Pirate Master

Hello loyal fans. I think it is hard to be someone who knows things. I just finished watching CBS’ new program Pirate Master and it is certainly full of pirate misconceptions. I am not sure whether I want to blame CBS for this or not…I mean, one would assume they have researchers to check for accuracy, but perhaps they spent too much money on fake blood for CSI or something. I often struggle to enjoy programs/films which are filled with historical inaccuracy, but I have to admit this one was fairly entertaining in a farcical sort of way (which I am sure was not CBS’ intent).

I suppose I was able to shut off that little part of my brain that keeps screaming “lies, lies, lies…it is all lies” for long enough to ignore the basic fallacies in the show. I successfully ignored that the pirate boat had a mechanical anchor hoist, that pirates never really buried treasure, and that the back story asserts that the treasure they are looking for is supposedly in something called the “Zanzibar Chest” which is, in actuality, a book by Aidan Hartley. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my hour of Pirate Masters. This is something I have not, on the other hand, been able to accomplish with films like Pearl Harbor. Maybe I am getting soft in my old age.

pearl harbor

According to a link on the CBS website my pirate name is Cap’n Conroy Saggingsails. I do not find that to be terribly flattering, but at least I am a captain, I suppose. It could definitely be worse…

Quote of the Day:

“Oh better far to live and die
Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part
With a pirate head and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well-to-do;
But I’ll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King.
For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King!” – Pirate King, The Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert and Sullivan)

Published in: on May 31, 2007 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Presidential Dollars Book

Hello loyal fans. I picked up my Presidential Dollars Album today (Dansco 7184), and I must say, it is excellent. Each page of coins is accompanied by an insert with brief biographies of each president on that page. The biographies are, admittedly, brief and trite in many ways, but the idea itself is, nevertheless, a good one. I also like the accompanying portraits on the reverse of the biographies. Now I just need to track down a George Washington (P) and both John Adams coins.

Quote of the Day:

“You know what they say about stamp collecting. Philately will get you nowhere.” – Charles Murray

Published in: on May 30, 2007 at 7:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rank It (2)

Ahoy! loyal fans. Another episode o’ “Rank It” be upon us. I have been tryin’ t’ think o’ a good theme for this experience; argh, t’ problem be that I always have t’ take into account how little t’ general public knows while still attemptin’ t’ maintain some level o’ a scholarly atmosphere. ‘Tain’t easy bein’ a pirate lads an’ lasses. But, I saw me a pair o’ wonderful documentaries on piracy this weekend. As a result, and in honor o’ Pirates o’ t’ Caribbean 3, I have chosen t’ provide you all with a chance t’ RANK YOUR FAVORITE PIRATE!


Just leave your vote in a comment; the winner will be tabulated shortly.

Anne Bonny:


Henry Morgan:


Black Beard (Edward Teach):


The Dread Pirate Roberts:


Do not forget t’ talk like a pirate on September 19th. If you be needing help, here be a handy translator.

Quote o’ t’ Day:

“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” – Mark Twain

Published in: on May 28, 2007 at 10:03 pm  Leave a Comment  


Hello loyal fans. After one of my glorious students presented a well put together project about the history of Nintendo, we had the opportunity to experience the Wii in action. Man, that thing is fun! Inspired, I borrowed one from a friend of mine on campus. I have been playing around with it last night and this morning and I reiterate my initial observation: Wii = WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE. It definitely takes a little time to get used to the nunchuck and control pad being disconnected, but, like anything else, with time it becomes pretty natural. I think the Wii is for me! When summer comes around and I get my other big expenses sorted out I hope there is enough left for me to get the Wii.

Quote of the Day:

“A game that keeps a smile on the player’s face is a wonderful thing. Nintendo’s theme for 2006 will be ‘Create new fun.’ Spread the fun of games to everyone. To do this, we must return to the beginning, to recapture the essence that made people who enjoy games even now enjoy them in the first place.” – Shigeru Miyamto

Published in: on May 26, 2007 at 10:01 am  Leave a Comment  

West Side Story (Musical)

Hello loyal fans. Today I would like to recommend West Side Story to you; it would be an excellent way to kill a couple of hours during the upcoming long weekend. The film is a “modern” retelling of the classic Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. The plot itself is extensively modified (no Montagues and Capulets here), though it remains true to the general theme of “star crossed lovers”. The main feuding “families” are the Jets and the Sharks, two mid 1950s New York street gangs. The Jets are lower/working class white kids threatened by the recent influx of Puerto Ricans into their west side neighborhood; the Sharks are those Puerto Ricans. They fight for control of the neighborhood. Amid all of this conflict Maria, sister of the Sharks’ leader, and Tony, former leader of the Jets end up falling in love.

Now, I mentioned above that this was a musical. It is, in fact, the best 1950s gang warfare musical ever made!


Nowhere else is fighting combined with carefully choreographed dancing. There is something compelling about a man with a chain singing and prancing about as he tries to kill his foe! I tried to track down a video of the rumble, certainly the high point of West Side Story production, but alas it was not to be so. Instead, enjoy “The Jet Song”.

If only you really had to have dance and voice lessons to join a gang. I dream of Crypts and Bloods prancing about South East LA; Slauson Blvd. would never be the same. I wonder if all that dancing would prevent the trigger happy LAPD from killing so many people…or simply inspire them to kill more?

There is actually an incredible amount of social commentary throughout the film; tales of shattered American dreams and social injustice are woven into the songs through witty wordplay. I submit for your consideration “Gee, Officer Krupke” and “America”.

Anything Family Guy has taken the time to parody has got to be good!


Quote of the Day:

“My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!” – Juliet, Romeo and Juliet (Scene V)

Published in: on May 24, 2007 at 9:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

On The National Anthem…

Hello loyal fans. I am not trying to be “unpatriotic” here, but our National Anthem is terribly inferior to many around the world. Whenever I hear The Star Spangled Banner I cringe just a little bit. I love Francis Scott Key and all, and he writes a fine poem, but nothing about The Star Spangled Banner strikes fear in the heart of our foes nor brings honor to our national heritage. Where is the inspiration to bathe in the blood of my recently slaughtered enemies?

Think about the song for a moment. The poem it is composed of was written not about glorious victory or the bloody death of enemies, as one would hope, but about Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD simply not being destroyed during the War of 1812. In fact, Key wrote the poem from within a British prison vessel. That is our finest moment? A moment immortalized in our National Anthem? Some guy sitting in a prison being happy that a fort was not destroyed in a war we unquestionably lost? Even the music is based off a British drinking song, the very nation we were at war with in 1814.

I submit to you the French National Anthem, La Marseillaise. The French are a people with a fine National Anthem and heritage. The entire song is about the death of their enemies. Granted, the French have not actually managed to win a war (let a lone a battle) in a while, but at least La Marseillaise makes you think they might be able to.

Next, I submit for your consideration the German National Anthem, Das Lied der Deutschen, informally known as Deutschland ├╝ber alles. The entire song expresses German superiority to all other nations of the world. Unlike the French, we know the Germans will back that one up with some firepower.

I will continue to remove my hat and stand respectfully during The Star Spangled Banner, but, frankly, I simply can not get fired up by our song. I wish we had something a bit more…inspiring; it does not rise in me the blood lust a national anthem really should. But hey, at least we aren’t England…and the music is okay…so death to our enemies! Glory, glory, hallelujah…the truth is marching on!

Quote of the Day:

“Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.” – Albert Einstein

Published in: on May 23, 2007 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cactus Is Done

Hello loyal fans. The cactus flowers opened fully today. Pictures follow.


Quote of the Day:

“You’re getting as prickly as a damn cactus!” – Walter Matthau as Dr. Julian Winston in The Cactus Flower

Published in: on May 21, 2007 at 8:35 pm  Leave a Comment  


Hello loyal fans. The cactus flowers started to open today. I think tomorrow, or perhaps Tuesday, they will be fully opened. If I get lucky I should get some cactus fruit too!


Quote of the Day:

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” – Jean Giraudoux, The Enchanted

Published in: on May 20, 2007 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cactus Flowers!

Hello loyal fans. I went out on to the balcony today to check on my plants (mostly cactus). To my surprise, one of my cacti has grown numerous buds which, if all goes well, will flower shortly. The cactus itself is a transplant from my parents’ garden in San Diego and has been in a pot here for only a few months. It is, apparently, a very happy cactus…and everyone loves a happy cactus!


The buds have developed to their current size over a period of just a week or two and so I would assume that they will open within the next few days. Stay tuned for pictures.

Quote of the Day:

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You’re as cuddly as a cactus,
You’re as charming as an eel.” – Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Published in: on May 19, 2007 at 8:53 pm  Comments (2)  

BTSA + Done = Hooray!

Hello loyal fans. I have, at long last, completed my BTSA experience. After two years spent wasting my life essentially redoing my credentialing program, the state of California apparently has decided I am, in fact, fit to teach the youth of this fair state. Having completed this ludicrous program I feel a need to express just what an absolute waste of time it is. There is absolutely no logical justification for this program’s existence. The rational is that by taking time out of a new teacher’s day for meetings about “how to teach”, the state can somehow improve our practice. In actuality, we spend several hours a month sitting in a room as some talking head puts overheads on a projector and jabbers about good pedagogy. Interestingly, none of that “good pedagogy” involves repeatedly placing meaningless, illegible, overheads on a screen…

What matters, however, is that it is done; done is good.

Quote of the Day:

“It’s not the situation, but whether we react (negative) or respond (positive) to the situation that’s important.” – Zig Ziglar

Published in: on May 18, 2007 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment