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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Thursday, June 30, 2005

What I Did I'm Doing Over My Summer Vacation

As soon as many of you found out I was a teacher, you turned green with envy, telling me I was LUCK-EE because I have not one, but two months off. Now don't get me wrong. All of you are partially right. I am very lucky to have all of this extra time on my hands that most adults don't normally get to have. But then again, I'm not most normal adults. I'm a creature of habit. I also realized something important about myself in the last few years; I thrive on being busy. So sometimes I fear that no work will make Janet a dull girl.

So in anticipation of the long, hot summer, I didn't plan any exotic getaways or fanciful mambo lessons. Instead, I put my name in the ring and applied to teach summer school, mainly for the extra dough. But this year was the first year some applicants to summer school unfortunately did not make the cut due to the trimming of the budget.

Guess which group I fell into.

Believe it or not, it was all quite scandalous, or at least as scandalous as things at the elementary level can be. It would seem they had to make cuts somewhere and that the natural place to do it would be to start with the new people. But they didn't go the traditional route. Sure, many of the people working are people who have been working it for years, but not all the people who got positions were seasoned veterans, and not all the rejects were newbies like me. And so it goes. Some people got their panties all in a bunch about this, but honestly, after having another friend just call me the other day in a panic after not having a position again after being a maternity replacement this year makes me thankful to have a job at all, period.

But back to the original question that caused me to write this post in the first place. Many of you asked me "What are you doing with your summer vacation?" So I sat down and compiled a list of just that. So here, without further adieu, are the things I hope to accomplish this summer: (in no particular order)

1. Read good books.
2. Read teaching related books (not that these can't be good too, I'm just saying)
3. Take a walk each day. Maybe every other day. Whatever. Take more walks.
4. Eat more fruit.
5. See and hear live music.
6. Meet new people.
7. Meet old people. (not necessarily of the geriatric sort)
8. Blog AND make the "acquaintance" of 5 thought provoking new bloggers each day.
9. Enjoy more of one of my favorite summer foods, italian ice.
10. Walk the boardwalk and of course, eat boardwalk french fries.
11. Organize my mp3 collection (over 4,500 songs, and counting!)
12. Work on making the AOGB transition to a dotcom.
13. Set up my classroom again/get ready for next year. (it's here before you know it.)
14. Substitute in summer school.
15. Catch up on my Tivo recordings. (damn that thing records a lot of suggestions!)
16. Catch up on my VCR recordings (my cable movies, another animal entirely)
17. Drink more Corona Light because no, regular Coronas are not good enough Mr. Obnoxious Bartender Man!
18. Learn more Spanish. (a constant on my to-do list)
19. Get some color.
20. R-E-L-A-X.

So there you have it. I'm sure there are things on the list that I'll procrastinate and just not do (see #18), while others I'll simply do too much of (see #17). So I guess I should say that this list, just like life, is subject to change at a moment's notice.

The best I can tell you is that no matter what I do or don't do, I probably will be blogging about most of it here.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

See You In September

Monday was the last day of school.

There were times in the year when I never thought it would come, and even other times when I realized it was all coming too soon. Sure in many ways I would be glad to be rid of some of the behaviors. But for everything I wouldn't miss, there would be something else I would. I know it sounds silly, but you really do become attached to each and every child after spending 181 days of your life (not counting absences or weekends, when you're not there, albeit still concerned) about their welfare.

The last few days were a bittersweet blur. First of all, I can't even begin to tell you how many yearbooks I must have signed of graduating fourth graders who I've never met before in my life. As for my class,I feel like I didn't get the chance to even give every child a proper goodbye, not that some of them care, but I do. I was too busy reviewing cum folders with a colleague, while they were too busy licking the frosting off of cupcakes. One of my faves was also absent on the last day and it was surprising, something must be up. I told each of them to make sure to come and visit me because they will only be right down the hall, and I'm sure some of them would. Unfortunately out of the 16 children I had in my clas by the end of the year, one of them will be repeating 3rd grade again. Like I said, it's been a year full of milestones and setbacks.

Already plans for next year are in the works. The other day I got a phone call concerning recruitment. Afterschool clubs, which are usually in abundance, are being cut next year. The only thing that is for certain is that we will be have a third grade after school math and reading, mandatory 4 day program. It's an extra hour of school for the kids, but it's also an extra hour of pay for the teachers.

Before you start thinking it is some kind of "honor" that they are recruiting me, let me explain. For one thing, I'm non-tenured so I can't really say no. Also, it behooves them to have 3rd and 4th grade instructors because these clubs are preparing the kids for the NJ ASK test. We had it this year and each child had 2 extra hours a week of math instruction.

Then the NJ ASK scores came back. Now I think I understand the whole "don't ask, don't tell" policy a little better.

At first when I saw the scores of my students I was a little disappointed. Disappointed, but not surprised. The students I had this year were, on the whole, pretty low. They had incredible amount of trouble retaining new information, and that was the kids who tried! Others didn't do great all year, but not because of lack of ability, but for lack of caring, which is a real shame to start that sort've attitude so early in their academic career.

Then a few people who saw my scores and said that I shouldn't be so hard on myself. For one thing, I couldn't turn water into wine and for another, it was my first year so things to improve upon were to be expected. My math specialist saw the scores and she was impressed since she knows my group personally. I only had one child make it, by the skin of her teeth, to the advanced proficient level. The rest fell between proficiency and partial proficieny. I don't think anyone scored higher in my class on reading and writing than math.

Which brings me back to the afterschool club. Apparently my class wasn't the only class that followed this trend and so instead of intense training in math, they are going to do it in both subjects. Personally I think this is a no brainer. If you concentrate on one area more you will surely see results. It's like exercising and only working on your abs. Not to mention the fact that I work in a district where English is NOT the first language spoken at home for many. So here you have children who already have a disadvantage and you expect them to score well without additional assistance? So at least it seems they are getting something right in adding this program. However, I don't think any of us know for sure yet how to achieve better results without the help (or sometimes understanding) of the parents at home. Even the ones who want to help often can't and those who can often don't. Once again, a catch 22.

