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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Man I hate those Dodgers

As most of you know, I am a southern CA transplant, so the dodgers are not my team in any way, shape, or form. I am however a baseball fan. I have loved baseball my entire life. I can watch any game regardless of who is playing and enjoy the game from begining to end. I know I am going to make many dodger fans angry with me over what I write here, but oh well. I am a baseball connoisseur and the Dodgers are like budwieser to a beer connoisseur, watered down and cheaply made.

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The LA Dodgers have always rubbed me the wrong way. Whether it be the lack of commitment from the various ownership groups, to the sorry bunch of fans who show up to games in the 2nd inning and leave by the 7th. In LA, there should be an unlimited amount of star athletes that flow to the Dodgers. Yet, up until Manny Ramirez( who is past his prime) there has not been a top line star athlete on the dodgers since Kevin Brown(even he was not really a top line star when he played for them)or even Mike Piazza. This is really pathetic considering the dodgers have spent over 100 million dollars every year for the last decade. With LA being such a star studed city you would think there baseball team would follow suit.

They have not really had a consistent winner on the field either. The Dodgers have been only been to the playoffs 6 times since their World Championship in 1988. For some teams that is an ok run, but for a team as important as the dodgers, that is awful. During the same stretch the Yankees (14), Braves (14), Red Sox (11), Athletics (9), Cardinals (8) Indians (7), and even the lowly Minnesota Twins with six themselves can match The dodgers totals.

I was recently talking to someone who is not a huge baseball fan but knows enough to know what is going on in the games. He was watching a few of the recent dodger games. He summed it up best about what is wrong with this current version of these dodgers and what I believe has been their issue for the last 20 years. He said, "they don't look like a cohesive unit, and seem to be playing very uninspiring baseball. They always seem like they are waiting for that one hit or great play to pull them through instead of working together as a team to win the game". Yes the dodgers beat the Cardinals, but they won the series off of one play. A play that ended the series for the Cardinals and assured they would be swept. Had this play been made correctly I believe the Cardinals would have gone back to St. Louis and won the series. Matt Holiday's error ended their season. Had he caught the ball, the game would have been over and the Cardinals would have had all the momentum going back home. That loss devasted them and I knew the dodgers would win game 3 at that point. The dodgers didn't win this series on great plays or good team unity they won it on an error.

Unless there is an equally boneheaded play in their next series the Dodgers will lose it, guarrenteed. The Dodgers have not shown in the last 3 months what is necessary to even be considered for a World Series, in my opinion. They don't carry themselves well as a cohesive group and not as an organization. In fact the one common thread amongst every dodger fan I have met is that none of them are baseball fans, only dodger fans. A baseball fan is one who understands the game and can acknowledge when a team is good or bad. If I thought these dodgers were a decent team I would recongnize that. I will even go one further. If the dodgers win the world series I will take back everything I am saying here in this blog. I will write another blog saying how great they are.

Please, if you are dodger fans, leave a comment. I always love good foder on topics I feel strongly about.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Does Learning about History Have to be Boring?





Everyday we all live our lives our own way. Some go to work, some go to school, and some just sit around on their ass doing absolutely nothing. All of us though, have gone to school in our lives. We have all taken our math, english, science, and PE classes. I'm pretty sure, based on reactions of others, that history was most peoples least favorite of all the subjects.

When you ask someone why they don't like history they give an answer like, "it is just too hard to remember all the dates" or "I could never get into history because it has nothing to do with me". The latter seems to be the the most common thought among people. While it can be difficult to remember all those dates in history, the feeling I get and have always had is that people don't connect with historical events. They don't see how an event that took place 150 years ago affects people and their everyday lives. The way they eat, talk, converse, where they live, and even what religious beliefs they have. History may actually be the most important subject in our lives because not only does it explain everything that we are, but it gives us insight into what we can become. Everything we are has to do with these historical events that, to be honest, most people could not name the dates of. Like what year did the American revolution end? What year was the bill of rights adopted? What year did women get the right to vote? I'll write the answers below. Lets see if you know them.

The fact that history is considered boring is not really the fault of the general public. The way the subject is taught seems to me to be the major problem for most people. When your a kid or teenager you are led into a class room and given dates of events that happened long before any of us or our living family members were born. Then we are expected to remember these dates of events that as a kid you have no idea have anything to do with you. That is the entire year with history. Learn about 5 events and dates and spit it back out in a test. Next week do the same thing, and the same the next week. I don't know about you, but how could that not get boring.

The problem that history teachers have always had is getting through to kids that this is very important information. The information given in history has everything to do with your life and everything to do with the decisions you make. When I was in high school I considered being a history teacher, but always knew that it would be a futile effort. Every teacher that I had, taught history the same way. Give dates and spit them back out. One of my teachers actually made it interesting and dressed up as historical figures in class, which added some life and some realism to history. However, the basic format was the same, give dates spit them back out. No real connection was made as to why history was important to our everyday lives. I new teaching history would be very hard for me because all I knew was this boring method of teaching history. A method that did not engage students but forced the subject down their throats. Why would I want to teach something I love to people who could give a hoot about what was being taught to them? So I dropped history like a bad habit. I still love history and as I have grown older have realized even more how important history really is to all of us.

As we get older I think most people start to realize that knowing what happened in the past is very important for us to make good decisions for the future. We don't have that perspective as teenagers, so to get through to them there needs to be a new way of teaching them. A way to teach that perspective into the subject. One thing that I have discovered that I think would make history far more interesting is linking historical events to our current everyday lives and events. That is something my teachers never did. They would talk about the date but not about what it meant to me or what it meant to my ancestors. By teaching history through linking the dates you are not teaching random dates in history, but a starting point to an event that may be 150 years in the making. By linking historical dates to present day events you can show kids how they can continue the changes that began from an historical event. History is not stagnate dates in time that once they happened are done and forgotten. History has events that start and affect the world and people for years, decades, even centuries down the line.

Your probably wondering, how would a teacher link dates in time to present day? It is actually quite easy if you sit down and think about it. I'll use an example of how you can link World War 1 and how it effects our current fiscal problems in government. I will also link something even more front and center in our lives. The day the light bulb was created by Thomas Edison.

WW1 ended and Germany was left with all of the debt and costs for paying for war reporations. Instead of helping Germany recover from a devastating war, the world made it impossible for Germans to survive. That is when you get fascism and of course Hitler. Not only that but the reaction of the world to pile large amounts of debt on Germany started a downward spiral that caused the great depression. That in turn caused the US governement to start social security and medicare. Now with Hitler in power WW2 begins. Once WW2 ends the soldiers come home and have children at unprecedented rates "the baby boom". Today and in the near future, Social security and medicare are going bankrupt because of the now retiring baby boomers that were born over 60 years ago. Of course that is just one part of our financial problems in this country. That example is but one line I could have created from WW1 that has changed our lives today. Many people don't realize how much our lives changed because of events from that time period. Most people don't even know the story of WW1. I bet however that if someone was able to link it to important events that we have today in our world we all might be a little more inclined to listen.

Another example which I feel is one of the events that changed our lives the most was in 1879. An inventor in New Jersey is working on a system that would transport a thing called electricity all over the country. The reason for this is because he has just invented the first sustainable light bulb. There were actually manylight bulbs invented beforeThomas Edison. His however was better built and He created a delivery system to supply electricity to millions of people to support his invention. This one event in history affects everything. To where we live and what we are able to create and jobs that we now work today. From computers, to movies, to music, to cars, to sports at night, to advances in medicine and on and on. For the younger kids, Ipods and PS3's, all of it comes from this one single invention in the year 1879. Now imagine if Edision had wait to invent the light bulb until 1910. Would we be that far behind in the advances of technology? Creating light and harnessing electricity has spawned more human thought and advancement in a short period of time then any other invention in human history.

History, I will admit, was boring in school. I don't believe it has to be if schools adjusted the way the subject was taught. If teachers could link important dates to today's world and lives of the students, while teaching in a fun way then more students would love history. The phrase "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" is very much an important part of our lives. Most people don't know or understand what has happened in our past and because of that we will do it again. However, if our schools are able to change their approach to teaching this important subject we may be able to avoid the inevitable. Forgetting the past and repeating our mistakes.

Oh, and the answers to the questions above are. The American revolution ended in 1783. The of rights was written in 1789, but not approved until 1791. Women got the right to vote in the US in 1918. All events that have enormous effects on our everyday lives today. Imagine what life would be like without these events taking place.