31 October 2007

Phyrelight Phorum of Phriends (Special Samhain/Hallowe'en Edition)is ON


It's a spooky, black-n-white night here at the phyre. The veil between worlds is at its' thinnest, and there's no telling what lurks in the shadows. So grab a seat and help phan the phlames of phriendship as we celebrate the Celtic New Year!

(candy is a couple of posts down)

I Wasn't Gonna Dress Up,...

...but Melissa made me do it:



A Music Video Apropos for Today

By (who else) The Grateful Dead:

30 October 2007

Happy New Year!!...

...to all you Pagans, Neopagans, Wiccans, Celts, and associated persons. Good Samhain!
And a Happy Halloween (Hallowe'en, All Hallows Eve) to the Christians.


Have some candy!

29 October 2007

Another Kilometerstone

In the early morning hours today, someone clicked on this site. I don't know who it was, but this person was the 5,000th to do so since I added the SiteMeter count a couple of weeks after I started this bloggity blog back in March. Thanks to everyone who has wasted time visiting this hotbed of meh ;) .

Another ticked box on the checklist to world domination.

You think I'm kidding, don't you.

You'll see.

Oh, yes, you'll all see.

27 October 2007

Today's Secret Word Is "Philosophy"



Okay, let's go through these, because, if you're like me, your first reaction on most of these "celebrities" was "Who?"....

Gottlob Frege - German mathematician, logician, and philosopher. If you say so....

Jason Lee - Actor/skateboarder. Yeah, he and I look so much alike. Hah! Oh, he's also a Scientologist, so philosophy is probably beyond his capability.

Rabindranath Tagore - Indian poet/philosopher/author/artist. Nobel laureate (1913 Literature). OK....

Ernst Mach - Bohemian-Austrian physicist and (of course) philosopher. Him, I have heard of, mainly due to the fact that the unit for the speed of sound is named in his honor.

Otto Wagner - Austrian architect. From his Wikipedia page: "In 1897, Otto Wagner, Gustav Klimt, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser founded the "Vienna Secession" artistic group. From the ideas of this group he developed a style that included quasi-symbolic references to the new forms of modernity." Sounds very philosophical to me. Never heard of him.

Ferdinand de Lesseps - Wasn't he Voila's father in Shakespeare in Love? Oh - no, he was the dude who built the Suez Canal. I'm sure there was lots of searching for knowledge and truth (you guessed it - philosophy) in the desert. I vaguely remember learning his name in History class.

Andrew Carnegie - Well known robber-baron/phil...anthropist. Apparently, his search for knowledge and truth led him to give his money away.

Terry Pratchett - Popular SF/Fantasy writer whose works I have yet to read, but I have heard of him. Bet the books are full of philosophical allegory.


Damn. I should go back to college and major in Philosophy!
FWIW, I would have thought I look more like Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams), Billy Gibbons or Dusty Hill (ZZ Top), or that dude from The Oak Ridge Boys.
(h/t to Distributorcap)

26 October 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Two pics o' Puff for your viewing pleasure (both taken at night, so the viewscreen was dark and I guessed... not very well... at the aim):

That's not a penguin on the telly, it's a kitteh on the DVD!



Puff: International Kitteh of Mystery

Callie is still recovering from a recent "fur problem" and is not yet ready to be photographed again. Maybe I can talk her into it for next week....

24 October 2007

Phyrelight Phorum of Phriends (Special pidomon Birthday Edition)is ON



I would just like to point out that it has been raining here for the last two days, so the wood might be a little damp and smoky. Remember the campphyre adage that "smoke follows beauty", so you might want to sit next to me.

pidomon's birthday cake is here, in case you've not seen it. The wheelchair ramp is over there, pido, if you're "ancient" body needs help negotiating the hill.

23 October 2007

An Epistle From Brother Phydeaux

The Question of the Day over at Shakesville Monday was,

What comment or critique from a childhood grade-card or document (yes, margin-notes on a high-school essay count) has proven to be completely accurate (or inaccurate) about you?

which made me remember something.

One day senior year, my GT English class was given a group assignment to do some sort of media project for presentation to the class. My group did a film (which was a big deal at the time) of "The Mad Hatter's Tea Party" from Alice in Wonderland. Okay, it was actually a video - on beta tape (remember that?), but wev....

One of the other groups did a "newspaper" from twenty-five years in the future (which, by the way, was last year) that had articles about all of us in the class. David O. was President of the United States [he's actually a VP at Lowe's, but I wouldn't be surprised if he one day ran for office], Stephen M. was a Nobel Laureate in Physics [he teaches physics at a community college], and so on....

According to their paper, I was destined to become a monk, living in a secluded monastery. At the time it kind of pissed me off... mostly because of the whole celibacy thing, but also because they actually thought I would have some kind of religious calling. As regular readers know, I am a PK (preacher's kid), but even then I was agnostic.

But now I see that they were eerily accurate. Except for the religious part... and even there, they were kinda right. I do worship Nature. But I definitely live a secluded life; Teh Interwebs are practically my only conduit to the outside world, other than woodworking/construction... which I am fortunate enough to be able to do mostly on my own. And I am single ( for the last few years by design) and "flying solo", which enforces a type of celibacy.

So, good on you, Wes, Andrew, John, Chuck, and David. You knew me better back then than I did myself.

__________________________________________________________________

Bonus:

Me, senior year in high school. The beard wasn't quite what it is today, but in my defense, I was only seventeen. I'm wearing a suit my mother made, which was actually blue. I messed up the color trying to "correct" the picture with Picasa. And, yes, that's a clip on tie.

22 October 2007

A Musical Request

Several years ago, a friend of mine burned a mix CD for me. The last track, which he labeled only "Native Flute" (although the "flutes" sound suspiciously like cellos) has haunted me. Even the friend who made the CD doesn't remember.... I have tried to find out what the track name and artist are, to no avail.

Any assistance would be appreciated....

17 Track 17 - Twango

If anyone should be able to id the song/artist, I will gladly award multiple good karma points.

UPDATE: My first guess all along was Robbie Robertson... it sounds kinda like his music... but I never got anywhere following that line.

I'm Determined to Bore My Readers With Poorly Shot Video

video

More of the woods around the Secret Lair (aka '73 Winnebago), just down the hill a bit, where there are more evergreens. Because TheCunningRunt wondered.....

Music is Ashoken Farewell, which was popularized by the Ken Burns miniseries, The Civil War.

20 October 2007

Gender Blank Made Me Do It








What type of girl are you?!!
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Hippy




Athletic Tomboy



100%

Hippy



100%

Nerdy Girl



69%

Loser



56%

Slut



50%

Goth



38%

Popular Bitch



25%

Preppy Girl



13%



Like there was ever any doubt, man....

19 October 2007

Friday (LOL) Cat Blogging

I Can Haz Bybul!

OMFSM! I. Cannot. Stop. Laughing!

Gleefully nabbed from FranIAm, is the LOLCat Bible!
Here's a sample:
teh catitudes

1 wen he seez lotz kittehz, he climbz tree. His BFz climbz tree too.

2 he sez:

3 cheezburgrz 4 kittehz wiv no cookies on tehy inside; tehy can has Ceiling.

4 cheezburgrz 4 sad kittehz; tehy can has petting.

5 cheezburgrz 4 kittehz taht not want pwn otehr kittehz; they can has urths when otehr kittehz is daid.

6 cheezburgrz 4 kittehz taht is liek "can i has good?"; an cookies 2.

7 cheezburgrz 4 kittehz taht no pwn otehr kittehz; Ceiling Cat no pwn tehm.

8 cheezburgrz 4 kittehz taht has bath on they inside; Ceiling Cat no invisble 4 tehm.

9 cheezburgrz 4 cheezmakrs; Ceiling Cat is liek "u mi kittehz."

10 cheezburgrz 4 kittehz taht iz pwned by otehr kittehz coz tehy iz good; tehy can has Ceiling.

11 cheezburgrz 4 kittehz taht iz pwned by otehr kittehz coz of me.

12 b happy. u can has cookie in Ceiling, cos itz liek wen kittehz pwned Ceiling Catz kittehz.


(for those who didn't grow up a Preacher's Kid, the selection is Matthew 5:1-12... "The Beatitudes" from the Sermon on the Mount [KJV translation here for comparison])

18 October 2007

Random Python, Monty

"I will not buy this record. It is scratched."

"Sorry?"

[...]

"My hovercraft is full of eels."

The UnDemocritization of America, Part 452,838,581

It's time to get active (again). From today's New York Times:
The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission, wants to repeal the rule in the next two months — a plan that, if successful, would be a big victory for some executives of media conglomerates.

Among them are Samuel Zell, the Chicago investor who is seeking to complete a buyout of the Tribune Company, and Rupert Murdoch, who has lobbied against the rule for years so that he can continue controlling both The New York Post and a Fox television station in New York.
Martin's predecessor, Michael Powell (yes, Colin's son), tried this a few years back, only to have the new rules shot down in court. It makes one wonder what perks are being offered to the commish by Zell, Murdoch, et al....

I realize this is all about the dinosaur MSM, and that they are already mostly irrelevant inasmuch as being a watchdog for freedom and impartiality, but the sheepletm get almost all of their "news" from these sources.

Which is why Murdoch wants to own it all.


Does anyone else remember anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws?

Contact the FCC commissioners here.

(BTW, this is the 200th post!)

nothin toit but to doit

Since my natural person is near and dear to me, indeed inseparable, I'm posting when I should be commenting (never could play by the rules) on the West Virginia makeover video. Looks like Utah's coming. And if that makes you sick, try project censored if you've not already been there. A good idea would be to post a reference in libraries, they need more visibility.

I opened with "natural person" because that is the discrepancy found in the headnotes (not legally binding yet practiced anyway) of the Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific RR. If you're not familiar with the case look it up, it explains alot. Maybe if we start using the terms, natural persons and artificial persons, for humans and corporations, respectively, than people will begin to think more in those terms.

According to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, (info@celdf.org) there are two towns in the country to dethrone their corporate nemesi. It's a start.

Back at project censored, I read yesterday that McDonalds and Disney were attempting to gain
status in the UN!

17 October 2007

Mr. Deity Is Back!

With many thanks to Portly Dyke for introducing me!





If you haven't seen this show before, click on "Up Next" above for the playlist. This shit is funny!

The Environment: We Can't Live Without It!... Part 2

In the comments on this post, which mentioned mountaintop removal coal mining, The Cunning Runt linked to the following video, which is part one of a series that can be found here. As TCR said:

If anyone thinks removing mountain tops (and frequently whole mountains) is bad, just consider that the toxic tailings are subsequently used to fill in the watersheds in between the leveled peaks, killing EVERYTHING DOWNSTREAM. Fish, birds, mammals, people, farms, towns, estuaries.

It's horrific, it's disgusting, and it MUST. BE. STOPPED.

Pay close attention to the scale of these projects. They're not just clearing a spot for a new Wal-Mart here, these are whole fucking mountains being wiped away.



I weep for our planet, and all that inhabit it.

Special K on Colbert

In case you're like me and don't have cable/satellite... or beyond me and don't have a TV, you must go and watch this - Dennis Kucinich on the Colbert Report.

Best line....

Colbert (referring to K's pocket Constitution): Did you shrink that yourself?
Kucinich: No, George Bush has already done that.

Phyrelight Phorum of Phriends is ON


Looks like another cool evening here in Teh Mountainz, NC... so let's light the phyre! Beer and mixers in the creek, jug of the phinest from the holler behind that tree over there, and munchies on the picnic table.

Pull up a log and toast yer marshmallows!!

16 October 2007

Video: Take 2

Or, "Where I play with audio and editing (minimal)"

More vid of Teh (B)Lair Woods, shot yesterday afternoon. Enjoy....


video

I know the quality of the video is not the best - I'm just playing around!

The music, for those who don't know, is the Cunfutatis from Mozart's Requiem... no special meanings hidden there, it just happened to be the right length - and I like it. I was pleased that the music fit so well at points. What do you think?

What Did Browntm Do For Me?


The Big Brown Van threaded its way through the (B)Lair Woods (h/t to TheCunningRunt) today and delivered me a package.

Thanks, pidomon!

And now, for something completely different....

It's.....

15 October 2007

The Environment: We Can't Live Without It!

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day


Twenty some years ago, I began what has become a tradition for me. On Earth Day, I drive up to Mount Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi River) and spend some time soaking in the peace of the forest. You can click here to see a live webcam shot from the top of the mountain.







