Entitlements, 2020

Daniel Patrick Moynihan?:

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

Thanks to the myriad studies, models, and tests conducted during this current unpleasantness (the COVID-19 pandemic, he says to himself reading this in 2030 when it might not be immediately in mind and assuming he survives the current unpleasantness), and how each is breathlessly reported by a 23-year-old journalist whose only brush with “science” was a freshman class in climate change, we can each have our own facts to clout people who wear masks/people who don’t wear masks/people with whom we disagree politically.

One of my pastors posted this on Facebook:

As governors are trying to figure out how to ease back in to a new normal, please remember:

🛑 Some people don’t agree with the state opening…. that’s okay. Be kind.

🏡 Some people are still planning to stay home…. that’s okay. Be kind.

🦠 Some are still scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening….that’s okay. Be kind.

💰 Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business or their homes….that’s okay. Be kind.

👩🏾‍⚕️Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off….that’s okay. Be kind.

📝 Some will be able to attend interviews after weeks without a job….that’s okay. Be kind.

😷 Some will wear masks for weeks….that’s okay. Be kind.

💅🏻 Some people will rush out to get the hair or nails done…. that’s okay. Be kind.

❤️ The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings and that’s okay. Be kind.

We each have a different story. If you need to stay home, stay home. But be kind .

If you need to go out, just respect others when in public and be kind!

Don’t judge fellow humans because you’re not in their story. We all are in different mental states than we were months ago. So remember, be kind.

Please SHARE this reminder for kindness. ❤

I suspect that ship has already sailed and sunk just off the coast.

Regardless, I’m still going to smile and say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” to people even if they’re dressed and are treating me like they’re Wuhanfa.

They Saw Me Coming

Seen on Facebook:

Of course, I ordered one.

You might remember how impressed I was when I read Scipio Africanus: Greater than Napoleon. And Hannibal, clearly.

Unfortunately, I’ve bought a handful of t-shirts from Facebook ads, so Facebook shows me more t-shirt ads than posts from my friends.

And designer face mask ads. Heaven help us, but there might well be a glut of those in a year or so. I hope you can make quilts from them.

Dreaming of (A) Home

The other night, I dreamed of the trailer park.

It was weird; I was going for a run from our trailer towards the outside of the park. It was nice outside, but I saw some people as I turned onto the main street in the middle of it, but I went wide of them for social distancing purposes. I got to Delores Drive, the thoroughfare that led up to the highway, and I stopped to look at the Stop’n’Go which was a small convenience store, but it might have had a couple of gas pumps. Instead of the Stop’n’Go, a little plaza stood there with a Domino’s Pizza. Suddenly, it was snowy, and I was crawling on the shoulder of Delores Drive headed toward the school bus stop or perhaps up the hill–it was a big hill and not fun to drive on in the snow and ice. So I heard; I was too young to pay attention to real life at thirteen years old.

So I decided to take a spin around the old homestead in Google maps.

This is the entrance to the trailer park. Back when I lived there, the sign was a big wood-carved sign that misspelled it as Siesta Manor Mobil Home Park, although someone tried to squeeze an E in there, but it was far smaller than the other letters. The lot behind the sign was green space with some playground equipment and a swimming pool. It looks as though they’ve filled that area with other pads.

Looks like the pool is still there. Strangely enough, I think I only went to that pool once or twice in the three years I lived there. I might have gone to Noyes Park’s pool in Milwaukee the same number of times in that span.

Even though the number says 108, I’m pretty sure this pad is the one our trailer sat on. Third from the main road. In the first lived a woman and then her son; the son sold my brother Playboy magazines and later gave us a dog we called Buddy, but the dog had been abused and kept us in terror–and took the eye of our Pekingeseish dog in a fight–before my mother had enough and divested the family of the dog whilst I was in college. The second trailer housed an old man who somehow got permission from my mother to let us go with him to Portage Des Souix (about an hour and a half away) to help clean out another trailer of his. Old Frank was a messy, dirty man, but I guess my brother befriended him. On the other side of us was the Hittler trailer, of course. Across the street where Jimmy’s dad lived, next to Cathy, the woman with the double-wide who became a realtor and sold my mother the house down the gravel road. On the other side of Cathy was a guy who worked for the government whom the FBI interviewed when my mother was going for security clearance; he came over right away to let her know the FBI was canvassing the neighborhood.

I’d say it hasn’t changed since the last time I took a look at it, but the image is dated 2013, so of course the 2013 image hasn’t changed. I notice, though, that they built all those pads at the front of the trailer park but had a lot of empty pads in the interior.

Clearly, the little business plaza which featured the Stop’n’Go has not fared so well. In addition to the little convenience store at the left, the building at the right held business offices for a liquid propane dealer and, briefly, something called “Hot Tub Haven” that was open until 2am and, in a stunning turn of events, involved prostitution.

Across the street, we used to stand and wait for the bus in front of a beauty college that stood at the entrance to Brookside Estates, another mobile home park. What’s really weird is that you can see the old building in one spot in Google Maps as you’re moving south on Delores Drive:

That image is dated 2017; in other images dated 2019 which you see for most other spots on Delores Drive, the building is gone:

Google Maps is kind of like my own memory; I think this is true, and sometimes, something can corroborate it, but most of the time, in the 21st century, it’s unbelievable and unproveable, and those who could attest to it don’t remember or are dead.

Atop the hill, the old U Gas is now a Circle K.

On Sunday mornings, my sainted mother would often stop at the U Gas to pick up a dozen gas station doughnuts for us. I remember not being able to afford canvases or art supplies, so I’d cut the corrugated cardboard doughnut boxes to be the canvases for my extra credit poor water color paintings. The U Gas also had a couple video games in rotation, and although I didn’t get into Out Run, all three of us in Triple N Lawns blew all of the money we’d earned and our banked gas money on Rampage one afternoon.

Across from the U Gas was the flea market for a long time until they tried to develop it. They built a Bonanza restaurant deep into the lot and had a sign that said Now Leasing Plaza 30 which must have been up for a decade. Eventually, they put in a mobile home lot. In the last thirty years, though, it has been developed.

I sure missed the flea market, though. A kid with a couple of bucks in his pocket could climb that hill on a Saturday morning and find any number of wonders.

At any rate, man, that was almost 35 years ago. This is the point where I’m supposed to say, “It doesn’t seem like it!” My beautiful wife says something along those lines when we drive through the Missouri State campus where she went to school. And maybe it wasn’t for her, as she has not aged. But for me, yeah, that was a long time ago.

A Hand Out, Not A Hand Up

Tyson Foods chairman warns ‘the food supply chain is breaking’:

The chairman of Tyson Foods is warning that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear” from the national food supply chain as the coronavirus outbreak forces food processing plants to shutter.

“The food supply chain is breaking,” John Tyson wrote in a full-page advertisement published Sunday in The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

An advertisement in the papers? Why run an advertisement in the papers, especially the New York Times and the Washington Post?

Unless it’s a call for… government action in the form of money or a special guest worker program or something.

You know, I used to be young and cynical, but that’s back in the days when I was a foolish optimist.

(Link via Instapundit. See also Powerline.)

UPDATE: Well, they got something: Trump to Order Meat Plants to Stay Open in Move Slammed by Union. Maybe not what they wanted. (Link via Instapundit.)

AI Rorschach Test

So I’ve been writing my grandmother letters every week or so during The Lockdown as she has mentioned on occasion (the occasions being whenever we talk) that she likes my letters (previously sent at Christmas time and when the boys’ spring pictures come out). I’ve added some pictures to the letters, embedding the digital images right in the letter instead of printing them separately because there’s no need for her to have them aside from the letters, and if they fade in a couple of years, no one will care about my letters to Nana.

But as I’ve added the images, I see that Microsoft Word has had some ALT text to the images for some damn reason, as though Nana is going to have a screen reader read the printed letter to her. Who knows? Microsoft knows best, and it obscures the settings to turn its new (aka within the last fifteen years’ worth of) Microsoft Office stupidity if you even can.

So we get Artificial Intelligence Rorschach tests. Tell me, Microsoft AI, what do you see here with a picture of three fools in the pool in the middle of April, when the water is still cold?

Yes, clearly that is a bench sitting in the water. I suppose I should be happy it did not think that was three Loch Ness Monsters doing something out of the Kama Sutra, which to be honest, I might have seen were it a black and white blot of similar shapes.

Okay, so I tell Nana about snake flashcards I made and the snake in the garden that inspired it. So here’s a picture I stole from the Missouri Department of Conservation Web site of the prairie ring-necked snake.

Oh wise oracle of Azure, what do youit see?

A cat lying on the ground indeed.

You know, these answers are so far off, I wonder two things:

One, why is Microsoft even bothering to expose this nonsense to users when it is so very clearly not right at all?

Or, second, why does the artificial intelligence want us to think it is stupid? What is its real goal here?

Homeschooling, Day 92x3-4y

After last week’s incident with the deadly (if you choked on it) prairie ring-necked snake in the gardens of Nogglestead, I decided it would be a worthwhile goal to teach the boys to recognize various snakes of Missouri.

So I went to the Missouri Department of Conservation Web site and got a list of the snakes of Missouri. Then, in my own personal arts and crafts time, I laid them out, printed them out in color, and made a set of flash cards:

Unfortunately or fortunately, I was not zealous in selecting only snakes whose habitats include southwestern Missouri, so we have a number of snakes who have been seen in Platte City once. Maybe.

To study them, I am going to shuffle them and make each child write them out in alphabetical order and then in order of length.

And then once they’re good at identifying the snakes by the pictures on the flash cards, I’ll have made a set of cards with other pictures of the snakes so that they learn to go by the pattern and not the particular picture.

Once, when we went on a hike at the Nathan Greene homestead in Ash Grove, we came across a snake lying across the cut grass that served as a path across a wide meadow when we found a five foot snake lying across it. I didn’t have a stick to move it along, but I convinced the boys to walk around its but end slowly. After we were past, I got closer to snap a picture, and it snapped into defensive posture and moved along. It freaked the boys out so much that, although I said we’ll just keep walking and watch more closely for snakes, my youngest took off at a run, at which point he stepped on another snake which also snapped to defensive posture whilst my boy jumped straight into the air. We made it back to the trailhead very quickly, and the boys have not been eager to go hiking since.

At any rate, a useful exercise to keep them busy in between their actual school assignments.

Teleschooling, Day 87x3

My boys have a science project where they’re supposed to create a Rube Goldberg machine.

Here’s what they made:

I’m not saying that it was the best Rube Goldberg machine ever, but it looks like it was so advanced that the Israelis took it out.

Homeschooling, Day 1,000,001

The boys have continued with their teleschooling as schools in Missouri have been closed for the rest of the year. They’ve been a little, erm, lax about turning in their work on time, but that’s not really been much of a change since the teleschooling began.

One of the young men was charged with creating a model of the ear for his science class, and he of course did not begin it until the week after it was due. He built a small model out of Sculpey and pipe cleaners, but the first try was rejected, and he built it again. Which was accepted.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can use it in our art history unit on Van Gogh.

You know, that gag worked better on Facebook. Just the picture and the punchline. BOOM!

Meanwhile, tonight’s poem tying into history courtesy Blogodidact. Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, July 4, 1837

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
    Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
    And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
    Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
    Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
    We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
    When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
    To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
   The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Now, if I can only put my thumb on them long enough to get them to finish their papers on lessons learned from the autobiographies of Ben Franklin and Frederick Douglass.

Brian J. Joins the Navy

Scientists Explore Underwater Quantum Links for Submarines.

As you might recall, gentle reader, I have lots of experience with Quantum Link.

As some of you older folks might know, Quantum Link was an online service for Commodore 64s which later became a little thing called America Online.

But I was on it in the old days, before it was cool. I’m a Q-Link hipster.

Well, all right, not a lot of experience. Let me explain.

When we lived in the trailer, we got our first computer, a Commodore 128, with my mother’s inheritance from her aunt. We also got a modem with it (not one you plug your handset into a la Wargames, but a flaky Volks 6480 1200 baud modem into which you plugged your telephone line directly. We got wind of or, quite likely, a free installation disk somewhere, perhaps with a magazine or sent via a magazine’s mailing list.

So we installed it.

To get into Q-Link, you had to dial up to one of the big data centers that leased their lines to businesses during the day, but were available for consumer traffic at night. The client software ran and communicated with the company servers back east, and you could get into chat rooms both public and private (yeah, Baby Boomers invented online sex, too, you damn kids). The news groups and forums were free, but chatting and playing games was not; you had to pay an extra six cents a minute to do so, six cents a minute that was added to your phone bill (come on, not everyone had credit cards in 1987).

You would think the limits to off-business hours would have minimize the damage a couple bored teens could do, but you’d be wrong.

My mother worked first shift in those days, so she’d leave the trailer a little before seven in the morning, and we’d roll out of bed and hop online for a couple of hours of Plus time before the data center would cut over to businesses. And nights, we’d weedle my mother until she relented to let us have an hour of Plus time, maybe even each.

I imagine they had an account page somewhere that could show you how much Plus time you used; I’m also sure that if I saw it, I would have dismissed it with “What does another $3.60 matter?” (call it Dollars-a-Day Bad Habits: The Early Years).

When the phone bill came, somehow we’d racked up over $300 in charges. Which took diligence, gentle reader, and probably sneaking onto the service at night as well.

You know, $300 doesn’t sound too horrible now, but my sainted mother was a clerk-typist spending her take home pay paying for the oldest, worstest trailer in the park and cheap ground beef and off-brand Hamburger Helper, so this was a significant amount for us at the time. Maybe an extra paycheck, or thereabouts. She just admonished us in the adult fashion–you know when you do something so bad that you don’t get yelled at, you get admonished, which is worse. And she paid it without docking our allowance–which was, what, maybe a buck a week at that time? I would probably still be paying that off if she hadn’t been so gracious and forgiving.

But that was the end of Q-Link for us, and we were relegated to BBSes when our Volksmodem wasn’t flaking out on us.

So maybe I don’t have as much actual experience with Quantum Links as I put on my resume.

Years later, as I mentioned, it became America Online, and I signed up on my mother’s old 486 (ask yer grandpa). And I posted on a newsgroup through it. And the rest is wonderful history. So not only did I get a beautiful wife on the Internet before it was cool–I got her on QuantumLink.

(Link about the submarines via Instapundit.)

If You’re A Gambling Man

You know, I’ve seen advice that you should buy gift certificates/cards to support businesses that are locked up by order of the governor.

To be honest, that’s a bit of a gamble, ainna? The gift card will only work if the business survives. Which is becoming less of a toss-up the longer this goes on.

This came to mind because I gave my beautiful wife a gift certificate for a local yoga studio for her birthday last year. Actually, I gave her two. I often give her gift certificates for an experience sort of thing–a spa or something–but when it comes to a gift certificate to the gun range or the yoga studio, I hope that she’ll invite me–but she immediately thinks of a friend she’d rather take, and then their schedules don’t align, so the gift cards remain in her desk drawer for years.

The yoga studio’s gift card has an expiration date of one year from the purchase, so basically a week or so before her birthday this year. In January, when her schedule was continuing to not align with her designated yoga friend, I mentioned that I would be happy to go with her, so we sort of made plans that we would block out some time for it.

Then the shutdown happened, and although the studio is offering Zoom classes, I’m not sure this is how we want to begin our classes. So the shutdown could conceivably run past the end date of the certificate, or it could run so late that we wouldn’t have time to use up the certificates (I bought two to emphasize she could bring someone else–I meant me), or the studio could shutter entirely in the next couple of months.

So support your local businesses by buying gift cards, but only gamble as much as you can lose.

Which explains my ulterior motive for ordering at least once a week from ABC Books. It’s not because I like to accumulate books willy-nilly at the thought that I might want to read that particular title someday. It’s because I generally have $100 or $150 in ABC Books gift cards on hand to give for birthday presents and whatnot. I need to prop them up as best I can or else I’ll have to think of some other default gift for my boys’ school mates or teachers.

The Fog This Morning Smelled Like A Grass Fire

This morning, I awakened before dawn to the smell of stale smoke.

Initially, I thought it was the wind coming down my chimney and picking up the scent of last week’s wood fires in the firebox, but its prevalence and eventual resolution into something more akin to a grass fire than a wood fire led me outside to see if any horizon or, worse, pasture adjacent to Nogglestead or Nogglestead itself were on fire. I haven’t grilled in a couple of days, and it’s been years since I set my yard on fire whilst grilling (embers from the fire would occasionally alight upon and alight a mulched flower bed across the driveway-a flowerbed that was not renewed after the second such incident).

It also awakened my beautiful wife, and when you’re awakened by an alarm–even if it’s only the scent of a fire–you don’t go back to sleep easily.

I wonder if it was the remnant particles of this, suspended: 200 acres of miscanthus go up in smoke.

That’s a little northwest of here, so probably not. But sometimes we get the scents of grass fires that are dozens or hundreds of miles away.

Just we’d rather not get them while we’re trying to sleep.

The Snakehandlers Of Nogglestead

Yesterday, we worked in the gardens of Nogglestead, and as I was turning the 16′ by 16′ vegetable bed with a spade, my beautiful wife and oldest son were working on the flower bed in the back yard. And they called me over to handle a snake they found.

