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Believer, Baltimore City special ed teacher, and 2:40 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Email: ryanfan17@gmail.com. Support me: ko-fi.com/ryanfan

A child pornography scandal gave him 15 and a half years in prison

From Late1 at Wikipedia Commons

When I was a kid, I remember Jared from Subway, who, in commercials, claimed he lost over 200 pounds just by eating Subway sandwiches and constantly presented before and after photos of his progress. He even showed his jeans of when he weighed more than 400 pounds as a comparison to his then much slimmer weight.

While my brother and I knew that you do much more than eat Subway sandwiches to lose 200 pounds, the effects still stuck with us — Subway became our go-to “healthy” fast-food restaurant. …


Reflecting on unspoken rules as a teacher today

Photo by javier trueba on Unsplash

There are a lot of unspoken teacher codes, especially for male teachers: never be in a room alone with a student, particularly a female student. Never drive a student and never be in a car alone with a student. Always keep the door open when you’re alone with a student, particularly a female student.

I received this advice from various sources very early on in my career. In one instance, I was supervising a field trip with another school employee. We waited until all the students were able to get home. It was almost midnight, and one student didn’t have…


How the Assyrian Empire terrorized the ancient world

The flaying of Elamite chiefs by Ashurbanipal — from the British Museum on Wikipedia Commons

“Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste to nations and their land.” — 2 Kings 19:17, ESV

Much Assyrian artwork shows the empire flaying its victims. The most brutal of dictators would impale prisoners’ heads on stakes. They would have large-scale deportations, burn their victims, and tear our the tongues of people who crossed them.

I recently finished listening to Dan Carlin’s podcast, King of Kings. In the podcast, Carlin describes the Assyrian Empire at great length, and goes as far as to describe them as the “ancient Nazis.” Carlin calls the Assyrians “the ruins of something…


Most of it is still the same

Photo from the author

I’m terrible at keeping surprises. My girlfriend knew I was proposing weeks before I actually did. As you can tell from the headline, I proposed to my girlfriend recently, and thank Jesus she said yes.

And I also hate to ruin this surprise too: my life didn’t change at all after getting engaged. Sure, I call my girlfriend my fiancee now. Friends who haven’t spoken to me in years reached out to call and FaceTime me to congratulate me on the engagement and proposal. …


He’s the kind of person who always needs to be active

Photo from kaboompics on Pixabay

My Chinese grandfather just crossed the milestone of 80 years old, and he is struggling.

He has been fighting cancer. He is living in America, where he knows zero English. One time, he got in a lot of trouble at the mall because he didn’t understand bathroom signs, and walked into the women’s bathroom.

To me, he’s just my harmless grandfather who is one of the nicest people ever to his grandkids, but in that moment, if I didn’t know him, he might have come across as some pervert. …


We all have a place where we felt safe

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Blistering humidity, stifling heat, and random rain and thunderstorms that shake the Earth on a regular basis are not constants where I live. But they do exist in Atlanta, the city where I went to college and effectively the place that made me who I am.

This week, in the middle of a busy work week, I visited Atlanta. I visited some of the friends I haven’t seen in years after the pandemic and revisited the place I went to college. I went back to the campus where I had a lot of memories, good and bad. …


Satire

Smith could singlehandedly ruin every person’s reputation

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Elite, brilliant, world-class hacker, John Smith, considers himself a generous man. He has offered a sliding scale for how much ransom he demands from every person with Internet access. How?

He hacked Google, everyone’s computers and phones, and is threatening to reveal their Google search history to the entire world. Even what most users thought was secure through VPN and private browsing is subject to being leaked to the general public.

To allow everyone to get back to their lives in the most minimally invasive way possible, Smith has given everyone an ultimatum: pay him 10% of their annual salary…


“The ship’s bottom, covered with barnacles, rasped upon the poor devils like nails”

A Tudor Period painting of Keelhauling — Public Domain

“Yesterday I tried to write a description of a most horrible sight. It was so revoltingly cruel, so barbarous, so infamously brutal, that I gave it up.” — a special correspondent of the London Morning Advertiser in 1882.

On a ship, the keel is the bottom of the ship. Normally, not much happened on the keel, but sometimes, sailors would get thrown at the bottom of the heel to be tortured and sometimes killed. This practice would have a sailor tied to the ship, or tied to a line of the ship, and get dragged along the heel. …


Those with a critical inner voice had a higher heart rate and lower energy

Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Throughout my life, I’ve found there’s always been a drastic difference between how I feel and how I’m actually doing. I’m the type of person who always feels like I’m doing an absolutely terrible job, no matter what I’m doing.

I’m not known for my confidence and certainty. I’m more known for my uncertainty. Even in a position of authority, I use phrases like “I think” far too much, which I’ve been working on to not only sound but be more confident.

I am tired. I am so tired. My summer job requires ten hours on Zoom every day and…


The distinction lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

I am an ignorant person. I don’t say to mean I’m not woke or actively try to make insensitive comments because I do not.

But I will always be ignorant to some degree of different cultures, religions, races, disabilities, and more. I was not aware the term “special needs” has grown outdated (in favor of children with disabilities), and I’m a special education teacher.

Today, I learned the word “dreadlocks” is a microaggression and offensive, which I completely did not know before and regretted I did not know before. I recently got called out by my girlfriend for a microaggression…

Ryan Fan

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