Tuesday, November 16, 2004

MetaBlog: See Previous Post 

Why does the below entry have no comments? Well, from a purely technical standpoint, I'd rather have deleted the ones we had, and started over. But blogger doesn't allow you to delete selected comments. I felt it was better to just get rid of them altogether.

But why delete any of them? People were accusing me of serious evilness -- evilness which the following blogentry specifically pre-empts, but apparently it wasn't enough. Things got out of hand, and we started calling each other names.

Okay, I started calling people names.

For THAT I am sincerely sorry.

I apologize for swearing. It was dumb and childish. But I was mad -- I was being accused of believing all sorts of things I didn't and wouldn't ever say, and all sorts of things I am not and never have been. Even the most mature of us have trouble being falsely accused, especially when being accused of such heartless evil things. I'd rather you all learn and understand that teachers are human, folks -- learning from robots is pretty silly.

For the content of the blog entry, though, I am not at all sorry. I stand by my position, and my fully appropriate tone, and the respect and care given to address not NMH or its programs, or any individual charitable organization, but a relentless issue of institutional ingrained-ness.

So please read this entire entry TWICE before emailing me with your comments. Please note, as well:

1. If it looked like I "belittled the presentation" look again. This was not about the quality of the presentation, and I said nothing about its quality.

2. If it looked like I was suggesting that I wasn't going to give to charity this year, look again. United Way is A charity, not the only charity. It's not the point, but I give plenty, and wish everyone gave more than they do now.

3. If it looked like I have problems with United Way, look again. This wasn't about a particular charity. It was about exclusivity -- so the case would have been the same for any charity or organization presented to me as "this is the one WE support, an you're one of us."

(3a. Okay, I do have some concerns with United Way and other similar blanket organizations. I'd rather advocate for direct donation to the programs that United Way supports than trust some larger organization to make the decisions about distributing those funds the way I think they should be. I'd rather give money directly to the food bank or the red cross than pay for the overhead administrative costs of United Way, too. But that's not the point, and I digress.)

4. If it looked like I was dissing the NMH Outreach Program, look again. Outreach is not United Way. Outreach is involved with more programs than just United Way, too, and I love that. I would have loved a presentation on giving through outreach, honestly.

5. If you're hurt, then let's talk. But I have read this to myself over and over again, and I find I can take no responsibility for hurting you. All hurts I have seen are based on MISreadings of the following text, and misreading is on you, the reader, not on me, the author. My complaint is with a tendency in organizations in general -- unless you are "organizations in general," then I have not suggested that anything you do or say here is problematic, wrong, or bad in any way.

If there's anything I can't stand, it's ignorance. Eradicating ignorance is why I teach. It's why I write. And it starts with close reading. So if the above italicized stuff didn't make sense to you, do us both a favor: go down to the next entry and read it. If you've already read it, read it over again. And if you have any comments about it, leave 'em here.

But try to be civil about it. And please, try not to accuse me of being stingy, uncharitable, anti-United Way, anti-Outreach, anti-NMH, or anything else that just plain isn't true and/or is specifically refuted by the contents of my actual blog post.

Thanks, friend.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:59 PM | 2 comments


'Tis The Season For Mindless Giving 


United Way? Yeah, it's okay...
All comments have been removed from today's blogentry due to things getting unreasonably out of hand. Please read with an open mind...and please feel free to send email if you have something to say. For more, continue reading.

We're a United Way school. Faculty meeting agendas prioritize pleas for United Way donation but bump curricular updates in the interest of time. At yesterday's all-school meeting, the United Way plea clashed with the tone of a serious and substantive discussion about closing one campus next year, and -- since the whole thing went long -- also cut into the vital subsequent discussion period with our advisees.

It's United Way fundraising time here at our beloved school, and I'm pissed off.

Don't get me wrong -- I think United Way is a pretty decent organization, as charities go. But I also think there are better organizations out there. And, most importantly, I believe charity is an issue of individual choice. My charitable giving is up to me, and should not be at the mercy of peer, professional, or other social pressures.

The fiercely entrenched hegemony of The Favored Charity exists in many institutions in American culture. The classic example, collecting pennies in those bright orange trick-or-treat UNICEF boxes, is so deeply entrenched that it's hard to imagine going door to door with, say, a Hadassah tzedakah box instead without getting strange looks and, more importantly, less pennies. Your own workplace probably has some favored institutions as well.

And, problematically, the origin of a given institutions favored-status is generally arbitrary. In many cases, one well-meaning individual -- usually one of those folks who believe that their causes should be your causes, too -- starts the process, guilt-tripping others into donating to her favorite charity. Or perhaps an administrator picks one, because it's a name brand charity -- one which will bring strong recognition to the institution, good press, and good credibility.

Once entrenched, institutionalized propaganda, especially in service of a broad ideal that we all agree upon, is especially insidious. Speaking out against the lack of choice involved in such charitable enterprises is so easily misunderstood as anti-charity or anti-giving, one runs the real risk of looking like Scrooge just bringing it up.

But it's time someone said something out loud. The rubric we're describing doesn't create a logical foundation for giving. It is, instead, entirely arbitrary. And that means it most often results in the institutional and cultural entrenchment of charities chosen for all the wrong reasons. And charities chosen for the wrong reasons are likely to send your money to places you're less likely to want them to.

There is real value in personalizing rather than abstracting the communal drive towards charitable acts as normative, especially in an educational institution such as ours. More importantly, though, a plea for help from one charitable organization isn't the same as a diverse set of offered choices, or, better, case for assistance in general.

Because all charities have biases. Each, from UNICEF and the United Way to NOW or Operation Rescue, has a limited amount of money to spend, and must therefore make choices about how to spend it. Such choices must involve favoritism, bias, and preference if they are not to be entirely arbitrary.

And here's the crux of the matter, then: a truly informed donation is one which is based on one's own biases. That's what makes people give - because they believe in the cause, and in the value of helping in that particular way that given charitable organization or direct in-need recipient.

And "good" charity is not given grudgingly, because of fear or professional reprisal, or unpopularity. This is even true if one thinks one is not giving grudgingly, but is nonetheless giving for someone else's reasons, to someone else's cause. With students, this is especially dangerous, as it can turn students from owning their own giving -- which, in turn, can cause them to see giving itself as an unpleasant activity. In the end, this can only result in a generation less likely to give.

So give -- because it's Christmas, because you have plenty, because you believe in it, because your religion or ethical code demands it of you. But don't give blindly. Don't give in to the relentlessness of the oft-ingrained and knee-jerk preferences of others. Drop that penny, dime, or dollar where you think it can do the best work.

So like many of my coworkers, I'm planning on crumpling up that ubiquitous envelope when it shows up in my mailbox. I'm picking my own damn charity this holiday season. And it's none of your business where I'm sending that cash, either. Find your own damn charity. That's the point, after all.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:28 PM |

Monday, November 15, 2004

The End Is Near 

Last radio show of the term, so I won't bog y'all down with the final-exam-stress details of our solipsistic prep school universe, or why the sky is clear as glass and twice as meteor-laden. If you want purple prose with your music, check out the Tributary archives there on the right. For now...

Let's get right into the music, shall we?


Tributary 11/15/04

:: world music block ::
Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul (
Tributary theme song)
Ozomatli -- Pensando En Mi Vida
Habib Koite & Bamada -- Batoumambe
Angelique Kidjo -- Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Chris Ardoin and Double Clutchin' -- Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher
Manu Chao -- Hey Mr. Bobby
Tau Moe Family -- Mai Kai No Kauai

:: cover songs block ::
Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen -- Friend Of The Devil
Keb' Mo- -- Love Train
Laura Love -- Come As You Are
Los Lobos -- I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)
The Bobs -- Particle Man
Johnny Cash -- Hurt
Timbuk 3 -- Born To Be Wild
Sarah McLachlan -- The Rainbow Connection

:: neoamericana block ::
Natalie Merchant -- Which Side Are You On
Crooked Still -- Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Nickel Creek -- Spit On A Stranger
Gillian Welch -- I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll
Mark Erelli -- What's Goin' On
Erin McKeown -- Queen Of Quiet

:: ambient mellow latenight randomalia block ::
Patty Griffin -- Love Throw A Line
Jeffrey Foucault -- Mayfly
Norah Jones -- Don't Know Why
Tom Waits -- The Heart Of Saturday Night
Nick Drake -- Pink Moon
Gone Phishin' -- Fast Enough For You
Phish -- Dog Faced Boy
Warren Zevon -- Don't Let Us Get Sick


You've been listening to Tributary, your Monday night ten-to-midnight show here on WNMH 91.5, serving Keene, New Hampshire, Brattleboro, Vermont, Greenfield, Massachusetts, and you -- wherever you are.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:52 PM | 3 comments


Winter Comes To Shadow Lake 

Thanks in advance for any commentary -- this is a first draft! Does it work? Where? How?


That winter when it didn't snow
the lake froze clear like glass
and we walked out unnoticed by
cold fish below the radiant ice
hidden in drowned grass.

Like thought balloons in cold cartoons
the bubbles trapped beneath our feet
we shattered all the brittle tops
dropped pennies in the piggybanks
that rose for us beneath.

And now another winter finds
the laketop growing thin
good odds that it will pebble soon
but with our child we'll walk again
and not fear falling in.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:43 PM | 7 comments


All She Wants For Christmas 

Keene today, the least of our three equidistant exurban centers. Why? Too damn cold for outdoor activities, mostly. Broke but restless, we figured a trip to the boutique Colony Mill Marketplace a far more manageable indoor adventure than, say, the pre-Christmas chaos of the Yankee Candle flagship. Anyway, Willow's scared of YC's too-eager Santa, and we invariably leave disgusted with ourselves for reveling in such crass commercialism. So Keene it was.

Officially, of course, the excuse was "window shopping for Willow's Christmas list." Happily, the kid got the concept -- no buying, just pointing. After three hours hiding from the totally unanticipated A Taste of Keene crowds, and after filtering out the cheesy and cheap, we ended up with a fairly decent list of what catches the eye and heart of the above-average two year old.

All items subject to change, of course. Two year olds are inherently fickle. But I think we're ready to talk to the Grandmas, at least.

The list includes everything from books to dollhouses to an entire pet store worth of critters. I'd post it here, but better to try the experiment yourself, I think -- what's good for our kid may not be good for yours.

Alternately, if you have no two year old of your own but need to shop for one this holiday season, feel free to take ours on another excursion. Please. We'll be here, feet up in front of the telly, recovering from this one.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:39 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Isn't It Ironic 

I finally decide to take one of those stupid quizzes, and look what happens:


You're A People's History of the United States!

by Howard Zinn

After years of listening to other peoples' lies, you decided you've had enough. Now you're out to tell it like it is, with all the gory details and nothing left out. Instead of respecting leaders, you want to know what the common people have to offer. But this revolution still has a long way to go, and you're not against making a little profit while you wait. Honesty is your best policy.




I'll take the description, I suppose. But me, a Zinn book? How humiliating.

See Cognative Dissonance and the American Left, a review of Zinn's speech here at NMH in February 2003 (review subsequently published in the now-on-hiatus American Feed) for my actual view of Howard Zinn.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:59 PM | 0 comments


The End(s) Of Media Literacy 

Excerpted from an ongoing open letter to the NMH administration -- one I wish I had the guts to send.

To develop and deliver a media literacy curriculum is to engender all use of media as thoughtful and deliberate, where, otherwise, student use of media, tools, and technologies is increasingly habitual, accidental, and dangerous.

And here I mean all media – from the visual literacies of Powerpoint to the critical eye of the otherwise-passive mass media participant; from the presenter able to play to or against the biases and needs of her audience to the student who finds herself suddenly better able to write complex papers because she understands what a paper is supposed to do, and how it is supposed to work, as a type of medium.

The student who complains that she cannot watch TV anymore without thinking gets it. But when all forms of communication are understood as media, and when both creating and absorbing media are addressed in the curriculum, media literacy is much more than this.

*****


My work with teachers and students has but one purpose: to promote and instill media literacy into the NMH program.

There is no question in my mind that media literacy in this larger sense is a fundamentally vital aspect of development, one which must be guided and taught across the curriculum. House Directors and Deans continue to be concerned about the dangers of chat and the internet. Students celebrate the questionable value system of their mass media culture; struggle with the development of excellent product but own only the ability to make do. Teachers still struggle with developing appropriate rubrics which recognize the specific rhetorics and skill learning curves of projects developed in new media – we grade PowerPoint projects differently from papers, but still work on how differently, and why.

Through my own guidance, we have begun to incorporate the curriculum in Health and Humanities classes, Peer Ed training and research project development in classes from ESL to Math. And from there, students and teacfhers learn to seek me out for individualized instruction and guidance.

But we have only just begun. And in most cases, I myself am still asked to deliver this content. In fact, though the ideal would be for teachers in these courses to own this subject themselves, and bring it to their classes, few if any are truly “there” yet. One could arguable say that the direct delivery of this curriculum, then – individually via the Information Commons, curricularly via the odd elective minor, instructionally through class visits and teacher partnerships – is my best and brightest function here at NMH.

*****


I came here to teach because I have a passion, a vocation, an itch.

When I was offered the chance two years ago to address this work on a school-wide level, I jumped at the chance, though it meant dropping the fully-enrolled major course in Media Literacy in order to be able to staff the delivery of that school-wide mission. It was clear two years ago that the incidental development of this literacy in our students and our faculty was not working, and I was eager to work throughout the curriculum, a change agent, to help teachers bring this more concretely into their curriculum, and to address these issues directly with students.

I took the chance because there is no other aspect of the program here at NMH which addresses these issues except incidentally. Though there are several of us setting up equipment, and teaching the skills and uses of technology, there is no other individual who more than anything teaches how to use one’s mind with these technologies – no one else who does the instruction, provides this exact class and project and faculty support, is available as a resource on this subject. I am not redundant; my curriculum is not duplicated anywhere that I can see. In fact, it has been clear to me for years that this work is far larger than I can really handle, especially when there is so much to teach, so many changes in technology every year with which to keep up, so many individual media to teach discretely.

The difference between teaching skills and teaching literacies is subtle, and the ultimate learning accomplished most often a combination of both. But though my job description is clear, I’m not seeing anyone be deliberate about the literacy involved here. And teaching skills without literacy – providing just-in-time support, and teaching vocational skills, rather than thinking and learning – is increasingly the focus of the departmental discussions in which I am involved, and how I am asked to spend my time.

Technology skill is a lot easier to teach. There are plenty of us who can and do teach technology skills. There are some who do it better.

*****


Staffing cuts will be announced in December.

I wish I was more confident that they see what I see.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:34 AM | 1 comments

Saturday, November 13, 2004

It's The Little Things 

  • "Monkey george" stories in the library

  • Baby cows

  • Fruit snacks

  • Bath night with Daddy

  • Goodnight kisses on a newly trimmed moustache

  • Potato chip air and the last few pages of Wonder Boys

Not a bad Saturday afternoon, if I do say so myself. How was yours?

posted by boyhowdy | 10:46 PM | 11 comments


Congratulations! It's A Blogexplosion! 


Don't mind the overlinkage -- I'm having a blogexplosion moment.


I won 100 credits on blogexplosion today...and within a few seconds was back out there, surfing the blogexplosion wave. I'm such an addict.

(And a piss-poor geek -- I was so deep into blogexplosion mode, I forgot to take a screen capture of the "congratulations" message. Doubting Thomas blogexplosion members can go here until 9:00 tomorrow night for proof if they so desire.)

Anyway, if blogexplosion directed you here, welcome. How's it feel to be 1/100th of my mystery prize?

This post brought to you by yet another satisfied blogexplosion member. Isn't it time you tried blogexplosion?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:12 PM | 4 comments

Friday, November 12, 2004

Friday Randomalia 

On second thought, if you're not interested in having PETA send you information about how soy is "just like" meat, don't apologize to a cow. "Magical" plant, indeed.

Green is so overrated. This campus looks so much nicer when it's snowing. Trees, too.

When your boss forgets to invite you to the big meeting about "the management of the information commons," it's pretty clear that s/he doesn't see you as a potential candidate, isn't it? Especially humbling when you think you're the most logical choice. And it doesn't help to be asked in afterwards, in the name of "bringing everyone to the table." Table my ass.

Speaking of the workplace, pictures of our new Library Information Commons are up on the web. Neat stuff, huh? Gotta love that 42 inch screen collaborative workstation.

I'm so overdue for a facial trim, my students are starting to look at me funny. If only there was an appropriate way to say "the stray hairs on my chest are not pubes."

Would an iPod drown out the songs that echo in my head? Would I still want one if it did?

Back to blogexplosion -- ratings don't scare me! Though keeping the hitcounter up is such hard work...

posted by boyhowdy | 3:11 PM | 5 comments

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Baby Cows And Other Fragile Lives 


Have you apologized to a cow yet?


At 28 months, Willow is a towheaded master of the universe. Today again she came to visit in the last few moment of a long hard workday, and while her mother checked email in my now-forsaken sanctuary pulled me defiantly out of the office, towards the swinging halfdoors of the circulation area and "the baby animal books, Daddy." So, "tell me the story, Willow. What's happening here? What is the bunny doing? Look, who's that there?" -- call and response, and a gleeful, snuggly kid at the end of the day. So wonderful to read to one's daughter in public, and proudly model to those few straggling end of day students and faculty what good parenting feels like, and hopefully looks like as well.

On the way home we stopped at the farm to watch the three small calves just weaned low softly in their tenor voices, and chase each other around their small corrall and then suddenly stop again, a bovine game of statues. Willow ducks her head under the coarse wooden slatted fence and calls them -- "here, cow! Cow! Come here!" -- until, shaking on their still-new legs, they creep up to lick her fingers. She's proud to have patted them; wants to know what that chicken is doing on the sloped wood against the roosting house, why we can't eat the cider apples off the truck, organized by color, and probably by type, why the barn has giant double doors, where the cat is that lives in the hayloft, why we can't climb up to look for it -- does it miss its mommy, too?

Though she still needs help to pee, especially in the dining hall, where those terrifying autoflush toilets are prone to missread the gutsqueezing of her tiny body as a signal that it's time to suck water hard enough to make her jump. With one hand on the light sensor, then, and the other sturdy on her naked knee, we find ourselves one of those fathers whose calming, cheerful voices float from behind the stalls of public restrooms, explaining urinals in oversimplified language to those who will never need to use them -- something no one ever wanted to be, surely, but something worth celebrating nonetheless.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:59 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Jeff Jarvis on The Future of Digital Media:
Jarvis' First Law of Media: Give the people control of media, they will use it. The corollary: Don't give the people control of media, and you will lose.

Whenever citizens can exercise control, they will. Today they are challenging and changing media -- where bloggers now fact-check Dan Rather's ass -- but tomorrow they will challenge and change politics, government, marketing, and education as well. This isn't just a media revolution, though that's where we are seeing the impact first. This is a chain-reaction of revolutions. It has just begun.
Extreme, and premature, perhaps. Utopian, even. But potent all the same.

The article, first in a two-month series, is set up like a blog. The comments are A-list-dominated, the prospect of adding to the fray as indimidating as those trite, tight prose pieces on the New York Times Letters page. Does social awareness of Shirky's Law dampen realization of Jarvis' First Law? Is A-list status self-perpetuating, an attentive oligarchy? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I sat next to Jeff Jarvis at Jay Rosen's session on Blogs and Journalism at last year's Bloggercon. Couldn't justify the long trip to Bloggercon III: Destination California this year, though. Bummer, dude.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:16 PM | 0 comments


Virtual People, Real Friendships 

Coming up on my second bloggiversary next week, and it's got me thinking. Well, that, and the after-realization that yesterday I asked you all to buy me something for Christmas, and it felt perfectly natural, and why is that?

I've met some incredibly wonderful folks over my past two years as a blogger.

We're merely recipro-readers and occasional commenters, and the balance of interaction and attention between us is surely uneven in every case. But I admire their -- your -- intelligence, and your struggles to keep me honest.

The way your blogs flay your lives bare to me and, in turn, the way you sit by me asynchronously through my own blogdailyness and share in mine, creates a kind of intimacy.

Though all of you are half-imagined, mere projections of my fevered brain, in many ways you are also closer to me than many of the flesh-and-bloods I spend time with on a semi-daily basis.

I have grown to depend on you by my side. I appreciate you. I appreciate that you listen to me. I care about you.

And, as the holiday season approaches, I want to acknowledge you somehow.

Yes, I want to buy you something for Christmas.

But I don't want it to be trivial, or etherial. I want it to be as real as your places in my heart.

And what I don't want is to have to exchange real addresses, or otherwise spoil the virtuality of our relationship-as-is. I see the potential for this to get O'Henry-esque, and refuse to go there. Let's not spoil the half-imagined otherness we share.

So don't send me your snail mail address; keep your pseudonym, please. But do set up your amazon wishlist, and fill it with trinkets -- the kind of slight objects that a secret santa might buy. 'cause I'm looking to get you something small.

Maybe it's just me. But if it isn't -- if you, too, find yourself starting to wonder how to send fruitcake to the bloggers you love? Then -- psst! -- pass it on. Tell your friends. Because the spirit of giving is almost upon us, and don't we spend our days here together in ways worth acknowledging?

Help me light up the bloggiverse this year. Get ready to prove to the naysayers and luddites that the virtual world is filled with real hearts and minds. Let's start up a meme of giving, a standard of potlatch. Because we're ready. Though our pockets may be mostly broke, if we're at all rich in spirit it is because of the sustinence we give to each other, here as in the meatworld.

posted by boyhowdy | 6:39 PM | 4 comments

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

All I Want For Christmas... 


Just like Mom used to make!


King of kitsch Jones Soda announces today its limited edition holiday pack of five new seasonal flavors, and I've never wanted anything more.

Flavors include:
  • Green Bean Casserole Soda
  • Mashed Potato & Butter Soda
  • Fruitcake Soda
  • Cranberry Soda
  • Turkey & Gravy Soda

According to Peter van Stolk, Jones Soda president and popcult product genuis, the special holiday package "takes the work, worries and cost out of preparing a turkey dinner, so our consumers can spend more time with their loved ones." It also takes all the calories out of a holiday dinner without missing a flavor.

Shades of Wonka's Three-Course Meal gum? You betcha. But this is better, because it's real. The box even includes entirely unecessary utensils -- a straw and a toothpick.

This extremely limited edition retails at $15.95, goes on sale via the web at 8:00 a.m. sharp on November 11th on a first come, first served basis, and is sure to sell out in minutes. A portion of the proceeds will go to Toys for Tots.

But if you buy me one I'll be yours forever.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:24 PM | 2 comments


Radiator Radio 

Another Monday, another ten to midnight shift in the basement of Stone Hall, cranking out the tunes on the country's most powerful high school radio station. Few students have radios anymore, but it doesn't matter; the waves echo off these New England hills, into three states worth of townships: Keene, NH, Brattleboro, VT, and Greenfield MA. No one calls, but somewhere out there, surely, someone listens, perhaps while they brush a lover's hair by the cold light of a sliver moon, reflected off this afternoon's first almost-snow, pebbled on the car hoods and brown meadows like frost.

And so winter comes, and with it the silence of these hills. The leaves are gone, almost, or too heavy anyway with those grains of sticky white to blow in and out the doors and windows with the heavy winds. Students meander the campus shivering and coatless, cool in the sharp air, trailing clouds.

But music warms the soul. The radio is a virtual hearth, a dashboard heater, a radiant sun in darkened rooms. So come inside, won't you. Listen, and be whole.

Tonight's playlist follows, punctuated -- as always -- by soft story readings on the hour and the half hour.


Tributary 11/8/04

Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul
Michael Franti & Spearhead -- Everyone Deserves Music
Rusted Root -- Rising Sun
J Mascis -- I Want You Bad
Timbuk 3 -- The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
Ween -- Bananas & Blow
Cake -- Manah Manah

Bob Dorough -- Fish For Supper
Trey Anastasio -- Alive Again
Ani Difranco -- Angry Anymore
Lizzie West -- Sometime
Barenaked Ladies -- Jane
Indigo Girls -- Galileo

Cassandra Wilson -- Only A Dream In Rio
Mark Erelli -- Take My Ashes To The River
The Be Good Tanyas -- Waiting Around To Die
Shawn Colvin -- This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
Gillian Welch -- Look At Miss Ohio
Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem -- Let's Pretend There's A Moon

Kasey Chambers -- I Still Pray
Jeffrey Foucault -- Mayfly
John Hiatt -- Crossing Muddy Waters
Patty Griffin w/ The Chieftans -- Whole Heap Of Pretty Horses
Shawn Colvin -- Seal Lullaby
Greg Brown's Daughters -- Ella May
Sheryl Crow -- We Do What We Can

You've been listening to Tributary, your ten to midnight Monday night show here on WNMH 91.5. We'll be back next week with our usual mix -- from Funk to Folk, from Jazz to Jambands, from Blues to Bluegrass, and everything in between. Until then, bundle up -- it's chilly out there.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:01 PM | 0 comments

Monday, November 08, 2004

Lies, Damn Lies, And Just Plain Being Mean 

Nothing bothers me more than people wielding statistics like a sword.

No, wait. It bothers me much more when people utterly misread and misrepresent statistics in their zeal to make us all feel dumb. Vindicating, but bothersome all the same.

Case in point: this utter bosh supposedly correlating IQ and political leanings by state is all over the net these days; it came up on our school bulletin board, too, where several sore-loser students were eager to make fun of the southern red-staters from high on their New England prep school perch.

I noted there, and will repeat here, a few problems I have with the mass acceptance, even glee, with which this ultimately false correlative data table has been disseminated. That is, even if it were true (also here):
  1. The IQ data is based on SAT/ACT scores. That itself is a problem -- it has long been accepted that ACT/SAT scores are not a measure of IQ, but merely of the ability to take those tests, and such "abilities" can be heavily skewed by such things as prep school SAT-training (more prep schools in New England than in the Red states), local economy (hungry kids don't test as well), and race (a correlation between race and this chart would be interesting, I bet).

  2. But the standardized test source of these numbers is also a problem because high school aptitide cannot be taken as a measure of voter intelligence because high school Juniors (the ones who take SATs) aren't a representative sample of the state voting public. Many young people move from one state to another in the years after taking those tests, for example; as we all know by now, many young people don't vote until later in life, long after they've moved on. And where do they go? More kids move to urban than to rural areas after school if they can, I bet -- see below.

  3. States don't vote like states. It is no secret, from looking at county-by-county voting maps that have emerged post-election, that "blue" values seem to be clustered around urban areas, while "red" values seem to be more rural. States that are more populous (relatively speaking) in rural areas tend to be, and vote, red, in other words. I'd suggest, here, that "book smarts" are more of an asset in urban areas than rural areas -- that's where the white collar indistry is, so that's where people go to work, live, and vote. And schooling in rural areas is entirely different from schooling in urban areas, again for all sorts of reasons which we could get into here, but we won't.

Of course, we'll be nice, and not mention at all the fact that the people spreading this around are supposed to be the smart ones, according to their own table. Kind of makes you wonder where the country is headed overall when the supposed "smart ones" could have been so dumb as to think the data meant what they said it meant -- even when they thought it was true.

(To be fair, it turns out there is a tiny, statistically insignificant correlation between IQ and voting. But the best and only conclusions we can reach from the corrected numbers is merely a reminder that income and IQ are correlative -- which, surprisingly, seems to imply that more of the affluent voted for Kerry than Bush. Odd, that, since it challenges the way liberals usually dismiss Bush -- and not too useful as a liberal democratic truth-sword, either.)

What bothers me most about this sort of table, though, is that folks who claim to be smart thought it was appropriate to do anything with the data at all.

The USA isn't an intell-ocracy, and it shouldn't be; IQ doesn't necessarily determine whether someone is more or less able to determine what candidate would be best for them.

People who have lower SAT scores have every right to vote for what they see as important, and every equal ability to decide accurately, for themselves, what is important.

Look, I know some of you are deeply hurt by this election. But the folks who use this table, and other tools of protest whining like it, need to understand that you're not helping your cause by suggesting that the vast majority of voters are a) dumber than you, and b) that you think this means they are inherently unable to elect an appropriate president. Talk about dividing the society. What happened to the liberal drive to heal, help, and make whole?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:04 PM | 8 comments


Through A Sick Day, Darkly 

Got one of those cottonhead brainfog colds over the weekend.

Managed to drag myself to the school dance recital yesterday. It was an excellent display, complete with modern subtleties and a wonderfully cheesy homage to the hairspray prom scene of my own late eighties lifestyle. Willow loved the performances, stayed focused, whispered when appropriate -- a new stage of development for her; I'm proud of her spectatorship. I couldn't really appreciate it much. The molasses world of the blackbox stage seemed distant and thick.

And now I pay the price of sitting in a folding-chair public. The swelling of this cold, once restricted to the brain and throat, has shifted to my back. After days of successful steroid-driven progress, the pain of the herniated disk has returned, shooting down my leg, worse when I move, impossibly intolerant when I manage to stay precariously still.

I'd take drugs, but it feels like I'm already on them.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:16 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Surfing, Browsing, Blogging...Reading? 

This surprisingly old panel by Cincinnati Enquirer cartoonist Jim Borgman is making the blogrounds:



But it seems to me blogexplosion regulars know the real news about blogs is better expressed in this cartoon, from Lee Lorenz in this week's New Yorker:


Which brings up an interesting point: people don't really read on screen that much.

Not deeply. Not broadly. Not well.

You already knew that intuitively. Like the students I work with, if you really need to absorb some text off the online universe, you print it. And if you take an afternoon off to do some serious reading, you spend that time with good old paper and ink.

But most people still don't get it. Like the students I work with, you probably don't print out your drafts of writing to edit them. And in most cases, since you're not writing a research paper, you don't print digital documents to read them. But you somehow believe that your reading and writing remain "just fine."

And despite there being real value in the conception that folks who grow up in a digital-print universe do indeed habitually think better in type than in handwriting -- that, in other words, your "native medium" for reading and writing is more likely than not to be screen-based -- it is an error of logic to go that next step, and assume that, therefore, this is the best kind of reading or writing you could do.

In fact, we all make that mistake of mind. But it's still a pretty stupid thing to believe.

Seriously. We already know that reading off a screen results in roughly 25% less overall comprehension -- why else have we begun to tailor our digital writing to these shortform paragraphs, the better to catch the skimmer's eye?

And our linguisitics show we know this going in. You're a surfer, not a diver; uninterested in immersion, you skim the waves. And you're reading this text, right now, on a browser, yes? Or perhaps, if you're geeky enough, on a news reader, since we all know "reading" news isn't anywhere near as deep as reading literature or, say, autobiographical non-fiction.

This is why I believe that the NaNoWriMo concept, in which most folks put their text up on the screen, and which is primarily driven by blogging and other on-line meme-passing, is inherently flawed for all but a very few.

It is why we cannot realistically expect that blogexplosion, which shrinks our screens that much more, adds a new layer of 30-second clockwatching immediacy to our blogreading and, by definition, rewards us for moving on, actually leads to habitual long-term reading for pretty much anyone.

It is why I'm ending this entry prematurely, to settle in screenless with the books I bought today -- Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys and Kim Stanely Robinson's 1994 Hugo Award winner Green Mars -- and why I bought such high-falutin' books in the first place.

'cause I been surfin' way too much, and these short waves are killing me.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:22 PM | 56 comments

Friday, November 05, 2004

Let Them Eat Willowisms 

Darcie and Willow came to visit me at the end of my library shift this afternoon. Though the kid's pretty cranky from the aftershocks of last week's MMR (Measles/Mumps/Rubella) vaccine, she did manage to perk up enough to wander the staff office a bit, where she rediscovered the water cooler, demanded and subsequently spilled a cup of water, and had the following exchange with her mother:
Willow, please don't play with the forks.

But I have to take one just in case there's some cake!
Ah, the hopeful innocence of the young. On the other hand, better take a fork -- what if there is some cake?

posted by boyhowdy | 10:42 PM | 2 comments


Turkey Fry At The Motel 6 


Mmmmm...hot oil and poultry...


The boys in the dorm are hosting an open house tonight, and since Hayden looks especially Motel 6-ish alongside the typical stately columns and turn-of-the-century New England brick of the other campus houses, they're using the opportunity to embrace what has traditionally been a denigration, offering cheesy movies, a beatbox competition, crass music, an open-door coed visiting arrangement, and an actual deep-fried turkey.

I'm so proud of my boys.

But I'm also especially glad I'm chaperoning. I've never had a deep fried turkey, and every time I ask anyone "in the know" about it, they get this glazed look of remembered bliss on their face, and then they all say the same thing: you'll love it...but don't eat too much. Any food which prompts this particular advice and involves a trash can filled with several gallons of grease promises to be my kind of gourmand feast. Wish me luck!


[UPDATE 10:39 pm: In the aftermath of what turned out to be a very successful and well-attended open house event, I have only two things to say.

1. I have never been so full in all my life.
2. I have now decided to deep fry everything I eat. Mmm...juicy.]

posted by boyhowdy | 4:12 PM | 2 comments

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Long Time TV-B-Gone 


Universal Remote or universe control?


Been busybusybusy working on the blog for work, but behind the scenes, the mind's still humming.

Though the rest of the bloggiverse has chewed it to bits, I've been especially interested in the social ramifications of the TV-B-Gone, a new keychain device that enables people to turn off TVs just about anywhere with a click of a button. The product, which hit both geek and mass awareness several weeks ago, has taken the consumer world by storm, selling so many of the tiny black boxes that distributor Cornfield Electronics now features an apology on their affectionately retro-redesigned website, for not being able to keep up with orders.

To inventor Mitch Altman, the TV-B-Gone is a power for good, "all about freeing people from the attention-sapping hold of omnipresent television programming." The early Wired article cites folks whose tube-watching was stymied by the device as generally blase, even tickled, by the whole thing.

But behind the one-button simplicity of the TV-B-Gone, there's something sinister about its basic premise that I just can't come to terms with.

Sure, most folks accept television-in-public (though not public-television-in-public, interestingly enough) as a natural part of the modern environment, one which fades in and out of the consciousness like so many billboards or park pigeons. But even if no one is watching, that's my social environment, bub. Who are you to decide that we didn't need that TV just then?

Why the heck are we all so happy about a tool that, fundamentally, gives every individual in our culture a right of total veto over the social environments of the group? Can't we see the problems inherent in the "I can turn you off" model of the world? Every movie, every book about invisibility tells us the power to manipulate the world unseen comes at a dangerous price. I recognize the basic human desire to be all-powerful -- I, too, dream of superpowers. But a world of superheroes is inherently a world of chaos (see any comic book for proof here). There's a reason why we work so hard to develop checks and balances over those with power in our societies -- keeping you out of my stuff is, ultimately, what keeps us a society.

(Not to mention the hacker potential for such a tool. Want to stymie the Principal's Monday Night Foodball? Just hide in the outside bushes with a TV-B-Gone, and let your detention-week frustration melt away! Don't like that loud TV on the other side of the apartment wall? Zap! What ever happened to talking out our problems -- why must we celebrate right-stealing as a solution to social infractions?)

I'm not the only one worried about this celebration of rampant anarchy. The week it came out the folks at gizmodo.com were assaulting Altman for creating "...a device with the sole purpose of imposing his viewpoint on others." TV-B-Gone package designer Nina Paley offers the typical-flippant response (Funny, I thought television did that). But Paley and the rest of her ilk got this wrong twice.

First, two wrongs don't made a right.

And second, even if they did, this isn't about television. The owner of a public establishment has -- and should have -- an overwhelmingly powerful right to decide what constitues that environment for the patrons, especially as compared to the right of a single patron who just happened to walk in for a drink. And in collective spaces, commons spaces, even collaborative spaces within the private, this is always true. Even the collective passivity of the people in that bar should have more sway in determining that environment's parameters than any single patron.

So get TV-B-Gone if you want. It's a free country -- though, given the popularity, you'll have to wait a few weeks if you want one of your very own. But if you get one, stay the hell out of my public space, or there's going to be trouble. After all, it's my free country, too.

Alternately, I've got this neat device for you to use next time you're in a bar and you don't like hearing the TV.

It's called a doorknob. And it won't cost you a cent.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:08 PM | 4 comments

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

On The 'Pad 


Yeah, that pad.

No, not this blog. This one.

Categorical posting, easy design on multiple levels, better photoformatting, a quick toggle from design element mucking-around to code, comments that actually work -- much of the functionality we were looking for in our new NMH Library Reading Room blog just wasn't happening in the tools I'm used to.

So I spent the day making a mock-up. And I got so into it, I didn't even make it to blogexplosion today (true addicts will understand).

Thanks to everyone, especially Anne and EricJ, for so patiently trying to get me to see the light through the long struggle with blogger. I'm amazed by what I was able to accomplish in about four hours with this and a little bit of PhotoShop, and eager to play more. Now: how the hell do I hop over without causing utter disaster?

posted by boyhowdy | 10:57 PM | 5 comments

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Every Vote Counts (In Large Amounts) 

[pic removed for clarity -- click here to see the numbers!]

Election results for Gill, Massachusetts.

Kudos to CNN for bringing the local vote home.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:29 PM | 0 comments


I Voted -- Did You? 

I promised myself (and Shaw) I wasn't going to blog political. Like Jon Stewart, I'm more interested in the flawed process than the game being played. But since I voted after lunch -- no backsies allowed -- I thought it would be fair, at least, to share my ballot, and my reasoning:

Presidential election: Republican.

All other local and state elections: Independent or Democrat.

Reasoning: Primarily, that I prefer the traditional Republican position that social issues should be handled on the local and state level, not on the federal level. I see no reason why Washington itself, or a popular vote where Californians have more power than my entire state, should decide how my family can be configured, or what drugs we can use and how. When it comes to local issues, though, I tend to lean liberal-libertarian, so I vote for politicians with similar leanings.

To be fair, it doesn't matter much how I voted for President, because I live in Massachusetts. That's why I can claim party voting, rather than personality voting, as my primary reasoning -- I'm sending a numbers mandate, not an electoral one. But I think I would still have voted for Bush if I lived in, say, Ohio. Though Bush has a foreign policy I have trouble with, at least he has one -- Kerry has no real foreign policy, and on a federal level, this election needs to be about foreign policy. What good is local control if the US of A ceases to exist?

A non-binding referendum to impose automatic fifty-fifty child custody in all but the most extreme cases was on our local ballot, too. I voted against it -- though I recognize the noble attempt to change the traditional anti-dad bias of the courts, I think any policy change which replaces a case-by-case considerate standard with an automatic "same policy for all possibilities" standard harms more than it helps. Education, not policy change, is the answer here.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:47 PM | 7 comments

Monday, November 01, 2004

Radioland 

Another basement, another show: feeling funky tonight after exquisite conversation and the perfect finefood trifecta (Pinot Grigio, a pate plate, and an espresso-and-molten-chocolate-cake confection to die for) with my father down at the o-so-ritzy Del Ray, so this week's radio set's a bit more upbeat and drum-heavy than last week (or indeed, any week previous).

Dayenu -- it would have been enough. But it's not just the joy of an almost-perfect father-son evening that fuels my fire. Other good news bringing me up: the herniated disk seems to be responding well to the oral prednisone, which should mean no spinal shots in my near future. Finally getting that bonus hour back from last Spring. The rural universe, beautiful and bright, clearmoon and leafblanketed. My job. My daughter. My wife. Life: it's just beautiful, sometimes.

Tonight's election-eve special featured bedtime story readings from Daily Show faux-textbook America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction, represented below by those blank spaces in the playlist. So I got that going for me.

Playlist follows, as always.


Tributary 11/1/04

Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul
Angelique Kidjo -- Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Kool & The Gang -- Funky Stuff
De La Soul -- Me Myself And I
Joss Stone -- Fell In Love With A Boy
Manu Chao -- Me Gustas Tu

Bob Dorough -- Too Much Coffee Man
Patty Griffin -- One Big Love
The Rembrandts -- Making Plans For Nigel
The Gourds -- El Paso
Jim White -- Borrowed Wings
The Biscuit Boys -- You Ain't Going Nowhere

Crooked Still -- Shady Grove
They Might Be Giants -- Fibber Island
Nellie McKay -- David
Richard Thompson -- Kiss
Trey Anastasio -- Cayman Review
Richard Shindell -- There Goes Mavis

Keller Williams -- Anyhow, Anyway
Eddie From Ohio -- Monotony
Lucy Kaplansky -- For Once In Your Life
Dar Williams -- Bought And Sold
Eva Cassidy -- American Tune
Livingston Taylor -- Isn't She Lovely

You've been listening to Tributary, your ten-to-midnight Monday night show here on WNMH 91.5 fm, serving Northfield, Gill, Keene, Greenfield, Brattleboro, and a bunch of people spinning dials out there on Route 91, wondering "what the hell is this?" Y'all come back next week, y'hear?

posted by boyhowdy | 10:08 PM | 0 comments


1000th Post! 

Over 600 days.

Almost 300,000 words.

Certainly hundreds upon hundreds of hours.

Oddly enough, I'm speechless.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:47 PM | 1 comments


Shirts and Skins and Other Things 

Finding myself commenting plenty in my blogexplosion excursions -- so far at least. Taking the time to comment keeps the incoming traffic low, I suppose, but I'm not ashamed to admit I'm in this blogging thing for community/writing quality, not quantity.

Most recently, and most relevant to our usual media subjecthood here at NAWWAL, Brad asks an interesting media question: "what's the difference between a template and a skin?" I offered an answer, but would be interested in other thoughts, too -- especially from those who actually like skins, and/or use them. Feel free to respond here or there.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:36 PM | 0 comments


Goddamn Blogger Again 

Warning: tech-rant ahead. Non blogexplosion geekusers might skip to this friendly Halloween post, or perhaps something about teen voting?


Since blogexplosion is a traffic exchange system, the vast majority of visitors don't even read the vast majority of the blogs they visit. It must be true, because most blogexplosion readers have posted something to that effect within the last few days, and who would know better? (Of course, we're all claiming it's not us, but everyone else...but seriously, folks, how many knitting blogs do you stick around to read?)

Which leaves comments as the only surefire way of knowing if folks are stopping by. (Again, this isn't news; other blogexplosion users are posting this same stuff -- it's practically a...um...blogexplosion, I guess.)

Which is a problem if you use blogger. Because despite the silliness of it all, blogger irrationally continues to insist that non-anonymous commenting requires a login.

And trying to log in to your blogger account within the blogexplosion frame seems to have one of two equally undesirable effects: either it crashes the blogexplosion window, or it merely doesn't accept the login.

Which means I'm not getting any comments, and hardly leaving any, either.

Sure, maybe it's just that no one loves me. But I suspect living in the school LAN is killing my participation in yet another addicting tool-slash-community (which would be good and bad, I guess)...or blogger just sucks.

And given the history, I'm betting on the latter. I'm almost wishing I hadn't gotten rid of the enetation comments. Haloscan, anyone?

posted by boyhowdy | 2:54 PM | 5 comments


Obligatory Halloween Shot 


Willow and ladybug friend Arwen at the NMH
community Halloween party


We took some pix on a disposable as the aperature on our own Fuji digicam is seriously screwed up. Obviously, this isn't one of them. But if we had somehow managed to get them developed already, you'd see that Willow is actually dressed as a pumpkin patch -- kudos to Darcie for pulling the haywagon, filled with pumpkins and our Jack Russel Terrier in her own tiny pumpkin suit, all around the neighborhood.

This photo courtesy of Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter Paul and Mary), Chaplain's spouse, party host, and a darn good pirate. Noel plays the Iron Horse this Saturday night at 7.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:01 AM | 2 comments

Sunday, October 31, 2004

More Reasons Not To Go To Work When I Don't Have To Go To Work 

1. Students ask for help -- on everything from bookfinding to database research to photocopying passports to paper and college essay writing support. I am an egohound, proud of my pedagogy. I help them.

2. After the library closes, a motionsensor darkness falls. Walking facefirst into the grandfather clock hurt like hell.

3. Having the entire school LAN to myself is seriously enabling my blogexplosion addiction.

4. There is no food here but tea. Tea makes me pee. The bathrooms are seriously far from my office.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:35 PM | 0 comments


Rescued From Obscurity 


Welch and Rawlings, summer '04

Cleaning out the digital camera in anticipation of some Halloween shots tonight, I found this recording of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings performing Manic Depression from this summer's Green River Festival. Iffy quality, but a great oldtimey-style Jimi Hendrix cover if you like that sort of thing. Enjoy!

posted by boyhowdy | 3:39 PM | 0 comments


Don't Kill Your Television, Save TV Culture Instead 

Never been a big fan of bumper stickers. My feeling has been, anything that can be stated that simply is too open to interpretation, too easily (mis)understood as the totality of what a driver believes, and too limited in depth to represent the real complex world-as-it-is.

Attempts to iluminate in such minimalist form often end up confusing instead. Or worse: whenever I see a "Don't believe in abortion? Don't have one!" sticker I cringe, wondering why anyone would so proudly admit their total misunderstanding and ignorance of the polar position. Guess I felt my solipsitic world wasn't so black and white to allow for such bold statements.

But I saw one that said "You don't have to believe everything you think" on an otherwise clean bumper down in Northampton yesterday.

And it made me think.

So maybe I was wrong. After all, Not All Who Wander Are Lost, and everyone should know it.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:03 PM | 0 comments


College Season 

The increasingly tight race to get into a good college has bumped deadlines up; where in my own day applications generally went out by New Years, most of our oldest students in this high-pressured prep school have at least one packet due tomorrow. Daylight Savings Time sleep bonus aside, Seniors appear at breakfast haggard and unkept, if indeed they appear at all. Most will be huddled at their screens all day. Few will do their homework for tomorrow. Teachers will allow it, for we know that the brass ring of the name-brand university is an overwhelming temptation incomparable to a mere three acts of Shakespearean trope, that one-pager on the ethos of the rainforest, that memorized Donne.

It's hard not to get sucked into the panic. Though as a Coordinator of Information Literacy and Academic Technology I hardly teach classes anymore, a reputation for excellence in editing continues to bring the usual hordes to the virtual door. In the past 24 hours alone, I've had two frantic late-night phone calls and three emailed essay-sets from the worst of the procrastinators. And how can you say no to something so crucial, so scale-tipping, as a last look at the one piece of writing which colleges will use to evaluate you against the other fifty students from this very same school vying for an unspoken quota of ten-or-less spaces in an Ivy League class of '09? If only they all lived in Arkansas, they'd be shoo-ins.

Too, I've procrastinated myself. I find myself blogging when I should be writing what may be my last college recommendation letter of my teaching career, now that I've moved into the "underground administrator" role-play of the curriculum coordinator.

But to be fair, I'm pretty stuck. I tried to stack the deck by taking her out to breakfast for an interview last weekend, an almost-never-fail that generally produces a set of notes which can easily be scavenged as outline for a decent letter which will serve what the student wants me to say, what I can say with honesty, and what a college wants to hear. But this morning these sausage-greased notes seem hollow, and I pride myself on my almost-perfect recommendation letters. Guess it's back to the old progress reports for a morning of cut-and-paste scavenging.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:58 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Okay, Internet, You Win 

After losing interest in everything from blogshares to orkut to the now-defunct peer-post-rating community blorgy -- but not without wasting hundreds of hours on them first -- I wasn't going to get involved in any more crackpot schemes to drive traffic in and out and thereby serve the gods of the Internet in their drive to subsume every last inch of life as we know it.

But then Anne recommended Blogexplosion, and I found two smart likeminded people in my first ten minutes surfing -- with-it school librarian WannabeMuse and media-savvy "sociopolitcal commentary" producer Selected Pete . And now I'm totally, horribly hooked.

Damn you, ADHD. Damn you, Anne. Damn you, intelligent people who rise above the infoglut chaff to prove the value of this megatimewaster day in and day out. Damn you, Internet.

Curses, foiled again.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:58 PM | 8 comments


De La Soul 


A blast from the past -- fading fast?

Original alt-hippie hip-hop band De La Soul isn't dead yet, but if their reception and resulting demeanor at last night's Pearl Street show was any indication, they're not making much bread these days.

Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed both the show itself and the experience of taking my advisees out for a night on the town. But there might have been 40 people in the club when the show got started, and though there were surely over a hundred by show's end (enough, anyway, to create some pretty fine eye candy when the band invited all the ladies in the audience on the stage for the last song and a half) the guys seemed a bit pissed at their own loss of popularity, and took it out on the show. The frustration undercut their trademark goofy humor in turn.

But it's hard to blame the boys in the band here. It's hard to run through a playbook filled mostly with songs of peace and love when you're not getting the respect a great group like De La Soul is used to and deserves. It's hard, too, to get a crowd when you're a 1989 phenom playing a predominantly white college area and MTV forgets to put this particular date on their tour listings for the band.

Perhaps that's why of those who were there, late or not, it was clear that those of us who genuinely remember De La's 1989 release, the groundbreaking 3 Feet High...and Rising, were far outnumbered by the teenybopper poseurs. And ain't nobody knew the words to any of the songs of their new album. So sad to see a band once proclaimed the future of hip-hop so easily fading into the genre's past; I'd give a direct link, but they don't even have a webpage.

Incidentally, media-slash-music geeks might recognize De La Soul as the first Hip Hop band to get sued for sampling, which itself had major implication in music and the life of De La itself. As MTV tells it:
De La Soul had sampled the Turtles' "You Showed Me" and layered it with a French lesson on a track on 3 Feet High called "Transmitting Live From Mars," without getting the permission of the '60s pop group. The Turtles won the case, and the decision not only had substantial impact on De La Soul, but on rap in general. Following the suit, all samples had to be legally cleared before an album could be released. Not only did this have the end result of rap reverting back to instrumentation, thereby altering how the artists worked, it also meant that several albums in the pipeline had to be delayed in order for samples to clear. One of those was De La Soul's second album, De La Soul Is Dead.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:05 PM | 1 comments


Mo(o)re From The Bulletin Board: On Documentary "Truth" 

A fac-brat whose parent recently went ballistic when son-in-question's 9th grade History class was shown Farenheit 911 (beheading and all) posted the following Friday on our First Class school announcement folder:
Go here for the truth behind John Kerry's career in Vietnam. It is a documentary...which means it is all true.

My public response:
We should be careful with this kind of statement, I think. Documentaries may technically be "true" by definition, but in many recent documentaries, the "truth" being presented is not factual, but true opinion. This can lead viewers to false conclusions about causality, and about the meaning and even actions in historical events, among other things.

In other words, I can say anything I want in a documentary interview, and the moment it hits the screen it is a true record of what I said. This is still a "documentary." However, this in no way means what I said is factual.

In other words, a documentary filmmaker can deliberately present "true" events in a sequence which makes it seem as if one thing caused another, or that a specific underlying cause made things happen, when in fact research may not bear out these conclusions. This is still a "documentary," but it doesn't mean that the conclusions the filmmaker wants us to reach at the end of the movie are true.

Recent critiques of both Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 and the Stolen Honor video to which Elias has sent us suggest that BOTH films fall into this fuzzy category of truth. They may be accurate records of people's opinion, and they may show real historic facts. But the way in which the films arrange and present that information have led viewers to conclusions which are currently not considered "fact" by the vast majority of the viewing public.

Hope no one's minded the plethora of "direct from the school bulletin board" posts recently. Of all the things I love about the community-scale virtual discussion space now endemic to schools, the ability of these forums to serve as a classroom containing every student in the school, while making the communication itself come across on an intimate level to the individuals reading in their rooms on their own time, is at the top of the list.

Just because it's worth posting there, is it worth reposting in a more universal forum? Maybe. But the benefits of reaching another, broader audience aside, regular readers may additionally conclude that the prominence of already-written, scavenged-for-print postings are an indicator of overwork, accompanied by the usual not-enough-time-to-blog-for-real. Such conclusions are indeed true. Can't wait for the term to end, man.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:44 PM | 30 comments

Friday, October 29, 2004

More Halloween PC-Watching 

It's a sad day when other people's misinterpretation of anything causes pain. It's sad, too, when the potential for dumb people to misinterpret something makes that perfectly good something suddenly taboo. But it's even sadder when intolerance masquerades under the guise of tolerance, especially when that intolerance keeps the misinterpreted object, image, or idea from being acceptable.

It is selfish -- or, to turn a culturally relevant phrase, niggardly -- to think that your own discomfort should cause others to change their behavior when it is solely your MISinterpretation of that behavior which makes it seem inappropriate by community standards.

And it is exactly this which is at the heart of my dislike for the PC institution, which causes public "apologies" for perfectly innocent behavior, as seen in today's student-side email example, posted here with permission from NMH student Sturdy.

It has been brought to my attention (by none other than the ilustrious Joan Pack) that some people did not get the joke behind my makeup today, and misinterpreted it as a racist comment. For this I am very, very sorry. I meant no offense to anyone. The look I was going for was Chia Head, like this



The brown facepaint was for clay, and that was not an afro wig, that was my hair, augmented only by spray-on color. I have washed off both vigorously, and now look no scarier than I do normally. Again, I apologize profoundly for any upset I may have caused.

Christ.

My heart goes out to Sturdy, a good kid who I wish could have been given better (and different) support in his choice of costume. To those in our community that gave him a hard time, though, I have two things to say:

  1. Just because you make dumb assumptions doesn't mean you should act on them. It certainly doesn't mean you should create discomfort in others. It absolutely does not give you the right to force a kid to go home and take off a perfectly innocent and creative costume I wish I had thought of.

  2. Lighten up, people.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:14 PM | 3 comments

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bright Lights, Big Smile 

The results are in, and the winner of our Votes2004 nation-wide high school mock election is Kerry by a nose. Will this be the first time in the by-now six-election history of the project that our national poll of adolescents does not accurately predict the winner of the "real" national election? Only time and several months of legal challenges will tell; see this week's Onion sidebar for more on the "Countdown to the Recount."

Incidentally, those who missed my six-minute "ask the expert" interview on Media and the Political Process may not have missed much. I seem to have lost my stagecraft confidence; my recollection of the event is limited to a vague memory of a stage-light and wild-crowd inspired deer-in-the-headlights moment that seemed to last forever, and I was told by observers immediately afterwards that the interview was "okay," which isn't terribly high praise, is it?

posted by boyhowdy | 8:04 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Red Moon / Red Sox 

The sky above has cleared from cloudy. The eclipse is total now, the moon bloodred and whole, and us between it and the sun making it so, like curled fingers in a flashlight makes a handshadowed bunny on a campcabin wall. Seeing this evidence I can for once envision Asia opposite us bright in sunlight. This is the way that an eclipse makes the heavens real, as never before.