And what about next year's students? Well, I was really hoping they would give us next year's class lists as promised, but they didn't. So much for labeling and getting ahead! Although I did hear of about 4 kids that are coming to me, and so far they seem ok from what I'm hearing, (my first question always is, are they good?) but it's still to early to be overly confident about it all. And don't forget, with only a year in, I'm still the new kid on the block.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Tomorrow, Tomorrow. I Love You, Tomorrow"

Last week I asked you what point in time you wished you could have lived and/or what point you would like to live again. Now I see the past and I raise you the future. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Monday, June 27, 2005

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

Some of you might have noticed that I never do memes. Others of you might not have noticed and still might not care either way, and that's ok too. I have seen entire blogs become consumed, CONSUMED I tell you by the meme writing and the tagging and all of that. I never wanted to be one of those bloggers, especially since I still haven't had the time to respond to questions asked to me inspired by this post , which is incidentally my two birds with one stone way of acknowledging that I will get to that, too.

But I suppose a meme, when used in moderation can be one of those "less filling, but still tastes great" type of posts. If not, I guess we'll see because I was tagged by Ginny and even before that, Nominal Me. I will attempt to complete my tagging duties now mainly because I 1. like to acknowledge when people tag me 2. Hate the off chance of being cursed in any way, shape or form if I don't fulfill my obligations. Of course, if there's a time constraint on these types of things, it wouldn't matter because I'd be long gone now anyhow.

First, Nominal Me's Four Movie Questions

Total number of films I own:

There is just no easy way to answer this question. I tried to do the raw calculations and I believe the answer is 403. But I don't own, own all of them. I have most of them on tape. I can't tell you for sure how many of them I actually own as in a "took off the shrink wrapping and cursed my way through the security nonsense" sense.

The last film I bought:
Another technicality. The last films I purchased for myself were all in my long term quest to move everything I have as a copy on VHS over to DVD. I bought The Cutting Edge, Sleepless In Seattle, Say Anything and As Good As It Gets.

The last film I watched:
I watched Beyond The Sea last night. I give Kevin Spacey lots of credit for his musical renditions and his let's bring back the old time musical ambitions, but not credit for much else.

Five favorite films I either watch frequently or that mean a lot to me:
This is so hard, you know it's killing me, right? Some Kind of Wonderful (fave film of all time), That Thing You Do (second fave film of all time), Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Pretty In Pink and ET.

It's two, two, two meme's in one! Now on to Ginny's Childhood Meme.

5 Things I Miss About My Childhood (in no particular order)

1. Birthday and block parties.

Kids birthday parties are the best. For one thing, they usually have some sort of theme or cool kid place like Chuck E. Cheese or anyone's pool. But the best part? You always got a rockin' goodie bag at the end.

2. Summers down the shore.

When I was little, we used to go down to Surf City or Wildwood every summer. Then when I was old enough to drink, I'd go down to Sea Isle with a friend of mine who had a house down there.

3. Watching cheesy eighties movies and listening to cheesy eighties music for the first time.

While I still am known to indulge my guilty pleasures more often than not, there's still nothing like hearing songs like "Easy Lover" and remembering clutching the wall at the roller skating rink as I tried to get my footing. Oh and these were the days when MTV still played music videos. Not only music videos, but videos that TOLD A STORY. Ahh, memories.

4. The excitement of getting my new teacher's name in the mail.

Yes, I was a dork. But I loved finding out who my new teacher was going to be a few weeks before school started. I'd also get to go shopping for new clothes and start to have dreams about what my first day would be like. I would then proceed to call all of my friends to see who their teachers were. If we didn't have the same teachers, those dreams were quickly shattered.

5. No responsibility or real worries.

People always say you don't know what you got till it's gone. I was always a worrier, even when there was nothing to worry about. But if I could give my 8 year old self a good talking to, I'd tell her that worrying doesn't do you any good. Besides, you have plenty of adult years for all of that.

Now there's only one thing left to do, tag others and keep the meme(s) alive!:

For the movie meme I tag: Ginny, Pratt, Monty and The Delawarean.

For the childhood meme I tag: Nominal Me, Supine, Judy and Cav.

Of course, if you haven't been officially tagged, feel free to take this meme and torture other busy bloggers with it anyhow.

There. My work here is done.:)
Friday, June 24, 2005

Backstreet's Back...Alright?

The year was 1989. I was 12 years old. My 13 year old best friend had gone to a Tiffany concert and returned starstruck. This was not because Tiffany brought down the house with her rendition of "I Saw Him Standing There", (although she very well might have) but it was instead due to the little known opening act of five bens (boys/men) who went by the name of NKOTB or, New Kids On The Block.

She loved these lads so much that she went out and bought their tape the very next day and decided to share the wealth me. I was also instantly smitten. Five guys who were too old to be attainable, but not old enough to be creepy...what's not to love? The guys went by the names of Danny, Joe, Jordan, Jon and Donnie.

Little did we know as we sat listening to the tape in my bedroom that day just how big the New Kids craze would become. In fact, over the next few years, you couldn't go anywhere without avoiding the New Kids phenomena. At least not in this 12 year old's universe.

It also should be said that the New Kid you liked was a lot like a litmus test and in turn, said a lot about your personality. Your favorite was Donnie? You always dig the bad boy. You fancy Jonathan? You like the quiet, older boy you sits in the back of the class who seems really smart, but then you do a science project with him only to find out he really isn't. You ache for Jordan? You also have a crush on the guy who is voted most likely to come out at your ten year high school reunion. How about Joe? Babyface innocence is your thing. You pick Danny? Well you, you're just plain crazy cause nobody picked Danny.

My personal favorite was Joe. In fact, it still is. I still enjoy watching him strut his stuff on Dancing With The Stars. By the way, note to the judge in the middle who attacks Joe for absolutely no reason, do you have ANY IDEA how complicated it was to memorize some of the complicated dance moves that went along with the Hangin' Tough or Step By Step tours? Did you sell millions of tickets, in part, because of this? No I don't think so. So step off!

But then the mid 90's came, and the boy band we thought so ferverently was going to be our Beatles had gone from being new on the block, to knowing their way around a block, if you know what I mean. So as with most good things that must come to an end, so did the reign of the New Kids.

Fast forward a few years. I believe the year was 1997. I was 20 and in college at the time. Suddenly, MTV started playing videos for a "new" band called The Backstreet Boys. I say "new" because apparently, they had been around awhile, but they were one of those, "we're really famous in a German's love David Hasselhoff" kinda way.

Immediately, my friends and I were ready to detest them. We didn't know The Backstreet Boys, but we had their number. What they were were the New Kids in disguise. Five guys? Check. Cute and innocent one? Cue Nick Carter. Bad boy who kinda, sorta can sing? Let me introduce AJ McLean. Closeted gay guy and even if he isn't who would like him hybrid? Meet Howie Dorough. Unofficial lead singer who is isn't gay, but is super religious? Herree's Brian Littrell! Quiet, older dude with model good looks but not much else going on? Will Kevin Richardson please step up. And believe me, the similarities didn't stop there. How many ways can you spell F-O-R-M-U-L-A?

