Nanahood Philosophy…

I have reached the conclusion that the best legacy I can leave to my grandchildren is to do what you love, let the world know you love it, and never be afraid of what others think of it as long as you are satisfied with what you have chosen to do to leave your mark on the world. IN doing so, never look back with regrets because that is the one thing that can slow your progress. Move forward. Strive for excellence and never let others define your self-worth or decide your path for you. It is your life to live, not theirs. You have to own your mistakes as well as your achievements–and when you can do that and not blame others, it is easier to be at peace with yourself and the decisions you make.

I spent much of my life trying to make others happy, often at my own sacrifice. Those days have ended.  I walk my own path rather than that which was set for me.  It is my hope that my grandchildren will also do this.

That being said, I am considering a 6-12  month teaching assignment in China.  Whether or not I do this depends upon what happens at my job in the next few weeks.  I want to see the world. I want to share this with my grandchildren.  Nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it, right?  I fully intend to write about my experiences wherever I go, just as I used to do on this blog. I am going to return to the mountain in the morning to ponder this as well.

I have to do what I have to do. Hopefully things will work out here, but if they do not, I have other doors through which I can readily pass.  Nothing is impossible.  Have a  great weekend everyone!

 

There are more pics to come, but this little guy has really brought some light into my life!

The Bullying Issue…AGAIN

Alright, this is for those who have read my past blogs on bullying.  I have now come up with some ideas on how to resolve a lot of this, and it came to me when I found out a friend’s daughter was getting bullied and the school switched her classes without telling anyone.

First, in TX, that is NOT supposed to happen. Parents are supposed to be notified prior to schedule changes–esp. mid semester.

For one:  All schools should be required to report any bullying incident to the parent(s) of all parties involved within an hour of becoming aware of it.  That way the PARENTS can actually be involved in addressing the issue.

Two: NO VICTIM should ever have the same classes, lunch break or any extra curricular activity with the bully. Putting the victim in a class with the person who abused them is akin to putting a rape victim in the same room with his/her attacker. It is psychologically devastating and it is abusive of schools to do this to a child who has been bullied.

Three: IT should always be up to the parent(s) of the victim(s) whether or not to file charges–NOT THE DISTRICT. It is their child getting hurt.

Four: Bullies should not be allowed to ride the school buses. Make their parents responsible for their child’s transportation.  Bullies tend to act out on a bus a lot.

Five:  every state should add sections with protections like those mentioned above. At least it’s a start…

Given the fact that many of the public schools now feel like prisons to the victims, I say an extension of the PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) should be expanded to include a rule that public school personnel who fail to tell parents and take measures to protect the victim should be held liable–especially if they fail to report the incident. If that incident is a sexual assault of some type they should be required to tell not only the parents but the police themselves.   Even if it is not a rape, but molestation of some type, it is still a crime punishable under the law. However many districts choose to sweep this under the rug–unless it’s an adult doing this to a child.

If steps like these are not taken soon, then it is children who are victims of violence and emotional abuse that are being silenced and then left behind. Think about that. This being said, I feel that aggravated suicide must be made a punishable crime in all 50 states.

The student population has a growing number of children from gang families coming into the school systems. Many of those have family members that are incarcerated and have learned their violent behaviors at home. You also have “average kids” who bully because they are abused at home.  These things must be addressed in order to make a safe learning environment for all children. Any district failing to enact measures to protect these children should be subject to loss of federal funding also.

This bullying which leads to violence, death and aggravated suicide must stop and it must stop now.

This is an Indie Film Worth Supporting!

She remembers those days well…Walking into class with a pencil, the same clothes she had to wear for two days straight, her book and no paper…When she tried to borrow paper the student she asked told her, “Get your own! You’re always out of stuff!”  Embarrassed, by the situation she then asked the teacher if she had some that she could borrow.  In those days teachers weren’t that keen on it, but she knew the child’s situation at home…There was no money.  The teacher handed her a folder with ten sheets of paper with her name on it.  She then said to her, “This is your paper folder. Bring it to me every day and I will keep refilling it.”

Smiling the little girl did so.  Her grades came up and she seemed happier, even though other kids in her class picked on her.   I should remember her well…I was that child.  I didn’t always have what I needed due to things taking place at home–but at least I HAD a roof over my head.  Many of these students do not.  That is where School on Wheels comes in.  You can find out more via the link below. They have been providing tutoring services to homeless students since 1993.  This is definitely a worthwhile cause to support and more organizations like this are needed around the nation!