On the television behind me the 7th inning stretch, God Bless America sung by Creed frontman Scott Stapp (a major improvement on Donna Summer, IMHO, if only because I prefer the emotionally raw simplicity, warts and all, to the overperformance), Red Sox vs. Red Birds with the home team almost at the close of a four-in-four series, an eight game postseason sweep just minutes away.

And my brain is red, tired and frustrated, burning with weeks of consecutive pain. The MRI said herniated disk, and though I' not sure what I'm looking at when I see 'em, the X-ray-like series, six oversized pages at eight shots per sheet, fascinate and make me queasy in a way that my innards never have before. And so we begin phase two of my pain management tomorrow, at the ominously-named Spine and Sports Clinic downtown.

The next total eclipse of the moon will not be until March 2007. The next Red Sox Series may be sooner (but maybe not). A herniated disk is a permanent condition.

The Earth will move out of the way, and the summer season will end as it always does, but my back will never be the same.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:37 PM | 1 comments


Writing As Medium: That Extra Space 

A raging debate on our faculty-side email server this week about, of all things, whether student writing should contain one or two spaces after a period.

I'm happy to see the question come up -- the Writing Across the Curriculum movement is strong here, and as a departmental rep to the writing leadership group this kind of niggly discussion is exactly what we had hoped would emerge from a renewed mandate. But though I have finally come to terms with blogger's insistence on eliding my post-sentence two-spacing into one, I was not convinced by today's foray from school webmaster Craig, who, in responding to the "1 or 2 spaces" question, offered the following historical defense:
ONE! The double space made it easier to read when people used typewriters with monospaced characters (where every character, whether an i or a w, takes up the same amount of space). With proportional spaced characters (almost all computer fonts) one space is used. Look at any newspaper, book, or magazine as evidence of single spacing in proportional characters fonts.

Once you get used to this rule, double space after a punctuation really looks wrong.


I appreciate the media context Craig brought to the discussion. But done properly, media ergonomics -- what Postman might call media ecology, though this sort of position is where he and I begin to differ -- demands questions of real usage in context, too, without which real consideration of genuine historical tool and technology evolution can be misleading.

So here's a different opinion from a "media across the curriculum" perspective. (Yes, writing is a medium.)


Post-period spaces as media

While historically "rules" for punctuation and spacing evolve because of the exact pressures that Craig describes, the challenge of using this practical consideration to determine correct usage is that usage often lingers residually in our constantly-evolving writing tools long after the forces which required that usage are made moot. In fact, some standards currently go against practical considerations -- tradition and agreed-upon usage, in other words, quite often trump the practical pressures which Craig uses to determine the standard currently under examination.

The usual Dvorak superiority myth used to decry the current arrangement of letters on a standard keyboard is one such example -- though there is no longer any danger of our typewriter getting jammed if we were able to type faster even if this were true, explorations of the myth of Dvorak superiority continue to conclude that the Qwerty key arrangement, though relatively effective, is not necessarily the absolute best arrangement of keys to make typing as smooth a process as it possibly could be. But doing the research to figure out which key arrangement would be absolutely ideal, and then changing the "standard" keyboard to one which would support faster typing, continues to be accepted as more difficult than just serving the public with the keyboards they already know how to use. Market forces -- usage forces -- are part of this, of course -- no one bought the Dvorak keyboard, so it requires much effort to find one and configure one's software to accept it;similarly, learn-to-type software tools still perpetuate the Qwerty method.

In this case, something similar has occured. Though it seems to be changing in the newest writing tools (my new blogging tools automatically elide two spaces into one before publishing), some word processors still do the reverse (automatically put two spaces after a period no matter how many spaces te author actually types). This IS fixable, incidentally, in most word processing software, but not in all writing tools students currently use.

More importantly, though, I'd also argue that, in learning, double-spacing after periods is comparable to double-spacing lines of text. The purpose of double-spacing one's lines includes, as I understand it, leaving room for grading and proofing marks, and separating text so that it is easier to look at writing on a micro level -- that is, to better isolate visually the ideas and words students write, so that we are assisted BY the technology in our work helping students learn to write better. To me, that extra space after each sentence offers twice the assistance -- I personally find it easier to reach these goals with students when there is as much room as possible in the presentation OF that writing in which to consider their writing.

Unless you feel it is vital to teach your students how to change the default settings on their tools to match a standard that is not yet accepted by businesses and other tool-using environments post-high school, and unless you insist that some writing tools must be taboo in your classroom, I would argue that as long as students are being consistent about spacing within a single document, both single and double spacing could be accepted as legitimate reflections of real-world usage standards.

And unless you have done the experiment, and find that you are not in any way assisted by the presence of that extra space, as I am, in helping students learn to write, I'd be wary about making that decision based on the usual rules of writing outside of school, which Craig does -- because if we are indeed to require of students that they write based on the rules of writing "out there," then double-spacing, headings, and all the other trappings of student writing which we currently require for purely pedagical reasons must all go out the window with the second space. Are we sure we know what we'd lose if we did that?

posted by boyhowdy | 11:37 AM | 5 comments


Login and Listen...to ME! 

I'm going to be interviewed as an expert on media and the political process as part of this Thursday's live (mock) election night coverage for VOTES2004 (Voting Opportunities for Teenagers in Every State), a nationwide month-long project "that makes politics more fun, interesting, and understandable for young people while teaching them the importance of the voting process" hosted by our very own Northfield Mount Hermon School.
Two schools from each state participate in the highlight of the month-long project—a mock election at which a winner is declared just days before the general election. The VOTES election is unique in that it simulates the electoral college process of selecting a candidate: the winner must earn at least 270 out of 538 electoral votes.

The results speak for themselves: In 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000 voter turnout among the schools that sent their votes to NMH averaged 75 to 80 percent—almost twice the national turnout average—totaling some 50,000 votes. Student voters successfully predicted the winner each time. Will they in 2004?


The goal of my own presentation is to discuss how changes in media over time have changed the face of elections and presidencies in US culture -- that, and to kill time while we're waiting for results to come in from the other participating schools across the county (gee, it is just like a real election!). Given the high school audience level and the relatively short time frame, the presentation should be broad but interesting to mediageeks and punditgeeks alike.

I'm told I'll be on for about ten minutes, starting at about 7:10 or so.

The broadcast stream is only 22k, and the stream only allows 75 users, but the event goes from 7 to 9:30 -- I don't expect too much traffic that early in the evening. Come listen to me make a fool of myself!

posted by boyhowdy | 10:44 AM | 2 comments

Monday, October 25, 2004

Behind The Music 

A problematic evening in the studio, then, what with the back still broken, the mosquitoes come in from the cold, and the tape output not outputting -- that last meaning no mix tape made from tonight's show for car listening throughout the week, a sore disappointment now that I've gotten used to taking these shows home with me.

The phone rang only once, while I was on-air; I got off quick and not so smooth, but not fast enough to hear anyone but a dial tone. My scarf -- the long yarn scarf in fall brownorange given Darcie two Christmases ago from the grab bag at her parent's house, promptly stolen for its colors and worn all winter as it stretched down to my knees on both sides, or was it last Christmas -- got caught in the wheels of the rolling chair and almost didn't make it out. I was so flustered I played the wrong Asleep At The Wheel song -- and here I was so looking forward to "My Baby Thinks She's A Train."

Plus, I had to pee really bad for most of the set.

The music was great, though. No skips or scratches, a couple of great sequences and grooves, and some amazingly smooth and serendipitous transitions. Sure hope someone was out there listening. For what it's worth, here's tonight's playlist, with the usual separators representing bedtime stories read over the airwaves -- poems tonight, Philip Levine and other dark moody men, fluid and full of silences, befitting a night of disasters nobody heard.


Tributary 10/25/04

Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul
De La Soul -- The Magic Number
Elvis Costello -- Red Shoes
Galactic -- Tiger Roll
Bob Marley -- Jammin'
Phish -- Back On The Train

Joan Osborne -- St. Theresa
Lyle Lovett w/ The Chieftans -- Don't Let Your Deal Go Down
Asleep At The Wheel -- Take Me Back To Tulsa
Del McCoury Band w/ The Chieftans -- Rain And Snow
Rhonda Vincent -- You're In My Heart
The Persuasions -- Dry Bones
The Posies -- I'm Looking Through You
Jeff White -- Tennessee Stud

Yo La Tengo -- Magnet
Patty Griffin -- Making Pies
Deb Talan -- Two Points
Great Big Sea -- Ordinary Day
Glen Phillips -- Have A Little Fun With Me
Jazz Is Dead -- Scarlet Begonias

String Cheese Incident -- Search
The Be Good Tanyas -- Oh Susanna
Nickel Creek -- Out Of The Woods
David Wilcox -- Leave It Like It Is
Patty Larkin -- Tango
Patty Griffin -- Take It Down

You've been listening to Tributary, your ten to midnight Monday night show here on WNMH 91.5 fm. Tune in next week for another two hours of lullabyes and longing, lightness and laughter, and love, radio-style.

Outside, the leaves fall, a thousand footsteps under a bright moon.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:20 PM | 0 comments


On Defining Racism 

Ordinarily, I wouldn't touch his sort of thing with a ten foot totem. But as those who follow the blog know by now, when both sides of a good and important discussion get bogged down by their own poor definitions of the issues at hand (like what counts as racism), and can't get past it to get down to the real important stuff (like what to DO about it), I can't help myself.

So here, verbatim, is an email I posted into this evening's student-side school bulletin board discussion after three dozen emails arguing about the definition of racism. Sorry about the length; as Twain would say, I would have written it shorter, but I didn't have the time.


Student 1 writes:
Racism implies that you consider another race inferior

Student 2 writes:
No, it does not, techincally and practically speaking. Racism is any act or situation, based in prejudice, ignorance, misunderstanding, or even hatred, in which the majority group benifits from the oppresion of a minority group or groups. Racism is not an act, it is an atmosphere. It's not about superiority, it's about the existance that we esperience.


Here's my response:

I'd be interested in the source for this definition, Student 2. I see it as problematic for three reasons:

1. It clearly states that "racism" does not cover acts or situations "based in prejudice, ignorance, misunderstanding, or even hatred" in which a minority group benefits from the oppression of the majority. Historically, however, there have been a number of instances where a minority with power from means other than sheer population numbers (say, technological power, or monetary power) has oppressed other racial groups, even sought to eradicate them, with explicitly race-grounded reasons. Are we to understand that this was not racism? What was it, then?

2. A related but separate idea: I believe this definition is also too limited in that, in using the term "oppression," it can suggest to the average user of the english language that oppression is always about negative stereotypes. But racism as I understand it can also sometimes be about one group benefitting by DEFINING another group in a specific way, one which (on the surface) is seen by outsiders as positive, not negative -- i.e. not in a way we might ordinarily see as "oppressive." Defining someone else for them is inherently oppressive, of course, but that doesn't seem to be what the definition means by "oppressing." For example, if I say all members of some race are especially good at math, it's not clear who benefits from this, but this is still racism by most people's definition, even the South Park "Museum of Tolerance" definition.

3. The definition given says nothing about race at all -- it says "majority" and "minority" as the only means of distinguishing one group from another. Is class conflict in a culture which is racially unified -- say, in Denmark or something -- thus "racist?" Is gender oppression "racism?" Are all homophobic acts racist? Was the Spanish Inqisition really about race? My concern would be that treating ANY power imbalance under the umbrella of race can actually blind us to the other real and valid differences between us and, in doing so, make it that much more difficult for those who are disempowered for reasons having little to do with race to have their concerns percieved as valid and actionable by governments, groups, and activists like ourselves.

Problematically, Student 2 then wrote to me suggesting that the definition SHE used is the definition currently being taught students in our student awareness trainings. Anyone else see a major problem with this?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:46 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, October 24, 2004

One Hundred Demons 

A writing exercise adapted -- badly -- from a Zen painting exercise as described in Lynda Barry's comic strip collection One! Hundred! Demons!, a "work of autobifictionography" which actually doesn't contain 100 of anything, and neither does this list, though I did get just over halfway there. Anyway, here are the things that plague me, or at least all I was able to think of during a self-imposed 30 minute time limit. It may be far from the original exercise, but if listing them will help me let them go, then at least the exercise is consistent with Zen as I understand it, which is probably wrong.


• mosquitoes
• drowning
• the thought that one day I might need to run really fast and my legs won’t work or I’ll be running in molasses or something
• not being able to wake up from a dream
• that dreams might be real
• going to bed and never waking up
• putting my hand in something warm and squishy in the dark
• accidentally rolling over on the dog or baby in my sleep
• saying something stupid in a social or professional situation
• having to explain myself to people smarter or more powerful than me, especially authority figures
• having a booger on my face all day and no one says anything
• people laughing at me behind my back
• the unseen
• the unknown
• the unsaid
• the inescapable
• war
• environmental disaster
• not leaving things better than I found them
• not noticing creeping cumulative dangers until it’s too late to do anything about their effect
• giving up on things because they're too hard
• losing track of myself in the midst of the chaos
• procrastinating
• not dealing with things I'm supposed to
• my aching back
• being broken
• mysterious aches and pains
• I could have cancer or something and not know until it was too late
• dismissing mysterious aches and pains as natural and then finding out later that I could have done something to fix myself by now it's too late
• Willow falling out of a tree or something
• letting Willow fall out of a tree or something
• Willow losing her trust of me forever because I let her fall out of a tree or something
• something might happen to Darcie and then I'd have to deal with it all on my own
• seeing some old girlfriend and realizing I made the wrong choice
• being unable to recognize a crush for the real thing, which I've already got
• getting lost in the moment and making some irrevocable decision
• remembering times when I should have done the right thing but didn't because I was too cowardly
• kids who grow up unloved
• being the only one who could have made a difference in some kids life and never realizing it
• never finding the time or moment to make the difference
• spreading myself too thin
• losing everyone
• being alone
• being in charge
• forgetting to say "I love you" that one last time and then the person I love getting run over by a truck or something
• not being able to fix everything
• that my worst critics are right
• that I might be inherently less worthy of love and respect than other people
• knowing that I'll never have time to learn everything about everything
• worrying that I'm spending my time on the wrong things without knowing it
• everything turning out just fine, and all this worrying was for nothing


Of course, lest one think I am constantly consumed with my demons, let me point out that I'm on weekend library duty today, which is crushingly boring, that we all have demons in our closet...and that the relationship we have with our demons is often murky and unresolvable. The very existence of Barry's own musing on the nature of our abhorrences speaks to this, I think, so a relevant panel from her abovementioned collection would be an appropriate place to end up:

posted by boyhowdy | 1:46 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, October 23, 2004

MetaBlogging 

Though Blogger's profiles aren't updated enough to be accurate, according to my own count, I've got only 18 more posts until I blog my 1000th entry...and just three weeks until my second bloggiversary!

Any and all suggestions of-and-for and appropriate celebratory gesture or two would be especially welcome. I think Shaw's suggestion to redesign may turn out to be the winner...but let's see what else ya got, world!

Incidentally, other dubiously notable profile info includes the fact that I've written over 277,960 words in the blog since I started blogging way back in November 2002. One can't help but wonder how many novels that would have been. Sigh.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:28 PM | 36 comments


Boyhowdy, With A Keyboard, In The Library 

Lying down and standing up hurt too much, and for some reason, the ergonomically-sound desk chairs at work are the only chairs that take the pressure off my sciatic nerve. So most nights in the past few weeks I've found myself in an otherwise closed and darkened library, my only company thousands of books, dozens of computers, and the knocks of the radiators behind the ancient portraits of ancient founders and donors, settling into myself as the campus outside "my" windows grows quiet and cold.

It's quite peaceful, actually. Except when the security guys come through on their nightly lock-check, which tends to scare the hell out of me no matter how predictable their timing, because who watches the clock in a timeless and unpopulated universe?

Anyway, staring at a screen only takes up so much of my time, and it's too creepy to read, so I've taken to letting the ol' mind wander, gathering thoughts thunk in the dark. Here's today's "what I've been thinking about" trifecta, an especially disconnected set of randomalia -- must be the vicodin, or maybe all those surrounding walls of words or something?
  • If I could have any pet in the world, I'd have a screech owl, and handle her barehanded (those claws can pinch, but not so much they puncture, and they tend to weigh less than a pound -- they're mostly feathers). Since it's not legal to own birds of prey, though, second choice would absolutely be a hedgehog. The two used to me my favorite animals to demonstrate way back when I worked the stages at the Boston Museum of Science. Pity I'm better with the kinds of livethings that can prompt you to take care of them, which is why I tend to kill plants. Pity, too, that the cat and dog would destroy either one if we ever actualkly had the chance to get one or the other.


  • Darcie told me she and Willow saw Norah Jones on Sesame Street singing Elmo a version of her hit song while waiting for a visit from her friend the letter Y. You know: Waited by the house of fun...don't know why Y doesn't come... Stuff like that. Those guest shots used to be my favorite bits on Sesame Street, and the Paul Simon episode of the Muppets is still my favorite to watch with Willow -- we saw it today while Darcie napped, in fact, before thermos hot chocolate on a cold blanket-wrapped afternoon at the big Varsity Football game against Andover. How odd is it to wish I had time to get to Sesame Street more often?

    [Update 9:19 p.m. Wish you'd seen Norah on Sesame Street? NetMusic Countdown reports the episode will repeat Nov. 5.]


  • Gee, this new Info Commons rocks. I especially love the 42 inch screen and long umbillical cord keyboard at the half-ovoid table, which shows how powerful a change in workstation environment can be; where group projects used to end up overwhelmingly driven by the kid who sat in front of the screen and keyboard, calling into question the actual albeit desired collaboration occuring, I find that the distance from screen-to-users, and the chnaged relationship between users and screen that results, makes for an actual and perceptual even distribution of ownership in normal group use. Of course, the really smart kids have learned that holding the keyboard and sitting next to the screen makes them the presenter and the rest of the group the audience, but that kind of positioning is so counterintuitive I've only seen one kid "get it" (and she was supposed to be presenting to the group, and she's also one of my bestandbrightest workjob kids in that space, so it's all good).

posted by boyhowdy | 8:28 PM | 1 comments
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