Friday, December 31, 2010

Fare Thee Well, 2010

A "traditional" yet alternative arrangement of a traditional New Year's piece: Auld Lang Syne

2010: I cannot complain overly much about this year. I think we finally turned a financial corner here, and we grew tons of tomatoes. Both of us have jobs doing what we love to do. Our health remains decent (though like most people, we could stand to drop a little bit of backside...)

We had the usual complaints, of course: not enough fishing, not enough hunting, not enough time to get chores done, not enough sewing. And the ending of this year was certainly bittersweet. We will miss Dad terribly on New Year's Day, when we sit down to watch the Neujahrskonzert from Vienna. He loved the Redetsky March. On the other hand, we will bring in 2011 knowing that another Mojo will be with us, a little boy whom will surely drive us nuts but such is the cost of being parents.

Our country: hard to tell, the signs are mixed. But you don't need a PhD in history to understand this statement: if those in power do not recognize why things shook out the way they did, they are doomed to fail. That means you, Republicans! And you too, Democrats, if you're even bothering to listen...

Tonight I am being dragged down to the In-Laws for a while, but we will return to the house long before things get totally wild. I will likely stop and buy a big boomer from the fireworks stand and set it off around midnight. Tomorrow will be the traditional blackeyed peas and cabbage meal, along with the Neujahrskonzert on TV.

And here's once again to you, Dad!

Pro├čit Neujahr 2011!!!

(UPDATE: I found Barenboim conducting last year's Konzert and he's pretty awesome --though I do miss Maazel)

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The "New Academic Freedom;" or, How I May Yet Hoist Some Folks By Their Own Petards

NAS - The National Association of Scholars :: Articles and Archives Is Academic Freedom a License to Indoctrinate? Peter Wood: nevermind that I just lost whatever respect I had for the state of Pennsylvania, you should read this piece and consider the implcations. There's an upside to all this!

Either a) I can use this as inspiration to begin to completely trash the Marcuse/Zinn/Foner approach that so many of my colleagues use in the name of bringing Austro-Straussian wisdom to my students;


b) I should maintain a relative sense of balance in my class, which necessarily means including libertarian, paleo- and neo-conservative critiques of orthodox historiography and my colleagues can bloody well keep their yaps shut about it.

Win-win! Three cheers and a tiger for me!!!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

REPOST: In Hoc Anno Domini -

[NB this was one of Dad's favorites.]

In Hoc Anno Domini

So the light came into the world

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter's star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont Royster and has been published annually since.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Dad: Ave Atque Salve

Today I bury my father. Okay, technically we entomb his body today, but if we're going to argue semantics today that might actually be appropriate given my father's love of such things, so I will indulge you...

A bit from his obituary:

Jerry was born in Beaumont’s Hotel Dieu to Jacob Carl White and Thenoba Gwendolyn Boyett White on May 8, 1931. He graduated from South Park High School, and was vice-president of the first full four-year class at Lamar College of Technology. He married the former Norma Ruth Plettman on September 8, 1963. He was President Emeritus of White Tire Supply, having worked there from the age of eleven. He served on the board of directors of the Texas Tire Dealers Association, the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence, and the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association. He received numerous awards, including the very first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Tire Dealers Association, and was just inducted into the Tire Industry Association’s Hall of Fame. He was an active member of the Beaumont Rotary Club, and a Sunday School teacher and elder at First Christian Church.Jerry loved learning. He always tinkering and asking questions, often to the confoundment of those he questioned. He had a passion for travel, and he and Norma were always looking forward to their next adventure.

I stand on the shoulders of a giant. In so many, many ways I am my father's son. I grieve that I cannot tell him to his face that the family name will carry on (yes, it's going to be a boy, we found out a day after he passed). I am at peace with it, though it will be hard to make Original Wee One understand where Granddad has gone.

Hail to you, Father. We will strike up the band close to noon.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Multiple Ironies!

WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting 'mythical' healthcare system. Most of us with more than half a brain cell realized that Sicko was a typical Michael Moore hatchet job from the get-go. I mean, honestly, when the best Cuban doctors are sent to Venezuela for oil, how good can it be at home? (No, really, how good can it be at home?)

But this is too rich! The Cuban government bans a film which is supposed to make itself look good, because it knows it's a farce and can't even risk showing it to its own people. How do we know this? Because of Wikileaks, the organization founded by that international playah-on-the-prowl, Julian Assange.

That would be the same Julian Assange whose recent bail was partly financed by... Michael Moore.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

O Come All Ye Faithful --by Twisted Sister

--FYI Dee Snyder is a registered Republican and is on record as affirming That Cool Carpenter From Nazareth.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

And On The Subject of School Reform...

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End of the Semester Funk

This coming week marks the end of the semester. Strangely, this has left me in a funk. I think it's because of the increasing number of students whom I'm forced to fail because they try to cheat and then claim ignorance of the law. I think I'm going to push in the Faculty Senate that we do something further to crack down on this sort of thing. Meantime I'm bombarded with appeals to the better angel of my nature --and threats of appeals all the way to the college president.

Also, my father is in the hospital. Minor nasal surgery resulted in his throwing a blood clot which ended up in his heart. A mild heart attack ensued, but no tissue damage was evident in any scan. However, should the clot break free without being completely dissolved, lots of bad things are possible. So we are sweating that.

I think the real reason I'm in a funk is because I want to go do gardening work and I have no trailer to haul mighty loads of compost from the landfill. Here is a picture of my new toy, and damn it, I want to USE it!

Prrt850 N310-0027 Product Details