Sunday, May 27, 2007

Taking a hiatus from my hiatus

I should note here that I've been doing a little ahistoricality blogging over at Progressive Historians. I got roped into volunteered to take over some of the Open Thread posting while the owner and regular host, Nonpartisan, was taking a break. I'm "on duty" for the rest of the week, so come over and see what's doing. I'm really enjoying being part of the PH community as a commenter, and the Open Threads are free-form enough that I can get away with it....

Here's a direct link to my "diaries" -- that's what posts are called in this dKos-style collective blog environment -- which are a mishmash of historical thoughts. Not too different from the kind of stuff I was posting here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell's Dead

Jerry Falwell's dead.

In his honor, I reproduce here the 26-point "Don'ts for Students" distributed in 1981 by the North Carolina Moral Majority. I did a quick look around and it doesn't seem like these are on the internet anywhere else. So, my spouse and I did this as a dramatic reading tonight: it was in my spouse's old braille files (thanks to an old friend who'd brailled it) so the quickest way to get it onto the computer was to read it out loud to me. Fun, too.

Don'ts for students.

1. Don't get into science-fiction values discussions or trust a teacher who dwells on science fiction in his/her "teaching."

2. Don't discuss the future or future social arrangements or governments in class.

3. Don't discuss values.

4. Don't write a family history.

5. Don't answer personal questions or questions about members of your family.

6. Don't play blindfolded games in class.

7. Don't exchange "opinions" on political or social issues.

8. Don't write an autobiography.

9. Don't keep a journal of your opinions, activities and feelings.

10. Don't take intelligence tests. Write tests only on your lessons. Force others to judge you on your own personal achievement.

11. Don't discuss boy-girl or parent-child relationships in class.

12. Don't confide in teachers, particularly sociology or social studies and english teachers.

13. Don't judge a teacher by his/her appearance or personality, but on his/her competence as a teacher of solid knowledge.

14. Don't think a teacher is doing you a favor if he/she gives you a good grade for poor work or in useless subjects.

15. Don't join any social action or social work group.

16. Don't take "social studies" or "future studies." Demand course definition: history, geography, civics, French, English, etc.

17. Don't role-play or participate in socio-dramas.

18. Don't worry about the race or color of your classmates. Education is of the mind, not the body.

19. Don't get involved in school-sponsored or government-sponsored exchange or camping programs which place you in the homes of strangers.

20. Don't be afraid to say "no" to morally corrupting literature, games and activities.

21. Don't submit to psychological testing.

22. Don't fall for books like "Future Shock," which are intended to put readers in a state of panic about "change" so they will be willing to accept slavery. Advances in science and technology don't drive people into shock. It is government and vain-brain intrusions in private lives, which cause much of the unbalance in nature and in people.

23. Don't get into classroom discussions which being: What would you do if....? What if....? Should we....? Do you suppose....? Do you think....? What is your opinion of....? Who should....? What might happen if....? Do you value....? Is it moral to....?

24. Don't sell out important principles for money, a scholarship, a diploma, popularity or a feeling of importance.

25. Don't think you have to associate with morally corrupt people or sanction their corruption just because "society" now accepts such behavior.

26. Don't get discouraged. If you stick to firm principles, others will respect you for it and perhaps gain courage from your example.

Something tells me that he wouldn't have approved of blogging....

[crossposted at Progressive Historians]

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Lyric: Magic Muffin Dance

Christy's long-time partner (spouse in all but law, of course) Boda was kind enough to send the words along to my favorite of Christy's originals. It's such a charming little tune, too: lilting and bouncy; it's a bit hard to join in at first, but it's so irresistable once you get the rhythm of it.

This song has always reminded me of Stan Rogers' description of Archie Fisher's "Witch of the Westmorland" as "a five hundred year old legend that Archie made up." It has that wonderful faerie tale quality that's almost timeless.

Magic Muffin Dance
words and music by Christy Simpson

As you probably know, bunnies don’t wear clothes
They’re wrapped in fur to their little rabbit toes
It’s an old tradition, it’s a wondrous sight
When the Muffin Dance begins in the sparkle of the night for…

Seven lucky bunnies (x6)
Doing the Magic Muffin Dance.

Well, they measure out the flour and they measure out the sugar
They count out the eggs and they mix it all together
They add a little magic, pour the batter in the pans
They cook ‘em in the oven and get ready for the dance. They’re

Seven lucky bunnies (x6)
Doing the Magic Muffin Dance.

Well, one is a sister of a brother of a cousin
Of an aunt who lives in the nearby wood.
She eats all her carrots and she does her bunny chores
She knows she’ll be chosen if she is good. One of…

Seven lucky bunnies (x6)
Doing the Magic Muffin Dance.

Well, they dance to the music of the silvery night
They dance to the stars and the pale moonlight
They dance to the water as it rushes down the stream
They dance to the rhythm and the music of your dreams. They’re…

Seven lucky bunnies (x6)
Doing the Magic Muffin Dance.

They dance in a circle and they dance in a square.
They dance with all four feet in the air.
They dance in a line and they dance in a heap
They dance with all their hearts and then they fall asleep. They’re…

Seven lucky bunnies (x6)
Doing the Magic Muffin Dance.

ending (counterpoint with chorus): one bunny, two bunnies, three bunnies, four bunnies, five bunnies, six bunnies, seven bunnies doing the Magic Muffin Dance.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

You were loved

Christy Simpson has left us. Barely fifty years old, she had a career as a pediatric intensive care nurse, a calling as a singer/songwriter, and a warm soul. I got to know her because I married a friend of hers, and those too-rare visits were always sweet moments.

In addition to losing a friend, we've had to explain things a bit to the Little Anachronism: it's the first time anyone has died whose music is a presence in our home and (though it was too long ago to have made an impression on a growing brain) who the little one got to visit in person. On the other hand, we've been bringing up Christy's music again; it's been too long.

My favorite of her songs is "The Magic Muffin Dance" (aka "Seven Lucky Bunnies"), but it's a bear to transcribe. Here's one I can do more quickly:

Know That I am loved.
by Christy Simpson

I've got a cat. He's black and white
Sometimes he wakes me up in the middle of the night
His name is Joshua, and he wants a drink, he hops right up into the bathroom sink.
He purrs and then I turn the water on and I know I'm loved

I've got a dog: we walk each day
She eats things off the ground: it's like a big buffet
She's always glad to see me when I've been away
Five minutes, and hour or a very long day.
She wags her tail and she smiles at me and I know I'm loved

I've got a bear: her name is mabel
She spends most of her time on my bedside table
When I go on a trip she always comes along
She's polite and listens when I sing my song.
She lets me squeeze her tight in the middle of the night
I know I'm loved

My mom and dad live far away
Sometimes they call on the telephone just to say
"The weather is cold. We've got the flu.
Between the zoo and the aquarium there's lots to do,
We miss you and honey, we're so proud of you."
then I know I'm loved

I've got a best friend: her name is Boda
Sometimes we sit and talk and we share a soda
She lets me cry when I feel sad, and when she hugs me tight it doesn't seem so bad
We laugh and play, it sends my blues away, and I know I'm loved

So if you're feeling alone
If you're feeling kind of blue
Well, here's a little something that you might do:
Take a look around at the folks you know and consider all the little things they do to show you that you're special, and you'll know you're loved. (2x)

It's a simple message, but it's exactly the kind of song that works: the simple message is set in concrete details -- real ones, mostly -- which make it come alive. Christy also set Shel Silverstein's They've Put a Brassiere on the Camel to music, and makes it her own in the process. Yes, both songs are on the same CD.