Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Life Soundtrack: Reprise

Today, my wife was telling me about Timeline on Facebook, so I decided to check it out.  Talk about a way to go back through some recent memories.  One of the things that I found I wanted to share.  This is My Life Soundtrack...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 at 11:51pm

Alrighty, I decided, with the influence of a certain individual, that I would make this list and choose the songs that I feel would best fit each of the categories.......and with each of the songs...i will include a little bit of an explanation (if I can) as to why I selected it......

Opening Credits:

20th Century Fox Fanfare/Star Wars Main Title (John Williams)...I grew up watching these movies and I still watch them...I don't think there could be a better fitting opening credit theme than this one.

Waking Up:

Two Step (Dave Matthews Band)...A wake up song needs to do some pumping up and waking up for the day...this song does just that.

First Day at School:

Wonderful World (Sam Cooke)...I think as far as school goes, it wasn't class that excited me on the first day of was usually seeing the pretty ladies.

Falling in Love:

Is This Love (Whitesnake)
Waltz With Me (Tonic)
Every Breath You Take (The Police)
I Just Called to Say I Love You (Stevie Wonder)
Every Little Thing I Do (Soul For Real)
Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (The Shirelles)
When I'm With You (Sheriff)
I Could Fall in Love (Selena)
Dreaming of You (Selena)
Kiss From a Rose (Seal)
Cupid (Sam Cooke)
Unchained Melody (The Righteous Brothers)
(You're My) Soul and Inspiration (The Righteous Brothers)
Right Here Waiting (Richard Marx)
I'll Still Be Loving You (Restless Heart)
Can't Fight This Feeling (REO Speedwagon)
Glory of Love (Peter Cetera)
When a Man Loves a Woman (Percy Sledge)
She's Like the Wind (Patrick Swayze)
Dance With Me (Orleans)
I'll Be Loving You Forever (New Kids on the Block)
Do You Dream of Me (Michael W. Smith)
Somewhere Somehow (Michael W. Smith)
Earth Angel (Marvin Berry...from Back to the Future)
Endless Love (Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey)
I've Been Thinking About You (Londonbeat)
Stuck on You (Lionel Ritchie)
Cherish (Kool and the Gang)
Because of You (Kelly Clarkson)
Send Her My Love (Journey)
Angel Eyes (Jim Brickman)
Rose (James Horner....Titanic Soundtrack)
The Power of Love (Huey Lewis and the News)
Evenstar (Howard Shore and Isabel Bayrakdarian...LOTR Two Towers)
Always and Forever (Heatwave)
Til I Hear it From You (Gin Blossoms)
Lost in You (Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines)
I Love You Baby (Frankie Valli)
Waiting For a Girl Like You (Foreigner)
I Only Have Eyes For You (The Flamingos)
More Than Words (Extreme)
Can't Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley)
Can You Feel the Love Tonight (Elton John)
This Magic Moment (The Drifters)
So This is Love (Cinderella)
Lost in Your Eyes (Debbie Gibson)
You're The Inspiration (Chicago)
The Power of Love (Celine Dion)
Everything I Do (I Do It For You) (Bryan Adams)
She's Got a Way (Billy Joel)
Take My Breath Away (Berlin)
How Deep Is Your Love (Bee Gees)
And I Love Her (The Beatles)
Never My Love (The Association)

Yeah, that would be it that I can think of......

Fight Song:

Rocky Theme (Bill Conti)...It's obvious...Rocky is the man! He gave all of us underdogs the inspiration to come out on top!

Breaking Up:

Breaking Up is Hard to Do (Neil Sedaka)
Why You Wanna Break My Heart (Tia Carrere...Wayne's World)...It's kind of obvious....these are about breaking up


Did We Ever Have a Chance (Saved by the Bell)...Don't know why, just reminds me.


Don't Give Up (Michael W. Smith)...Life is don't give up!

Mental Breakdown:

Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)...having one of these can make you think that nothing else matters.


Embers and Envelopes (Mae)...makes me wanna go!


Set Adrift on Memory Bliss (PM Dawn)...Memory = Flashback...and I have memories of this song.....going to the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Getting Back Together:

I Want You Back (N Sync) fits


Chapel of Love (Dixie Cups)
Faithfully (Journey)

Birth of First Child:

Happy Song (Chris Tomlin) will definitely make me happy...may even make me cry tears of joy.

Final Battle:

Ride of the Rohirrim (Howard Shore...LOTR Return of the King)...duh! :)

Death Scene:

Main Title (from Braveheart....James Horner)...William Wallace...phew...what a way to go....FREEDOM!!!!!!!!

