Browsing Tag: school


    Bryan Adams, October 5, 1985 in Philadelphia: Concert review

    July 17, 2017

    Nevermind that it’s the summer of 2017 right now. Close your eyes and transport yourself back to 1984-85. Think of what you heard on local radio stations and saw on MTV.

    You might eventually think of Bryan Adams, whose Reckless album came out in late 1984 and spawned hit after hit after hit after hit. In the Philadelphia area where I grew up, Bryan Adams was played what seemed like constantly on multiple radio stations. And I was a fan.

    I took my best girl down to the Spectrum in Philadelphia to see Adams’ concert on October 5, 1985. (Actually, I think we had broken up by this time but remained friends. Either way, it doesn’t matter.)

    I have no recollection of writing a concert review for my high school newspaper, but apparently that’s exactly what I did. An old friend recently sent me scans from the January 1986 edition of The Flame. I already posted one of the two articles with my byline from that issue, so here’s the second: my Bryan Adams Philadelphia concert review.


    (You can click to read a larger version of the first image if you need to.)

    Thanks again for sending these along, Joe.


    The Start of My Writing Career: “The Flame” (my HS newspaper)

    July 13, 2017

    An old friend emailed me not long ago — a guy named Joe Madgey that I knew in high school but hadn’t heard from since high school. (For those of you who don’t know me too well, high school was a loooooooong time ago.) He had Googled my name and found this blog and used it to get in touch. It was great to hear from him.

    Joe described himself as a “pack rat” and told me that he’d been going through old stuff he had saved, and found a copy of The Flame, the newspaper that we produced at our high school, Holy Ghost Preparatory School. He scanned and sent it along because there were two articles in it that I’d written. One was a review of a Bryan Adams concert that I’ll share in another post soon. But first I’ll share the article I wrote after 14 of us took a senior class trip up to Harlem, NYC.

    I remember the trip vaguely now. But re-reading the article brought back a bunch of memories that I’d long since forgotten. I lived pretty comfortably in the Philadelphia suburbs, so seeing some of the poorer areas of Harlem was very eye-opening to 17-year-old me.

    (You can click for the larger versions of each image if you need to.)

    It’s not the first article I ever had published in the HS paper, but it’s pretty close to the start of my writing/journalism career — and probably the oldest piece of my own writing I’ll ever find. Unless, of course, Joe keeps digging through his old stuff and finds more!

    Thanks for passing this along, Joe.


    Nobody Has a Monopoly on What’s Good/Right

    March 24, 2013

    good-idea-lightbulbMy son recently listened to a speaker at his high school who was there to talk to the whole school about boys, girls, love, sex and relationships … and what all of those things mean to teenagers. His message, which Cari and I learned about by attending a two-hour+ parent session the night before, is essentially to encourage kids to choose abstinence.

    An acquaintance of mine tweeted his opposition to the presentation on the grounds that a “faith-based organization” shouldn’t be presenting to kids in a public school.

    Nevermind that the speaker was brought in by the student body association, not by school officials.

    Nevermind that the same speaker has also spoken at every other high school in the area, except for one that only opened four years ago.

    And nevermind that the speaker doesn’t appear to represent a “faith-based organization.” There’s no mention on the speaker’s website about God, faith, spirituality, religion, Jesus, or anything related to any kind of “Christian agenda.” There was also no mention of any of those topics in the two-hour+ presentation that I heard.

    My acquaintance didn’t really have a clue about the content of the presentation, aside from what the local newspaper wrote about in an article that mentioned how some students didn’t want to attend because the ideas seemed “outdated” and didn’t take LGBT students’ needs into account.

    Despite his ignorance about what was actually being shared with students, my acquaintance said it was a “slippery slope” for this kind of material to be presented to public school kids because it reflects “non-secular” thinking.


    We shouldn’t talk to kids about the ramifications of their sexual choices, and encourage them to make smarter choices, because it sounds Christian?

    Should we just accept that today’s teens are gonna screw around willy-nilly before they’re emotionally ready, and not talk to them about the life-changing ramifications of that? Is that a Good Thing?

    Is it good that kids are taking nude photos of themselves and texting them to their boyfriend/girlfriend, then getting tossed in jail and labeled as sex offenders because they’re participating in child pornography?

    And that they’re taking these nude photos and posting them online for the whole world to see as revenge after the boy/girlfriend breaks up with the other?