Normally, I go back in the fall to see the color display. Regular readers will know that this has not been possible this fall, as I am temporarily sans auto.







I love these mountains more than I can truly express. I was born in the "shadow" of Mount Mitchell (in Burnsville, NC), and - except for a couple of years spent in Raleigh, attending NC State University - I have lived my whole life within twenty miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. So it makes me sad beyond words to see the destruction of the fir and hemlock trees that has been caused due to a combination of acid rain, drifting in from the Ohio and Tennessee Valley power plants, and the invasion of the wooly adelgid, due to the climate changes.


It makes me sad - and angry - to see the way people treat our environment. The sheer thoughtlessness of throwing trash out the car window, or dumping that old couch or refrigerator next to a creek, this is something that I just can't understand.

I know that I am lucky to have grown up and live in the country where I can "be one" with the countryside. The vast majority of Americans live in overdeveloped urban areas, and many have never been in the countryside - something I find hard to comprehend.

Over and above the disrespect shown to Nature by throwing trash out a window as one drives along the highway are the horrific practices of clearcut logging and mountaintop removal mining.















For those not familiar with these practices, clearcut logging (a practice that has been actively promoted by the maladministration of the Current Occupant of the White House) is exactly what it sounds like. The loggers come in and cut everything down, from the large trees that will be turned into lumber to the underbrush - which is normally bulldozed into a pile and burned. This is done to make it easier for the loggers to "harvest" the high value lumber and the less valuable, but still profitable small wood, which is processed in a "chip mill" and made into OSB (oriented strand board), which is used for everything from subfloors to walls in house construction, and paper pulp.

Mountaintop removal mining is an even more despicable practice. Someone, years ago, realized that since a lot of the coal in West Virginia is located near the surface, it would be a lot more profitable for the Coal Companies to simply scrape away the surface soil and excavate the coal with giant backhoes and bulldozers than to purchase the more expensive specialized mining equipment (not to mention hire the more expensive - and unionized - coal miners). To see more about the effects of this practice, click here.

Most of you reading this have never seen a deeply eroded hillside that has been clearcut logged, or a mountaintop that has been completely obliterated. But the less obvious, but oh so much more destructive to the balance of Nature,practice is the sprawl of cities - something with which nearly everyone is familiar. Once productive farmland is being taken over by Starter Castle (McMansion) subdivisions, gated communities and Wal-Mart anchored shopping centers. Wooded areas that used to be the home of myriads of animals - and the playground of many a child - are being cut down to make room for more Appleby's and Burger Kings. Once free-flowing creeks and streams are buried in culverts and remembered only by street and/or shopping center names. The precarious balance that the Earth has maintained for eons is being upset - all in the name of progress.

I would love to end this on a positive note, but I honestly can't come up with one... so I'll just add this last thing:



(to do something to help counter the race to destroy the planet, click here)

13 October 2007

kona Made Me Do It!




You Belong in 1950



You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!




Sigh. I belong in a time before I was born....

(go blame him here)

You Can't Tell a Book By Its Cover


Reason #299,458,978 why America is no longer the Best Nation on the Planet.

Get out of the fucking SUV and walk yourself, you lazy and clueless idiot!




When I lived in downtown Asheville several years ago, I would often observe my neighbor use the car to travel the 1/2 block to the convenience store or the 3/4th of a block to Bojangles for food. There was a time when I would react with mirth at the laziness exhibited, but it didn't take long for the sheer stupidity of this repeated act to really get under my skin. This neighbor was fit, healthy and liberal... and chose to climb into the mobile personal environment chamber so as not to be "tired out" or "cold" or "hot". Ugh.

Where I live now, the nearest store is a mile and a half away, and approximately 600' lower in elevation. And yet, one of my neighbors walks down there fairly often, instead of taking his truck. And this dude's in his "extremely late" 50's, not to mention a Republican apologist.

I asked him about it one day, when I stopped at the store on my way home from work, and was turned down when I offered him a lift home. I wondered if he walked because of a doctor's recommendation. He surprised me by saying that he didn't see the point in burning the gas when he a) wasn't in a hurry (he's retired), b) could enjoy the countryside and wave at whatever folk happened to be out in their yards as he walked by and c) could maybe show the "young'uns" a better way.

Color me shocked and pleased.


(photo h/t to Arratik at Scrutiny Hooligans)

11 October 2007

TANGO ANYONE?

Well, I think that someone finally stumbled onto "Say What?".[link fixed by Phydeaux]

It would appear that I have struck a nerve with our friend$ on the extreme right. I started the site little more than a month ago, say what was no big deal. Type in "Say What?" blogspot and there's close to two million options. Talk about loosing a needle in a haystack! What a tactic. This is probably old news to a lot of you polished bloggers out there, but to me, man it must have been an act of god!

Speak of the devil! God told me today to round up all his opposition on the planet and do a turn about. Fair play right? So anyone that reads this, as duty to your country, name a blog Jesus, heaven, Federalist, Republican, Armageddon, G8, you get the picture, and put in the heading something like Santa Clara vs Southern Pacific, or doesn't class by definition dictate segregation. It's time to separate the good christians from the money mongers!

A View Of/From The Woods

My first attempt to shoot and upload a video with my (apparently crappy) camera. The woods around the Secret Lair (aka '73 Winnebago) on a windy October afternoon.

video

Consider this to be a test only.

10 October 2007

Phydeaux Phans the Phlames of Phriendship


Hey, All!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Phydeaux's "Phyrelight Phorum of Phriends"! Grab a log - err, kona, I mean a seat - and some marshmallows! I've built a "beer weir" in the creek to keep the brews and mixers cold (I even put some [*shudder*] Bud Lite in there for you, pido).

So, as they say at The Varsity in Atlanta, "Whayahave?"

And remember my motto:

"If it happens at Phydeaux's, he ain't cleaning it up! Seriously, show a little responsibility, willya? You damn kids these days! I swear if we had acted like that when I was a young'un, we woulda had our hides tanned, but good!"

(yeah, I need to work on the wordiness, don't I)


Major league kudos to Jennifer for phixing up that foto!!!

Blog Note (Again)

Thanks to a certain un-named Costa Rican quilter/blogger, I became aware that my blog was formatted in a (potentially) unfriendly way. This problem has now been corrected.

For future reference, if anyone has problems with the layout, I always appreciate knowing.

If you have problems with the content, well, as Cap'n Dyke, Lesbian Pirate Queen & Rogue Blogger says, "If you don't like what you see, the wonderfully practical X button on the upper right will be your magical transport out of here..."

09 October 2007

From My Email Bag

Another recalled Toy from China


Disney announced today that it was removing a piece of CHINESE made playground equipment for investigation into POSSIBLE manufacturing defects, although China is denying that there is anything wrong with their product. They insist it is another example of the Imperialist witch-hunt against their country


08 October 2007

Erin Go Bragh!

A friend emailed me this picture some time ago, and I just came across it while looking through my pictures on the hard drive.

I like it.
Posted by Picasa

07 October 2007

But Can I Use It As Collateral?


My blog is worth $35,001.48.
How much is your blog worth?




I'll settle for half that in cash.

But I won't argue if there's a bidding war.

(h/t to konagod [the magnificent])

06 October 2007

Look Out!

(h/t to Teh Portly Dyke)

The Results Are In...

...and the new look wins by a landslide!

Thanks for the input, folks!

60% said they like the new look
13% said they didn't
26% couldn't care less about the look, it's the words they want, and
the ever-missing 1% didn't vote

You know, it seems like the code for these polls would round up the numbers so that the percentage total would come out to 100, but what do I know?

05 October 2007

Phydeaux the Super-Blogger!

Two pics for a Friday night. First, a backlit Puff:



And, for the folks over at the Shakesville VPub, the half-eaten omelette. I told you guys it was ugly:


See how easy it is pidomon?

Freedom TM

My Dad, who, for those who don't already know, is a retired Methodist minister, sends out a daily "devotional" email to the whole family. In today's missive he included the following:

Kahlil Gibran was a Christian poet, philosopher, artist, prophet and writer from Lebanon who lived and did much of his writing in America.. You may be familiar with his book, The PROPHET. The following quotation is one which would-be candidates of today could do well to emulate.

“Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a Zealous one asking what you can do for your country?”--Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931, from The New Frontier, an article by Gibran.