Now I want to tell you a way that you can help that might interest you as well.  IF you are a patron of the arts, and support independent film makers, then you need to check out the trailer for the picture “Lost in a Crowd” that is soon to be released.  The cast and crew have decided that they will give 10% of all funding raised to School on Wheels, Inc.   You can view the trailer here:

http://www.indiegogo.com/LIAC

There are also rewards in this for you depending on the amount you choose to give.  There are many independent films that do not make it to mainstream markets due to various factors, but this is a film that deserves to have support.  You will be seeing a lot more of this cast and crew in the future.

There is also a link on the home page that will take you to the main website for School on Wheels for when you’d like to give supplies, volunteer, etc…

Again, this is a worthwhile cause to be a part of, and for as little as $10, you can make the difference in the life of a student with needs this holiday season.  Thank you and have a great week!

This is a Film You Need to Check Out! I’ll Tell You Why…

I have a lot of respect for the Indie film market because those in it reach out to wide audiences of every race, religion, creed, etc…Often the cast and crew give of their time to help those in need.  This is about one such group who have put their energy into a new film.  Right now they are raising money to get the film marketed, but 10% will go to Schools on Wheels, an organization that is making a difference in the lives of homeless students in Los Angeles.  I had never heard of Schools on Wheels prior to this film, but I am hoping that these pop up all over the place, because they are very much-needed!

Here is a link to School on Wheels here:  http://www.schoolonwheels.org/  and they are worth checking out!

The name of the film is called “Lost in a Crowd”.  Aside from being a pretty darned good movie, they are donating 10% of any money used to promote the film to School on Wheels!  You can check out the trailer and such here:   http://www.indiegogo.com/LIAC    This film  also marks the directorial début of Micah Cohen!  Also here is a partial list of the cast: Timothy Ryan Cole, Luke Albright,  David L. Murphy, Gary Cairns and Marta McGonagle.    I really wish these guys the best as they have put a lot of hard work and dedication into this project!

Have a great week!

Tina

SCHOOL is in session…Oh My God! Don’t Panic! Writing is not THAT Hard! ***PART II***

Okay…We had a session about putting a short essay together, which we broke down into sentences and paragraphs…Now comes the bloody zinger…WHEN a test grader has you write on an assigned topic.  These are a pain in the butt–especially if you DON’T know anything about the topic you have to read about in order to write the essay.  PROBLEM one:  A lot of these forms and booklets used  for standardized testing are printed by a company called NES out of New York.  Whoever writes the question doesn’t care what is actually taught in the classroom because such testing is a HUGE money-maker for the company selling the district the booklets and the forms.

Now parents…And also people who aren’t parents but sweated bullets (and chewed their nails to the quick) all through school:  How many times did you receive a passage to read about a subject you knew NOTHING about, and the reading passage did NOTHING to illustrate clearly what it was actually discussing?  I’ve seen these questions.  They look something like this: “According to paragraph three, what was the effect that the fishing nets had upon the ecosystem upon which hermit crabs do rely?”  THIS was on a JUNIOR HIGH test when I was in school years ago…Depending on the state and the material given to be taught all year, that might not even have been covered.  Some may know nothing about the hermit crab or the fishing industry.  Some may not know that as hermit crabs grow, they need larger empty shells to occupy and hide in.  To top it off, paragraph three was so vague that all it said was that “…Some other external factors” affected the habitat where the crabs were living.  They had trouble finding shells.”

IT DOES NOT MATTER!  Tell your kids it DOES NOT MATTER…Again that same simple rule for writing applies: It is NOT the content they are looking for as much as the “mechanics” of the sentence and the paragraphs which contain them.  If this is the case, this is how I would have answered that question in Junior High

“…The makers of this test just had me complete a reading assignment about hermit crabs and the fishing industry, yet they left me more confused because the passage is not clear on how the crabs are truly affected by these fishing nets since the nets were never directly mentioned.  I would assume that many of the larger shells that they need to move into as they grow are being destroyed during the fishing process.  Thus, it leaves the creatures as prey for larger creatures in the sea…”

“…Since I have not studied this topic, and the passage given only makes a few concrete statements, I will have to guess as to why this is even being addressed at my level of study…”

I basically went on to point out that this is not studied until the 10th grade and that the only thing that I could surmise is that this was a passage with a question inserted deliberately to cause students to be placed in remedial courses because many cannot answer questions on material that doesn’t apply to them and/or has not been covered yet.  I got a perfect score but it still  caused a bit of concern–but everyone understood why I wrote it like that…Again, they can only grade you on MECHANICS–not content. If they graded on content, they could flunk everyone and get more money for remedial classes to cover that part of the test. I would have never graduated in that case because I was always too blunt and too free–not to mention very forceful with my opinions when I felt justified.

