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Some Guy Named Paul
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Some Guy Named Paul

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Perhaps this explains why the suburbs can be so drab and depressing.
In the bleak midwinter, there are few walks more energising.
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Some Guy Named Paul

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My response to a writing prompt (linked). 
===================================
ANNA

She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. It hadn't really changed much over the years -  it was still a small collection of two and three-room cottages nestled in a little valley with a small, flat school to the east and a church dominating the center. Steam rose off the rooftops to mingle with smoke drifting lazily from chimneys. She could almost make out a few people in their yards, turning over the soil in preparation for winter.

When she'd written her parents that she wanted to come back home for a visit, the response had been terse: "That would be fine." Sixteen years of absence had done little to mellow her mother's feelings. Her father...

The last thing she'd heard from her father had been shouted after her as she dove into Franz' rusted VW Beetle with nothing more than a stuffed backpack and two layers of clothing. "No good will come of this!" he had warned. "You'll be back full of remorse and a swollen belly!" Her mother had stood behind him, voicing her agreement through loud, gulping sobs.

She'd tried to explain her dreams to them - to all of them - but it had been a disaster.  Only Franz had understood.  Hadn't he had the same dreams of doing more in the world? Of cities and countries and far-off places where there was more to life than trees and the mill and whomever God was going to smite next? 

Anna had been so sure she’d never return, but..

"For God's sake, Mom, you've been out here for ten minutes!  Can we just go? I'm freezing!"
Anna looked back at her daughter, 14 years old and ready to fly with fledgling dreams of her own. It seemed to Anna that she had spent a lifetime helping her grow, but now all her efforts were to pull her back from the flimsy boundaries that separated her from the dangerous outside world.

That's why she was coming back home today - to let her parents know that she understood. 
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It's amazing how politics damages the country when those asked to serve its citizens choose not to listen to them, or each other. What Senator Boxer describes in her HuffPo op-ed piece is endemic in our system.

I mean, with just a few replaced words, she could be describing the federal government's assault on education.

"In an unprecedented maneuver this past June, the Department of Education launched a mean-spirited assault on education.

It was stunning. With one letter, the federal government elected to turn their backs on fairness, compassion and common sense -- and go after dreamers in California and across America.

We are talking about children and young adults -- many of whom were brought to our country as infants -- who grew up here, went to school here, work here and live here as our neighbors and friends. Now the DOE wants these young dreamers and their families out of school. It's sad, it's ugly, and it's against everything we stand for as a country."
On issue after issue facing our country, this is a Republican Party so obsessed with blocking the president -- and now suing the president -- that it has abdicated its most basic responsibility to govern....
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As the LAUSD looks to expand its iPad program, and as more and more schools are expecting children to have some computer literacy by kindergarten, this article challenges the rush to technology, and scolds you, parent of toddlers, for letting your kid play with your iPhone just so they hush up.

Check out the "Technology Use Guidelines for Children and Youth" chart at the bottom of the post. Don't think those will be accepted anytime soon.
s a pediatric occupational therapist, I'm calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years....
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Some Guy Named Paul

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I've heard, over the past few weeks: "Man, I can't wait for 2013 to be over." That saddens me. Each day we experience love and loss. Each day we have the chance to enrich ourselves and the people around us. Why would we want those opportunities to speed by?

If we've crossed paths, I've no doubt I come across as a glass-half-empty sort of guy, so this may seem a bit out of character. But here's the thing: it's not important if the glass is half-empty or half-full. It's that we've drunk from the glass. And that we can refill it.

MY WISH FOR 2014: that you are always able to refill the glass from which you drink.
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"Stop. Look. Go." 
A message for this Thanksgiving.
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Some Guy Named Paul

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In the bleak midwinter, there are few walks more energising.
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Some Guy Named Paul

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John Oliver spends a great deal of time in this rant skewering the for- profit education industry, so it's easy to forget that he's exposing crucial flaws in the entire education system. 

Community colleges are strapped for cash because someone came up with the idea that affordability trumps ability.  Thus, community colleges are repeatedly forced to cut back on services, forcing their students to endure waiting lists to get on waiting lists, a faculty of part-time teachers who have little too no connection to the school our it's students, and an education remarkably similar to what they should have learned in high school.