Funeral Song:

May It Be (Enya....from LOTR Fellowship of the Ring)
Into the West (Annie Lennox....from LOTR Return of the King)
Now We Are Free (Enya...from Gladiator)


The Rebel Fleet/End Title (John Williams...from Empire Strikes Back) to conclude what was begun...start with Star Wars...end with Star Wars.. that took a while....but it is done.

I might have to sit down and go back through this list to see if I could/would make any changes/additions. That's all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...10-6

     HOLY MOLY!!! We are in the Top 10!!! Okay, get ready to be wowed!

#10  The Bourne Identity

"What is the French word for "stakeout," huh?"

Even though I like finding out who Jason Bourne was before he became Jason Bourne (via Bourne Supremacy), I really like watching how he discovers who he is and what mad Chuck Norris/Jack Bauer skills he has.

#9  The Shawshank Redemption

"Yeah. The funny thing is - on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook."

There is just something about this movie that is fantastic.  Is it the story?  Is it the soundtrack?  Is it the fact that Morgan Freeman is playing an Irishman named Red?  Yes.

#8  Ocean's 11

"Shane, you've got three pairs. You can't have six cards! You can't have six cards in a five-card game!"

The other two are great, but nothing is better than the first one.

#7  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

"I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne. Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky..."

This movie is double the historical fiction for me.  World War II era Nazis and looking for the Holy Grail.  Yes, please.

#6  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

"What Russian novel, embraces more than 500 characters, is set in the Napoleotic wars?"

Just ask Matt Mahler.

Soon to come...MY TOP 5!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...15-11

     Here is round 8 of my favorite films list.

#15   Star Trek: First Contact

"Assimilate this!"

Of the STNG movies, this is the by far the best.

#14   Better Off Dead

"Two brothers... One speaks no English, the other learned English from watching "The Wide World of Sports." So you tell me... Which is better, speaking no English at all, or speaking Howard Cosell?"

Classic 80s comedy.  Need I say more?

#13   The Princess Bride

"And YOU: friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed, in Greenland?"

This movie along with #35 are the ones that everyone needs to watch.

#12   A Few Good Men

"Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."

Even though I own the movie, this is one of those that I have to watch when it is on TV.

#11   Terminator 2: Judgment Day

"The more contact I have with humans, the more I learn."

Great movie theme.  Great movie.  A must see.

Finally.  We are coming up on my top 10 favorite movies to watch.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Land of the Free. Home of the Brave

     September 11, 2001.  The first semester of my junior year of college has just begun several weeks prior.  Oklahoma was 3-0 in football and had just finished beating North Texas 37-10 the Saturday before.

     I woke up to my alarm, probably around 8:45.  I walked into the front room and turned on the TV.  The channel it was on was one of the local TV stations, but it was airing footage from New York City.  It was hard to believe what I was seeing.  The top of one of the World Trade Center buildings was spewing smoke.  They said that a commercial airliner had been flown into the top of the building.  Just over 15 minutes into watching the news, I saw the second plane fly right into the second tower.  Now I definitely could not believe what I was seeing.

     The whole time I was thinking, "Is this really happening?"  My memories from high school of seeing the OKC bombing on the news when I got home from school on April 19, 1995 (I went to school in Maryland) were popping in my head.  So were the memories of the Columbine shooting.  I was asking myself, "How can something like this happen?"

     I didn't go to class at all that day.  I was glued to the TV watching the news coverage.  Once it was mentioned that a plane had flown into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., I called my parents to ask if they were okay.  I had forgotten that earlier in the summer of 2001, they had moved from Maryland up to Pennsylvania.  They were completely fine because they were out of harms way.

     It has taken me several years to see the fruition of history being made.  Everything has changed because of September 11th.  With regard to United States history being taught in school, it will soon be taught in three semesters instead of two.  What the 1840's and 1850's were to the Civil War, the 1980's and 1990's are to September 11th.  Everything has changed.

     I would like to leave you with a song that came out in 2004.  This song was written because of the events that happened on our most modern Day of Infamy.  This is a music video by Michael W. Smith and the song is called, "There She Stands."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's tough...and Nostalgia

     Clearly it can be seen that my last post was weeks ago, on August 21.  It has been really hard to be consistent with creating blog posts.  Normally, one could post how their day went and that sort of thing, but for me as a teacher, I can't really do that.  No matter how goodhearted I want to be posting something about school, I can't go there.  There are teachers that have been fired over things that they have posted on blogs about their jobs.  In the words of Forrest Gump, "that's all I have to say, about that."