    Are these Good Things?

    Is it good that teenage girls are getting pregnant and either having abortions or giving birth to babies while they’re still children themselves?

    Families are getting destroyed by this. Kids are killing each other and/or committing suicide over the bullying, threats and revenge that often accompany teenage sexual activity.

    And we shouldn’t have a speaker in a public school to talk about an alternative lifestyle — i.e., abstinence — because he and/or his message sounds Christian?

    I’m sorry, but shame on anyone that thinks we should keep an important message from our kids for a myopic reason like that. And I’m not writing this to call out my acquaintance; we already ironed things out. It’s all good. I’m writing this because there are way too many people that believe the same thing.

    As a Christian, I’m sick of being told that my beliefs don’t have a place in the public discussion, in public schools, in general conversation.

    If we’re going to keep Christian-sounding messages and lessons out of public schools, then

    • we can’t teach our kids to respect their parents, because that’s one of the Ten Commandments
    • we have to teach them the value of violence, revenge and how to use guns, because “turn the other cheek” is a New Testament thing
    • we can’t teach them to take care of the poor and care for the less fortunate, because those are key themes of Christian life

    Is that really how we want to educate our kids? Avoid any message that might sound Christian or like it’s tied to a faith-based organization?

    Today’s teenagers are dealing with stuff that no one in my generation could’ve imagined. They need more information, not less, and if the information can help or save even one kid, it’s a Good Thing … and it doesn’t matter who the information comes from.

    This is the problem with our society today. Too many people think that they have a monopoly on what’s Good/Right.

    They don’t.

    This is why I hate the two-party political system and what it’s done to our national discourse. Republicans think any idea from a Democrat is bad, and Democrats think any Republican idea is bad.

    We need more Good Things and Good Ideas in this world and it shouldn’t matter where they come from — Republicans, Democrats, Christians, atheists, people of any color or sexual orientation … you name it.

    Your tribe doesn’t have a monopoly on what’s good or right.

    (Stock image via Used under license.)


    Photos: Back to Pepperdine for a Day

    December 12, 2012


    That’s the view that I had every day of my freshman year at Pepperdine University. It’s a photo from the front of Dorm 11 and … wow … it was even more beautiful last month than I remember it being 25+ years ago.

    We had some Search Engine Land/Marketing Land staff meetings last month down in the Los Angeles area, and I couldn’t resist the chance to check out my alma mater for the first time in (I think) about 12-13 years. So I took a day off and arrived early, rented a car and made the short drive up Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to Malibu.

    Fun! It actually reminded me of the beautiful drive from the Maui airport west toward Ka’anapaali Beach.

    I made plans to meet up with an old friend — my friend Alan of Historical Tweets book fame — for lunch, but since I got to campus at about 10:00 am, I had plenty of time to walk around. I checked out the dorm area and the upper sports area (soccer field and track). I hiked up to the new Communications Division and found that they’re showing a photo of ABC’s Bill Weir, but not a photo of me or my friend Kent … even though we’re the ones who gave Bill his first at the campus TV station!

    It was a great visit and now I really want to go back again with the rest of the family. Until then, the McGees will have to settle for the 16 photos that I’ve shared on Flickr. I’ll embed the slideshow below. Enjoy!


    School Overcrowding? As if…

    March 2, 2011

    School Overcrowding? As if...

    That’s my class photo from 2nd grade. 1976. Aside from the dodgy clothes and bad hair, you know what stands out? There are 37 students in this picture. And, for all I know, there were a couple kids absent that day, too.

    This was normal for the time. I was tagged on Facebook recently in some other class pictures from elementary school — there were 39 students in one of them! And get this: we only had one teacher! No teacher’s aides, no parents helping in the classroom, no nothing. One teacher and close to 40 kids.

    And we got a GREAT education.

    So, I can’t help but wonder … in this era when schools complain about having more than 22-24 kids in a classroom, when there’s a teacher and an assistant and often parents helping out, too … why are so many parents and educators complaining about overcrowding in the classroom?


    Hint? I Don’t Need No Steenking Hint

    January 29, 2011

    They’re doing multiplication in the 3rd grade math class these days and my daughter is pretty good at it. So, when she answered the “Problem of the Day” earlier this week, she left a little note for the teacher. (you can click to see a larger version)

    Hint = Unnecessary