On the Unexpected

Life is full of many twists and turns that reveal joys, sorrows, trials, tribulations, happiness, shock, uncertainty, honor, hope, and countless other emotions. Sometimes life delivers an unexpected surprise, and other times it is a double punch to the gut.

I recently received one of those punches that has set me back on my heels. Believe me, there are many with problems far greater than mine – but we are selfish creatures, thus see our problems in magnified light, and probably make them out to be worse than they really are.

With that as the backdrop, I’m saying this blog will be free of new posts for a while. A week, a month, more or less – I do not know – but I must concentrate on an important matter that requires time.

I hope to stay active in reading and commenting on the fine posts listed in the right column, plus others I have on my bookmarks. I enjoy learning and dialogue with others, plus having others stimulating me to think.

Thanks to everyone who stops by to read my thoughts, and special thanks to those who add their comments. So, until my next post, blessings to all of you and I hope you watch this 20-second video that says a lot.

On Connecting Egypt and Schools

With the power of instant news, we watched the events in Egypt as they happened. Whether the peaceful gathering of the masses or the few days of violence, there were and still are so many stories intertwined into this overthrow of a long-standing regime.

These two thoughts repeatedly played in my mind: the desire of people to be free and the peaceful nature of the masses – and each of these took me back to the 1960s and the way Martin Luther King treated civil rights. However, the Egyptians had something that Dr. King’s followers did not have: social media.

Some have described it tweets versus tanks. Columnist Kathleen Parker wrote these words:

Unarmed men and women inspired by tweets of freedom stared into the bullying armaments of dead ways. It was a stark image of the prolonged battle between good and evil that human apparently have been fated to fight. This time, enabled by what we casually call social media, evil finally may be outgunned.

Today, news travels faster than ever – and Revolution 2.0 has spread to other countries in the region – yet we are witnessing different behaviors by those with the tanks. Nonetheless, the events in Egypt have demonstrated social media’s power – and as this outstanding video shows, the numbers are staggering. (Sorry, this one can’t be embedded.)

Many people use social media as modern-day paparazzi to keep up with the latest news from someone they deem important. Businesses use social media to increase revenue through communication, customer service, and marketing. Many people (as me) use blogs to fuel our appetite for learning through informal means. Some corporate training departments are now incorporating social media tools. Meanwhile, can social media tools be the lightning rod to ignite public education reform? Do you really think schools entrenched in the industrial age model could react that fast?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 86

On the Ticket Decision
The NFL knowing the newly added seats would not be ready for the Super Bowl is one thing, but keeping quiet about it is another. Fans buy a legitimate ticket; pay for airfare, lodging, food, and other expenses; and then arrive to the game to find out they can’t get in. Heck yes these people should sue the NFL (and did) … and they should settle for big bucks.

On Short Shorts

  • Sure Christina Aguilera screwed up the national anthem’s words, but even if that didn’t happen, I didn’t enjoy her interpretation.
  • Sarah and Bristol Palin are seeking a trademark on their names. At least their won’t be any intellectual property involved.
  • Daughter Bristol is writing her memoirs. Wow … that has to be riveting.
  • As federal budget talks approach and the rhetoric heats up, keep in mind that all sides play their own version of the shell game.
  • John Avalon writes about the audience decline of the talking heads of the far right. If true, this helps confirm that they and GOP leadership are misreading the recent election results.
  • There is an iPhone app for Roman Catholics to take confession. Huh? Yep … and news enough for columnist Maureen Dowd to have a take. However, this Reuters article says nah baby nah.
  • For those interesting in addressing Social Security, read this blog conservation between columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins.

On Burn the Floor
We recently saw the travelling production of Burn the Floor. I would describe it as the following: impressive, entertaining, energetic, athletic, sexy, precise, fast-paced, and fun.

On Solutions for Washington
Sometimes the Republicans have the best idea – other times, the Democrats provide the solution. Other times, we need a blended compromise. Yet other times, we need to do something that Capitol Hill has (at least) meager ability to do – to look outside the box of party lines for a new solution.

On the PGA Season
I enjoy watching the PGA tournaments on the weekend, especially Sunday afternoon. Now that the PGA season is underway, I love this past commercial. Have a safe weekend everyone.

On A, I, and O

My paternal grandparents arrived in America on December 6, 1920. After living in different Midwestern cities, they would surprisingly settle in rural southeastern Ohio. Given that area is considered as Appalachian, it is surprising how the letters A, I, and O played a prominent role in my youth. While the closest association most people have is through pizza, spaghetti, and jello (which isn’t Italian) – mine is a bit different.

A – Adrianna, Angela, Gemma, Gilda, Gina, Guiletta, Nella, Olga, Vidia, and Zita.

I – Angelleti, Barsotti, Bastiani, Casci, DiPiero, Lippi, Marchi, Marzetti, Menchini, Periotti, and Rocci.

O – Basilio, Bruno, Franco, Gino, Guido, Livio, Remo, and Renzo. Of course, others had already morphed into society as Bob, Leroy, Ned, Oscar, and Paul.

My family tree follows a similar pattern.

A – Maria, Neva, Nina, Rosa, Rosanna, Rosetta, Verdiana, Vivianna, and Vivitta.

I – Andreucci, Barsi, Cecchi, Giacchini, Landi, Lucchesi, Mariani, and Pini.

O- Alvaro, Domenico, Ersilio, Enno, Francisco, Mario, Olvido, Rafaello, Rigolleto, and Turiddo.

Meanwhile, my most of my cousins and I have American names ending in consonants, and married non-Italians with consonant-ending names. Meanwhile, A, I, and O continue to live on through my maternal first cousins still living on the Mediterranean boot.