     So I am sitting here watching John Wayne in The Sons of Katie Elder on AMCHD.  Today, AMC is doing a "Crazy About" The Duke.  All the movies are John Wayne movies.  I was thinking about how movies aren't made like this anymore.  They aren't made the way they use to be.  I then was thinking about how nostalgic I am sometimes.  This happens when I am watching TV shows or movies or listening to music.  Sometimes I think back on my childhood or my youth and wonder what it would be like to revisit it for a brief moment.  I also think about what it would be like to actually go back through grade school, kind of like Billy Madison, but not exactly.  The fact that I only got straight A's once (it was in 3rd grade) in my whole K-12 career kind of makes me want to go back and see how I would I do now.  I know I have gone to college twice (once undergrad, second grad-certification only) but I have to say I do miss being in college. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First Day of School

     As you know, I ended up getting hired to teach at a different school in a different district than where I had been the past two years.  This past Thursday was the first day of school at my new job.  Thinking back on my three first days of school as a teacher, this recent first day was different than the other two.  I thought I was going to be nervous or anxious.  I wasn't.  Did this mean that I was more confident with myself as a teacher? Possibly.  I was really surprised at how well this past Thursday and Friday went for me.  One would think that a new school with new kids would be intimidating or scary, but for me it wasn't.  Thursday morning, before my first day of school, I prayed for that day and for those kids.  That morning, I read the first two chapters of John and what was reaffirmed in my life were the two words, "Follow Me."  God has called me to be a teacher.  Through all the internal strife that came with trying to find a job this summer and to face disappointment and some bitterness, God had me in His hands the entire time.  No matter how much I wanted to stay in the district I was in, His plan for me was something different.  Sure, I could have forced the situation of trying to stay in the district, but I would have been miserable because I wasn't where He wanted me to be.  To obey His will is to surrender yours and mine.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Waiting For Superman Review

     Tonight, my wife and I decided to watch Guggenheim's documentary on the state of public schools, Waiting For Superman.  As a public school teacher, I have mixed emotions and thoughts concerning this documentary.  I need to preface by saying that this post might not show a state of organized thought.  As I recall what I have seen, I am going to comment on what comes to mind (this is one of the things that I really like about isn't a requirement to be a formal thought like a term paper).  Here goes.

     As I do when I watch any documentary, I go in knowing that there is an agenda being presented and there is bias.  This means that there are going to be viewpoints and facts that are not factored into the equation.  This is not to say that they were left out on purpose, they just were not mentioned.

     Guggenheim paints a negative picture of teacher unions, namely NEA and AFT and the effects of their involvement in public education.  Regarding teacher unions, they are necessary for keeping school districts and state legislatures accountable through contract negotiation and lobbying, but they unnecessarily protect teachers that have no business being a teacher.

     It was said in the documentary that reformers now say that failing schools create failing communities.  This would mean that the failing schools either existed before the communities did, or the failing schools turned successful communities in failing communities.  How does a community not exist before a school does?  How does a school change a community for worse?  Every city in this country was created before any public school system was created.  Do they think that public schools popped up in the middle of nowhere and then communities were created around those schools?  I don't think it happened that way.  What happens when crime starts to rise in a community?  The community has ceased to do its part in keeping crime from happening.  When a community starts to fail, everything that community is involved in starts to fail.

     One of the points that was made in the film concerned the idea of opportunities.  Every child does not have the same opportunities.  Sure, they have the same opportunity to get an education, but they don't have the same opportunity as to where they get that education.

     Now for my little blurb about China and India.  I am tired of hearing about the United States being compared to China and India when it comes to test scores and education.  This is like comparing apples to pineapples.  Culturally, education is held in high esteem in China and India.  In the United States, sure, it is held in high esteem among the wealthy, but not necessarily among the dwindling middle class and lower class.  I do not know what a teacher gets paid in China or India, but I know for sure that teachers are not paid what they are worth because the teaching profession is not well-respected in the United States.  For those that say that teachers are just babysitters during the day, then by golly, start paying us a babysitter's salary.  Do the math.  A teacher would be making six figures, maybe more.  Also what is different in China and India...does every child go to school? No. Here is an interesting article dated January 20, 2011 (very recent), that I found that compares American education to Chinese education.  We try to educate everybody.  China, and I am sure India is the same, eventually educate the best of the best.  When a country educates only the best of the best, OF COURSE math, reading, and science test scores are going to be better.  The United States has a different culture and society than China and India.  Part of culture and society is education.  They can't be compared.  That's like saying Michael Jordan was a better athlete than Walter Payton.

     Okay. I think I am done.  The only thing that I will, for sure, agree on with Guggenheim, is that our public education system has problems that need to be fixed.  The problems are so meshed together with everything else that things won't change overnight.  Education has to be an equally integrated relationship between the students, parents, teachers, and schools.

P.S. - I don't teach for the money.  If my motivation was the salary, I wouldn't be teaching.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

List of Driving Pet Peeves

     So with my new teaching/coaching job in the city, I have to make the approximate 45 minute commute.  I am starting to see more and more things that drivers do, while driving, that I consider to be pet peeves.  Following is a list of them, in no particular order of importance...

