And a Happy Friday to all of you out there on the Interwebs. I’m going to spend part of my day in a classroom of middle-schoolers, which isn’t unusual as I sometimes substitute teach, but today it’s different because I’m speaking at a friend’s Career Day fair, talking about my former life as a newspaper journalist. I hope the kids don’t ask “what’s a newspaper?”
Also will spend at least a few minutes smiling gleefully at the idea of a Democratic Presidential debate where old lion Bernie Sanders thunders away at Hillary Clinton from the left. You go, Bernie Sanders.
First up today, this letter has been making the rounds this week, and I think it’s just fabulous.
A Philadelphia man named Michael Rossi took his family to Boston a few weeks ago, so they could explore the history of that great city, and watch him compete in the Boston Marathon.
The kids’ elementary school wasn’t too happy that the Rossi children missed time, and sent a strongly-worded letter home, upbraiding him for the kids’ “unexcused absence” and saying they don’t evaluate family trips, etc. The tone was very scolding and not very friendly, let’s just say.
Well, Mr. Rossi fired back with a beautiful missive, one I wholeheartedly agree with.
My wife and I agree on nearly everything when it comes to parenting, and we both agree that our little son (and any future Lewises (or is it Lewii?) will learn culturally as well as from school as much as possible; if that means taking him out of class on a random Wednesday and going to a museum or Yankee Stadium or a day-trip to Mount Vernon to see cool George Washington stuff, so be it.
Anyway, Rossi’s letter is perfect. Here’s a few excerpts, read the whole thing here:
“While I appreciate your concern for our children’s education, I can promise you they learned as much in the five days we were in Boston as they would in an entire year in school.
Our children had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that can’t be duplicated in a classroom or read in a book.
In the 3 days of school they missed (which consisted of standardized testing that they could take any time) they learned about dedication, commitment, love, perseverance, overcoming adversity, civic pride, patriotism, American history culinary arts and physical education.
They watched their father overcome, injury, bad weather, the death of a loved one and many other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal.
They also experienced first-hand the love and support of thousands of others cheering on people with a common goal.
They also paid tribute to the victims of a senseless act of terrorism and learned that no matter what evil may occur, terrorists can not deter the American spirit.
These are things they won’t ever truly learn in the classroom.
In addition our children walked the Freedom Trail, visited the site of the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre and the graves of several signers of the Declaration of Independence.
These are things they WILL learn in school a year or more from now. So in actuality our children are ahead of the game.”
**Next up, one of my all-time favorite movies, “Goodfellas” turns 25 this year, and the cast celebrated with a showing and reunion at the Tribeca Film Festival the other night.
“Goodfellas,” I will argue until infinity, is the best mob movie ever made, better than “The Godfather” and any other imitators. It showed us the real-life days and nights of these criminals, the script was sparkling, the direction incredible, and the acting, well, the acting was beyond superb.
Martin Scorsese stripped away the glamour and the mythology and made just a perfect motion picture.
I could spend hours quoting lines, and often do with friends. Read this terrific BBC piece about the film’s legacy, and then, of course, I had to embed this scene, a masterpiece of directing:
Now go home and get your shinebox.
**And finally today, a nice smile to take you into the weekend. Bryan Sperry, an 89-year-old former football player at Kansas University, scored a touchdown at a recent alumni game at the school.
My favorite part of this? The “fake” attempts at tackling by his opponents. They totally sold it well!