What Soccer Can Teach Us About Grading

Strawn ED

As I briefly alluded to in my previous post, I got hooked on soccer watching the 2010 World Cup. Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria is one of the most spectacular sports moments I have ever witnessed. In that moment, I was converted. That fall, I ordered the extra sports package to be able to follow the Premier League and my newly adopted team, Everton FC (thanks in large part to #24 Tim Howard). Ever since, I have been a huge fan, learning more and more about the beautiful game and getting ready for 2014 in Brazil.

Landon Donovan celebrating his winning goal against Algeria to send the USA to the top of Group C and into the knockout round in the 2010 World Cup (photo: ussoccer.com). Landon Donovan celebrating his winning goal against Algeria to send the USA to the top of Group C and into the knockout round in the 2010 World Cup (photo: ussoccer.com).

While I played soccer growing up, it was never with the same passion as baseball. I have nothing beyond a surface-level understanding of soccer…

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Stem cell sharing – part 1

Marshallian Surplus

Some years back, I joined the British Bone Marrow Registry. It was a simple process, just an extra sample was taken during a blood donation session. A card with my registry ID number has sat in my wallet since then and I’ve thought little of it.

Last week: I received a letter from the BBMR saying I am a potential donor for a patient, likely someone suffering from leukaemia (leukemia for those in the US) or other blood disorder. Included was a booklet all about the process from Anthony Nolan.

You're a match booklet from Anthony Nolan The booklet from Anthony Nolan. It’s a more in-depth version of this page.

I made a quick phone call to answer some health questions, and an appointment at my doctor’s surgery for a blood sample. A week later, I went to the nurse with the sample kit the BBMR posted out to me. After 2 minutes of painless blood…

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Just Like Candy

Carla Prieto

Cigarettenot my hand

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

My love affair with cigarettes began at an early age. The first one I ever tried had no filter and had a bumpy and chalky texture. It came in a long, flimsy, red box that read “KINGS” with a crown underneath, which I had gotten in a goodie bag from a friend’s birthday party. It was candy.

I took mine out and began chewing it after my mom took hers out and lit it, the smoke billowing elegantly above her and blending into the hot summer air like thin branches of an infinitely tall and bare acacia. She sat on our hardwood porch, lined with impatiens and gardenias and buzzing with bees, while I sat on the green summer grass not too far away, watching her lounge coolly with wonder and admiration.

At four or five, I didn’t know much about cigarettes. Why didn’t…

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Play with me?

why i left my job


It is the 20th day of February, and Mother Nature is dumping some more snow on us here in Minnesota. I am looking outside my window as I type, and I feel like I am inside a snow globe. Whoever is shaking this globe, please stop! It was pretty the first time, but I am over it now. Really, I don’t remember ever hating winter as much as I have this year. It’s been cold. My back still hurts from shoveling earlier this week. And the kids and I are going crazy in this house.  Let me rephrase that: My house and children are driving me crazy. Pretty soon I’ll be trying to peel away the yellow wallpaper.


I am a workaholic at heart. Weird, you may be thinking, since this is coming from someone who could no longer take the pressure of working a full-time job and taking…

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‘Voices from the Syrian Tragedy’: Three New Poems


Fawaz Azem has translated three new Syrian poems — one from Dima Yousf and two from Nihad Sayed Issa — all responding, in some way, to the nation’s current landscape:

By Fawaz Azem

Dima Yousf, courtesy of the author. Dima Yousf, courtesy of the poet.

Dima Yousf, a Syrian Palestinian born in 1986, graduated from Damascus University with a degree in Arabic literature and a teaching diploma. She teaches Arabic in Damascus schools, and is pursuing a graduate degree “but with a stay of execution.”  A recent post on her Facebook page reads “I have so many stories to tell, if I survive.”

Yousf’s poem is untitled.


Oh, if I only had a knife
like those that are forgotten on necks,
after massacres.
If I only had the fingers of a murderer
and his unblinking eyes.
If I could only utter the cry of his victim
the moment he gathers in the voices
from all four corners…

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