Monthly Archives: August 2010

How You Treat Kids Is Very Revealing

Case in point:

When Dayton was building its big old public schools, each building was large, well-lit, and beautiful. Rookwood fountains. Murals. Chandeliers. Making school beautiful was considered to be both respect for the importance of the enterprise of education and a way to make kids a bit more willing to go to school. Kids would naturally have better characters and better taste if constantly exposed to beauty. Also, a beautiful school showed a community’s pride in itself and its children.

Today, Dayton is knocking down the old schools and building new modern ones. Ugly, boring, small schools. Art installations for today’s schools are best described as “easy to clean” and “soon to be painted over”. A school shouldn’t be too conspicuous. It might bring the property value down. Gyms and tracks are important; but a beautiful building is inconceivable. And when the Dayton school board has saved artworks from the old schools, it has given them to art museums instead of integrating them into other schools.

Now the alumni of Fairview School wanted to save the school’s stained glass windows from being sold to some scavenging contractor. They raised money to get the stained glass out and to place it in the new school that would be named Fairview. The stained glass windows are to be integrated into the school’s lobby. This is a great thing to do.

Now, it’s true that valuable art may raise your insurance appraisal, or that kids in Dayton Public are not always a sweet bunch who plays nicely. But… those architectural features and artworks had been designed to survive life in a school, and they had already survived many many years of kids with bad attitudes. The lack of faith in today’s kids (in all the other cases) really is disturbing.

The truth is that kids appreciate art, and they appreciate having a building worth being proud of. The hoods and the druggies and the gangbangers are very often the same kids who draw and paint amazingly well in art class. It’s foolish not to leverage that softer side of the harder kids.

The other truth is that today’s school administrators, like today’s church administrators and business executives, often think that art is something not to be wasted on everyday life. Art is something you go somewhere, approach worshipfully, and then leave behind; not a refreshing break as you walk along the hall doing other things. And that’s a crock. If you have nice art and you don’t use it for what it was intended to do, it’s even more of a crock. So I’m glad for this small Fairview victory.


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“The Biblical Story of the Mass” Starts at 5 PM Tonight!

Ack! Apparently they’re having a new 13-episode series on EWTN about the connections between the Bible (both Old and New Testament) and Christian liturgy (particularly the Mass). And it starts at 5 PM Eastern!

Of course, EWTN does air a lot of their new shows twice or three times a week, but that’s usually at some weird hour of the morning or on a weekday afternoon. So if you don’t want to miss it, tune in tonight!

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Old to the Net, New to Me

A charming little flash animation of a song about cows.

Cows with guns.

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Begging for Instructions

Does anybody know how to make the current turn on and make noises and stuff? I go there and click on things, and there’s no link to actually listen or view shows; there’s just information about shows, and then the same sidebar promotional videoclip over and over, on every page. I realize I’m probably missing some kind of newer web-convention that leads one to the actual viewing and listening part…. But all I wanted was to listen to a show for a half hour or so, and I can’t.

(Yes, this is following up my ignorance about Overdrive mp3 vs Overdrive wma.)

In my defense, I did go to their FAQ page for first time visitors, which features a section that says you should press the Listen button on each page, which should look just like that one shown on the right. And nothing was shown on the right except the word “Listen”, with no links or button attached. The site kept saying it was loading various things, but the button never showed up. So maybe they’re just having site problems?

I like SQPN; it’s a great organization and I listen to them heavily for a while every year or so. But their website is always super different each time I come back… very confusing for a net.fogey like me.


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Overdrive Is Better Than I Thought

If you check out an Overdrive mp3 audiobook from the library, and your Overdrive software refuses to recognize your mp3 player, this doesn’t mean you can’t transfer the files. It just means you have to transfer them without the aid of the software, and without all the additional non-mp3 files.

Naturally, you are still bound by honor to delete the files at the end of your loan period. But it’s a lot better than having to haul your computer around.

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Arghhhh, Latin Grammar….

The problem with Latin is that, even if you figure out how the words in a sentence connect into phrases, you still might not pick the right meaning for those phrases. Which is to say that the story of the illustrious martyrs Aurelius, Sabigotho, Felix, Liliosa, and George is kicking my tail.

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Tim Tolkien?

Sounds like a Monty Python character, somehow. And he used to be a bass player in a band called Klangstorm, which really really does make him sound like somebody Spinal Tap would have run into…. Ah, real life always wins the Weird Stakes.

Anyway, I’m sorry to publicly subtract fifty points from my Fannish Knowledge of Tolkien Trivia attribute, but I had no idea that Tolkien had a grandnephew who’s a sculptor. He’s doing a statue of Newman for the pope’s beatificatory visit to the UK. (Via Fr. Z.)

His previous works include Sentinel, a rather neat little traffic island sculpture of Spitfires, the Lanchester Car Monument, and the gates to the Sandwell Valley RSPB Reserve.

Apparently Tim Tolkien’s dad, Julian, runs a flower nursery business. He used to work for the Beeb as a sound engineer, which of course put him in easy reach of many avid Tolkien fans… who of course asked him about all the really obscure passages…. 🙂


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