Tag Archives: The Esteemed Principal

Link’n’Blogs – 7.7.17 – When John Invited Paul into the Band


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

In the past, I’ve posted blogs from my good friend The Esteemed Principal from his blog Principal Liner Notes: Riffs from the Schoolhouse for all kinds of reasons – not the least of which is he is a very talented educational leader. He’s also a Beatles expert and, today on Ringo Starr’s 77th birthday, seemed a great day to link to one The Esteemed Principal’s latest!

When John Invited Paul to Join the Band: Inspired Decisions in the Schoolhouse

The Beatles

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Link’n’Blogs – 5.19.17 – Here Comes the Sun… in Space


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  • Comic Book Moms
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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

My good friend, The Esteemed Educational Consultant has done it again. On his terrific blog Principal Liner Notes: Education Reflections, he has broadened our horizons while writing about the Beatles. Sean Gaillard is an educational leader of great talents. Take a look by clicking the link below.

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Link’n’Blogs – 4.22.16 – Unplugged

LincolnLogsDetail


Related Content from And There Came A Day


I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

My good friend Sean Gaillard (I refer to him as The Esteemed Prinicpal) is always insightful. He is an educator with heart and passion. He thinks so far outside the box he can’t even see the box. He embraces a little chaos and I like that a lot. Oh, and he’s a afficiando of music. In this Unplugged post, he brings all of these interests together quite brilliantly.

Unplugged

by Sean Gaillard

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Teach & Serve No. 27 – Preaching What I Preach, My Friends

Teach & Serve 

No. 27 * February 17, 2016


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Preaching What I Preach, My Friends

I’ve been thrice blessed over the course of the last 30 days to reconnect with old friends.

We tend to be overly nostalgic about our college years. I had a great time in college, to be sure, but, again, the best years of my life were not concluded when I turned 22. Likewise, we wax poetic about our early years in our first jobs. No, they weren’t really as great as we remember them. I never believed the high school years were the best years of my students’ lives. I cringe when I hear that sentiment voiced at orientations or graduations. I mean the high school years are, literally, spent between the ages of 14 and 18. Am I supposed to believe that my best years were over almost 30 years ago? That would be a depressing thought, indeed.

However, there is something very special about these periods of our lives and about the people with whom we share them, and it’s a platitude I’ve shared with many a student in many a class at many an occasion over the years that I’ve only recently come to know as true.

I’ve been thrice blessed over the course of the last 30 days to reconnect with old friends. I literally almost typed “old, old friends,” but I feared that might imply that the people I am talking about are elderly. They are not. They are my contemporaries which means, by any definition by which I view myself, that they are not old at all!

Interesting to me is that all three of these companions came to me through my educational life. These relationships all spun out of my connection to schools and schooling and the bonds forged over those experiences seem to be stronger than I had previously imagined.

I was treated to an amazing day in Los Angeles by the first of these old friends. It was such an incredible experience of generosity on his part that the whole thing is frankly hard to explain. Suffice it to say that he allowed me to see and touch my own personal Disneyland. Incredible. We reconnected over Facebook a few years ago and hadn’t seen each other for over 25 years before he hosted me (and The Magister) at his home and place of work for 24 indelible hours.

He and I had known each other in high school. I was Schroeder to his Charlie Brown in a production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown when I was a junior and he was a senior. We were on the yearbook staff together. We spent many a night at rehearsals or working on deadlines or at cast parties talking, dreaming about girls, our futures, our place in the world – you know, like high school kids do.

The second old friend was stranded in Colorado when a snowstorm shuttered airports all over his home state of North Carolina. He’d been in Denver for a fact-finding trip, studying exemplary schools on three precise days that I was actually away from my home city! We weren’t going to get to see one another but, as fate would have it, he was stuck in Colorado and I was able to return home before he left. The breakfast we shared on an early Saturday morning was the best meal I’d had in a long, long time.

Jan 2016 Sean Gaillard Jeff Howard

The Esteemed Principal and me 20 years didn’t make one minute of difference!