- Slowing down...then putting on the turn signal.

- Merging onto the highway at the same, slow speed being traveled prior to merging.

- Doing something else, like texting, applying makeup, reading. Yes, I have seen someone reading while driving.

- Sitting at an intersection waiting to turn right on red with the turn signal on, but not doing so even when the intersection is clear and it is legal.

- Not looking when changing lanes.

- Being on my tail when there is no need.

- Turning up the bass so it makes the trunk rattle.

- Thinking that 2 or 3 feet in front of my car is enough room to switch lanes while traveling 65 mph...or more.

- Not necessarily the first car running a red light to turn left at an intersection, but the second or third.

- Waiting for the last possible moment to merge when an upcoming lane is shut down.

- Not waiting for me to pass when cars are parked in a neighborhood on your side of the street.

- Turning right at an intersection, right in front of me, when I am crossing the crosswalk.

- Speeding through a school zone when the lights are flashing.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A New Focus and New Job

     So when was the last time I posted?  Ah yes, July 16, 2011.  What day is it today?  Ah yes, August 7, 2011.  I will be honest, it is really hard for me to be consistent in posting something almost everyday AND have it be related to history.  If I really wanted to do that, I would just post a link to the History Channel website.  I need a new focus for this blog.  I think I know what I am going to do.  I am going to have a regular blog concerning regular things.  Sure, some of them might be related to history, but not everything will be.  Take this for starters.  Here follows the account of my job situation over the summer.

     At the beginning of June, I was up at school visiting my wife, who was still on contract.  The principal asked me to "step into his office" (he didn't actually use those words) where he informed me that my teaching position was being cut.  Just to give you an idea, each school in the district was being asked to cut two positions.  Mine was one of them at the school where I was teaching.  Obviously from my point of view, this was a horrible decision, but from the district's point of view, it made sense.  I was just finishing up my second year of teaching and was on temporary contract.  I was also teaching a subject that does not have a state-mandated test.  Once again I was looking for a teaching job.  There were several positions I applied for, but ended up interviewing for only one of the them.  We are still in June.

     The same day I interviewed for this position, I received a phone call from my principal about a position that would very likely be opening up at the school where I had been teaching.  Over the course of the next several weeks (we are now in July), I was waiting for the job to be posted on the district website so that I could apply for it.  The job was posted.  I applied for it.  About a week and a half later, I received a phone call for an interview.  I was really stoked because I honestly thought I would be at the top of the list to fill the position.  I had been at the school for the past two years.  I knew the faculty.  I knew the kids.  I wanted to be there.  The interview was on a Wednesday and I was told that I would find out by the end of the week.  Friday rolled around and I didn't hear anything.  It was now August.  Monday came.  Nothing.  I was losing sleep due to anxiety and worry.  Now it was Tuesday.  I had breakfast that morning with my good mentor and friend Chris.  He mentioned the principle of God's timing.  More on that later.  The morning hours passed and I still didn't hear.  I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to hear and that I didn't get the job.  Feeling conflicting emotions and thinking conflicting thoughts, I decided to see what else was out there.  I wasn't sure there would be jobs available.  I wasn't the only cut teacher looking for a job.  School was getting ready to start.  One district had already started.  I found two positions that had been posted on another school district's website.  I filled out the online application.  I applied for the two positions.  I didn't expect things to snowball (good snowball) from there.  Within a couple hours of applying, I received a phone call for an interview.  The following morning I interviewed and that was it.  I was being recommended for the position.  I got the job.  The burden of needing a job to provide for my wife and I was lifted off of my shoulders.  And I could sleep.

      Now for the hindsight.  When you come to God asking for His provision, it will be in His timing, never yours.  Leading up to the interview for the position at the school where I had been, I was wanting what I knew and what was comfortable.  What I thought I wanted was not what I needed.  What I needed was to abandon my comforts and desires and follow by faith.  Moving to a new school as a teacher can be scary, but in Him there is no fear and He will always remain faithful.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...20-16.

The long awaited round 7. Yeah, it's been several months since the last favorite list of movies. I humbly apologize. Okay, on to the movies.

#20  Ocean's 12

"Look, it's not in my nature to be mysterious. But I can't talk about it and I can't talk about why."

It took me watching it at least twice to pick up on what happened.

#19  What About Bob?

"There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him."

I loved the house. It's actually in Virginia.

#18  The Count of Monte Cristo

"Kings and pawns, marshal. Emperors and fools."

I always thought that the picture in the movie poster of James Caviezel looked like Antonio Banderas.

