Saturday, April 13, 2013

"42" - A Movie Review

Go see the Movie “42”.

Okay, no, I’m not telling you what to do or anything. I’m just enthusiastic. 

I got mad; I got madder; I got really mad. I laughed. I cheered (quietly). I cried (happily). I all but forgot to breathe for an hour and a half. Well, okay, I really did forget to breathe some of the time. And let me tell you, not breathing can be exhausting. 

So, what is “42”? “42” was Jackie Robinson’s baseball number.  “42” is a movie about Jackie Robinson, which is par excellence!  Bring your teens. It’s PG-13, and you might not want your little ones to hear the language, especially the “n” word, repeated over and over by one man. About that? You picked up that I got mad, right?  No, I wasn’t mad at the producers. I was mad at the attitudes and actions of some of the people. Even though I already knew it was that way in history, it was painful to see it all come to life on the screen. But sometimes we need to see pain, to see how people have pushed through it.  

This movie and all that it stands for is part of American History 101. Living and breathing history. This was life-changing US history!  None of this life-changing history should have ever been necessary. But unfortunately it was. 

Branch Rickie and Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese and others helped bring about change. Many were involved, and many showed courage, but what was most apparent, what was most essential to change the sports climate in America, was the courage of one man who didn't see himself as a hero, one man who just wanted to play baseball: Jackie Robinson. 

I hope you will go see the movie. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Math Rescue Kit - Book Review

I'm a nontraditional college student. I have 60 years of life experience; I'm a writer; and I homeschooled my six children and prepared them all for college. However, past the seventh-grade level, they learned math from their dad and, later, from some excellent computer-based, self-teaching materials. I've never been a "math person".

But to achieve the associate's degree that I am now pursuing, I will need three math classes...that is, after I get through the two "developmental" math classes that I tested into (high school level math for college students). And how am I even going to pass those first two classes? Well, I signed up for my first class, and, first of all, we have a good text; we use the MyMathLab computer program for homework; and I have a great teacher. But still, I needed a little more! So, secondly, I bought the Math Rescue Kit. Okay, you've heard enough about me, and now you want to know something about the book, right?

Dr. Porr divides the book into three parts: Attitude and Perspective, Before Class Begins, and Power Techniques. Each part is equally important, but it's not like you have to master everything in the book before you begin. Each of these three parts has various principles. Each principle or idea is helpful, but you don't have to use all of them to benefit. The tips that help you the most might not be the same as the tips that help me the most. Maybe someone's favorite tip might be "Look for a Metaphor" or someone else's favorite suggestion might be to "Join or Create a Study Group". My personal favorite is this one: "Pursue Mastery, Not Just Completing Assignments". Every single new math lesson that I pursue is a challenge for me (and he addresses that, too); but as I keep pursuing mastery with each new lesson, I finally "get it"...and I'm getting good grades. Most of all, I've learned that: "I can learn math!"