vianca (one of my most chatty girls) said out loud: "Yeah, it's my victory!"
I looked around at the room of 28 students -- all of whom are people of color -- and I saw the future teachers, doctors, artists and presidents of this country. I almost started crying all over again.