Horses

Dear Jerry,
My Topic, once again, is horses. Not just horses in general though but training them. Horses are very big animals and can be intimidating to most people. As you probably have guessed, I own a horse. I have been riding horses for eight years and started training just in the past year and a half. In the past year though I bought a thoroughbred (which are bred for racing and are high-strung, a hard headed breed of horse). After the first many months in a lesson, I got bucked off my horse, Jon, on the transition into a canter. I had a shooting pain in my back and everything went black. My mom and trainer carried me out of the ring because I couldn’t walk. I went to the hospital turns out I did not break my leg or anything, I broke my tailbone. Long story short ended up moving barns and I started training with a new trainer. She helped build me and my horse’s confidence back up and I started riding again. Slowly but surely I started riding more and more, doing more and more stuff with him. I am now in the middle of training him to jump. Thanks the amazing help of my trainer me and Jon are currently jumping three foot…keep in mind I went from being terrified of getting back on him to jumping three feet and being totally confident in four months. Why did I tell you this story? Because it’s an example of what the right training can do! I learned that the way I was taught to ride was totally wrong. I also learned that if I lunge my crazy horse before I get on he will be calm and listen better.
Yes, training horses can be a very unnerving thing, especially when they are in a bad mood and threatening you. I don’t think anything of it anymore because I’ve been around them for so long, but for a new horse owner, it can be pretty terrifying! The main thing you have to do is stay calm, because they can sense fear. If they sense your fear they’ll take advantage of you and try getting away with bad habits, believe me…I know this from experience, it’s not fun. So just stay calm and confident and show them whose boss, because if you are firm they will be intimidated and most of the time will listen. Whereas if you get nervous then they will know and get away with things and your life could be in danger. By the grace of God I had an amazing trainer who helped me learn how to train a horse.
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Amazing summer

Dear Jerry,
I want to tell you about my amazing summer I had this year. My summer started out looking pretty grim then my best friend Mya called and asked if I wanted to go with her and her family on a two week road trip across the states. I asked if I was allowed to go and my parents said yes, so I went. We started our trip traveling to Ohio, because Mya’s parents had a Business convention to go to. While in Ohio I got the opportunity to meet some amazing people and experience some amazing things. One of the amazing things I experienced was getting to participate in breaking of the Guinness Book of world records for the signing of the most books in one sitting,( which was broken I might add). I also got to spend some time backstage in the VIP room which was totally new for me; apparently it’s not normal to make sculptures in LIFE mints on tables backstage. I had fun at the Meetings but I also had fun when we had free time. Some of the things we did were we got starbucks, hung out with our other best friend Maddy, watched creepy mermaid documentaries and river monsters. When the convention was over we headed to Michigan to spend time with Mya’s distant family. In Michigan we hung out with her family, drove to see their old houses and went to their favorite diners and had a grass fight (with the fresh grass they had just mowed). When we were done in Michigan we traveled to North Carolina to spend a few days with some good friends of the Marks at their lake house. At the lake house we tubed, hung out and had some great food, and then it was time to leave and come back to Florida. When I came back to Florida I was expecting to be bored out of my mind, because unlike every other summer I couldn’t afford to buy a plane ticket to Tennessee to stay with my sister and her family. A few days after I got back I got a phone call telling me that someone had given my sister all the money she needed to buy me a plane ticket so in a few days I was landing in the Nashville International airport. During my summer in Tennessee I hung out with my sister, nephew and brother-in-law and his family. I also got to wait at the hospital for my sister-in-law to give birth to her first child, I got to go canoeing down the buffalo river, and I got to make lots and lots of crafts. I would have to tell you Jerry that the most memorable thing about my trip to Tennessee was my trip down the Buffalo River. So here are some things to never do when you go canoeing 10 miles down a river with rapids.
1. Never forget sun screen.
2. Never forget to bring a cushion to sit on (especially if you have a metal canoe).
3. Don’t get your canoe stuck on a log sideways in the middle of a big rapid.
But in the end Jerry I just have to tell you I had one of the best summers of my life. Hanging out with my best friends, my family and holding a newborn baby. I hope you got some ideas about what to do your next summer vacation Jerry. – Sincerely Caroline

Why Tony Romo is a Great Quarterback

Dear Jerry,

Tony Romo… arguably the most hated on and judged quarterback in the NFL. All the time I hear people say, “Tony Romo is horrible,” or, “He’s such a choker,” or, “The only thing he can do is throw interceptions.”My blog this week is about Tony Romo, and why he is a great quarterback, in hope of making people think before they blame everything on him.

Tony Romo is the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. He has been their starting QB since 2006. For the nine years he has been starting, it seems that far too many people have had something bad to say about him. And who gets blamed every time the Cowboys lose… you guessed it, Romo does. But what people never look at is the stats. Since starting, Romo has the seventh highest Quarterback rating (a system developed to measure the degree to which the quarterback contributed to scoring points for the team). Also, over the past three seasons, Romo leads the NFL with 13 game winning drives with an NFL high of 8 being done with trailing in the last five minutes. And for all the people who call him a choker, since 2006, only Payton manning has lead more fourth quarter comebacks with 21, Romo with 20. He also has the most yards of any QB in his first 100 starts of any QB in the Super Bowl era. Then why have they missed the playoffs for four years in a row? Well, that’s easy, our defense and offensive line. Last year the Cowboy’s defense allowed the 3rd most yards in NFL history. An average defense would have gotten Romo back to the playoffs for the past three years. And our offensive line for the past three years has allowed 35 plus sacks. But things are looking great this year. The Cowboys defense has totally been transformed, from being clearly the worst defense in the NFL last year to being ranked 11th in total defensive stats. And for our O-line, they are currently ranked 2nd in the NFL. Plus, the Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, has run over 100 yards in every game this season and leads the NFL in rushing. With all this, I believe the Cowboys are a force to be reckoned with. They showed that last Sunday when they beat the defending Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks, 30-23. The Cowboys are currently 5-1, tied with the Philadelphia Eagles at the top of the NFC.

With all this being said, I know people will still say Tony Romo stinks. So, if you still think Tony Romo is awful, I guess we must agree to disagree. But if you do agree than good for you, I’m glad we agree. All I hope is that this helped some people think before they say something as incorrect as that. So, for all you folks who still disagree, you did learn one thing… don’t say Tony Romo stinks to me or you’ll get a nice earful of facts and stats.

-Stephen

I Don’t Really Like Sports

Dear Jerry,
    Right now, it’s football season.  That means that all the die-hard football fans are watching football and cheering for their favorite teams non-stop.  It’s annoying.  Why?  Because I find watching sports on tv extremely boring.  Now, don’t take this the wrong way.  I like playing sports.  I just don’t like watching sports on tv and following up on a certain team.  I think it’s boring and stupid.  Now, Jerry, I bet that almost everyone who reads this letter is going to come up to me tell me that I’m crazy.  They’ll also probably tell me, “Well, I think video games and comic book superheroes are boring and stupid!”  That’s fine.  People are entitled to their own opinion.  But you know what?  The world doesn’t spend billions upon billions of dollars building video game stadiums and creating a million comic book teams.  The world doesn’t pay all that money to have comic books put on tv or video games on the radio.  Also, what’s the deal with everybody acting like they are on their favorite team?  Whenever their favorite team wins, they say that they won.  Whenever their favorite team loses, they say that they lost.  You people didn’t win or lose anything (except for a few stupid bets maybe).  So stop acting like you made that final touchdown, or like you fumbled the ball, because you didn’t!  I can’t take it, Jerry.  Another thing, why do people coach their favorite team while sitting on the couch and watching the game on tv?  News flash:  They can’t hear you!  I know you probably don’t understand, since you’re a dead (possibly undead) lizard and all, but seriously, come on people!  One of the only good things about football season is being able to hate everyone’s favorite teams and watch how they react.  Seriously, Jerry.  If you want to have some fun, go to a football fan and mock their favorite team.  Then, just sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the fireworks.  It’s a riot to see people get so upset over football.  You have to be careful though.  If you do that to the wrong person and you cross the line, you’re dead.  But if you’re careful, you can have yourself a laugh at the expense of other people’s tastes in football teams.  So here’s a message to football fans everywhere, from Texas to Florida and from New York to New England: chill out!
    Your friend who’s going to die soon for writing this,
    Chris

Doctor Who

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Dear Jerry,

Despite my edgy style and love for metal, I am actually quite nerdy. I’m obsessed with books, TV shows, movies, and comic books. One of the first [and possibly my favorite] TV shows that I became truly obsessed with was “Doctor Who”.

Now Jerry, I have a feeling that you have at least heard some of the kids talking about this show before. But, you probably have no idea what it is, because I assume lizards don’t watch a lot of TV, if any. So, I am going to tell you the basic gist of the show and hopefully convince you to watch it.

Doctor Who is a British sci-fi show that has been airing since the 1960’s. It is all about the exciting adventures of a time-traveling alien who calls himself The Doctor. Now, if you decide to watch it, you don’t have to watch the seasons from the ‘60s to the late ‘80s. In my opinion, the classic shows were super cheesy, so I would not recommend watching them first. You should start with season 1 that aired in 2005.

Anyway, The Doctor isn’t just your average humanoid alien. He is the last of the ancient race of Timelords, from the planet Gallifrey. He is also over 1,000 years old. Now you’re probably thinking, “Wait, how is that even possible?”
Well, Timelords have the special ability to “cheat death”. Basically, if The Doctor gets fatally injured, instead of dying, his body will regenerate into a completely new one. He would still be the same person, but with a completely different body and personality. That’s why, Jerry, whenever you hear people talking about Doctor Who, they will usually say “Who is your favorite Doctor?” This is also a convenient way for the show to replace the actors when they don’t want to be on the show anymore. The Doctor has had 12 regenerations so far.

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Anyway, as I mentioned before, The Doctor is a time-traveler [hence the name “Timelord”]. He travels all throughout time and space in his time machine called the T.A.R.D.I.S., which stands for “Time And Relative Dimension In Space”. Also, I should probably mention that the T.A.R.D.I.S. is alive.

Most of the time, The Doctor does not travel alone. He usually has a companion who he accidentally meets on one of his adventures then she/he ends up traveling with him for a while.

Now, I think some of the most awesome parts of this show are all of the different aliens/enemies that he encounters. Some of the main aliens that are in the show include: Weeping Angels, which are stone angels that will come alive and kill you the second you look away. Next is the Cybermen, which are human brains inside walking metal suits. And of course, the infamous Daleks who are octopus-like creatures inside clumsy, protective armor. They fought against the Timelords in the Time War, which lead to the defeat of both sides. Daleks are basically death machines.

Okay, so now your question may be; why should I watch Doctor Who? And my answer to that is; why shouldn’t you watch Doctor Who? It has basically everything one could want in a show. It’s witty, light yet complicated, sciencey, and fun. And it’s got action, adventure, and a ton of wacky aliens. AND plus, Jerry, there is even a lizard-like alien race called Silurians. What more could you possibly want?

-Hannah M

The FIVE Continents on the Map

Dear Jerry,
Through out my life I have come across a few very interesting cultures and have had many “cultural learning moments.” Growing up I have always been told that there are 7 continents in the world. Most likely in America if you say anything other than that, depending on your age, you may either get laughed at, be somewhat politely corrected or get just the shake of the head. With that said, I therefore had to break a smile when a seven year old last week told me in a matter- of- factually way that there are without a doubt 7 continents and promised me that “Everyone knows that!” Her reaction got me thinking; it is pretty safe to say that there are no more and no less than 7 continents in the world, right? Is that what everyone around the world believes or is it just an assumption on our part?

The most intriguing thing is when you find out that in some cultures there are not seven continents. I thought that my mind was firmly grasped in the statement I believe and have been always taught, but I couldn’t help but wonder what makes some people think otherwise. I have discovered that the question on the number of continents can vary anywhere from four to eight. Now Jerry, before you plan on miraculously leaving your thrown and telling my history teacher that I have gone crazy in my head and that I am going to need intensive tutoring, let me first tell you that just like most opinions are formed based on world view, this is an example of just that.

I read an article on Costa Rican beliefs and came to realize many Costa Ricans are taught and strongly believe in the the fact that there are only 5 continents. Even when we Americans go and try to convince them otherwise, they are firm in their opinion. The first thing I thought was, “Why? Surley they must have a good reason, however, to believe this. We have our ‘logical reasons’ and they must have theirs.”

The 5 continents they believe exist are Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. To get it out of the way, we seem to be on the same page and can say that Europe, Asia and Africa are continents. Enough said. Now we get to the more complicated “continents.” Last I checked, no where in my mind was the realization that Oceania is a continent, in fact if I had to guess what that would be I would have said it is probably some newly discovered island that Jack Sparrow discovered in his most recent movie. Surprisingly, Oceania is a continent made up of Australia, New Zealand, and the surrounding islands. Antarctica all together is not considered a continent. It is true that Oceania is a region, however, since teaching geography across the world has not been standardized, Costa Ricans believe that this region should be considered a continental region. Now about the continent of the Americas. Costa Ricans believe that America is one whole continent containing North, Central, and South. On a geographical approach, Costa Rica is located in the center of the Americas, in between North and South so it is not surprising to me that they feel they have no part of North, nor South America. They believe that the three regions (North, South and Central) are joined together to form one continent and feel as if they should not be considered as part of a “South American continent” because as part of Central America they are their own entity and are independent. In the words of Costa Ricans, “How can we be considered as part of a South American continent?” To them the answer is that they just can’t.

I always thought that Geography, since it is science, must be based on universal truths, but think again. You may feel a bit puzzled by now and may not be sure what to believe anymore. If you are from the US there are 7 continents, if you’re from Chile you know that there are five continents and can’t understand what’s the big fuss and if you’re from Europe you’ll think all of us are nuts because there are 6 continents! I have concluded many areas of knowledge have cultural elements that affect the “way we know things.” It is just one thing we have to accept; different cultures and people believe different things, and weather you believe that there are 5, 6, 7, or even 10 continents, the lesson you can take from this is the idea of perspective. One’s perspective can change the way you look at everything.

~Sarah

My Favorite Games and Possibly the Best Games of All Time

Dear Jerry,

After coming home from a long day at school or doing a lot of homework, there is usually only one way I can relax and unwind: playing a good video game. Being a dead (possibly undead) lizard, you probably don’t play video games at all. Not to worry! I’ll just tell you about my favorite video games (which are possibly the best video games of all time) and you can live vicariously through me. So without further ado, here are my favorite video games (and possibly the best video games of all time) in no particular order.

Minecraft

This is, by far, the best sandbox game out there. In case you don’t know, it’s a simple game of mine, build, and survive with cool retro graphics. You are a blocky person named Steve, and you are placed in a randomly generated world in which everything is made of blocks. You must mine resources and build a shelter to survive the night in. As you progress, you can make awesome weapons with which to kill “hostile mobs” such as the famous Creeper or Enderman. This game is definitely one of the best video games ever.

The Super Smash Bros. series

These games are the funniest and most imaginative fighting games ever made. These games pit Nintendo’s all-stars against each other with goofy items and fun worlds from their various games. You might see Mario fighting Captain Falcon in Hyrule, or Donkey Kong fighting Pikachu on Yoshi’s Island. This game is crazy fun. It’s always funny to see everybody freak out when someone gets a Smash Ball and destroys everyone on screen. I think we can all agree, these game are the best fighting games ever made.

The Goldeneye 007 games

Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64 revolutionized shooting games forever. Every gamer has memories of running down a hallway with your buddy chasing you while he’s trying to shoot you with a Golden Gun. Sure, the game had a decent single-player, but nobody cares. This game was put on the map for its multiplayer. This game has been remade twice, and remains to be one of the best shooting games of all time.

The Portal series

Valve has made several amazing games, but Portal and Portal 2 are arguably their finest works. Portal is extremely different from everything we’re all used to in a video game, but wow! Now, everybody dreams of having a portal gun of their very own. In the Portal games, you are completing a series of puzzles using a portal gun. The portal gun can fire a blue and an orange portal. When you walk through one, you come out the other. In the games, you meet GLaDOS, Wheatley, and cute sentient turrets that try to kill you. These games’ dark humor and imaginative gameplay puts them in the video game hall of fame for sure.

The Batman: Arkham series

Whenever you bring up Batman in a crowd of nerds, geeks, and/or gamers, they’re probably thinking Batman: Arkham. Now, people can actually go around saying “I’m Batman.” Getting to be the Batman is unbelievably awesome. Exploring Gotham City, solving crimes, using cool gadgets, and beating the living snot out of bad guys is insanely fun. The graphics: excellent! The gameplay: excellent! Everything else: excellent!

Jerry, I could go on for hours about how ridiculously amazing these games are, but there’s still one more game I want to mention. Last but most certainly not least,

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time games

This game has truly stood the test of time (ha, ha). Often called the best game of all time, Ocarina of Time is and will always be one of the best games ever. It has been both remastered and remade over the past several years, and I gotta say, it just keeps getting better and better. You are Link, “The Hero of Time”, and you must travel forward and back through time to prevent the kingdom of Hyrule from suffering at the hands of Ganondorf. Exploring dungeons and fighting monsters is both fun and frustrating, as it is nearly impossible to beat the game without using the help of the internet or a guide book. This game was, is, and will always be one of the best games ever.

There you have it. My favorite video games. I hope you found this interesting, and I hope I didn’t make you feel sad because you can’t actually play any of these games.
-Chris