Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Arizona Justice League of Photographers and the Banana go to Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flats

The amazing photographs on this posting are available for your viewing pleasure thanks to blogger, Kavita of India...

Armed with a tank full of gas and a few cameras and a fresh banana, the Arizona Justice League of Photographers headed East of metropolitan Phoenix to do their thing at Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flats.

Clif the Lawyer barely eludes a giant banana. You're reading the sign right - it does say 14 feet, 3 inches.

Clif the Lawyer gets up close and personal with a giant banana.

Former New Christy Minstrels singer, Eric the Photographer has no idea of what looms behind.

Too late...

When a banana's got to go, a banana's got to go.

The giant bananas are absolutely ubiquitous.

Clif the Lawyer, Eric the Photographer and Rick the IT guy exchange banter in the presense of the giant banana.
The banana shares a few stories and jokes with Clif and Eric.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

It’s over?

I’m a lucky schlep. Family, kids, Christmas tree, fire in the hearth; it was all there.

I did a lot of wrapping. My wife scratched the records.

Bah dump bump…

Actually I spent about ten hours wrapping presents.

Speaking of rapping, I like to tell my students I was the best rapper in my old neighborhood in back in L.A. This was a time when guys like Ice Tea and Snoop Dog were just coming up. But I was the best of them all. Everybody knew I was the best because all of the mothers in the neighborhood brought their gifts to me. I was known for my tight bows and sick use of ribbons.

Bah dump bump…

I’m in the habit of making note of the quirky aspects of life. You want quirky? How does three and a half hours in a Target store sound? Yeah, I spent three and a half hours in a Target store.

It all began with fellow blogger, Kavita in India. She left a comment on my last blog pointing out that I could take my camera card to a photo shop and have the pictures transferred over to a disk. I’d been trying to figure out how to get the photos on my camera for a couple of weeks.

So I told my wife I was heading over to the photo department at Target. My wife came along to “pick up a few things.” Thanks to Kavita I had my pictures on the disk in 30 minutes.

However, my wife was just getting started; she was in the zone, casually browsing the aisles, stopping for discourse with a dozen or so friends and acquaintances. After two hours I had a seat at the food section and stared at my watch. I wondered if we’d hit two and half hours? No way would we make it to three hours I was excited, in a quirky kind of way, when my wife checked out at the three hour and 31 minute mark.

You don’t see that kind of thing every day.

Three and a half hours in Target, that’s pretty quirky.

Happy Holidays

The Justice League photos are coming.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Arizona Justice League of Photographers, Canyon Lake

Question: How many teachers does it take to transfer 100 photos from a digital camera to a computer?

Answer: More than the number living in my house.

The Justice League of Photographers recently explored Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flats. I took close to 100 photos. Thanks to modern technology I can show you exactly one. Why just one photo? If I could answer the question, I could probably download the photos now couldn’t I?

I returned from the photo shoot raring to upload the photos. As you probably know, uploading is a simple process that entails connecting the camera to the computer with, catch this, a USB cord and clicking on the right places on the computer screen. That’s right; I know what a USB cord is. I clicked on the screen but nothing happened. Three hours of screwing around with the computer yielded me no pictures.

I decided to seek out the expertise of my coworkers. The next door teacher is a camera/computer aficionado; he immediately ascertained that my USB cord is a piece of junk. Using his top of the line USB cord, he expeditiously transferred the pictures to the, get this, K drive on my work computer. That’s right folks; I know what a k drive is Now that the pictures were on my k drive, all I had to do was email the folder to my home computer. Long story short - I get it; it’s a little late for a long story short - the email wouldn’t accept the whole file and I was only able to send one picture, one banana picture.

The next day I sought out a different camera/computer specialist. He told me I needed to buy a little ten dollar box. This box would hold my camera card and transfer pictures much more easily. Finally, a simple answer. I mean, what could be simpler than a ten dollar box?

On the way home I stopped at Radio Shack. I showed my camera to the 16 year-old clerk.

“I need the little ten dollar box for the picture card.”

OK, my description was far from eloquent but she seemed to know what I meant. Rolling her eyes, she snatched a package with the little box and rang me up.


“I though these little boxes were ten bucks.”

“21.50.” she said coldly.

“Are you sure this little box will work on my computer?” I asked handing her my debit card.

“Just follow the directions.” she said handing me my receipt and box.

I thought about telling her that if her Radio Shack gig ever went south there was a Subway down the street where she’d fit right in.

I know this is hard to believe, but even with box, I was not able to successfully transfer the pictures from the camera to the computer. Although the kid wasn’t very happy to see me again, she took the box back and credited my card with the 21.50.

And so I have this Banana picture.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Steve McQueen, Research Papers and Ten Bucks

My mind has been turned to muck. This is the direct result of grading 100 four to six page research papers over the last ten days. I’m telling you I can’t take it any more. Come to think of it, I don’t have to take it any more – until next year.

Grading these papers has actually made me stupider. I know what you’re thinking; is stupider a word? Doesn’t the use of stupider, at the very least, reflect indicate bad grammar? Didn’t I just get done telling you that grading them research papers made me stupider than I was before?

Allow me to share a few examples of antiknowledge that lingers in the recesses of my brain as a result of reading these research papers:

The Woodstock Festival was held to protest the War of 1812.

The Vietnam War was fought between the United States and Korea.

Adolph Hitler and the Nazis were communists.

George Washington owned a Coca Cola bottling plant.

There were a few good papers but the truth is I put heckuva a lot more work into grading than my students put into writing the papers. The lack of effort was no surprise. This is the fourth year I’ve been assigning research papers to high school juniors. I used the word assigning because I sure as heck don’t appear to be teaching them anything.

A couple of years ago a student turned in a paper on thr influence of Elvis Presley on American culture. He wrote that Elvis was so angry over his daughter’s marriage to Michael Jackson that he refused to speak to her for two years. For the benefit of those who don’t follow American pop culture, the king of rock and roll died at least a decade before Lisa Marie’s marriage to Michael Jackson.

This year’s assignment called for the class to compare a post 1900 American movement to a pre 1900 American movement. Five students didn’t even respond to the prompt. Three students wrote papers advocating the legalization of marijuana, citing highly respected academic sources such as,, and

I’ve got to ask, were the authors of the three papers high when I gave the assignment???

Did I mention that the papers were really bad? The average score is in the low 60s. Man, last night I had a dream about grading bad research papers.

I gave the unit by best shot. I’ll try some new approaches next year.

I'm guessing Steve McQueen never graded a research paper in his life. He was too busy driving fast cars, running around with hot chicks and beening the king of cool.

It's not like the only thing going on in my life has been bad research papers and antiknowledge. For example I found ten bucks in the street last week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hey, Buzz!

I'm beFrank and I approve this blog!

Bill (we call him, Buzz) was having some formatting trouble with his blog, so he gave me access to try and fix the problem.

I think things are back to relatively normal (an entirely over-rated concept, if you ask me) and I hope there is an increase in hits because I'm sort of guest posting.