Friday, November 27, 2009

The WORST thing you could ever ask a woman...

I recently got an email from an ex-girlfriend, I'm guessing it's because its the holiday season and people feel like reaching out and being nice. We exchanged superficial, polite emails and said it was "nice to hear from you" and went on with our day.

I hadn't spoken to "Mary" in quite some time and I remember the reason why. You see, about 6 years ago, I met Mary and we hit it off nicely. There was nothing romantic, but we had a lot in common, and in time, we started to see each other seriously.

That's a nice way to say we banged like the end of the world was coming. No pun.

In any case, we were on a date and Mary ran into a guy named Jamal, or Jimmy, or Jack or some dumb ass name that begins with a "J."

They exchanged pleasantries and the dude gave me a strange look. A familiar look, yet I had a hard time deciphering it at first.

He was a very nice, decent sort of fellow, but there was something in the look he gave me.

I know, you're thinking he was giving me the "gay" look, but that wasn't it.

It stayed in the back of my mind for the rest of the week. Then, it hit me.

So I asked Mary the worst question you could ever ask a woman --

Its not "how old are you?"

Its not "how much do you weigh?"

Its not even "how many guys have you slept with?"

I've asked those questions often, and its never broken up a relationship.

The worst question you could ever ask a woman is:


Some variation of that question will cause more problems than being a Jew in Afghanistan.

Now, women have asked me that question and I have answered honestly with "I've slept with roughly 40% of my female friends" and they know who they are and I am not ashamed.

But, when I see my ex-girlfriends with their new boyfriends, I give him the "yea, I banged her brains out, hope you're having fun with her now" look. That's the look I got from Mary's ex, and that's the look I hate getting when I am out with a woman I care about.

Needless to say, Mary was pissed beyond belief. She accused me of calling her a "dirty whore" although I never called her a dirty whore, I just wanted to know how many guys we would run into that would give me that uncomfortable look. I can tolerate a lot, but I don't like being reminded that the chick I care about has had more twirls on the old merry-go-round than Marilyn Monroe with the Kennedy boys.

Guys, YOU know what I'm talking about, and suddenly I am aware of why so many of my ex-girlfriends have gone through great lengths to stay away from me once they get into serious relationships. I thought it was because I can be a stone cold @$$hole sometimes, but the reality is that they know what their man is going to ask them the minute I get out of earshot -- "You SLEPT with THAT guy?"

To me, that's hilarious.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I can't believe I am old enough to make a list of films that I have loved since 1989. It's been 20 friggin' years and yes, this means I am officially getting old.

This list in NOT IN ORDER. These are all my favorite films of the last 20 years and my criteria are the following:

a) Mainstream and critical entertainment value: does it hold up with the intellectual film establishment AND with the bottom-feeding masses that don't know a good movie from a hole in the wall?

b) Influence/Impact on the art form or the business: has the film in question either pushed the art form forward or changed the way that Hollywood does business?

c) Longevity: has the film maintained its narrative and visual strength upon repeated viewings over the last 20 years?

Mind you, this is just my opinion, but I am cooler than most people so you should listen to me.

#1) BATMAN (1989): If you were old enough to wait in line for hours to see this movie, then you remember the marketing onslaught for the film that created the modern Hollywood "event" movie. Before this, movies were a big deal, but never had there been a scientifically-constructed marketing formula to maximize ancillary income from a film franchise on this level. Add in the fact that you had a goth-filmmaker like Tim Burton, wildly inspired casting for the Joker in Jack Nicholson and the oddball casting of Michael Keaton as Batman and you had something that EVERYBODY just had to see.

#2) HEAT (1995): Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voigt and a bunch of other badass male actors frame a compelling and endlessly cool film directed by Miami Vice creator Michael Mann. This film had it all: great action scenes, tons of tough guy dialogue, a very hot young Ashley Judd and a story that doesn't waste a second of screen time. Hollywood has been trying to re-create this movie since the late 1990s and they haven't been able to come close. This movie never gets boring to watch.

#3) GOODFELLAS (1990): Hollywood's last great gangster film. This is Martin Scorsese's magnum opus. Incredible filmmaking techniques (just look at that one-take shot through the back of the nightclub in the clip below), incredible acting from Pesci, DeNiro, Liotta and Bracco, kick ass screenplay, perfect use of musical cues and editing, almost flawless economical storytelling framed with a moral at the end. More fluid than the GODFATHER series, more intelligent and emotionally accessible than the SOPRANOS and can be used as both an example of supreme entertainment and a guidebook to classic Hollywood filmmaking, I can not think of another recent gangster movie that reaches the creative pinnacle of this one. My hat is off to you Scorsese.

#4) MOULIN ROUGE (2001): Although many people think I am crazy for loving this film so much, director Baz Luhrmann created a wonderfully schizophrenic musical adventure based on the opera La Traviata. This version of Moulin Rouge is relentless and fearless. Luhrmann decides to throw away the trappings of traditional narrative and Hollywood editing style to explore the endless possibilities of the film medium (that is the synthesis of all arts and so few working directors seem to remember this). Gorgeous set design, visually appealing costumes and the BEST Nicole Kidman has ever looked in her career. Lots of fun.

#5) FIGHT CLUB (1999): Throughout this list, the year 1999 will pop up again because for some reason or another, a lot of truly inventive and interesting films made it through the Hollywood system in the pre-Millenial year. Fight Club is one of the most creative and unexpected movies ever made by a major studio. Ed Norton and Brad Pitt were picture perfect in their roles as id and ego. Director David Fincher showed his talent by pulling the unsuspecting audience towards one of the biggest twist endings in movie history. The rumor goes that the executives at Fox thought they were buying an action movie and wound up getting the greatest anti-establishment film of the last 50 years.

#6) JFK (1991): Director Oliver Stone's look at the possible conspiracy involving the Kennedy assassination. Re-introduced the Kennedy mythos to an entire generation that was unborn during the turbulent 60s. Revolutionary in its use of various film stocks to create a documentary-like recreation of fabricated events, lending to it a sense of scholarly authenticity. Despite some conspiracy-minded foolishness, goes a long way in establishing the foolishness of Warren Commission's findings of a lone gunman. Another perfect amalgamation of propaganda and pop art.

#7) CLERKS (1994): Kevin Smith's debut film accurately captures the pathos and soul numbing repetition of retail work from the perspective of 20-something slackers too enraptured with the irresponsibility of their adolescent years. Smith dug deeeeeeep into the heart of 1980s kids by playing with our pointless infatuation with the 1980s and how it keeps many from taking their lives to the next level. Spotty at times, but has a kind of gritty realism that helps you to identify with their plight even if you find them responsible for their lot in life. Beneath all the fun is an undercurrent of unavoidable sadness.

#8) GATTACA (1997): A prophetic movie that explores what happens when society allows genetic manipulation in unborn children to remove any potential maladies or defects. An underclass of normal born people struggle to survive in a "perfect" world where discrimination is the rule and upward advancement is a mirage. This screenplay is strong and depicts a future world that feels familiar and possible.

#9) SWINGERS (1996): The only romantic comedy made by men FOR men. This is an all-too familiar tale of the "regular" guy not blessed with gorgeous looks nor the ability to deliver snappy pick-up lines in the vicious world of the Los Angeles singles scene. Fantastic music and great performances from Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau and Ron Livingston make this movie accessible and pleasant. Nothing groundbreaking, but definitely a more intelligent look at dating from the perspective of single men with everything and nothing to lose.

#10) LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING: While Return of the King won the Oscars for best picture and all the other important awards, FOTR (as we geeks call it) was the strongest entry in my opinion. Director Peter Jackson had the unenviable task of introducing a largely illiterate society to a grand work of literature in cinematic form. Not only did he pull it off, but he took the novel to a new level by simplifying the pointless linguistic excess of Tolkein's world. LOTR was everything the other two movies weren't: focused, unfettered, exciting, poetic, unpretentious. Even the extended version moves along faster than the theatrical cuts of the sequels.

#11) THE MATRIX (1999): I don't know what else can be said about this modern masterpiece but I will say this, it was one of the few films I have ever seen that I had no idea what was going to happen next. If you know me, then you know this never happens to me, EVER. I can usually figure out a film about 20 minutes into it, but with the Matrix, I was guessing and second-guessing pretty much until the last second of screen time. This screenplay was thoughtful, imaginative, exciting and hard-hitting. While everybody and their mother has been ripping off the visual style of the Matrix for the last decade, the original is still the best. This movie is what BLADE RUNNER would have been had it been made at the end of the 20th century.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I HATE IBMs (Ignorant Black Muthafu**as)

When I was a younger man and watched the following infamous Chris Rock stand-up performance clip called "Black People vs. Niggaz" I laughed my pants off but was somewhat embarrassed. I felt at the time that Chris Rock went a little too far in his condemnation of "lower class" black people.

I still feel now as I did then that white folks can't tell the difference between a normal everyday working educated black person and a black scumbag, but as I have gotten older, Chris Rock's message is ringing truer than ever before in my ears. So before I continue, take a look at Chris Rock's performance:



You can't deny that this is brilliant, funny stuff. It still makes me a little uncomfortable, but that is the mark of great art -- its supposed to make you think and reflect on the world.

In any case, I have grown weary of the kind of black folks that Chris Rock was trashing that clip. I have made a pact with myself never to call another black person a "nigga, nigger, etc." so I coin the phrase IBM -- which stands for Ignorant Black Muthafukka.

I find that this definition fits because they are ignorant (without knowledge of the world or self), they are black (sadly), and they are muthafukkas (just like Bernie Mac used to say -- 50 points to you if you catch that reference).

I hate IBMs with a PASSION. I hate them like Hitler hated Jews. I hate them like the Coyote hated the Roadrunner. I hate them like Itchy hates Scratchy. I think you get the point.

My hate stems from the fact that I grew up with working class and middle class blacks who went to good schools, never went to jail, read books, supported the arts, saw good movies, loved baseball, loved walks in the park with their dogs and lived the most wonderful and fulfilling lives you could imagine. Yet, now, almost everywhere I go, I no longer see those kinds of black people.

Its like some alien force swooped down and took 75% of all the normal black people away and left us with the lowest common demoninator. And I can't stand them. Lord, I really can't stand them.

IBMs are loud, obnoxious, illogical, immature and possess the largest sense of entitlement this side of Long Island (another 50 points if you get that reference). Let me give you an example:

I work at this ghetto ass mall called Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Shopping Center in Los Angeles. Its a side job I have at GameStop just to make ends meet while I work at the college and write my screenplays. Anyway, GameStop is one of the shittiest companies in the universe so never work there if you can help it.

GameStop has a policy where if you buy a used game you have approximately SEVEN DAYS to return it for a full refund. After that, we can't take it back unless its as a "trade-in" which is roughly 70% less than what was originally paid. This one IBM walked into the store and wanted to return an awful game. Usually, we have no problem doing returns as long as you are within the seven day span.

This IBM had the receipt and the date was 05/18/09. Today is 06/16/09. By all calculations, he was way out of the grace period. So instead of realizing he is wrong and walking out of the store, this IBM opens with a rant:

IBM: "Y'all didn't say nuffin' about that when I bought it."

Me: "On the top of the receipt is the name of the person who sold it to you. XXXXXX is the manager, I am sure he mentioned the return policy to you. If not, its right here on the receipt."

I showed him where the policy was CLEARLY printed on the receipt -- but he didn't seem like the type who likes printed words.

IBM: "Naw man, this is bullshit. Y'all didn't say nuffin' about this. This is bullshit man. Y'all be sellin' fucked up games and shit and then won't take them back."

Me: "How long did you have the game before you realized that it didn't work?"

IBM: "My son didn't play it for a month because he was punished."


Me: "There's nothing I can do man."

Then this IBM proceeds to curse and become borderline threatening but what he didn't bargain for was the fact that I don't back down easily and its very hard to intimidate me so he eventually left after promising to "only shop at white stores from now on."

Note to readers: most IBMs are big talkers. They are used to people becoming intimidated by their bluster and bullcrap and try to get their way. The best thing to do is to continue to stick to your guns and they will walk away cursing and talking crap but no harm will come to you. This may not always be the case, but most often you'll be fine.

