Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Web Junk 3 (Slightly NSFW)

Happy Hump Day My Good People!

It has been a hectic time of me balancing between being lazy, a total fatty, and doing homework. But I'm back with this week's web junk.

First is this hilarious tumblr I stumbled upon (see what I did there?) on the facebook. I can't remember who shared it so I can't give them their props. But Celebs that Copy Brandy entertained me highly, especially when they compared Brandy to the Queen of England. Mad props.  

Next is a hilarious video that my lil cuz Jim showed me while he came up from his southern haunts to visit. This video was a bit weird at first but it grew on me immensely. I hope you enjoy the "White Boy Boogie" as much as I did. Skip to 4:28.

And last but certainly not least is my favorite video of the week. This little doozey had my jaw dropping and me ready to go get a yoga mat discount from groupon. Real Talk. I give my girl Eun all the props for showing me this jem. I mean gawddamn. And you'll understand why after watching it. BTW folks. It's slightly NSFW so be warned.

And there you have it. I hope work or school or your kids doesn't kill you and/or give you grey hairs. Happy Hump Day!

The Old, Old, Old, Oldies

Most cities with a lot of black people have at least two or three radio stations that play oldies. The classics. The good stuff. But why do oldies stations primarily play music from the 70's, 80's and 90's? Soul Train was great but soul music existed way before the decade that brought us black power. Here are a just a few examples of great music your grandparents may know something about.

Papa Chele played Ben E. King's greatest hits album for at least twelve years straight. For an album that includes Spanish Harlem, you could imagine why. Many of you are familiar with King's song, Stand By Me. A former lead singer for The Drifters, he scored his first hit in 1961 with Spanish Harlem.

She was taken from us too soon but Dinah Washington left behind plenty of music for us to treasure. She passed away at the age of 39 from an accidental overdose. Despite such tragedy, Dinah is remembered as one of the most successful female singers in the 1950's. Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby is a 1962 recording but it was first written by Louis Jordan in 1944.

Speaking of Louis Jordan, it is only appropriate that he be included in this list, and heard on our radio stations today. Tell me this isn't soul you hearing! Not just soulful, but The Father of Rhythm of Blues was often comical and political. I first heard Beans and Cornbread on the Malcolm X soundtrack but other songs of his including What's the Use of Gettin' Sober, That Chick's Too Young to Fry and  Pettin' and Pokin'. Beans and Cornbread was recorded in 1949.


I really don't think this wonderful woman needs an introduction. Ms. Lena Horne, ladies and gentleman. 

Do ever wish for TV One's hit television show Unsung to make an episode about a certain artist you love? With his incredible career and many gifts, it would be great for younger generations to learn about Johnny Mathis and the contributions he made to music. Chances Are was recorded in 1957 and a year later, Mathis compiled a selection of chart-topping single he made with Columbia Records and created a Greatest Hits album, the first ever in history.

It's important to may homage to all the soul musicians that gave music we have learned and loved. Let us not limit our appreciation to music simply because it is more familiar to our ears. Artists mentioned above and their contemporaries laid the foundation for all of the sounds we groove and bop our heads to. So call your local classic soul stations and make the disc jockeys dig deep for those old, old, oldies!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Teaching Reading is Fundamental

With pure luck, I was able to find another assistant teaching job in an after school program. The elementary school is located in a neighborhood adjacent to mine with very similar demographics. The area is almost entirely black, middle class with many Caribbean residents. The school itself is aesthetically appealing with artwork on almost every wall.

It is almost night and day when compared to the last school I worked in where the hallways were decorated with cafeteria trash, rather than student drawings. And instead of the disrespectful, volatile kids from before, the kids in my current school are disciplined and appropriately innocent.

I am impressed with the school so far. While the students' performance on last year's standardized tests were average, the parents and staff work hard to provide the kids with the resources needed to improve the overall quality of the school. This includes two after school programs, Saturday school and a variety of extracurricular activities.

Again, it is a fairly decent school. I'm happy. I did, however, notice something slightly bothersome. I teach  first grade. Out of a class of twenty four, having two or three who cannot read is not too bad. (Especially when compared to the two or three who could read in another low performing school I taught in briefly.)

I'm not familiar enough with curricula in New York City's public schools, but I wonder if kids are being taught reading fully in kindergarten or if educators are instead waiting until the first grade. I hope this is not the case because learning how to read is difficult, especially for children with learning disabilities. It is likely that kindergarten teachers have to compensate for those who did not attend preschool and as a result, have a lot of catching up to do. But doesn't this give more reason for us to start earlier??

What are your thoughts?
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