My classroom is full of stuff. I tell people it is like an Applebee's, but with better food.
In the room I have toys, games, records, posters, jerseys, old radios, flags, candy machines, and this picture:
On more than one occasion, students have asked me "Who is that?"
On more than one occasion, students have guessed it is Hitler.
Every now and then, some of them know it is Charlie Chaplin.
To be fair: 1) Charlie Chaplin was way way way before their time. 2) He is dressed up in military garb. 3) He has a tiny mustache. But still, even though I know there are some very valid reasons why they do not or should not know who this is a picture of, it still makes me giggle when they guess Hitler.
I am going to sound like everyone else here when I say this, but holy crap, winter has got to go. And fast.
Of course I like snow, I enjoy winter activities, and who doesn't love temperatures that fall below that of what you would find in say your freezer, but enough is enough. I am done.
You win winter. Just take what you want and please go away.
On the upside however, we are only eight days away from the Winter Olympics. And for this reason, and this reason only, winter can stick around.
But once those games are over and all the curling stones are put away, you can just go.
Well today is officially the second day of my summer vacation. What's that you say? It's freaking freezing outside. Oh, don't worry, I noticed too.
So when school gets canceled and everyone gets to stay home, the kids are super excited. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it too. But while the kids are looking at the short term of having this cold cold cold day off, I am looking at the long term. And the long term says we will be in school for some "make-up" days in June. When it's nice out. Possibly hot. Possibly terribly hot.
But let's be honest, you can't fight it. If it's cold now we are canceling now, so I might as well enjoy it.
And how am I enjoying the day? I'm spending it with my kids bundled up indoors. Oh, and I an launching an awesome new streaming radio station: Shaken Not Stirred Radio.
Shaken Not Stirred Radio features the best in classic lounge music. Artists like Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Billy May and Al Cailoa. Don't know who they are? Don't worry, you'll like them.
Plus it features music from greats that you do know, such as Frank, Dean, Sammy and more. This station is truly unlike anything else you are going to hear.
Give it a listen, will you? Click here to start listening right now. In the future you can click the link at the top of the page as well. And if you'd like to visit the page at Radionomy where the station is hosted, you can go there by clicking this link: http://www.radionomy.com/en#!/en/radio/shakennotstirred/index
And a special thanks goes out to the fine folks of Radionomy. They provided the platform and hosting for this project and they will do it for you too...free of charge, at http://www.radionomy.com/en
This is my favorite show: How I Met Your Mother. Over the past eight and a half seasons, it has been one of the best sitcoms on the air (although this season has been a bit rough...especially the episode two weeks back). But sadly, HIMYM is coming to an end this year. And this leaves me with one important question that I need help with: What will be my new TV show?
Of course there are other shows that I watch (such as Orange is the New Black on Netflix), but none that I must watch each and every week, especially since Netflix is redefining how we watch television.
There were a few last season, but they did not make their way back to the airwaves this fall (see Go On, The New Normal and Happy Endings).
So what are your suggestions for my new appointment viewing? What are the shows that you simply cannot miss...and that you simply cannot believe I'm not watching?
By now you are all probably aware of the fictional holiday known as Festivus, created by a classic episode of the televisions series Seinfeld
, but if you know nothing about it go ahead and Google it. Go ahead, I'll wait for you. Here, you can even click on this link to find out more about it
(it doesn't get much easier than this people).
All better (or already knew all about it)? Great, then let's get started with the airing of grievances 2013 edition:
1) Turn Signals: Here is a funny story, your turn signal in your car was not an optional feature. Start using it people, because guess what, I'm not a mind-reader.
2) House Hunters: If I hear the phrase "I don't like the paint color" one more time on this show I'm going to scream. You can change paint color! If you ever say this phrase your realtor should be able to reach out and slap you across your face. Gee honey, their a lots of cracks in the wall and this seems to be mold growing on the ceiling, but I love what they did with the paint color in the bathroom.
3) Text Messaging: I actually like texting. It has a time and a place and to be honest I use it on a daily basis. But you know when I don't use it? When I can pick up a phone and talk to the person. Remember folks, that tiny little computer you are typing on is actually a phone first, and that good men like Hertz, Marconi and deForest committed their lives to figuring out how we could talk via radio waves. I'd like to think that if they came back to life today they would run over to you and slap the phones right of your hands while screaming T you in a sort of old timey English. I'd also like to think they would pick the phone right up and start tinkering with it, but that is another story.
4) Apps that crash: Guess what, while typing up this blog the damn app crashed. And this is how you instantly make the list: Screw up while I am making the list.
5) Freedom of Speech: Yes you have it (and I love it). But no it doesn't mean you can say whatever you like without consequences. Life has free will. With free will comes consequences for your choices. Just ask the "stars" of the "reality" series Duck Dynasty. Or Don Imus. Or Howard Stern.
6) Know-It-All's: You have an opinion about everything, yet no one asked your opinion. Oh, and usually your opinion is wrong anyway. Or based on lies. Or "things you've heard." Or anything but the truth. And when you do actually know something, no one listens or believes you.
7) Sarah Palin: Need I say more? Actually, I better explain. It isn't because she is a republican or because she and I don't share the same views. It is because she is nobody. What have you done to earn the respect and trust of the people? Oh, you were mayor of a small town in Alaska and then you were governor of the state for a short while? And right, you were also running mate to John McCain. But here is the difference between you and let's say Senator McCain - He is a war hero with years of experience and dedication to the people of America. And you're a troll who pops up on Fox News and stirs the pot just to keep your name in the news because you believe you have a chance in hell of winning the White House.
In reality, any and all problems or issues I have are minor or quite frankly not even problems at all compared to what other people have to live with on a daily basis. If you are able to read this then chances are your problems really aren't problems either, which brings me to the final grievance for 2013:
8) Issues: Oh, so you have some issues? Some problems? Things in your life aren't going as planned? Well before you start complaining ask yourself if it is really something to complain about...or if it is just minor road block/bump on an otherwise pretty sweet life journey you're on right now. Are you upset about the Duck Dynasty controversy? Did you drink clean water today? Did you have to worry about where your next meal is going to come from? Then shut the hell up.
Happy Festivus everyone!
P.S. If you were offended by tonight's blog post, please let me know. I don't plan to do anything about it, but I would like to know (and also keep in mind that this is meant to be taken in a light hearted, fun loving Festivus sort of way).
At night when I am home with the kids and we are just hanging out, we usually listen to music. And while there is nothing wrong with those fantastic "Kids Bop" CDs and the such, I like to expose them to all different kinds of music, genres, etc.
My oldest son Anthony is on some meds right now as he recovers from a sinus infection, and the bottle informs us that we are to "shake well" before using. Thus we put on some music to shake medicine by:
And then thanks to the "recommended videos" links provided by the fine people of You Tube, we were directed to this gem of a video:
Most people do something fun to kick off the summer. Some go on vacation, others barbecue and hang out in the back yard. Me? I had a colonoscopy.
Not necessarily the way I would recommend to start off a summer, but at the same time, is there truly a good "time of year" to have a colonoscopy? However, there actually is a right answer when it comes to "when is the right time" to get it done.
1) When your doctor says to do it.
2) After your 40th birthday (especially if you are a man)
3) Sooner if you have a family history of colon cancer or other GI related issues.
But most people won't get it done. And most men don't want to talk to their doctor's about it. This is why I am supporting the Movember movement this November by growing a mustache to raise awareness (and much needed funds) for men's health issues.
Just consider these facts:
- A man dies from prostate cancer every 17 1/2 minutes
- A man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer
- If treated early on, the chances of surviving prostate and testicular cancer are high (as high as 95%)
But here is the issue. Men don't talk to their doctors. Hell, many men don't go to see doctors period. And frankly, there is no good reason why. It is just dumb. And it is even dumber to risk death because of whatever excuse you (or your husband, boyfriend, sibling, co-worker, etc) is giving to not go and see the doctor and have a few routine tests.
I can speak from experience. No, a colonoscopy wasn't the time of my life. But honestly, it wasn't bad either. My root canal hurt way worse and truly, thanks to some powerful (and awesome) drugs, I don't remember a thing (or most anything from the entire day).
If you can, help me not only raise awareness for men's health issues, but also help me raise a little bit of funds for it as well. You can donate to my Movember page at the link below:http://us.movember.com/mospace/7813645
I believe in this so much that I even got the ball rolling myself with a small donation. That's how much I believe in this. I'm not asking you to do something that I am not supporting myself.
So go ahead, skip Starbucks tomorrow or have one less beer at the bar and throw a few bucks my way. Not only will it do your heart some good this November, but it will help to do some good for men across the United States.
No matter what your stance, political beliefs, opinions of our government and/or its national and foreign policies or the military in general, we can hopefully all agree on this point: Thank God for our military personnel and our veterans.
