Did You Miss Me?

Clearly, I overestimated my ability to work, go to graduate school and write for fun. Since I last wrote about my brush with youth, I found myself hunkered down under a pile of books, research articles and study guides desperately trying to meet my course deadlines while juggling other responsibilities. Happily I can report that I passed all of my courses with flying colors and am now on break for a couple of weeks so I can spend some time writing for fun.

Things I wish I could have written about while studying:

1.) Rep. Todd Akin‘s ridiculous comment about “legitimate rape” which was only outdone by the comment of Pensylvania‘s Senate Candidate Tom Smith, who said that having his daughter come to him with an unplanned pregnancy is similar to what a father is faced with if his daughter is raped and becomes pregnant by that rape.

I may have to come back to that one.

2.) Clint Eastwood losing his mind.

Nothing to write at this point. You either watched in horror or missed it, but I highly recommend going to YouTube to see Jon Stewart‘s take on it.

3.) My town’s new high school football stadium. My friends from the Northeast would not recognize me come Friday nights in the fall because I turn into the looniest Texas Football looney there is. Our town has a brand spanking new stadium that cost $60 million dollars. I understand there is a lot of eye rolling and even some outrage about that, but I need a chance to set the record straight!

4.) Governor Romney’s secretly taped conversation in which he talks about non-tax paying Americans and why he’ll never reach them.

So much to say here, and I will definitely get to it, but here is my big question to all of my Republican friends out there (Which I am going to link back to my town’s high school football team):

In my rather large town there is only 1 high school which means that there is a huge number of kids funneling into the system as they get older. The most competitive activity they can get into and the one that is most important to most of the town is football, so you know that the varsity football team has the best of the best players, and even the second string is pretty damn good.

So why is it, in a nation as large as ours which is 50% (ish) politically conservative, can we not whittle down the field to one candidate who is the best and brightest the Republican Party has to offer? I’m not like a lot of my Democratic friends who like nothing more than to bash the Republican Party…..I tend to the liberal, but I understand fiscal conservatism and certainly support it in some circumstances. I have to believe that there are Republicans out there who can be as charismatic and well spoken as President Obama. Seriously, at this point the message of the party can’t even get out because of all of the mis-steps and out and out errors put forth by the candidates. (Not to mention the fact that all of the stuff that Republicans used to be good at, like foreign policy and budget…is overshadowed by morality issues.) Republicans, please do a better job. I beg you. And I think it’s too late this go around.

5.) Chik-Fil-A has (possibly…it’s not super clear) reversed it’s stance on the funding of groups that work against gay marriage initiatives. Love to hear this if it’s true, and the reports are good enough for my daughter who is happy that she can now eat there without feeling guilty.

6.) Is something I never thought I’d write about and will be the topic of my next blog…

Yup, Justin Bieber’s mom. Stay tuned!

Better Late Than Never: Jumping on the Vlogbrothers Bandwagon

English: Hank and John Green in 2008

English: Hank and John Green in 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you despair of what your kids are learning on the internet, I want to point you (and them) in the direction of the Vlogbrothers. They are the antidote for inane teen and tween fare like The Jersey Shore, Teen Moms and every other crappy piece of entertainment that glorifies acting stupidly and making bad decisions.

For the uninitiated, the Vlogbrothers are Hank and John Greene. Hank is a musician and environmentalist. John is an author. (His novel, The Fault In Our Stars, which my daughter insisted I read, was wonderfully moving. I recommend it…although perhaps with a box of tissues at hand.)

Their vlogs are funny and entertaining, and sometimes very silly. However they are also informative, relevant and apparently, inspiring. They talk about a wide range of subjects from history, math and science, to pop culture, to embracing your inner nerdiness regardless of what those around you may say.

They make it cool to be smart. They encourage uniqueness. They are models of an inquisitive spirit and the importance of paying attention to current events. Of course, they don’t put it that way….they tell their viewers DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) and to fight “world-suck”….and they have a loyal and passionate following, my daughter being one of them. They don’t shy away from sensitive subjects and they communicate with teens and young adults at their level, with great humor and a touch of language (which is bleeped out).

I have just started exploring their vlogs, and I love everything I’ve seen so far. Check them out, or ask your kids if they’ve already checked them out. I’ll leave you with one of their  vlogs and the admonition DFTBA!

I can proudly report that I “got” almost all of the jokes. Had to look up Schrodinger’s cat though, and I’m still not sure I understand the concept. I’ll have to ask a physicist friend to help me out on that one.