Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by rockgor, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Season's Greetings. You know the 4 seasons? Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

    Lincoln book ends. Bronze? You're sure you don't mean Lincon logs? Wonder if they still make those things.

    I didn't put anything on the list. I mostly have memories of dysfunctional holidays.

    Are you a Lincoln fan. Are you familar w/ Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait? I have about 6 different recordings. The best one had Carl Sandburg as the narrator.

    I have lots of recordings of civil war music. One was made by Cond. Fredrick Fennell in the 60s. He had been reading Civil War diaries. One soldier mentioned at Gettysberg it was raining at night and he could hear a band playing in the distance.

    When Fennel got the music booklets to be used in the recordings, they were from the Civil war and the pages were smeared where the rain had fallen.

    History is just around the corner. My grandfather was born when Lincoln was in the White House. Thousand of C.W. vetrans were still living when I was a kid.

    I bet you weren't a nerdy kid at all. I bet you were lots of fun.


    Oh yeah, as usual I forgot something. Still in rehersal? How do they do the ghost appearing and disappearing on stage? Do you need approval from both Equity and the AMA?
    [This Message was Edited on 12/21/2006]
  2. Callum

    Callum New Member

    Oh, but I WAS a nerdy kid. I was in the third grade when I tried to convince the neighborhood kids to put on a play in our backyard "Adlai Stevenson - If He'd Won."

    A bit of trivia - that famous photo of Adlai with the hole in his shoe was taken in Flint, Michigan, my hometown. I found out that my first partner's uncle took that photo (for which he won the Pulitzer) - I didn't speak to my partner for three days...

    I'm embarrassed to say I am a complete Lincoln-phile. I cried when I heard his second inaugural for the first time; I was twelve.

    I also cried the first time I heard Copland's Lincoln Portrait. And it wasn't even with Sandburg's narration. "Not often in this story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as rock and as soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect."

    What an amazing story of Fennell and the music score...

    It is so sad when the living witnesses pass - I think of that as the last remaining World War I veterans reach the end of their lives. We'll never have that living, voiced record again. It will only be the written record.

    As for the play - thanks for asking. We have the last rehearsal tonight before we take a holiday break. That's when we'll get into the nuts and bolts as to how to make Elvira and Ruth more ethereal.

    May you and Gordon have a great holiday! And special plans?
  3. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    The CD is a great invention. (I always believe one should begin an essay w/ a positive statement and then go downhill from there.)

    But those miserable little booklets are mostly unreadable. In the first place the font is generally too tiny.

    And then some people w/ a title like art director have gotten into the picture. They design pages w/ a pictorial background. The print is grey on yellow. Whatever. Anyway the general result is one can't read it.

    The only good news is that it's generally not worth reading anyway. Int he old days you got information, at least w/ classical/opera records. Half my music education came from reading the backs of record albums.

    The greatest annotator is the opera field was Francis Robinson whose career in show biz included secretary/press agent for Kathryn Cornell. He had the perfect mix of gossip and opera history.

    He also wrote a book about Caruso and became Asst Mgr of the Met.

    Anyway, I got the Fennell story from the recording notes. Think I will close and start another. Don't want this to disappear into an electronic black hole.
  4. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    that screwl up the little booklets are in training to become opera directors who will screwl up performance.

    In the old days the director's job was to make sure the chorus came on and went off at the proper times. Now they have as much power as the conductor.

    The singers are required to sing while climbing a ladder or dragging a chair around that is tied to the neck. The Renaissance opera is reset in a submarine or a sky scraper and the singers wear t-shirts or flapper costumes.

    One Don Giovanni was recently required to get out of bed in the altogether and cross the stage. The anvil chorus is sung w/o a single anvil on stage, etc.

    As you can see it is a travesty.

    Now then, having discussed history from music sources, here is some hearsay history that may be of more interest to you.

    When JFK was assassinated, a young Episcopalian pastor in the LA area said to his parishioner who was 101 years old, "Oh Mrs. Whatever. I suppose you remember McKinley's assassination."

    "Oh, Father Whatever," she replied. "I remember them all.
    When Mr Lincoln was shot I was three years old. We lived in a little village in Whatever.