He had been the Best Man in my first wedding, but we had met years earlier in college. We were selected to be Resident Assistants the same year. We were both English majors. We were both into music, though he was always (and remains) far more talented than I. I was Diamond to his Jade and when we lobbied for and were assigned to be RAs of the same dorm, we wreaked havoc as the greatest tandem ever… at least that’s what we thought.

Traveling to Xavier University on a work trip, I connected with my third old friend, primarily because the organization for which I work had asked him to be the keynote speaker at a major event we hold every third summer. Walking across the Xavier campus on a crisp January morning I could feel my exciting building to see him. Coming into his office – seeing the manner in which it was decorated and feeling the vibe my friend had created, I felt immediately welcomed and sank into comfortable repartee.

He and I were hired the same year at Regis Jesuit High School and he was part-and-parcel to my experience of my early years in education. We spent our work hours together. We spent our off hours together. We had a tight group of friends that shared life, day-in-and-day-out. I was Downbound to his Train, rhythm guitar to his lead piano, melody to his harmony.

Three friends in 30 days. I got to reconnect with three friends in 30 days. Each of the encounters were, in their own way, unexpected. It was something of a lark to see my first friend in Los Angeles. It was incredible luck to see my second friend at home. It was shocking when my boss told me “I have a great idea for a speaker for us…” and suggested my third friend. I got to see three old friends in 30 days. Three friends who had incredible impacts on my life when I was younger.  Three friends who came to me through my schooling as a high schooler, a college student and as a teacher.

Seeing them now, as a man in my later 40s, made me realize something I’ve often said to students that I don’t know that I’d ever really experienced and it’s a truth I don’t think it’s just true for me. The connections we make in schools matter. They count. They influence us in how we think, what we believe and who we are.

It’s not that I didn’t know that. It’s not that I needed to learn that lesson. I just don’t know that I had ever experienced it like I did last month.

My high school friend is living his life in the precise manner he wants to. I so admired him in high school because he always seemed so at home in his own skin and comfortable with himself is clearly what he is. Comfortable, warm, generous. If I have any of those qualities, I learned them from him when we were high schoolers.

My college friend is a deeply thoughtful, talented educator. He is driven to make the world around him a better place for his students and his teachers. A devoted family man with a resonant and contagious laugh, he inspired me in college and inspires me now. I wanted to be more like him when we were in college and I want to be more like him now.

My teacher friend is a true contemplative in action, just like he was when we signed our teaching contracts together. Even tempered and spiritual, I was forever in awe of his manner and his grace. His faith guided his life when we were young and still does. I often wondered how to model myself on his example and I still do.

Being in the presence of each of these men was something of a time warp. The intervening years from the last time we’d seen one another to the day we reconnected vanished. With each of them, I felt I was picking up where I’d left off, stepping into a well read and much loved chapter of my favorite novel and reading it all over again.

The friends we make in our youth have great influence on us. They help us conceptualize the world – help us make sense when nothing makes sense. Their example imprints on us. Their approval moves us. Their friendship makes us. Those words we offer as educational professionals about how our school friends will be at our weddings, the births of our children, our funerals, these are true words. I’ve preached them many times and preach them here, again, today.

The connections we make in school matter. There is wonder in them. There is grace.

And I was lucky enough to revisit three such connections in the last month to drive that point home.

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Teach & Serve No. 3 – “How Does This Affect Our Students?”

Teach & Serve 

No. 3 * August 18, 2015


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


How Does This Affect Our Students?

We ask ourselves a hundred questions a day as teachers in schools but what’s the most important question?

One of my good friends from college (whom I refer to often as “The Esteemed Principal”, partly to tease him as only a friend of over 20 years can but primarily because I hold him in such great esteem) has been a principal for years. He’s a very smart guy, funny and quick, and he knows where to put his energy in terms of his leadership. More fundamentally, he knows where to encourage the people he serves to direct their energy.

I was chatting with him on Facebook or on Twitter (powerful, powerful networking tools, my friends – don’t underestimate them) about his new posting for this school year, his first principalship of a high school, to congratulate him on the new gig. It’s going to be a great situation for him but, more importantly, having him at a new school will make that school better. Count on it.

I was in high school administration for years, one of those years as an acting principal, and I know the importance of vision. In order to continue to be successful, in order to reach for their highest potential, schools ought to have vision. Let me be clearer: they must have vision.

In this very brief conversation about his new post, my friend said something to me about his vision for schools that I hope I never forget.

Principals OfficeIn anticipating speaking one-on-one with the new staff with whom he will journey he told me that he has a question he wants to ask at the outset of each chat. He told me that, thinking in advance about the talks he’ll have as he settles in with a new staff and as he works for them, he has a question he likes to pose to educators.

The conversations that take place in schools are as many and varied as the people who work in them and as diverse as the students they serve. The conversations that take place in the principal’s office are likewise varied – sometimes commonplace, sometimes portentous – but a servant leader moves from the desk to engage and take on any and all comers. The servant leader doesn’t shy away from talking. And the topics of these conversations range from the specific to the general, from the communal to the individual. The stakes here are as likely to be fairly low as they are to be extremely high.

Much comes to the leader – requests for time off, comments about colleagues, consternation about schedules, opinions about all manner of things. Sometimes come compliments. Other times come critiques. The leader with the door open receives all of these with as open a heart and mind as possible.

Surely a good conversationalist can navigate these conversations. A skilled communicator can engage on them. An adequate manager can, well, manage them.

But is that what school leadership is called to do? Is that all there is to communication with colleagues?

All too often the manner in which conversations are addressed is that they are handled and, while there is much to say about the power of communication and the power held by the leader in handling communication with staff, that’s a topic for another time.

My good friend, The Esteemed Principal, doesn’t handle people. Rather, he asks them a question. It’s a question he asks those who come to his office no matter the circumstance. It’s a question that is central – should be central – to any conversation taking place in the principal’s office or, surely, in the school over all. It’s a question that is powerful. It’s a question all of us engaged in the work of education should ask, not with regularity, but consistently. Daily. At each-and-every opportunity.

Asking the question is not a tactic, but an essential framing of communication in a school, a way of calling to the fore what the focus of adults in school should be.

The question is: “How does this help students?”

Think about that for a moment.

Whatever the issue, whatever the concern, whatever the impetus for conversation in a school, isn’t this the fundamental reason the conversation should be occurring? Shouldn’t this always be our focus as educators?

“How does this help students?” It’s an excellent question.

I am not sure there’s a better one.

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And There Came A Movie – Iron Man 2 (2010)

1:05 Clever manner of retelling the origin begins with a juxtaposition of the origin of the film’s villain

1:48 Mickey Rourke

2:51 Arc Reactor design by Howard Stark and Ivan Vanko’s father

3:07 Pictures on the wall from the first Iron Man movie

 3:46 Mickey Rourke suggested his character would have a cockatoo – it’s possible the actor is as crazy as the character he is playing
5:00 Uh oh, Ivan has an arc reactor like Tony Stark’s!
6:25 and here’s Tony!

6:30 The dancers are oddly reminiscent of the ones from Captain America: The First Avenger

8:55 John Slattery as Howard Stark
John Slattery, of Mad Men fame, is the 3rd actor to play Howard Stark in the Marvel movies…

10:18 Stan Lee as Larry King

10:28 Kate Mara (Rooney “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Mara’s sister)
11:28 Garry Shandling as Senator Stern
12:20 Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, one of Iron Man’s villains from the comic books
Rockwell based his performance partially on Gene Hackman’s iconic turn as Lex Luthor in Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies
13:50 Don Chedle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes
Chedle replaced Terrence Howard as Rhodey
Howard was regarded as difficult to work with… and he’s not the only Marvel actor to be replaced.
Chedle is, of course, from Denver and is a graduate of East High School
Cheadle played Sammy Davis, Jr. in “The Rat Pack” HBO docudrama.
Iron Man II director Jon Favreau (who also directed Iron Man) is a longtime friend of and guest on the Howard Stern radio show and is rumored to have named Shandling’s Senator Stern after the radio host
18:10 Iron Man’s “Hall of Armor” – all the versions of the armor that Stark has made… right out of the comic books
18:57 It’s a lot easier for Stark to change the core in his chest than it was in Iron Man
21:22 Pepper – “Have you been drinking?” a little foreshadowing, kids!
23:08 Tony boxes with Happy Hogan (played by director John Favreau).  In the comics Happy was a retired professional boxer.
23:24 Scarlet Johannsen as Natalie Rushman appears… she might be important.
27:20 Christine Everhardt who appeared in Iron Man is back.. “she did quite a spread on Tony last year” Ouch.
31:38 Ivan revealed!
This is a combination of two Iron Man villains: Whiplash and Crimson Dynamo.
Whiplash is obvious – a character who used electronic lashes to battle Iron Man
Crimson Dynamo was a Soviet Era villain who built his own armor and fought for the USSR
35:35 “The Case” – in the comics, Iron Man carried his armor in a briefcase… it never looked this cool, though!
45:16 Check out Sam Rockwell’s hands… unless he has some kind of skin disease, it’s a great character trait that Hammer must be spray tanning… his hands are clearly orange!
53:27 Tony is already drunk at his birthday party.
This is a reference the to classic Iron Man storyline “Demon in a Bottle” when Tony reveals he is an alcoholic.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_in_a_Bottle)