It was shortly after this time though that the tides began to turn. That "Quit Playin Games (With My Heat)" had a good beat and you could dance to it. And that one dude is sorta cute. Plus they all are actually about our ages which totally makes them so dateable, cause you know, it could happen.

Suddenly we saw The Backstreet Boys in a new light. If we weren't going to get our NKOTB back (and believe me, it wasn't happening) we decided BSB was the next best thing. Why not get a chance to relive some of the cheesy glory days one last screaming fan filled time?

So for a few years we enjoyed The Backstreet Boys and, semi-tongue in cheek. We had fun watching the 12 year olds act like we acted and we got to go back to that prepubescent period one last time before venturing off into grown-up land, forever.

Then just like every other boy band on the horizion, BSB's candle burned out as well. Before long AJ was showing up on Oprah talking about a drug addiction problem and Nick Carter was talking about a "look at me, I'm dating Paris Hilton, I'm an asshole problem", or maybe not so much talking about it as living it. They were apart, but just like with any successful boy band, they were only as good as their last batted eyelashes filled harmony. Years went by and now, lo and behold, BSB is back! And believe it or not, they actually seem to be having some success this time around as well, though I gotta admit, it creeps me out a bit.

For starters, there's the name of their new album, Never Gone. I'm sorry but what is up with that? Never Gone? I suppose this is supposed to be some weird way to tell the fans they haven't left them, but it's about as reassuring as The Police's stalker slow jam "Every Breath You Take" is for stable relationships.

Then there's the age factor. Let me state, for the record, that the oldest Backstreet BOY , Kevin Richardson, was born in October of '71. The youngest, Nick Carter, was born in January of 1980. Which leads me to my next concern. At exactly what point do you make the segue from backstreet boy to main drag man or even perhaps deadbeat dad?

So Backstreet is back and apparently it's aight, and while I'll check it out for nostalgia purposes, for this wirl (girl/woman) I think the SS Boy Band has finally sailed. I officially pass the torch to the next generation of awkward adolesences. Only go easy on the BSB idol worship, would ya? This time around, these "boys" just might take you up on the offer.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Nothing To Write Home About With

Now that this year is finally coming to a close (the last day is the 27th) I can begin to look back and reflect upon things I've done this year. Some I've done well and proud of, while others I hope to learn from and tweak to make better.

In some ways, that's what makes being a first year teacher so great. No one expects you to be perfect just yet. Next year, however, it's a whole new ball game. Leave it to me to get hired the first year my district had to do some belt tightening. They also had to let one girl go that I started with. Meanwhile the rest of us non-tenured folks sit around, feeling like a contestant on American Idol, waiting to hear if we are safe.

While I haven't gotten official word, I can safely assume I'll return next year by this point. Still, I personally think it's common courtesy to officially let the teachers in my boat let us know where we stand, but I digress.

So while I can assume I'm safe, this doesn't mean I'll necessarily be teaching the same grade next year. This would sorta suck because you start to develop a groove the longer you teach a grade- plus I wouldn't even get to appreciate all the the new goodies I ordered yet.:(

One problen I have yet to solve is the mystery of the lost pencils. Try as I might, I simply cannot get children to take care of their pencils, and, as a result, I go through them like water.

For awhile, I was putting pencils out as I got them, but then within 15 minutes I would notice they would all be gone. I was torn because somehow, there would still be kids that needed pencils. Now I wouldn't get mad if children were legitimately, dilligently working and needed new pencils, but most of the time this just ain't the case. I know this because at the end of the day, after the kids have left the building, I find tons of pencils lying all over the floor.

This is when I start to get MAD. I realize they are only kids, but how seriously, how hard is it to take your pencil and PUT IT IN YOUR PENCIL BOX?! It shows responsibility, a quality that children need to learn, the sooner the better.

But alas, I remain torn. I tried demanding kids bring in their own pencils (and paper) from home and that has helped, but not all do, and not even all can. And the dilemma still remains. I can't withhold pencils because kids NEED pencils because school - pencils = no work done.

So I'm writing this post to pick the brains of my trusty readers. If you have any ideas I might not have thought of regarding pencil conservation, please send them my way. I realize this year is shot to hell, but next year's not. I'll print out any good suggestions I get. I would jot them down, but...
Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Back To The Future"

Remember that dude from a few months ago that held the time traveler's party? On SNL they said people from the future were invited, but nobody came because they all knew it was going to suck.

My question to you is this. If you could journey back to any point in time what would it be and why? And, part two of this question, if you could relive any part of your own life again what would it be and why?
Monday, June 20, 2005

The Day After The Day After

Well Pratt said I'd be eating crow. So, I'll be honest and say I am munching on a few feathers. My birthday wasn't quite the dismal event that I thought it would be. This is in part, to the birthday wishes of all of YOU! I gotta say, bloggers really do rock. At least the bloggers who visit this site do. It's too bad it had to be a virtual party otherwise I would have offered you all a slice of cake.

Thanks to a friend of mine at work, I got to feel a little special in my "real life" as well. She surprised me by making me a banner for my classroom door along with giving me a balloon, flowers and a card. She put the banner on my door and had a few kids from my class deliver the goodies to me. Then she took me out on Friday night. We saw a cover band called Saturday Night Fever that made my night worthwhile by playing "Jessi's Girl" as their last song. And to think, they didn't even know of my obsession with all things Rick Springfield.

My actual birthday was much more low key. I got a few more cards and my share of phone calls. I then went out to dinner with the rents. There are a few people I didn't hear from that surprised me, especially since I got a call from my friend whose husband is still in the hospital from his stroke. We always talk on our birthdays, but given the circumstances, I didn't expect her to have the chance to call. Actually, this is a perfect segue for a quick update on his condition. As it turns out, the stroke was caused by an AVM in the brain. Basically it works like this. If you think of the brain like a huge mass of wires, the AVM is like when you get a knot in some of those wires. The knot was always there, but like a time bomb, no one ever knows when (and if) it will ever go off.

