Showing posts from April, 2016

Reality Check

This photo of the Bernie Sanders rally appeared in the New York Times. Really. Bernie Sanders is a having a moment, and it's not hard to understand why. We who are on the left side of American politics have been living in exile for a very long time. The last President who came close to fully embodying our ideals of government serving the needs of the people was Lyndon Johnson. Yes, that Lyndon Johnson: the misogynist power broker whose rhetoric didn't stir anyone's heart. No President since Johnson has been able to produce anything approximating his massive progressive agenda. Carter and Clinton were moderate squishes, and Obama has been hamstrung by reactionary obstructionism at both the grass roots and Congressional levels. That's almost half a century of progress by fits and starts, with frequent slides backward. Speaking for myself, I'm frustrated. As happy as I am to see so many more people covered by health insurance, the byzantine mess that is Obamac


Not counting weekends or holidays, I have fifty-one more days. That's how much time I have left at Scott Elementary School. On June 15, I will say goodbye to these children for the last time. Where I will go after that to practice my vocation has yet to be determined, but I can be certain of this one thing: it will not be this school. Fifty-one days of school might seem like a lot to you. If you're not a teacher, or even if you are and you teach in a classroom, seeing the same children every school day, fifty-one days is a significant chunk of time: ten weeks! Two and a half months! More than a quarter! To most musical specialists, those 51 days equate to 20 semi-weekly classes, typically 30-35 minutes long. That's time for several units, time to learn two or three pieces and prepare them for a final concert. I say "most" because things are different at Scott. Starting next week, I will see students for music once a week. At Scott, I get them

Rolling the Red Dice

Careful, Bernie. Winning these battles could mean everyone loses the war. Risk is my favorite board game. Just in case you've never been exposed to The Game of World Conquest, this is what it looks like: Each player has a box of plastic armies. At the beginning of the game, all players distribute their armies across the board, claiming countries in as strategically advantageous an arrangement as their opponents will permit. Once every country is occupied, players take turns invading each other's neighboring territories, trying to consolidate continents, building up frontier defenses, and eventually eliminating each other from the game. The winner is the player who controls the entire world at the end. Success comes through a combination of strategy and chance: the attacking player rolls three red dice against the defending player's two white dice. The attacker's two highest dice are matched against the defender's roll, with the higher die winning--though t