You can have all the issues you like with how the government is running the military or with what foreign wars and conflicts we are involved in, but let's be honest, I don't want to do their job. And even if I did want to, I'm not sure I could (both mentally and physically). But there are good and fine upstanding men and women across our great land that are willing to answer the call of duty, and on this Veterans Day I hope that you can take just a minute of your time and think about the sacrifices our military members make for our freedom. And I'm not even talking about the risk of injury and death. Think about the Dad or Mom who leaves their families for months at a time. Think about the family who moves across the country every few years for a new assignment, and then think about their kids who have to make new friends and attend new schools. Sacrifices come in all shapes and sizes, and a lot of what we ask our military members and families to do we would not be willing to do ourselves.
So with that in mind...thank you. Thank you very much.
In this edition of a LookItsChris.com podcast, Chris sits down with relationship expert and new author Kevin Darne to talk about his new book "My Cat Won't Bark," along with other topics about love, relationships and how to make them work.
Your feedback is always welcome. Enjoy!
I originally sent a version of this letter to President Obama on June 25, 2013. I have not yet heard a response but thought about it again today as I watched the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their Stanley Cup championship with him. This version has been updated foAs always, your feedback is welcome.
Dear Mr. President:
My name is Chris Thomas and I am the General Manager of WLTL Radio at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois. WLTL is a 180 watt non-commercial educational FM station that reaches more than 100,000 residents in the 11 communities our school serves. But more importantly, WLTL is home to more than 100 dedicated students, including 16 student managers, who keep our station operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Recently at the 2012 John Drury High School Radio Awards, hosted by North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, WLTL was named “Best High School Radio Station in the Nation.” This is the fifth time in the ten year history of the awards WLTL and our students have been named top station in the nation (previously winning in 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2009). In addition to these amazing honors, WLTL students have also won more than 100 national awards of excellence or higher for their work at WLTL (awards from both high school, college and even professional competitions).
I am immensely proud of my students for their achievements but at the same time I am saddened that their incredible feats are continuously overshadowed by stories like these:
My intention in writing this letter is not to take away any credit from of our athletic teams at Lyons Township. Winning a state championship is an amazing accomplishment and they deserve all of the publicity and attention they receive for winning these honors. But when athletics get all of this attention, it makes me wonder, what about some well-deserved attention for academic endeavors?
WLTL and our students are well-supported by all of our administration, student body and community. WLTL has been broadcasting at 88.1 FM in our community for 45 years and we just recently finished our annual fundraising effort where we were able to raise just more than $30,000 from community members and local businesses. It is not a lack of love and support that has driven me to write this letter – it is a lack of celebrating student achievement, not just in our schools, but in our country.
Yes schools hold honors assemblies and yes many times student’s names and recognitions are printed in local newspapers in the community news section, but let’s be honest, academics are not considered headline grabbing. There were no cover photos when WLTL wins top honors nor will there be a banner raised for our best in the nation achievement, but both of these things will happen when a sports team wins a state trophy.
So why write you? Why does this concern you and The White House? Well Mr. President, with all due respect, The White House I believe can be a very powerful influence in helping academic competitions and championships gain more respect, and here is why:
This is you and my beloved Chicago Blackhawks at The White House celebrating their 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. This is one of my favorite photos of all time and I enjoyed seeing it again today as you honored the 2013 Blackhawks. But it also makes me wonder, would America put more emphasis on celebrating educational achievements if The White House put more emphasis on celebrating educational achievements?
I know education is important to you Mr. President. And I know that you and your administration have done and will continue to recognize academic achievements at The White House, but how cool would it be that when a group of students won a national academic based championship (and either the high school or college level) it would be expected that The White House would welcome them for a ceremony? Right now it is the norm that the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, WNBA and even some NCAA sports champions are honored. Isn’t it a shame that it isn’t the same for academic achievements?
This is not a battle against sports but rather a push for recognition for education. I love sports. Some of my favorite memories are sports related, but sports are not my life. Outside of my family, the most important thing I do with my life is going to work every day at an amazing high school and working with some of the best and brightest students our school has to offer at WLTL, and I would love nothing more than to see my students (and students everywhere) recognized and celebrated by our nation in the same manner our sports team are celebrated and recognized by our nation.
If you could find the time, I would love to see our students honored for their national championship, whether it is at The White House or next time you are in Chicago. And not only would I like to see our students honored, but also the students of this championship honored each year. I know not only would they appreciate it and remember it for a lifetime, but that it also would be quite a powerful message to America about the importance of educational victories as well as sports victories.
Thank you for your time, consideration, and most importantly, your dedication and service to our great country.