I think it is still a safe bet to teach your children to write in the way described above on questions they cannot possibly connect with in this instance.  If they can master the art of telling it “like it is” then there shouldn’t be a problem.  Raising a child to be an independent thinker should be the goal of every parent.  There are some teachers that will try to give such a student problems in this state.  They will tell you to put that child on medication (for which they can lose their license in many states since they are not doctors) and will hassle the child if they don’t agree with what is stated and are trying to force your child to conform to THEIR ideas of how they should be as human beings.  In a way it’s a form of bullying.  Do not tolerate it.  Never let a teacher use personal bias to penalize your student either.  Call him or her on the carpet every time–even if you do it in front of the superintendent or the principal. Furthermore, let other classmates parents know what you did to protect your child if they express concerns over the same behaviors that their children are relaying to them.  The more the parents stand up to these people, the better off the child is.  Their “expertise” does not qualify THEM to literally ‘raise’ your child into the image they want–and SOME of them (not all) do try to do this.

On the other hand there are wonderful teachers that will get alternative material for such a child and encourage it.  When you find a teacher like that and will call you up to tell you how great your kid is doing, that teacher is worth his/her weight in gold. Don’t go commando on him or her–especially if they are the new teacher because he or she is not just there for the paycheck and there are many teachers who have many years of experience that work the same way.  Many are still trying to make a difference despite the restrictions that their districts and D.C. are trying to place upon them.   How many times do parents get called into the school and it’s always a negative?  This is unacceptable also.  I’ve seen some who only focus on the negative behavior without telling a parent what they are doing to REDIRECT the behavior.  Parents should know to ask that question. This is especially true if you are the parent of an ADHD child like I am.  ADD parents should ask the same thing when confronted by a teacher.  Also do not sit down in a conference if the teacher is standing up. Remain standing. Body language is important here, and it tells that teacher that you will not be a submissive parent if you feel that he or she is wrong.

My son always made great grades.  Problem: He would finish before everyone else and would have to have other things to do because he would go around bugging everyone–including the teacher if not kept on task on SOMETHING.  His teachers eventually got him advanced reading materials and extra assignments so that his mind could stay occupied and it worked.  This kid made the Dean’s List his first semester in college–but now that he’s making $$$ he decided to put it off.  I’m still trying to convince him to go back and finish!   IF you have such a child–do not get bullied into medicating him either.  Again, that’s about $$$ too–and it really won’t enable the teacher to “control” the child which is what they are hoping to accomplish.  Engaging the child and keeping him on a task is better in the long run and it is far more rewarding..My son with ADD also struggled, and what helped him was music classes.  Once I put him in that his grades skyrocketed–especially in math…It works!  It’s strange having two kids with different issues like that.

Now I realize I touched on several items here, but you really need to talk to your kids about what to do with assigned topics that they are not familiar with.  Teach them how to refute effectively in their writing and you’ll have an independent thinker for life!  Above all, I strongly support  30 minute free writing workshops for students who want those short chunks to help them get the hang of it.  It’s more fun than those god awful tutorials they make kids stay for and much more effective, I think…

Touchy Topic…True Story…Food for Thought…When Educators are the Bullies…

It was 1978…I was a kid who was going through hell at home.  I was abused…I won’t go into every little detail, but my stepmother’s favorite mode of discipline when I was a child was to pick me up and throw me into a cabinet or up against the wall–if she wasn’t waiving a gun at my head…While my classmates enjoyed slumber parties, discovered the opposite sex and enjoyed some normal teen-aged fun–I spent my days and many nights hiding in my room and watching old movies or reading books–even after Judy’s death.

Some of what I write is through a character called “Kit”.  She’s merely a facsimile of what I might have been, or am depending on any given day of the week.  While my father turned more to his alcohol, and other family members only sought an escape, I followed suit and my pen became my weapon against all evil entities foreign and domestic.  I killed off more characters who did horrible things than Dexter–most likely, so I guess you could say I was a “serial slasher with a pen”.  It is through these writings that I ended up in a counselor’s office at the age of 15.  They really thought that rather than the escape vehicle my writing was, that I was actually planning to harm myself for some strange reason.  I think it had more to do with the fact that my stepmother killed herself and my writing became darker with each passing moment.

