Monday, April 27, 2009

The Final Week

Hard to believe but this is the last week of my first year teaching at the University of Toledo. Of course, when the semesters are three and a half months long, time flies.

As many of you know, I taught high school the past seven plus years. The differences between being in high school and college are vast. For one, the students are held much more accountable on the college level. In high school, the teachers are accountable for the students' success and/or failure. Despite that, I still try my best to make sure each student succeeds. I set expectations high. I feel good when the grades I assign have validity. In other words, they are accurate. I feel comfortable knowing that those who got A's, worked hard for them and truly deserved them.

I have great colleagues in my department. They are very supportive. I know, I have said that a lot...but it's true. Often-times, the difference between making a job pleasant and it being a mere existence, is the people you work with. When you work with great people, you find yourself going to work earlier, hanging out with them outside of office hours, and whatever else.

Being on a college campus is an exciting thing. Having my own office is something I've never experienced before. That's why I almost always go back to my office after class just see it. My office is in University Hall, which has a tall bell tower. It feels like I have an office and teach class in a cathedral.

At the university, many things around Toledo are centered around the campus or what goes on here. It's hard not to go anywhere without seeing someone wearing a University of Toledo shirt or some kind of clothing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Are you kidding me?

Apple had to remove an application from its iTunes stores that allowed users to "quiet" a crying baby on the iphone by shaking it????!!!!! At what point did someone say, "Oh, that's a great idea!"????? I can't believe this.

SEATTLE -- Public outrage over a game available on Apple's iPhone has caused the company to remove "Baby Shaker" from its iTunes store.

Groups that fight child abuse and advocate for victims of brain injury condemned Apple for approving the game's sale in the first place.

The game's premise -- quiet a crying baby with a vigorous shake.

The application was designed by Sikalosoft, which did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

"Baby Shaker" was deleted from its Web site Wednesday afternoon.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris would not comment about how many people downloaded the game before it was removed. Apple itself screens each iPhone application.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has rejected apps that let iPhone users throw virtual shoes at President George W. Bush or watch clips from the "South Park" cartoon.

It has accepted numerous programs that simulate flatulence.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Here is story in today's USA TODAY that blows my mind. I have always liked dinosaurs and the public has always had a fascination with them due to movies like Jurassic Park and others. This well preserved mammoth is too good to be true...but it is.

Discovered in 2007, the 1-month-old mammoth died suddenly, probably trapped in mud. "She was doing great, very healthy," says paleontologist Dan Fisher of the University of Michigan, part of the international team researching Lyuba. "She just had this terrible misfortune."

Lyuba appears in the May National Geographic and in Waking the Baby Mammoth Sunday (9 p.m. ET/PT) on the National Geographic Channel. She's perhaps the best-preserved mammoth ever discovered: Lyuba's skin and internal organs appear intact, as well as traces of mother's milk found in her stomach. The only damage to the mammoth, which is less than 3 feet tall, are bite marks from village dogs.

Covered in coarse hair, the woolly mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius, roamed Eurasia and western North America at least 200,000 to 10,000 years ago. Dozens of partly intact woolly mammoths have been uncovered from Siberia's tundra, but Lyuba exhibits remarkable preservation. "She's all there," Fisher says. Preliminary analysis by Fisher and colleagues suggests the clay and silt that swallowed up the baby mammoth effectively "pickled" her.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Judging a book by its cover

Last season, it was Paul Potts and his opera singing on Britain's Got Talent.

This year, it's Susan Boyle.
Both are great performances. These are the kinds of things that make these shows worth watching. Here are folks who come from nowhere and have this amazing talent unknown to everybody until they walk onstage. What great magical moments! Very cool.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Would you do this?

This is definitely the strangest story I've seen since Ted Williams' death.

DALLAS – Nikolas Colton Evans had talked about how much he wanted to have a child, but the 21-year-old died after he was punched and hit his head on the ground in a fight. That would have been the end of it, if it weren't for his determined mother, a court order and a urologist.
Missy Evans has harvested her dead son's sperm and hopes to find a surrogate and one day raise her son's child. It's a decision that ethicists say raises troubling questions; one called the potential offspring a "replacement child."
Evans isn't concerned about what others might think. She says she is only doing what her son would have wanted.
"He would love me so much for doing this," she said.
Austin police say Nikolas Evans was punched during a fight on an Austin street early March 27 and then fell to the ground, striking his head. He died April 5. Police are still trying to identify the person who hit him.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hidden meanings in stories.

Two stories from this past weekend caught my eye for hidden and what I consider unnecessary comments.

Race car driver Danica Patrick had a rough start to her season. Patrick crashed early in the Honda Grand Prix. The crash happened as the result of a pass or attempted pass by another driver. At the end of the story, the writer, Mike Harris of the Associated Press, wrote, "Patrick, the only woman in the field, ended her day in 19th and Matos was 20th. Each completed just 31 of 100 laps." WHY was it necessary to mention her being the "only woman in the field?"

My other story is about the tragedy in Graham, Washington, where a father shot his children and himself.

Here's the first sentence of the story from the Associated Press. "A father apparently shot to death five of his children, ages 7 to 16, at their mobile home and then killed himself at a casino miles away, police said Saturday."

My question with this story is how relevant is it that they lived in a MOBILE home? What if the family had been living in a one-story ranch house? Does the one-story ranch home get reported? Or do we associate mobile homes with arguments, guns, and violence?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Haunting in Connecticut,,20270145,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines
The link above is to an article in People magazine about the real Haunting in Connecticut on which the movie of the same name is based. The movie is about a family that moves to a house in C0nnecticut that used to be a funeral home. Several people died in the home during a seance and several more were "buried" in the walls of the house instead of at a graveyard.

I saw the movie today it's a good scare for a 90 minute matinee.

I have never been to a haunted house or at least not to my knowledge.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The "R" Word

I apologize to taking so long between posts. Teaching school can be a little time consuming. Anyway, I saw this online in today's Blade newspaper here in Toledo. I applaud this effort. I am glad that there are steps being taken to change buildings and organizations that use the word "retarded." It kind of deflates the argument of banning the "r" word when it is still all over many buildings and organizations.

Lucas County commissioners back effort to stop use of 'retarded'

"Recession" was considered a dirty word a year ago in some quarters. And no doubt there are octogenarian workaholics who feel the same about "retirement."
Yet there's another "R-word" - unfortunately, one more commonly uttered - that Lucas County commissioners want the public to know is especially hurtful and offensive to those with intellectual disabilities.

The commissioners proclaimed yesterday "Spread the Word to End the Use of the R-Word Day" as part of a larger nationwide campaign against derogatory forms of the word "retarded."
The national campaign, sponsored by the Special Olympics and spread through an online pledge at, received recognition at schools and local governments from coast to coast.

That proposal in Ohio Senate Bill 79 would require similar changes to all county boards of mental retardation and developmental disabilities."Words really are harmful, and they leave a lasting effect on people," said Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak, who introduced the county proclamation. "I think it's good to essentially remind ourselves to think before we speak."

Tuesday's campaign coincided with a state legislative push to rename the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities the Department of Developmental Disabilities. That proposal in Ohio Senate Bill 79 would require similar changes to all county boards of mental retardation and developmental disabilities.