Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My dad in World War II, part one

My dad talks about his enlistment, basic training, and how he went from horse buyer to the First Cavalry in WWII.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Watch your language

When I first became aware of the Typo Eradication Advancement League, it warmed this English teacher's heart. Now it seems that even the war on inexact language is getting dangerous.

WAVY-TV reported that the brains behind the operation -- Jeff Deck of Somerville, Massachusetts, and his cohort Benjamin Herson of Virginia Beach -- admitted to their conspiracy and complicity to deface a historic marker because it contained a typographical error. Restitution and probation were ordered, and in addition the dynamic duo of grammarians with a purpose is banned for one year from national parks.

Typo Eradication Advancement League Stamped Out? - Associated Content

I'm not prudish about a lot of the errors I see, but sometimes I get a kick out of the many typos that jump out at me. Here's a photo from a realtor's listing in Red Lodge, Montana.


It may be the finest ranch in the county, but I'm not sure I'd like that view.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stevie Nicks went to my school?

My students and I have been researching our school's history for a few years now. I've heard rumors (no pun intended) that Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood Mac fame) lived in Salt Lake for a time and attended Judge Memorial, the high school where I teach. This morning I came across an interesting tidbit from an article that appears to have come from the Salt Lake Tribune, although I haven't found the original.

The world came to know Nicks as the whirling songstress whose dramatic lyrics about a Welsh witch named "Rhiannon" helped bring her to the eye of the hurricane that became Fleetwood Mac in the 1970s. Her Utah friends say that her icon status and stage antics can be directly traced to the one month she spent studying at Salt Lake City's Judge Memorial Catholic High School. For the record, Nicks attended eighth and ninth grades at Wasatch Junior High before a bad math grade prompted her parents to send her to Judge. "Because she had gone to a private school, we would get together after school and talk about our different classes," said Karen Thornhill, who remembers Nicks when she went by Stephanie Lynn Nicks and twirled the baton at junior-high football games. "I distinctly remember her waving these capes around, imitating the nuns who taught her classes."
This is one rumor about Judge that's apparently true.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Peace in the goodness of time

Tonight was one of those nights when being a teacher is so rewarding.

Ross Chambless, a former student of mine, has put together an impressive traveling exhibit called "Ceremonies, A Tale of Sister Cities: Matsumoto and Salt Lake." Ross just finished teaching English in Japan for four years in Matsumoto, Salt Lake's sister city. In his spare time he did some work for NPR and started collecting oral histories from the citizens of Matsumoto, which is detailed on his Ceremonies Exhibit blog. Those histories became the basis of the traveling exhibit done in conjunction with the Center for Documentary Arts that's at the Salt Lake City downtown library until August 8. (Photo courtesy of Ross Chambless,

August 6 is the anniversary of the atom bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. Takashi Hiraoka, mayor of Hiroshima from 1991-1999 addressed a rapt audience at a commemoration at the Salt Lake library this evening. I'm reading John Hersey's Hiroshima with my seniors and now see the event from yet another perspective. And as Mr. Hiraoka spoke, I thought of Roy Okamoto, a former custodian at our school, who lost everything when he was sent to the internment camps in Topaz, Utah. We've come a long way in our relations with the Japanese people. As I later listened to the Amarume Japanese boys and girls choir, I couldn't help thinking of another international peace project that I've been involved with for years, The Ulster Project.

As I finished my conversation with Ross, I was filled with hope about our world. Ross feels like the Sister Cities program helped diminish stereotypes Utahns had about Japanese people; and I feel like things are improving in Northern Ireland because of programs like the Ulster Project. Here's hoping more educational exchanges like these continue.

Finally, a lasting impression from the evening was the legacy of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who I've come to respect even more after I watched Why We Fight. He started the Sister Cities International Program, and his granddaughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower, incidentally is following in his footsteps as president of People to People International. I now think of Eisenhower as one of our greatest presidents. A seasoned military man, here was the tone of his last days in the Oval Office.
Before he left office in January 1961, for his farm in Gettysburg, he urged the necessity of maintaining an adequate military strength, but cautioned that vast, long-continued military expenditures could breed potential dangers to our way of life. He concluded with a prayer for peace "in the goodness of time."

Biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower