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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. …


Hadrian’s Wall was used to “assuage the fears of those it supposedly guarded.

Photo from Michael Hanselmann on Wikipedia Commons

“For nearly three centuries, until the end of Roman rule in Britain in 410, Hadrian’s Wall was the clearest statement possible of the might, resourcefulness, and determination of an individual emperor and of his empire,” — Jarrett Lobell, Archaeology

It’s no secret I’ve been re-watching Game of Thrones, the HBO show my friends just couldn’t shut up about for several years. If I’m being honest, I didn’t even watch all of the show the first time: I was the guy who read the books, so this is my first serious watch-through. In the show, there’s a wall at the north…


And how to be tactically savvy

Photo by Sherise VD on Unsplash

As a runner, I have usually been someone who executes poorly during races. For people that don’t run, it means I would choke during big time events and runs. I wouldn’t run as well as my coaches would know me capable of. I wouldn’t finish the race well and I would let dozens of people sprint past me at the line. If you see pictures of me running, I usually look like I’m about to pass out and in the worst pain in the world.

This is how I used to look when I was running, back in high school…


It sucks to be the bad guy, but sometimes, it’s necessary

Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash

I’m a really nice person with the majority of people I interact with. I treat them with respect. I love them as my neighbor, and I try to give the gift of grace to everyone I interact with. With adults, I don’t judge. With kids, I generally don’t judge either and try to give as many second chances as possible.

But when those kids are under my care and I’m in charge of keeping them safe, I’ve had to alter my mindset after a series of traumatic experiences for myself and my students. I’ve presided over a classroom where a…


How many second chances are too many?

Photo from Kelsey Kremer at The Des Moines Register | Imagn Content Services

“Nothing can be more devastating to the American dream of equal rights…Her actions temporarily shattered, but did not permanently defeat, this dream,” the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa said.

In December 2019, a white woman from Iowa hit her car into two children she thought were Middle Eastern and African. She ran over a 12-year-old Black boy and a 14-year-old girl she “believed to be Mexican,” according to Azi Paybarah at the New York Times.

The woman’s name is Nicole Poole Franklin, and a district judge has just sentenced her to 304 months in prison. …


Photo from David Shankbone on Wikipedia Commons

“Television had never seen a character as full of multitudes as Omar Little, depicted brilliantly by Michael K. Williams. The role was the first major gig for Williams, a native of Brooklyn’s East Flatbush, who had dropped out of school to pursue a dancing career…He nurtured out-of-luck mothers, reframed from cursing, attended church with his grandmother, and showed a caring, tender touch with his gay lovers.” — Jonathan Abrams, All The Pieces Matter

The other day, I heard about the death of Michael K. Williams on the news.


My classes had deep and difficult conversations about disabilities

Photo by Zaini Izzuddin on Unsplash

“So this is special ed,” I told my classes on the first week of school. “How does everyone feel about that?”

As a third-year special education teacher in Baltimore City, I teach in the most restrictive setting, self-contained. All my students have moderate to severe disabilities and most of them have less than 40% of their classes in the general education setting. Their disabilities range from ADHD, intellectual disabilities, emotional disabilities, autism, and specific learning disabilities like dyslexia and dysgraphia.

In the past, my students have had very pejorative opinions towards special ed. It is associated with being “dumb.” Many…


This is how a lot of the world lives

Photo by Gervyn Louis on Unsplash

It took not living with AC (air conditioning) for three weeks in the smoldering heat to make me realize a couple things: AC is a first-world comfort and privilege, and not having it is a sobering reminder to check my privilege.

In the grand scheme of human history, air conditioning is also a relatively recent invention. I tell myself this is God’s way of humbling me out of my comfort of late.

None of these reminders make it easier to live without AC, though. I have been very proactive trying to get my AC unit fixed, passive-aggressively texting my landlord…


It helps not to revolve my life around running anymore

Photo from the author

Yesterday, I haphazardly participated in a 12-mile race. I wasn’t expecting much of it, and I was running it just to get a workout in.

It was a day where it was 59 degrees, and perfect running conditions. I wasn’t confident in my fitness at the time. During the summer, I had to try really hard to run really slow. It was an unusually hot summer where it was just incredibly hot and humid on most days, and 6 minute miles, which would usually be easy for me at the peak of my fitness, suddenly became very difficult.

I knew…


“Death is probably mediated by the development of steam and consequent thermal injury to the airways,”

Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash

In Game of Thrones, a universally unliked and hated character is killed by molten gold. The man begged for a crown, and he is quite literally given one in a symbolic death.

But execution by molten gold has a long history. The Journal of Clinical Pathology notes the Jivaro tribe of present-day Ecuador once poured gold down the throat of a hated Spanish governor in 1599, who taxed the tribe unfairly and heavily for the gold trade. The man’s internal organs burst in a symbolic killing of justice.

But this was not the first instance of pouring gold down someone’s…

Ryan Fan

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