President Jon F. Kennedy adapted the quotation as the conclusion of his “Inaugural Address”, January 20. 1961. “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”


Unfortunately, in today's world that last bit needs to be altered to read "ask not what America will do to you, but what we will do to the freedom of man."

04 October 2007

Hi, My Name's Phydeaux and I'm a Bibliophile

Just a small glimpse of the interior of the Secret Lair (aka'73 Winnebago):

Sooner or later, I'm going to have to build a library addition.

"For the Children"



Take action here.

Space: The Final Frontier


Fifty years ago today, the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite - and the space age. I was not around when this happened, but from what I have read - and learned from my Dad - the launch caught the United States by surprise, and a hasty (and initially unsuccessful) American Space Program (soon to be renamed NASA) began. NPR has several stories about the impact of the Sputnik launch.


I was talking to Dad the other night and he told me that the local radio station in Seward, Alaska - where my family lived at the time - would broadcast the times when the basketball-sized sphere would be passing overhead. He still remembers watching in wonder as the satellite moved across the sky (in later years, I would do the same thing, watching the Apollo ships, Skylab, and then the Space Shuttle as they crossed the nighttime sky over North Carolina).

The Soviets also managed to put the first animal (a dog named Laika), man (Yuri Gegarin) and woman (Valentina Tereshkova) into space. America, however, "won" the race to put man on the moon (Apollo 11 in 1969) - a feat no other nation has yet to accomplish, although the Chinese are supposedly working on a lunar program.

I remember the excitement of the Apollo missions to the moon, and, like those older than me who will "always remember where they were" when JFK was shot, I will always remember being in my sister's living room, watching the TV as Neil Armstrong descended the ladder on the "Eagle" moon lander, and set foot on the moon.

"That's one small step for Man, one giant leap for Mankind"

To my six-year old self, that event was the coolest thing ever. I could envision more trips to the moon, and then to Mars and beyond. Unfortunately, once the race to the moon was won, the Space Program became less important. After all, we had shown the "Russkies" and the rest of the world that our national dick was bigger we were number one in space. It was time to get back to more important things, like stopping the Communist juggernaut in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

Today, America's premiere launch platform, the Space Shuttle, is aging and out of date (an iPod probably has more memory and computing power than the onboard computers) and there is a vigorous debate ongoing as to whether we should even be funding space exploration.

I say that humanity has always been interested in what was "over the next hill" or "across the sea", and there is no sea larger nor more intriguing for exploration than the vast cosmos.


03 October 2007

I've Been Here And I've Been There

A month or so ago, TheCunningRunt put up the post, Two Americas. As I was working on my own post, Do You Miss The Weekly World News?, I was thinking about TCR's post and how I have lived in both Americas.

This is where I live now:


And this is where I lived ten years ago:

The living room pictured above is, for reference sake, more than twice the square footage of the Secret Lair (aka '73 Winnebago). Not to mention the 25'+ cathedral ceiling.

I enjoyed living in that 5,000 square foot house, as much for the location as anything else, but I'm just as happy where I am now, thank you very much. Although I do miss the fireplace....

(The pictures of the house I used to live in, which is now a vacation rental property, were taken from this web site. If you're thinking about vacationing in the Boone, NC area and are willing to pay $1300(!!!) for a weeks lodging, I highly recommend the house. And, no, I'm not associated in any way with the property manager....)

"Observe Canine Locomotion" or "See Spot Run"

DCup has initiated a "Question of the Day" feature and yesterday's question was "What was your favorite subject in school?" I was my usual wishy-washy self and could only narrow my answer down to two subjects. Wev.

But it got me to thinking about my book larnin' days, most specifically third grade - when my family moved from one county to another, and I entered a new school. My old school was what I guess they called "progressive" back in those days (the late Hippie Era). Language Arts (aka English) and Math were not taught as regular subjects with textbooks and all that. Instead, there was a large cart in the front hall that had lessons, Math on one side, LA on the other, that progressed from "1st" through "8th" grade and which we students worked through at our own pace. By the time we moved, I had completed the Language Arts side and was mostly done with the Math.

My first day in the new school was memorable for three things. One, I couldn't understand what my classmates were saying. Although we had moved only one county over (less than thirty miles in a straight line), it was as if the students were speaking a foreign language. As it turns out, they sort of were. You see, most of the students in my new class were from "up in the hills" - as, indeed, I now was. They were the result of many generations of isolated life, and still spoke a derivative form of Elizabethan English (with a healthy dose of Scots dialect thrown in).

The second memorable thing about my new school situation was the fact that my new classroom was all white. It actually took a couple of days for this to sink in, but I will never forget when I asked the teacher where all the black kids were, and she replied, "We don't have any n*****s here." Even as an eight year old child, I knew her statement was wrong. Not factually, but ethically. The rural South in 1972... apparently, not much different from 2007, come to think of it. And that's sad.

The other thing about my new school was when the teacher, after introducing me to my new classmates, gave me my books to use for the rest of the year - including, of course, the third grade Math and English books. "Umm," I said, "I've already learned this stuff, Mrs. Wagoner." "These are the books we use," she replied. End of discussion. So, while at home I was reading Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, in school I was forced to plod along with the class, using a textbook that was barely more advanced than "See Spot run."

As a result of this, I became quite bored in school, and decided that if they were going to treat me as an imbecile I might as well act the part (yeah, I was a snotty kid - in fact, in high school, my friends - in the Gifted and Talented class - confronted me one day and said they were tired of me using words they didn't know, and would I please knock it off).

The result of this was that by the fifth grade [correction: it was sixth grade], I was placed in the remedial reading group - despite the fact that my 4th grade end of year testing scored me at college level in all categories. A fact that neither I nor my parents found out until almost twenty years later, when my fourth grade teacher attended a performance of a play I was in, sat next to my parents, and they got to talking. It turns out that the principal told her not to tell me (or Mom and Dad) because "it might have caused problems with the other students". Sort of a precursor or foreshadowing of "No Child Left Behind", I guess.

I often wonder how my life would be different if "the powers that be" at Mulberry Elementary School hadn't opted to take, what was for them, the easy route when it came to exceptional students (and I was not the only one affected by this, by any means), because what I learned in my formative years at school was to just do what I had to do to get by, and to not push for more.

Which, I suppose, is the purpose of public education in this country. Get the herd used to not bettering themselves.

Moo.

02 October 2007

Pagans, Witches AND Libruls!

Oh, My.



Just a taste of some of the political theater here in the Greater Ashevegas area! I don't have a dog in this race, as I no longer live in the city, but if you're interested in donating to "Pagans, Witches and Libruls", go to Elaine Lite for Asheville City Council.

Scrutiny Hooligans (an excellent local blog) has more of the "Carolina Stompers" campaign against Elaine.

do you want your now back?

If I had to summarize the source of this ranting that we all seem so intent on venting, I'd have to say that we 're missing our now. ( I speak here in generalizations, some of us have our now, some only now and then, ( can you have your now then?), and some more than others ). Now then, as I was saying.... now what was I talking about, oh yeah...Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their now. There now, I said it.

If your planning for your future right now, or thinking about last night, you might be missing your now, or you could be lacking all together in nowknowledge. Now, now let's not get silly.
A little late for that, silly I mean, not now.

If you've lost your now, and you'd like to have it back, or if you've never had had a now and would like to try one, I now present this dissertation for your sampling.

Now don't get greedy!

01 October 2007

Do You Miss The Weekly World News?

You're walking through the woods on a sunny day when you notice some sort of structure ahead.

Something besides nature inhabits these woods.


What exactly have you stumbled upon, you ask yourself?

Oh, my FSM!, you think. Could this be the near-mythical Secret Lair (aka '73 Winnebago)?

Indeed it is, my friends. For the first time EVER, this reporter has managed to obtain photographic evidence of the habitat of the elusive Phydeaux Speaks. Unfortunately, when your intrepid reporter attempts to move closer, the vicious guard kitties are alerted to his presence.



Heart thudding in his chest, this intrepid reporter slowly backs away from the vigilant feline sidekicks, making soothing noises.

Luckily for him, the reporter escapes unscathed.

_________________________________


In unrelated news, BBC Overnight, the freakin' BBC, is wasting a whole segment on the latest Britney Spears whatever-the-fuck-she's-doing/has done-now. Aaarghh!