Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Belated Wishes

Belated wishes of a happy birthday to Jack LaLanne!

Yes, he is still alive!

Jack celebrated his 95th birthday on Saturday! He says he can't afford to die... it would be bad for his image!

The model of fitness, Jack started out as a chiropractor. He opened the first health spa in Oakland, CA, which has since grown into a popular chain and been bought out, now operating as Bally Total Fitness.

He produced the first television fitness program, which ran from 1951 to 1985, a combination of exercise and healthy eating. And he encouraged women to lift weights; the common belief back then was that lifting weights would make women look too masculine.

Jack's favorite advice:
1) If man made it, don't eat it.
2) If it tastes good, spit it out.
3) The only good part of a donut is the hole.

Which is why I mostly only eat donut holes now!

But a life of fitness has paid off. At 41, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Warf... handcuffed. He repeated this feat at age 60, also handcuffed... this time shackled and towing a boat weighing 1,000 lbs.

At age 70, he swam (handcuffed and shackled) from the Queen's Way Bridge to the Queen Mary (Long Beach Harbor), a distance 1.5 miles, while towing 70 boats containing 70 people.

Now at 95, he is still exercising and going strong. He has published a new book, "Live Young Forever". And he had hoped to swim from Santa Catalina Island to  the California Coast. Stay tuned!

So, happy (belated) birthday and God bless you, Jack LaLanne!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Anger = Bad. Forgiveness... Not yet.

I feel like a traitor.

Although I shouldn't. I have no reason to be loyal.

I chose to be a Notre Dame football fan in college because my own alma mater didn't have a football team at the time. Kentucky wasn't so hot, and I couldn't see myself wearing orange, so I chose a winning team with a legendary tradition.

But now I find myself acting like so many others I've met in the past: "We root for (your team here) and whoever is playing against Notre Dame." Yes, this year I'm rooting against my own team. I so dislike Charlie Weis that I am willing to throw away yet another season if it will mean his ouster.

As I watched Notre Dame struggle against unranked Purdue on Saturday, I found myself rooting for Purdue. As I cheered one particular play, my wife pointed out, "He is on the other team."

Yeah, I know. And I felt bad.

But surely, I told myself, if they lost to Purdue, the athletic director would have to take action against Weis.

Of course, that's what I thought when they lost to Michigan, too.

But it was hard watching college football on Saturday:
Florida 41, Kentucky 7
Texas 64, UTEP 7
Alabama 35, Arkansas 7
Virginia Tech 31, Miami 7
USC 27, Washington State 6
Ohio State 30, Illinois 0

Then there's Notre Dame, sqeezing out a last-minute 24-21 victory over Purdue.

And even with two teams dropping out of the top 25, Notre Dame sunk even lower, to a distant 36th place.

I know, I know. At least they won. I should be happy. And if Charlie Weis produces a winning season, I should be happy.

But I am not.

Because Notre Dame is not playing Florida or Texas or Alabama or Virignia Tech. They're playing Nevada and Purdue and Navy.

Who is next: Indiana State??? (30 consecutive losses!)

I want Notre Dame to have a winning season. But it will be a hollow victory.

And I blame Charlie Weis.

I want to forgive him... but I can't... not yet.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Go Figure!

Okay, explain this to me.

The Dalai Lama is in Memphis.

Actually, the 14th Dalai Lama, the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, who was the reincarnation of the 12th Dalai Lama… and on down the line. You catch the drift.

He is the highest-ranking leader of Tibetan Buddhism and head of a government-in-exile.

He is an international celebrity. He has won a Nobel Peace Prize, is an honorary citizen of Canada, and has received hundreds of other awards.

Did I mention he is Buddhist?

He has come to America with the expressed intent of spreading an ethic of peace and harmony AND the teachings of Buddhism.

And he has been welcomed in America with open arms. In 2007 he even received the Congressional Gold Medal from then-President Bush.

Did I mention he is Buddhist?

And now he has come to Memphis. He has blessed the Mississippi River, and he has prayed at the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. He came to receive the International Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum – a cash award that he returned to the museum.

And did I mention he is Buddhist?

Now, why do I keep bringing that up? What do I have against Buddhists? Against the Dalai Lama?

Only this: Would he have been so well received had he been the highest-ranking Muslim cleric on a mission to spread peace and harmony AND the teachings of Islam?

It makes me wonder: where are the Christian protesters? Where is the righteous indignation? Where is Fox News?

Maybe it is not about Christianity after all.

What I mean is, people are still spreading malicious lies on the internet about President Obama, that he is a Muslim set out to destroy “our Christian nation”… even though during the campaign they protested against him because they didn’t like the pastor of the Christian Church he attended.

But if all the fuss was truly about preserving Christianity, we would be protesting this Buddhist leader who has come to Memphis… instead of giving him a “fist-bump”.

P.S. – Note to Interim Mayor Myron Lowery: Whether you agree with his beliefs or not, the Dalai Lama IS an international leader. He deserves your respect, not a “fist-bump” and greeting of “Hello, Dalai!” Mayor A.C. Wharton is looking better all the time!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Had a Very Good Reason...

I know... I missed it...

Yesterday was "International Talk Like a Pirate Day", and I missed it.

But I had a very good reason.

Yesterday was parents day at Southeast Missouri University. My niece is a freshman there, and with her parents living in Florida, we were asked to stand in. So we drove from Memphis to Cape Girardeau and back.

And I didn't shout, "Ahoy There!" even once!

Uncle of the Year Award, anyone???

Turns out, her parents decided to come anyway, and the planned picnic was rained out, so it became a small family reunion.

Anyway, with all that excitement, I missed "International Talk Like a Pirate Day"!


To make up for it, here are a couple Pirate jokes...

You are probably familiar with my favorite joke: "A man walks into a bar and says, 'Ow!'" (It's short and easy to remember!)

Then there's the follow up: "Two penguins walk into a bar. A third peguins says, 'You would have thought the second one would have seen it!'"

So, the Pirate version is, "A Pirate walks into a bar and says, 'Arrrr! Damned eye patch!'"

The most popular Pirate joke on the internet right now is about the Pirate who walks into a bar with a ship steering wheel in his pants. When the bartender asks if the Pirate is aware of this, the Pirate replies, "Aye, it's driving me nuts!"

What's the big deal about "International Talk Like a Pirate Day"?

Among other things, it's one of the official holidays of the Pastafarian religion. In fact, to Pastafarians, Pirates are like gods!

Who are Pastafarians, you might ask?

I'm glad you asked.

Otherwise, there would be absolutely no point to today's blog.

Pastafarians are adherents to the belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Pretty cool, huh? Check this out, from Wikipedia:

"It was created in 2005 by Bobby Henderson as a satirical protest to the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to biological evolution in public schools. According to Henderson, since the intelligent design movement uses ambiguous references to an unspecified "Intelligent Designer", this leaves open any conceivable entity to fulfill that role, even a Flying Spaghetti Monster.
"In an open letter sent to the education board, Henderson parodies the concept of intelligent design by professing belief in a supernatural creator, which closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs. He further calls for the "Pastafarian" (a play on Rastafarian) theory of creation to be taught in science classrooms."

Pretty cool, huh? they've got religious art...

A gospel...

And even the eight commandments... or rather, the eight "I Really Rather You Didn't", which include, "I'd Really Rather You Didn't Use My Existence As A Means To Oppress, Subjugate, Punish, Eviscerate, And/Or, You Know, Be Mean To Others. I Don't Require Sacrifices, And Purity Is For Drinking Water, Not People."

They even have a graph proving that "global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of pirates since the 1800s."

What's not to love about a religion like that?!?

Sort of makes one wonder what all the fuss is about...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Long?

There are a number of smaller debates raging in the Memphis community – and I am sure in other communities as well – that can be summed up in one single, but not simple, question. “How long?”

I struggle with the question all the time: How long do I keep something I don’t need before throwing it out?

Sometimes that struggle happens while standing in my closet, sometimes while standing in front of the refrigerator.

“Is it still good?” (No, I will NOT smell it!)

“Why don’t I wear that anymore?”

“Will I need it some day?”

As we were preparing to move three years ago, I discovered some boxes in storage that I had not opened since our previous move. I started to throw them out – since I obviously hadn’t needed anything in them the past six years – but I decided to open one and peek. After just a few moments I re-sealed the box and we moved the whole lot with us.

Three years later, they remain still unopened.

The problem in Memphis is that the question revolves around vacant buildings and other items not currently being productive to the city.

For instance, Overton Square was once a quaint pocket of shopping and entertainment in Midtown. One of TGIFriday’s first restaurants was located there.

Today, Overton Square consists of a bunch of vacant, decaying buildings and a few restaurants trying to hang on.

A developer wants to tear it down and revitalize the area with new retail stores. Local activists insist the area needs to be “preserved”. But who will do the work? At the present time, no one else wants to move into the Square’s aging properties.

A more recent skirmish involves a small group who want to “save” Libertyland, a small amusement park operated by the city that was closed several years ago. The city auctioned off most of the rides, including the “Zippin’ Pippin”, an old wooden roller coaster purportedly the favorite of Elvis himself.

Fun fact: The buyer of the roller coaster took only the car Elvis actually rode in (or so he thinks) and donated the rest of the ride back to the city.

Gee, thanks!

Fun fact #2: Once maintained on a regular schedule, each board of the Zippin’ Pippin was replaced about every 30 months. So is this really the same roller coaster Elvis rode?

But the centerpiece of Libertyland was not put up for auction. It is the Grand Carousel, a beautiful 100-year-old carousel with hand-carved horses and embellishments.

As the city considers other uses for this prime piece of real estate, the question of what to do with the Carousel has become a significant issue. Currently the Carousel is boarded up in the abandoned amusement park (shades of “Scooby Doo”!) and the city pays in the neighborhood of $160,000 per year for a security company to guard it from thieves and vandals. So there is discussion of dismantling the Carousel and storing it in a warehouse until a suitable home can be found.

But the question remains: How long? How long is a city required to keep something that no one uses any longer? When can they tear it down? Relocate it? Sell it?

In rural areas, “How long?” only applies to catfish. In areas where land is plentiful, one will commonly find barns left to decay, collapse, and be taken over by kudzu after the farmer builds his new barn.

By contrast, in southern California, where land is at a premium, I have seen entire blocks of urban blight razed and transformed seemingly overnight into the locus of trendy boutiques.

The city of Memphis is filled with empty, decaying buildings in what were once thriving centers of commerce. How long before these buildings can be torn down to make room for something useful and productive? How long must the city pay to guard a boarded up Carousel in an abandoned amusement park?

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for preserving legitimate history, but I don’t understand the need to “preserve” out-dated, empty buildings nobody seems to want, as they continue to be weighted down to the point of collapse by pigeon droppings, or amusement park rides which we can no longer ride.

How does it promote city pride to be constantly reminded, “That’s where TGIFriday’s used to be!”?

Yes, there is a lot of history in Memphis.

But what about it’s future?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The End of the World As We Know It

Is this the last gentleman left in the world?

I'm beginning to think it may be.

In America today it has become common practice now to publicly disparage the President of the United States. Some media personalities get paid quite well to do it.

On television last week, Rep. Joe Wilson even shouted, "You lie!" as the President addressed the nation. Many were shocked at the outburst, others applauded him for speaking "the courage of his convictions."

On Saturday, Serena Williams threatened to shove a tennis ball down the throat of a judge at the U.S. Open. She says she used to have a bad temper, but she is much better now.

Last night, Kanye West leaped to the stage during the Video Music Awards ceremony and interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech, shouting that Beyonce's video was better. Where was the bouncer?!?

A writer for the L.A. Times recently argued that the above incidents only reflect our society.

Perhaps he is write.

Er, right.

What happened to those values we used to hold dear? Like respect? civility discourse? honor? What happened to "If you can't say something nice..."? Where did the statesmen go in politics? What happened to good sportsmanship and congratulating the winners -- whether you agree with the decision or not?

Today it seems we choose the "bad boy" over the gentleman. We push the envelope. The one who shouts the loudest wins. And if you don't agree with me you're an idiot and ought to move away to where idiots like you live.

No, no. That's what others say. Not me.

Some sadly model their lives after celebrities like "Larry the Cable Guy" and that guy on "Jackass".

We are reaping what we have sown, and our society is going to hell in a handbasket.

I fear the great experiment of Democracy is coming to an ugly end. Anarchy seems to be waiting in the wings.

How do we stop this madness? How do we turn it around?

It begins with respect... for one another... for those in authority over us... even for ourselves.

And it's time we stop snickering when someone addresses us as "Ladies and Gentlemen..."

That used to be something to be proud of.


Postscript: In response to Kanye West's boorish behavior, President Obama said, "Kanye is a jackass!" While this may be true, is it unseemly for the POTUS to say so; surely he has more important matters to attend to... like the economy, or that crazy guy in North Korea. Nonetheles, Kanye has apologized to Taylor Swift; perhaps the President owes someone a call???

I'm just sayin'...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

NCAAF: Week 2

Just wanted to see if anyone is paying attention...
Especially you guys up in South Bend!!!


Charlie needs to go!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why do they do that?

Last night when I got home, I discovered the Turner Classic Movies channel was showing “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”, a 1952 adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway short story.

Hemingway is one of my favorite writers. I’ve read most of his works, including his collected short stories. But I hadn’t yet seen this movie. I skipped the popcorn and sat down to watch.
As Karen passed through the room and asked what I was watching… ‘a Hemingway movie’… she responded, “Then it won’t have a happy ending, will it?” and moved on to other parts of the house.

The movie stars Gregory Peck as Harry, a writer who doesn’t write… at least up to his potential. Harry goes on safari in Africa with his new girlfriend (Ava Gardner), where he is wounded in the leg by a large thorn. With no medical facilities nearby, his leg begins to rot with gangrene. Vultures gather in the trees around him, awaiting their next meal.

As Harry lays dying, he reflects on his unspectacular life. We see flashback scenes from his life – stretching a short story into a feature-length movie. Harry could have been a great writer, but opted to write drivel simply for the paycheck. He regrets that now.

In the final scene of the movie, Harry is on the edge of death as night falls. But happily, the next morning, the vultures have gone, Harry has rallied, and the sound of the rescue plane can be heard in the distance. Having been given another chance at life, Harry resolves to write something of lasting value.

“It’s a wonderful life!”

But wait! This is based on a Hemingway short-story! How can there be a happy ending?!?

Remember the old joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” The Hemingway version of the answer is, “To die. In the rain.”

Turns out, Ernest Hemingway accepted the money to have his short-story made into a movie, but never watched it because producer Darryl F. Zanuck insisted on “a happy ending”.

After all, in 1952, how could you kill Gregory Peck?

Casey Robinson wrote the screenplay, following Zanuck's directions. He also stole the flash-back scenes from other Hemingway stories, which further bothered the author.

Hemingway’s ending is that Harry becomes delusional from the infection coursing throughout his system, and he dreams of a plane arriving to carry him to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

That is, he dies.

As the author originally intended.

We should respect that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Okay, here it is... The complete text of the message President Obama will deliver to those school children who's parents and principals will allow them to see the speech.

Read it [the whole thing!], then tell me that it is political or subversive...
Keep in mind: President Reagan made a similar address in 1986; President George H.W. Bush did it in 1991. First Ladies have frequently addressed school children - remember "Don't Do Drugs"?

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event
Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone - how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday - at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world - and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer - maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper - but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor - maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine - but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life - I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that - if you quit on school - you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life - what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home - that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer - hundreds of extra hours - to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education - and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you - you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust - a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor - and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you - don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down - don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
Now, don't you feel silly for all the protests?