en.wikipedia.org

“Demon in a Bottle” is a nine-issue Iron Man story arc concerning alcoholism. Th…e story arc was written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton with art by John Romita, Jr., Bob Layton, and Carmine Infantino and published by Marvel Comics.See More
57:01 Rhodey in the armor for the first time!
58:57 – “You wanna be the War Machine, take your shot.” Tony calls Rhodey War Machine which will be his super hero identity in the comics.

en.wikipedia.org

War Machine (James Rupert Rhodes) is a fictional character, a comic book superhe…ro appearing in comic books set in the Marvel Comics universe. The character of James Rhodes first appeared in Iron Man #118 (January 1979) by David Michelinie, John Byrne and Bob Layton. The War Machine armor, which bec…See More
1:01:38 Nick Fury – Samuel L. Jackson appears in a very expanded role… the Shared Universe expands!
1:02:15 Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanov The Black Widow revealed

en.wikipedia.org

Black Widow (Чёрная вдова, ‘Chyornaya vdova’) (Natalia “Natasha” Alianovna Roman…ova,[1] also known as Natasha Romanoff) is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics Universe. She was created by editor and plotter Stan Lee, scripter Don Rico and artist Don Heck, and first appeared in Tales of Suspen…See More
1:03:26 “I have bigger problems than you in the Southwest Region to deal with” says Nick Fury… he’s talking about New Mexico and Thor’s hammer!
1:07:10 “Howard said” says Nick Fury… Nick knew Tony’s dad.
1:08:46 Howard Stark is revealed as one of the founding members of SHIELD
1:09:00 Agent Coulson appears!
1:24:50 Coulson picks up Captain America’s shield!
1:25:23 Coulson leaves for New Mexico and Thor’s hammer!
1:35:11 War Machine fully tricked out!
1:35:50 Iron Man Mark V
1:42:00 Black Widow in action… check her wrists for her widow stinger apparatus!
1:45:25 Black Widow: “looks like the fight is coming to you”… in the Avengers preview, we hear Tony say “guys, I’m bringing the fight to you”… I think I know the preview too well!
1:47:15 My good friend The Esteemed Principal’s favorite scene: Iron Man and War Machine back-to-back
1:49:17 Crimson Dynamo!/Whiplash! Who knows, but he’s cool!
1:54:25 Avengers Initiative Report!
 Stark and SHIELD
Nick Fury and Tony are the keys…
1:55:22 Iron Man recommended for Avengers, Tony Stark not so much…
1:55:45 Tony is made a consultant to the Avengers Initiative
1:57:01 Credits but STICK AROUND!
POST CREDIT SEQUENCE Agent Coulson discovers Thor’s hammer!

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And There Came A Movie So Bad It’s Good – 1992’s Freejack

Some movies are so bad they somehow tip the Richter Scale of reaction and actually end up being… I was going to write “good” but a better adjective is “enjoyable.” You know the kind of which I am talking. These are the movies when you reflect you say, “wow, I really think that was crap, but it was fun” or, more likely, “I can’t tell anyone I liked that – but I did.”  You probably can think of movies that fall into what I call the “Movie So Bad It’s Good” category.

