Thursday, July 26, 2007

Teaching Thursdays

Bear Grylls is a superstar if ever there was one. So my Teaching Thursday is going to be about teaching everyone about Bear Grylls. And if you learn anything, learn who Bear Grylls is and you will have learned so many things (how to get out of quicksand; how to avoid hypothermia in high altitudes; how to survive in the desert with no water; how to be just an overall survivor). Therefore I will have created multiple Teaching Thursday blogs into one Thursday blog. That is so resourceful, maybe Bear Grylls should take lessons from me! Anyways, Bear is the host of Man vs. Wild which is on the Discovery Channel. On the show, Bear drops in through parachute into different environments and shows the viewer how to survive, what to eat, what to wear, where to sleep, what to drink, etc. You really get a good idea of how difficult the situation can be and how tough it can be to survive on your own. Bear is always on top of his game. Now I know it is a TV show and it is edited, but he is for the most part at ease, and if you have ever seen an interview with him, he has a presence about him that just makes you feel like no matter what the case, things are going to be okay. Some interesting facts on Bear: he started out as a British Special Forces member; he is a black belt in karate; he lives on a boat with his wife and two kids. When he was in the Special Forces, he broke his back in a bad parachuting accident. After an amazing recovery, he became the youngest Brit ever to climb Mount Everest and return alive, and he led a team across the North Atlantic Arctic Ocean in an inflatable boat - another first in the world. He is an adventurer, an explorer, a motivational speaker and just an interesting guy. Learn more about him and I am sure you will be pretty astonished if you are not already!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter

All right Muggles, unless you have been living under a rock, you all know what is going to happen tomorrow at midnight. That's right, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is going to be become available and an end will be put to one of the greatest stories ever told. For those that don't follow Harry Potter, this is the seventh and final book in the series by J.K. Rowling that has not only captivated millions, but also re-energized reading for people of all ages. I was first introduced to Harry Potter when I was teaching school in California back in 2001. One of my 5th graders was a huge fan and let me borrow his book to read. By this time there were already two Harry Potter books out and I had previously thought that the book would not be to my liking. From the minute I opened it, I was hooked and could not put it down. I proceeded to read each and every book in the series and am now eagerly awaiting the release of book # 7. When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (book # 6) came out a couple of years ago, I was there at midnight at the Borders ready to get my copy. Pretty crazy for a person my age, but I am happy to admit that I was there and even happier to admit that I was not the oldest person waiting in line that night. The end of an amazing era is upon us and I am hoping that I will be able to finish the book before I hear what some of the final outcomes will be. Because I am a notoriously slow reader, I will need to shield myself from any and all spoilers so I can find out on my own what happens to Harry. There are many varying opinions on what is going to happen and so I thought I would give you a little idea on what I am thinking might go down. Just to lay it out on the line now: I think Harry will not die; I think Snape is good; I think Dumbledore will come back; I think Hermione and Ron end up together; I think Quiditch is a pre-cursor to lacrosse! Okay kidding on that last one. For all you Potter fans out there, enjoy the book and I look forward to us talking about every last page. Just wait for me to finish it first!


A very special congratulations to Dan and Sharis Cooley on the birth of their son Ryan Sherman Cooley this morning. Dan and Sharis are the blogging originals and if you want to take a look at little Ryan, click here to see the new little one. And their blog is linked on the right side of the page as well. Awesome news Dan and Sharis!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cool web site # 2

For those who don't know, I work at a radio station here in Chicago, WGN Radio: The mighty 720 AM. If you are around my age, you might not be familiar with it as most people our age tend to head to the FM side of the dial (if you are a big Cubs fan, you probably know WGN as the radio home to the Cubs, the best sports team in Chicago). With regards to AM Radio.....I would have to agree that I was not the biggest listener, until I started working at WGN. I don't know, there is just something about a truly local radio station (no syndicated shows) and the personalities and the way the station IS Chicago. I am sure I sound like a salesman, but give it a try, it is worth a shot and I guarantee you there will be some shows that will fit what you are looking for.

This all being said, I am getting to Cool web site #2. The radio world can be a small place and since I started working at WGN, I have gotten to know some cool people involved in the world of radio. One of them is my buddy Mike Stephen who used to be a producer at WGN. Mike has since moved on to bigger and better things, but recently he and another friend of his, Andy Hermann, started their own radio show - Outside the Loop Radio. At first, their show was done on their own and then Mike and Andy would download the finished product into podcasts. Now they have a home on WLUW 88.7 FM which is located at Loyola University. Mike used to host a show on WLUW when he was a student at Loyola and now he is back on at the station where he started. Outside the Loop Radio airs every Friday night from 6:00 - 6:30 PM, but if you miss the show, you can download their podcast of the show for free on their site (they have all their shows available for downloading). The show is really sweet and is a weekly audio magazine that talks about cool stuff here in Chicago. Take a listen, it is a fun time and Mike and Andy are two awesome guys. You can also download the show off their website through iTunes and you can then play it on your iPod. This past week's show had a neat interview with Brad Zibung who founded The Heckler, and an interview with a student from Northwestern about how Google (have you tried iGoogle?) is taking over her school. So be "in the loop" and listen to Outside the Loop Radio.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday America

Once again the 4th of July is here and it has come and gone. I always think of the 4th of July as the midway point of the summer and this year is no exception. With the big day taking place on a Wednesday, it seems more in the middle than ever before. I have always thought of all the fun that the big day brings, but today my brother J.P. reminded us all (in his dapper linen pants and bow tie) that what today actually is, is the birthday for our beloved country. And he's right. Today we celebrate all that is amazing about the country we live in and the people we live with. I hope we think about all the unique aspects of our country and all the sacrifices so many people (especially those in the military) have made to help make this the best place to live in the world. So in honor of our nation's bday, I thought I would let everyone know some interesting facts about this place we call home and why it is just so special. Happy birthday America, you deserve the best!

Did you know that.....

The state of Maryland has no natural lakes

The first telephone book was published in New Haven, Connecticut in 1878. The book was only one page long and had fifty names in it

The ZIP code 12345 is assigned to a company in Schenectady, New York - General Electric

Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace

Alaska has rain forests

San Francisco has no cemeteries

Tennessee is the birthplace of miniature golf

Americans throw away about 5 million bicycles each year

The longest beach in the U.S. is in Washington State

Montana is home to the shortest river in the world. Roe River is about 200 feet long

Kansas City has more fountains than Rome

Illinois has the highest number of personalized license plates than any other state