Ginsberg to Gumby in Internet seconds. I think I need a transition nap.

Gotta have a voice for poetry, not just an ear. I start out this afternoon playing some selections that just don’t make it and go hunting for free Allen Ginsberg and find some at Allenginsberg.com. I play C’mon Pigs of Western Civilization Eat more Grease and H.o.p., left cold by my earlier selections elsewhere (so was I) listens, caught up by Ginsberg’s voice.

He gets it as only a 7 year old can.

“MMMMMMMMM,” he says after a few seconds.

“MMMMMMMMMM. Yummmmmmmmmmm,” he says, eyes bright, looking at me like, hey, I get this.

And I’m thinking, well, he’s seven, he’s not going to get the point of this listing of foods, one after another, the gluttonous grotesqueness of it all with Ginsberg gushing gourmet greedy. I just smile and nod my head.

“MMMMMMMMMM. Yummmmmmmmmmmmm,” he says again, enthusiastic.

Then suddenly he switches about mid way through. Around the time we hit, “Rice.” Just before we hit, “Rice.”

“Ewwww. YUCK!” he says, every bit as enthusiastic, big grin.

“YUCK!!!!!”

“YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Yes, I go back and listen again and it was exactly half-way through, right before, “Rice” that H.o.p. switched and said, “YUCK! EEEWWW!”

I figure that’s enough Ginsberg for a seven-year-old for a day. Time for Gumby. He has been studying Gumby for several days now, watching the clips over and over with clay in hand, shaping forms as he watches the Gumby forms shaped. Pillars, balls, pyramids, cubes. And we now have several Blockheads. And Gumbys. And Prickles.

He was once a little green slab of clay,
Gumby!
You should see what can Gumby can do today,
Gumby!

He can walk into any book
with his pony pal Pokey too.
If you’ve got a heart
than Gumby’s a part of you!

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“Is Gumby a part of me?” H.o.p. asks.

What does the corporate monster look like?

“What does the corporate monster look like?” H.o.p. says and hands me a piece of paper from his 3 inch high stack and a pen. “Draw it for me?”

H.o.p. has recently discovered Neopets and he wants a Neopet toy and of course at the Neopet website they have all the toys and where you can buy them. H.o.p. wanted one of them that was written to be only available at Wal-Mart.

Continue reading What does the corporate monster look like?

Why can I never remember Karl Rove’s face?

I never can remember Karl Rove’s face. Rumsfeld is easy. When I think Rumsfeld I think Wes Craven’s “Hellraiser”. Rumsfeld has always, always been “Hellraiser” to me. But Rove? Nothing. A suit with a zero for a head.

Continuing.

My son can draw like crazy. This is not one of his drawings-drawings. This is my son doing a quick deliberation on what he was at that moment considering andwhat he was considering was evolution. He brought it in, dropped it in husband’s lap, said, “This is a picture of evolution,” and went on to sketch something else.

He has about as much problem with the idea we arose from an ancestor common with the apes, as he does with our having crawled out of the briney ocean on our bellies. Which is zero. One will note that the stick-human is carrying something. A suitcase. I guess more important than us having a heavy investment in making tools is the fact we move around and carry them from place to place.

We have talked about this and read some to him on it in a casual manner. Then he was asking about all this last week and we spent a while talking time, long stretches of time and mutations upon surviving mutations, and really long stretches of time. Because for him, at seven, there’s the matter of context to be absorbed which in this case is lots and lots of time, and it’s that he ended up trying to comprehend.

Anyway, we homeschool. In red state Georgia. And we believe in evolution.

And because we homeschool I thankfully don’t have to put up with this kind of shit, (via Pharyngula) Beauty Dish being called down to the school to pick up her son who was being suspended for the day for the following:

So she told me what he did. And as she told me, I started to laugh. I didn’t laugh a little, either, but I belly-laughed and grabbed my stomach. My son stood with his class this morning, put small right hand over heart, faced the American flag, and recited his own personal pledge of allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.

“Mrs. Jaworski. This isn’t humorous. The Pledge is an extremely important and patriotic moment each morning in the classroom. I am ashamed of your son’s behavior, and I hope you are, too.”

I wanted to say, Hey Lady, it’s a big universe. Why should we pledge allegiance to a mixed-up country? Why shouldn’t my son embrace the potential of stardust? But I stood, extended my hand, apologized for my laughter, slung my purse over my shoulder, opened her door to find my son, 8, red-eyed sitting on the wooden bench bordering the World Map wall.

And there you have one of the reasons for which my son is homeschooled, because had it been me, I wouldn’t have extended my hand and apologized, I would have said something off-the-top-of-my-head down the order of, “Well, rather than being ashamed of my son I happen to be proud of him for exhibiting a measure of sanity and pledging to honor the idea of affinity universal rather than mindless acceptance of imperialist lies and subservience to the slaughtering greed of slave-hungry corporations. My son is learning to measure actions against words and make calls on what’s proven specious and rather than being brainwashed into accepting two and two makes five, believe me, he’s going to call you on it every time. He does it at home, I will not tell him not to do it here. And if you have a problem with this then you and your teachers need to put on the seatbelts and get ready for a hell of a ride, but at least his peers will get an education.”

That’s what I would have done. Ask my husband. Ask my public school teachers, who hated me with the exception of a precious few. Ask the individual I knew from high school, who eight years ago, before son H.o.p. decided to show up unexpectedly, saw us with a van and said everyone he knew who’d gotten a van ended up with a kid in a couple of years and he wanted to be there when I showed up at the PTA meetings.

But continuing, the principal would have gone Karl Rove on me. I would have gone Shakespeare’s Sister on her and then told her all about cutting away shadows.

And I would not have then opened the door to find my son sitting red-eyed on a bench because I would have demanded that he be present at the conference as he should be there to hear exactly what was said about him and be able to voice his side.

I am not criticizing how Beauty Dish did things. I’m just saying what would have happened had it been me, and I don’t even like confrontation. Which is a reason why we homeschool. The school would want to deal with me about as much as they’d want to deal with a boy who doesn’t, in the first place, have the disposition to sit hours at a desk being lectured to and told what to do. He doesn’t like being fed knowledge. He likes being shown what’s available and then pursuing it on his own with someone there to talk to him about it (me or his dad), asking someone to go through it with him on different points (me or his dad), and then he’ll say that’s enough for now and mull and return to it a day or a week or three weeks later to learn and mull some more, or he’ll sit with it for four days straight mulling on one point alone.

I seriously doubt people like Karl Rove had that opportunity, if they so desired it, when they were 6 and 7 and 8 years of age.

Catch 22

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Catch 22 waving bye to me not long before I fled the theater my first viewing

Several times last week I had an almost, not-quite exchange with laizzes-faire “well, this is unacceptable so certainly it will be taken care of blitheness”, variation of a too nonchalant “this too shall pass” which left me disoriented, sapped of strength, as if the words were an invisible red-and-white striped straw that had unexpectedly found vein, tapped, then breezed along. My outrage over the murderous sadism of naked bodies suspended from and dying on Terror War chains, or the routine stripping of stateside prisoners for purposes of police state humiliation and dehumanization distanced with words of a tourist casual aloofness. I was in horror of the routine humiliation of real people with names and lives, easily imagining my flesh and person in their place, when around the corner strolls a mind that touches my own and I find myself in a place where velvet crowd-control ropes direct the traffic through medieval death dungeons, the victims are historical artifacts that make the price of the ticket, the chained a perpetual fact of life, the essential oddity that makes the attraction, but quickly and ultimately a prison cell is small and boring so move along. The lack of interest embraces and seems to want to win me over to its view and carry me with it. I become detached and disoriented. So this then has no meaning? Belongs to a world of shadowy “other” that has no relation to the tourist basking in the sun. They go to find something to eat and I am left in a state of slight, mute shock. Hollowed.

It’s been a long time since I read “Catch 22”. Just thinking of it now I realize that we probably no longer have the novel. A disintegrating paperback I’ve not seen around in a long time, which means it must have fallen apart and turned landfill sometime between then and now. Had the paperback already when I was 18 or 19, but I’d not read it before I went to see the movie, “Catch 22”.

Continue reading Catch 22

One day, Bill Frist went out to buy some shoes…

Oh, I am so in love. I can’t believe this. Picked the story up from Sarah Lee’s at Dkos. Frist goes shoe shopping at Allen Edmonds and Americans United to Protect Social Security and the Campaign for America’s Future ambush him for debate. In the meanwhile Frist is double parked and holding up traffic and gets ticketed! Thank you! Delightful photos are at this link of Frist engaged, and of his SUV being ticketed.

I was going to put up one of the photos unadulterated but my seven year old son got involved.

The story.

Continue reading One day, Bill Frist went out to buy some shoes…

Learning how to honor the truth by being taught how G. W. never told a lie

First off. Despite the fact I was over at Stone Bridge lamenting the fact I used to love movies and how I hate Hollywood movies and how most have no substance, I got all way too excited when I came upon Arvin Hill’s Carnival of Horrors and his profile giving him as liking “Shakes the Clown”. Sure I was enjoying the posts too and saying “yes, hmmm, yes” but I’m hopeless because Monday night if I was going to get excited about anything it was going to be about “Shakes the Clown”. Which no one I know likes. That had me feeling so good I had to go over to Ratsboy Anvil and confess how a real event had melded with fiction in my mind about a bass guitarist’s confrontation with electrical forces, and so I set that right. I’m a sucker for road stories.

Now I’m feelin’ been-to-the-river righteous and that’s bad because I’m bound to wake up in the morning regretting I got all public and confessional.

Something else I (still) get a kick out of is this. THE STEALTH CURRICULUM! I ranted about it back on 14 April 2004 on my son’s blog which was more-or-less a private blog recording some of his favorite internet sites that we come across doing our loose, eclectic homeschooling.

The Stealth Curriculum, by Sandra Stotsky

Put out by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, listed on their website on 4/13/2004, the PR is/was:

Widely-used instructional materials that teachers rely upon to supplement their textbooks and their own knowledge may be dangerous to children’s educational health. The creators of such materials (and “professional development” programs for teachers) often inject bias and political manipulation into the minds of teachers and, subsequently, their students. The latest Thomas B. Fordham Foundation study, The Stealth Curriculum: Manipulating America’s History Teachers, casts wary light on resources that teachers frequently use but that seldom come under public or expert scrutiny.

The Stealth Curriculum was authored by Sandra Stotsky, veteran education analyst, scholar and former senior associate commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education. It takes a close look at some prominent supplemental materials and workshops in the social-studies field.

Published by all manner of organizations and interest groups, these materials mislead teachers, distort the curriculum, and deflect classroom attention from the content that students should be learning. Worse, such materials are reinforced by a network of teacher workshops that focus more on propagating political and social ideas than imparting actual historical knowledge. At best, these materials offer a one-sided biased view of complex issues. In many cases, they go farther, omitting events that paint an interest group in a negative light or fabricating facts altogether.

“Under the guise of heightening teachers’ and students’ awareness of previously marginalized groups, they manipulate teachers (and, thus, their pupils) to view the history of freedom as the history of oppression and to be more sympathetic to cultures that don’t value individual rights than to those that do,” says Fordham President Chester E. Finn, Jr. in the report’s foreword.

This stealth curriculum tends to fly under the radar of historians and other experts as the sheer amount of materials makes any sort of tracking and reviewing process next to impossible. Little is known about the direct effects of these materials on teachers and their students because of the lack of research on them…

The “Stealth Curriculum” book has been out there a year now, but it’s interesting (to me at least) how I came by it.

Only natural for the Bush admnistration to want to correct a ‘liberal bias’ in American education by giving grants to groups that share its philosophy

It was via an Alfie Kohn article noting that the Bush administration has funneled more than $75 million in taxpayer funds to (educational) pro-voucher groups and miscellaneous for-profit entities. Among them is William Bennett’s latest gamble, known as K12 — a company specializing in on-line education for homeschoolers. (Finn sits on the board of directors). “Standards” plus “freedom” may eventually add up to considerable revenue, then. In the meantime, the Department of Education is happy to ease the transition: A school choice pilot program in Arkansas received $11.5 million to buy a curriculum from Bennett’s outfit, and a virtual charter school in Pennsylvania affiliated with K12 got $2.5 million. Continuing, Lisa Graham Keegan (a former Arizona school superintendent, now Education Leaders Council exec director, on favoritism exhibited in the grants said it was
“only natural for the Bush admnistration to want to correct a ‘liberal bias’ in American education by giving grants to groups that share its philosophy.”

K12 offers homeschooling curriculum and the “Virtual Academy”. Homeschooling through K12 will cost you about $1600 a year. Expensive by some standards and cheap by others. They don’t give a good overview (what publisher really does) of materials so who knows what’s on the plate, and what little they do show as samples still doesn’t give you much of an idea, except I think hmmm that was a lot of hooplah and pages to go through for not much info on a topic and much more complex navigationally than it needs to be (the kind of thing that made me wonder if the complexity was supposed to make you feel you were getting more than you were). But for people who want to homeschool it offers an attractive deal of not homeschooling by doing a virtual school at home through the academy as part of the public school system (if you live in a state where it’s currently offered), curriculum for free, computer for free, free supplemental materials not included in the homeschool package, state assessment tests (some districts require homeschoolers test at different grade levels and it costs money to do the tests), a virtual academy community and access to a certified teacher, plus internet reimbursement program. They offer grade and middle school and will eventually offer high school.

Imagine some of the grant money received has gone into the free K12 “Patriotism lesson” offered. And there’s the K12 “Virtues” program for which you can shell out $79.95 if so inclined. The Virtues program “provides a range of tools to support your family’s moral education. With books, videos, and fun worksheets, the program introduces your student to” our common culture, shared ideals, and cherished values.”

I was very curious of course what those shared ideals and cherished values are, not to mention what they offer as the common culture.

Before taking a look at K12’s Patriotism Program, here’s some more info on William J. Bennett. He is the founder of Americans for Victory over Terrorism (information on AVOT at Disinfopedia); founder of Empower America (America needs more power?); Founding member of Project for the New American Century ( Truthout’s William Rivers Pitt on the PNAC click here); an Advisor for the “Center for Security Policy”. He was G. W. Bush’s speech writer and editor in 1999. The Secretary of Education from 1985 to 1988. Chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities from 1981 to 1985.

Media Transparency gives William J. Bennett, Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, as a prime mover of the new right wing movement. He once said of Rush Limbaugh that he was a symbol of encouragement. “Adventures from the Book of Virtues”, based on William Bennett’s “The Book of Virtues”, airs on PBS. A friend of mine, who would have no idea as to its origin, sent H.o.p. a tape. I have never been able to sit through five minutes of it. If my friend knew it was based on William Bennett’s book she’d be mortified that H.o.p. might have watched a moment of the tape.

Teaching Patriotism the K-12 way

Gaining entrance to the K12 Patriotism Lesson requires you give name and phone number, whereas usually at sites one must give a name and email address.

Once in, the eye is greeted with,

Now, more than ever, we’re focused on America — on what makes this nation great, what unites us all, and why we enjoy the freedoms we have today. In the spirit of patriotism, we invite you to teach your child more about this beautiful land that stretches “from sea to shining sea,” the daring of early explorers and settlers, the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, and our enduring commitment to “let freedom ring.”

Looks like the NDN community is already out of luck. Lesson plans include an ultra basic account of a spotless Christopher Columbus. Included is a song you sing (to the tune of “Clementine”) about Columbus, the last of three verses being “Oh, Columbus, Oh, Columbus, Was so brave and wise and true, He sailed from Spain to the Americas, In fourteen ninety-two.”

Right. Brave, wise and true promoted the West Indies with its super cheap labor (lots of NDNs). Millions were dead in a short few decades. The cruelties were a stunning piece of barbarism. “Lies My Teacher Told me” explores the Columbus myth in depth, reporting,

“…Having as yet found no fields of gold, Columbus had to return some kind of dividend to Spain. In 1495 the Spanish on Haiti initiated the great slave trade…Columbus was excited. “In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil-wood which could be sold,” he wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1496…

In the words of Hans Koning, “There now began a reign of terror in Hispaniola.” Spaniards hunted Indians for sport and murdered them for dog food. Columbus, upset because he could not locate the gold he was certain was on the island, set up a tribute system.

Ferdinand Columbus described how it worked:

[The Indians} all promised to pay tribute to the Catholic Sovereigns every three months, as follows: In the Cibao, where the gold mines were, every person of 14 years of age or upward was to pay a large hawk’s bell of gold dust; all others were each to pay 25 pounds of cotton. Whenever an Indian delivered his tribute, he was to receive a brass or copper token which he must wear about his neck as proof that he had made his payment. Any Indian found without such a token was to be punished.”

With a fresh token, an Indian was safe for three months, much of which time could be devoted to collecting more gold. Columbus’s son neglected to mention how the Spanish punished those whose tokens had expired: they cut off their hands.

Pre-Columbus there were an estimated 8,000,000 Indians in Haiti. By 1496 a census, not counting children under 14 or those who had escaped, came up with 1,100,000. By 1516, “thanks to the sinister Indian slave trade and labor policies initiated by Columbus, only some 12,000 remained.” It was after 1516 that the Black Plague struck the Indians in Haiti. By 1542 there were 200 left. By 1555, they were all gone.

The numbers of Indians on Haiti withered, the slave trade moved on to the Bahamas. The Spanish historian, Peter Martyr, wrote in 1516 that a ship needed no compass from the Bahamas to Hispaniola, as one could follow on the ocean the dead bodies of Indians who had been thrown from ships into which they’d been densely packed.

And still, can you beat this, by Jefferson’s time the Spanish were getting apologetic and outlawing NDN slavery and a number of NDN nations would have taken the Spanish any day over the Americans by then.

They are handsome. They do not have weapons.

K12 only notes, on Columbus’ relationship with the Indians, that he wrote “They are handsome. They do not have weapons.” K12 says these words show Columbus had found people who were gentle and kind. It’s not noted that Columbus wrote about their not having weapons in relationship to their inability to defend themselves against the weaponry of the Spanish. And of course doesn’t note that he enthusiastically wrote about Haiti being a prodigious resource for all the slaves that could be wanted.

Another part of the Patriotism lesson is “The Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving”. They lead one to believe that Squanto visited from a neighboring tribe when in fact Squanto had been stolen as a child and taken to England (for which reason he knew English) and was also sold into slavery. Returning to America, Squanto found his tribe wiped out by the plague and he the sole survivor. Indeed, many of the first settlers moved directly into villages left by NDNs killed by disease and were able to take advantage of their crops, and not having to clear the land. A record from the so-called Pilgrim’s second day gives brief testimony to this:

We marched to the place we called Cornhill, where we had found the corn before. At another place we had seen before, we dug and found some more corn, two or three baskets full, and a bag of beans. ..In all we had about ten bushels, which will be enough for seed. It was with God’s help that we found this corn, for how else could we have done it, without meeting some Indians who might trouble us. …The next morning, we found a place like a grave. We decided to dig it up. We found first a mat, and under that a fine bow…We also found bowls, trays, dishes, and things like that. We took several of the prettiest things to carry away with us, and covered the body up again.

There are some NDNs of course who have a problem with this, with the desecration of burials and the thieving of burial goods.

Anyway good Squanto helped the pilgrims survive (he had no home) and then the pilgrims invite the Wampanoag to a feast, the First Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving didn’t exist until 1863). Oh joy. And you know how the story goes, the Indians and Pilgrims lived happily beside each other ever after. This is attested to by the number of Indians still residing in the East.

Exploring geography of the U.S., you get to clap and chant, “Atlantic to the East, Pacific to the West, U.S.A. is in between, That’s the country I like best!”

Got rhythm, don’t it? And is almost tearily poetic. There’s a folk song wandering around in there somewhere if you nudge around the lyrics a little. Maybe add some majestic purple mountains.

Other short subjects include The American Revolution, Betsy Ross and the First American Flag, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Statue of Liberty, Immigrants to America, and Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Nothing about NDNs.)

The majority of historians regard the Betsy Ross story as a myth but K12 presents it as true, making prominent mention that Betsy was a widow but had no time to think about feeling sorry for herself, she was just going to continue sewing to put food on the table. I reason that was put in there for children of single mothers on welfare, though what they would be doing schooled at home I don’t know as who is there to take care of them when moms are out working minimum-wage jobs in order to earn their welfare check.

George Washington being unable to tell a lie (the cherry tree story) as a lesson in telling the truth

One of the two stories given in the Patriotism lesson about George Washington is that of his chopping down the cherry tree and that when his father inquired who had done this, G.W. said that he couldn’t tell a lie and that he did do it. A myth. A story invented by an early biographer and is even given as myth on the Mount Vernon website. But K12 presents it as truth. And the question and answer session? The child is asked why was George’s father proud of George. And the answer is, “Because George told the truth.”

Ten great patriotic places are given as a must visit. Included on the roster is Mount Rushmore. It’s not mentioned that Mount Rushmore was blasted out of the Black Hills by KKK member Gutzon Borglum who also initially worked on Stone Mountain, and that the Black Hills, sacred land promised by treaty to NDN peoples, was within a short few years after those treaties taken back with the discovery of gold. Not a single treaty made by the NDNs with the U.S. was honored.

Included in the Patriotism lesson is then a prominent link to the Fordham Foundation “September 11: What your children need to know.” What do the children need to know?

In April 2004 at the top of the page was the sinister Stealth cover. Behind falls from the sky a litter of papers that I can only take as meant to recall the papers from the Twin Towers that fell on New York on 9/11.

The Stealth Curriculum begins with a flurry of indignant rage that supplementary resource books, “Holocaust and Human Behavior” and “Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement” make comparisons between white racism in American and Germany, and suggest a link between the American Eugenics Movement and Hitler’s Final Solution. The argument is the materials obliterate the distinction between bigotry and genocide, seeking to reduce the moral status of the United States to that of Nazi Germany.

Well, sorry, but the U.S. did influence the genocide in Europe. Hitler is known to have studied Andrew Jackson’s removal of the Indians to reservations.

I once read through the entire thing. The below excerpt pretty well covers it (except for the furious dramatics over teaching pre 16th century Islam history and the fury over the delving into American eugenics which some connect with the interest in German eugenics i.e. Hitler).

The traditional history curriculum has been criticized for decades for dwelling on political, military, and constitutional history, highlighting only ‘important men,’ and ignoring the daily lives of ordinary people, women and others who did not loom large in political, military and constitutional affairs. Anthropological approaches in curriculum materials address this criticism. However, in doing so, they expand the curriculum to include topics with which most teachers have no familiarity–and which ususually have little or no relevance to the evolution of democratic institutions and individual freedoms. One example in many elementary and middle school curricula is a comparison of River Valley Civilizations…The daily lives and dates of the many Native American tribes have been perhaps the greatest beneficiary of this socio-cultural approach, which now occupies much instructional time. With it, however, comes a strongly negative view of the Europeans who explored and colonized America. Supplemental resources now guide teachers to downplay or ignore altogether what students should be learning about the origins and development of our civic culture.

The critical sentence is “they expand the curriculum to include topics with which most teachers have no familiarity–and which ususually have little or no relevance to the evolution of democratic institutions and individual freedoms. “ The view imparted is that anyone that was crunched by America’s Democratic Evolution Machine needn’t be a concern.

Stotsky doesn’t like it that the Plymouth Pilgrims are portrayed as weak in their reliance on the Wampanoag for the first “Thanksgiving”.

The Stealth Curriculum says one can’t judge the past by today’s standards. Says all this does is rouse affect (was that the phrase used) but does nothing for building the mind. Oh, yes, the phrase used was “affect-forming but intellectually empty assignments”. That teachers teach these things shows they aren’t schooled in history and need to be appropriately re-educated.

Guess the students need instead to be taught that G.W. chopping down the cherry tree is true, and that he always spoke the truth. If this is what passes for history or social studies in the K12 curriculum you’ve gotta wonder what else is taught if setting forth as true a known myth, expecting children to believe it (and thus believe for the rest of their lives for those who never question) is conceived of as sharpening and building a discerning intellect.

H.o.p.’s itinerary for the day

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H.o.p.’s itinerary

Who wouldn’t like a daily itinerary like this one? There’s at top (1) going to the office supply store to get paper (drawing of pen and paper to the right) (2) going to the “singing store” to make CDs (computer and CD case just left of musical note house) to give to (3 fingered hands on the right exchanging CD) someone at a music store (4) and then going to the video store to get a video (upper right is a video box) and then at last to the toy store (bottom left) to get a Dino Rider, a T Rex toy they stopped making in 1988 (the handsome creature on the bottom right). Yes, there was no Dino Rider, but H.o.p. had to see for himself there was no Dino Rider. “There may be one. They may have it. I might be wrong and I might be right. But let’s go find out.”

Of course he comes home with a 2 pack of Transformers and another Mega Bloks Dragon for his collection.

H.o.p.’s a dramatic one. He didn’t want to go to the grocery store. By then, he said, he was so tired, “I’m going to pass out.” When he was told he wouldn’t have milk or toilet paper all night he changed his mind.

He’s still loving his reading program. He did two episodes yesterday just for fun, taking digipics of the screen which is what he does. On his computer right now is a Brainpop flash he’s been watching for three days now. Moby and Tim educate on “Flight”. Tim gets air sickness and vomits. (They know what kids like.) H.o.p. stopped the animation on Tim in mid upchuck and so, well, there it is, in our supposed dining room that functions as a computer/living/work room, glance over from the table and there is Tim regurgitating perpetually.

At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.’

Portrait of Roxie
Portrait of Roxie

Portrait of Roxie displaying curiosity
Portrait of Roxie Displaying Curiosity, digital photo

Portrait of Roxie
Portrait of Roxie
View On White

H.o.p.: “If you don’t get me hot chili right now I will bring you chili with jam in it and peanut butter and cockroaches!”

H.o.p. missed the point that if he could bring me chili with jam and peanut butter and cockroaches in it then he would not have to be asking me for it in the first place. Seven-year-olds and critical reasoning look at each other askance. I could make this a political or cultural segue but…

Continue reading At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.’

Back then “free” was a powerful word and the little arm hairs tingled positive not negative

More on Ward Churchill. Brief bio that calls to mind (for me) Lucas’ “American Grafitti”, a film that I am reminded of about once every two years at most so it’s not like my brain’s short list of synonyms equates all things 50s and 60s with Ron Howard.

H.o.p. doing his online reading program becomes mostly phys ed. He props elbows on desk, chin in left hand, and looks to levitate, one foot then two feet leaving the ground as they travel up the chair on which I’m seated behind him. A swivel chair. Knees dangle in the air, one foot on the seat pushing me back and forth and around, digging sharp toenails into the tops of my bare feet (me having regressed to a seated fetal position), the other foot kicking up toward my face. This lasts only as long as it takes to click an answer on the mouse, about two to three seconds, then he plants feet on the ground and turns, opens mouth wide and happily roars, jamming his tonsils in my face. Then turns back to the computer, elbows on desk, chin in left hand, feet again climbing the chair, the air, air dancing like Fred Astaire, toenails digging into my flesh, as he clicks the next answer then again down, turns and roars his tonsils in my face. In the meanwhile, a Flaming Lips song repeats itself endlessly, courtesy of H.o.p.

Continue reading Back then “free” was a powerful word and the little arm hairs tingled positive not negative