Further Proof that Music Programs are Good for Young People

Thursday, April 30, 2009

This charming little story of 2 would be muggers and a 17 year old girl.

They approached her from behind and demanded her money.

And then she beat the shit out of them with her marching band baton.

On behalf of band geeks, choir sluts*, orchestra nerds and everyone in between, I say:
"Awesome job, girl in Quartz Hill, CA. You Rock!"

(via the AP...why Yahoo filed it under "odd news" is unclear. Obviously it should have been under "awesomest news")

*refers to musical promiscuity. We used that term in high school for those of us who sang in all the choirs at school, and probably some outside of school as well. Yes, it's weird. So are teenagers.

Finally, Reasonable Thought From the Government

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Secretary of State Clinton addressed Congress the other day. Here's a transcript:

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ): —my question: Is the Obama administration seeking, in any way, to weaken or overturn pro-life laws and policies in African and Latin-American countries, either directly or through multi-lateral organizations, including and especially the United Nations, African Union, or the OAS, or by way of funding NGOs like Planned Parenthood; and, secondly, and so we can have total transparency—you know, you know, as a former lawmaker, we always have definition pages when we write legislation; definitions do matter—does the United States' definition of the term "reproductive health," or "reproductive services," or "reproductive rights," include abortion? I yield to the distinguished gentleman.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Congressman, I deeply respect your passionate concern and views, which you have championed and advocated for over the course of your public career. We obviously have a profound disagreement.

When I think about the suffering that I have seen of women around the world—I've been in hospitals in Brazil where half the women were enthusiastically and joyfully greeting new babies and the other half were fighting for their lives against botched abortions. I've been in African countries where 12- and 13-year-old girls are bearing children. I have been in Asian countries where the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of oppression and hardship. So we have a very fundamental disagreement.

And it is my strongly held view that you are entitled to advocate, and everyone who agrees with you should be free to do so anywhere in the world, and so are we.

We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women's health—and reproductive health includes access to abortion, that I believe should be safe, legal, and rare. I spent a lot of my time trying to bring down the rate of abortions, and it has been my experience that good family planning and good medical care brings down the rate of abortion. Keeping women and men in ignorance and denied the access to services actually increases the rate of abortion.

During my time as First Lady, I helped to create the Campaign Against Teenage Pregnancy, and while we were working to provide good information, access to contraception, and decision-making that would enable young women to protect themselves and say no, the rate of teen pregnancy went down. I'm sad to report that, after an administration of 8 years that undid so much of the good work, the rate of teenage pregnancy is going up.

So, we disagree. And we are now an administration that will protect the rights of women, including their rights to reproductive healthcare.


It's really great to hear reasonable, 21st Century thinking coming out of the administration. None of this "oooh, no, we won't give you money unless you promise you won't let those women get uppity and live their lives independently" bullshit.

(transcript by Melissa McEwan at Shakesville)

Beyond disturbing-update

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Am I the only one who's completely, physically ill over the Supreme Court's probable decision that a school strip searching a 13 year old girl is just fine??

I'm sorry for the nearly incoherent previous sentence.

I'm absolutely grossed out. Literally, it makes me physically ill to think that the nation's highest court sees no difference between changing for gym class and a forcible strip search. Of a child. In fact, they laughed about it.

Justice Ginsburg will probably be the most vocal dissenter, but the fact she will be in the minority is at once not surprising and totally shocking. Not surprising because the court is full of asshole men, but shocking because how could even the most assholic of assholes not realize that strip searching A CHILD is downright repugnant.

There are many sites that are reporting on this (just none in the mainstream media....go figure), but I'll choose to link to Alas, A Blog. Read up on what happened. Follow Amersand's links, too, because apparently this isn't the first time that Justice Alito has given the ok to strip searching girl children.

**Update: Commenter "PG" posted the dissent from the circuit court case. It's comment number 27 after the post to which I linked**


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There was an article on Yahoo today about an Ivy Leaguer who "infiltrated" Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in order to write a book.

One sentence really caught my eye:

He visited a campus support group for chronic masturbators, where students were taught to curb impure thoughts

Okay, now that that's over with, I'll open up to floor to my darling readers:
What do you think the poster for that support group would say??

What the Hell, Yo???? Part 2

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yesterday I stopped in Whole Paycheck on the way home from work. I don't usually shop there (the prices are prohibitive), but I was very short on time, and needed a couple of ingredients for a salad that I wanted to take to some friends' goodbye party. I dashed in, tried not to be run over by self-righteous yuppy mommies, and got what I needed. Actually there was a really cute moment at the fish/meat counter when the kid behind me in line looked at the shrimp and started chanting "Ebi.....eeeeebbbbbiiiiii.........eeebbbiii......ebi...."

Sadly, cute toddlers are not the point of the post.

Anyway, expensive shrimp (and less expensive but still overpriced produce) in hand, I got into the shortest line that I could find, which moved pretty quickly. At the register I noticed a little sign:

"Bring in any conventional food item, and we will switch it for a 365 Organics equivalent item."

Then, in MUCH smaller letters underneath it said:

"Conventional items will be donated to the Alameda County Food Bank."

Um..........what? Yuppies are too good for non-organic food, cuz it'll kill you, ya know, but poor people don't deserve "good" food?


Does that rub anyone else the wrong way?

(Not that folks should be feeling all virtuous for shopping there anyway. Just cuz their stuff is grown without chemicals does not mean that their suppliers can farm according to susstainable, bio-diverse theories. How could they, having to supply such vast quantities?)

What the Hell, yo???

Monday, April 20, 2009

Apparently people who earn $250,000 a year don't think they're rich. And the mayor of San Jose, CA thinks that they're "upper working class" and that they can't afford to buy a home.


They, therefore, are not to pleased with President Obama's proposed tax changes.

That's right. Even though they fall into the category known as "richest in America" who make more money than 98% of Americans, they don't "consider themselves" rich.

Excuse me while I laugh hysterically.

The article doesn't say that these people think that rich bastards should decide for themselves whether they should pay higher taxes, but it comes pretty close. I'm especially fond of the "But my car is nearly a decade old. I can't possibly be rich!!"

I wonder if these people even realize that they come off sounding like total assholes. When the phrase "We're meeting our needs, but just barely" or whatever, comes out of the mouth of someone who makes more than the 300,000,000 other people in the country.

I make about as much in one year as the featured family pays in church tithes. To them, and the rest of these whiny dirt-bags, I say "pftflpfyfpfltfltpfht!"*

(that was me blowing a big fat raspberry)

Why Yes, Mezzos Do Have the Sense of Humor of 12 Year Old Boys

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tonight is my first concert with Big Nationally Known Period Instrument Orchestra. Yay!!!

Further proof that all those trouser roles have gone to my head, here is a sampling of things that I've scribbled in my score in the last couple of days:

-Silent games of hangman with my tenor friend who sits next to me (the words we choose? "Hamburger" "Butthead" "Tom is a Tool"*)
-Adding an "s" to the word "breast" in a recitative sung by Famous British Countertenor, which makes the sentence "What sacred horrors shake my breast! Ah! 'Tis the pow'r divine confessed! Who can his energy control? He comes, he comes, and fires my soul" extra, extra funny.
(I mean, it's pretty funny already, but I think that the unintended innuendo gets better when it's "breasts." Am I wrong?)
-changing the words to a recitative cadence from "prepare to answer thy offended queen!" to "prepare to answer, I'm a flaming queen!"
(no, I was not making a judgmental comment about the person singing this recit. I just think that these words fit the notes better than what Handel wrote)

So yes, my sense of humor is horrible and reprehensible.

This follows in the grand tradition of changing the words to some of Handel's frequently sung music. A friend of mine was singing "Where e'er you walk" several years ago and accidentally sang "Trees where you shit" instead of "sit." At the Conservatory there was the perennial Messiah concert that was so tiresome folks would daydream about changing "There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over the flock by night" to "There were shepherds imbibing in the fields, drinking scotch on the rocks by night."

Not to even mention Latin. I mean, Hildegard actually uses the word "speculum." And "nati poenas inclyti" really? That joke just makes itself.....

Anyway, yes, I have the mind of a 12 year old boy.....'cept with bigger words.
I just needed to make that confession and get it out of my system now, so I don't giggle all the way through the oratorio!

*This dude Tom is being a total tool. He keeps turning around and glaring at the row behind him when someone sings a wrong note, or apparently even when they sing in a way he doesn't like. He also walks around trilling, just to prove that he can, or something....ugh, tenors


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Earlier today an idea for a post popped into my head, nearly fleshed out. It has since popped back out, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was.


Random tidbits while I think of something more interesting to write

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The annual egg roll (chase?) took place this weekend at the White House. It really wouldn't be that interesting, except that the President read a story to the kis as they waited to begin. What did he read?

Where the Wild Things Are!!!

The president! Obama yelled "Let the wild rumpus begin!" at the top of his lungs!!!!

I can't even tell you how cute that is.

In other Easter-related news, the Washington Post put up photos of the Peeps diorama contest. If you haven't seen them, you really should.

(I'm not sure what's up with the Guantanamo bay one, though. That's just in poor taste....)

Notes from Preschool

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My beasties (aka the 16 3 year-olds with whom I spend all day, every day) are endlessly interesting and sometimes quite humorous. I thought I'd share some interesting anecdotes, and one more serious issue.

Scene 1:

There are 3 bathroom stalls in our classroom. They have curtains instead of doors, and lines of tape on the floor in front of each one for kids to stand on to wait in line. Some children have a hard time not playing with the curtain while they wait, and this really bothers one little boy.
One day while being pestered by the flying curtain, this little guy (who has a terrible stammer) lets loose with:
"Heeey, Stop FUCKING with me!"

The head teacher and I looked at each other, stopped cold and stared.

(yes, we did talk to him about appropriate language)

Scene 2:

A little girl is chatting with Andrea, one of the preschool English teachers, and is being as cute as she could possibly be. Andrea looks down at her and says: "S, you are sooo cute, I think I'll just put you in my pocket, take you home and you can be my baby." S looked up and said "Well, Andrea, I could go home with you and we could MAKE a baby together!"

(She's so little that it actually came out "wew Andwea....")

Scene 3:

Q, a ridiculously smart little guy in my class, with eyes that are a lighter, more piercing blue than anything I've ever seen, and a control issue that leads to squirreling things away, was discovered hiding push pins. He was apparently working them out of the wall and stashing them somewhere. The head teacher found his stash, and so he promptly moved it, partially to his back pocket. The little weasel made it home with 8 push pins in his pocket. When his mom discovered them, he responded:
"Mommy, I just LOVE needles!"

Q's mom reported the conversation to us the next morning, and ended with "Great, in 20 years he'll be one of those guys in the Tenderloin rolling his head back and going 'mooooom, ahhh just loooove neeeedles.....'"

(for those not from the San Francisco area, the Tenderloin is a neighborhood best known for its drug dealers and users)

Those were the cute/funny ones.

The obnoxious one involves a little girl, Y, her dad, and our Thursday Workshops. They're called "Décloisonnements" in French, but that really doesn't translate. What happens is that the teachers and assistants (8 of us in all) each plan an activity in one of 8 topics, and the kids in the preschool each choose one. They have the opportunity to work with other teachers and meet kids from other classes. I do music (duh), and my current activity is an exploration of Carnival of the Animals (by Saint-Saëns).

Anyway, there's a chart up in the class with little drawings of all of the activities and the date, so that we (and the parents) can keep track of who goes where, and also so that the children can look at the pictures and choose their activity for the week.

Last week, the kids chose their activites on Thursday morning, which meant that some parents were there while the choosing happened (this was not the case previously). One dad looked at the chart, looked at the activities that his daughter had done already and said:
"Science? It's really weird that she would do that. She hasn't shown interest in science before. Here, Y why don't you do music or library this week? You like music so much! Yeah, why don't you do that?"


A, the head teacher and I, didn't say anything at the time. Later, though, we just raised our eyebrows at each other, and vented our frustration that the dad had obviously steered his daughter away from a less "girly" activity, and toward a more acceptable one. Y has never done either of the outdoor choices either.......The funny thing is, though, that my music activity is very large-motor oriented, and involves roaring like a dinosaur (the rowdy boys love it).

We haven't let the beasties choose activities with their parents around anymore, by the way. One of the points is for them to choose things they might not have had access to before.

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