I did some research on the condition online and read a lot of narratives on the subject. The prognosis is not promising, though it's still too early to tell the status of my friend's husband's condition. He did have surgery but that was only to cauterize to stop the bleeding. The AVM, along with several blood clots, still remain. Whether or not they can be removed, his best option, still remains to be seen. If it is embedded, he could never have a problem again or have several bleeds for the rest of his life.

As a related side effect, he also has pneumonia in one lung and has to have a tube down his throat to help with suction. They tried removing it a few days ago, but found he wasn't really ready for that yet, and had to put it back in indefinitely.

The good news is he seems to very alert for someone under heavy sedation and through something like he's been through. The bad news is he seems to very alert for someone under heavy sedation and through something like he's been through. He is able to move his arms (not sure about his legs) and can even write some things. But he still doesn't know what happened to him and the doctor thinks it's wise to wait a bit to tell him considering he is still in ICU.

I went to the hospital the other night to see my friend and she asked if I wanted to see him. I'm not squeamish about hosptials or his condition, but I was still a bit apprehensive to go in. I felt this way because I NEVER see him normally. Put yourself in his shoes for just a minute. He knows something is wrong but he doesn't know exactly what. Meanwhile everyone HE HAS EVER MET is coming to see him and he can't ask any questions about why. You would assume the worst too, right? Still, I wanted to support her, so I didn't let on that I felt this way.

I think my feelings on my birthday AND my friend's situation can best be expressed by the classic Gloria Loring/Alan Thicke penned lyric: You take the good, you the bad, you take them both and then you have the facts of life.
Friday, June 17, 2005

It's My Birthday And I'll Whine If I Want To

I can't believe it. I turn 28 on Saturday.

Where has the time gone?

As of Thursday, I have gotten a whopping TWO cards. And, depending on who you ask, the two don't even "count" since they are both from two different aunts. Now ask me how many plans I have for my actual birthday? That would be ZERO, not including the given dinner with the rents.

Pity party for one, your table is now available.

Now I know this may be a bit premature, considering it is not my birthday yet but I can't help but feel a little "Samantha Baker" about the whole thing. I'm referring to the lead character Molly Ringwald so expertly played in Sixteen Candles. For those of you who have been living in a cave the last 21 years, Sixteen Candles is a story about a girl who is convinced her family has forgotten her birthday as they are lost in the commotion of her sister's wedding which has fallen on the same date.

Only in my case, the tables are turned. It's not my family who has forgotten my birthday, but everyone else. And there isn't even a wedding coming up or anything remotely celebratory that should cause me to be the forgotten one.

Before I go and make myself sound way more pathetic than I already probably have, I know I have a few more people who will come through, even if it's of the belated variety. I also will, no doubt, get the obligatory phone call from a few of my friends on the actual date. And I probably, informally will celebrate my day the next time I see some of my friends.

But every once and awhile, I want more.

To be honest, just once I always wished my birthday was a bigger deal. My ex never understood this about me, but then again, he didn't see the point in celebrating anything, so maybe he's a bad example. But it's a catch 22 situation. The minute you talk about wanting your birthday to be more special to people, they go ahead and try to make it more special, which in essence, cancels out the specialness because you had to suggest it to begin with.

Once, when I turned 17 or 18, I had this conversation with my best friend at the time. So she decided to take it upon herself to throw me an impromptu surprise party. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice idea, in theory. But there were a few glitches in the plan. For starters, she didn't get in touch with all of my friends because she wasn't friends with them, but a few of her friends were there that weren't MY friends, and they came bearing gifts. Talk about feeling awkward. Then there was the fact that my friend picked me up but in her excitement to get me out of the car, actually unbuckled my seatbelt for me, (something she never did before, for the record, which sent up a red flag in itself) subsequently hitting me in the mouth and causing me to get a swollen lip. So, forever preserved on video, is the image of a handful of my friends, and a few acquaintances yelling "SURPRISE!" as I am clutching my lip, in desperate need of ice. But I didn't even mention the best part yet. Apparently all of my friends had gotten there a few hours earlier, but the friend who was picking me up was running late, so by the time I got there, the party was actually winding down. Ahh yes, those were good times.

The next best birthday as an adult that I can remember was the first year I was working after college. I suppose I turned 22. I had just started going out with my boyfriend so I had the flower thing. My work friends also went all out. They knew I wasn't a big sweets person, so they actually made me a mini-cake out of dip and surrounded it with fresh vegetables. Yum!

But let's face it. I'm past the age of the "fun" birthdays now. All I have to look forward to are birthdays of the "how old are you now?" variety. Not to say that I'm old, because I'M NOT. And no, though doth not protest too much.:) I'm just saying I'm past the age of milestones that anyone actually wants to admit to celebrating. Don't even say deny it. Girl, you know it's true.

As we get older, birthdays become less and less about friends and more and more about family. You might not celebrate it with your parents, but instead your boyfriend/girlfriend. Then your boyfriend/girlfriend becomes your husband/wife and you have kids of your own and so and so forth. If you don't have a family of your own, you tend to celebrate your birthday ON YOUR OWN, which I think is the part that has always been the scariest prospect to me.

This week, in the wake of my friend's husband's stroke, I am reminded of this fact. I am very lucky and fortunate to have what I have, but I can't help but wonder what would happen if something like that had happened to me, or something like that happened to me one day. Although he is suffering, he, at the very least, knows that his wife was and is there for him to help him through. When you don't have that though, you can't help but worry from time to time that there's no one watching out for you. So when I say that my birthday might not be special, I'm not really talking about a Fudgie the Whale cake from Carvel, but the bigger picture. More about my life, my existence itself being special to someone or someones, period.

Well, this post sounds damn depressing doesn't it? Don't worry, I'll be fine on Sunday. After all, Sunday is just another day. On Sunday, I'll be 28 and a day and really, who cares about that anyway? In the meantime, I'm gonna go light me some trick candles and perhaps wish myself into believing 28 is the new 18.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I'd Like To Buy A Vowel

In a semi related intro, my blogging friend, Celestial Blue is looking for donations in the form of bracelet purchases to help her take a highly anticipated trip to Israel. More details are on her site. Please stop by there now and check out it out. Operators are standing by.

Recently an old friend of mine found religion. Back when I knew her well, she wasn't really all that in to her spiritual side, but she always had what I'd like to refer to as a "religious episodes". Now as you know, every religion comes with certain rules and restrictions. Even if the rule is there ARE no rules and restrictions, that, in essence, is still a rule.