#17  Kelly's Heroes

"To a New Yorker like you, a hero is some type of weird sandwich, not some nut who takes on three tigers."

Every time this movie is on TV, I feel the need to watch.

#16 Young Frankenstein

"I am Frau Bl├╝cher. [horses whinny]"

 Which wins in comedic value...Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

60% of a Compromise

    Okay.  My brother called me yesterday and asked me about the 3/5 Compromise and what I knew about it.  I was mostly correct, but there were some things that I didn't know about it.  Here is the gist.

     The 3/5 Compromise actually came up for debate during the formation of the Articles of Confederation.  Under the Articles of Confederation, direct taxes were calculated according to land value in each state.  To cut down on the amount of tax each state would have to pay, the values of the land were undervalued.  To fix this, the proposal was for direct taxes to be calculated according to population.  Thus came into question about the slaves in the South.  Would the slaves be counted or not counted when figuring out taxes?  The Father of the Constitution, James Madison, came up with the number 3/5.  Now, Rhode Island (go figure) and New Hampshire did not vote for the compromise.  Under the Articles of Confederation, each state has 1 vote and voting had to be unanimous.  The 3/5 Compromise failed.

     Over a decade later, after the failure of the Articles, a new form of government was being created.  During the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the 3/5 Compromise was brought back up for discussion and debate.  This time, the emphasis on the Compromise was not taxes, but representation in Congress, specifically the House of Representatives.  The number of delegates from each state in the House is based on population.  It was not James Madison, but James Wilson of Pennsylvania, that proposed the Compromise to gain favor with the southern states.  Over the long term, the Compromise was not very affective.  The northern states began to grow faster than the southern states, yet the Compromise managed to help elect slave-holding Presidents from 1800-1850.

source of information:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fatherhood and Theology

     I was driving back last night with my lovely wife from Dallas (we spent the week in the Bahamas) and we were scanning the radio for music to listen to.  I will admit that since we have been married, I have managed to listen to more and more country music...and enjoyed it.  The song that came on the country station we were listening to was a song that I had heard before, but I had never really sat and listened to the lyrics.  I found myself fascinated with the lyrics.  The lyrics are a mixture of a father's love and terrific theology...makes me think of the Prodigal Son parable.  Without further ado, I give you the lyrics to George Strait's, "Love Without End, Amen."

I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye.
Fightin' was against the rules and it didn't matter why.
When dad got home I told that story just like I'd rehearsed.
And then stood there on those tremblin' knees and waited for the worst.

And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."

When I became a father in the spring of '81
There was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father's son.
And when I thought my patience had been tested to the end,
I took my daddy's secret and I passed it on to him.

And I said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
I said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."

Last night I dreamed I died and stood outside those pearly gates.
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake.
If they know half the things I've done, they'll never let me in.
And then somewhere from the other side I heard these words again.

And They said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.
You see Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen." 

source of lyrics:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Man Known as Mr. K

     It was the last day of school in 4th grade, 1991, at Candlewood Elementary School in Rockville, Maryland.  I received my report card and I really didn't have a desire to see how I did that 4th grading period.  My desire was on the back of the report card to see who I was going to have as my 5th grade teacher that next year.  There were three to choose from (like I had a choice), but there was only one who's class I wanted to be in.  He was the coolest and most awesome teacher, and he was in charge of the patrols.  I looked at the back of my report card that day in June and it said that I was going to be in Mr. Kuykendall's class for 5th grade.  I was elated!!!
     That next year in 5th grade was one of, if not, the best years of my K-12 public education career.  There were so many things about his class that made it enjoyable to learn.  I remember one time he showed us a picture of Lou Gehrig's baseball jersey that was sold at auction.  He then asked us to guess how much the jersey sold for.  I guessed $100,000.  Another classmate guessed $150,000.  The correct answer was $125,000.  We both got a Snickers bar for being the closest.
     Today, I surprised him after school.  He had absolutely no idea that I was coming.  We talked for a bit in the library, but then he had something he had to do and then an appointment to go to, but he asked if I had dinner plans.  We had dinner at the Ruby Tuesday at Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg, which he frequents occasionally.  We were there for a good two and a half hours, mostly reminiscing about that year in 5th grade.  He managed to find his photo album of "Candlewood 1991-1992."  Wow.  Oh the memories.  I was actually surprised I could remember most of my classmates' names.  He was a great model for me as a man and as a teacher.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You For Your Sacrifice

     Today is a day that is set aside to honor the memory of those that have died to defend and protect the freedom that we take for granted each and every day.  Take the time to thank someone that is currently serving in our nation's military.  The following are pictures that remind me of the sacrifice that our military gives for the United States of America...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Been A While

     I just received a text message pertaining to a tweet that was sent by @themahler.  He mentioned how he thinks he feels a blog post coming on and I got to thinking about how long it has been since my last post.  Recently my time has been taken with doing genealogy stuff via  I was able to determine the familial relationship that my wife has with George Washington and Robert E. Lee.  I am trying to find out if I am related to Kevin Bacon, as well as the Drummonds, of the @thepioneerwoman variety.  I think that things should be dying down in this department by the end of next week with the ending of my monthly membership.  I can then get back to what I was doing before all of this.  Also, yes, I still have not finished my 50 favorite films to watch list.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"I'm Henry the Eighth, I am."

     I have recently been doing some serious looking into my family genealogy.  I have been using Ancestry. com, but being the history person that I am, I have to use outside sources to confirm and corroborate the information found on  I have found some very interesting things, like being related the Roger Williams, the Puritan founder of Providence, Rhode Island, and Lord Protector of England, Sir Oliver Cromwell.  Here is another interesting ancestral lineage for 14th great grand uncle...

Henry VIII King of England Tudor (1491 - 1547)

Henry VII Lord of Ireland, King of England Tudor (1457 - 1509)
Father of Henry VIII King of England

Margaret Queen of Scotland Princess of England Tudor (1489 - 1541)
Daughter of Henry VII Lord of Ireland, King of England

Lady Dorothea Stewart (1545 - 1627)
Daughter of Margaret Queen of Scotland Princess of England

William Ruffin (1617 - 1674)
Son of Lady Dorothea

Katherine Ruffin (1634 - 1687)
Daughter of William

Arthur Whitehead (1654 - 1710)
Son of Katherine

William West Whitehead (1685 - 1750)
Son of Arthur

Joseph Whitehead (1716 - 1781)
Son of William West

Mary Whitehead (1738 - 1773)
Daughter of Joseph

John Debord (1765 - 1830)
Son of Mary

Prissilla DeBord (1798 - 1862)
Daughter of John

Elizabeth Rosilla Sorrels (1824 - 1901)
Daughter of Prissilla

Mary Emiline "Emma" Sumner (1841 - 1910)
Daughter of Elizabeth Rosilla

Jane Lance (1861 - 1927)
Daughter of Mary Emiline "Emma"

Zona Pinner (1900 - 1990)
Daughter of Jane

Catherine Lucile Presley (1931 - 1980)
Daughter of Zona

Living Kohler (1952 - )
Daughter of Catherine Lucile

Living Crumpler (1981 - )

Monday, April 25, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...25-21.

     Round 6....getting ourselves closer to the top 20.

#25     Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

"How did your uneducated kind ever take Jerusalem?"

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Classic Alan Rickman as the villain.  One of my top movies to be able to quote while watching it.  Another opportunity for some Sean Connery impersonating.

#24     Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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I was trying to think of some things to say to explain my love for this movie.  I have come to the conclusion that it's all about the story.

#23     The Godfather

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

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Mario Puzo, you're a terrific writer.

#22     Ghostbusters

"Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!"

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Comedic genius.

#21     Star Wars: A New Hope

"They didn't, but we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side by side. Sand people always ride single file to hide their numbers."

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As I stated above, "I was trying to think of some things to say to explain my love for this movie.  I have come to the conclusion that it's all about the story."  (okay, I can't help but think of this line being said by Kevin Spacey as Walter Matthau for the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi)

Stay tuned for the next installment of my favorite films to watch...20-16.
*Movie quotes come from the individual movie pages found on

Friday, April 15, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...30-26.

     Round 5...Round 5.

#30     The Hunt For Red October

"When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships. As a result his men were well motivated."

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Great cast.  Great "Cold War" story.  Scottish Sean Connery attempting a Scottish Russian accent.

#29     Jurassic Park

"I don't believe it! Hah! I don't believe it! You're supposed to come here and defend me against these characters and the only one I've got on my side is the bloodsucking lawyer!"

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 Incredible score.  Incredible story.  The audience clapped when the lawyer got eaten.

#28     The 13th Warrior

"Deception is the point! Any fool can calculate strength. That one has been doing it since we arrived. Now he has to calculate what he can't see."

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This movie is based on the book Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton.  Do you like action movies? Do you like sword fights?  This is one for you.

#27     The Final Countdown

"I'm talking about the classic paradox of time. Imagine, for example, I go back in time and meet my own Grandfather. Long before he got married, before he had children. And we have an argument, and I kill him. Now if that happens, how am I ever going to be born? And if I can never be born, how can I go back in history and meet my very own Grandfather?"

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This is another one of those movies that I probably ended up watching on tv when I was a wee little lad and loved it.  I dig time travel paradoxes as well as anything doing with World War II.  This is both.

#26     Tombstone

"Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game Ike. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!"

