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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-198


         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 198

                  Thursday, 20 July 2000

Topics:

                    Styx stynx, but...
                  Oops, I did it again!
           here's a band name, come and get it!
       Beans, beans, they're good for yer heart...
                     List indulgences
                Slight defense of Britney
                        5 cds eh?
                 As sure as pigs can fly
             Bands that I like other than XTC
                        Rickie Lee
            The Disappointed/Another Satellite
                    thank you Jeasus!!
                   Insert Subject Here
                     original members
                Where was Topper Headin'?
                    martian chronicles
               Fano Guitars Website Update
               long post on the young types

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No telling where she learn the things she do to me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 12:45:52 -0700
From: Ed Kedzierski <ed.kedzierski@blvdmedia.com>
Subject: Styx stynx, but...
Message-ID: <08B5DDC2BABCD311BFC6005004A884B013B75B@mgcservices.com>

In 6-195, Rob Carson said:
I dare anybody to say ANYTHING good about Styx.

Well, "Mr. Roboto" does have it's uses in a "bad-funny" sort of way.
Especially if you're very drunk and there's at least one person present who
has no capacity for the whole "bad-funny" sort of thing, and you can dance
around laughing at the lyrics while s/he begs you to stop playing it...

Someone has to know what I mean...
Ed K.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 17:56:02 -0400
From: MinerWerks <dminer@gte.net>
Subject: Oops, I did it again!
Message-ID: <a04310103b59bc79f831e@[63.17.229.65]>

James Ferrell suggested in digest #6-195:

>(1) Bands that peaked with their first release.
>
>Liz Phair (though I like her second, Whip Smart, a whole lot)

Have you heard whitechocolatespaceegg? I liked that one a great deal
(a heckuva lot more than Whip Smart). I wouldn't put her down for the
count yet.

>The Monkees (though I like Pisces, Aquarius... a lot)

Sure, it's arguably the best "Monkees" album, but how to address the
dichotomy of their original and reinvented personas? I personally
take the view that The Monkees existed as "A Band" for all of two
albums ("Headquarters" and "Pisces"). Their releases before and after
are mostly other people's work with the Monkees name and vocals on
it. The distinguishing factor is that AFTER "Pisces," they chose the
material themselves and therefore it was savagely self-indulgent.

>(2) Bands that peaked with their last release.
>
>This is much tougher.  My nominees include--
>
>The Beatles (yeah, I love Revolver and Rubber Soul and Sgt Pepper's
>and A Hard Day's Night and the White Album and almost all the rest,
>but like George Martin, I think their swan song may well have been
>their best).

Similar to the Monkees, I feel the Beatles work is more like a bell
curve. But in this case, I arrived at my conclusion academically.
I've read several critiques of the Beatles' work, and I agree with
those who chart an upward creative progress to Sgt. Pepper and then
take them downward to the end. For some reason, this seems right to
me. I chalk it up to their declining ability to self-edit themselves
(pre-Pepper, only "Wait" was resuscitated after being rejected, but
all the outtakes from Pepper were handed over to the "Yellow
Submarine" people; the late 1967 sessions of the Beatles are rife
with unreleasable jam sessions) and the diverging spirit of their
work. I know many people will disagree with me, but I think Abbey
Road shows the Beatles giving in to some musical trends that I find
annoying in a lot of post-Beatles rock. I once read a commentary that
slagged "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" as the harbinger of bloated
70s guitar rock. That's an inflamatory statement, but one I thought
was pretty much right. I'm much more impressed with the solo acoustic
demo that Harrison recorded. If the Beatles had done one more album,
I'm darn near certain their stature would be less in my eyes.

>
>Other suggestions?

Okay, for "peaked with their first release":

  Frank Black
  Sugar
  Oasis
  Self
  some might say Jellyfish
  although I don't know much about 'em, I've heard this about The Stone Roses
  Spin Doctors?

As for "peaked with their last release":

  The Breeders (unless there's still a chance of a new disc)
  Belly
  that dog.

= Derek "my subjectivity has been compromised" Miner

P.S. What's up with my sudden burst of verbosity? Beats me... perhaps
that St. John's Wort does increase mental clarity?

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 15:43:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: brown <mb2@deltanet.com>
Subject: here's a band name, come and get it!
Message-ID: <200007192243.PAA08006@mail2.deltanet.com>

I always thought this would be a great band name-

Dr. Heckle and Mr. Chide

Debora Brown

(to J and anyone else who wonders) 'Norwegian below the waist' simply means
that the man can't dance-

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 18:54:23 EDT
From: "Kevin Diamond" <kev_boy@hotmail.com>
Subject: Beans, beans, they're good for yer heart...
Message-ID: <LAW-F191S0g9S83w4bn00000756@hotmail.com>

Captain Beanheart penned:
>Im New to the list.  I love xtc. Their are some bands I hate.
>
>Aerosmith hairpeace jaggernot
>carly smarmy moose
>marshall lawyer paternity todd
>chowder party?
>
>the Capt

*Sniff* *Sniff* those are two of the most beautiful Haiku's I've ever
read... *sniff* excuse me...

Sarah D:
>And am I the only teenager on here?

Nope! Me Too! Me Too! And I know there's a few others out there too. So tell
me, how exactly did YOU mannage to break through the teenage wasteland of
popular music and find XTC?

I had the song Baba O'Reily stuck in my head all day today.

Richard: Bands to check out if you haven't already: The Eels. Holy Slimy
Water Creatures Batman, these (this) Guys (guy) are (is) incredible! It's
really mostly just one guy, E. But his friend Butch helps him out on drums.
Buy their album Daisies of the Galexy or Electro Shock Blues. They are both
two incredible albums, with two different moods. Daisies is more upbeat,
wheras Electro Shock is a little more sad...  :'(

My Alien Spaceship Trip Top Ten  (try that 10 times fast):
Xtc - AV1
They Might Be Giants - Lincoln
Talking Heads - Remain in Light
The Eels - Daisies of the Galaxy
Joe Jackson - Heaven and Hell

Wow. That was dificult. Depending on the mood, of course, Black Sea could
substitute for AV1. Or Appolo 18 for Lincoln. Or Stop Making Sense for
Remain in Light. Or Electro-Shock Blues for Daisies. Or Night and day for...
well, you get the idea. Pretty much, those are the 5 bands that, if you
forced me to choose my five favorite bands ever, would win the top 5 spots.

After listening to my Nick Drake CD, I have to say that Belle and Sebastian
IS the reincarnation or Nick Drake.

That article on the Millionare Soundtrack was hilarious, and the XTC
refernece was a nice treat! Yay!

And you might say that I'm a moron. And I say to you........... yes-BUT! I'm
a moron with a dream. And that, my friends, is the most dangerous kind of
moron. I thank you.

Kevin Diamond

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 15:20:10 -0700
From: Ed Kedzierski <ed.kedzierski@blvdmedia.com>
Subject: List indulgences
Message-ID: <08B5DDC2BABCD311BFC6005004A884B013B75E@mgcservices.com>

Uncool as it may be (I know how much some of you hate this kind of thing), I
can't resist jumping into the latest rounds of listy things...

My "alien abduction five":
1.	English Settlement
2.	The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
3.	Casino Royale soundtrack
4.	The Jam -  Snap! (a hypothetical one where all the tracks off the
original double vinyl appear on the CD version instead of being edited into
"Compact Snap")
5.	The Beatles - White Album

XTC fave songs per album:
White Music: Into the Atom Age (though I like the guy who had the balls to
say "Do What You Do")
GO2: Meccanic Dancing
Drums & Wires: Day In, Day Out; Scissor Man (tie)
Black Sea: No Language In Our Lungs
English Settlement: Knuckle Down, Snowman (tie)
Mummer: Me & the Wind
Big Express: You're the Wish You Are I Had
25 O'Clock: What In the World
Skylarking: the Meeting Place
Psonic Psunspot: Brainiac's Daughter
Oranges & Lemons: One of the Millions, Garden of Earthly Delights (tie)
Nonsuch: Then She Appeared
AV1: Easter Theatre (still)
Wasp Star: Wheel & the Maypole

Others (compilations, etc.)
Rag & Bone: Extrovert, Too Many Cooks, Punch & Judy (tie again)
Fossil Fuel: This is Pop, Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down (why don't more
people like this song?)
Homespun: River of Orchids
I'll have to get back to you on the Dub Experiments...

Thanks for your patience...
Ed K.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 15:14:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: Misty Shock <mccrtny@scn.org>
Subject: Slight defense of Britney
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.96.1000719150113.5962C-100000@scn>

I ain't claiming that Britney is any kind of genius, or even that she has
loads of talent; however, it's worth noting that "Baby, Hit Me One More
Time" was voted the number 97 best song ever written in the latest Mojo
magazine.  Of course, these lists are hardly much good, but it is evidence
that some people out there think it's a very good song.  Fran Healy from
Travis was among the people who listed it as one of his favorite songs.
To paraphrase Dave in the Play At Home video, it's not so easy to write a
hit; if it was, everybody would be doing it.  I know that she didn't write
any of her songs, but the hint of quality in her songs does add a little
more substance to the Britney phenomenon.

As far as XTC content, Andy is one of the songwriters who voted on this
poll, though he wasn't among the highlighted songwriters who got a little
piece written about them.  He is, however, quoted in the bit about "I Say
A Little Prayer for You."  It was also mentioned that the choices (ie,
favorite songs) of each person would be posted on the website in the
future.

Misty

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 15:16:57 -0700
From: David Hathaway <davidh@electricmail.com>
Subject: 5 cds eh?
Message-ID: <4.3.2.7.2.20000719151315.00b60e90@aka1.electric.net>

Oooo, to pick a mere five cds to travel with...

1] XTC - Wasp Star
	Truth be told, I'd probably get a walkman that plays MP3s so I could
fit'em all on one CD. SO hard to choose a favorite, but, I'm still stupidly
happy of WS

2] Fishbone - Truth and Soul
	Well, ya gotta dance out there doncha?

3] Thomas Dolby - Aliens Ate My Buick
	"my brain is like a sieve..."

4] XTC - Skylarking

5] XTC - Oranges and Lemons

Very tough choice to make, but, thats what in my current heavy rotation.

David Hathaway                                  davidh@electricmail.com
The Electric Mail Company                         +1 (604) 482-1111

Dogbert: Has your electronic mail system made you more efficient?
Dilbert: In a way... Now I'm getting ignored at the speed of light.
                                                 -- Scott Adams

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 19:41:57 +0000
From: Scott Barnard <gforsche@videotron.ca>
Subject: As sure as pigs can fly
Message-ID: <"000901bff1b9$669d6ca0$1c1cc918"@oemcomputer.videotron.ca>

Rob in Carson presents a challenge:

<< I dare anybody to say ANYTHING good about Styx >>

They reintroduced the pageboy cut to a grateful public.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 16:43:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: James Reimer <halo_sugar@yahoo.com>
Subject: Bands that I like other than XTC
Message-ID: <20000719234309.9113.qmail@web1606.mail.yahoo.com>

XTC is far and away my favorite band/songwriting
outfit of all time, but I consider myself pretty
well-rounded in the musical realm, and for the person
who wrote about other pop bands that I would suggest,
here is a list.  Of course it's not all pop, because I
lost definition of what exactly pop is some time ago.
Keep in mind I am one of those twenty-somethings,
which might give you some insight to my thinking, or
confuse you even more.

Belle And Sebastian - sounds like a re-run of decades
past with the exception of their obviously up-to-date
lyrics.  Still, they've released a rather large and
quite excellent catalog considering they've been
around less than 5 years

Flaming Lips - I like the way they bend music all over
the place.  It's pretty much for the music, though
sometimes they can be interesting lyrically.

Joe Jackson - he's probably had more effect on me as a
musician than even XTC.  I recommend anything by him,
though I don't care much for Heaven and Hell and the
Symphony #1.  The new live Piano-Bass-Drum Summer In
The City is incredible, and I look forward to Night
and Day II, which is just around the corner....

My Bloody Valentine - I'm something of a shoegazer, so
all bands that sound like them i probably like too,
but Loveless is truly the best of this genre IMO.

Yo La Tengo - they keep getting better and better with
age.  Proficient at every level, they continue to put
out serious album of the year candidates each and
every time out.  I will say that I have friends I
would consider to have the same level of taste as
myself, and just don't get it.  They're one of those
bands that either leaves you feeling ethereal or
scratching your head.

7% Solution - a rather unheard of band from Austin,
TX.  They have two albums, All About Satellites and
Spaceships and Gabriel's Waltz, and I would recommend
these to anyone wanting to branch out musically.  They
are of the space rock vein with a whole lot of psyche
rock...though somehow it sounds modern.  you can check
them out at www.sevenpercent.com  they have MP3's I
think

To keep from writing a whole lot about each band, I'll
include a few albums, and all other conversation can
be had by emailing me directly.

Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted
Sugar - Copper Blue
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
Ride - Nowhere
Gomez - anything and everything
Jellyfish - Bellybutton and Spilt Milk
Nick Drake - All
Richard Buckner - All
Elliott Smith - Figure 8
Sebadoh - Harmacy
Gustav Mahler - The Symphonies
JJ Johnson - The Trombone Master
Big Star - Third/Sister Lovers
Catherine Wheel - Ferment, Chrome
Morcheeba - Big Calm

but of course, XTC are still my favorites...there are
like 10 tied in the second slot

That's all
James

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 00:40:27 +0100
From: Robert Wood <Robert.Wood@apostrophe.org.uk>
Subject: Rickie Lee
Message-ID: <01BFF1E3.26AE2380@DI-BOSCO>

>> (1) Bands that peaked with their first release.

My nominees include--

Rickie Lee Jones <<

Really?! Pirates is one of my favourite ever albums and that's her
second, streets ahead of the first album IMHO.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 19:41:47 -0400
From: "squirrelgirl" <squirrelgirl@hitter.net>
Subject: The Disappointed/Another Satellite
Message-ID: <004801bff1dc$afdda1a0$bd47c0cf@meredith-s>

Howdy 'Hillians -

I was hoping to catch the rerun of The List; despite all the negative
comments on list (this one), I take my fixes where I can get them.

Unfortunately, my satellite service must spin in a different orbit or
something, because tonight's 7pm episode was on Song Lyrics.  Of note, there
were 4 mature guests this time; I wonder who thought it would be a good idea
to put AP with a bunch of teenyboppers (yes, I'm 20-something; this
particular epithet is not an age-related slur so much as a maturity level
slur).

SG

PS - I think Erik's map idea is wonderful - it would be interesting to see
where there are concentrations of rabid XTC fans; perhaps we could convince
the CDC to develop a vaccine...

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 18:10:09 -0700
From: "Hiatt, Randy" <Randy.Hiatt@fsbti.com>
Subject: thank you Jeasus!!
Message-ID: <F34536084B78D311AF53009027B0D7EAE3DA4B@FSBEX01>

Xtc is music to dissect.  It survives the probing mind.  Other stuff like
this is what I need.  From these pages I have discovered many new artists
(mostly unheard of still).  So I keep peeking here for more ideas (keep
suggesting).

What I will pass on to you Prog/Art Heads is a band from Denver called
Thinking Plague, yikes, don't even attempt to chart this stuff out... might
be impossible.  Female voice, Crimson meets Gentile Giant times 10.  If you
haven't puked yet you'll love them.

Found them via the Kevin Gilbert site which led to the NEARfest.com site (a
concert they played at) and also the Beer For Dolphins site (Mike Kenneally
and Co) has them as a musical influence.  Oh ya I second Joe Funkadellic's
recommendation on these last two as well.

Randy (am I doing better giving credit where credit is due?) Hiatt

ps  Don't worry Molly, I'll tell my dad to hire you.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 18:22:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: Rob Hill <squidriver@yahoo.com>
Subject: Insert Subject Here
Message-ID: <20000720012236.28553.qmail@web1304.mail.yahoo.com>

So, I'm hacking my way thru the cadaver filled subway system of Boston
this evening, & what finely assembled collection of frequencies comes
wafting out of the lone guitar player's elaborate MIDI-fied rig wedged
between a trash can & the information booth? C'mon, airguitar it with
me, people! "Stairway to Heaven." So I had a momentary nyuk to myself &
continued on my way. I should have asked if he knew "My Way."

Rob

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 20:38:03 -0500
From: Ned <nedrise@MNSi.Net>
Subject: original members
Message-ID: <397657F7.29CD0294@mnsi.net>

>well, how many original members did Chicago have? Eight or nine?<

Seven, actually.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 23:23:25 -0400
From: Harry Strole <hjstrole@earthlink.net>
Subject: Where was Topper Headin'?
Message-ID: <397670A2.3603FF77@earthlink.net>

> The Clash had just lost drummer Topper
> Headon, and they were a disappointment, too.

I bet everyone was waiting for a ripping version of "Rock the Casbah".
Well, that song was Topper Headon.  Mick played the guitar and Joe sang
and form what I hear the rest was our dear friend Topper.  If you watch
the "Should I Stay..." video you will notice they could barely get
through that musical workout (the video was live on the '82 tour).  Most
people point to Mick Jones' departure as when the Clash lost it.  If you
ask me it was when Topper left that the Clash went south.  Is Topper
still driving a cab?

Harry

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 22:34:25 CDT
From: "Megan Heller" <hellerm@hotmail.com>
Subject: martian chronicles
Message-ID: <20000720033425.21235.qmail@hotmail.com>

oh cripes, I am bored, so I'll succumb to the lunchtime poll (I am so
weak)--

These are less my favorite albums, and more just those that I know I can
listen to over and over again--

so, martians, 5 albums, no order--

Walter Carlos, "Switched-On Bach"
Momus, "The Philosophy of Momus"
The Divine Comedy, "Liberation"
XTC, "Skylarking"
David Bowie, "Hunky Dory"

(I might try to sneak Nick Drake's "Five Leaves Left" as well)

m.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 20:10:12 -0700
From: Fano Guitars <fanoguitars@fanoguitars.com>
Subject: Fano Guitars Website Update
Message-ID: <200007200310.UAA24182@bob.newdream.net>

Hello!  We have added some pics and an excerpt from an article in
Guitar Magazine, a mag from the UK, that spotlights the Fano Partridge
guitar owned by Andy Partridge and the custom Thinline Bass owned by
Colin Moulding. Please visit and have a look-see.
If you haven't done so already, please sign up for our mailing list.
Thanks!

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 22:26:17 CDT
From: "Megan Heller" <hellerm@hotmail.com>
Subject: long post on the young types
Message-ID: <20000720032617.46944.qmail@hotmail.com>

bored, so this may be a long one...

in #194, alec pondered the seeming willingness to conform--
* * * * *
these are good points.  i've found that people in their teens and
twenties are part of the refining generation: refined technology,
information access and pop culture.  they blend it and blend until
it's like clear sugar water.

nothing against 20-somethings.
i don't think they've had to go through all the growing pains that 30
somethings went through--societal growing pains, too--with punk, new
wave, etc.  maybe they have their own versions of those things.  what
have they got?  the slacker stuff?  grunge?  nirvana, etc.?  "rave"
culture?  techno and dance culture remains to be interesting in it's
constant blurring of the lines between above and under grounds,
leaving nothing sacred, making everything like bubblegum.

they're all so seemingly well-adjusted to all genres and attitudes
available to them: hippy, punk, new wave, yuppie, technoid, preppy,
"hunk", bad boy/girl, good boy/girl, goth, alt, slacker, dyke, diva,
book worm, lounge, jazzer, grunger, '70s burnout , '60s swinger all at
once.  everything's included--frank to led zepp.  it's all cool all at
once for the first time maybe in 100 years, i don't know.<
* * * * *

You pose some interesting points.  I'm the 23 year old daughter of
non-conformists.  I got into XTC, then other college radio stuff, then
became a goth (in that order) in 1989, when I was twelve.  It resulted in
putting me on a weird edge of things-- I got into a lot of "alternative"
music when it was still that, an alternative to the mainstream.  Basically,
before 1991, when R.E.M. hit #1 and Nirvana hit MTV.  I've turned into a
music geezer before my time-- my senior year of high school, in 1995, I all
but shook my fist at the masses of 14 year olds wearing Marilyn Manson
t-shirts-- when I was your age, I was the only goth in school!  The other
kids beat me up! Bah!!!

(Now I have my solution-- I listen to music so obscure that it will, never,
ever be popular!  I'll show them!)