The friend in question was raised Jewish, but I'd hardly call her a practicing Jew. She never went to synagogue and she did not read in Hebrew or anything else semi Jew-riffic. Instead she was one of those "eat matzoh on Passover" type Jews. I can say this diplomatically because I'm the same type of Catholic, minus the matzoh.

But she went a bit further with her religious status by picking and choosing exactly what parts of her were Jewish and which were not. You know the type. They treat religion like they do if they're putting together an outfit. Accessoring when necessary and simply discarding what is not needed. The only problem with this is that you can't just choose to say complete a quarter of your studies in college and be expected to graduate. Religion is tricky this way too. In my book, you're either religious or you're not. And no when I say my book I'm not talking about the bible.

For instance, there was one holiday when I suppose the ruling is you're supposed to obstain from using any electicity. I'm assuming the reasoning behind this is an effort to have man sacrifice in the name of religion. But the problem was she could never tell me why she did it, which reminds me of something else that hits home see:Catholics and meat. What I say is, if you're gonna do something in life willingly, you might as well at least know why you're doing it.

So my friend wanted to honor this particular religious request- but not in a way that would be an inconvenience. So for a few weeks during this particular holiday, my friend would watch tv and then ask ME to shut it off for her. If I left a room, she'd as ME to shut the light. You get the idea. Now to me, this is a perfect example of man ruining a biblical intention by opening it up to a man-made interpretation. A colossal, confusing game of telephone if you will.

I told her that while I knew I was not Jewish and I knew I could be wrong, but I don't think that purpose of the refrain is to have someone else do it for you- it's the refrain itself from said activity- period. She argued that it wasn't. I then asked her how she got the tv on in the first place without my being in the room. This, finally, shut her up.

Fast forward a few years and this friend has grown much more religious. Our relationship is a distant one now, and so we keep in touch via email. But everytime I get an email from her she somehow, someway mentions God, actually G-d.

My question is this- can someone please tell me why there is a need to drop the o? I mean really, does God, excuse me, G-d, really get offended by the use of that extra letter? From the little bit of research I've done this is out of respect. But I still don't get it. It is her or his or its name, right? And with human beings it's actually less respectful to get someone's name wrong. Does it have something to do with writing it down because I don't think the omission is even possible to make when you're speaking. Think about it. Have you ever seen someone try to say God without the o? If you had, you would remember because it would most definitely seem nonsensical, and or you would assume something was wrong with this otherwise normal human being with a selected speech impediment.

My second frustration is this- if you have issues, whatever the reason, with putting God's name in print, then why oh why do you have to do it so often? Make no mistake- I write emails all the time. I even blog all the time. But I do not have a strong urge to reference God every time I write.

Thinking back, I believe every single correspondence I have received from this girl since she found religion (big shout out to REM for helping her find what she lost!) has included frivolous and arguably unnecessary G-d references. The same goes with another mutual friend of ours. Why God why!? Or, to translate, Why G-d why?

Now you might all think that I am making fun of my friend and religious folks like her in a way, ok, I'll give you that. But many times people make fun of what they do not understand. Guess what? I don't understand.

I just pray someone out there has the answers. G-d willing, they will.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover"

Now that summer is coming I finally will have some extra time to curl up with a good book or two. Since I don't know Oprah personally, I figured I'd ask everyday folk what they recommend, namely YOU.

First, a little more about what I like. Typically I prefer smartly written chick lit or something that keeps me guessing. Sarcastic undertones are great, too. I'm no stranger to non fiction either. Only requirement, if possible, it should already be in the local library.

It never hurts to make a suggestion, so suggest it all. I'll be sure to contact you personally if I choose your suggestion and it sucks but pther than that, no pressure, no pressure at all.
Monday, June 13, 2005

Life's What Happens When You're Making Other Plans

I rarely, if ever, write about my day to day going's ons. I figure the few of you who do read this thing aren't coming here to read what I had for breakfast this morning. This is my existence, which is probably a lot like yours, thus the reason you don't need to read every last detail. This is not of interest to you, or maybe it is and I should be writing about yogurt more often. I really don't know.

The point being is with this post, I'm going to attempt to step outside the box and instead focus on the mundane for a bit. Why will become clearer soon enough.

I had a pretty good weekend. Friday night I rented the movie In Good Company and decided once and for all that I was going to marry Topher Grace. On Saturday, I went to see my friend Judy and she finally helped me settle upon my mp3 player of choice. We walked around a lot, played a game of disasturous mini-golf and tried to kill some time while I waited to meet up with another friend of mine who lived in the area. Only that plan never panned out and so I instead went home, a bit hungry but more eager than anything to break my new player in.

Around 10:30 I got a call from another friend of mine. I should have known that something was up when the phone rang at 10:30 on a Saturday night and there were no plans to go out looming on the horizon. The second giveaway should have been seeing this particular married friend's cell phone number. In fact, I'm sure a twinge of concern crossed my mind, but it was quickly glazed over by my assuming she was probably calling to ask me a bit a of movie trivia or something like that.

All of this planted firmly in the back of my mind, I answered the phone cheerily. I was not prepared for the news my friend was going to give me. She called to tell me her husband had a stroke early that morning.

He is only 28 or 29 years old.

She proceeded to walk me through their morning. It was a normal morning. He was planning on playing golf with a buddy. All of a sudden, he was on the first floor, she on the second and he called up to her. He said he felt dizzy and he wanted to lie down. So they went upstairs. But lying down wasn't enough, he was in pain and then thought he was going to be ill, so he got up and tried to walk to the bathroom, but he was walking into things as his vision was blurred.
What I find to be the most amazing is that he continued to communicate with her the entire time this happened. In a way, I don't know who had the scarier experience, my friend who was helpless in helping her husband or her husband who was fully aware of the shutting down of his body. He clearly communicated to her what he was feeling and seeing before finally telling her that he could feel his speech going away. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, my friend called 911. An ironic footnote to this story being she had just told me the other day about how they have trouble getting assistance (ie 911) on their block because apparently they border two different towns. Needless to say, it took 20 minutes for the ambulance to get there. By the time they did, the paramedic headed upstairs and asked my friend's husband his name, but all that came out was gibberish.

When my friend called me last night, it was hours later and she was at the hospital waiting for word on his condition. The doctor's, luckily, were able to go in and operate. Apparently his brain was quite enlarged and there was still some activity, bleeding etc going on. He was sedated when we spoke. They have no idea the extent of his damage or even if he will wake up.

