Friday Christmas Fun Song
Marlene on the Wall

Link Roundup: December 15, 2007

We've been working on the Christmas letter, and we have dinner guests this evening.  Here are some interesting links I've found lately:

I learned all I needed to know about how a community succeeds by living, tumbled down and broke, right alongside people who were careful of me, then accepting of me, and then my friends. Community meant that Ashanti could go to the corner store and the couple who ran the store, who had lived in a flat above that store for 30 years, knew her name and her favorite candy. Community meant that when Kat was wild and running the streets, the prostitutes working the avenue would look out for her and make sure she got home safe. Community meant that if Yolanda next door was cooking rice and beans or making sandwiches or a pitcher of koolaid, she shared with my kids. It meant that when my electricity got cut off I knew I could run an extension cord between my house and Eddie’s house so that I could at least have a lamp on and watch television...

I figure I should out myself before it is revealed in a press conference.

Several months back I had pneumonia. The doctor put me on steroids. Not only did the steroids clear up the pneumonia, they also caused me to gain thirty pounds of solid muscle, regrow hair on my head, enabled me to hit a 96 MPH fastball, throw a no-hitter, make love to my wife for thirty seven hours straight, and lift a Buick over my head. They also increased the speed of my computer, added Showtime on Demand to my cable package for no extra money...

...To those of you who think religion is a self-delusion based on wish-fulfillment, all I can remark is that this religion does not fulfill my wishes. My wishes, if we are being honest, would run to polygamy, self-righteousness, vengeance and violence: a Viking religion would suit me better, or maybe something along Aztec lines. The Hall of Valhalla, where you feast all night and battle all day, or the paradise of the Mohammedans, where you have seventy-two dark-eyed virgins to abuse, fulfills more wishes of base creatures like me than any place where they neither marry nor are given in marriage. This turn-the-other cheek jazz might be based any number of psychological appeals or spiritual insights, but one thing it is not based on is wish-fulfillment....

[Hat tip to Claw of the Conciliator]

[Hat tip to Everything I Know I Learned from Musicals]

Mark Proffitt still remembers the thrill of being sprung from school for class outings to Old Sturbridge Village or the state Capitol. "You couldn't wait to go on field trips," recalled Proffitt, now an elementary school principal in Middletown.

For today's students, such experiences are increasingly elusive. Tight budgets and rising gas prices, concerns about safety and the sheer hassle of taking kids out into the world are leading some schools to reduce or eliminate field trips.

And now there's a powerful new force keeping students in their seats during the school day: the drive to boost performance on standardized tests. That has led principals to jettison "extras" such as field trips in their quest to wring every minute of instructional time from an already crammed school day.

In other words, an afternoon spent gazing at masterpieces in an art museum is getting harder to justify.

"We have a limited amount of time for instruction," said Karen List, an assistant superintendent in West Hartford. "Given all the demands that are placed upon us these days, we want to make sure everMarceau_2y single moment is a valuable moment."...

[Hat tip to Consent of the Governed]

[Hat tip to The Corner (which is now on my blog roll)]


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