You Want to Feel Old? Read This.

It’s time, once again to feel badly about yourself.

The year is 2010.  You are at least a year older.  Kids are way younger.

The gap between old and cool gets larger by the day (just ask my daughter).

I’m always fascinated by the list of cultural touchstones that Beloit College compiles each year (making us feel old since 1998… thanks Beloit).

It gives a real picture of the events that have shaped the lives of this year’s freshman class.

The list makes one thing perfectly clear… time really does fly and the only constant is change.


My favorites from The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014 (you can visit all 13 lists HERE).

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992 (as if you didn’t feel old enough already).

1. For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks and Tony Perkins have always been dead.

2. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

3. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

4. Los Angelenos have always been trying to get along. If You Are Reading This You're Probably Old.

5. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.

6. With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.

7. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.

8. Entering college this fall in a country where a quarter of young people under 18 have at least one immigrant parent, they aren’t afraid of immigration…unless it involves "real" aliens from another planet.

9. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.

10. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.

11.Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.

12. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.

13. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.

14. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.

15. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

16. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.

17. Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.

18. Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.

19. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

20. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.

21. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

22. “Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.

23. The first home computer they probably touched was an Apple II or Mac II; they are now in a museum.

24. Czechoslovakia has never existed.

25. Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.

26. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

27. Pizza jockeys from Domino’s have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes.

28. There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.

29. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.

30. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

31. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

32. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.

33. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. 

34. A purple dinosaur has always supplanted Barney Google and Barney Fife. 

35. Beethoven has always been a good name for a dog.

36. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine. 

37. Their parents’ favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.

38. The U.S, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.

39. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

40. It seems the Post Office has always been going broke.

Bonus… the nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing (and my guess is they never will).

I can’t imagine what The Evil Spawn will see and experience before she graduates from college in 2023 (or truck driving school… I’m not going to lie, I would be thrilled with either).

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You Have Email. I Have a Blog. Let’s Work Together.

Don't Listen to Buddy.  This Blog Isn't That Terrible.Would you like to receive the Blog via email?

It’s easy.

Just sign up (next to my cartoon wife’s right elbow) to receive notifications when new blog entries are posted.

That’s it.

It’s so easy, Buddy the Dog could do it.

And he doesn’t have thumbs.

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Kids Are Soft.

The kids today have it way too easy.

They’re spoiled, lazy, and soft.

And I’m officially old when I write(?) how kids these days are spoiled, lazy, and soft.

As I watch students walk (or run) down the hallway, I’ve noticed their school supplies are much nicer than what I had in the early 80’s.

They are also more expensive.

Fancy binders.The Evil Spawn's 2010 Lunchbox.

Mechanical pencils.

Glue sticks.


Book bags with wheels.

State of the art lunchboxes.

I can live with the binders, pencils, etc., but I have to draw the line when it comes to the new–fangled book bags/luggage and lunchboxes/coolers.

When I was a kid (I’m actually becoming older and older as I type this…), we didn’t have $60 book bags.

With or without wheels.

Kids driving their books down the hallway drives me crazy.  My luggage should be as nice as their book bags.

We carried our books underneath our arms like God intended (that’s if we took books home… and we didn’t). 

How are today’s kids ever going to feel the embarrassment of dropping 7 textbooks, 4 folders, and 114 papers in the middle of a busy street if they have a book bag?

This is a rite of passage that all children should be forced to enjoy.

We are cheating our kids out of one of life’s most precious moments.

You haven’t lived until the wind is howling at 40 miles an hour and you’re chasing your math homework across a busy intersection (and all the other kids are looking and pointing at you… not that this ever happened to me…).

If that wasn’t bad enough, we are also creating a generation of children who don’t understand how to keep their lunches cold.

It’s not that complicated.

You freeze a can of soda.

We did this.

We did this because we had to.

And we liked it.

Put the can in the freezer the night before, wrap it in tinfoil, and bingo… instantly cold lunch (and sadly, sometimes soggy).

There weren’t any lined lunch containers when we were kids.

We didn’t need them (actually we might have needed them, but we couldn’t afford them).

We had two choices.  A brown paper sack or metal box covered with pop-culture (and rust).

Poor kids used a brown sack (me).  Even poorer kids were forced to recycle the brown sack each day to be used for an entire week (my wife… who is still working through this issue).

The rich kids had a Scooby-Doo, Evil Kneivel, or Happy Days lunch box.

The really rich kids had a KISS or Star Wars lunch box (with matching Thermos I might add… ).

Today’s kids have lunchboxes with zippers, levels, containers, and water bottles that look like works of art (Exhibit A:  The Evil Spawn’s lunchbox in the picture).