However this is about a Monday morning in September when I came back to school after her having been buried a few days prior.  The whole town knew that she shot herself.  I was sleeping with the lights on, still not believing that my chief abuser/warden was gone.  It was worsened by the fact that my father left me to my own devices for the most part.  The alcohol became the next woman in his life for some time. Before I get into this, I just want to say that in the present, if a teacher does this, he or she can lose their license for it.  I found out today that I was vindicated when I found out through a classmate that the teacher who was so cruel (a coach) was fired on the football field not too long after this incident.

I remember walking through the halls that Monday morning…Even some of the kids that picked on me were nice to me.  “I am sorry, Tina.” they’d say.  Or “If you need anything, my mother said you can come to our house.” etc..Everything seemed okay.  I avoided writing in my journal and the teacher, Mrs. Eaves was okay with that.  She understood that I just wanted to read that day.  I remember what I was reading too…I was reading “Silas Marner“…George Eliot–not my usual Edgar Allen Poe or Samuel Beckett fare.  I dreaded going to Biology class because HE was going to be there.  This teacher was a pure asshole.  He singled students out daily and humiliated them.  He picked on the ones that had long hair.  We felt more like marine recruits than students in his charge.  This incident would be the first nail in the coffin for him.

I walked into the room and sat at the desk where I usually went in the back of the room…He always gave me bullshit before–along with a few other students, but this was not the day he wanted to do that–only he didn’t realize that yet.  Somehow, one of the new kids (who truly didn’t realize who I am) asked about suicide and why people do that.  I was livid.  This is not what I wanted to hear at all.  Somehow that student got to ask why women do that when the coach commented, “Women don’t usually go around shooting themselves because they don’t want to mess up their looks.”  The class became quiet and those who knew me turned and look back at me.  I stood up.  I heard one of my classmates say “Holy shit! He’ll kill her…”

“O’Neill what do you think you’re doing?  Sit back down.” he said to me.

“Go to hell.” I said as I headed for the door.  I left my books and everything on the desk.  He tried to grab my arm and was yelling something, but for the first time, I pulled away and ran–not walked–RAN to the office.  I slammed the door behind me and they instantly  knew something was wrong.  I wasn’t crying either. I wanted to, for the first time, really bitch slap that man.  I was seething with rage. The principal called me into the office and he and the counselor calmed me down.  They called my Dad.  Once I calmed down they asked me what happened.  “I will never go back to that class.” I told them.  They asked why.  I told him everything that this coach had said.  They had my books brought to the office.  When my dad showed up, they had him take me home and told him that I could stay home for a few days with no penalty while they straightened things out.

They talked to my dad for a long time after I went back into the waiting area and sat down.  I remember Dad saying something like, “You should have reported him a long time ago for talking to you kids like that.  He has no right.”  All I said was, “He is the teacher and isn’t he ALWAYS right?”   “No. He isn’t. And you’re going into a different class next week but I’m keeping you home for a few more days.” he told me.  I went into my room, closed my door and THEN cried a bit.  I didn’t want to let anyone see me like that–devastated…

I went back to school that Friday.  They had that coach in the office.  “Tina, I’m sorry.  I had been out-of-town for a week and I really didn’t know what happened.”  My response, “You’re a liar.  You are mean to us all every day and you treat us like crap.  Everyone in town knew so you can’t tell me you never got a phone call or a note in your box. I’m not stupid.  That was the last straw and if they put me back in your class, I’m dropping out.”  He then said, “Tina I really am sorry.  I really didn’t know–”  I said something like  “Take it up with God.  Maybe he’ll believe it but not me. I’m not God.”

Nobody said anything after he went back to his classroom, but I was quickly put into a different class.  Another teacher told me she really understood how I felt, but he really wasn’t told about it.   That just told me someone dropped the ball.   He got fired on the football field as well later on.  Evidently he never learned anything from what he did to me.  The remark about suicide wasn’t the first time he picked on any of us.  Any of us could have fit into “The Breakfast Club“.  I was the Ally Sheedy character…Jimmy was the Judd Nelson character…I could go on…If he wasn’t picking on someone for their weight, it was their hair…If it wasn’t how they dressed, it was how they spoke or read…In short, this guy was a pure asshole.

