Showing posts from October, 2016

On Freedom Not Being Free

It seems I'm not the first person to think of this. Just so you know, I think bullfighting is an abomination.  I also think this year's three Presidential "debates" were an abomination. So there's some resonance there. Reading up just now about bullfighting (that's called "research"), I learned that a bullfight is a highly ritualized spectacle, most of which involves goading, torturing, and weakening the bull to render the final, fatal sword thrust more effective. Bulls intended for the ring are raised in conditions that render them more wild than domesticated. The bullfight itself is extremely hazardous, frequently leading to injury and even death for the humans and horses involved in the ritual. Of course, the bull is almost always dead at the end of the show, so maybe there's some justice in that risk. Back to the debates: each reinforced the impression that what I was watching was a ritualized spectacle, a confrontation be

Finally, a Bridge Too Far

Not just this guy. Really? This is what it takes? Donald Trump's campaign has been off at least one of its rails as long as it's been running. Trump was never interested in being respectable, civil, eloquent, diplomatic, statesmanlike, or even coherent. He was always a loud, bellicose, attention-demanding incarnation of masculine id, with a dog-and-pony show that was irresistible to a large enough plurality of Republican voters that it overcome all the shallow business-as-usual candidates--as well as a few other wingnuts who lacked his eye-catching vulgar appeal--to bequeath him with a nomination to become the world's most dangerous head of state. His rhetoric was scattershot when it came to positions on any of the issues the serious candidates were debating, but consistent in one regard: he hated the same people as that large plurality of voters, and cared not a farthing for how his targets felt about that hatred. The size of his following, while not large en

Coming Home Happy

All-staff selfie, taken by Principal Matt. I'm not sure where I'm sitting. For the first time in my life, I'm coming home happy every day. At 55, I've had many jobs. Some I liked, a few I even loved. And some were miserable. Looking back on four decades of work, I'm sure of this: none of those jobs even approached being as consistently satisfying as this one. What makes teaching music at Byrom so wonderful? It's hard to pin down. It's not that my fellow staff members are exceptional: like every other school I've worked in, they're mostly enthusiastic dedicated educators, most of whom are on time to drop off and pick up their classes. Nor is it that my teaching space is spectacular: it's just the right size, and mostly well-equipped, but the Orff instrumentarium needs some major investment and the room is both windowless and chronically dusty. The building is a relic of the 1970s open classroom philosophy and, like most schools built