I went back and forth about whether or not to write about this because this didn't happen to me. But then I thought about it and thought it could have been me. Or you. Or anyone. We all know there are things in life beyond or control. Car accidents. Fires. Even cancer. But a stroke is not typically an infliction of the young. He is in good shape and there were no warnings this was going to happen, it just did. Tthere was no way to prepare or stop it from occuring. Does this make the news any different than if I said my friend's 85 year old grandmother had a stroke? In a way, I think it does. We hear stroke, we expect the person to be over a certain age and in a certain "at risk" category. But sometimes, I guess, life breaks the rules.

Which brings me back to why I decided to write about the mundane. I'm human and just like most other people my age it takes something major happening for me to pause and be thankful for what I've got. Friday night I was angered by an argument I had with my father. Saturday night I was a bit peeved my friend stood me up. Only a few short hours after that, however, I felt embarrassed for feeling those emotions and overwhelming grateful for how blessed I really am.

I know this might sound corny to some, but I think being corny is ok every once and long as it doesn't get out of hand. I don't normally do this sort of thing, but please send your well wishes and prayers for my friend this way, even if you don't know him. I promise they will be in good company alongside mine.
Friday, June 10, 2005

The Kings Have Left The Building

It seems like just yesterday I was writing about the nail biting prospect of tackling my very first grade level show. Actually, come to think of it, it seems like just the day before that I was talking about tackling my very first classroom. Man, time flies when you're teaching kids.

Anyway, after reading about the show on this blog, a few of you emailed me and expressed interest in how it all went. I thank y'all for that, sincerely. To recap, every grade in my school has to do a grade level show. Our theme, Disney, was picked for us by a few of the third grade teachers. For the record, I have never been a huge Disney fan and considering I would be doing the show BY MYSELF I wanted something quick, easy and relatively painless.

The idea to do "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" from Disney's Lion King just hit me out of the blue and seemed to stick. I knew the original lyrics definitely needed some tweaking to not only make it more grade appropriate, but to make it more applicable as well. My "vision" was to have the kids sing about how they couldn't wait to be kings of the school since, as 4th graders, they would be the upper classmen next year, all except for one that is, and believe you me, THAT was awkward.

While Barry Manilow I'm not, I think I can hold my own in the writing the songs department. Here are the rewritten lyrics, edited slightly to protect the anonymous and innocent:

We Just Can't Wait To Be Kings

We're gonna be the kings and queens, so **** School beware!
Well, here's the part we tell all about why you should care.

We're gonna be the main event, like no class was before,
Watch us now we studied hard, we're ready for grade FOUR!

Well it's a rather, inspiring thing-

Oh we just can't wait to be kings!

No one saying do this!
No one saying be there!
No one saying stop that!
No one saying see here!

We'll have it all one day,
We'll do it all our way.

From math to health to reading, and even when in art,
We learned a lot and now we're like, really smart.

Now we know just where we are headed so watch out!
Make room for us 4th graders, I wouldn't hang about.

We're moving on up to the 4th grade wing-

Oh we just can't wait to be kings!

Everybody look left.
Everybody look right.

Everywhere you look I'm standing in the spotlight! (not yet)

So join in with us now as we sing,
Stand up and shout and flash your fancy bling,
Imagine the applause this song will bring…

Oh we just can't wait to be kings!
Oh we just can't wait to be kings!
Oh we just can't waiiiitttt..

to be kings!

I know that just reading the lyrics really doesn't do the show justice, but unfortunately it's all I got. The choreography gave the song it's personality, but I can't show it to you here. If you've ever seen Kids Incorporated and then saw this show you would probably know where I got my musical influence. And if you've ever seen Debbie Allen in Fame you would know the kind've director I was as well. ("You want fame?...Well, fame costs. And the price is sweat.")

I also have a few hams in my class, one of which whose legendary status caused me to give him the "everywhere you look I'm, standing in the spotlight" line, complete with his own, hands free, Old Navyesque microphone. Everyone else looks at him at this point, crosses their arms and rolls their eyes, which is really nothing different than what we do every day. Another girl in my class then proceeds to pull him back by his shirt. The whole year he has been fighting to be front and center and now he finally got his chance.

Meanwhile, another girl in my class who is normally very quiet (and also wants to be the first African American female president, thank you very much) did an amazing job with picking up the choreography and performing it with animation. So when it came time to choose a third grader to dress up and play the role of Minnie, she instantly came to mind. A few other teachers were trying to figure out how to get a girl from their class out of their costume (because they sang first) and get her into the Minnie costume. That's when I said, "can't it just be any third grader?" which obviously it could. So my student got recruited and did a great job. I told her that she couldn't be president till she was 35 anyhow, so she might as well act in the meantime. After all, it worked for Ronald Reagan.

The whole show was topped off with the entire third grade singing M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E. The kids had never heard it before so we kept playing it over and over shouting, AGAIN! LOUDER! FOREVER LET US HOLD OUR BANNER HIGH! HIGH! HIGH! HIGH! If only they would pick up their school work as easily as they did the songs, I'd be teaching geninuses. Overall I'd say the show was a success, of course very few teachers actually saw it considering we also had workshop training today so anyone who teaches K-2 was sequestered for a few hours.

As we sat around today we all breathed a sigh of relief, talks have already begun about next year's show. All we know is it has to be something....ON STAGE this way we can use the same glitterified banner. In the meantime, with 12 days of school left to go, we still have to survive three more assemblies. Fortunately, all I have to do is show up.:)
Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too

Awhile ago, in an indirect response to a post on Tommy's blog, I said I had a post about cake forks forthcoming. I'm sure Tommy assumed I was bluffing but if he did assume that, he would be wrong.

There are many things in this world that I have no use for. Gangsta rap for one. Kathy Lee Gifford for another. Cake forks, however, also have their place somewhere on the list between Martha Stewart and cucumbers.

I mean I understand the underlying principles behind all man made utensils. Forks, knives and spoons for instance are a given. Even sporks have a worthy time and place.

I also understand the need for different size spoons. Tablespoons are perfect for soups and cereals, while teaspoons are just right for sugar and spices. Both are also widely recognized units of measurement that come in handy. If you don't believe me, just try eating a cake that requires 2 teaspoons of sugar vs. 2 tablespoons.

But then you have the red-haired stepchild of utensils- the cake fork. Cake forks are meant to be used when eating cake or pie, obviously. But come on now. Is the regular 'ol fork really that cumbersome that we need a smaller fork to take its place when eating that overbearing piece of apple pie?

