Sunday, July 29, 2012

Picture of the Month July 2012

In honor of the Olympic hosts.

Friday, July 27, 2012

What Happened to Blogging?

If Chaka's World were a celebrity, then at the end of this month it would be checking into rehab with Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. I have no idea what happened in the month of July, but visiting traffic came to a halt. Maybe it was because it's summer and people are on vacation and foolishly think they don't need to check in on my blog.

Did I go on a racist or anti-Semitic rant that I don't remember? Did I get too political or religious and alienate readers? Did I forget to shower all month? Has Google or the CIA been redirecting web traffic? Are extra terrestrials disregarding the prime directive?

I have asked the question "is blogging dead" before, and I'm reconsidering that question again after seeing this months statistics. People used to actually comment on posts and reading their witty remarks and insightful comments was always my favorite part. Has social media replaced antiquated blogs? I've seen some blogging giants turn to other means to get their message out over the years. Should bloggers feel like a carburetor, vinyl record, or a dial up modem?

To all my blogging friends who may be experiencing the same thing, I'd like to share an emotional speech of encouragement with you. Think Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, 300, Patton, Rocky, etc.

Hearken to my words dear brothers of Blogger. We may be out numbered by an innumerable host of newer and cooler ways to communicate, but we are still strong. We may give way to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, someday, but today is not that day! We may have the stigma of being called a blog and the hassle of requiring word verification, but we will not give up. Join with me in reclaiming our readership. We will unite mommy blogs, recipe blogs, and family blogs with conspiracy theory blogs, fitness blogs, fashion and craft blogs until we once again rule the Internet. If you have even a hint of blogging ambition and desire to restore blogging to it's prior glory and splendor, then join us, for tonight we dine in Hell!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Picture of the Month July 2012

I really liked this. There are too many similarities between the walking dead and the many young people I see wandering around in a trance unaware of their surroundings. I'm not sure which one is scarier.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Kryptonite: Scout Cheers

I have been a scout master for over 6 years for the boys in my neighborhood. Even though I am not a big fan of camping, I still enjoy serving in that position. I think the scouting program can be a very effective program to help boys learn skills, reach goals, achieve personal growth, and serve their community. I also agree with the timeless values that the Boy Scouts of America promote.

That being said, I do have one big gripe with the scouting program: WHAT'S UP WITH THE STUPID CHEERS? I can understand young cub scouts being entertained with silly cheers and songs, but once boys get to the teenage years, it just gets awkward. What really concerns me is when I go to a training meeting with other adult leaders and they still insist on doing cheers, yells, and games that were designed for 10 year olds. Sometimes I want to scream "What are you doing? There are no kids here!".

Maybe I just have a bad attitude, but I can't be the only one who feels this way. It's not that I think I'm too cool to do wait a minute, yes I do! Some personalities like doing stuff like that, but it just makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable and I feel that they were designed to strip away any dignity I might have. I'm a 43 year old guy and I don't enjoy singing about being a teapot, or acting out actions to cute cheers in front of others.

To offset my complaining, I am going to give some practical advice to parents who have boys in scouting. Over the years I have noticed a huge correlation between how involved parents are and how likely a boy is to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. I'd recommend focusing on rank advancements as soon as a boy turns 11 and starts scouting.

With minimal consistent effort, a boy can earn his Eagle by the time he is 13 as long as he stays on top of things. I suggest parents look over their kids scout book with them each week. It only takes 5 minutes but keeps them on track and it makes a huge difference. Once a kid turns 16, it's an uphill battle to finish since they will have so many other priorities competing for their time like dating, driving, school, athletics, etc.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Handwriting: The Lost Art

I spent this last week at scout camp and sat in on several merit badge classes that my scouts took. Some of the classes required that the boys write down answers to questions or write a paragraph about their observations. While looking for a lost assignment for one of my scouts, I flipped through a large pile of papers that scouts from all over the state had turned in. I was unprepared for what I saw. I have come to the conclusion that handwriting is a lost art.

My handwriting can be pretty sloppy at times so I admit I may be a hypocrite, but I am shocked at how few kids and teenagers have good handwriting and spelling these days. I'm not just talking about bad handwriting. What I saw was not even remotely legible and was just random symbols and nonsensical scribbles. I'm pretty sure that 100 years ago kids' penmanship was better and they all knew cursive. You could probably find as many kids today who know Latin as you can those who can write in cursive. Some day archaeologists may have to decipher my old journals and school reports in order to understand the mysterious ancient script they are written in.

There are several factors contributing to the decline in penmanship but, ironically, I think technology is the big culprit. Today, kids type their reports and assignments and they frequently text and abbreviate words instead of having to write them out or spell them correctly. E-mail has completely replaced letter writing. I don't even think kids write letters to Santa Claus anymore.

On the bright side, I think we are preparing a generation of future physicians who will be confident and adept at writing prescriptions. I Googled "sloppy handwriting" and the picture of the above prescription came up. My wife is a medical transcriptionist and at a glance she told me it was a prenatal vitamin prescription and it was pretty clear what it was for. I didn't realize she knew Mandarin.