We have a definite protocol for handling snakes at Nogglestead:

  1. Remove or kill the snake.
  2. Research exactly how dangerous step 1 was.
  3. Exaggerate how dangerous it was.

Prairie ring-necked snake?


Carryout in the Time of Corona

We’ve only done carry out two times in the time of Corona, and it was only for two orders. The restaurants were a combined 0 of 2 and on their way to a combined 0 of 3.

The first time was a week or so back when my beautiful wife went through the drive-through at Popeye’s and ordered a bucket of chicken, some biscuits, and a chicken sandwich. When she got home, we discovered an emptiness where the sandwich should be. We didn’t go back for a sandwich.

Yesterday, we ordered carryout from Zio’s, a small Italian joint that has kind of gone downhill in the last decade but still has good salad dressing that my wife favors. So she ordered four entries and salads because they had a special going on. They had to make some substitutions based on their stock–a lot of bowtie pasta substitutions. She discovered that they had left a ticket open when taking phone orders and had included someone else’s meal on our ticket, so she cleared that up, or so she thought.

My wife went to pick it up and to see how the apocalypse is coming along, but when she got home, we discovered that they had sent us only two entries, one of which looked incorrect (my sausage, peppers, and penne bow-tie pasta looked like it had white sauce on it instead of marinara). So she called again, and they offered to make it right, so we both went out into the wasteland.

We got there, and a row of cars awaited orders. A single worker came out after a bit, bringing orders, and she brought our corrected order–but as she walked away, we discovered it was still missing an entree. So she brought that out after a couple of minutes, and we could all sit down to dinner an hour later than we’d hoped.

I understand that restaurants are running on skeleton crews right now–the Zio’s employee told me she’d only just been brought back yesterday because of the demand–but their management had better realize that when people are working to support these restaurants through this time of uncertainty. But mistakes in the carry-out might create ill will that will linger longer than the coronavirus. And, unfortunately, on my part, the effect is cumulative. So I’m likely to remember each successive problem as worse than the first.

I feel worst for my poor wife. This rarely happens to me because I always check stuff in the drive through or at the point of pickup. Because I have a couple of picky eaters in my family with special ordering predilections.

Yesterday’s Poem and Talking Back To Eternity

So we’ve been talking about allusion in our poetry studies. I compared allusion to memes which are all the hotness these days, and how that kind of is the same thing: A “new” work refers to an older work with which you are familiar, and you get a zing from knowing what the new work means invoking the old. A little line can include a lot of meaning when you understand the meaning behind those words, the larger experience of having read the work alluded to.

I said it’s kind of like memes because when you see one of the current Smudge the cat memes:

You recognize the context of the meme: The angry woman says something, perhaps incorrectly, and the cat weighs in with the truth, which is sometimes incorrect in its own way. But you get the punchline because you’re already familiar with the joke.

A meme is nothing compared to an allusion, though, in terms of power or the amount of information shared with the reference because poems and other works (such as the Bible, something often alluded to) have a lot more density and meaning to them.

So I explained to my boys, hoping it would stick that alluding to, say, Longfellow poem in a cartoon would have more depth and staying power than a mere mash-up or meme. After all, they’re steeped in the Internet from the last couple of years (since their self-awareness and receiving the school laptops), but they have no idea what I has a bucket means.

At any rate, then I mentioned a little bit about how poems sometimes completely respond to each other. Examples include Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold and the reply The Dover Bitch by Anthony Hecht and The Passionate Shepherd To His Love by Christopher Marlowe and the reply The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd by Sir Walter Raleigh.

Yesterday, we did a poem from Amoretti by Edmund Spenser:

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.
Vain man (said she) that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so, quoth I; let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame;
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
   Where, when as Death shall all the world subdue,
   Our love shall live, and later life renew.

Not exactly a reply, but more of a humorous update, today we have:

One day I sprayed her name upon the wall,
but then it got erased by blasting sand.
I tried again with neon pink in hand,
but later on they greyed my urban scrawl.
“You dope,” said she, “what are you trying to do?
Each time you paint my name, they’ll cover it,
and take away whatever little wit
you crafted there; your scratching won’t show through.”
“So what?” I said. “When I’ve used up my paint,
and both our names inside their little hearts
are blasted by the city’s cleansing men,
I’ll take some pride in knowing that the taint
of darker paints or sand-scorched building parts
are secret signs of joys that once had been.”

That’s one I wrote; it is, of course, available in Coffee House Memories.