Think about it. We cut our meat with a knife and fork and then, when the meat is cut, it's actually, in most cases, smaller than a forkful of cake or pie. So in this case, why switch over?

Do you really ever pick up a dinner fork and say, "What is this monstrosity?! Am I expected to eat lemon meringue pie with this?" And yet people invite other people over and actually set their tables with these things? Why!?

I have a theory on this. I believe the cake fork was invented by the same type of guy who invented those leashes that walk invisible dogs and then he laughed. He laughed all the way to the bank. He laughed not only because he invented it, but because somehow he fooled everyone into using it.

Of course, before I posted this, I did a little search on Google, but came up with nothing. Oh sure, I can tell you all about the history of the fork, but not the cake fork. Now the damn thing is not even worth mentioning and yet, so many of us use them all the time.

Despite this rant, I guarantee the majority of you will attend an event this weekend that uses cake forks. Who knows? You might even have a get together where you use cake forks. And as you are setting the table or eating your pie, a knowing smile will curl over your lips. Someone at the table might even ask you what you are smirking about. At this moment, I ask you to mention this post. Spark a debate. Prove to me why the cake fork is necessary.

In the meantime you can put a fork in this post, cause it's done.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Put It On The Underhill's Bill"

Ok, here's the situation. (my parents went away on a week's vacation...Seriously, how old will I be before those two statements are not permanently intermingled in my brain?) Let's say you're out to dinner with a group of people. Everyone orders various items from the menu. All order dinners, some order appetizers, others order a few drinks of the alcoholic variety.

Then, the bill comes.

Do you split the bill evenly, or take into account who ordered what? Does it bother you when someone does one or the other?
Monday, June 06, 2005

Yours, Mines and Ours

Grammatically speaking, I always felt I could hold my own. (cue wiseass blog surfer who thinks otherwise). But I will admit, I think the English language can be a tricky language to learn. There is so much "i before e except after c" bullshit to account for that I seriously don't know how foreigners pick up as much as they do. Seriously, I took like seven years of French and I'm still only retaining, "Bonjour, Je m'appelle Janet." and frankly, I'm too lazy to check if I even spelled that right.

So this is why I try to take my students' shortcomings with grammatics with a grain of salt. After all, my job is to teach them the error of their ways and in turn they can (hopefully) turn around and teach their parents what I taught them.

Regardless, it still boggles my mind that I work in a district where language barriers are so prevelant, yet there is no grammar program to speak of. And it's not just here, although the lack of such a program in such a district is much, much worse. No, it seems that somehow, over the years, grammar has become one of those "built in's". Grammar and the rules thereof are something kids are just supposed to pick up as they read, write and speak in school.

Now I don't know about you, but grammar wasn't something I just picked up, although I'm sure I did pick up some things here or there. In reality, it was something I was taught. I remember learning about everything from the parts of speech to diagramming sentences. But somehow now, all of it is gone, poof! Out the window, just like that.

Luckily, many children do pick up a great deal of the rights and wrongs of the English language naturally with the older they get and the more they are exposed to. But then you have kids like me I have who are exposed to the wrong way of speaking every day of their lives.

Think about it. When we tell our children to edit their writing, we tell them to read it aloud to see if what they wrote makes sense. But if you are reading something that isn't completely in your native language, how can you be expected to pick up something that doesn't sound wrong to you to begin with? I am such a nit picker about this in class because a lot of my students, although they are not geniuses, do not come off nearly as smart as they should because the "little" rules of grammar often get in the way.

For instance, it is like nails on a chalkboard everytime I hear a student in my class say mine's.

"Miss! That paper is mine's!"

"No, that paper is mine."

"Right, that's what I said."

I've told my students time and again that mine's is not proper English and in fact, mine's is not a word at all unless you are referring to actual mines, "a pit or excavation in the earth from which mineral substances are taken" as stated in the Merriam Webster definition, which we all know very well they are not.

Your first instinct might be to chuckle at the silly mistake my students are making, but it's not nearly as cute once those precocious students grow into uneducated adults, who, come to think of it, also have their rightful place in this post.

I hate, hate, hate when an otherwise well educated adult says all's.

"All's you gotta do is turn the computer on".

Here's another classic you may recognize: the usage of these ones.

"I'll have these ones right here".

Listen to me when I tell you that it is either these OR ones. There is no need to use both of them together. Ever. Ever, ever.


I could go on like this forever really: supposibly, aks instead of ask, brang... but I won't. I mean I shan't. I mean I don't.

In a last ditch effort to curb the class appetite usage of mine's I've decided to now connect its usage to something of merit, the class marble jar. The rules are simple. Use mine correctly, off the cuff, in a sentence, the class gets a marble. Use it spontaneously incorrectly and the class lossses a marble. It's just like a swear jar but without all the fun cursing.

Unfortunately, at this point, they're losing more than they're winning.
Friday, June 03, 2005

One Way Or Another, I'm Gonna Getcha

In a year of broken cars, busted relationships and a brokedown classroom, I decided "Janet, you deserve a break today." Unfortunately, Mcdonalds wasn't exactly what I had in mind. No, I wanted to really treat myself. After all, they say if you want something done, you should do it yourself,right? Well in this case, I don't really have a choice. So who better to by myself an mp3 player than well, me.

About six months ago, purchasing an mp3 player was the farthest thing away from my mind. As much as I LOVE downloading and listening to music, I rarely have the time to sit down and listen when I'm at home. These days, I spend much more time enjoying my music while I'm on the move, namely in my car. So up until a few months ago I would just download songs, make a 140+ song cd, pop it in my mp3 stereo and call it a day.

Then the accident happened.

Although the car stereo was salvaged and could probably be reinstalled my new vehicle for a small fee, I started thinking a different route. I began toying around with getting an mp3 player, namely an ipod. I figured that while the car stereo was great and I missed it, I would sure love to have all my music with me so that if I decided to, let's just say, bring my pasty ass to the beach, I'd have my music there, too. So I thought my mind was all made up and then I realized the decision was not that simple. But really, what decision these days ever is.

As it turns out, there are many choices in the mp3 world, not to mention ipod choices alone. First there is the debate between the ipod mini and the regular ipod. I know both have their own pros and cons, but weighing them is another matter eniterly. For instance, the ipod, which holds about 5,000 sounds, is naturally the more expensive of the two. Meawhile the ipod mini saves you about 100 dollars, and it's smaller (duh) but it also holds less music, rougly 1,000 to 1,500 songs.

I know instantly that those of you reading this are going to be split into three camps:

1. ipod mini'ers- how much music do you need at one time, really?
2. ipoders- spring for the extra hundred, bigger is better.
3. I have no idea what the hell an mp3 is ers.

Then there is the little matter of functionality. I have always been a pc person although ipods are definitely a mac user's toy, first and foremost. Still they do make ipods and ipod mini's for the pc now. But what are all the extras and their costs? Do I need anything extra to hook it up to my stereo or laptop? How about charging it? And where do I get one of those tape adapters to hook it up in my car, the problem that started all of this shopping to begin with!?

As if those concerns weren't enough, I started looking into them and inadvertently stumbled upon the fact that there were a few worthy competitors in the mp3 arena. Here's just one website that attempts to seperate the men from the boys.

But if you've ever heard the phrase less is more, you would know what I am talking about. Is the ipod or the ipod mini really the best buy for my money or will I be paying more for the device and/or the extra goodies? Am I only going with ipod because it is the best known, but not necesarily the best? Or, in most cases, is there really something to be said for brand recognition?

So there you have it. I've come full circle. I want to get an mp3 player, but I'm not sure which product to go with. So go ahead, give me your advice. Put another quarter in the jukebox, baby.
Thursday, June 02, 2005

This Is Darryl And My Other Brother, Daryl

It's crazy, but it's true. There are less than 20 days left of school. So little time left and yet, my students are still doing things that do not cease to amaze me.

For example, a few weeks ago, one of my students came up to me and told me that, as it turns out, she had actually been spelling her name wrong her entire life. For anonymity purposes let's just say her name is Staci and suddenly she wants to spell it Stacy.

At first, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I thought it was cute even. I guess this was because the whole time I was thinking that there must be a reasonable explanation. Perhaps the kid was watching TV or reading a book and recognized her name, only spelled differently, and became confused. It's a long shot, but if you knew my students, you would see long shots don't seem so long after all.

But then she tells me her mom was the one who told her "she" was spelling it wrong, which she here I'm not too certain. I mean can the kid really be blamed for spelling her own name "wrong" if that's how you spelled it to begin with? Once again I told her she must have misunderstood her mom, although I will say this particular nine year old is relatively bright, at least comparatively speaking to the rest of my students.

I figured that maybe what mom was trying to say was that there was more than one way to spell her name. She assumed she was ready to here that without being confused and obviously she was not. But then again, given the track record of the parents in my district, sometimes the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, if you know what I mean.

In other words, anything is possible.

So, I sent her home to get clarification. I know you're thinking I could have just contacted the parents myself, but there are two main reasons why I didn't do this:
1. Mom doesn't speak English.
2. It seemed odd to inquire about a student's name at this point in the school year without feeling like a fool.

The student in question comes back the next day, insisting mom meant what she said. So this time, I called for reinforcements. I went to the source, the cum folder. The cum folder is a culmination of a child's tenure in a school, including registration papers (and sometimes even a birth certificate, if you're lucky, which I was not). A few years ago, when the mother registered the child, she clearly wrote S-T-A-C-I, not S-T-A-C-Y.

So now I have a confused student who has gone from writing Staci on all of her papers to writing Stacy-- and literally overnight.I mean she's got to be confused because God knows I still am.

The only saving grace is despite "the name game" she still answers when I call her.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

I know this is a little bit dated, but did anyone happen to see the CBS mini series on Elvis that aired a few weeks ago? To be honest, I didn't really have any plans of watching it, given my feeling for all things Elvis , but I recorded it for my mother and decided to give it a shot before writing it off completely.

Imagine my surprise when I actually really enjoyed the movie, even if the story of Elvis has been told more time than I can count. The movie worked because of excellent casting. Randy Quaid played Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis's long time manager and control freak extraordinaire. I've always liked Randy Quaid, especially as the goofy cousin in those wonderful National Lampoon's movies, but I think this is the first time I actually saw Quaid you know, act.

Another excellent choice was Camryn Manheim as Elvis's mother. This is another actress I've never been a particularly big fan of, but the again, I never watched The Practice so I haven't really seen her in anything before to really make a call. These two casting decisions alone almost let me overlook the God awful decision to put Rose McGowan in as the sexy sixities siren, Ann-Margaret. Almost.

But the biggest shout out of all goes to Jonathan Rhys Meyers as The King himself. I don't know if you even know who Meyers is and if you do which version of him you know. For instance, if you've ever seen Bend It Like Beckham you've seen Meyers. Only problem is you wouldn't know THAT Meyers and this Meyers are indeed the same lad because yes, he is just. that. good. I predict big things for this boy and if I were you, I'd listen to me. I've been known to make good predictions.

I don't know what it is, but I enjoy an actor or actress that really plays a well know person well. For instance, I hear Jamie Foxx's job as Ray Charles in Ray was good and that master impressionist Kevin Spacey held his own as Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea, although the movie wasn't quite as lucky. I thought Will Smith's Ali was convincing, however boring the movie might've been. The incomprable Judy Davis, another great, underrated actress was superb as Judy Garland. And then there's Gary Busey, who buck teethed his way through The Buddy Holly Story like nobody's business, among countless others I'll be kicking myself after reading the comments for not mentioning them here.

Then there are the movies that never were. They've been talking for years about making a movie out of Janis Joplin's life. Way back in the beginning, the great actress Lili Taylor was chosen (an excellent choice I might add) for the lead. Years went by and the movie was never made. Then they had Melissa Etheridge in the role at one point, who would have been an excellent choice vocally, but I never saw her act. Following that they chose the emaciated, but talented Brittany Murphy who I also could stand behind considering she's actually an excellent vocalist, though few people know this about her.

Instead the on again/off again project is apparently on again due and now the movie even has a title Piece of My Heart, starring Renee "look for me in every movie made from 2000-2023" Zellwegger. And to think, I once felt sorry for the poor little blonde actress from Empire Records and Jerry Maguire that no one paid attention to. Ha.

I say they should just pull an Amy Fisher. Remember back in the early 90's when Joey Buttafuoco and company were all the rage? Not one, not two, but three movies were made about this event. About AMY FISHER! Meanwhile, Janis is still waiting for her one decent script to come her way. Poor, poor Janis. See dying young can have its disadvantages after all. Just ask other deceased stars who are still on the "make a movie about me" waiting list like James Dean, Del Shannon or even Irene Cara, who kinda counts.

So I say, start hedging your bets now. Remember, a story of Britney and Kevin: The Way We Were, can't be cast too soon.



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