“New” holidays

Witnessing the amount of candy passing through my classroom Friday I felt as though I could coin a new phrase…

Valentine’s Day is the new Halloween. 

I suppose that makes Presidents’ Day the new Thanksgiving.

Washington and Lincoln still get mad they have to share it with 43 other bozos.

Three cheers for Valentine’s Day

In recent years it’s become fashionable to dislike Valentine’s Day, mocking those who embrace its mawkish celebration.

Like most trends, this one should be bucked.

Valentine’s Day is great. It’s got chocolate and candy and all that stuff, and it’s become even less religious than Christmas.

This year it kicks off a three-day weekend celebrating yet another underrated holiday, and on top of all that you’ve got position players reporting to spring training in the next few days.

Yup.  Spring. I think I’m calling Valentine’s Day the official start of spring.

Feelin’ that one.

Hint: he’s an actor

Yesterday’s bellringer asked students to calculate the age of a person born on February 6, 1911. (It’s 109, by the way.)

I also asked them to identify someone with this birthday.

Would’ve been a better bit if anyone actually knew who Ronald Reagan was.

Me at work

Among my other activities in life I am responsible for teaching 11-year-olds the finer points of mathematics. Math isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of entertainment, so I occasionally pepper in some lighter material as well. With some success. Here’s an example of me trying to be clever at school.

Me: You know the word “gullible” is misspelled in the dictionary?

Eleven-year-old: What’s a dictionary?

Nice try, Boomer.

February Saturdays

February 2020 has five Saturdays. This doesn’t happen very often. As a matter of fact, it happens only about once every 28 years. Two conditions must be met. One, February 1 must be a Saturday, and two, it must be a leap year. The first of the month being a Saturday happens one-seventh of the time, and leap years occur one-fourth of the time (not really, but it’s close enough).

When you’ve got something that happens only one-fourth of one-seventh of the time you take advantage of it. Get out and enjoy those February Saturdays!

Billie O’Connell

Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish has a new name as of Sunday… five-time Grammy Award winner.

Earlier in life she had a much different name… mine. As in, O’Connell.

Yeah, girl’s birth name is actually O’Connell. Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell. (I know.)

Seriously, why would you give up that one? And Pirate? Your parents give you a gift and you give it up?


Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020

Three days in a row this week I came across the name Kobe Bryant. Friday he was the subject of my tear-a-page desk calendar. Saturday I heard he would be courtside to see LeBron James pass him for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

I certainly did not expect him to be in the news Sunday for this.

Kobe Bryant, 20-year veteran of the league and five-time NBA champion, was killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles Sunday morning.

He was 41.

By Sunday afternoon I could not find a site on the Internet that was not awash in Kobe news and tributes. (I can now add this site as well.) Bryant, of course, was a figure that transcended basketball, more than dabbling in movies, music, and children’s literature to name a few. It all started with basketball, of course, and if basketball made these other ventures possible so be it. Among other things he’s probably the only person in history to work with Spike Lee, Shaquille O’Neal, and John Williams.

When I was born Kobe Bryant was… three years old. That’s it. He had only a three-year head start on me. Somehow he played 20 years in the NBA and won an Oscar.

In his basketball career Kobe Bryant made something north of $300 million and way more than that on endorsements. A lot of it went to charity, benefitting afterschool programs, health and education programs here and overseas, and the Call of Duty Endowment, an organization that helps veterans transition to civilian careers after their military service has ended. He had his bad moments too, but one doesn’t dwell in an obituary. Sound good?

After all this you’re wondering what he was doing in my sports calendar Friday morning.

Which player scored the second-most number of points in an NBA game?

That was Kobe. Scored 81 in a game once in 2006. More than a decade later he put up 60 in his final NBA game.

You wish it could have gone on longer.

Kinda like life.