I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

February 22, 2012 - 10:44 a.m.

Where the Wilde Things Are

I'm starting this 37 minutes late for no reason other than Chronklepts. Some says they win.

Yesterday they did a good job too. I had to stop at the library before school to return a book and didn't anticipate having to wait to use the book return machine. It was having issues so there was a line. I got to school 20 minutes before class but then still had trouble getting ready in time. I had to print out a quiz. I have my own computer now so that shouldn't have been an issue but it was. The cleaning people decided to make things easier for themselves by tying all the wires coming from computer in a knot behind it. My keyboard couldn't reach to the front where I could use it. I had to untangle the spaghetti. The cleaners are there for support but come to see their needs as superior to the people they are there to support. More typically that attitude comes from administration.

There are still students in class giving me trouble. They won't pay attention and they won't keep quiet. I was trying to explain why something was important and got mocked. The mocker didn't see what was wrong with what he did. I didn't lose my temper or raise my voice. I was glad about that. I tried to explain how this was important for them. That they have to learn how to learn and that they have to learn how to behave like adults. I told them that if they can't I'll let them withdraw from the class passing but that they can't stay in the class and pass if they continue to act like second graders.

That seemed to have a salutatory effect on the rest of the class and things went far better after that. Im just afraid there won't be any carry over. I should not have to deal with this. I teach in college for god's sake. Don't they want to learn?

Part of the problem is that the college population has changed tremendously over time. There was a time when people went to college because they wanted to go to college. Now it's been drilled into them that it's an economic necessity. It isn't compulsory but it feels like it is to them. They aren't there to learn. They are there to make money later in their life. They don't see the link between learning and making money.

One of the better students, one who makes a real effort came up to me after class and asked about what I expected them to do on a worksheet I sent them for homework. The instructions were, "Expand the following expressions using the identities. Do no multiply out! " The title of the worksheet was : "Quadratic and Cubic Identities Worksheet."

You'd think it was obvious to use the identities. It wasn't. She didn't realize that was what she should do. This happens every year when I ask questions like this. What's missing? I actually showed them in class what I wanted. It's the way I do every problem. It's what I was trying to explain is important. She isn't stupid and she wasn't trying to be difficult. What we have here is failure to communicate and as the communicator it is my job to figure out how to do a better job. It doesn't do any good for me to pull my hair out and say "how can anyone not understand that?"

After school I stopped by Trader Joe's again. I like this. I am not going to go on a major shopping expedition this week. I'll just pick up things I need after school. Yesterday I got Trader Joe's chicken broth among other things. I got a 32 oz container for $2. At Key Food I paid $1.50 for a 14.5 oz can.

I bought it to make the bacon and potato soup again. Except this time I substituted breakfast sausages which I can just microwave for the bacon. It was still amazingly good and I'm still addicted to it. I can pretty much eat that every day. Good thing as I make a two day supply at a time and I have to make it again in 7 to 10 days because that's how long the broth lasts after the container has been opened. No way I'll hold out that long. I bet I make it in three or four days.

On the way home I stopped at the library again. Only the foyer was open in the morning. I couldn't take a book out. I went to the classics section and chose The Red Badge of Courage by Stephan Crane. I'll start that today.

I don't think I ever mentioned what I just finished, The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde. Have any of My Gentle Readers read that? How about you Aden? He wrote these for his children. It is kept in the children's section of the library. I'm not sure that's where it belongs. These stories are disturbing, extremely disturbing. They remind me of the songs Eric Schwartz wrote to screw kids up. Striking Twelve is largely about how depressing the story of the The Little Match Girl is. The least depressing Wilde fairy tale went far beyond that. The pain is heaped on gratuitously. One story, The Young King was relatively uplifting. It was about a child king that loves and is only concerned with beauty and being surrounded by beautiful things. He has a series of dreams showing him the horrible suffering that people went through to get him his jewels and robes. He learns his lesson and dedicates himself to helping the poor. Sounds good right? Then it adds that he only lived a few years after that and the next king was evil. Wilde gets you emotionally involved with the king then kills him off and undoes all his good works. Why?

None of which is to say that it's a bad book. It's a great book. Books aren't moral or immoral they are well or poorly written and it is well written, a work of genius. It just isn't a book most children would be happy with.

I actually made some progress in cleaning my apartment last night. I reclaimed my kitchen table. It had been covered with things that needed to be thrown out. For some reason I find it hard to take the paper to be recycled across the hall to the trash closet. I'm making an effort to simply bring more stuff out than I bring in every day till it's all gone. I have strange issues, strange even to me.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile February 22, 2012
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