Yet while community colleges are cutting funding, career colleges continue to make an investment in their faculty. Sure,  it's less of an investment that they made in their admissions staff, but to hear (not from Oliver, of course) that Corinthian Colleges was actually replacing the bulk of their part time online faculty with full time faculty because they recognized the need for instructors who cared about their students, one just may realize that working to ensure a college is profitable may not be such a bad thing. 
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At the 15 minute mark of this broadcast, Warren Ulney interviews an Everest alumnus. "How did you do with your medical billing degree? Did you get a job as a result? And are you happy with the education that you got from Everest College?" Her response is telling of the misdirection that's endemic in the attacks on for-profit educations.

She admits that she got A's in all her classes. She obviously applied herself, and did well. She shares that she got a job after graduating. A job that Kent Jenkins, CCi VP of Public Affairs, asserts she would not have gotten without her education. 

The interviewee's complaint was that she had to get the job "on her own." That Everest did not help her at all in the process. While I'll admit that there's a "Missing F" (CCi argot) with our Career Services department in this instance, I'll point back to one thing that's important: Everest's focus in on preparing their students for a career, not getting them one. The school appears, in that respect, to have succeeded.
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"If we really want transformation, we HAVE to slog through the hard stuff: the history, the economics, philosophy, art, the ambiguities and contradictions."

Don't think of this video just as criticism for TedTalks. Much of the points Mr. Bratton makes can be applied to any of the tough, meaningful discussions we need to have, as he illustrates several times in this TedTalk. 
Benjamin Bratton: Science, philosophy and technology run on the model of American Idol – as embodied by TED talks – is a recipe for civilisational disaster
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Neighborhood Christmas Light display -- everything but the kitchen sink edition. It's a bit fuzzy, but can you spot the three mannequins in holiday lingerie? One's right next to the Gene Simmons KISS mannequin.
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I recall, years back, reading a comment in reference to the "new" subdermal electronic locator chips that vets and pet loving activists want us to insert into our pets' necks. The sentiment was that it wouldn't take long for that tech to be used on humans. I concur that such an evolution of personal identification would be fraught with peril.

Mobile phones point out that the chip need not be subdermal to work on humans.

So now... this.

What potentially invasive tech will we absorb next?
Mashable
Google's Motorola Mobility has filed a patent for a method of tattooing a microphone and lie detector onto a user's throat.
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In his circles
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Mike Lehr's profile photo
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Scribbles random thoughts on his to-do lists.
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Published in "Road-Tested Activities," a compendium of activities for the trainer seeking new ideas.
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Don't get enough breakfast bar fare because your business travel budget has been cut? Stop by Soup Plantation on Sundays, and relive those Extended Stay mornings, now with Soup Plantation's signature blueberry muffins and foccacia bread! It's good stuff. Don't expect a fancy brunch.
Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
It's OK for a rice bowl. The "sides" are paltry. I needed to double up on some of them to get anything, so I guess it's good that they give you six of them.
Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
3 reviews
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We found this place via an advertisement in a local magazine announcing the grand opening of Hikari Sushi 2. What caught the wife's eye: all-you-can-eat sushi. I'll acknowledge that no restaurant is going to serve their best food with an all-you-can-eat deal. When dealing with sushi, I'm really looking for the food to be better than Todai. And it was, if only because it was more inventive than the sushi fare Todai puts out. Lots of rolls with spicy tuna, or laden with sauces to cover up the inferior cuts and quality. I had the Stanton Roll, made fairly bland with the avocado wrapped around the soy paper and whatever that light orange mayo sauce is, and the yellowtail delight, which tasted nothing like yellowtail due to the spicy tuna inside the roll and the dab of Sriracha sauce holding the jalapeno pepper slice atop it. The wife had a House Roll, made with salmon on the outside and a salty crab meat mixture on the inside. The salmon had a bone in it, which should never happen. Never. We split a sashimi salad - a small pile of lettuce with minnow- sized chunks of sashimi. My sister just wanted the sashimi salad by itself - no all-you-can-eat for her. That was well-done and well-presented. Because my sister was not eating from the all - you - can - eat menu, our visit was made a bit uncomfortable by the restaurant staff who continually policed us to make sure we weren't sharing our rolls with her. I get it. Poaching from a table-mate's all-you-can-eat menu cuts into the restaurant's bottom line. The constant supervision was still unpleasant. The least they could have done was pretend to be cleaning out plates and ensuring the tea was always full. On a humorous note: the restaurant advertised pomegranate sake, which sounded interesting - until I found it during on a counter next to the cashier in one of those iced - tea dispensers. No thanks.
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Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago