My Daughter Just Completed Her First Semester of Virtual School and....

I think it ended up being a great decision.

Granted, pulling a child out of a traditional school setting in favor of taking their classes online isn't something that is going to work for everyone. But, while I had my doubts when we pulled the trigger following her freshman year of high school, it was definitely the right choice for her.

First of all, her grades have improved considerably. She went from barely passing her classes to A's and B's with high marks both on tests and homework (the latter was her primary issue). She feels the lessons are much easier to follow without constant distractions from kids who don't want to learn (a huge problem for her last year) and, if she doesn't understand something, she can get almost immediate help from the teacher or can just watch the video replay of the class.

She is also a heck of a lot less stressed than she was last year. She doesn't have to worry about forgetting something in her locker or only having three minut…

I Am Intrigued by the NFL's Onside Kick Experiment

I was reading an article earlier today that talked about the NFL experimenting with onside kicks during this weekend's Pro Bowl and, while stuff like this normally doesn't interest me all that much this time of year (especially since the Pro Bowl seems like a big waste of time now), I am admittedly curious if this will pan out.

Here's the gist of it - instead of attempting an onside kick which, due to all the new safety rules, is practically impossible to convert, a scoring team can receive the ball at their own 25 yard line and get one chance to pick up 15 yards. If they do, they keep the ball. If they don't, the opposing team gets the ball with excellent field position.

I personally think something like this can add some new excitement to the game. Not only is this a better (and probably safer) way for a team to get the ball back when they are behind, I can see it potentially being used at various other points in a game as well. For example, if a team has just comple…

Wow, I'm Getting Bad at Remembering People

OK, full disclosure, I've never been great at remembering names. But, it's gotten much, much worse since I've gotten older.

My wife, who is a teacher's assistant, had her holiday party this past Friday and, even though it really wasn't my thing, I figured she would want a drink or two and I went with her so she didn't have to drive.

While we were there, I had someone walk up to our table and start talking to me because. He must have noticed my blank stare because, after a few minutes, he stopped and asked me if I knew who he was and, when I admitted I didn't, he then told me and continued on as though his name should ring a bell.

From the gist of the conversation and some shrewd deduction, I was able to figure out I went to school with him. But, even after finding his picture in the year book, I still am drawing a blank. I just don't remember him.

I'm not sure if that's because he wasn't very memorable, if it's just a sign of old age or …

Movie Review: Carriers (2009)

Synopsis: A pair of brothers and their female companions are traveling to a deserted beach resort in an effort to wait out a viral plague that has wiped out most of humanity. When they have car problems, they agree to travel with a stranger named Frank, who is trying to get his infected daughter to a hospital. The partnership quickly leads to tension as hard decisions need to be made.

Who's in it? The movie stars Chris Pine, Lou Taylor Pucci, Piper Perabo, Emily VanCamp and Christopher Meloni.

Review: I came across this movie on Netflix a couple weeks ago and, quite honestly, wasn't really all that interested in watching it. I recognized Chris Pine and Piper Perabo but the description reminded me a bit too much of the low-budget zombie movies we've been disappointed by in the past.

However, I was in the mood for a movie last night and, not finding anything that both looked interesting and fit in the allotted amount of time we had to watch it, decided to give this film a try.…

Book Review: 11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944 by Stanley Weintraub (2006)

Synopsis: In 1944, Allied forces believed the war in Europe was almost over and even placed bets about it ending by Christmas. They did not realize Adolf Hitler was planning one last, desperate holiday offensive.

Review: I usually go to the local library rather than buy books because I read them too quickly. However, my wife came across this book a few weeks ago and purchased it for me as a Christmas present. I was intrigued and, once I was caught up with my library books, I sat down to read this one. Overall, I was impressed.

I have heard and read about the Battle of the Bulge before and, because of that, there was some familiarity with some of the facts and people involved. However, I liked how this book brought things down to a more personal level and showed the battle from specific individual perspectives.

One thing, in particular, I liked about this book is the way it focused a lot on the ton of misinformation that was going around during the early hours of the Nazi offensive. Thi…

TV Show Review: The World According to Jeff Goldblum

Synopsis: Actor Jeff Goldblum explores the history and cultures behind everyday items like bikes, gaming and tattoos and puts in his own observations.

Review: We started watching this Disney Plus documentary series a couple weeks ago because we couldn't find anything else that looked interesting and I knew my wife was a big Goldblum fan. As it turns out, it is a very entertaining series.

I think the thing I really like about this show is the way Goldblum looks at normal, everyday items most people (and shows) wouldn't even consider interesting. This includes things like coffee, bikes and denim. Some of the people he meets while exploring these things (such as a man who explores old gold mines in search of vintage denim clothing) are very memorable.

The series is actually much more educational than I was expecting it to be. For example, I never knew the Amish made up a good chunk of the workforce constructing American recreational vehicles until I saw this show or just how much …

Book Review: The Polar Bear Expedition: The Heroes of America's Forgotten Invasion of Russian, 1918-1919 by James Carl Nelson (2019)

Synopsis: At the tail end of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson agreed to place American troops under British command as the latter invaded Russia on the pretense of guarding supply stockpiles from the Germans but with the secret mission of supporting resistance to the Bolshevik Revolution. This non-fiction book tells the story of some of the men who took part in the failed military campaign.

Review: I was recently reminded about this rarely talked about military campaign while reading The Ghost Ships of Archangeland, when I came across this book at our local library, I decided to check it out. After finally finishing it last night, I have to say I wasn't disappointed.

The author does a good job of bringing the men who participated in and, more often than not, died, in this event back to life by sharing details about their lives back in the United States as well as their dreams and goals. This information, gathered from family members, letters and diaries really made it easy to …