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Tremendous movie.  Serious.  Action.  Sarcastic and witty (aka Doc Holliday).  Val Kilmer when he had a neck.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my favorite films to watch...25-21.
*Movie quotes come from the individual movie pages found on

Sunday, April 10, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...35-31.

     It is time for round 4! Dun dun dun!

#35     Monty Python and the Holy Grail

"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.  Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony."

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Every guy understands the hilarity of this movie.  Perhaps not every gal understands.  I don't know if I have ever seen so many comedic sketches all rolled up into one.  One word.  Brilliant.

#34     The Matrix

"There IS no spoon."

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Dodging bullets.  Stopping bullets.  Oh. Yeah.

#33     Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

"Who's scruffy-looking?"

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I wasn't born yet when this came out in the theater (1 year shy) but you bet I grew up watching THE trilogy.  For the longest time, this one was my least favorite of the three.  It was probably because as a kid, I didn't really appreciate or understand character development and story lines.  I also didn't like it when there was the sense of loss with Han being frozen.  As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate this one more and more.  It still saddens me some at the end, but I always look ahead to the ensuing victory.

#32     Road to Perdition

"There are many stories about Michael Sullivan. Some say he was a decent man. Some say there was no good in him at all. But I once spent 6 weeks on the road with him, in the winter of 1931. This is our story."

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 This would not be your classical mobster movie.  There are four things about this movie that are terrific.  Great cast.  Filmed in Chicago.  The cinematography is astounding.  The music is amazing (Thomas Newman, same one that did Shawshank).

#31     National Treasure

"The secret lies with Charlotte."

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I know, I know.  Nicolas Cage.  Him in the movie doesn't outdo my love for American history, no matter how fictional it may be.  This movie revolves around the Declaration of Independence.  It takes place in the historical cities of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.  I love it.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my favorite films to watch...30-26.
*Movie quotes come from the individual movie pages found on

Thursday, April 7, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...40-36.

     Here goes round 3!!!

#40    Oceans 13

"Nuff said."

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There is just something about Danny Ocean and his gang being in Vegas that makes it soooo good.

#39     The Patriot

"God save King George!"

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I saw this in the theater the summer it came out in 2000.  Listening to John Williams' score from the movie can really get the patriotic blood in me flowing.

#38     Batman

"This town needs an enema!"

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This is my favorite of the Batman movies.  There is just something about it.  Wanna know what the fellas at the Grizzly Bear Egg Cafe have to say about it?  Listen here.

#37     Star Trek

"Green-blooded hobgoblin..."

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 I was not sure of what to expect.  My Trekkie friend Ian had his doubts too, but it was really good.  Abrams did a terrific job and the cast was well-selected.  I am looking forward to the sequel.

#36     The Fugitive

"If they can dye the river green today, why can't they dye it blue the other 364 days of the year"

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 I. love. Chicago.  Every time I see this movie, it always makes me want to go to Chicago.  When I finally got to go in the summer of 2005, the Chicago Hilton was one of the first places I wanted to see.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my favorite films to watch...35-31.
*Movie quotes come from the individual movie pages found on

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...45-41.

     Here goes round 2!!!

#45     The Bourne Ultimatum

"If you were in your office right now we'd be having this conversation face-to-face."

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I was glad to find out where and how it all began. I know Jason was glad too.

#44     Back to the Future Part II

"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."

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I remember seeing this movie in the theater and it was hard for me to wait for the third one.

#43     Hook

"Firefly from hell."

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Great movie.  LOTS of people in this one, especially for my game.

#42     Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

"Deacon, do you realize you have just stranded one of Europe's greatest leaders in San Dimas?"

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This movie makes me wish that I had a phone booth that could go through time.  It would be great for my world history classes that I'm teaching.

#41     Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

" Excuse me, sir! Can you direct us to the naval base in Alameda? It's where they keep the nuclear wessels."

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As a kid, this was one of my favorites of the series because most of the movie was not in the future, but the present.  Also, this one in the series was the comedy relief.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my favorite films to watch...40-36.
*Movie quotes come from the individual movie pages found on

Sunday, April 3, 2011

50 of My Favorite Films to Watch...50-46.

     I am taking the idea from my pro-blogging wife (she's more of a pro than I am).  Over the next several weeks, I will be releasing a list, five at a time, of my 50 favorite films to watch.  The bottom 40 will be in no particular order.  The top 10 will be in the order of...a top 10 countdown.  Now to get under way...

#50     Die Hard

"Welcome to the party, pal!"

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This is one that you can watch year round, even during Christmas!

#49     Explorers

"Way to go, stupid!"

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Not sure what it was, but this movie caught my imagination.  I thought that being able to make a spaceship out of junk was awesome!

#48     Muppet Treasure Island

"Off to Zanzibar, to meet the Zanzibarbarians!"

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I just watched this the other day.  I love the story of Treasure Island and I love the Muppets.  Sometimes you just need to put the two together.

#47     Twister

"Ha Ha! It's the wonder of nature, baby!"

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Uh, I live in Oklahoma, what did you expect?  Also, Van Halen on the soundtrack.  Twice.

#46     Wayne's World

"A gun rack?...a gun rack. I don't even own *a* gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do... with a gun rack?"

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I like to sing in the car when I go places, just ask my wife.  A little Bohemian Rhapsody?  I think so!

Stay tuned for the next installment of my favorite films to watch...45-41.

*Movie quotes come from the individual movie pages found on

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Somebody Has a Birthday Today

     It is interesting to look back on the friendships that I have made in my life and try to remember how they began.  There is one friendship that I have that I honestly cannot remember exactly how it began.  Most of the people that I became friends with at the OU Baptist Student Union (now OU Baptist Collegiate Ministry), I did so simply because that is where they went.  Practically speaking, I was friends with everyone that went to the BSU, but most of them I do not recall when/how we first met.  For one of these individuals I don't recall when we first met, but I do remember when we first started hanging out.  Matt Mahler.  The Glo '06.

     Matt soon graduated from OU and got a job as a meteorologist for the NBC affiliate station in Wichita Falls, TX.  During his tenure in Wichita Falls, he would occasionally make trips up to Norman to visit The Random House.  The Random House has a simple explanation.  Four individuals decided to live together and they each had their "random" idiosyncrasies.  Caleb, Ian, K Lai, and I.  That was The Random House.  Matt's visits always, always, always consisted of playing Mario Kart 64.
     I find it really interesting when a friendship begins to grow long distance.  This was one of those.  June of 2009 came around and it was time for me to get married.  Even though I was not able to ask Matt to be a groomsman, he was asked to partake in all of the pre-wedding festivities.  Phase 10, grapes, Mario Kart 64, Henry Weinhard Root Beer, and All-You-Can-Eat seats.  Consider him an honorary groomsman.

     Months passed by and Matt was still living in Wichita Falls, but not for long.  He was about to have a new boss.  Gary England.  Matt was moving back to Oklahoma.  I was really happy for him AND I would be able to watch him "put his thing down" for KWTV-News 9..."and meteorologist Matt Mahler."

     It was time for someone to get married again.  This time it was K Lai.  Matt and I were both groomsmen in the wedding.  Once again, the pre-wedding festivities involved Mario Kart 64, Phase 10, and a whole lot of Henry Weinhard.  Need to show the picture to prove the "whole lot of Henry" part.

     So, back to K Lai's wedding.  K Lai's rehearsal dinner had to be one of the best ever.  Authentic Chinese cuisine from Fung's Kitchen in Oklahoma City.  I lost track of how many courses we had to eat but we surely received a nice number of orange slices.  See?

     Well Matt, I think I have talked enough.  Let's see what your parents have to say.  Surprise!!!

     "He was born on a stormy night, maybe we should have known then that weather would be such a big part of life."

     "As a child he was painfully shy. He did not like to be if front of, or talk to, groups of people when he talked at all. It is amazing that now he not only enjoys it, but is so good at it."

     "One thing he did as a child makes sense now. He was always watching the sky. He would watch storms blow in and would watch the clouds even on a lazy summer day. He loves being outside and he loves nature. He absolutely loved a rainy day. When the weather came on TV, we knew where he was.  He has a tremendous sense of humor. Being with him makes even the most boring situation an absolute delight. He can find enjoyment in almost any situation. We love a visit from him and we love visiting him."

     "Also as a child he was fascinated by school buses. He knew each school bus company and what their symbol was. He could name each model and its details. When Howe schools purchased a rear engine school bus he was beside himself. He called it "flat nose" and just had to ride in it. When attending the Howe fall festival one year, there is was, parked off to the side with the door open. We had to sneak over and go inside. It was like a holy experience for him, to actually step into a "flat nose!" Among his toys were all kinds of school buses. Matchbox, Hotwheel, Tonka, and many unknown brands, even some wooden models I made for him. Other boys may have had lots of hot rods or airplanes but Matthew had lots and lots of school buses." (Actually, I think this picture also shows the start of his love of science fiction and superheroes...look at the left side of the picture.)

     Now a special message from your father..."He has a very solid faith in God. I have learned much from him whether he knows it or not." - Ted Mahler

     Matt, first of all, happy birthday!  You are loved by both your parents and friends.  You are a joy to be around and your friendship is truly valued and appreciated.  You rock my friend!  Once again, happy birthday!

Source of Matt's News 9 Photo: