It may be important to note that over on her very own photoblog, Maggie has released a set of toothbrushing selfies
We are four months away from Maggie’s first day of school – real school, that is, as opposed to nursery school. Recently, I seem to be reading a lot of articles about overzealous notes sent home with children and/or sent to parents.
Maybe this is a new thing. More likely, I’ve skimmed past these for years, and it is only since we have received confirmation of Maggie’s school a couple of weeks ago that I’ve actually noticed them.
So this recent one is a dire warning about Instagram. It has a straw man argument about the Instagram terms of service, and then goes on to imply that:
a) The internet (well, instagram, in this case) is an unhealthy place for children, and
b) Good parents should shelter their children from the world instead of prepare them for it.
The first one, I understand. For many people tasked with raising children, the internet is strange and unfathomable — after all, when I started university, there was no Google, no Yahoo!, no PayPal, no Hotmail. And I am a parent of a four-year-old. School administrators can quite easily be my age (but understandably less web-savvy), or older (and even more understandably less web-savvy).
Fear of the unknown is common. And the belief that new technology is causing moral decay in the new generation dates back at least as far as the written word.
The second one just gets my goat.
I mean, I get it. I get the people who don’t have kids — or even those who have them, but aren’t, you know, professionals responsible for the care and development of children — and look at particular situations and say ‘you should have taken more care there.’ Hindsight is great.
And I can understand the group of parents who give in to fear, and must protect the children at all costs.
But how in the world can a person dedicated to educating young people promote an agenda of avoidance over preparedness?
Or, more greedily, what can I do when I encounter this? Because I do not doubt what I would do. I read that letter, and I wonder — do I write back? Call the school? Visit the head teacher? Try to change schools?
I believe that kids will pick up the culture from their environment. This means that good parenting is most often setting a good example, and less often the lessons you intend to set. (Also: remember that kids notice more than you think they do.) And it means that the general approach and philosophy of a school is more important than the ability of any given teacher.
Can a school that prefers sheltering children to preparing them really succeed at the latter?
Methinks this is a hypothetical puzzle that will receive a lot of brain time …
I have long been a ‘beard-in-theory’ man. That is to say, I have long been of the opinion that beards are awesome. Until such time as that beard is growing on my face.
When a beard appears upon my face, it does unwanted things. It itches. It gets bedraggled and sweaty underneath my fencing mask. And it becomes unruly — I am honestly bad at maintaining a beard to a reasonable, professional aesthetic standard.
In late January, I had a short, busy work week. It was followed by a four day weekend. By the time my holiday was over, it had been ten days without shaving, and I had the making of a beard.
I like your beard, Daddy.
Apparently I was going to make another attempt at living bearded.
It is now two weeks later. The itching has subsided, and I have yet to make a grooming mistake that made me say ‘fuck it’. I have not fenced in these two weeks. And I am now in Atlanta, where I have never not been asked for identification when buying beer. Until today.
In my younger days, when I grew a beard, it would have some ginger hairs in it. Today, these have gone full albino. I appear to appear older with a beard than I do without.
That’s another strike against you, beard. I don’t trust you.
I was walking back to the hotel after lunch today, pondering my identification-free meal, and figured that there are a number of lessons that I’ve learned today:
Strangely, I’m having a pretty good day.
Last night, Karen and I went on a date. A brief, glorious date. We went to see Tango Fire, which I can now heartily recommend.
Early on in the show, the four-piece was on stage, without any of the dancers or the singer. They were playing furiously. Three of them were leaned in, staring furiously at their sheet music. The fourth one probably was as well. Or she may have been very expressive, facially. I’m not sure, as I could hardly see her behind the giant stand between her and the audience for the sheet music.
And I couldn’t help wondering why musicians on stage
need want are allowed have a tradition of playing by sight.
The dancers, of course, didn’t come out with a sheaf of paper listing the moves they had to make, and the order in which they had to make them.
The singer did not have a libretto, or sheet music, for the songs in which he sung.
If it had been a play, the actors would not have been carrying around their scripts.
If it had been a rock concert, the musicians would not have been staring at sheet music.
So why are musicians at a live performance — particularly in a situation like this, when there are only four of them on the stage, in front of the audience there to see them play — traditionally given sheet music?
Asking questions on the Internet is becoming less and less interesting, it seems. Every question has been asked, and internet users have given their answers. Many answers are terrible, but today we stumbled on some that were not.
In this case, Google directs me to this thread on Reddit, which is about orchestras, but otherwise identical.
The top answer gives good guidelines for why this is done for entire orchestras — the relationship between the composer’s vision, conductor’s vision, and the complexity of the piece have led to the adoption of the convention.
In short, it seems like sheet music should be unnecessary for a group of four musicians who are familiar with each other, and playing the same set of pieces each night for several weeks. It shouldn’t be any harder than the dancers mastering their dances.
Of course, the dances weren’t exactly easy to master, I would think.
Go see Tango Fire, and try to ignore the fact that their staring so intently at the sheet music.
Image borrowed from The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. They credit “Tango Fire” with the image. Apparently the Tango Fire people get around.