Getting back to the issue at hand, I am so tired of IBMs because they make the entire black race look like a bunch of uncultured street trash that complain endlessly about racism and don't do anything to contribute to society. IBMs have nothing of worth to say mainly because their brains are filled with pointless hedonistic, inarticulate new school hip-hop songs by Lil' Wayne.

See that image? That's how a lot of white folks and recent immigrants see African-Americans. Think about that for a long moment. Think deeply about that. If you have half a brain, you should be alarmed and nausiated.

How do you recognize an IBM? Here's my guide:

A) IBMs will be wearing basketball jerseys and baseball caps that are color coordinated yet aren't fans of either team. IBMs make it hard for a black guy to be a fan of a baseball team because everybody will think you're wearing the hat to be cool.

B) IBMs dress like they're 15 years old even at the age of 50. There is nothing more obscene than seeing a grown ass black man with grey hair twisted up into cornrows. Its beyond atrocious.

C) IBMs never speak in complete sentences.

D) IBMs don't value educational achievement, this is why you will see an IBM buy their child $200 sneakers but don't own a set of encyclopedias in their home. Worse, the only reading materials in most IBM homes is a video game strategy guide or directions to a probation office.

E) IBMs love blaming everybody else if something doesn't go right - teachers, police, their parents, the mafia, Sony, Microsoft, NASA (wait, most IBMs don't know what NASA is) -- everybody but themselves. If their kids can't read or write, its the teacher's fault. If they get busted for selling crack to pregnant women, its the police's fault for arresting them.

F) IBMs never have a concept of a larger world. Your typical IBM won't leave their neighborhood for any reason. Ever. You won't meet an IBM if you go to the following places: Barnes & Noble, arthouse movie theatres, the planetarium (in fact, any museum whatsoever except for the travelling sneaker show), baseball games (except for Yankee Stadium) or your local library. IBMs don't like culture unless they see it on BET (which isn't even owned by black people anymore) or some godawful black TV show produced by Tyler Perry.

G) IBMs stand outside of their apartments or tenements or whatever for no reason in the middle of the day. I haven't stood outside of my house for more than 5 minutes since I was 15 years old. I usually have somewhere to go. Its called an agenda. I had a conversation about selling drugs just to make money for video games and sneakers. I always felt that if you are going to become a hustler, then hustle for a purpose like the Irish Mob and the Italian Mafia did and like the Armenians and the Mexicans are now. Make the money, launder it, rinse, repeat. IBMs stand on the corner all day to buy depreciating assets and never move up from that level. They advertise to undercover police where the action is whether they know it or not.

What makes IBMs particularly frustrating is that there are normal black people who defend them or -- worse -- idolize them as representing some kind of authentic "blackness." As if the ebb and flow of our community was tied to irresponsible morons with no sense of history or purpose. And this has caused unfathomable levels of suffering.

Single, intelligent, attractive and upwardly mobile black women love to date IBMs and then get treated like trash. These black women then go onto hate ALL black men as if we are all IBMs. Don't think so? Check your average internet dating site these days and you will find hundreds of black women only wanting to date white men and they have profiles that say things like "need a man with a job, who has a college degree and is on my level. White guys only."

I wish I could round up all the IBMs on earth and launch them into the sun. I'm serious. It would solve SO many problems.

Even Bill Cosby agrees with me and few years ago when he told the truth, people flipped out and made it seem like Bill was crazy or elitist. What Bill was saying was that black people need to get their shit together immediately or else we are going to swirl down the drain. Folks didn't want to hear the truth and made it sound like he was wrong.

I will leave you with what he said and let you reach you own conclusions. Take care.



Ladies and gentlemen, these people set, they opened the doors, they gave us the right, and today, ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have fifty percent drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child."

"50 percent drop out rate, I’m telling you, and people in jail, and women having children by five, six different men. Under what excuse, I want somebody to love me, and as soon as you have it, you forget to parent. Grandmother, mother, and great grandmother in the same room, raising children, and the child knows nothing about love or respect of any one of the three of them. All this child knows is “gimme, gimme, gimme.” These people want to buy the friendship of a child….and the child couldn’t care less. Those of us sitting out here who have gone on to some college or whatever we’ve done, we still fear our parents. And these people are not parenting. They’re buying things for the kid. $500 sneakers, for what? They won’t buy or spend $250 on Hooked on Phonics."

