Sunday, May 19, 2024

Gotta get a good education!

   If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Gotta get a good education! 

"The Big Bang Theory" is a popular American sitcom that aired from 2007 to 2019. The show primarily revolves around a group of friends who are scientists and their interactions with each other, blending humor with scientific and nerd culture references. "Young Sheldon" is a prequel to "The Big Bang Theory," focusing on the childhood of Sheldon Cooper, one of the main characters from the original series. It provides a deeper look into the early life of the brilliant but socially awkward Sheldon, set in the late 1980s and early 1990s in East Texas. 

Recurring Themes of Young Sheldon:

Family Dynamics: The show delves into the Cooper family interactions, highlighting the challenges and joys of raising a child genius alongside his siblings.

Education and Growth: Sheldon’s experiences in high school, his relationships with teachers and peers, and his academic achievements are central to the plot.

Social Challenges: The series often portrays Sheldon’s struggles with social norms, making friends, and understanding the behaviors of those around him.

Humor and Heart: While focusing on Sheldon’s unique perspective, the show balances humor with heartfelt moments, particularly in the context of family relationships.

Recurring Themes of TBBT:

Science and Nerd Culture: The show frequently references scientific theories, experiments, comic books, video games, and science fiction, making it popular among viewers with similar interests.

Friendship and Relationships: The dynamics among the main characters highlight the importance of friendship, personal growth, and romantic relationships.

Humor and Social Situations: Much of the comedy arises from the characters’ awkwardness in social situations, particularly Sheldon’s inability to understand social norms and Leonard’s efforts to maintain a normal relationship with Penny.

I understand that someone reading this Sunday Blog might not have seen either show. At all. I am hearing Sheldon Cooper's voice in my head right now, telling the statistical chances of that, in different regions of the world. But here is something that I thought of after watching the final episodes of Young Sheldon:

It was all about education. 

Did you pick up on how in TBBT everyone in the main cast was brilliant - less Penny? And, in Young Sheldon everyone was (not) brilliant - less Sheldon? 

Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons): A theoretical physicist with an IQ of 187, Sheldon is highly intelligent but socially inept, with obsessive-compulsive tendencies and difficulty understanding social norms. His relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler, a neurobiologist, grows from a friendship into a romantic partnership, culminating in their marriage. Oh, and together they win the Nobel Prize. 

Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage): A highly intelligent and precocious child with a love for science and a lack of social skills. Sheldon’s journey involves navigating high school, dealing with bullies, making friends, and maintaining his unique perspective on life.

In both TBBT and Young Sheldon, the true "main" theme that linked the two shows together was - education. How a 9-year-old Young Sheldon who tested with an IQ of not just genius but SUPER genius - lived in the part of the country (East Texas) that could not properly support his educational needs. 

Truly everything about both TBBT and Young Sheldon revolved around how it would be such a tragedy to keep Sheldon from achieving his full potential. How from age 9 to 14 the journey of everyone in the family, and the local Texas community had a mission to get Sheldon to MIT. Or maybe Caltech? 

Everyone in the cast of both TBBT and Young Sheldon - even the other geniuses knew that Super Genius Sheldon with IQ of 187 simply MUST get a good education. The best education. 

And so, this revelation hits me maybe a little different than most. I run the DLA (Distance Learning Association) where at our core - we are all about delivering education to parts of the world that would normally miss out. We are all about delivering knowledge, technology and talent to every time zone in the world.

TBBT aired from 2007 to 2019. The sitcom ended before COVID-19 changed our world. The show ended before "Zoom" became a verb. I wonder how either show would have dealt with a 14 year old Super Genius being forced to take online classes at Caltech - from home - from East Texas. 

And with that, I can hear in my head Sheldon's Meemaw saying with love...

"Shelly, you gotta get a good education...."

True. And don't we all. Deserve a good education. The best education possible. No matter where we live. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

What is Mother's Day?

Me: Hey ChatGPT - What is Mother's Day?

Mother's Day is a holiday celebrated in many countries around the world, typically observed on the second Sunday of May. It's a day dedicated to honoring and appreciating mothers, mother figures, and maternal bonds. People often express their gratitude and love for their mothers by giving them cards, flowers, gifts, or spending quality time together. It's a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation for all the love, care, and sacrifices that mothers make for their children and families.

Me: Ah, one more time?

Mother's Day is a special holiday celebrated in many countries around the world to honor and appreciate mothers and mother figures. It's a day to recognize the contributions and sacrifices mothers make for their families. Typically celebrated on the second Sunday in May in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and numerous others, Mother's Day is marked by various traditions, such as giving gifts, cards, flowers, or spending quality time with mothers to show gratitude and love for all they do. It's a wonderful opportunity for people to express their appreciation and affection for their mothers and the maternal figures in their lives.

Me: So what you are telling me is this: 

Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, as well as the influence of mothers in society. It's a day dedicated to showing appreciation and love for mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and other maternal figures. In many countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, but the date may vary depending on the country. It's typically marked by giving gifts, cards, flowers, or spending quality time with mothers to show gratitude for their love, support, and sacrifices.

ChatGPT: Tommy - THAT IS FROM GOOGLE GEMINI!  Go to your room! 

This Sunday is my first Mother's Day as a Grandpa. So, I am reflecting on my Mom, my wife Dianne (mother of my two sons) and now, Emily, my daughter (Bobby's wife) and our amazing new grandson Theo. Emily's first Mother's Day. Wow. 

Mother's Day is celebrated to honor and appreciate the contributions and sacrifices that mothers make in their families and society at large. The celebration of Mother's Day can be traced back to ancient times when festivals were held to honor mother goddesses. However, the modern concept of Mother's Day began in the early 20th century when Anna Jarvis campaigned for an official holiday to honor mothers in the United States.

The idea quickly gained popularity and spread to other countries. Today, Mother's Day serves as an opportunity for children and families to express their love, gratitude, and appreciation for their mothers and maternal figures. It's a day to recognize the important role that mothers play in nurturing and shaping the lives of their children and families.

Historically, spending on Mother's Day tends to fluctuate based on various factors such as economic conditions, cultural trends, and consumer behavior. In the United States, for example, spending on Mother's Day gifts, cards, dinners, and other activities typically amounts to billions of dollars annually.

Mothers make numerous sacrifices throughout their lives, often putting the needs and well-being of their children and families above their own. Some of the sacrifices mothers commonly make include:

Career Sacrifices: Many mothers put their careers on hold or make adjustments to their work schedules to prioritize their children's needs. This can involve taking breaks from work to raise children, choosing part-time or flexible work arrangements, or sacrificing career advancement opportunities to be more available for their families.

Personal Time: Mothers often sacrifice their personal time and leisure activities to care for their children and manage household responsibilities. This includes giving up hobbies, social outings, and alone time to ensure that their families are well taken care of.

Financial Sacrifices: Mothers may make financial sacrifices to provide for their children's needs and give them the best possible opportunities. This can involve budgeting carefully, cutting back on personal expenses, or prioritizing spending on children's education, extracurricular activities, and other necessities.

Emotional Sacrifices: Mothers frequently make emotional sacrifices for their children, putting aside their own feelings and needs to provide comfort, support, and guidance. This can involve offering unconditional love, patience, and understanding, even in challenging or difficult situations.

Sleep and Health: Mothers often sacrifice sleep and prioritize their children's well-being over their own need for rest. This can result in sleepless nights caring for infants or sick children, as well as neglecting their own health and self-care needs to ensure that their families are taken care of.

Personal Goals and Ambitions: Mothers may put their own goals, ambitions, and dreams on hold to focus on their children's needs and aspirations. This can involve postponing education, career advancements, or personal development goals to prioritize the needs of their families.

Physical Sacrifices: Pregnancy, childbirth, and the physical demands of caring for children can take a toll on mothers' bodies. Many mothers endure physical discomfort, pain, and exhaustion to bring their children into the world and care for them as they grow.

Overall, mothers make countless sacrifices every day out of love and devotion for their children and families, contributing to their growth, happiness, and well-being.

Every. Single. Day. 

But we give moms gifts and cards and dinners on the 2nd Sunday in May. One day out of 365 each year. So, it's all good. 

Feels balanced and fair, right? 

My Mom Bernice Capone

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Commence the Commencement!

It's Commencement Address season!

A commencement address is a speech given to graduating students at a commencement ceremony, typically at universities, colleges, high schools, or other educational institutions. It's usually delivered by a prominent figure such as a guest speaker, an alumnus, a faculty member, or even a celebrity. 

The purpose of a commencement address is to impart wisdom, advice, encouragement, and inspiration to the graduating class as they transition to the next phase of their lives. Speakers often reflect on their own experiences, offer insights into the challenges and opportunities ahead, and share words of wisdom to motivate graduates as they embark on their journey beyond academia. These speeches can cover a wide range of topics, including personal growth, career advice, societal issues, and the importance of lifelong learning and resilience.

Folks tend to confuse commencement with graduation. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated. Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. 

During the pandemic, there were many kids that missed out on having the normal, official commencement ceremony. Well, here we are in 2024, and (once again) there are many college campuses cancelling their commencement ceremonies not due to COVID, but because of conflict. Protests on college campuses have caused many to make the painful decision to cancel their commencement ceremony, citing safety concerns. 

Again, the purpose of a commencement address is to inspire and motivate the graduating students as they transition to the next phase of their lives, whether it be further education, entering the workforce, or pursuing other endeavors. These speeches often reflect on the achievements of the graduating class, offer advice for the future, and sometimes include personal anecdotes or words of wisdom.

Most of us know that commencement ceremonies are typically large gatherings where graduates, their families, faculty, and staff come together to celebrate academic achievements. And sadly, we know all know that in certain circumstances, such as during a pandemic or due to safety concerns, commencement ceremonies might be cancelled or altered. 

One common reason for cancellation is to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, especially when there's a risk of a widespread outbreak. For instance, we all know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many commencement ceremonies were cancelled or shifted to virtual formats to minimize the risk of transmission. Other factors that might lead to cancellation include natural disasters, security concerns, budget constraints, or logistical issues. While cancelling commencement ceremonies can be disappointing for graduates and their families, it's often done out of an abundance of caution to prioritize public health and safety.

Where are you going with this Tom? 

Well, I get why you would cancel commencement ceremonies due to things like COVID-19. But I find it ironic that the thing that most college campuses need now - today - right now - is a keynote from a speaker who can share words of wisdom. When you need it the most - when you need someone who can speak with clarity, with purpose, with a clear and compelling vision for the future - we cancel the opportunity for that person to share their wisdom - for all of us. 

Protests on college campuses can stem from a variety of reasons, reflecting the diversity of issues and concerns within the student body and broader society. Here are some common reasons for protests on college campuses:

Social Justice Issues: Students often protest to raise awareness and advocate for social justice causes such as racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, immigrant rights, and environmental justice.

Tuition and Fees: High tuition fees and student debt can spark protests as students advocate for more affordable education and better financial aid options.

Campus Policies: Students may protest against specific policies or decisions made by the college administration, such as housing policies, campus safety measures, or academic regulations.

Diversity and Inclusion: Protests may occur in response to incidents of discrimination, racism, or lack of diversity on campus, as students demand greater inclusivity and representation.

Political Issues: Colleges are often centers for political activism, and students may organize protests around local, national, or international political issues such as elections, government policies, or international conflicts.

Labor Rights: Campus workers, including adjunct professors, custodial staff, and food service workers, may organize protests to demand fair wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Free Speech and Academic Freedom: Controversies related to free speech, censorship, or academic freedom can lead to protests as students defend their rights to express themselves and engage in open discourse.

Climate Change and Environmental Activism: Given the urgency of climate change, many students are engaged in protests and activism to push for stronger environmental policies and sustainability initiatives both on campus and beyond.

International Issues: Students may protest against human rights abuses, wars, or other injustices occurring in other parts of the world, demonstrating solidarity with affected communities and calling for action from their own governments.

Solidarity with Other Movements: Campus protests often intersect with broader social movements, with students showing solidarity with movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, or the global student-led climate strikes.

Overall, protests on college campuses serve as important platforms for students to voice their concerns, challenge injustices, and advocate for positive change within their communities and society at large. 

But it all needs to be PEACEFUL. Violence on college campuses during protests is a concerning issue that can have significant consequences for students, faculty, and the wider community. It's important to address this problem with a multi-faceted approach that involves both preventive measures and appropriate responses when incidents occur. 

Who would be YOUR pick for an amazing Commencement Address? 

An address for all of us...???