I’m not saying that the Spenser poem influenced me, but I also have another response/update to it entitled “A Carved Tree (I)” which begins:

One day I carved her name into a tree

“A Carved Tree (II)” represents an update to the poem “A Carved Tree (I)” but not a reply or update of the original source.

Clearly, I was into sonnets and sonnet series/cycles when I was younger.

Unfortunately, that means that “O Capitan! My Captain!” will have to wait until tomorrow and not the anniversary of Lincoln’s Death. And I can mention to the boys that it appears in the movie Dead Poets Society. Although with the word Poets right in it, you would have to expect some poetry.

So poems can be a way of talking back to eternity. Memes, though, are merely talking back to today.

Homeschooling, Week 4, Day 1: A Film Suggested By “We Didn’t Start The Fire”

So on Saturday, we had our discussion triggered by the Billy Joel hit “We Didn’t Start The Fire” as we tried to give them a concise history of troubles in Asia in the 20th century as well as boxers Billy Joel followed as a youth.

We got to the lines:

Buddy Holly, Ben-Hur, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

And I told them about the film, briefly.

When it came time to watch a movie on Sunday, I found I have a two-videocassette set in its original cellophane wrapper. As it’s a three hour and forty-five minute movie, I guessed rightly that there would never be a time when I wanted to see the film more acutely than then, when we could watch part of it after church and then another part of it after chores.

I’m sure I knew at some point that it was subtitled “A Tale of the Christ”–I think I had a copy of the book pass through my hands in my eBaying days, but as it started with the birth of Jesus, I apologized to my children that it was apparently a Christmas movie instead of an Easter movie. However, the film ends on Good Friday, so it’s a Holy Week movie.

I called it on Facebook “uplifting Easter story of bloody vengeance,” sort of Gladiator but with Jesus, but that’s a little oversimplification, of course. But you can see how the former had its roots in Ben-Hur. Which must have been quite the spectacle in the cinema in 1959.

It was enough to keep my boys pretty rapt in it over both parts. Which is either a testament to the story or the big budget (for 1959) special effects.

One of my boys has a shorter attention span than the other, especially when it comes to old movies. He’s prone to wander in and out and then ask what’s going on instead of, you know, watching. The younger, though, will sit through almost anything with his father, such as National Velvet. Since my beautiful wife only tolerates old movies with me occasionally, I think I’ve found an old movie buddy to watch the to-view shelves at Nogglestead.

Come on, you had to know I have to-view shelves of VHSes and DVDs at Nogglestead that differ from the viewed shelves, ainna?

Sign Me Up

Seen in a New York Post video that appears at the top of most of their stories for a while, and that I accidentally played somehow:

I’d say Sign me up except I’ve been a remote QA tester for, what, seventeen years now?

Although I keep my eyes on the job markets, and the listings are a little thinner than they’ve been in the past, and most of the listings are for automated testers and software development engineers in test, which are the magick elixirs to low-cost “quality” to which we’ve all become inured.

Also, note that this home-based worker’s workspace differs from mine in two significant ways: In mine, the pastry and baked goods case is never that full, and the videos reflected therein are heavy metal.

Homeschooling Modern History through Pop Music Unit 2

Yesterday, we did spend about an hour and a half talking about "We Didn’t Start The Fire" and its representation of the middle of the 20th century and how great concerns that lasted for weeks were eventually distilled into a couple of words in a song (my prediction: if someone writes this for the 21st century, they’ll call it the “Wuhan flu” because of how it scans and how it can easily rhyme).

The boys, as is their wont (or won’t) tried to do the bare minimum required, so they often had basic answers for the lyrics that were technically correct but that did not indicate why those places or names were important in the 1950s or 1960s. And only once (Sugar Ray) in three possible did they list a band and not the actual historical figure or event (the other two being Berlin and U2).

But I’m thinking about continuing this with another unit based on “This WIll Be My Year” by Train:

It lists current events from certain years between 1985 and the first decade of the 21st century. It’s not as densely packed, so it should not take them a procrastiluctant two weeks to do it.

Ziggy Suggests a Poem

Instead of saddling my children with the task of writing a poem to which a movie alludes (such as "Trees"), how about we turn to Ziggy?

The poem is "The Arrow and The Song" by Longfellow:

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

It’s been a couple of years since I read The Song of Hiawatha. I should read more Longfellow.

And do you remember that distant past of forty years ago when mass-market cartoons would allude to literature for their gags?