All I want to point out here is that if a teacher bullies a student or group of students, there should be no “probation”.  This is abuse and they should immediately lose their license for it the first time they are caught doing it.  This stuff still goes on…I’ve seen teachers tell other students, “Don’t say something to (Insert a student name here) because he/she will run back and tell Mommy and we’ll all get into trouble~!” AFTER said teacher had been verbally abusing other students and gotten reported for it several times so where does the “we” come into it?  I’ll tell you.  That teacher is trying to gain a following–just like gang leaders and wannabes in prison do.  I saw this behavior first hand when working in corrections.  This is what offenders do to incite others to be cruel to offenders that will not fall into their game or do as they want.  Kids have been bullied at school as a result of the manipulation by these educators–especially if the teacher in question “rewards” those who “support” him or her with free time or something…Seriously!

Schools should not be prisons and teachers should not be teaching students how to be “offenders” in a correctional setting.  Teachers who engage in this type of behavior are as low as some of the people I had to deal with as a correctional sergeant and not all of them were offenders either.  Thank you.  I’ve gotten that off of my chest.  If you know of a teacher who does this, report it.  If you are a teacher and you witness this–don’t be afraid to do the right thing because ignoring it makes you party to it.  There shouldn’t be a “code of silence” when kids are suffering at the hands of such incompetent educators.  And as for administrators that back these abusers up rather than do their job, fire them on the spot right along with teacher that overstepped his/her bounds.

 

 

Just an observation over decades…

In the 60’s, I had maid service, people cooking for me, and teaching me right from wrong…

In the 70’s I had school, working from the time I was a kid and developing my sense of right and wrong.

In the 80’s, I had college, my own sense of justice and of what was right and wrong–plus the belief that I was invincible…Then I had a family of my own and got a reality check.   Needless to say, I didn’t join a punk rock band like I threatened to do. I realized that it is up to me to take care of me and my family. That sort of happens when fathers leave the moms in the lurch–holding the bag.  Hubby #1 left me and my oldest for a teenager when my oldest son was 3 mos. old.  I married again two years later…Big mistake…I really learned that there is no such thing as a “prince”.  I forgave his one indiscretion.  I didn’t forgive the deceit that followed.  I came out stronger for leaving that situation.

In the 90’s I finished my degree.  I taught.  I left that field and became a corrections officer.  I used more of my teaching skills in that environment than I was ever allowed to use in a classroom.  Why?  Had to teach “social skills” and teach to a yearly test…NOT the curriculum.  At the prison, I did the same job for more pay because the young offenders who ended up there fell through the cracks.  I developed a new sense of justice and of reality.  Education needs to get back to educating…Seniors that cannot fill out a job application are proof that the system is failing.  More of them end up where I used to work.  That tells me the problems cannot all be laid at the feet of bad parenting when these offenders (many of them) cannot even read on 8th grade level.

In the 2000’s…I came across some insight that encouraged me to seek out things about my own Native American heritage.  I found peace as a result.  Life may not always be the way we would like for it to be, but there is a design for things being as they are.  I have learned that I don’t need anyone to “validate” who I am or to “pat my ego”.  Those are not things I can leave behind when I die.  However, the tracks I leave for my children and grandchildren to follow are things I can leave behind.  I only hope that some of what I impart to them aids them in this life–and that the peace I have found comes full circle to them and to those who have touched my life.  I have learned that there are many kinds of love and happiness.   I found that on my mountain.    I can always find solace there.  It is my hope that someday, people I know can find their own “sanctuary” and find their happiness there.  It has to come from within.  I have not found it anywhere else or with any other person–but I find it in the hills where the birds sing and the crickets talk.   I see it where the foxes play.

And in seeing that, I realized that I am free also.  We can learn much from animals and from our surroundings if we simply listen quietly.

If you blow this up, you'll see a baby fox standing perfectly still--blending in with the grass and such...Try it! He's there! If you look toward the cedar bush next to the prickly pear cactus you can see his ears sticking up just to the right!

Missing Grannie…Especially at Easter…

Well, the family is all mixed up about tearing down my grandmother’s house.  I think it can be lived in, but nobody seems to want to take the time to give it some TLC.  I was quick to remind my son, who in his youthful haste said that it does need to be torn down, that it is hard to fathom that when so many little feet trotted across the white and gold linoleum floor of her living room over the decades–including mine and his.

My Grannie made us all go to church with her.  I didn’t like that stand, sit, stand, pray, sit, stand ritual–especially with long songs between stages.  The preaching did not bother me though.  The preacher we had would weave stories that kept us thinking and reflecting.  We did not get bored and fall asleep with him.  Grannie told stories about her youth also.  My sons were blessed to hear some of her stories also.  She told us all many stories of her childhood–and it is my youngest son, Kevin, who seems to have the memory of an elephant because he retells them once in a while–as does Brian and Eric.  Now my mother is sharing hers with us–along with Grannie’s so I guess you can say we have a rich oral history being handed down.

