17 February 2006

- Curling -

Does anyone else find curling strangely compelling? I've found myself turning on USA and CNBC when they are carrying a match and can hardly look away. It's so zen-like compared to the death-defying craziness that otherwise characterizes the Winter Olympic sports.

16 February 2006


More proof that this course of mine is cursed. As I think I've mentioned, I have yet to have a day in this class where I haven't had some sort of serious A/V problem. Now I'm experiencing huge problems with PowerPoint. It's started crashing right and left. It's automatic save function appears to be broken. It even seems to be overwriting saved files with earlier versions (or rather not properly saving when I manually save). Something is seriously wrong with the program. I have to imagine that something is corrupt in one of its start-up files. The problem is: which one?


10 February 2006

- Spring Is Sprung -

Or at least it's trying to. The red buds in the neighborhood began flowering yesterday, and my roses are blooming. The grass is beginning to green up and some of the trees are budding out. It's been unseasonably warm, so it's not really surprising, but it's nice to see nonetheless. Still, a hard freeze is due tonight; I hope we don't lose everything in that.

09 February 2006

- A/V Hell -

Well, the A/V problems continue. I finally found a work-around to using both a PowerPoint show and the Mac DVD player at the same time, but I'm still having trouble with the DVDs playing unpredictably. Last class, I tried to use iMovie to demonstrate aspects of a project I've assigned, only to discover that iMovie requires a screen larger than what the projection TV allows. Today I walk into class, and a DVD that I played in my machine only yesterday suddenly develops problems. Somehow I managed to scratch between yesterday and today. I haven't had a class period yet where the A/V went smoothly.

I'm just having to come to terms with the fact that this class is cursed.

03 February 2006

- Opera is Evil -

Well, the Christian wackos are at it again. This time they are up in arms over Gounod's Faust. Apparently, because Faust bargains with Mephistopheles, the opera celebrates Satan. I'm not making this up:

Tresa Waggoner showed approximately 250 first-, second- and third-graders at Bennett Elementary portions of a 33-year-old series titled "Who's Afraid of Opera" a few weeks ago.

The video features the soprano Dame Joan Sutherland and three puppet friends discussing Gounod's "Faust." Waggoner thought it would be a good introduction to opera.

I guess not.

"Any adult with common sense would not think that video was appropriate for a young person to see. I'm not sure it's appropriate for a high school student," Robby Warner said after two of her children saw the video.

Another parent, Casey Goodwin, said, "I think it glorifies Satan in some way."

Which, for anyone who knows Faust, only goes to show that Christians make weird literary critics. Remember all that stuff about Barney and Tinky-Winky. Clearly, we should also ban the book of Genesis, not to mention the various temptations of Christ. Anyways, it was nice to see that the superintendent gave her his full support.

School Superintendent George Sauter said the teacher should not have shown the video to children below the fourth grade but will not lose her job. She has sent letter of apology to all elementary school parents in Bennett, population 2,400 and about 25 miles east of Denver on Colorado's eastern plains.

Well, at least he didn't fire her. That's something.

"I was definitely not sensitive to the conservative nature of the community, and I've learned that," Waggoner said in Sunday's editions of The Denver Post. "However, from what has been said about me, that I'm a Satan worshipper, my character, I can't believe all of this. My intention was just to expose the kids to opera."

Just expose kids to opera??!!!! Heavens, didn't she recognize that she was playing with the souls of kids?!!!! At least Faust only bargained with his own soul...

ok, I'm not one to say that culture doesn't matter, that we shouldn't take it seriously, that it's just entertainment. No doubt there is a place for didactic children's literature. And it's probably best not to expose children to violence indiscriminately. But violence in opera has nothing on the Bible. Ring up another reason to keep religion out of the schools...

So, yes, our ever-loving Christians are ever so tolerant.

Waggoner, who is in her first year teaching vocal music in Bennett, said she doesn't expect to stay in town.

"I know I'm not accepted here, that I'm not welcome here by the parents," she said. "It's a very uncomfortable position."

For the wacko community everything is black and white, good and evil. You're for me or against me. Good must remain innocent, an ontological commitment unmoved by knowledge.

Yet wacko feigned innocence may recognize what it would not know. Faust proceeds on the assumption that one who has eaten from the tree of knowledge cannot dwell in paradise. For Faust, the world is not black and white, but gray. And for the wacko community speaking that insight, the awakening of the critical spirit, is the gravest sin.

We may well ask, however, whose interpretation—Faust's or the wackos'—is closer to the spirit and letter of the story of Eden.