Life in the Pit (Part I)

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violin-player-1565772The young mother worried as she made her way to the teacher conference. Her third grade son’s violin instructor had asked her “if she had time to talk.” As a teacher herself, the boy’s mom knew what this meant. She had already begun to imagine various excuses she could offer. “I try everything to get him to practice, but he’s more interested in listening to football with his father.” “His first choice was to play the trumpet, but the school’s music people said he didn’t have the right lips.” “Actually, he really wanted to play the drums, but we thought it would be too loud.”

Most of all she worried about her son. It was her first. With another son following only 15 months behind and now a baby daughter, she realized what every parent realizes at this point – she and her husband were outnumbered. Was she spending too much time with her youngest at the expense of her oldest? She had witnessed such downward spirals first hand in the students she taught. Was she becoming the mother she, in her own role as teacher, once haughtily disdained?

She was about to find out.Continue Reading “Life in the Pit (Part I)”

I’ll Have One for the Road and Two for the Sea

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And let me the canakin clink, clink,
And let me the canakin clink.
A soldier’s a man;
A life’s but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink.
– Othello

The reason James Fenimore Cooper strode into Hustler’s Tavern has disappeared into the hazy mists of history. By 1821, his life had been less than pristine. Kicked out of
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Yale after three years as a trouble-maker (he blew up a classmate’s door), the son of a (probably embarrassed) Congressman who founded the City of Cooperstown did what any other lost teenager trying to find himself did in the early eighteenth century – he joined the Merchant Marine.1

Perhaps he remembered his earlier, albeit brief, stay in the Niagara Frontier just before the War of 1812.2 Serving mostly overseas, he saw some of his best crewmates taken from their ships and forced to serve aboard British warships against Napoleonic France. Like the rest of America, he detested Continue Reading “I’ll Have One for the Road and Two for the Sea”

Day 19 – December 2, 2009 (Wed): Try a Different Sequence

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Start of Day Twitter Stats: Follow: 112 Followers: 97 Listed: 5

Missed yesterday? Go here to read what happened on Day 18 – December 1, 2009 (Tue): Start Putting Your Tweets Together

twitter_power_joel_comm_150Remember @BPOrchestra? A couple of days ago they followed me, I followed back and then they unfollowed me. On Monday I sent them an @ message. As I assumed based on their tweet updates, it took them a day to get back to me. When they did they were very apologetic. They followed again (and I followed back). They even offered me two free tickets. I respectably declined (wouldn’t want the FCC on my case!). But seriously, they are a non-profit, after all, and I am sympathetic to cyber-mistakes, having committed my fair share. But, let’s not dwell on mistakes. Let’s reveal a little gossip.

Continue Reading “Day 19 – December 2, 2009 (Wed): Try a Different Sequence”