I can remember times when over 30 people would show up for Easter Sunday Dinner.  The smell of chocolate pies and her porcupine meatballs seemed to be luring the horde of relatives in from places unknown on that day of the year.  She served different types of food, and would often have worked on the meal since pre-dawn.  She would have a huge pan of meatballs, and later would have an even bigger pan of chicken and dressing.  I loved potato salad and deviled eggs…There was always homemade macaroni and cheese–until Kraft came out with a good, convenient alternative.  As usual, I could help get things and lick the bowl and/or the spoon!

Once the horde arrived, the adults ate in the dining room (in shifts–taking turns) while the kids were in the living room.  Grannie would often wait on everyone until the last person ate, and then she would sit down with her red, white and blue goblet full of iced tea and a plate.  Once she did that, everyone helped themselves, unless one of my aunts decided to do that to  keep traffic down in her tiny kitchen.

I remember when she painted the floor of the kitchen.  It is dark green with yellow.  Looking at it now, it is so hard to fathom how so many people could get through it to get to the dining room because it is tiny.   I remember sleeping through many a Texas thunderstorm on her bed.  The sound of the rain on the tin roof made it so relaxing to me.  There are times I wish that I could go back to those days–especially when my Grandpa Ainsworth was still among us.

Often I couldn’t reach the eggs hidden in trees higher than I could reach so he would lift me up to get them.  We would sit by the truck and eat a couple of eggs before the hunt was over and headed back to the house.   By four o’clock, people were eating again–if  not still napping!   All of us (the kids) rode in the back of the pickup truck.  There were no laws against it then, and depending on how the driver is behaving, you will not find a lot of policemen in that area saying much about it now because that might be the only vehicle a family of six owns in many places.  It is their sole mode of transportation and their work-truck 9 times out of 10.

Sometimes we’d stop at Mann’s Grocery to get a soda.  Then we’d get turned loose out in the yard, and sometimes we’d make ourselves sick eating so many mulberries or green plums off of the trees from my other grandmother’s house across the street.  Yes, some of the kids liked the green plums.  Not me…Now the grapes were another story.  I would really chow down on those–and ruin my supper every time, but Grannie didn’t say much because it was fruit and not the candy bars…Besides, after running off all that energy, we’d eat again in about an hour anyway.  My oldest brother would have dinner at Grannie’s–and then go across the street to my other grandmother’s house and eat again! Where the heck he put all that is beyond me to this day!

I found some pictures of myself from when I was little that I will share one day when I can scan them.  I was wearing dresses my mother and Grannie had made for me for school.   I often wonder what happened to that little girl in those pictures.  I also wonder if there are porcupine meatballs in Heaven…If there are, I’ll beat my brothers to her door when I get there~!

I miss her right now and no one will ever be able to fill her shoes or the void that her being gone has left in my life.  I cherish those memories.  Make sure you keep record of those for your families too–whatever your faith may be or whatever special days you have together.  You only have them once.  I hope you all had a blessed day and will have many more to follow.

My top 10 Villains (Actors and Actresses)–Updated with Pics

I know a lot of people won’t agree with my picks…I’ll give my honorable mentions at the end.  However, I tend to judge by an older standard anyway and these listed meet it.  These are actors that did not short change their fans in the parts I watched.  Some got stereotyped and others didn’t get the mention they deserved…Well, they get it here!  Besides, it gives me a breather from my novel    😀

10.  Shelley Winters  (A Patch of Blue)  In this one, she played a  HO  I WANTED to slap!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAK4iYYcHg8

9.    Barbara Stanwyck    (Double Indemnity)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z-JiVSVrpo&feature=related

8.    Dame Judith Anderson (Rebecca)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxO68PacfxE&NR=1

7.    Glenn Close  (Fatal Attraction)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZHe3GYQp_8

6.    Al Pacino  (Scarface)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZRKGHB8GxQ

5.    Jack Nicholson  (The Shining)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7JB68sLGY8

4.  Farah Fawcett (Small Sacrifices)   ***An actress that didn’t get the recognition I feel she deserved!  This actress played this bitch to the hilt!***

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2c2fAhYkqI&feature=related

3.   Ben Cross (Dark Shadows 1991)  Ben Cross as Barnabas!  And he was the best frigging  Barnabas too! The difference in this character and most “villains” is this character is not a villain by choice–but by necessity.  This character is probably the only villain I could have any empathy for because his plight is forced upon him.  However, the beast is not something he can always control. The man playing this character is, in my opinion,  the most  UNDERAPPRECIATED actor on the planet! My only regrets were that it ended after only 12 episodes–and Angelique didn’t get HER butt kicked!  If you watch these episodes,  Ben tempered that character  just enough to make him realistic to an audience that used to run home from kindergarten to watch the original Dark Shadows with Jonathan Frid! As much as I loved Frid as a child, this guy made that part his own. In doing so, the bar got raised too high for anyone who follows in my opinion.  Not even Johnny Depp could pull it off.  Sorry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_zoTfRmm9o

I definitely wouldn’t want to be on his bad side after watching the clip in that link!

