Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Planes, Trains, and...uh...Trucks

Gotcha, didn't I? Okay, maybe not.


The past month has been a transportation bonanza for the little guy. Just for the heck of it, when we were up in Portland for my sister-in-law's wedding, we took a day and thought we'd head for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, only to find it was closed. Thankfully, my father-in-law had a backup plan that had us schlepping all the way to McMinnville to the Evergreen Aviation Museum, the home of the H-4 Hercules, otherwise known as the Spruce Goose.I had no idea it had been moved over sea and land all the way up to Oregon from Long Beach. It took years to fully restore the sucker (which really should have been called the Birch Behemoth, since most of it is actually made of birch, though I think Howard Hughes would have hated that nickname, too) after many years of being on display near the Queen Mary and having various tourists tear off bits and pieces of her to take home as souvenirs. Now the H-4 shares space (dominates it, rather) with many, many different types of air and spacecraft, including a B-17, a Titan II missile, a replica of the lunar module, and, my personal fave, a Russian space capsule that looks like one of the Discovery pods in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

What did the little guy like, you ask? He ran around and sat in every single old first class seat that was set up in the place (Evergreen Aviation refurbs planes for many airlines, and they have set up all the first class seats ripped out of those planes in front of the video screens showing important movies about the B-17, or the Blackbird, or the history of the H-4, etc., etc.), he headed over to the kids section and sat in their helicopter mock-ups for a few minutes, then he happily crashed planes on the flight simulators. The Spruce Goose was just another plane to him. I think he was more impressed by the beach balls that Hughes had had stuffed into the wings and the body of the plane so that it would still float and thus be more easily recovered if something went wrong in the flight tests. Oh, and he also went into hysterics when I didn't get anything from the gift shop for him. I am one cruel mother.

A week or so ago, I headed out to get the little guy from school and saw some signs for SteamFest on Magazine Street. Since I had some extra time, I detoured a little and followed the arrows on the signs. I then knew I had to bring the kid over to the park the next day to see what this organization had wrought. The Louisiana Steam Train Association was founded around the restoration of the SP 745 steam engine, and they had the thing all fired up and set up so that anyone could stand with the engineers and look into the flaming furnace. Yes, it was puffing smoke. Yes, we had to position ourselves occasionally so that the soot wouldn't get all over us and into our lungs. Was my son excited? Yes, but not by the engine, which, initially, he was freaked out by and came up the steps to visit the engineers only after I climbed up there and showed that I was okay and I was not getting fried by the furnace (hell, glass furnaces are much, much worse). It was all about the caboose and the model train set inside one of the train cars the 745 was pulling. Hey, it was a beautiful day. He had a great time. He even ate the pizza slice that I purchased for him at the food booth without taking the cheese off it. Thank goodness for small miracles.

So, miracle of miracles, my son doesn't want to be a nonconformist for Halloween this year (i.e., no costume whatsoever).

"What do you want to be for Halloween?" I asked him last week.

"A bus driver!" he said with absolute certainty.

Oooo-kay. Bus drivers don't look too much like Jackie Gleason anymore.

I waited a little too late to get the hat, which was all right, because little Mr. Certainty changed his mind. "I want to be a supplies truck driver!" he said.

No, people, don't look at the plane.
A little to the left...there you go!

Oh, joy.

I did get a costume from the movie
Cars - Tow Mater, the rusty tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy. "What do you think?" I asked my son, who would see that it was, at least, a truck.

"But
Moooooom, I wanna be a supppliiiiieees truck driiiiiiver!!!!!" he whined. "I don't wannnna be a rusty old truuuuuck!!!"

Thanks, kid. Thanks a bundle.

Yesterday, after school, I took Supplies Truck Driver to Office Depot to pick out a cardboard box. He danced to the checkout counter with the box around his body, singing "I'm gonna be a
truck driver! I'm gonna be a truck driver!!!" Mom worked her costume magic on the cardboard box, with the help of scissors, spray paint, Crayola Kids Paint, and blue painters' tape.

The kid walks into school this morning behind the wheel of one smart-looking truck, if I do say so myself, and his Deuce McAllister-clad teacher starts laughing. "Yesterday he was trying to tell us what he was going to be, and nobody could get it
at all!" I started laughing, too, thinking about a four-year-old trying to explain himself: "It's a supplies truck. You know. It brings supplies to the airplanes..." He had quite a crowd of classmates around him this morning, little Spider-Men and Wolverines and Power Rangers and princesses and cheerleaders wanting to check out his cardboard ride.

That big, big smile on his face was worth most of the aggravation.
Most of it. I can't return the Cars suit, so I think I'm gonna be Mater this year. I'm getting a tad rusty around the edges, anyhow.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mazel tov to Maitri on her measured, thoughtful appearance in this article in the Washington Post. The blogpocheh is getting more and more recognition out in the wide, wide world these days, and it's good to see and hear.

What the WaPo article got me thinking about, though, is that age-old question us Jewish folks have in the backs of our heads whenever any of our numbers have ventured out into the public sphere: insert political office/acting job/media position/celeb status here and ask "is this good for (insert your religion/race/creed/generation/gender/sexual orientation)?

from Arthur Szyk's Haggadah: The Four Sons

It's a tad early in the Jewish calendar for this story, but as part of the seder service on Passover, time is taken out of the retelling of how we all hauled our enslaved butts out of Egypt with help from God and Moses to talk about the four sons - one who is wise, one who is wicked, one who is simple, and one who doesn't yet know how to ask a question. Each one asks a question about Passover (except for the last one), and the father of the sons is advised on how to answer each son.

There have been discussions since time immemorial about the meaning of this part of the Haggadah. They run the gamut from why it is even in there to who or what each son represents. What Arthur Szyk's illumination does is put out there yet another interpretation of the parable, circa 1939.

Read as Hebrew is, from right to left starting in the upper right hand corner, the wise man is a yeshiva bucher, a student of Torah and a possible rabbinical candidate. The wicked man is a fully assimilated Jew who has tossed off the clothes and the attitudes of the shtetl Jew. The simple man is chubby and open, and the undecided man is at a crossroads, neither here nor there in his clothes or his thoughts. At a time when the Nuremberg Laws were closing around Germany's Jewish population with an iron fist and the eastern European and Soviet Jews weren't much better off, Szyk's version of the four sons parable is a cry for Jews to take pride in their Judaism.

Keep Szyk's men in mind when you contemplate this: A wicked son - what does he say? "What mean ye by this service?" He infers "ye", not himself. By shutting himself off from the general body, it is as though he denies the existence of God. Therefore thou shouldst distress him too, replying: "This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt" - unto me, not him; for if he had been there he would not have been delivered.*

Ouch. I don't care who you are, that's gotta hurt. And anyone who takes it upon him/herself to cast off his/her heritage has to know that this kind of pain is part of the deal. In the 1930's, Szyk presciently saw assimilation as an issue of life and death for the Jews, and he chose to work against it, immigrating to England and lending his artistic talents to supporting the Allied war effort and the struggle for Israel's independence.

This still happens with so many people in this world. It can be so much easier to go along in order to get along. Being true to where you come from is the hard part.

Of course, this can also cause problems if one goes the "my people, right or wrong" path. It's a different kind of myopia that can blind one to what is really there. It can also close off any hope for compromise, any empathy. Which helps answer another important question about the four sons parable: why is that wicked son even there? Why allow such a guy to sit at your table and be so insolent?

It might just be so that we who have invited the schmo to the table can keep our minds open. We might all learn something from contact with each other. And, who knows , the benefits might outweigh the drawbacks, or the whole experiment might well prove to be a disaster, but we have at least got to try.

Jindal is at Louisiana's table now. The debate concerning how good he is for the Indian-American population will most likely become more heated as time passes, but what would be worse would be no debate at all over the subject. Ultimately, the people that argue together have a better chance of staying together.


*translation courtesy of the Szyk Haggadah

Monday, October 29, 2007

Every day, I am split in two.

Small hands reach for me every day. Hands attached to a being who trusts me. A person who hasn't spent much time on this earth, but who is experiencing it largely through the prism of my home. Which is shared with him, and his father, and three pets. All this child knows is that Mom is his caretaker, his noodge, the source of his nicknames to date, the one who monitors his DVD viewing and his snack intake, the giver of baths, the reiner-in of the repetition of untoward phrases learned ("dirty trash can full of poop" and "pecker face" come to mind), the chauffeur, and the reader of books and fixer of toys. He knows that Mom is a laundress, a dog-walker, a cat-box scooper, a baker, a mac-and-cheese maker, a pancake-making supervisor, and the lady who puts on the GhettoFunkPowerHour for him to dance to every so often.

Oh, and Mom happens to sing - though he doesn't want me to about 95% of the time - and she also happens to teach occasionally. And Mom types on the computer a lot. Mom also kvetches about her bubble being invaded when she's typing on the computer.

Anybody see the fault line here?

Yeah, I want to get out of the house more. I just don't know what the hell I'll be doing with myself when I'm out there. The last full-time job I had nearly fried my brain and burned me out, big-time.

The last craft show I worked with my ex-boss was simply a final demonstration of what I was gratefully leaving at that point...and, because my quitting involved my husband's job skills taking us to the northeast, I wasn't burning any bridges with Ex-Boss and inviting various curses, ailments, or pin-pricks from a voodoo doll with my hair on its head (hell hath no fury like my ex-boss...) to affect my person. I was able to extricate myself from the job with only a touch of annoyance and remarkably few to no hard feelings. She hated craft shows, but she got to especially hating this one through a series of events that simply happened.

We were in a quonset hut at a sprawling convention complex. The show was a garden show, but we figured we had some good glass tcotchkes and some metal fountains that would sell well, it wasn't too hard a trip to take to get to the place, and we didn't have to set up a tent, as the show was indoors.

The first mistake was letting the woman in the booth directly behind ours piggy back onto our electrical hookup we needed for the fountains. She needed it for the video monitor she was showing of her copper kinetic sculpture sprinklers, objects that can be staked in your yard and hooked up to a garden hose. When the water is running through the sculpture, it turns and waters your yard.

The next mistake, according to my ex-boss, was even coming to the show in the first place. Sales were not going well for us. The glass hummingbird feeders weren't even doing well. It was just a bad show. It happens sometimes. Spring was a bad time of year to try to sell stuff. The crowd just didn't have the disposable income for the work we presented. Ex-Boss, however, treated it all as though it was proof positive that the world was out to get her and take her livelihood from her. And it all started with letting the woman in the booth behind have access to our electrical outlet.

The ranting and railing against the woman behind us, whose only crime was having more sales than we were having, was of truly childish, nasty proportions. The only thing that kept me gritting my teeth and holding all of my frustration with the ranting in was the consolation that this, too, would pass, and I would be leaving it all behind shortly, thanks to my husband's headhunter and my morning sickness from hell. Otherwise, I would have burned my bridges with Little Ms Steinbrenner right then and there.

Some days, the only difference I can see between dealing then with the ex-boss and dealing now with the little guy is the large age difference between them and the fact that I'm not getting paid by my son, or anybody else, for that matter, to take the crud he dishes out. I'm going through a period of time with him right now where I feel as though it will simply be the same ol' ordering around of Mom (and the admonishing of the little guy by Mom on proper manners) and the constant in-Mom's-face for the next God-knows-how-many years...his age will be the only change.

And I can't just walk away permanently.

The things about getting out into the job lots that I am dreading having to deal with: the fact that I will most likely have to miss many, many days due to my being the only kin located close by that my son's school can call on in an emergency (like the accident he had in his pants today), that I will most likely be penalized in one way or another based on that fact, and - worst of all- that I will end up with another childish maniac of a boss who will think I am so much of a loyal stalwart that my pay can be delayed or passed over to the next month because, hey, I'll understand her cash-flow situation (Yeah, I was a total idiot for those last two months. Shame on me, dammit.).

Work sucks.

Motherhood does, too.

Rock and a hard place. Managing two evils, or staying with the one right now. Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn't be putting my darling child into the realm of being called "an evil", but sometimes I am just waiting for his head to spin around.

Do I really want to see if another employer exhibits the same signs of being possessed?

Answer: not right now.

I'm gonna listen to the little guy talk about his imaginary friend, Skipper the penguin, instead. He's even drawing some great pictures about Skipper's life. I just hope the term "pecker face" stays out of the story. My ex-boss had the gutter mouth, but she just didn't have the imagination...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Got word of this latest through Sheckrastos and Jeffrey.

