Caillou: A Study in What is Wrong With Society

 

Caillou-xl-pictures-33

 

via

Yup. You heard me correctly. I’m talking about Caillou; that supposedly-innocuous children’s television show from Canada. I almost hesitate to write a blogpost about this, because someone has already done this subject justice. Over at howtobeadad.com there is a post called “Caillou” is French for SHUT UP which perfectly demonstrates my feelings about Caillou. However, I want there to be zero question of my strong support in the anti-Caillou movement, so I will share with you a few thoughts. 

Thought: Look at the screencap/thumbnails used to show various episodes online. . . JUST LOOK at this child’s face in each one. I would probably avoid real live children who exhibited this emotional range, so why on EARTH would I allow a child to watch and emulate The Abomination?

caillou is a brat

 

Thought: High School Students that I teach also have strong & unified Anti-Caillou feelings. After finishing their work, my students will sometimes print out a coloring page so that they can just relax and de-stress for a little bit . . . these are some of the Caillou-themed pages they gave me one year:Feed the Cat, Caillou, not the floor. GEEZ.

He would.

Charming Family. This is what they should look like.

Poor Rosie.

Conquest Caillou: Proponent of imperialism or just power-crazed toddler?

She's green because he makes her physically ill.

Gilbert has a hard lot in life.

I know my students are (in my humble opinion) often above-average, but if my high school students can see the problems intrinsic to this show, WHY CAN’T PARENTS???

Thought: All kids I have ever encountered have the tendency to copy behaviors that they see. Should ANYONE be copying this behavior? 

via

Thought: It is telling that people from all different lifestyles and backgrounds are able to get solidly behind the anti-Caillou movement. Case in point: I recently returned from being out for a day to find this note from my substitute teacher . . .

it's not just me

 

These are my thoughts on Caillou.

So, the next time you wind up talking about me and somebody asks:hate caillou

 . . . you will be able to answer just like my above student!

Unpopular Opinion: Valentine’s Day is Awesome.

I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t love conflict. There are some opinions that I keep to myself in order to avoid conflict. This is not one of them. If you don’t love Valentine’s Day, I am writing this to you, and you are wrong.

via

“But it’s so commercial.”

One common theme in the Hate-On-Love-Day Parade is the claim that Valentine’s Day is overly commercialized; exploited by corporations, both large and small, to make moola. I have several things to say in response to this…

  1. Every holiday is commercialized; we live in a highly consumerist/sales society. Shoot, Christmas is probably the most commercialized of all, but I don’t see people refusing to celebrate that!
  2. Feeding into the over-commercialization of holidays is a choice. Helen Fisher, a sociologist from Rutgers University, said it pretty well: “This isn’t a command performance. If people didn’t want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not be bought, and Hallmark would go out of business.” Helen is on point here, folks. If it bothers you that everybody is out to make money off of Valentine’s Day, then don’t buy anything. Refuse to feed the commercialist beast! Stick it to the man – just don’t stick it to Valentine’s Day! It’s a holiday to celebrate love and the people in your life who you care about – call up a friend and tell them you appreciate them! Is that commercial? No, it’s just nice.

via

 “I’d rather do something when it’s NOT expected.”

via

Oh really? How often does that actually happen? Sorry for my skepticism, maybe you are the king/queen of doing nice random things for people and I have misjudged you. If that is the case, then huzzah! But I still urge you to look at it from another perspective!

Impromptu and spontaneous acts of love are fantastic – but so is a holiday whose sole purpose is to perpetuate and promulgate planful and thoughtful acts of love! So, if you’re all about unexpected surprises, then this Valentine’s Day show your love and appreciation for someone who is NOT expecting it. Don’t want to be predictable with your sweetie? That’s fine. What about your cousins who you see once a year? What about your nice neighbor who helped you snow-blow your walkway that one time? Or the barista who knows your name? Or your old friend that you call up when you’ve had a crappy day? Those are the people who probably don’t expect anything from you this Valentine’s Day, but who would be delighted by an act of caring!

“I’m single so I’m boycotting Valentine’s Day.”

via

ARGH! THAT MAKES NO SENSE!!! I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that you had to be in a relationship to be capable of loving someone. DO YOU HAVE A MOTHER?! WHAT ABOUT A MOTHER FIGURE?! DO YOU LOVE THEM??? SO MAKE A POINT OF TELLING THEM THIS VALENTINE’S DAY.

*Deep Breath*

Clearly, this line of thinking turns me into a gigantic, Valentine-defending rage-monster. I shall calm down and try to respond with less of a knee-jerk-emphasis-on-the-jerk reaction.