2.     Bette Davis (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?)–*Just to note–when she played a bitch–she played it right!*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTtpDwrKaxo&playnext=1&list=PLE42FFF75FF785B0D

She should have received an Oscar for this one!

1.    Anthony Hopkins  (Silence of the Lambs) ***Need I say more here?!***

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMVqIISyp60&playnext=1&list=PL260A1CBFB75E6CF4

Honorable mentions:  Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight),  Faye Dunaway (Mommy Dearest),  Elizabeth Montgomery (Amos), Ricardo Montalban (The Wrath of Kahn) , Bruce Dern (Silent Running), Cherlize Theron (Monster), Powers Boothe (Guyana Tragedy:  The Story of Jim Jones), Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed) and Chuck Connors (Roots)

I know that a lot won’t agree with my list and that is fine…Like I said, these are my picks…I think every blogger should make a list of SOME sort.  There is a common thread I noticed between Ben Cross and Anthony Hopkins.  They have very intense eyes…That is one thing I notice when an actor plays a part–if the character is “in the eyes” and they can both pull that off without a hitch.   A lot of younger actors cannot pull that off today.

The Kid who WANTS to stay after school…

This is going to sound harsh, but when a kid wants to stay after school, volunteering to take trash for every teacher in the building, cleaning erasers (for those that still have blackboards), arranging books, etc…Let him or her do it–but make sure that if that kid is acting as if scared to go home–don’t drill the kid with a million and one questions.  Let your school counselor handle that or the principal because you do NOT want that monkey on your back.  You can make an anonymous phone call if you like, especially if the student seems to be afraid to go home, but whatever you do, let that kid have the sanctuary even if just for a half hour while you go to another room to do something else after you’ve locked down your computer or whatever.

If the kid starts hanging out with the maintenance people instead of going home, have the counselor or principal talk to the child.  Sometimes it is true that there is something going on at home that needs to be dealt with, and other times the kid has other stuff going on inside of his or her head that he or she may need help for, but is too afraid to tell Mom or Dad.

Why am I advising this?  I was such a child.  Back in the days I did that, my teachers were powerless except for two items:  Detention hall and tutoring.  If I couldn’t stay after of my volition; they KNEW I was acting up to get a  one hour detention hall.  I don’t know HOW they knew but they did.   My school was my sanctuary.  It was a refuge.  I would stay as late as 5 p.m. and a teacher always either gave me a ride to my grandmother’s house or followed to make sure I got there alright if I wanted to walk slowly. 

They always knew when I walked in with dark circles under my eyes that something wasn’t right at home.  If I fell asleep, they knew I had a very bad night, but I wouldn’t show the marks or even talk about the prison cell I called my home.  I never knew what to expect when I walked in.  Sometimes my stepmother, Judy, would be normal and lucid.  At other times, she would pick me up and throw me across the room.  One time she threw me into a wall, and another time into the kitchen counter for being late.  I never said a word about this–not even to my sister or my mother.

I would go into my room and stay there for the most part, being careful to try to avoid her.  One night a teacher called and told her I had to stay after school for extra tutoring because I was having trouble in math class.  Ten minutes later the science teacher called also.   They never knew it but I got a belt taken to me by her and told if my grades weren’t up to her standards in two weeks, I’d get worse.  My dad wasn’t home and she said if I told him or anyone else, she’d “take care of me real quick”.  Having been around her long enough to deal with her crap, I knew what she meant.  There were many times she pointed a gun at my head.  I never talked about it–even after she committed suicide  with that gun.

My response to her threat was to not bring my grades up.  I deliberately made sure of it.  That way I could be away from her for longer.  After that, she tried to say I was “retarded” and all kinds of crap to the point that she and my dad were fighting each other.  I’d go hide out on top of the garage roof until 1 or 2 in the morning to avoid the bull.  They day she shot herself was the day my dad kicked her out of the house.  I didn’t believe that she was dead when they pulled me out of class and broke the news to me either. 