My old friend The Esteemed Principal commented on my Facebook a few weeks back that it was time to discuss one of these films in particular and I am more than happy to take up the challenge.

First, however, the criterion on which I base my opinions – and that is, of course, how these determinations are made; they are made only by opinion, are below. These are not hard-and-fast rules, but guidelines as to why I believe some movies are so bad they are good. If I pick one you think really is good, my apologies in advance.

The criterion:

  1. The film must be POORLY REVIEWED
    • For this, we’re talking 30% or lower on RottenTomatoes (which is, for me, the entry drug of movie review sites… you can link to it HERE).
    • Critical reception is a big factor! It must be bad.  Really, really bad.
  2. The film must feature BIG NAMES
    • The best bad movies leave you scratching your head when you think about the cast.
    • If you find yourself asking what was Russell Crowe or Sandra Bullock or Tom Hanks or the like doing in that God awful mess, then you might have just watched a Movie So Bad It’s Good.
  3. These films generally (we’re talking subjectively here, remember!) have RIDICULOUS PLOT TWIST/PREMISES
    • A Movie So Bad It’s Good often features logic bending plot developments that aren’t just out of left field, they are out of the parking lot surrounding the ballpark.
    • Often we can anticipate a Movie So Bad It’s Good just by its premise. The question here is why did we ever go see it in the first place.
  4. CATCH PHRASES/LAUGHABLE DIALOGUE are often featured in these films
    • Because these movies are bad, the catch phrases are often terribly perfect!
    • Sometimes even the tag lines tell you how bad a movie is going to be.
    • The dialogue in these films tends to be unintentionally but hilariously heavy-handed and is often repeated throughout the film.

Okay, with all that out-of-the-way, here we go with our first edition of:

And There Came A Movie So Bad It’s Good – 1992’s Freejack.

First things first: you can see the trailer HERE.

Second things second: my apologies if you’re a big Freejack fan.

In the year 2009, time travel has been perfected. Yay! (Maybe they should travel back and stop this movie from being made) Rich folks – often the good-to bad guys in movies – have found a way to extend their lives – ripping a person who is about to die from the past, bringing that person into the present and downloading their own consciousness into said time displaced person. If someone brought from the past escapes before their consciousness can be obliterated by the download, they are termed a … wait for it … “freejack!”

Guess what happens… Jagger, the hunter, chases , the freejack, who is in love with Russo, the girlfriend, who works for Hopkins, the bad guy, who wants Estevez’s body for himself. It’s a glorious trainwreck!

Wait, do they still have trains in 2009?

POORLY REVIEWED

  • Out of a possible 100% at RottenTomatoes, Freejack receives 15%
  • Critic’s reaction: “Another preposterous action saga with more noise and running around than common sense”
  • Critic’s reaction: “Absolutely moronic, and therefore quite fun in certain spots.”

BIG NAMES

  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Rene Russo
  • Emilio Estevez (he was big in 1992)
  • Mick Jagger (how did that movie career work out, Mick?)

RIDICULOUS PLOT TWISTS/PREMISES

  • Downloading consciousness?
  • Stealing people out of the timestream right before the moment of their deaths?
  • There is a very, very well armed nun who saves Estevez’s life and curses. A lot.
  • Emilio Estevez as a bad ass race car driver?
  • Mick Jagger as a bounty hunter?

CATCH PHRASES/LAUGHABLE DIALOGUE

  • Hilarious tag line: “Time flies. But in the year 2009, he’ll need to move a lot faster.”
  • Hilarious tag line: “Alex died today. Eighteen years from now, he’ll be running for his life.”
  • Dialogue: “If you keep looking at me, you’ll see me kill you.”
  • Dialogue: “How would you feel if you’d been dead half a day and someone gave you more bad news?”
  • Dialogue: “Give it up, Vacendak. You couldn’t catch a cold. You couldn’t catch the clap in a whorehouse!”

Freejack. Terrible. But worth it!

Check Netflix! Check your satellite! Check it out!

If you have suggestions for a future installment of “And There Came A Movie So Bad It’s Good,” don’t hesitate to let me know!

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