Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 Review Questions

Stolen from Shannin. This is a little longer than your usual meme, but I love New Year's (any opportunity to reflect is welcomed by me, a pretty reflective guy), so I'll do this one.

Looking Back 2005
1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?
I got married. I got a cat.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make any next year?
I don't remember this year's resolutions, and they're not recorded on my blog. I think they were weight-related, in which case I believe I succeeded.

I will work out three times a week all year, including and especially after basketball season. I will eat 3 USRDA servings of vegetables a day. Now that I'm married to a beautiful and wonderful woman, I want to live a whole time. Swankette and I have made tentative plans to die at 150 and 152 in our sleep after wild sex. So I'd better work out and eat veggies.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Two good friends at work had babies within a week of each other--one boy, one girl.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?
Huh. I didn't even make it to Canada this year. But I did get to Hawaii, Boston, Florida/Georgia/NC, and several jaunts to Oregon.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
A few more bucks would be nice.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 30. Crying throughout my wedding ceremony. People actually asking "Are you OK?" The answer: YES!!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Probably the aforementioned wedding, although my wife should get more credit for that wonderful weekend than I do.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I can't think of anything off-hand that I'd classify as "failure." Some mistakes, sure, but "failure" has a finality about it that I don't see.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Continued gastrointestinal issues. Some vocal issues in the fall.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A honeymoon.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Everyone I know and love, especially those who made the wedding weekend so special.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
President George W. Bush. A co-worker who is being a pest.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Wedding and honeymoon.

15. What did you get really excited about?
Being married.

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
"Beati Quorum Via" by C.V. Stanford.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? A shade thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Tough call. I think there's more in the bank account due to the wife.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I'd like to get out with friends more often.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We did Christmas with Swankette's family a week early in Portland. A nice dinner, simple presents. Christmas Eve was spent at the hospital with my dad, who, as it turned out, was not having cardiac problems (our guess is now esophageal spasms). Christmas Day I had a wonderful picnic with my wife on our living room floor, and enjoyed turkey at my sister's the day after Christmas.

22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
I fell in love with her years ago, but it intensified this year.

23. How many one-night stands?
Many, many of them, all with my wife.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Amazing Race 7 (8 was pretty bad), Survivor: Guatemala (the best one yet), The Simpsons (now and always).

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word, but I'm finding I'm annoyed at the aforementioned co-worker. I need to find a way to get that taken care of in my mind.

26. What was the best book you read?
Danny Wallace's Yes Man.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Can't think of anything new this year, although I'm working on becoming classical music-literate, so I should have one for 2006.

28. What did you want and get?
A wedding ring.

29. What did you want and not get?
A colonoscopy.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. Neither my wife nor I remember what we did--probably a movie or somp'm.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Nothing, really. I guess I would like to get out more often, but "immeasurably" is a hell of a modifier, so nothing.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Solid colors with ties and khakis/grey pants at work, M-Th. Jeans and school shirt on Fridays at work. Jeans and T-shirts/sweatshirts at home.

34. What kept you sane?
The knowledge that I can talk to my wife at the end of any day. The knowledge that my family is strong and will stay that way.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Sue Bird still has this category locked up, but I'm growing to appreciate Reese Witherspoon more.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The fucking war, and the shifting rationale for being there.

37. Who did you miss?
I do wish I lived closer to many of my best friends who traveled so far to attend the wedding.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
The new teacher/debate coach at my school is a cool guy I could picture hanging with.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.
I am surrounded by love, everywhere, all the time.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Goin' to the chapel and we're
Gonna get ma-a-a-ried
Goin' to the chapel and we're
Gonna get ma-a-a-ried
Gee I really love you and we're
Gonna get ma-a-a-ried
Goin' to the chapel of love.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

20,000th Hit

At 6:13 PM tonight, Holly (or possibly one of her Alabama buddies...but I suspect it was Holly) became this blog's 20,000th hit! She looked at my Yes Man post!

Let me steal a page from Matt's BFOP playbook and give a hall of fame...

5000th hit: 1/23/2005. Some dude from Pennsylvania who surfed from Jack Bog's blog...looked at several reffing-related posts.
10,000th hit: 6/8/2005. My lovely wife (then my lovely fiancee) checked for comments.
15,000th hit: 9/23/2005. Another Bog surfer, reading about my dumpster-diving. See, Jack's blog is know...popular. My five biggest days in history are each consequences of his linking to me. It's not a coincidence two of these milestones come from him.
20,000th hit: 12/29/2005. Holly looks at my book review.

Unnoticed by me was my 10,000th unique visitor, also earlier this month...too long ago to be detectable now.

Not too shabby, I think, for a completely unadvertised blog and only 16+ months of writing stuff.

Thanks to her and to everybody for continuing to make this the most visited blog written by a teacher/ref/poet.

Say Yes to The Yes Man

My wife got me Danny Wallace's book The Yes Man for Christmas. I've already finished with it. It was a marvelous book.

Wallace is good buddies with Dave Gorman--the Dave Gorman I blogged about earlier this month. And in many ways, their adventures are similar. Gorman finds adventures in globetrotting for silly purposes: to find other Dave Gormans or to meet ten consecutive Googlewhacks. I wrote that these adventures "are about enjoying the random stuff that his challenges throw at him so quickly--one after another. And that's what life is, of course...a bunch of random stuff thrown at us that we need to enjoy."

Wallace, amazingly, has upped the ante on Gorman--his adventures are a bit more risky in so many ways. His quest was to say "yes" to more or less everything--all questions and invitations--for six months. "Hey, Danny, fancy a pint?" Yes. "Danny, can you spare some change?" Yes. "Coke? Hash?" Yes. "Are you looking at my girlfriend, punk?" Yes. Amazingly, he even extended his quest to advertising and internet spam: "Earn a nursing degree on-line!" Yes. "Say it with flowers!" Yes. "Please help me escape Nigeria and I will reward you with a percentage of my hundred million dollar fortune!" Yes.

Friends, you have GOT to read this book. I couldn't put it down. First off, it made me laugh out loud repeatedly...quaking laughs that made my throat hurt. That's hard to do. Among authors, only Wallace, Dave Barry, and Jon Stewart have been able to pull that off lately. The situations he gets himself into are amazing...just eye-popping. I'd have read it all in one sitting if I could have.

Wallace goes off into philosophical territory, discussing the deeper meanings of a Yes life and a No No means power, for instance, but Yes means adventure. He gets a hair preachy at times, but after 360-someodd pages of entertainment, I'm willing to hear him out.

I think Wallace's lesson is similar to Gorman's. But Wallace's adventure is so much more intense because, to a large extent, he decided to cede control of his life to others and to happenstance. His personal and professional lives change immensely as a result--and in suprising ways.

I could never do what he did. I wouldn't want to. But man, did I ever enjoy reading about it. And man, did it ever make me think.

Buy the book! Buy it here!

Then talk to me about it! I'm dying to know what others think about this book.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What the hell. I'll bite.

4X4 meme:

Four jobs you've had in your life:
Lawfirm department assistant, parimutuel teller at dog track, sixth grade teacher, high school English and History teacher.
Four movies you could watch over and over: Airplane!, Hoop Dreams, The Last Temptation of Christ, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.
Four places you've lived: Littleton, CO; Seattle, WA and surrounding suburbs; Leesville, LA, Pittsburgh, PA.
Four TV shows you love to watch: The Daily Show, The Amazing Race, The Colbert Report, Survivor.
Four places you've been on vacation: Kauai, HI; the Oregon Coast; London, England; Tulsa, OK.
Four websites you visit daily: Bloglines; U.S.S. Mariner; Gmail;
Four of your favorite foods: Artichokes, Lobster, Fannie May's Trinidads, Any Dinner Swankette Makes Me
Four places you'd rather be: Waimea, Hawaii; London, England; on a beach in the Southern Hemisphere; cross-country skiiing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A worry

My heart goes out to all of James Dungy's family and friends. Awful. Just awful.

I worry a little bit about all the media coverage this is getting, the memorial helmet decals, the moments of silence in stadiums, etc. Might this kind of hugely public memorial encourage another kid on the edge of suicide to perhaps try it to gain noteriety?

Monday, December 26, 2005

First time for everything

I happen to enjoy Mudslides. Yeah, it's not exactly a manly drink. But I like it for the same reason I like milkshakes. Them's tasty.

Last night, my wife and I had some time before seeing Walk the Line. We stopped for a drink. The guy asked "Would you like a side of testosterone?" Yeah, whatever. I looked at him blankly and said "No." International sign for "You're not funny."

When he returned with our drinks, he gave me a lengthy (and offensive) imitation of a flambuoyantly gay man. "Here you go sweetie." I actually turned my back on him. Yuck.

Last night marks the first time in my life I have withheld a tip. Where I was to write the tip in on my credit card receipt, I instead wrote "Don't ridicule your customers, especially when it's clear they're not playing along."

Sure beats having to drink beer, though. Yeeecccccchhhhhh.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Ho, Ho, Oh Shit

Memorable Christmas Eve tonight...

My family has a wonderful tradition--I don't think we invented it, but we've been doing it since I was a kid--about Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone brings a small hors doerve, and that's the meal. The little ones make easy little kid food (ham and cream cheese, teeny weenies) and adults bring bigger stuff. My grandfather, may he rest in peace, used to open the pickles. He was a man's man...didn't do the cooking that was his contribution. I've always loved that all of our contributions (one gift), then open presents (the other gift).

We gathered at my parents' place late this afternoon to settle in, enjoy the food, and open the presents. My eight-year-old nephew planned on playing piano for us, and I was stoked to see my three-year-old niece's reaction to the positively massive pink stuffed My Pretty Pony we got her. This was going to be a good one.

My dad didn't feel right all night, and just as we were getting our foods out and setting up the gifts below the tree, the chest pains were too big to ignore. Allergies, Dad? "I don't know." Should we call 911? "I don't know." My mom said that that meant, yes, we should call 911.

This is where my family swings into action.

When my dad had his massive "widowmaker" heart attack two years ago, I was impressed with the way my family hunkered down. Dad was in a drug-induced coma for 17 days, and his survival was by no means certain. My kid sister flew in from DC, and so all four kids and Mom--along with the spouses and my then-girlfriend, now spouse--hung out together for almost all of those days. We essentially moved into a little alcove next to my Dad's ICU room, where we cracked jokes and did crossword puzzles. We were there so much that hospital staff actually started forwarding our phone calls to us in there. We didn't just lean on each other for strength...I think we actually strengthened each other, which is different (and better). At one point, I told a friend of mine: "We really came together. I guess all families do that." His response: "No they don't. Some families explode." He's right. I'm thankful we can come together so effectively and smoothly.

Tonight? My doctor brother-in-law took Dad's pulse. Three of my siblings and in-laws watched over the five kids. I ran out to flag down the fire truck and the ambulance. I made sure to sit with my mom, who has astonishing strength even at the moment of crisis. As the paramedics questioned my dad, it was, needless to say, scary, after all we went through that awful summer and fall of 2003. Dad said the pain was similar to how he felt then.

Since they don't let family in the ambulance, somebody had to take my Mom to the hospital, and that fell to my wife and I, since we don't have kids. The situation was already traumatic enough for the kids--even though they had been shuttled into the other room for the scary part, they still would have trouble having Grandpa and Grandma so suddenly removed from Christmas. They needed their parents to stay. They needed to eat and open presents.

So Dad's trip to the hospital pre-empted the normal Christmas Eve activities for me, my wife, my mom, and (of course) him...but the kids were spared as much as possible.

The good news? Although my dad is staying the night at the hospital, he feels a lot better, and his numbers are all about where they should be. He's sort of embarrassed--he kept apologizing for messing Christmas up. "Tell David I'm sorry I'll miss his recital...You three should head back to the house to get there for gifts if you can..." I complain about my Dad sometimes (as we all do about our parents...), but man, I love him. He's a great guy.

Christmas Eve meal? Unsure of how long we'd need to stay at the hospital, my wife and I had sandwiches in the hospital cafeteria. The funny thing is that I wasn't feeling too bad at this point...with my dad feeling better, it was all okay and not at all depressing. At least I wasn't the drug addict in the cot outside my dad's ER room, refusing to sign a release and cussing at doctors to the point where they told her to shut up before they called the cops in. My wife and I agreed that our first Christmas Eve together would, if nothing else, be quite memorable.

As soon as Dad was in his ICU room, we took Mom back home. By then, festivities were long over--the house was empty. ("We left your presents in a bag by the door," my sister said earlier, inadvertently and innocently uttering one of the most depressing statements in yuletide history.) That left me, my mom, and my wife to take care of the rest of the we got to eat the good food after all. I was expecting to have to leave, but we wound up chatting about everything and nothing for three hours...our jobs, old times, whatever...keeping our minds off of earlier events. It seems clear that Dad is okay, so it felt like a winding down.

It was a fairly rough evening--I'm glad my wife drove tonight, as I was probably too distraught to be the one to drive my mom to the hospital--so we decided not to go to midnight services as we planned. That's for the best, I think--as soon as I left my parents' house at 11:00 Christmas Eve, I suddenly noticed how emotionally exhausted I was. I think, given that, God will give us an excused absence from Christmas services this year.

We've saved our presents both to and from my parents, and will open them together on Monday. I'm excited about that. After all, there's a finite number of times we get to do that together.

It feels a little like we just skipped Christmas Eve this year...but it's all right. Dad is okay, and I am blessed by a wife and family who can get me through even a night like tonight.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Wizard of Oz

For many years, I've been upset at how Dorothy tells the Scarecrow "I think I'll miss you most of all" in front of the Lion and the Tin Man. Hell-LO! There are OTHER FRIENDS RIGHT THERE!!! Seriously...what about the Lion's and Tin Man's feelings? Would I say to one friend that I liked him/her more than the front of the others? No, I wouldn't. That's garbage. And I've harbored disappointment and anger towards Dorothy for that for quite a while now.

But as I watched tonight, I noticed that it's possible that she was whispering that in the Scarecrow's ear.

I'm relieved. I forgive Dorothy.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Earning my pay

When multiple students have approached multiple teachers asking to be moved away from Bob because (they say after an awkward, careful pause, looking at the floor), well, he just (whispering now) smells so bad...well, what the hell do you do?

Our answer:

Huddle up with the three colleagues who have been approached.

Decide we have a severe problem, and that somebody has to talk to him.

Decide it shouldn't be a female teacher.

And then, when one of the teachers simply says "I'm just too scared to do it..."

well, then the job falls to me.

This falls near the bottom of the moments I've faced in nearly 9 years in the classroom. I apologized repeatedly ("Bob, I really hate to talk about this...") but also tried to gather clues ("Has this been a problem in the past?") and to problem solve with the kid: ("Is it a clothing issue? A deodorant issue? Something else?")

Bob's answers: no, nobody's ever told him before, and no, he has no idea what the problem is.

We were alone for a few minutes before class, and when kids started filing in, I asked Bob to join me after school. He didn't. I'll chat with him for a while today, and try to frame the problem in the New Year's Resolution frame.

I also told my boss about the conversation, and that I felt like an asshole. She said that there was no good way to address the problem, and that what I said was appropriate. Thank God.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Think you know what your students are thinking?

You don't. Just ask Jim.

Mr. President

The headline reads "Bush Accepts Responsibility for Decision to Go to War Based on Faulty Intelligence."

Yet the Bush quote is: "We are in Iraq today because our goal has always been more than the removal of brutal dictator [sic...I wonder if this was Bush's mistake or the Seattle Times's?]."

Mr. President, we were there for weapons of mass destruction and al-Qaeda ties...the very things that turned out to be fictional.

You make no sense. If the intelligence was faulty, the war was faulty. The leader was faulty.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Jack Bog's Buck-A-Hit-Day

For every unique visitor to his cool blog on December 14, 2005 (up to 1,250), Jack Bogdanski will donate a dollar to Portland-area charities. Swing by. It's good reading, and you'll be helping people.


You know sometimes you open a cough drop that's been in a slightly-too-humid setting? And how you can't get the paper off of the cough drop, because the cough drop is a little too gooey and gummy? And how you either have to try to scratch off the last scraps of paper from the cough drop, or put it in your mouth and eventually spit out a little strip of paper, or else you just eat the paper?

I hate that.

Monday, December 12, 2005

You want me in the front row

Speaking of Dave Gorman...

I seem to be a very animated and excellent audience member. Swankette and I stayed after the show to shake hands with Dave, and he said "You were in the front row, right? You were awesome. Really into it, laughing. Thanks." Cool!

The thing is, this isn't the first time I've been told this. While I was in college, I saw one of my favorite poets, Heather McHugh (and what a wonderful URL!) give a reading. I'll never forget was the first time I heard the poem "What He Thought." The religion professor sitting behind me let out an audible sigh--sort of an exhaled gasp--during the final line. McHugh was hilarious, fun, serious...a great reader. I guess I have an expressive face, because when I shook hands with her after the show, she said "Thank you! Have you ever given a reading? Or even done a presentation, even back in elementary school? Then you know how nice it is to have someone in the audience you can look at who'll be totally engaged and really enjoying it. That was you for me tonight. Thanks!"

So if you or anyone you know is going to be doing a performance, and if you think I'll enjoy it, buy me tickets (plane and performance) and put me up in a hotel. Apparently I'm the guy you want front and center.

Dave Gorman

My wife and I enjoyed Dave Gorman's Googlewhack! Adventure on Friday night. I really am a big fan. I happened upon him on David Letterman a few years ago, then saw his first (and most famous) show, Are You Dave Gorman? on BBC American not long after. He absolutely cracks me up.

They call Dave Gorman a "documentary comedian," and the label fits. His shows relate wacky things he has done in his life. In Are You Dave Gorman? he makes a bet with his buddy Danny that he can meet 54 other people named Dave Gorman in the world. He travels everywhere, trying to keep the MPDG (miles per Dave Gorman) traveled within a prescribed ratio. I totally get into it...cheering him on. And he's funny.

But I get such joy from his work, I think, for another reason. In both shows, Gorman's strange quest takes him to unexpected places. In his random travels that the Googlewhack carries him, Gorman has had encounters with a guy who collects pictures of women and dogs (check it's bizarre and strangely sweet), an Australian physicist in Washington, DC, a creationist who's fast and loose with the laws of physics, and a man in Australia struggling mightily--and anonymously--with his sexuality. He winds up doing punk music in Columbus, Ohio and gets an extremely unfortunate tattoo in Austin, Texas.

What I find literally exhilarating about Gorman's shows is the sense of adventure in them. His challenges (to meet Dave Gormans or to meet Googlewhacks) take him to diverse and unrelated places. He's talking about the second law of thermodynamics one minute and drunken escapades the next. He does all of this with such joy.

Really, his shows are about enjoying the random stuff that his challenges throw at him so quickly--one after another. And that's what life is, of course...a bunch of random stuff thrown at us that we need to enjoy.

I'd like to be Dave Gorman...only without the binge drinking or the tattoo.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Froot Loops with 1/3 Less Sugar

This morning, I am learning that it is not the frootiness that makes Froot Loops tasty. Nor is it the Loopiness.

It's all that sugar. Without it, Froot Loops taste more like Cheerios than anything else.

I suppose I could spoon sugar onto my reduced-sugar Froot Loops. But that would be pathetic. I'll tough out the box, then resort to less-healthy breakfast cereals again.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

(Almost) Complete Vocal Rest

I'm having nagging vocal cord swelling. I'd recovered from the vocal problems I had back in '01 and '02, and was able to sing fully again, which was the big goal. To be sure, there were lifestyle changes...I teach with a microphone now, and when I officiate, I'm careful not to yell the whole game (I save it for two or three calls I really have to sell). But I came down with some mysterious ailment a couple of months ago that has been problematic. I soldiered through, singing in the community sing with my students at school (slogging through the weekly rehearsals was tough) and teaching carefully and reffing quietly. But it's not getting better and it's not going to get better until I get some rest. The Christmas break is a week and a half away, and that will help...but I don't want to wait.

So tonight, I've told my loving, supportive wife that I am on self-imposed (almost) complete vocal rest.

I'll teach.

I'll ref.

I'll tell my wife I love her and say sweet things when I go to work and when we go to bed.

But that's it.

I announced this tonight at about 9:00...and my wife supported me. But there's a wonderful side effect to all of this...

My wife is talking!

I talk so damn much that I tend to dominate the topics of conversation. I don't even really notice it. Swankette tends to be sort of shy and retiring...which works well with me since I'm such a damn loudmouth. Seriously, how do you think the cords got swollen in the first place? But with me quiet tonight, Swankette, obviously not used to the silence, started talking. She said wacky jokes. She said sweet things. These happen under any circumstances, of course, but they feel wackier and sweeter tonight. I do believe that this is actually enjoyable.

Last time I had vocal rest, it was enforced by a doctor and lasted nearly two weeks. There was question as to my ability ever to sing again, so I was scared. I learned a lot of things during that two weeks:

1. This is what Instant Messenger is good for.
2. I liked my wife more than the woman I was dating at the time. (In other words, I preferred IM-ing Swankette to actually hanging out with the now-ex.)
3. I didn't miss talking to the people I was closest to. What I missed most was the ability to talk to the guy at the gas station or at Subway.
(3a. If you can't talk, it' s not a bad idea to take people to the mall to help you buy shoes. I hadn't bought shoes with my parents since I was 12, but there it was, happening again.)
4. If you write down the sandwich you want and hand it to the Subway guy, you will learn that he can barely read.
5. When you carry a laptop around to talk to people at work, and you type in a question to them, rather than answering you verbally, they have an urge to take your computer and type back to you...which, of course, makes absolutely no sense.

I'm not going cold-turkey this time around, and it's not as serious...the stakes aren't quite as high. Swelling goes down, but the busted blood vessel in the cord from '01 was far more serious and scary. So it won't be a complete shutdown. I'll still teach, ref, and say sweet things to my wife when I leave in the morning and when we go to bed at night. But through at least Monday morning, I'll try to leave all other stuff out. And, for a change, I'll enjoy watching my wife be forced to compete with the Kitty to be the extrovert of the house.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

First time in 12 years.

I just laughed at a Saturday Night Live sketch. Repeatedly. It was HS related...the drama team reading the morning announcements.

Is this a sign of a positive, long-term change? Or will I next laugh at an SNL sketch in 2017, when I will be 47?

UPDATE...laughed at consecutive sketches! "Taco Town" commercial was wonderful! (Spoken of here...)! three in a row! Jay Feely's Ride Home after missing 3 field goals in Seattle! I going to have to watch next week too?

Movie: Good Night and Good Luck

A few minutes ago, I got back from the theater where I saw Good Night and Good Luck. I talked my wife into seeing it rather than the Johnny Cash flick, mostly because of recommendations from Jim and Joe. (By the way, Jim and you read each other's blogs? You'd like each other's stuff. Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match...) This was a good movie, but it won't make TRP's Really Big List of 150 Greatest Movies Ever because of the final minute.

There were so many sound bites that were apropos to today (which is a little ironic, given that Murrow's era of news had much more depth than the sound bites of now). "Dissent is not the same as disloyalty" is the one that sticks with me. And the tension between giving TV viewers the broccoli they need, like Murrow, as opposed to nothing but the candy they want, like The $64,000 Question.

I loved the McCarthy footage, too. Someday I'll have to read or watch the entire Army/McCarthy footage. There was enough history in this that I might incorporate it into the next time I teach McCarthy and The Crucible. I wouldn't show the whole movie...maybe just some...but the movie is good about exposing many of the underlying tensions of the time.

Anyway, the last two minutes are Murrow giving a sermon. Clooney steals a page from Oliver Stone's playbook here..."let's tell the viewer what the movie means at the end"...and that bugs me. The point had been made. I'm not an idiot...

Still, see it.

At some point in the next couple of weeks, I'll tell you about the Johnny Cash thing. Probably next Sunday...I'll be swimming in essays next weekend and will use the movie as a break.