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05/29/23 02:46 PM #12692    


John Maxwell

You know when you're dead you don't know you're dead. The pain is only felt by others.

The same thing happens when you're stupid.

05/29/23 09:25 PM #12693    


Joseph D. McCarthy

Every day I take a walk by one of the creeks by us.  A few days ago I was fortunate enough to see, and with my Iphone take a picture.  Not as good as Jim's photos, but I tried.





05/29/23 11:34 PM #12694    


James Hamilton, M. D.

Joe McC.,

The best camera with which to take a picture is the one that you have with you when the photo op arrives. That, in this day and age, is usually a cell phone.

Your picture is quite good, no need to apologize.

What I don't know is what kind of birds are those? I suspect a fish eating raptor since they are watching a creek and appear to have curved beaks.



05/30/23 12:14 AM #12695    


Joseph D. McCarthy

Not being an Ornathologist, if that's the right spelling. I took them to be Red breasted hawks.

05/30/23 12:25 AM #12696    


David Mitchell


Bored, tired, and lonely,  so l just feel like rambling.


I Hope you all enjoyed a pleasant Memorial Day. 

I attended our local commemoration ceremony and had a very odd experience.

The main speaker was a guy from my own church, whom I have known for several years. He was an Army Major General with 33 yeas of service. In front of a crowd of about 300 people he gave a talk that was so boring and so utterly void of any kind of intersting content that I was embarrased for him. It has occurred to me in recent years that some people can serve a long military career and never get out from behind a desk. I even heard a few people I sat next to commenting on their disappointment in the time spent. 

Four years ago, I was asked to be the main speaker for this same ceremony. I will brag a bit and say that I gave a pretty intense talk to an audience of about 200 people, and received a wonderful ovation, along with some really nice personal compliments - two from local politicians.


But more importantly,  I received and even better result from that day.  I met and have become friends with one of the most interesting men I have ever met. He is the pastor of our largest and most vibrant Black church - Campbell AME Chapel (AME = African Methodist Episcopal. Note, most American Black Christians are either Baptist or AME).  He is Reverend Doctor Jon Black, former head chaplain at Walter Reed hospital, in chrarge of 7 other chaplains of varying Faiths. He also has "only" five degrees - three Theological and two Science degrees.

He gave the benediction and closing prayer four years ago (and also today), and that is how and when we met. What first called my attention to him was not that he was this tiny little Black man, but that in a crowd of dark suits (American Legion guys) he was wearing Navy "dress whites" - and with Lieutenant Commander rank clusters. Navy "dress whites" are hard to miss and he stuck out like a sore thumb in this crowd. After that we had several meetings in his office, became good friends, and ocaisonally visit back and forth. We were sharing thoughts and prayers by text during a very racially charged murder trial in Brusnwick Georgia (the one where the father and son followed the kid in their pickup and shot him). I visited his Sunday service after that and he called me up front and handed me the microphone at the close of his service. "I see brother Dave Mitchell is here with us today. Would you like to say a few words?" I was stunned!

Today we agreed we need to get together again. I can't tell you how I enjoy his conversation. He's like a breath of fresh air.


05/30/23 08:23 AM #12697    

Joseph Gentilini

Great story, David M!  One never knows how his or her life touches others, even people we have never met.  Obviously, you both touched each other's life.  Moving. joe

05/30/23 11:17 AM #12698    


Michael McLeod


Jealous, I am.

That sounds like a fascinating friendship.

I've met many interesting individuals as a journalist but only a small sampling of those folks became friends.

I never get bored but it's because I have more than enough problems and ongoing jobs to keep that from happening. Would like to consider myself retired some day just to see what it's like.


05/30/23 02:41 PM #12699    


David Mitchell

There is an interesting side story to the retired general from my church - the one who gave the boring address. His wife Jane, who I also know pretty well from church, was herself a Colonel in the Army. But her life story is one with a horrific tragedy.

She was one of the 50 plus rape victims of the "California Rapist" (James DeAngelo), who's story broke in the news a few years ago. He also murdered about a dozen women - and he was a cop! The final details of the last few days of the search (after maybe 30 years of him remaining un-caught) are crazy. They finally nailed him after matching his DNA from the garbage in his dumpster.   

I learned of the story almost by accident from an NBC News special one night about 3 or 4 yers ago. I was lying on my couch, sort of half paying attention to the story on the TV. I kept seeing a woman's face that looked familiar. She was one of the living victims who was part of the news story. Then, on about the fourth time they showed her, she was speaking on camera and I realized who it was. I almost jumped off the couch as I yelled to myself, "My God, that's Jane!"  As a young single mom, he broke into her house and tied her 8 year-old son to the bed where he then raped Jane in front of her son.

After all those years, there were only about four people who still actuvely pursued the case, one of whom was a TV comedy writer who followed it as an amatuer detective (He died before the arrest). There were also about three cops or retired cops who kept on it for years. One of the few active detectives still following the case actually pulled up in front of the guy's apartment, knowing that he had him, but decided not to go to the door and make the arrest without backup. The next day was his retirement day, but other officers went back and made the arrest that next day.

It's simply an amazing story, and Jane was one of the women who were able to attend the trial.

05/30/23 11:16 PM #12700    


Mark Schweickart

Jack -- sorry that I am a day late in responding to your jokes, but I just read them and have got to say that they were definitely laugh out loud funny. Thanks for the guffaws. 

05/30/23 11:36 PM #12701    


David Mitchell

Yes, Jack. Ditto from me too.

And I should tell you that we have no laws against stupidity down here in South Carolina, or Georgia for that matter.

The lady who ran third in the last Georgia Governors race on the platform "Jesus, Guns, and Babies", was recently elected to some minor local chairmanship in the Georgia Republican party. She is somewhere on You Tube arguing that all these people who insist on promoting that idea that the world is globe shaped are crazy. "Globes everywhere you look. They are forcing this on my kids." 

I wish I could find the video, but I think I read somewhere that she is a school teacher.

God help us!

05/31/23 10:26 AM #12702    


Mary Margaret Clark (Schultheis)

Dave - stupidity or ignorance or lunacy, however you identify it, is rampant throughout the leadership of both parties......just sayin'.

05/31/23 11:00 AM #12703    


Donna Kelley (Velazquez)

Jack, we spent our honeymoon in the Canary Islands and I can confirm this to be true. laugh

Not so sure about the Virgin Islands.  Ok, have any of you guys gone there to do research on the.....ahem,  bird(s)?   

05/31/23 12:35 PM #12704    


John Maxwell

Thanks Dave. It's comforting to know I'd fit right in, in the South, guh.

Mark, I was beginning to get concerned.

05/31/23 09:12 PM #12705    


David Mitchell

I don't know about the rest of you, but I just don't think we get enough news about Harry and Meghan, William and Kate, and the rest of the Royal Family.

Don't you all agree?


06/01/23 12:29 PM #12706    


Janie Albright (Blank)

Dave, you think you are getting too much news about the royals? This is just for you. wink


06/01/23 07:49 PM #12707    


David Mitchell

Gee!  Thanks Janie

06/02/23 12:39 PM #12708    


John Maxwell

It's nice to know that there are funnybones out there that enjoy a good tickle. Of course no one can account for sticks in the mud. Just finished a short book from John Cleese about creativity. Good stuff. Still working at Henry Ford. Been presenting in the printing office. They have an 1858 model of the Washington Press.
We use a rubber based ink, that takes a day to dry. We hand out copies of the stuff we print to the guests. There are quite a few criteria to fullfil before the press prints exact copies. The hardest is getting the ink thin enough to be consistant. Who knows which decade had the most daily newspapers established in America. One of the things I've discovered was that the small print shops that dotted the countryside were just as plentyful in the big cities, dispite having a major newspaper. The shop in the neighborhoods were mostly printing in a foriegn language. The shops were started by immigrant entreprenuers who fullfilled the desire of the neighborhoods to get both local news and the news from the old country. The beauty of this, I believe, is that everyone, regardless of their native toungue, they all got the news the same way. Out in the rural areas they got the local news and ads plus a boilerplate was usually provided by the big city newspapers covering national, international news and advertising. When Franklin invented syndicating, he would print the writings of the time on one side of his paper and print copies to send to all the colonies. I always wondered how everyone got on the same page re the revolt. Next up Armington and Sims, incubator for the Military Industrial Complex. Its a cool story.

06/02/23 04:32 PM #12709    


Joseph D. McCarthy

Professor Mike.  The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting story, in today's edition, regarding the way to combat "AI" on final eams.  A number of professors are using a 2000 year old method.  ORAL EXAMS.

What is your take on the subject?



06/02/23 05:07 PM #12710    


David Mitchell

Great thought Joe.

How would the students hide their lack of study from that? 





Your prior post reminds me in a small way of a film about 3 years ago. It was called "News of The World" starrring Tom Hanks and a 10 or 12 year-old German girl. He makes a living riding around West Texas after the Civil War, carrying newspapers from the big cities. He organizes audiences who each pay a few dollars to sit in the audience while he reads them the various headlines from the rest of the world - news they would have no other way of hearing. I know it seems like an odd premise for a story, but I was caught completely by surprize by it.     I loved it!

And the the little girl, who only has about 10 spoken lines in the entire movie, absolutely steals the show!

06/03/23 03:57 PM #12711    


Michael McLeod

Joe. Thank you! I will track that story down. Yes, oral testing is one way of doing it but that requires a subjectivity and on-the spot judiciousness. A class on writing doesn't lend itself to yes or no answers or the ability to think in real time - that's the gift of writing, it's the product of you spending time to mull things over. A lot of klunky students are more comfortable on the page than in person - in a way I'd call myself one of them.  I'm not saying I won't try that approach, though. It might just be that the wsj story convinces me it will work.

In the meantime I have been thinking this over and developing strategies, one of which was suggested by my significant other and I'm assuming is paralleled by the wsj: simply make them write in class. Write in class to a specific assignment I will provide at the beginning of that class. collect the papers at the end of class.  Make their grade in the class rely much more on that in-class writing than on the final paper. 

In the past I have operated in reverse. I had the students develop a term paper with feedback from me along the course of a semester.  I did have them write in class but I gave them a break by saying if you can improve over the course of the term and prove it with your final paper, I'll weight that accordingly. I'll reward you for your progress. Good students loved it, and I could see that they did improve. Shitty students slogged along and cheated at the end.

 It's easy to spot them but hard to prove. The ai writing looks like it was written by a straight a but utterly boring and unimaginative student with zero personality. 

Anyway: This time around their grade will depend much more on supervised, in class writing. 

By narrowing the focus of assignments - whose subjects will be a surprise to them - I'll  make it much harder for them to concoct an "A as it AI" paper.

I've been told canvas can be of help - canvas is a grading/turn-it-in system - but haven't found out how. I'll be checking in with other profs this summer about that and any other ideas. 

And thanks again for your suggestion and your interest. Honesly, I'm mortified by this - also pissed off. I'm not a full time teacher, just a practitioner trying to share the tricks of the trade,  but I do take pride in it and by golly I'm gonna get to the bottom of this latest pain in the butt. Teachers of every ilk gotta stick together these days, particularly down here. 


06/03/23 09:06 PM #12712    


David Mitchell

Mike and Joe,

I vote for the "in-class" writing sessions.

Both of my daughters and my dauhter-in-law have been teachers, albeit at grade school levels. My oldest was one of you egg-head English Majors (from John Carroll) who avoided getting a degree in education and swore she would never want to be a teacher. Low and behold she took a part time job in a public school in East Los Angeles, teaching inner city Latino low income kids and fell in love with the kids. It led to a full time job in a school in East L.A. where she taught one same group from kindergarden through third grade. Why she took a job she thought she woudl hate, I'll never know, but she loved it and stayed for four years (until the politics of the LA school system drove her crazy and she quit).

She made the kids write in class every single day - and then had as many as possible read their short papers in that same class. The kids grew to love it. Some parents (low income Hispanic with two rival gangs located at each end of the block next to the school) even commented on how much their kids were looking forward to school each day. Sara (my oldest daughter - Watterson about '91) made the whole idea a fun challenge, praising the kids all the time for how well they were doing and how fun it could be to get up and be recognized by their clssmates.

Sara taught in a parallel class with an other a class, taught by teacher who was a 25 year veteran Hispanic lady who hated her job. Her kids were seldom assigned to write anything. 

After 4 years with the same kids, Sara's class showed a steady increse in academic scores, while the older lady's class flat lined. On her final day several of the mothers cried and one of them tried to block Sara's car from leaving the parking lot. She had to get the principal to intervene so she could drive home to her apratment over in South Pasadena.

So much of our attitudes toward education tends to look at it as a chore, something to be dreaded, or at best, tolerated instead of enjoyed. I think this is something Sister Constantius (and a few others) were able to get me to realize. 


P.s. Bragging just a bit:

(My youngest - Megan - Watterson about "94) became a Montisorri teacher in Portland Oregon and later moved back to Cincinnati (she was a Xavier Alum). She spent a few years teaching in a Montisorri inside the University of Cincinnati Medical School. The kids were all handicapped. It was both a real Montisorry School and a reasearch project for the U.C. medical school at the same time. 

06/04/23 08:27 AM #12713    


Michael McLeod


Joe and Dave: thanks for the feedback.

I know I have said this before but I am - I just love teaching. I'm at the point in my life when it's a joy and a responsibility to share what I learned in 50 years of banging my head against the keyboard. And I feel embarrassed and hurt at being undercut. It's almost like walking into my house and discovering that a thief broke into it. 

This against the backdrop of education being under seige and subject to politically oriented censorship in this state.

So I really appreciate your responses for the sentiment as well as the strategy.

And Dave I have never met your daughter but I'm proud of her just the same. My significant other is vintage Montessori, with deep roots in the tradition as it has evolved on this side of the pond, and she astonishes me with her practice and her grasp of its core humanist principles.

06/04/23 12:55 PM #12714    


David Mitchell


I know wev'e gotten a bit off topic, but just to add a bit for you --

I have visited both of my daughters classrooms (years ago - they have both moved on) and had different but wonderful experiences in both.

My youngest - back in her Portland Oregon days (before Cincinnati), showed me her Montessori classrom and all the physical "hands-on" devices they employ in the classroom. It was quite a revelation - very logical and very intuitive. I never got to see her handicapped Montessori classroom at U.C.

And I visited my older daughter in East L.A. while the kids were there in a class session. I was pleasantly shocked to see their high level of engagement and enthusiasm! 


06/04/23 09:47 PM #12715    


John Jackson

Last night at a nearby live music theater I saw Natalie McMaster (Scottish style Cape Breton fiddler) and her husband Donnell Leahy (Irish fiddler from Ontario) but their 17 year old daughter Mary Frances (oldest of their seven kids) stole the show.  I’ve never cared all that much for Irish-style step dancing but…


Natalie is usually front and center but here she just takes a back seat to her (equally talented) husband and daughter.



06/05/23 08:02 AM #12716    


Michael McLeod

ok between that and my morning coffee I'm ready to charge right into the work week thanks John.

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