I still have a brown paper sack (and the sad part is I have a job).

I think today’s kids are soft.

Kids think I’m old.

We are probably both right.

One of the great mysteries of my life… How does a Thermos work?  Hot stuff hot.  Cold stuff cold.  It’s magic.

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It's a Better Ride Than I Had in High School.

The definition of self-confidence:  riding your bike to school… with an air freshener… as a Senior.

We should all care a little less what other people think.

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Ahead to the Future.

I Used to Ride My Bike.

Evil Spawn.  4th grade.  Yard.  iPad.  WiFi.

What’s this?

A little thing I like to call the future.

Don’t wait, it may pass you by.

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Teacher Tired.


Teaching is hard work.Sleepy, Sleepy, Sleepy.

People who haven’t taught probably don’t believe me, but it’s true.

It’s just a different kind of tired.

Not like being a coal miner tired.  Or dentist tired (actually, being a dentist is just creepy… sticking your hands in people’s mouths all day… the horror).  Or even road construction stop sign holder in 127 degree weather tired. 

But it’s hard work.

This is especially true during the beginning of school.

Teachers (and administrators… although the assumption is we do far less) are wiped out by the end of the day on Friday.

It’s because they’re not in teaching shape.

Their voices are gone, their legs are tired, and they have blisters from grading papers.

It is harder than it looks to stand up in front of crazy-eyed jumpy children and teach Chapter 1.

You can’t take 3 months off in the summer and expect to be on top of your game the very first week.

But in time it comes back.

The teacher voice returns.

Their legs get stronger.

The blisters heal.

Then they are ready for the year ahead.

While the first week can be exhausting, it’s worth it.

And it certainly beats working for a living.

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Technology and Sunglasses.

Students need technology.

For them, it’s a need, not a want.

It’s the same reason I have sunglasses.I'm Watching You.

I didn’t wear sunglasses when I was younger because I didn’t need them.

I could see just fine, even when I looked directly into the sun.

Well, I could see until I passed out from all the little spots clouding my vision.

Then I got smart (not a lot, just a little).  I started wearing sunglasses and discovered how much I needed them.

It’s the same with kids and technology.

Maybe they didn’t “need” computers, video games, and smart phones when they were younger.

But that was then.

This is now.

And now they need it.

Their use of technology has created a hunger for more technology (and more… and more… and more).

Just like sunglasses.

The more you wear them, the more you need them.

It’s the same with technology.

When will schools figure this out?

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Weird is as Weird Does.

My daughter is 9.

This means she thinks everything and everybody is weird (I don’t call her the Evil Spawn for nothing).

Her mom is weird (especially when she dances).

I’m weird (anytime I speak to her).

I get the feeling as parents we are in for a long decade.

She says “weird” so much, I’ve found myself doing it.Now That is Weird.

I don’t even remember what we were talking about , but I said something was weird.

She responded with “Weird like when you see your teacher at a grocery store weird?  Or like when someone you’ve know starts wearing a cowboy hat weird?”

I must admit I had to take a moment and think about this one.

Both of them are pretty weird.

When you’re a kid there is nothing weirder than seeing your teacher in public.

In a student’s mind, their teacher is always supposed to remain in their natural habitat.

The classroom.

Seeing them in any other type of situation just doesn’t seem right.

I get this same type of reaction as an administrator.

Students find it odd when they see me outside of school.

It’s even weirder for them if I’m wearing jeans.

Evidently, they think I should never leave the office and I should wear a tie 24 hours a day (if it makes them feel any better… I feel like I never leave the office and I wear a tie 24 hours a day).

So I guess weird is just anything out of the ordinary.

But to answer my daughter’s question, I’m going to have to go with weird like when someone starts wearing a cowboy hat.

I don’t care who you are, that’s weird.

You can only wear a cowboy hat if you’ve always worn a cowboy hat.

If you haven’t worn one by the age of 8, you can never wear one (it’s the law… Google it).

It’s not a fashion accessory you can just jump into mid-life.

It’s so weird, the next time my daughter has a friend over I may be wearing a cowboy hat.

If she thinks I’m weird now, she hasn’t seen anything yet (maybe it’s her that’s in for a long decade).

My daughter’s weird comparison comes from one of her favorite shows Phineas and Ferb.  I’ve watched it a couple of times.  It’s weird.

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A Shout Out to Everyone Who Drives a Minivan.

You are cool.  Way cool.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.

Especially your kids.  

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Are You Ready for Shcool?


They are at Southern Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Well, they almost are.

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