Saturday, June 26, 2010

Crossmen, "Full Circle"

This evening Evie and I took in the DCI show that took place at Wakefield HS in Arlington. Though the seating was packed and parking was a challenge for those who did not arrive more than 90 minutes before the show, the show itself was very good and entertaining. We cannot wait to see how the performances will improve over the next month.

From work on Friday we traveled to Bowie MD where the Crossmen were staying. We caught them rehersing and the run through. As you can see from the first photo the field in Bowie was in rough shape and dusty. We visited with Josh for 5 minutes and gave him a care package before he had to run off for a shower (they are given assigned times).

Below are pictures from the Arlington show. Josh is in each picture. In the first he is in the center of the the second he is the one moving.

In the above and below picture he is in center of the picture but in the back beside the contra-base.

Evie and I enjoyed the Crossmen show. We really enjoyed the show from two years ago entitled "Planet X". We think this year's show, "Full Circle" is stronger and more entertaining than "Plantet X".

We did not get to see Josh today...we did not expect to do so with the crowds and all the logistics that take place. Seeing him before is impossible as they are warming up and remained focused on show preperation. Catching him after a show is most difficult as they are packing equipment and getting ready to leave.

We head out on a camping trip in the morning. We delayed heading out of town to see the DCI show.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Co-opting of Language

The primary meaning of a word can evolve over decades so that a primary definition in one age becomes a secondary in another with a new primary understanding. An example of that is “faggot”, a word that transitioned in the 1950s and 60s to have a new primary meaning and then transition out from common communication in the 1990s. The word’s historical meaning referred to small branches and sticks that one gathered to start or keep a fire going. By the mid 60s the word was used as a derogatory term to refer to a person who was gay. Due to its derogatory nature, it moved out of polite conversation and then out of acceptable conversation in the 1990s and today is rarely used.

In the past year I have become increasingly concerned about the co-opting of a word in such a manner that the word itself is in the process of being redefined in the United States. The word is, “patriot,” which is a word that means one who loves, supports and defends one’s country. The word is being co-opted by the right wing of the conservative movement in such a way that it is implied, and sometimes outright stated, that if you do not agree with their view that you are not a patriot. In other words, if you do not agree with their social and political agenda then you may well be a traitor.

One’s passion for one’s country can take various expressions. In the United States democratic processes and freedom of expression are highly valued. People are encouraged to debate, to disagree passionately with each other in a civil manner as it helps strengthen ideas, allow its citizens to arrive at a more informed decision, and in the process build a better society and nation. Accepting and encouraging widely differing perspectives, and all points in between, are not only welcome but are the safeguards against tyranny of a single viewpoint and the expectation that all will adhere to that one viewpoint such as is found in tyrannical monarchies and dictatorships.

A person who is far removed from my social and political viewpoint can be just as patriotic as those who agree with me. Though opinions differ, through the exchange and debating of ideas, each of us is ardently fighting in a civil manner to build a better and stronger nation. Hence, my alarm over the co-opting of “patriot” by a political movement that implies by the use of “patriot” that only they are correct and those who disagree with them do not love, support and defend their country. The co-opting of the term brings subtle and not so subtle pressure to conform to that movement’s point of view. The co-opting of the term and its ongoing association with a narrow set of political ideas means that in the coming years, and for the coming generations patriot will no longer mean being a lover, supporter and defender of one’s country but as one who holds a defined set of political doctrines. If we were all to be patriots in keeping with how the term is being used and its implied meaning, the United States will have moved towards the tyranny of a single mindset which the nation rebelled against in 1776.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Photocopier and Security of Private Information

Scarry thoughts about photocopiers. Check this link out.;contentBody

Monday, June 14, 2010

Family News

After a busy Spring my schedule is settling down. There were stretches where I was in the office only one day in ten. For the next month I will be more or less in the office four or five days a week.

We have been so busy that it was not until ten days ago that we pulled the cover off the RV and took it out of storage. It has had its annual Virginia inspection. Now we have to clean it up and air it out before going out.

This past weekend, Josh flew back from Texas for 36 hours. Oakton High School's Symphonic Band was debuting "Atlantic Odyssey". Alum who performed "Hymn of the Highlands" in 08 were invited to participate in the first performance of the work. About 20 alum, give or take one or two, returned for the playing of "Highlands" before debuting "Odyesey". The crowd was strong and the music the band's performance was strong indeed.

Once again Josh made the Dean's list. Starting in September he will be attending George Mason which is a few miles from home. Their music program has become a top quality program in the last five years. Attending Mason means he will have a stronger student teaching experience in a northern Virginia school (Louisianna high schools are amongst the worse in the country) and will better position him to get a teaching position in VA.

Josh is inheriting Evie's convertible. This had been planned for over two and a half years. Evie and I are in the process of short listing the desired models. Initially we had some two seat convertibles on our short list but with Josh living a home a used two seater is out. So the Nissan Z, Audi TT and Honda 2000 are no longer being given consideration. The Prius has also been eliminated...not sure that it is a comfortable vehicle for a long distant road trip.

The Crossmen will be performing twice this season in our area, in Arlington at the beginning of the season on 26 June and at George Mason in Fairfax in early August. Hence we will get to see the show in its early and late forms. Business responsibilities will preventing us from attending the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis.

Josh says that the show this year has them at points moving at a 240 beat rate. I found this little clip on Youtube. The clip is of learning the drill and gives a glimpse of that pace. To this they will add the music.

Memorial Weekend Jonathan and Maggie had an engagment party at Fair Lakes Park. This week they are with Maggie's parents enjoying the shores of the Outer Banks.

On 27 June we will be taking a week's vacation in Maryland. We are staying at to MD state parks...Cunningham Falls and then Greenbrier. We will be back home for two weeks before we take another week's vacation.

We have yet to decide where we will go for a week's vacation in September. We may not settle on a location until mid to late August.

Denise and Erma have received a new appointment...York PA. This appointment brings them to within a half hour of Evie's mother and step-father. I know Mom and Paul are happy that they will be so close. Evie and I are looking forward to seeing them frequently too.

I am happy that Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, and the Hersey Bears the Calder for the second year in a row (Hersey is the Washington Capitals farm team).

Friday, June 04, 2010

Why Are Evangelicals Silent

Within a few decades of the American Revolution, the American political environment has gone through cycles of intense animosity and division. The bitterness ahead of the election of Thomas Jefferson and during the Andrew Jackson era are particularly notable periods if division. Of course the most divisive period was the fifteen years before the start of the civil war. America has cycled back to age of nastiness and where doing anything to gain political advantage over the other is viewed as expedient, justifiable and rationalized as good for the country as it keeps the enemy out of power, or frustrates the enemy’s legislative agenda.

As evidence by the governor’s race in South Carolina, the nastiness has spilled into internal politics where Nikki Haley is running against Andre Bauer. Haley, a woman who converted to Christianity from the Sikh religion has been called a “raghead” and her conversion many years ago questioned as been part of a great subterfuge to put a Sikh into the governor’s mansion. Out of respect for her parents, Haley occasionally attends Sikh ceremonies for which she has been criticized.

To undermine her credibility, without offering any proof two men have come forward saying that they had affairs with her. Innuendos and the subterfuge claim are intended to undermine her credibility. She denies the charges and though there is no evidence Bauer has outlandishly argued that she should take a lie detector test.

The party which proclaims to be the family value party and cries for honesty frequently turns to such tactics such as unfounded character attacks, use of derogatory terms, subterfuge, obfuscation and other negative attacks as a tool to destroy an opponent. And this from the party that aligns itself with the Christian Right and the Christian Right staunchly supports. What is further unfortunate about the Christian Right is that they not only remain silent on the use of such tactics, or say “that is them but not us,” the evangelical community is often the tool being used to help spread such attacks rather than being a tool to criticize their use.

Evangelicals should not be silent, but they are. Where is the outrage? Just as they were silent on the abuses and unethical actions of the Bush administration, evangelical leaders and pastors by enlarge remain silent. To those outside the church's influence it appears that they support the telling of lies and unethical attacks and conduct. It says to the world that religious beliefs take second place to helping their person get elected.