There were many nights after the funeral I would have nightmares about her coming after me in zombie form–.22 in hand.  I woke up in cold sweats more than once.  I often slept with a butcher knife under my pillow and NOT a soul knew about that either. It was one thing to tolerate the bullies and the idiots I had to deal with day after day,  but when I had to go home to my own little piece of hell, that was another story.  I often would snap and just disengage from life.  My escape was through writing and through reading books.  I also watched old movies. If I really wanted to block out the world, I put on a set of headphones and rocked out full blast to whatever struck my fancy when–which could be anything from ABBA to ZZ TOP and all things in between depending on how old I was. 

One would think that after going through something like this that I would have ventured out and became more outgoing, but I didn’t.  I preferred to live in my cocoon that I built for myself.  I didn’t feel safe at school due to some bullying–but it got taken care of.  However, I still didn’t trust my peers. I rarely went out.  When I went to prom in my Junior year, some people were surprised.  When I showed up for the Senior prom, it shocked the school, I think.  I was even in my Senior play and did well in UIL journalism and such.  I made myself do all that–and take the class trip…I also made myself stay in Band my last 3 years of school.  It got me away from her.  Ironically,  I was still acting like this 18 months after she died.  I don’t know why to this day.  I did my occasional sneaking off to shop after I got paid or whatever–but I went alone.  I preferred it. 

The bottom line is I felt that maybe in her madness, she was correct when she said things like, “You can’t have friends” or “You aren’t pretty enough to be with anyone when you get older so you might as well join the Air Force”–and worse…I won’t repeat the horrible stuff she said.  Being that the bullies at school tended to get to me, I’m surprised I didn’t go off.  Then I got invited to a friend’s house for dinner one night about a year before her death.  My dad pissed her off and let me go.  This was different.  These people didn’t yell at each other or anything.  If someone dropped something, it was okay–they didn’t get hit.

About  six  years ago I totally freaked out because I accidentally broke an antique mixing bowl that belonged to my paternal grandmother when I dropped something on it–I didn’t drop the bowl itself.  My sister said, “It’s okay, Tina.  It’s just a bowl.”  “But it was Grannie‘s.” was what I said.  She just kept saying it was okay over and over.  She even came over and held me as I was crying at one point.  What she didn’t realize was that this triggered another memory I blocked out.  I got thrown across the kitchen and into a wall when I accidentally broke Judy’s favorite bowl while washing dishes. 

Anyway, years later I began to open up about it.  That was when I realized I wasn’t the “bad” kid or the “crazy nerd kid”.  Some of my favorite teachers told me point-blank that they knew something was wrong at home and they asked me how I was able to deal with it.  I shocked them.  I told them the first thing I had to do.  I had to forgive Judy.  I had come to the realization that she was mentally ill.  I finally understood the issues that were going on after talking at length with my sister about it.  The second thing I had to do was accept that I am not to blame for the actions she took.  I was a child. 

Now I want to give you some food for thought.  I was that kid that had caring teachers who took time for me when they didn’t have to.  I wanted to give back.  I still don’t think I can ever give back enough, but I can attest to this much–kids who were bullied back then often fantasized about making bullies “disappear” or wishing them “into the cornfield” and there isn’t a person alive that doesn’t know what that means.  Those of us who were bullied often wondered what it would have been like if we could be rid of the bullies for one day–or better yet–for life.  We actually talked about it.  Again I ask that same question from my bullying blogs, “What made it okay for a person to ever cross that line and actually act out on their fantasies?”

How many more Columbines will it take? Jonesboros? How many more suicides?  Can anyone answer that?  We’ve had more recent shootings also.  Even when you have caring teachers who do take time as mine did, why would the kids put them in the line of fire?  Has anyone ever asked these things?  I think we should.   Some of the ones who bullied me are totally different people today.  One would never know how cruel they were in high school, and they often choose not to remember the hurt they inflicted.  I have had classmates that I do not remember bullying me for the life of me contact me apologizing.  Maybe they were bystanders or something, but I honestly do not remember them bullying me and I told them so.  As far as I’m concerned, they’ve done nothing to me.

I will close with some questions:  Where does this bullying type of behavior begin?  Where do the kids learn it? At home? In the movies? WHAT?!  Have we really degraded our own society too much to the point that as parents we can’t fix this issue ourselves?  I would not mind getting the “right” answer for those questions, if they do exist. Is this going to be something we have to create penal codes for or should we just insert it into categories under the current penal code–such as assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, etc…?