"Now look, I’m telling you. It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out. Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants. These people are fighting hard to be ignorant. There’s no English being spoken, and they’re walking and they’re angry. Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Internet Personals Language Decoded

A very good female friend of mine called me the other night and asked me what the phrase "laid back" meant in relation to a person's character. I didn't understand what she meant so she explained that she had been looking at a bunch of male profiles at online dating sites and almost 95% of those ads had some variation on the following sentence:

"I am a nice, educated and laid back kind of guy."

She asked me WTF "laid back" meant and I told her its a catch-all phrase used to disarm women who think all guys want is a romp in the sack. Although it is true that all guys want is a romp in the sack from a chick they meet online, I wanted to give her the red flag words and phrases used by unscrupulous people on internet dating sites.

First, here are the definitions for "laid back":

Definition #1: Someone that is generally relaxed in most situations. Wears a lot of khakis, not up on latest fashions. Tends to be more involved than others in politics and world events.

Definition #2: Someone that is very lazy and confuses being laid back with not having goals, dreams or career plans. This is the person you want to avoid unless you enjoy watch ESPN or Gossip Girl reruns all night.

Definiton #3: A person who has no idea what is happening in the world and no ability to think critically. Doesn't like to think deeply about anything.

When you see laid back in a personals ad, just ask them what their definition of "laid back" is and if it is close to any of these three definitons, you owe me $5.00.

Now, here is the official decoder for personal adspeak.

1) "Not looking for anything serious, just want to see what's out there." = I am looking to get laid by as many people as possible because this is the most attention I have ever gotten from the opposite sex in my entire life and I want to see what it feels like to be desired by a diverse group of people.

2) "Just got out of a serious relationship, just want to be friends first." = I am secretly bitter about my last relationship and I don't trust anybody. However, I still have physical and emotional needs and I can use meaningless sex and pointless dates to simulutaneously numb the pain and gain a bit of vengeance by being an @$$hole to this new person who doesn't deserve it.

3) "I am independent." = I want to be congratulated for doing what most people have done for centuries a.k.a. supporting oneself.

4) "I am tired of losers, I want to meet a nice guy/girl." = I might be the reason I keep driving people away, but I will blame others endlessly until I find someone I can manipulate.

5) "I would like to meet someone intelligent for good conversation." = I tend to keep dating vapid, shallow types because I am vapid and shallow. I just want to meet someone smart enough to agree with my ideas.

6) "I don't like B.S. and I don't deal with B.S. so be real when you talk to me." = I am actually full of $h!t but I have no idea how to be classy about it so I confuse being rude with being honest. I can't handle people being honest with me so whenever someone says something that hits close to home I push them away and congratulate myself for being "real" enough to recognize other people being fake.

7) "Looking for Mr./Mrs. Right Now." = I am a slut. Proceed at your own risk.

8) "Looking for a serious relationship." = I am very tired of one night stands and even though I get laid regularly, these people aren't that attractive so I am going to see if i can find someone who is cute enough and tolerable enough to screw regularly but I don't want to feel like a scumbag so I will claim to want a serious relationship.

9) "We all have our preferences." = I am racist.

10) "I am a simple man/woman who knows what I want." = I have no idea what I want and I have a slew of unrealistic expectations for whomever answers this personal ad.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Why American Students Suck at Everything!

As a former NYC public school teacher, not a day went by where I didn't want to stick my head into a giant wood chipper and end it all because of the mind-numbing stupidity and lack of educational desire shown by my students over the years.

No matter what we did as teachers, the end result was the same -- lowering standards, extending deadlines and making concessions for students who most likely belonged in a job training center as opposed to a balanced liberal arts education.

For years, people have pointed fingers at the reasons why our students don't perform on the level of other developed countries. Some have said overcrowded classrooms, street gang infiltration, lazy or sex-crazed instructors, poor tax districts, moronic principals and lack of up-to-date educational materials as causes for the drop in student achievement over the years. And while many of these are real problems that do have a direct effect on a child's ability to learn, these are not the root issues affecting American kids today.

In previous generations, American schools were a lot worse in terms of size and access to materials, and students not only learned well, but they retained knowledge and applied it to their lives. In addition, students with substandard materials in substandard schools worked TWICE AS HARD in order to get good grades and prepare themselves for the future (i.e. any African-American student born south of Maryland).

From 1910-1970, recent non-English speaking immigrants and their children also managed to not only learn English, but excel in the realms of business and investment.

So what the hell happened?

Yea, Bush's ridiculous No Child Left Behind "program" did tremendous damage to the educational system by focusing too much on standardized testing and not enough on emphasizing the teaching of critical thinking skills. I can't stress that enough.

However, NCLB was an encapsulation of everything wrong with the American educational system and not the genesis of the problem. There are several real world reasons why students suck today and most of it has nothing to do with government. What I am about to say will not be PC or endearing or encouraging. I will speak on what I have seen personally as a teacher from my years in a horrible Bronx neighborhood school and in a halfway decent Harlem area school.

Feel free to call me whatever you like :)


It all starts at home. I would have a godawful student who cursed all the time, was disrespectful, couldn't read nor write, but acted like they were perfect. I would wonder how the hell could anyone possibly turn out that way and then Parent/Teacher Night would arrive and so would the answer to my questions.

There are some VERY horrible parents out there and nothing can be done about that. There are people who have zero morals and have no concept of conscience nor an idea of the nature of "right vs. wrong."

I know people will hate me for saying this, but all these single mothers and their bad choices in men have caused an educational apocalypse in this country (and YES, I am aware that there are reasons why a woman can end up alone with a child, but from what I have seen over the years, a lot of those women decided to have unprotected sex with the local drug dealer/thug, and when she got pregnant, he disappeared). You really need two parents in the house or at least an educational support network of people who understand the need for a child to have a basic knowledge of math, science, history and English (the subject and the language).

Why is this necessary?

A few years back, it was determined that out of all five NYC boroughs, Queens had some of the best test scores in the state. People were running around trying to find out the secret of why Queens had better scores in general, especially compared to the other boroughs and the fact that Queens has perhaps the largest community of diverse immigrant groups living in one area in the United States.

Over time, people figured out it was because there was someone at home (usually a grandmother, aunt, or stay-at-home mom) when the child got in from school who immediately demanded that the kid start studying or doing homework instead of getting online or playing video games. The importance of parental involvement in a child's educational development can not be overestimated.

Many of these families are immigrant families who might not collectively be skilled in the english language, but do understand the need for educational excellence. There is a lesson to be learned here; investing in a child's education early will pay massive dividends in the future. The era of allowing TV to raise a child has reaped a devastating crop of academic disinterest and an acceptance of failure.


This generation of kids has spent too much time watching TV, playing video games, texting each other on PDAs instead of talking to their friends in person while spending money to buy a worthless gadget that becomes out of style 30 days after it is purchased.

Think about it, this generation of kids will never know what it is like to spend a summer afternoon running around in a park, or getting hurt on the monkey bars at a playground, or climbing trees and busting their @$$es only to get right up and try to climb the tree again. To me, that is a great tragedy.

I have had hundreds of parents ask me why their kids can't read, study or pay attention to anything for long periods of time, and whenever I ask them how much TV did the child watch as a baby, they unanimously responded that the kid would sit in front of a TV for hours as a toddler. And therein lies the issue.

Young children should not be exposed to a lot of TV watching at all, let alone be left in front of a TV for hours on end. In those early years of a child's development, they need to be held by humans, spoken to by humans and have social interactions with their peers. None of this can be accomplished by having them sit in front of a TV for hours on end.

Check out what a study from the University of Michigan had to say about the matter:

"Children of all ages are constantly learning new things. The first 2 years of life are especially important in the growth and development of your child's brain. During this time, children need good, positive interaction with other children and adults. Too much television can negatively affect early brain development. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important."

And further...

  • TV viewing may replace activities that we know help with school performance, such as reading, doing homework, pursuing hobbies, and getting enough sleep.
  • One research study found that TV's effects on education were long term. The study found that watching TV as a child affected educational achievement at age 26. Watching more TV in childhood increased chances of dropping out of school and decreased chances of getting a college degree, even after controlling for confounding factors [24].
  • Watching TV at age four was one factor found to be associated with bullying in grade school [25].