My response to this: not only are you apparently cheering for a separation of church and sports when you are cheering for the Red Sox in the Series this year,...



...you are also telling Sox player Kevin Youkilis to whack Mel Gibson over the head with his kick-butt style of play. And Youkilis is not "the Greek god of walks" as his former manager Billy Beane once said of him. He's one helluva Jewish ballplayer.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Editor B has a link to YatPundit's neighborhood association meeting post on DailyKos.

I want to say how happy I am that I don't live in Lakeview. I want to say that there probably aren't that many people in Lakeview who share these same views and who use "Democrat" as a code word for "Other", but I'm really not sure anymore. I want to tell all of those crackers to go to hell, but, in a way, they are probably already there. I want to shake them all silly and tell them we are all in the same boat and that the racism makes things much worse. I want to make every one of them very, very ashamed and disgusted with themselves somehow.

The blogpocheh is having one hell of a week as it is.

I think I'm gonna go clear away all the banana leaves Dan cut off the trees in the backyard. If anyone sees a crazy woman stinking of rotting bananas running around Lakeview and trying to beat some sense into some residents with a bunch of bananas, then you'll know why.

Please bail me out if I get hauled in...unless Eddie Jordan decides to set me free first. Then I'll lead everybody from OPP - all of us "Democrats" - to Lakeview.

___________________

10-26: Ladies and gents, I apologize for my "crackers" comment. Someone in the comments to this post did call me on blanket labeling an entire neighborhood based on the actions of a few blanket labelers who just happen to live in that neighborhood.

I have this knee-jerk response to those who will bend language to suit their own purposes, and hearing about these few people who oppose public transportation because it will bring a nebulous, undesirable "Other" into their neighborhoods, or those folks who would use "Democrat" as a derogatory code for black...it just really burned me up. It does not, by any means, indicate that everybody in an entire area thinks that way. Once again, my apologies if I have offended folks in Lakeview who were lumped in with my angry, snap assessment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Last week, my son's class was acting up. The kids weren't behaving as they should have been when they usually line up to head out of the classroom.

The teachers were chagrined. "This is very rude behavior and we expect better of you," the teaching assistant said. "I guess we've been letting things slide without too many consequences, but now we will have to start in on some discipline measures."

The kids settled down...except for the little guy. He started in on the weird slurping sounds he makes when he's trying to be the tick-tocking crocodile in Disney's Peter Pan, and the teacher called him on it.

"Now, son, that's very rude and disrespectful. Do you really think that's right? Do you do such things behind our backs?"

The little guy thoughtfully stopped and meekly said, "Not this time."

Why do I now feel like he channeled some of our local officials as of late?

Maybe it's all about the full moon, especially now that I've gotten a load of this. As if things aren't weird enough...Update, 10-25: I spoke too soon. If this IS true, the DA's liable to be tarred and feathered and run outta town. Are we all certain Halloween is NEXT week?

___________________

Flashback to No-Cal, mid-1970's.

A child and his mom are trolling the aisles in the grocery store. The child has been learning about death, and he decides to begin what his mom, years later, will term his "first actuarial query". Seeing an elderly lady going the other way down the aisle, he asks her, "Are you old?"

"Well, yes, I guess so," the lady answers.

Then, the child asks the question that makes his mom want to fall right through the floor and disappear.

"When are you going to die?"

Much to the lady's credit, she answers, "When I'm good and ready."

Morals of the stories: kids will always come out with stuff that makes you want to cringe. It's been going on for generations, and it will always be going on for as long as human beings are walking the earth.

And, from the very beginning, we are all trying to figure out some universal truths. We grasp at life and try to understand its end, and we struggle to one degree or to many, many degrees with everything in-between. Our need to compare and contrast, even to horrifically absurd proportions, is one way of trying to make sense of the world. There are times when this kind of analysis simply needs to be suspended until everyone is out of danger and the perils have passed. This is one of those times.

Afterwards, we can talk all we want.

When we're good and ready.

10-25: However, it seems some are always ready to think the worst. We really can't do much about this kind of speculation except to keep railing against it as best we can and keep plugging along in our lives, no matter how insane things are. Keep telling the truth, even when, all about you, others might see you as a Cassandra.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Yep, it's annoying, tase-worthy songs week in the NOLA blogosphere.

Here's my contribution:


Enjoy! (hehhehhehhehheh...)

___________________

Update, 10-24: Haven't had enough of annoying music? Go here for more, you masochists. Money to burn? Go here. You'll be so sorry you did, but it's only especially funny if you subject others to it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

"...the camera lobotomizes what you point it at."

- One of many gems Stephen Colbert comes out with in this past week's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Have a listen to "Not My Job" for more.

I saw this in my paper this morning, which stayed amazingly dry despite sitting on my front steps in the driving rain for a few hours (I stepped over it when I directed my son through the water to the car, thinking it was a lost cause, but I yanked it off the steps on my return to find it dry despite the wet bag it was in).

I'm suddenly feeling very, very alone and out of it. Maybe those TV cameras have lobotomized the viewers and not the performers. Update, 11:33 AM: Okay, CenLamar helps me feel a little bit better. Not much, but a little.:

Notice how Jindal failed to win 29 parishes outright, and notice how large swaths of the state rejected him and his candidacy. Parishes colored red are parishes he won outright, while parishes colored blue are parishes whose voters rebuffed Jindal and cast their votes for someone else. Those dissenting votes are significant, as Jindal’s name recognition was near universal. Ceci n’est pas un mandat; ceci est un portrait d’un √Čtat divis√©.
One good thing about all this rain: it might prevent this from happening - or, at the very least, it might shrink the turnout. I'm just picturing Ann "Coughlin" Coulter having to swim to the auditorium for her talk. Not only is she an advocate for "perfected" Jews, she is a willfully ignorant tool with regards to the facts surrounding 8-29 and after. Once again, folks, don't give this talking head a live audience tonight...and tell your friends to stay at home safe. Y'all be well and be careful out there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

from Ray Fenwick by way of Subversive Cross Stitch

Hey Michael!

Replace the beast's face with Jindal's, and I'll make one of these babies for ya.

The pattern pictured above certainly describes the regard in which I feel the GOP holds the people of this state. And the election of Pinhead Bobby will ultimately not help matters much down here, unless he can somehow prove by example that he's not a right-wing tool.