Ahem. Oh, you’re single? Me too. In fact, I’ve never been in a relationship on Valentine’s Day. Unlike you, however, I don’t think your relationship status should dictate your ability to celebrate a holiday or not. Shockingly enough, there are still a lot of people in my life that I love and appreciate, despite not being in love with someone.

I remember the year that my brother, Nathaniel, and his college friends decided to boycott Valentine’s Day. They wore black all day, didn’t talk to any girls, and hung out and watched The Godfather that night. Funnily enough, they had it kind of wrong. By spending time with friends, they were sort of celebrating the purpose of Valentine’s Day anyways. Still, I can sort of understand, I’ve had those moments of single-blues on Love-day, but then I remembered that having a chip on your shoulder and taking it out on everyone else is an ugly character trait.

If you boycott Valentine’s Day because you’re single, then you are ultimately just being selfish. It’s not all about you, my friend. You’re glum because you’re single? Boo-hoo. Go show love to somebody else rather than wishing that somebody would show it to you or whining because nobody does. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about romantic relationships! It’s about love of all kinds. I challenge single-folk to make Valentine’s Day theirs just as much as it belongs to couples. You have to be the change you wish to see in the holiday.

via

“It’s too expensive.”

via

  1. Please go back and re-read the whole commercialism line of thinking.
  2. The Internet can give you all sorts of ideas for Valentine-y goodness, ranging from inexpensive to free.
  3. Money might talk, but Actions speak louder than words. Rather than buying something or taking someone out for a WAY overpriced meal, do an act of service for someone!
  4. Lots of wonderful caring activities don’t involve $$$. Make dinner, snuggle, read aloud to somebody, play a board game, have an indoor picnic, watch a movie, write a letter, shovel a walkway, take out the trash, fold the laundry, give a neck-rub, do one of the ickier household jobs that everybody avoids . . . you get the idea.

“Isn’t that a Christian Holiday? I’m not Christian.”

First of all, most of the holidays that are celebrated today have some sort of religious origin (again, Christmas comes to mind). I’m willing to bet that many, or even most people who celebrate those holidays aren’t practitioners. I doubt everybody who drinks a beer on St. Pattie’s is a devout Catholic. Similarly, people who eat Cadbury eggs are probably not all attending Good Friday services and celebrating the resurrection of Christ. People who celebrate holidays through the lens of their belief system may return to the roots of the holiday, but it is hardly the norm. You clearly do not need to be a Christian to celebrate a holiday of Christian origins.

Second, while there are some different accounts of St. Valentine and his execution being on February 14th,  the roots of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to Lupercalia, a Pagan fertility festival held in the ides of February in ancient Rome. As a non-believer, I think you can safely celebrate the day. I just wouldn’t encourage you to do it the way they did in ancient Rome, because sacrificing a goat and a dog, well. That’s just sad. And touching their hides (once removed) in hopes of fertility in the oncoming year? I think Science has brought us farther than that.

via

Side-note, Valentine’s Day’s association with the idea of Love also has been linked with early belief in France and England that February 14th was the beginning of a bird’s mating season. If all else fails, I guess you can celebrate it for the birds.

twitterpated

via

“I actually hate everyone, including myself.”

via

That’s just awful! If all else fails and there’s nobody that you love, you should at least love yourself and give yourself a day of pampering. Try. Be good to yourselves, you are the only you this world has got. That makes you a very limited natural resource and a rare commodity. Appreciate that about yourself.

via

“My entire family died in a freak pinecone incident on Valentine’s Day.”

via

Okay. You’ve got me there. I probably wouldn’t feel very festive either. But, I mean, you could always make it a day to commemorate your love for your family, right? That’s what I would want people to do after I’m gone – not just sit around being sad on the day I went out, you know?

Have some other reason why you don’t like Valentine’s Day?

So, if you aren’t convinced yet, please feel free to go back and look at my older Valentine posts to hear some more of my strong opinions or get ideas for how to celebrate.

If you want to argue with me about it some more, please post comments. You are wrong, and I will fight you. For the sake of Love.

via

 

Je Suis . . . Super Sucrée!!!

Sweet shoes

Every year for Halloween, I dress up. I think teachers who don’t dress up without a good reason are kind of a drag, to be honest. But I’m also a big nerd who loves to stay creatively on/near the topic of my content-matter as much as possible. SO, typically, I try to pick a costume that is at least somewhat french-related. This year, though, a staff theme was chosen without le français in mind, and so I had to get creative. Thus was born the idea of:

Super Sucrée!

That’s right. I’m Super Sweet/Sugary. My mission?

20141031_102142

My biggest weapon would probably have to be the Sugar Coma, but mostly I like to think I help keep the peace. . .

super

I’m not gonna lie, a few people have said my eyelashes are reminiscent of Effie Trinket, and my dress fringe is a little insecure. . . I leave a candy trail wherever I go, but somehow it’s fitting, don’t you think?

sucreeIn any case, this has been a fun one to wear, if slightly less-French than my usual!

I wish you all a SUPER-SWEET Halloween, friends!

 

Should I be a Teacher? What Should I do With My Life?

Recently, I got this message posted in my message-box on another type of blog I run. . .

advice - college majorThis poor person is in the same boat as a LOT of other 18-22 year-olds the world over, and I can empathize with their plight. SO, I am sharing a slightly-varied version of my response to them on this blog, in the hopes that it might be helpful to anybody who stumbles across my blog whilst feeling similar stress.

choosing a major

First of all: I’m to anyone who is feeling stressed about choosing your major or career path! I remember the struggle to decide what major to declare. First of all, remember that it is NEVER too late to change your mind. There’s this weird belief that once you pick a major your fate is sealed, and there’s no going back. But, even though there are some majors (like pre-med or pharmaceutical medicine) that you have to declare very early on and pursue all the way through your studies, it is never too late to change your mind later on if you find yourself unhappy with the career path you are on. Most people I know changed their major at least once. I also know people that switched careers after doing something for 10 years. It might not be the easiest path, but it is do-able. In light of this, my biggest advice is to try to pick something that aligns with both your passions and your talents, because that is where you will most likely find future career success.

passion and talent

On the other hand I 100% encourage picking a field of study that will result in a job or some kind of marketable skill set! We all know the stereotypical example of being an English major – which might be fascinating, but is not always marketable in a practical or direct way (especially not without further formal study). So, as you study your way along, periodically you should probably ask yourself what you’re going to put on your resume.

build a resume

Let’s do just that and take a critical look at teaching as a viable job option. If, like my forward-thinking message-friend, you’re worrying about the availability of teaching jobs before you’re in your junior year in college, I would encourage you not to worry about that juuuust yet. There is a certain amount of assumed job security in teaching (although it is not always accurate, if we’re being truthful with ourselves). Honestly, until the zombie apocalypse arrives and we’re all more focused on survivalist skills, there will always be a need for teachers. Even with Zombies, if it comes down to teachers v. zombies, my money is on the middle school teacher team. If they can thrive in a middle school, they can survive anything.

Jokes aside, though, there are a lot of teaching jobs, although not always where/when you want to work. Finding a teaching job can sometimes mean being flexible about the when/where you will teach, which can be hard. Another reason why you shouldn’t worry about this just yet, though? Any College Teacher-preparation program worth its salt will do their best to help you network and find a job post-grad.

Likewise, if you go to a school with a good education program and you want to be a teacher, you should not worry about the licensure test. Real Talk Time, friends. At this point, I have taken . . . four? maybe five? of these miserable exams. While they aren’t fun at all, they ARE do-able. If you have studied your subject matter and taken those studies seriously, you will be just fine when it comes to licensure tests that evaluate content knowledge and educator-knowledge.

One  last bit of advice about teaching and whether it is for you? If you want to go into teaching, then you should GO INTO TEACHING!!! But you should only do that if you LOVE (A) the subject you teach, and (B) people/students! Too many people get into teaching thinking it’s a “sure thing” or a “good fall-back” and do not realize that it is a job that requires a lot of heart and soul if you want to do it well. If you feel passionate about being a teacher, then pursue it full steam ahead and see what happens. I sort of fell into becoming a teacher and now I’m addicted – it’s not always perfect, but it’s still the most wonderful thing I’ve ever gotten to do!

teaching

The Mascot Gavotte: And the Award Goes To . . .

mascots

via

Recently, I was drinking my morning coffee and perusing my tumblr dash – you know: starting the day in a true summer-vacation fashion, and I came across a short blogpost (x) somebody had made about mascots .

blogpost about mascots

As you can see, the writer was basically saying that Mascots are a mockery of furries.

Tangent: What’s a furry, you ask? Well, Urban Dictionary gives a surprisingly-nuanced definition (which you can read by clicking here, if you’d like) that . . . also happens to be pretty long. So, if you’re feeling lazy, lets just define furries as a group of people who anthropomorphize animals to a bajillion different degrees – some of them assuming animal personas to the extent that they identify themselves as an actual animal.

So, now that we’ve got definitions taken care of . . . 

I read some of the comments on the original post, and it ultimately piqued my curiosity about the origin of Mascots. With a whir of my touch-typing fingertips (thank you Mrs. Green, wherever-you-are, it’s the best skill 9th grade gave to me), I started to peruse the massive compendium of knowledge concerning Mascots brought to you by the infallible Saint Wikipedia. (You might not be able to cite it in papers, but it’s a good way to start researching!)

Mascots of Awesome

via

Things I learned:

  • the word “mascot” essentially just means “good luck charm”, and owes its English-Language popularization to a French operetta from 1880 that recounted the story of a girl who brought people good luck as long as she remained a virgin
  • a surprising number of mascots are mules – I mean, yes, they’re stubborn and hardworking, but who wants to be an ass?
  • there are a lot of non-animal mascots (not all that surprising until you realize that many are non-human also)
  • while general sports mascots seem to be the largest denomination of mascots, there are also mascots for corporations, bands, and schools
  • Princeton University is the first school in recorded history to have a mascot
  • Victor is a shockingly common name for mascots Victor the Mascot

There is a whole list of mascots (probably incomplete, but still) on Wikipedia for your personal perusing pleasure, and (true to human nature) everybody thinks they have the absolute best. There are polls all over the place about which might be the greatest mascot. Personally, I don’t like #1/ “Best” titles, because they oversimplify. THUS, I have decided to provide you with my very own Mascot Awards Ceremony. I’m sure you’re on pins and needles, so I’ll get right into it.

The Friendliest Nut/Most Indomitable Mascot: Brutus Buckeye of The Ohio State University

Brutus Buckeye

via

To take this lighthearted nut at simple face value would be a mistake. Despite his visible cheer, Brutus has had quite a trying history, for an anthropomorphized nut, that is. He’s been kidnapped at least five times since 1965, from what I can gather, and I would daresay he’s come through more hard times than one Buckeye nut ever deserved. Yet, here he is, in 2014, still smiling. Brutus might be a nut, but he is a survivor, and that’s more than many mascots can boast.

The Wildest [Former] Unofficial Mascot to Ever Wield a Pineapple: Vili the Warrior of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Vili the Warrior

via

Now retired, apparently, this die-hard, pineapple-toting warrior was quite fearsome, from what I can tell.

The Best Online Profiled Mascot: The Stormy Petrel of Oglethorpe University (Atlanta, Georgia)

Petey the Petrel

via

Petey the Petrel's Profile

via

Suffice it to say: In addition to his large, plague-mask-reminiscent beak, Petey the Petrel has a very well developed identity, folks.

The Scariest Vegetable Mascot: The Cobbers of Concordia College (In Moorhead, Minnesota)

Concordia College Cobbers

via

Seriously. Look at that face.

I never knew corn could be that intimidating, and I grew up surrounded by fields of the stuff. All I have to say is: These fans are missing a golden opportunity if they don’t make extensive wordplay involving the word “clobber”.

Also, as a side note, this leads to some interesting fan-base attire.

corn heads?

via

I wonder if any of their opponents have come up with some kind of corn-popper analogy yet.

The Smartest/ “Most Esoteric” Mascot: The Eutectic of the Saint Louis College of Pharmacy.

Morty the Eutectic

via

What on God’s green earth is a Eutectic, you ask? It’s the scientific process where two solids combine to form a liquid. (Yes, of course I looked it up. What non-chemist would know that kind of thing???) The best part about this nerdy team symbol is how seriously it is stil taken as a mascot, though.

Eutectics Fans

via

The Least Intimidating Mascot: The Banana Slugs of the University of California-Santa Cruz

banana slug mascot

via

Surprisingly famous, even making number 1 on ESPN’s 2008 top ten mascot names in College Basketball, this mascot doesn’t exactly strike fear into my heart at first glance. One snarky judge from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals of CA, even referenced them in an opinion discourse.

Supreme Court Banana Slug Nod

via

The Most Obscene, Yet Also Possibly The Most Unique Mascot: Scrotie the “friendly phallus” of The Rhode Island School of Design

censored box

via

This is exactly what you think it is. If you are at all interested in an AMAZING article about Scrotie, please click this link, because the author’s  lovely clear explanation of their mascot is matched in excellence only by the amount of penis-themed, chortle-inducing wordplay they use.   In an article he wrote for the Providence Phoenix, David Scharfenberg calls the RISD sports crew

“a co-ed assemblage that has been turning the dick joke into high art — OK, low art — for 50 years now.”

It’s also worth noting that the ice hockey team of the RISD are called the “Nads” . . . Fans apparently cheer them on with loud cries of “Go Nads!”. No joke. And don’t get me started on the RISD Pricks (a fencing club) and the RISD Seamen (a sailing club).

 The Cutest Mascot: Artie the Fighting Artichoke of Scottsdale Community College

fighting artichokes

via

Now, while they have attempted to render this many-layered vegetable-substitute-for-chips more intimidating with design, the plain truth of it is: Artie is adorable.

arti

via

Honorable Mentions Due to their Pun-tastic Names:

Webst-UR the University of Richmond’s Spider

webstur

via

Whoo RU the Owl Mascot of Rowan University Athletics

owl

via