The abundance of electronic media in our lives makes this a difficult challenge but a necessary step in increasing the academic potential of our students. When a kid watches TV, its a one-way communication process that does not properly stimulate the academically-centered portions of the brain and it builds an expectation in the child that they need to be constantly entertained rather than engaged.

I used to have students become offended because I would demand that they read their textbooks or do homework because this took time away from their socializing or video game playing. How dare I suggest that they stop texting in my classroom or pay attention to what I have to say when there is a major state standardized test approaching?


In the six years I spent as a public school teacher, I believe I only knew one administrator who understood that the way to fix a school is through discipline first, then educational excellence. If you have kids cutting classes and partying in the hallways, having sex in the auditorium, vandalizing property (including teacher's cars), stealing property and generally being a massive pain in the @$$, then you can't possibly teach anyone anything. And by the way, those events I just mentioned were commonplace at the Bronx school I where I began my teaching career.

If the leader of the school community -- the Principal -- is a complete moron then how can you expect the students to follow a positive example? The best principals I ever had growing up where the ones I was terrified of and not ones I considered a friend. I was never on speaking terms with my principal and the idea of going to the principal's office was something to be dreaded, not a place where I went to relax and hang out.

I also watched students cut class on the sofas in front of the principal's office in one school. I had no idea what to do or say to get them back into class because when the kids aren't afraid of the principal or their authority, it undercuts the teacher's ability to maintain control. Sadly, educational discipline was always about fear and guess what, it always worked.

When school administrators take the buddy-buddy approach to leadership, it works for a few students in the short term, but in the long stretch, the message gets out that the "Principal is soft" and then the students bend the rules and modify their behavior to fit the principal's touchy-feely style of leadership. Regardless of the student's intellectual abilities, many kids nowadays know how to manipulate the system to protect themselves from getting expelled for doing things that would have gotten me blacklisted from any school system forever.

I had caught one student ripping a painting off the wall in my school. I actually had a photograph of him doing it on my cell phone. When we had the meeting with his mother, she tried to defend his actions, claiming that we had no proof of him doing it until I produced the pitcure of the incident.

Mind you, his mom was not a rocket scientst but the system has mutated into a creature that suggests that all teachers are molesters who can not be taken at their word. Administrators allowed a bunch of non-teacher lawyers to become "child advocates" who are supposed to protect the interests of families from any wrongdoing by teachers and principals. This was created in reaction to past years when black students were mistreated by school districts and had no one to defend them against being expelled for no reasons other than malicious racial plots.

However, it has turned into a tool to be used by lousy parents who feel that teachers are "picking on" their bastard kids. At a time when principals should have stood up to be counted, many of them (who themselves were former advocates), embraced this shift in educational accountability and allowed their schools to be micro-managed by faceless bureaucrats who had never spent a single millisecond teaching children in a classroom environment.

When you add all of this up, you get an entire generation of hedonistic students incapable of understanding that planning for the future is the only way to ensure that one exists. I got out of teaching because I felt like I was trying to plug a damn with a stick of chewing gum. Even though I know I touched and changed lives, the big picture was awful and getting worse.

I honestly don't know what else can be done to change all of this unless concerned teachers continue to build charter school programs and alter the way we currently overplan for standardized testing.


Monday, January 12, 2009

SHADOWLAW: THE SERIAL NOVEL is available for sale...

In a Catholic-controlled future society, a disgraced soldier discovers a secret pact between the government he was sworn to protect and a powerful global Vampire cult.

In a universe of faith based on lies, Rictor Caesaro must find the truth before all of mankind is enslaved and destroyed.

Welcome to the world of Shadowlaw, the first in a series of novels in the new genre of Vampire-Mech: supernatural action mixed with men who pilot Mech suits, giant robotic suits of armor!

NOTE: This is a SERIALIZED NOVEL, only the first few chapters are available with some other information in the back of this episode. It is a better idea to DOWNLOAD the story for now.

For those who want to get part of the Shadowlaw story in advance, I am offering the first few chapters of the novel for sale in a SERIALIZED NOVEL FORMAT -- like what Stephen King did with the GREEN MILE novellas. It is far too expensive for print, so if you wish to purchase it, please use the DOWNLOAD option.

Thanks in advance!