He's got four years to do so.


Yeah, I'm not holding
my breath, either.


*
Sigh*


Friday, October 19, 2007

I've still got property on the brain. Especially since yesterday and last night got kinda weird for me. I know the police are supposed to be guardians of life, liberty, and property, but the way they're going about it is creeping me out.

Came back from walking the dog to find a fellow walking up the street towards our house, then turning back around as though he was undecided as to whether or not he should approach. He was definitely in some sort of law enforcement capacity, as I could see that he had a gun or two on his belt, but he wasn't wearing an NOPD uniform. He finally decided to head back to his unmarked car, walking past me as I let my dog in through my gate.

"What was that all about?" I asked one of my housemates, who was sitting on the front porch.

"Couldn't tell you," he said. "It looked like he was going to come on up to talk to me, but he turned around and left."

As we watched Quasi-Cop go driving off, we talked about strange happenings in the 'hood. A car backfired like a shot the other night, and the house across the street from us that has been for sale for forever and is supposedly uninhabited proved to have an occupant after all. Some redheaded guy came out to check on things, then headed on back in. Later on, when Dan went out himself to talk with some neighborhood guys on the corner about the backfiring, they said they'd been approached by three cops investigating the noise.

What really freaked me out, though, was when I was headed home from choir practice last night and some police cars were coming through a crossing a block from my house. I stopped at the corner to let them pass, and one of the officers flipped on a spotlight and shined it right in my face. Thankfully, I guess I passed the quickie exam, because he drove off down the road...and I was even more grateful soon afterwards when I found that I'd left my purse at the synagogue. It would have been a real joy if I'd been stopped and suddenly found I had no license with me. "But, sir, I left it at choir practice!" would be my cry as they took me off to wherever and impounded the car. Choir practice...heh...a likely story.

ANYway, I calmed down a tad after heading back and getting a former synagogue president and current choir member to unlock the place so's I could get said purse and drive back home in a legal manner, and I found this gem over at Tim's. "Oops" just doesn't cut it when you have dominoes disguised as supporting concrete pilings. If it ain't the cops, it's contractors you've gotta worry about.

And then there's this most recent election coming up tomorrow, in which one determining factor in the city council race might well be the mystery demographics of the people who are currently living in New Orleans minus the diaspora that is scattered about the country...the displaced New Orleanians that the Walking Id fought so hard to have as eligible voters (vote early from wherever you are!) in the mayoral election that helped put his sorry self back in office for another term. An estimated 100,000+ registrants are now off the books in the city, and who knows how that's going to affect the At-Large circus. If more conscientious folks haven't been bored to tears by the campaigns of those vying for the governor's office, they could well turn out and make it tough for "Pinhead" Bobby Jindal to coast through the primary (CenLamar has many, many reasons why Pinhead needs to stay out of the governor's office - I really wouldn't be surprised if Jindal refrains from voting for himself after reading all they've got on him) . Sheckrastos has got it right in his one-word assessments of those involved in the latest gubernatorial debate - they all start with the letter "I" for a reason.

I say print out Cliff's agenda, make some copies, and pass it out to everyone you see. Good stuff there. Make your own decisions in that voting booth, folks, but be smart about it...or as smart as you can be, considering the choices.

Oh, and we got some great news at choir practice last night! Come our JazzFest Shabbat service next April, our featured performer will be none other than:



If anybody wants to join the choir and start rehearsing with a raucous bunch that loves to sling around some jokes involving organists and condoms between rehearsing liturgy in four-part harmony, let me know. No prior experience with Hebrew, Judaism, or singing is at all necessary. I can't say that Kermit will be barbecuing for the synagogue that night, though...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I've got property on the brain.

Michael's post about the funding follies surrounding the raising of his house got me thinking about it. To raise or not to raise? To "stay historic" or acknowledge the fact that one cannot rely on folks such as the Army Corps to keep the water out of your home if you leave it at the height at which it currently sits?

E summons some righteous, and rightful, outrage at the plans for a strip mall (obtained from Karen)...to be put on a swath of land on which a mall and a tire and car repair shop are currently silently rotting. Nobody rushed in to clear out those spots and make them viable retail or residential property shortly after the storm, and the businesses that are still in the surrounding areas are just barely holding on by their fingernails. A massive mall just got demolished further up the street from where the proposed mall is to be...so why put in a new one?

The folks at Audubon Place, the only gated community in New Orleans, want to isolate themselves even further from reality than they already are. Let's contest those property assessments, O people of privilege! Save that money from going to the city in which you reside! More on all of this, and some hefty, heated discussion in the comments, from Oyster.

And, finally, in the category of more property left to rot, I give you Ray's commentary and photos on the horrific state of the SUNO facilities. Why? Why is this happening? Who has decided that these buildings are so low on the totem pole that they can't even be gutted, only fitted with an ineffective ventilation system and left to sit?

Questions, questions...and nary an answer in sight.

Maybe these folks might have a solution to the rotting property woes. From what I saw yesterday (and Dangerblond as well), large groups of people will come if food is involved, music is a-playin', and everything is organized properly. Today a playground, tomorrow....SUNO!

Except...well...we've been short on the competent organization thing.

Ugh.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why are there women who want to turn back the clock?

I'm all for this kind of looking back, if only to do what should have been done in the first place, when this amendment became a major national issue and then was dropped like a hot potato. Women, on average, still make less than men do. Any sort of family leave longer than three months is laughable to many corporations and businesses all over this country. Women should not be judged by their anatomy, and yet it keeps happening again and again. It has gotten to the point where women are turning on themselves when they ought to be working together to fight all this crap - working moms vs. stay-at-home moms is a case in point.

No, I'm talking about women who seem to be channeling some of the worst elements of prejudice and reactionary thinking. Women channeling Father Charles Coughlin, Henry Ford, various ayatollahs, mullahs, and imams who share an oppressive rigidity in their world views, Louis Farrakhan, any prim and proper matron who told you to keep your ankles crossed and refrain from smoking in the street...you know, women who buy the idea that the world needs to be one homogeneous museum of a planet in which everybody knows their places and stays there, quietly. They then take that idea and do their best to sell it, sounding like robotic Stepford wives and looking worse.

Women like this one:

She was a round-faced young woman with doe eyes and a pretty smile who was among several fluent English-speakers recruited by the students after the takeover. She had spent part of her childhood in Philadelphia while her father had worked on his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and she had fully absorbed the language. In fact, when she had returned to Iran as a young girl, her English had been better than her Farsi. At Amir Kabir University, she was formally a second-year chemical engineering student, but she had long since grown more interested in the turbulent postrevolutionary politics playing out on campus. She had been raised in a Western-style home but had embraced the distinctively political Islam taught by Ali Shariati and others, who subscribed to the traditional leftist belief that capitalism was, at its core, the systematic exploitation of the weak.*

Nice to be able to parlay a skill into a prominent role in assisting a cause. Nothing wrong with that. And there are a number of things wrong with what people have done with capitalism. Any -ism practiced without some sort of conscience indeed risks becoming an end in itself for those who decide their own personal fortunes are much more important than anything else.

There is such a thing as balance, however. And this was a woman who helped tip the scales.

...Here was this woman whose English was so fluent, and whose accent was so American, that she obviously had lived in the States at some point. She seemed bright and articulate. Why would she want to embrace this fundamentalist crap that denied her gender equal status with men? Why would she want to drape herself in dark robes?

"Why are you doing this?" he asked her.

She looked back at him, startled.

"Look at your status as a woman in this society...(w)hy would you want this?"

...She launched into her rationale for traditionalism, how it was, in fact, liberating for women. She and her revolutionary sisters were actually much freer than women in the Western world, who remained enslaved by the twin satanic values of commercialism and sexual exploitation. "I believe in the fundamentals of Islam," she said. "And my faith requires women to do this."*

The modern world can indeed be frightening. Increasingly, there are fewer hard-and-fast answers for everyone's basic questions concerning survival, education of our children, care for loved ones, job security, trust in the powers that be. For women, things are both better and worse. What better way to solve all of these problems for yourself than to embrace a tried and seemingly true set of rules? Retreat from the uncertain world.

For this particular woman I am talking about, her retreat led her to power. Initially, it was power over a small number of people, power that she had no hesitation in wielding.

The chubby, black-clad young woman launched immediately into a rant: "You are here to see the evidence of the plotting and spying your country was doing in Iran...your CIA has...the Great Satan in 1953...and it was the CIA and SAVAK that tortured and killed..." Timm tuned her out. She had heard it all a hundred times on TV. Standing before this round-faced, diminutive, arrogant yet familiar young woman who was holding her son prisoner, Timm felt all her fear drop away. She felt rage. She was here to see her son. She had nothing whatsoever to do with the things Ebtekar was going on about. She was a mother from Milwaukee who wanted to visit with her son. Timm started to cry, and then she started to scream at Ebtekar, woman to woman.

"You don't know what it's like to be a mother! What would your mother do if you--you can't be any older than my son is! And you've got a mother someplace. Underneath all that shit that you are wearing there's got to be a human being someplace. You've got a mother. How would she feel if you were locked up in a strange country someplace?"

She called Ebtekar cold and heartless.

"You don't even behave like you're human," she said. "Even these guards with their guns talk to us like real people."*

Nilufar (now Massoumeh) Ebtekar, a translator and spokeswoman for the Students Following the Imam's Line, or the 1979 American embassy hostage takers in Tehran, became a vice-president of Iran. The wearing of the hijab and the continued oppression of women in her country have apparently not affected the views she held well over twenty years ago. Why should it? She has attained power for herself with the help of her adherence to these views. To use the power she has attained to enact real change would be a blow to the legitimacy of her traditionalist beliefs. It would acknowledge that women are people with legitimate rights, rather than beings who are said to have nine parts of desire, and, because of this, they need to be covered up and hidden away, unseen and unheard.

Having read Mark Bowden's latest, and then seen Ann "Coughlin" Coulter negating the existence of the Jewish people shortly after finishing his book, I can only come to the same conclusion about Coulter that I have about Ebtekar.

...I turned on the TV in my hotel room and was startled to see Ebtekar's wrapped face. She was being interviewed on a split screen with a BBC announcer and Iran's new Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, talking about how proud everyone in Iran was of her, even though Ebadi was awarded the prize for work opposing the oppressive regime Ebtekar so ably represents and defends.

The announcer asked the Iranian vice president how she, as a woman, could defend a regime that forbade Ebadi to travel to Stockholm and receive her award without permission from her husband.

If Ebtekar squirmed, it was only for a split second. She smiled and segued smoothly into a recitation of the gains women had made under Iran's Islamic regime.*

Why do some women feel the need to turn back the clock?

Because, sadly, they must feel that doing so is the only way for them to gain power and attention for themselves. What is even sadder is that their opportunism has the effect of harming many, many other people who could use their consideration and compassion. It does indeed make us hesitant to consider them human, if only because they feel that many other people are not deserving of that consideration.

It is also why I ask all those who are reading this to boycott Coulter's appearance at Tulane next Monday the 22nd, and urge many, many others who might even remotely consider the possibility of attending to stay away. The less of an audience the woman has to speak to concerning her narrow views about government, religion, and other subjects, the better. Please contact these people to make your views known as well:

Tulane University College Republicans - the sponsors of the event

The Tulane events calendar has a telephone number that can be seen here.
___________________

*
all quotations from Mark Bowden's Guests of the Ayatollah

Sunday, October 14, 2007

First Kim gives me food for thought...

...and then I went to see Left Behind.

Wow.

Ran into Sophmom, who managed to head on down to these parts on her own despite her recent health woes, and Madame DB, and we watched this film together. We bawled over it together. We gave kudos to one of the filmmakers and met a few more blogger folk there together.

This documentary is good. It ought to be coming to every city near you and then some.

I live in New Orleans. What the film details is a public education disaster in these parts that has been a long time in the making and an even longer time in the discovery and dissection of its inner workings. The school board here hired a superintendent that finally tipped those scales in a big way...and yet, nothing really changed until 8-29. And why?

Among many other reasons, the folks here balked at getting the feds to come in and investigate things fully. They said having an "outside auditor" look at the cooked Orleans parish school system books and sketchy contracts was a statement of no confidence in the workings of a board that had five new members on it. Huh...sounds just a tad like a recent statement made by a certain gubernatorial Pinhead candidate about the Jena 6 protestors. (Speaking of which, said candidate apparently got a massive load of campaign dough to get a landfill opened near the state capital. If that ain't a low-down dirty shame, I don't know what is...)

Anyhow, this system still needs to get turned around. This diagram of the system as it stands now adds another dimension to the mess. My son is right in the middle of it, in a charter that is technically under the umbrella of the OPSB. Many, many other children are also in the middle, as are teachers who are doing their best in a severely crippled system to teach these kids and to show them that somebody frickin' cares.

Pardon me while I paraphrase, but...Ice-T needs to tell other filmgoers that if they wanna be ordinary, do the ordinary. If you wanna be extraordinary, do the extraordinary.

Michael Eric Dyson needs to tell the same folks that we need to look beyond the time in which we are in. Don't plan just for right now, which might be the worst time ever in your life. Plan for the best. Plan for the beyond.

This film needs to be in more theaters. Period.

___________________

Oh, and in watching the Saints finally play like we all know they can (though it is the third quarter...there's still time for them to fall flatter than pancakes!), I caught this little ad for a Lincoln vehicle featuring Harry Connick Jr. and his pet project, the Musicians' Village. Uhhh, Harry, will the muckety mucks at Ford be contributing a little something to the effort with the sale of each vehicle? Surely you could have talked those people into donating a percentage of the sales of their latest gas guzzler/crawfish delivery maker to Habitat for Humanity. Or, at the very least, to the development of vehicles that don't run on gasoline. Or to putting the wetlands back. You know, to actually restoring hope and homes...

Duh!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

God bless Madame Dangerblond.

Read some of her writings in today's Times Pick-Yer-Nose.*

Then, head over to her site and read her perfectly reasoned endorsement of Laurie White for criminal court judge. I've said it before as nearly a footnote, but the many, many posts Kim has been compiling of her education on the workings of New Orleans' criminal justice system have been excellent reading and instructive to all. Go back through her archives about a month or so and see what I mean. Really. Do it now.

I'll wait.

Because many in the justice system down here are really paying for everybody's ignorance. Out of sight, out of mind. Ultimately, the act of giving people a fair trial, something most of us take for granted, shouldn't be this way.


*The uncensored version is here. Funny how Chris Rose can mention the word "douchebag" in a column, but Kim must substitute a word. Oh, well. Doesn't diminish her message any.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lovely.

The little guy is behaving almost like a kindergartener at his regular preschool, which is a good thing.

BUT, at his religious school, he is being put back into pre-K level because of his behavior, which is not a good thing.

If there were truly a hell in Judaism (well, the closest thing to it is Gehenna, which has been transmogrified into a concept of hell over time), I'd tell those responsible to go there. Only problem is, I think the problem might be us. We're encouraging the kid to be a nonconformist thinker and learner by enrolling him in a Montessori program, in which he has done quite well for the past school year and the first few months of this year. We try to put him in a more traditional, kindergarten-style learning environment for a couple of hours every Sunday morning, and he's deemed too young, too active, and too hard to handle for the class. If he behaved anything like he did at the storytime held at my sister-in-law's synagogue service this past Friday night, I can see why they'd want to hold him back. Any kid who jumps up in the middle of a midrashic tale and asks what "the Jewish word for vacuum cleaner" is is clearly not ready for kindergarten-level instruction.

I'm just glad we're not orthodox...

I do know who deserves a prime spot in Gehenna, though. I checked my email from my Queens synagogue's listserve and found this lovely article:

(CBS) Ann Coulter is stirring up controversy again.

The conservative commentator said this week that the nation would be better off if all Americans were Christian and that she wants "Jews to be perfected, as they say."

Appearing on the CNBC show The Big Idea, Coulter was asked to give her version of a better America. She told the show's host, Donny Deutsch, that it would look like New York City during the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Pressed for details, Coulter said, "People were happy. They're Christian. They're tolerant. They defend America ..."

"Christian ... so we should be Christian?" Deutsch interrupted. "It would be better if we were all Christian?"

Coulter answered "Yes" once, and after being asked the same question again by an obviously surprised Deutsch, answered "Yes" a second time.

When Coulter tried to shift the conversation to the diversity of Christian megachurches, the show's host brought the topic back to Coulter's statements about Jews.

Media Matters, the liberal media watchdog group which is publicizing the encounter, provided this transcript:

DEUTSCH: ... we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or ...

COULTER: Yeah.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Well, it's a lot easier. It's kind of a fast track.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.

DEUTSCH: You can't possibly believe that.

COULTER: Yes.

"We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say," Coulter said later in the show. "That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express."

"Candidly, I had her on not to talk about politics but to talk about her brand strategy," Deutsch later told AdWeek . "Whether you like her or not, her strategy is to be extreme and that's a way to make money. But because it's her, it drifted into politics."

"I simply asked her a question, something like, 'If the world was her way, what would it look like?' And she said something to the effect that everybody would be Christians," Deutsch told AdWeek. "I was somewhat baffled and asked if that meant there would be no Buddhists or Jews and I think her words were, 'perfected' Jews [would be OK]."

This blogger alerted us all to this asinine exercise in wasted breath that's coming to my neck of the woods. I'd advise any and all of us "Jews in progress" (by Coulter's reckoning) to give these events a wide berth and advise any and all students and nearby residents to boycott the presence of this pageant of ignorance at Tulane University. Express your displeasure in no uncertain terms to those responsible for bringing this on an already beleaguered city. Muslims don't have a monopoly on fascism. Where the heck do we think they got the idea from? Yes, the ones enacting an oppressive interpretation of Sharia law on this planet ought to be brought to justice. Just check your own glass house while you're at it.

Scratch what I said in the footnotes of my last post. Cream pies are too good for Coulter. Save some of your moldy debris from your flooded homes and neighborhoods for her sorry self as a preview of the Gehenna that awaits her.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Success is not forever and failure isn't fatal.*

So.

I had a choice. I finished two good books over the nearly week-long sojourn to the Pacific Northwest I took to see my sister-in-law get hitched. I contemplated reviewing the one that probably should have been subtitled Fifteen Months in Islamo-Fascist Hell **, but fate intervened in that decision.

Not that I don't recommend Mark Bowden's latest. Go on out and read it. It's just that, well, football season is here. We went to a lot of restaurants in the Portland area these past few days. Restaurants with bars. Bars with big screen TVs. Big screen TVs that were broadcasting football games of any and all sorts nine times out of ten (the tenth time was invariably an MLB playoff game). We tuned in to the last minute of the Saints-Panthers game just in time to see the Carolina kicker boot the game-winning field goal through the uprights. Dan also got an earful of the little guy shouting down his admonitions to cheer for the Niners with a loud, repetitive "Geaux Saints! Geaux Saints!". The rehearsal dinner at a Pearl District brewpub was adjacent to the upstairs bistro/bar which featured a huge projection screen on which the LSU-Florida game was being shown. Dan was lulled into euphoria not only by the good beer but by the heady news his sister's fiance-now-husband relayed through consulting his BlackBerry - Illinois had won against Wisconsin! "We're going to the Rose Bowl if this continues!" Dan the Illini alumnus informed me...meaning road trip to California! if it comes to that. Whatever.

So, it was only fitting that I finish this book on this trip:
Yeah, I'm biased. I have two generations of University of Tennessee alums in my family, "the original UT" as my mother once said to put a braggart Texas alum in his place. My cousin went to Vanderbilt and my granddaddy never lets her live that one down. Clay Travis is a born and bred UT fan, but a Vandy Law School alum, so he's already in dangerous territory. Last season, he decided to go whole hog and spend a lot of time and money, and burn a lot of gasoline in many cases, visiting many Southeastern Conference football stadiums in order to get the full experience of fandom in twelve different places that revere the game and find myriad ways to show their appreciation. Although I also think it was a fantastic excuse for him to ogle hot girls, drink loads of beer, and bow before players such as Tim Tebow in an "I'm not worthy" fashion, I still got a kick out of this book.

It's hard to say what the best moments are in the book. If I go over tidbits such as the suggestion that William Faulkner be the new Ole Miss mascot, the ignominy of a (Kentucky alum - hee!) pal's inability to finish a daiquiri at an LSU game, the reasons why Steve Spurrier gives the author nightmares, www.stadiumpants.com for those who really want to show their appreciation for a team (because every South Carolina fan needs Gamecocks all over their khakis), and an analysis of why there are so many grown men shaking pompons, but not breaking 'em, at SEC games, I'll just be rewriting the whole damn book. Instead, I'll just put up my personal fave passage from the book. The pics accompanying Travis' account of his foray into Mississippi State territory feature the author in this Clay's possible favorite T-shirt accompanied by a crew of former undergrad classmates. Here's a little banter with one of them on the way to the game:

We're on the road at exactly nine-forty-five, after picking up Krishna at the airport. Krishna immediately requests a stop. "I couldn't bring my contact-lens solution because they thought it was a bomb," he says. Krishna is also hungry. I refuse to stop.

After much whining about how he will be unable to see in the morning and that he is hungry, Krishna finally prevails upon me to stop in Pulaski, Tennessee. No one else is aware that Pulaski is the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan. So, I inform everyone. Krishna is undeterred, "I'm going to have to wait a long time at McDonald's then," he says.

When he returns to the car after a long wait at McDonald's, Krishna says, "You were joking about that, right? This isn't really where the KKK started."

"Nope," I say, "It was born right here."

Krishna visibly shudders. "F---ing Tennessee," he says.

"Don't worry," I say. "we're going to Mississippi."***

This book isn't really gonna encourage great strides in race relations and equality between the sexes, though Travis does note that the fan base is slowly expanding to include those who aren't Southern and white. However, if you want a great likeness of the Auburn-Alabama rivalry to a polite Hatfield and McCoy feud (hey, these fans have gotta live with each other through the rest of the year), the definite refutation of the idea that LSU fans smell like corn dogs (though LSU does have the best gameday experience, in the author's estimation), and the use of a coach's full name in calls for his resignation, well, then, go to it, readers.

Oh, and since Travis has his own CBS SportsLine column and was able to finagle a book deal out of that gig, I think a certain local Rodeo Lawyer beer imbiber could get one out of his stellar chronicling of the experience of watching the Saints play. Jeffrey's posts on the Saints' brown-bag-over-the-head performances in recent weeks have been getting better and better. Travis may be stuck on college football, but the librarian has been with the pros for a loooong time. Get the man's gloomy accounts of fleur-de-lis following follies on the bookshelves, pronto, somebody.


*from a plaque on the wall of Shula's Steakhouse in Portland. Supposedly, it was the legendary coach's favorite saying.

**Apparently, Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week is coming up. Why anyone would need a week to be aware of this kind of stuff is beyond me. And why anybody would think that Muslims have the monopoly on any sort of totalitarianism is also beyond me. Save your cream pies for Ann Coulter, y'all. Cream's fattening, anyhow, so get rid of 'em in a consciously anti-fascist manner.

***from Clay Travis' Dixieland Delight
I'm hoooooooome!

And, last time I did this, I ended up ferrying an author around town for a day and introducing him to a bunch of crazy blogger folk. Though what I will do tomorrow will be along the same lines, it will probably NOT bring another author down here because:

-RT III isn't happening until next August

-there really ain't much in the way of political import of my latest read, unless you count an analysis of Trent Lott's ascendancy to national prominence in political circles by way of his former cheerleader status at Ole Miss

-there will need to be an SEC championship game in the Superdome, the author will have to have gained entrance to said game through the purchase of tickets on game day through legal or illegal means, and he will need to be in a position to receive numerous text messages from the SEC fans he has met in his many travels through the course of one season - and, because of his crappy wireless contract, he will be charged ten cents for every message received.

I've said too much already, football fans. 'Night....

....uhhh....

...Morning! I guess. All I know is, I'm going to sleep now.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tomorrow, I shall return.

'Til then, I leave everybody with a few fun observations about the city in which I am temporarily staying.

The weather here is icky. Chilly with definite occurrences of rain. It's no wonder they established the world's largest bookstore here. What the hell else is there to do but to curl up with some good coffee and read a book?

All the cranes that are supposed to be dotting the New Orleans landscape are right here. Throw a stone in any direction downtown and you'll hit a construction site. The marathon that was run here yesterday had to be rerouted because of all the mess from all the digging and rearranging of city streets, city blocks, and city pipes. With the construction comes some nifty signage...Joni Mitchell would probably be overjoyed as all get-out to see a sign saying: "We've Paved A Parking Lot, And Are Putting Up Paradise!" All I saw was a pit.

I also saw many protests. People with large signs protesting bad contracting labor practices in the wake of the building boom. A demonstration at Pioneer Square right in front of the Nordstrom's - Free Burma, shoppers! A small group of marchers that Dan and his dad swore looked as though they were hired just to picket a small business. "The hired marchers need to get organized!" Dan said.

The taco trucks that Jefferson Parish dismissed from their street corners in such a callous and bigoted manner have a home at the city center parking lots here, from what I can see. Folks just love those food carts in these parts. Must sample their fare the next time I'm here.

Anyway, from what I've seen and heard and visited and tasted, if global warming becomes a cold hard reality and the waters rise and engulf my present place of residence, Portland, Oregon ain't such a bad place to be. The planet's higher temperatures might well fix the weird weather problems this place has.

Plus, my husband, the ultimate beer snob, will have access to his favorite brew at all times, barring their (unlikely at this point) bankruptcy or the freak explosion of their brewery. Somebody please volunteer your services as a distributor of the abovementioned barley juice so's my husband can be contented with his lot in New Orleans. Thank goodness we have a flight scheduled tomorrow for our return...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

All kidding of mine aside about Boulet's political career being toast now that she's posed for a pic with everyone's favorite mime in these parts, Ashley's got some great stuff about his visit to a meet and greet with City Council candidate, Virginia Boulet. Good political analysis in both his post and the comments of a race for the idiot books.

I'm so sorry I'll be missing the candidates' forum, which Maitri told us all about and, once again, AshMo took it and ran with it. Somebody, clone me so's I can attend. Heck, at this point, somebody clone LaToya Cantrell so's she can run.

My sukkah is down. Maybe next year, I can make a case for its boxy design being an example of biblical modernist construction. I can at least get that on the preservationist rolls. God forbid a FEMA trailer ends up on that list...then again, having seen a mobile home in America exhibit at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont one summer, anything's possible in this world. I know, I know, I need to kiss the Bauhaus goodbye.

I leave everyone with this intriguing architorture possibility. Heck, we live right by one of the world's largest ports. Containers are going in and out by ship, freight train, and tractor trailer all the time. Let's fix some of those babies up, huh? Huh? Bet they're not leeching out any chemicals, other than ones that might have been stored in them...

See y'all in a bit...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Awww, Lordy...

Today's been a crazy one. Brought my son to school only to have him sit outside a little longer with his class because someone decided a fire drill ought to be conducted at eight in the A.M.

I headed home to finish up the stuff I've been working on for the class I will be missing and ended up running around like a chicken with its head off for the rest of the day. I even popped in to the library to print some stuff out from the web since, after nearly two years here, we haven't hooked up the little color printer OR the honking big laser printer with four drawers Dan got at the bankruptcy fire sale his NOLA area employer sold him seven years ago or so...and I think I missed saying howdy to Jeffrey when I blew out of the place to pick up the little guy from school. Sorry, man. This is what happens when you are tainted by the Bauhaus...

I've still got stuff to do. Got to pack up to head outta town. Must take down the sukkah. Got to finish getting materials ready for the class I'll miss. But hey, I'll just check out some blog haunts to procrastinate a little more, why don't I. And what do I find?

Evidence that things could always be hilariously, side-splittingly worse.

Oops! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

okay, back to work....

Monday, October 01, 2007

What's a teaching mama to do?

I'm putting together a kick-butt presentation and project on modernism, the Bezalel School, architorture, and Yaacov Agam's art (i.e., the "tainted by the Bauhaus" instruction), but the problem is, I won't be there to present it because my sister-in-law is getting married this weekend. I was gonna have so much fun relaying this little tale from my early a-school days:

A while back, near the end of my teens, I was in the holding tank called Freshman Foundation at the college I attended, and I noticed a load of people coming into the cafeteria for lunch who were giggling away and /or laughing uproariously at the tirade their drawing teacher had gone on earlier in the morning. Tirades by art teachers weren't all that unusual. In fact, my particular group of foundationeers was having a great time playing off the teaching philosophies of our 2-D and 3-D design teachers, ferrying their different tirades back and forth to each guy and having a laugh at how they would tear each other apart.

This tirade really stuck in my head, however, because someone's drawing, or someone's drawing style, subject matter, what have you, got this particular guy going about how we'd all been tainted by the Bauhaus all these years and it was spilling over into every class he'd taught for decades now. Just look at it and draw it! Don't try to impose order on it! Don't become influenced by the Bauhaus!!!

And folks, I'm not talking about THIS Bauhaus.

I'm talking 'bout this one:I think, once most people see what folks like Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, and Josef Albers were doing in Germany between the world wars, they will certainly agree that "The numerous consequences of this experiment still today flow into contemporary life." Gropius took a lot of his design ideas from Frank Lloyd Wright, but, in founding the Bauhaus, he deviated some from the individualistic thrust of Wright's school/cheap student labor source/home, Taliesin. Nazi Germany shut down the Bauhaus, dispersing these folks and their designs, which is why there are buildings like these in many other countries:
























Okay, so the ones in the pictures are all in that country called New York City. The Bauhaus designers did end up changing the world, sure. Mies' "less is more" certainly gave carte blanche to the appearance of miniscule and immense boxy buildings everywhere, to the point where people are beginning to ask if some of the early monolithic monsters not designed by the Bauhaus crew ought to be eligible for historic preservation. Though I can't find the Preservation Resource Center's specific issue online, I recall seeing a publication of theirs that put an ugly green modernist office building on Canal Street on the cover. The implication was that this was a building worthy of preservation, even though it has not been occupied for quite some time and is really looking the worse for wear (heck, the PRC picture made the building look better that it actually does). So the Bauhaus design principles basically made every building its own island, without much consideration for its surroundings, something that is being challenged some today.

But I digress.

After all, I can't present all of that to a bunch of seventh and eighth graders. I've got to water it down some and distill it into a lesson relating to two-dimensional art and the development of Agam's kinetic art. Reeeeeeal simple.

Something that is a tad less simple is that my son might well be on his way to getting booted out of religious school for a year, since he's not interested enough in the group activities to sit still. I know he's not ADD, because I have seen him focus very intently on whatever he is interested in. I guess he's just not interested enough in the lessons to behave in class. Ugh. Must meet with religious school head today about this.

Maybe she'll end up blaming things on this little episode...