Sunday, August 31, 2008

Setting the Tone

My good friend and fellow author, Laura Castoro, once told me that women are the heart of a home and no matter whether we like it or not, we set the tone for the atmosphere at home. We were both bemoaning the fact that husbands can get mad and storm around and everyone has to just hush until they get over it. But if we women get mad and storm around, pretty soon everyone is in a sour mood and things get pretty testy.

I hadn't really paid attention to that phenomenon until she stopped by one day years ago to recover from a "mad" before she went home and infected her whole house. But when she pointed it out, I realized it was true.

"But that's totally not fair," I said.

"You're right. But fair has nothing to do with the reality."

"That stinks." Maybe I was hoping that if I protested enough I could someone alter this reality.

Laura just laughed. "Right again, but are we going to rail against something we can't change, or learn how to adapt."

"I don't want to adapt. I want to be able to be mad all by myself."

Again, Laura laughed. "Good luck with that. Me, I'm going to go home and try to put on a smile and watch my husband and kids smile back."

It probably wasn't that simple for her that day, and it certainly is not a simple thing to put into practice day after day, week after week, year after year. But I can tell you after 43 years of marriage that the days that I am aware of setting a tone for my home are the days that tone is more pleasant and harmonious than some others.

I still mutter about this being not fair, and I'm sure Laura will laugh again when she reads this, but it works.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Dumbing Down of a School District

I had to check the date of the newspaper to make sure I had not somehow picked up an April 1st edition and this was a joke. But it wasn't.

The Dallas Independent School District has released new grading policies, which officials there say will help students excel, but has many parents and young people protesting. The policies say that no student can be given a grade below 50 on their report card. Students will be allowed to retake a failed test. No grades will be given on homework unless it will help students pass. this is for grades 2-5. Students can't receive a zero or have a grade reduction for work not done or not completed on time.

This is unbelievable. Talk about failing our children and the whole educational system.

How does this prepare young people for the realities of life after high school? Not every college is going to treat them with such consideration. Not to mention what it will be like on their first job.

We are a nation soft on character, and character comes from accepting the consequences of one's choices and actions.

One high school student wrote a letter to the editor in which she offered the opinion that these new policies are not fair to the other students who earn their grades. She also wrote " discredits the work of any individual who graduates under this policy."

How true that is. And how sad that a diploma from a Dallas high school may not be based on real learning, but on "giving a student a chance to excel."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Will This Help Obama?

This morning while reading some news items on CNN online, I ran across this announcement: "A U.S. District Court judge lifted travel restrictions Thursday for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick so he can attend the Democratic National Convention August 25-28 in Denver, Colorado.

The judge also said the beleaguered public official could remove his monitoring device.

Kilpatrick has been beset with legal problems recently, including a sex scandal, perjury and corruption indictments, an assault charge and a recent jail stint for violating the terms of his bail."

So this is the caliber of politician going to Colorado in support of Barack Obama?

It's a disgrace.

I am so tired of political people, athletes, and other celebrities, who appear to have no regard for moral or ethical behavior, continue to go about business as if it doesn't matter.

It does matter. As a society we have to stop acting like it doesn't. The old-fashioned concept of "misbehave and you are out of here" needs to come back. No excuses. No second chances. No rationalizations. Just consequences for bad behavior.

The same goes for John Edwards. His "excuse" for having an affair then trying to hide it is an insult to the intelligence of the American public. "I was too young to handle the stress of notoriety." Give me a break. He must have the same spin doctor as some other "bad boy" and "bad girl" celebs who say they are not really bad, just victims of circumstance.

They are only victims of circumstance if they allow it, and by allowing it, they are making a choice. Bad choices need to have swift and definitive consequences.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Visit me at Synoptic Storm

I'm guest blogging at Synoptic Storm this morning. This is a fun blog featuring a number of authors who write about their books, writing, or just life in general. A nice place to meet new friends, so grab your coffee and come on over.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

It's Had to Stir Your Heart

I defy anyone to diss the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night. For all her faults, China did a magnificent job and all who were associated with the event are to be applauded. I loved the majesty, the grace, the soul-stirring music. And all the symbolism was artfully done without having to hammer a point home.

It was also a great lesson in history, and my first thought was how wonderful to have a better understand of these people who are sometimes so hard to understand when it comes to human rights issues. Then I had one of those "slap yourself in the head" moments. It's not the people. There was no guile in the faces of those dancers or drummers, or all those engaging children. It's the government.

Wouldn't it be nice if they took a hint from this great PR campaign they spent millions on?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Your Laugh For Today

I just read a hilarious piece about the coming "Blogalypse". It is well worth the read for all of us bloggers. I especially liked the reference to Algore, who is the "great creator" who makes this all possible. Truly one of the best satires I have read in a long time. Here is a link to the blog Enjoy!!