Monday, February 25, 2002

When I was a little girl, my parents took me on a tour of the White House. I vividly recall being able to name the room we were about to enter before the tour guide mentioned it and finding even the paintings on the wall familiar. That experience has been one of the strongest instances of deja vu I have ever experienced. It was, to say the least, a very disconcerting experience.

Duane found this article that offered a possible neurological explanation for deja vu:

"Among the quasi-scientific explanations, what might be called the split-image school holds that two parts of the brain participate simultaneously in the process of perception. If for some reason the impression from part A arrives in one's consciousness out of sync with the impression from part B, one has the sensation of experiencing the the thing twice.

Others explain déjà vu by analogy to a tape recorder. They propose that memory storage is accomplished by means of a "recording head" and memory recall by a "playback head." During déjà vu the two heads are erroneously situated above the same bit of mental blank tape. An experience is thus recorded and remembered simultaneously, with the result that the present is experienced as the past."

Skeptics, you have been vindicated. Alas, the "past lives" theory seems to have been successfully invalidated. Too bad. I was hoping I may have been Cleopatra in a past life. I would have loved to have worn all that eye makeup.

Sunday, February 24, 2002

I was shocked today to find that Marilyn Vos Savant in her column in Parade magazine addressed homeschooling. I shouldn't have been surprised by her answer. She irritates me on a more consistent basis than Abby and Ann. The question in her column was "My husband and I are thinking about homeschooling. Do you recommend it?" She responded with some pretty typical pagan answers. What frustrated me the most was her comment that "If homeschooling were institutionalized, half of the youthful potential of Americans would go unfulfilled. Say that a bright young parent sacrifices a rewarding career to stay home and teach the children. When those children grow up, would half of them...also sacrifice their potential to stay home and teach their own children? ...Maybe homeschoolers can justify this loss. If so, please write...I hope to hear why it may prove to be a success."


Saturday, February 23, 2002

"books i'm reading" means I own the books and they are in my basket next to the bed waiting to be read. The problem is that I find I don't have the mental energy at night to get through much of any of them. Do any of you other stay-at-home Moms have this problem? It seems like once Bailey goes down for a nap, it takes everything I have to clean the apartment and get all my chores done. When I can finally sit down after dinner, I have a serious inability to get motivated to read any book that requires me to have a dictionary on one leg and the book on the other. I am trying hard to forge ahead with the Greek curriculum but I find it harder each day to see the finish line. I only have eight lessons left to type plus supplemental vocabulary and the reading passages. Thinking about typing all that Greek makes me tired.

Thanks for listening. I feel better already. :)
I just came back from a public school District Band Festival where I accompanied music students of varied ages and abilities.

What distressed me so much was not only the lack of preparation on the part of the students (some told me they just sight-read their piece for the first time last Thursday), but also the lack of professionalism in their performances. When I was in elementary and middle school, my teachers instilled in me a sense of pride for performing with professional stature, even if my playing wasn't advanced.

I was taught to stand up when I played (pianists, cellists, and tubists excluded). I was taught to hold my instrument up high so that I was standing upright looking forward. I was taught to adjust the stand to my eye-level so that I did not have to look down to see the music. I was taught NEVER to tap or stomp my foot with the rhythm of the music. These are simple things that make all the difference when performing. Some of the students did not play well, but their posture was straight, they had the music stands at eye-level, and you knew by watching their body language that they were doing their best. Others who could have done much better slouched, stomped their feet, and just looked like they did not to want to be there.

I could rant and rave about this being a problem unique to public school music programs, but it isn't. Granted, problems like this - lack of respect for attempting and achieving levels of success - are rampant in public schools. But I think that this is a problem that pervades every aspect of our relativist culture. Why care to do your best when you do not believe that you are doing everything to the glory of God? Why try at all?

My aggravation intensified when an adjudicator told me that there was a quota for the district students to advance to the All-State Orchestra. A quota? That means that a certain number of students were guaranteed a chair in the All-State Orchestra because of where they live. Everybody's a winner. Everybody gets something. Some get something for nothing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Another thing...(now that I have this blog thing going, I can't stop!)...I am trying to come up with exercises for my Latin students. Why is it that all the sentences I come up with are so inane, like "The farmer runs toward the plants of the victorious poet" and "The daughters overcome the vices of the evil foreign king"? I think I'll just have my students work through "Winne Ille Pu," a modern translation of "Winnie the Pooh." At least Latin onomatopoeia is fun. The key is never take yourself too seriously that the image of a fat Roman farmer running toward some shrubbery doesn't just tie you up in knots laughing. Well, at least the shrubbery part...which makes me think of a herring...and knights. Say, did he ever find the shrubbery? I don't recall ever seeing the herring again, either...
I've been following hotdogblog's quest for excellence in running. Good job! In my younger...thinner...days, I trained for the Marine Corps marathon. I ran 19 miles one day, threw up, then passed out, and decided marathons were for absolute obsessive-compulsives. Who else could torture themselves like that, just to tell everyone they ran without stopping for FOUR HOURS?

All that to say I'm envious, and to this day, I really do wish I had run in the marathon. Just to say I ran without stopping for four hours! Good job, hotdogblog. Keep it up!
What is the deal with the harmonizations in the new (Red) Trinity Hymnal? Comparing the old (Blue) to the new (Red), I see that they have really distorted some of the inner-voice harmonies. Any opinions?
I think I'd like to have a contest to come up with better words to fit "SPQR." Simiae Proretaeque Romanae? See what you can come up with. Let me know.

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