    I remember there was a great commotion in the middle of the night. A man came riding into town. And everybody gathered on the street. And the men held torches. I had never seen such a todo in my life."

    I went to school back in the days where kids actually learned to read, etc. We had to memorize the close of the second ignaural: Let's us strive on to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan.

    With firmnes in the right as God gives us to see the right...With malice twoard none, with charity for all,

    Well, that's all I can remember after half a century or so.

    Well, I have to take a break. Gordon is thirsting for the machine.
  5. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    You two are scaring me!LOL

    Isn't it neat how different and unquie we each are?? Our own little pages of history.

  6. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Looked at your pets. Your cat could be Huckle's sibling. Your rabbit looks enormous. Maybe it's just because it is close to the camera.

  7. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    No, the Rabbit really is enormous!! He's a flemish giant, he's bigger than the cats!!
    We call him Bugjuice, after a famous endurance horse.

    Ziggy the cat was born in the house, and started purring at 4 weeks old, he's a real loverboy.

    I just love orange tiger cats, Huckle must be a pretty boy too?
  8. Callum

    Callum New Member

    You have the best stories. And the command of language... I'm envious.

    I feel like I just missed so much of the last pieces of really big history... I wasn't born when JFK was shot, I remember being three when my parents sat me down to talk about the tragedy of MLK's death. I remember having no concept of the importance of the moon landing (my parents were glued to the T.V. - I was pouting because I couldn't watch "The Big Valley")

    But luckily, the only time my grandmother enjoyed my company was when I would ask her about her childhood - she grew up in Chicago turn of the century - and we would sit for hours with her telling me stories. And my grandfather had gone through the 1937 Flint sit-down strike, and he would tell stories.

    But my favorite was a friend of mine, a fairly well known African-American Actor/Director (so I won't use his name, for privacy sake) who had a picture of him as a very young adult standing in between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King about an hour before the March on Washington. I took him out for coffee, and made him tell me three hours of "war stories" from the Civil Rights Movement. He then honored me by casting me as Michael Schwerner in a small piece about Philadelphia, MS, and then honored me again by casting me as the only caucasian male in a Martin Luther King Birthday Celebratrion he wrote and directed, and was televised nationally on cable outlets.

    Opera in a submarine LOL Imagine the acoustics! I don't know why directors have to muck up what works. I did a production of Macbeth set in the future. I don't think the Scotish Play ever received so many laughs...

    LPs - <sigh> the days when album covers were pieces of art.

    Back to the Second Innaugural - 29 years ago, when I first heard it, I started crying with the four words sentence - "And the war came." I could almost picture Lincoln's weary eyes tearing at that moment, with his voice cracking, and a collective silent prayer for forgiveness throughout the crowd.

    I truly think that, as a writer, at his best he rivaled Whitman.

    I've had in mind a play that takes place in a Civil War hospital late at night, where Whitman, working as a nurse, meets Lincoln, out on one of his famous midnight excursions... A what if... But it needs to be written by someone with a much greater gift for language...

  9. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    Just think if our children were taught this much about our country and it's hero's!!

    Instead they are being taught a little bit about every country, and never really learn about anything.
  10. Callum

    Callum New Member

    I have no issue with schools teaching about heroes from all cultures and countries. Unfortunately, though, so often so little effort is made to make the material engaging, relevant to today.

  11. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    What i see happening is that the go thur to much to fast and kids never really learn anything, because they don't have time to catch it!!

    I would like to see them slow down, and get more into less, yes, more engaging and relevant.

    And i must say, i think all heros are good, but i would like to see them emphasis there own country alittle bit.

    What i see them teach about our history seem to be only the bad stuff americans did, i would like to see more balance. They barely even touch on George Washington, who was an incredible man.

    Basically they teach over the tops of the kids heads at an incredible rate of speed!! You know, they got to make sure they meet all those Government standards, which leaves very little room for real teaching sadly.
  12. Callum

    Callum New Member

    The sad attempt to apply Henry Ford's assembly line standards to education...

    I think the problem your referring to, the "demonization" of all things American, is taking the "humanizing" of our heroes, and running the other way with it. Why can't people teach gray? Why does it have to be black or white? George Washington can be a great President, and STILL be a man who, although he hated the institution of slavery, chose not to liberate his own slaves until his death because of economy. Lincoln was my hero, but he was a man of his time, and racist (although he grew in perception of the black race, mainly through his wife's seamstress and confidant, Elizabeth Keckley, and the incomparable Frederick Douglass, he never managed anything more than embarrassing condescension towards Native Americans).

    But for some reason, they can't teach that great men, just like the rest of us, can be flawed. They either have to teach that they are untouchable gods among mortals, or that they are not worthy of our esteem.

    Maybe someday, Morningsonshine, they'll get it right, and people will be proud of their country while being able to admit their country can make mistakes.

    "Okay, Callum, step away from the soapbox..." :)
    [This Message was Edited on 12/22/2006]
  13. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    That was very good, and my own thought on such things. No matter how great, or how heroic, we are all human, and at times have flawed judgement, or mistakes.

    "But for some reason, they can't teach that great men, just like the rest of us, can be flawed. They either have to teach that they are untouchable gods among mortals, or that they are not worthy of our esteem."

    I think what partly makes them great is that they acted! They made choses about what they believed and and stuck it threw.
    Making history, of course you have a much better way with word, so i hope this makes sense??

    This "no child left behind" is exactly what i'm struggling with in our school, even the teachers are not pleased with were it's going.
    It is doomed to fail eventually, but in the mean time, my children are paying the price!

    It's very unrealistic.[This Message was Edited on 12/23/2006]
  14. larryh

    larryh New Member

    I am not nearly as eloquent nor do I have a command of the language that you two do, but I am an avid reader and a collector of old books. It is nearly enough to make me cry when I see what is being taught as history in our schools today. It has been sanitized and made politically correct to the point that many times the truth has been ignored altogether. I doubt that many of the children in school today would have any idea what you have been writing about in the previous posts. They might recognize a couple of names. Probably Washington, Lincoln, and that would be it. If a student today wants to learn the truth about American history, they have to do it on their own unless they have an exceptional teacher who is willing to buck the system.

  15. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    Jump right in! Even tho i think it's Rock's thread, where is he anyways??

    It will probably be a pretty slow day today, but this subject is near and dear to my heart with three kids struggling thur school.

    They have recently included in the Graduation standards that all children must take Algebra 2, physics, and chemistry. These class are not appropriate for every child, not all children are college bound. My son is in 7th grade, and over half the kids in his class fail the Science and english tests. Including my son, he keeps his grades at a C/B- by his daily work and extra credit.

    But, no child left behind! Yup!
  16. Callum

    Callum New Member

    I would go into an elementary school, and tag-team with a teacher in ways to use the arts as ways to explore the academics. We taught the issue of slavery by having the some of the children be slaves and pick cotton. When they start whining that the cotton is too low and they want to stand up because they're tired, and you say, "but that doesn't matter - you have no rights," it truly clarifies for them what it meant for a portion of the population to be chattel.

    We also taught sentence structure through mime; I worked with english-as-second-language students to explore the difference of similar words by doing statues. How does "anger" look as compared to "fury". What does "happy" look like compared to "joy". It's amazing how their tests scores and retention scores went through the roof! And yet, when we had a demonstration for the parents, more of them asked, "well, that's cute, but what about the real studies."

    Education is a process. We try to quantify it through a "score", and make children afraid to make mistakes (which, of course, is when real learning happens.)

    I teach acting at the college level semi-frequently. And I have a rule - any student who asks me what grade they are getting until the end of the class loses points. I teach them that they only way to get an "A" is to take the risk of failing by getting it wrong, but getting it wrong in a bold way.

    It takes them half the semester to get the hang of it, but by the time we're done, most of them are taking risks they never thought they would, and learning things about themselves they couldn't conceptualize before.

  17. morningsonshine

    morningsonshine New Member

    You sound like an exceptional teacher, who takes life into the class room.

    My oldest son is so afraid of trying and it's painful to see.

    He would learn very well your style, because he is a kinsetic learner (don't know if i spelled that right?)

    He dose not retain any of the book learning, and sad to say, and has disliked school since first grade!! It breaks my heart to watch him struggle and give up, and think he is stupid.

    And then go outside, and tenderly care for his goats, with no parent motivation, build his own tree fort with no help, complete with a crank up ladder, and bridge.

    Become a proficent hunter who cares very much about making clean shots, and does make clean shots, because he takes the time to practice; and supporting wildlife habitat.

    Yet, feels like he is a failure already at the age of 13.

    I've seen him pound his head against the table in frusteration and cry. And mean ole mom has to make him sit there and stick it out!

    [This Message was Edited on 12/23/2006]
  18. Callum

    Callum New Member

    It so important that he has a mother than knows that he is NOT stupid, and sees where is gifts are. If I were tudoring your son, I would focus on those strengths... Teach him geography by animals that are indigenous to specific areas. Teach him physics and geography through hunting. Perhaps, have him read Jack London and James Finnemore Cooper first. Knowledge is so often already IN the child - they just have to learn that they already know it. The fact your son knows how to hunt, and take care of his animals, shows he already has grasped concepts of math, social studies, perhaps even literature.

    But with class sizes of over thirty students per room, in which the teacher has a laundry list of things they have to complete because of the beurocracy (spelling - bad flare, please forgive). Truly, I don't want it to seem like I'm bashing teachers. So many of them go in with the highest of ideals and hopes of achievement, and the reality they are stuck with erodes at it, year by year.

    Has your son read "Call of the Wild" or "To Build a Fire"? How about "The Pathfinder"? These are books that he would find an interest in, and then if you could encourage him to talk to someone, tell them about the book, and why he liked it - Basically, that's a term paper! Just verbal!

    It sounds like your son is having a rough time of it, but the fact that you are not giving up on him, and are proud of him despite the fact he doesn't fit some cookie-cutter mold - that's invaluable. And you do this even with this DD!!! Bless you!

  19. larryh

    larryh New Member

    I have a son a lot like yours. He is 25 years old now and doing quite well in life working construction. School was torment for him because he has very little ability to learn from reading, but like your son he is great at learning by doing and watching. My wife, his step mother, was the one who saved him from the school system and convinced him he was not a dummy. Your son is lucky, because my son's real mother was ready to institutionalize my son and we had to go to court to get custody. Don't give up on your son. Be prepared to go to school and get in peoples faces about how your son is treated and what courses he takes. Most schools have alternative classes of some kind anymore. My son actually won a scholarship to the local community college even though he still could barely read a text book.


    PS: That little beauty is one of my grandchildren. I know you are not supposed to have favorites, but she has me wrapped around her little finger.
  20. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Found another recording at the Brand Library. Leslie Brand was a real estate agent, founding father of Glendale, Ca. 100 years ago. Main street in Glendale is Brand Blvd. (Glendale is next to Burbank.)

    Mr. Brand built a mansion in l906 in the Moorish style. Had his own air strip. There were no paved roads. Movie folks like Gloria Swanson used to fly in for parties.

    Today the grounds are a city park and the mansion is a library for art and music only. Got a CD there put out by the Air Force w/ a recording of the Lincoln Portrait narrated by Morgan Freeman.

    Mr. Freeman does a fine job, but nobody can match Carl Sandburg for me.

    Here's a little mixture of family and national history. In 1636 four Merrick boys left their family castle (because of the law of primogeniture) in Wales and came to to the New World. Thomas Merrick was a founder of Springfield, Massachusetts.

    In the 1760s Lieutenant Timothy Merrick was bitten by a rattlesnake on Springfield Mountain. He died and a song, said to be the first original American folk song, was written about the event. It has been recorded by Leadbelly, Berl Ives, etc.

    The opening notes are G,C,E, and back to the original G. These are the first 4 notes of a Lincoln Portrait and form a recurring theme in Lincoln Portrait.

    As I posted once before, I think, one of the Merricks was working at the front desk of the National Hotel the day Lincoln was shot. He gave Boothe pen and paper. Boothe wrote a letter explaining his motive, but the fellow actor he gave the letter to destroyed it.

    Flavia Merrick, a descendant of Thomas, married Alonzo Daniels. Alonzo and Flavia's son Herbert Alonzo Daniels was born when Lincoln was President. Herbert was my grandfather, and my granddaughter is a 12th generation American.

    If you search for On Springfield Mountain you can find the words.

    The above address will take you to a site that will play the tune.

    History is just around the corner.

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