But I digress.  Anyway, not to dig up the old 'Gen-X' argument, but what
you say is true-- "kids today" are getting watered-down versions of things
that were at one time cultural revolutions.  There are choices everywhere,
and sometimes so much that it's impossible to choose.  It's hard to revolt,
between it being hard to figure out who to blame and even more difficult to
believe in something because everyone's rather cynical.  I don't mean all
of this for me; I fear I'm sounding maudlin.  An example, though-- about a
year ago I watched the film "Parting Glances", a mid-eighties film with
Steve Buscemi which was groundbreaking in its portrayal of gay men in New
York and an AIDS victim.  In one scene, Buscemi's character (the one with
AIDS) rails at a 20 year old gay man, who didn't have to go through the
post-Stonewall revolution in the seventies, and whom Buscemi's character
sees as sort of spoiled and potentially complacent about AIDS and political
action.  It made me think back to that time-- my father worked with the
Center for Disease Control and the Surgeon General in producing early
materials advising people about AIDS (if you remember the "America Responds
to AIDS" campaign, that was done in large, large part by my father, as was
the "Understanding AIDS" national mailer).  The CDC constantly fought with
the White House over what could be said about sex, about teenagers and sex
(basically, nothing).  At that time, it seemed like there was something
worth fighting against, or fighting for.  Now, everyone is more and more
complacent and bored politically and socially, and so much progress is
being made that I fear too many people think that if they sit back, it will
all fall in their laps.

How the hell did I get here?  Oh, yeah, not having to fight for or stand for
anything.  The result-- boring music.

Okay, responding to more about "kids" (I just seem to love that too much,
don't I?  oh well...)--

Ralph Simpson DeMarco is, perhaps, more ornery than even myself--
* * * * *
I think
that you have a panel of people there who are a hell of a lot smarter than
the idiots on "The List" who didn't even mention that MC Hammer's "Can't
Touch This" is really a take-off of Rick Jame's "Super Freak".
* * * * *

Michael Versaci's potential seventies panel (which I thought was an apt
comparison) would have know that because they were *alive* when the Rick
James song came out.  Those kids were in diapers.  Anyway, a tiny point in
comparison to their multi-flawed personalities.

* * * * *
Do you REALLY think that in ten-twenty years "Livin' La Vida Loca" will have
be played as MANY TIMES as have "Stairway to Heaven", "My Way" or "Rock 'n
Roll (part 2)" have?

* * * * *

God help us, yes.  Go to an outdoor sports event-- it gets played right next
to "Rock & Roll (part 2)".

(Funny stadium music moment-- the Pet Shop Boys' "New York City Boy" being
played at a Mets game a couple weeks ago-- it didn't quite fit the scene.)

* * * * *
My point is that although I am 34, I made it my business to discover where
rock 'n roll came from. If you have no clue about the roots of
rock/blues/soul, than you have no business even judging much of the new
music out today. It's the same as any other kind of critical analysis. I may
not agree with you, but if you have done your homework, I can respect you.
* * * * *

Of course, of course, but "The List" isn't exactly Public Television quality
stuff-- it's a place to showcase celebrities.  It's the type of thing that's
been around forever, and is invariably stupid.  As for music reviews, I
don't think a person with a full musical education would even *want* to be
responsible for reviewing the new album by Britney Spears or Hanson (christ
knows I wouldn't, but then, I *am* a snob extraordinaire).

Just avoid that show-- it always pisses me off to no end.  Abotu a month ago
I saw a young actress on there make fun of Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden)
because he listed an album by his cousin's band as one of his favorite of
the 1990s.  His cousin is, of course, Rob Dickinson of The Catherine Wheel,
and, of course, that produced a collective "huh?" from panel and audience
alike.  But I digress (again.  Really, I haven't been drinking).

Oh, yes, then there was this--
Keith Walker (Imprimis) has had some irritations as a result of public
education--
* * * * *
Old Mr. Grumpypants:  don't feel bad, the kids of today are dimmer bulbs
than once they were, but I don't feel that it is really their fault.
Remember, they have been taught according to standards that have been
increasingly lowered over the past twenty years.  (Note: I am not saying a
thing against teachers, here.  Teachers are a good and dedicated bunch who
do a fine job with limited resources.  And their most limited resource is
help and support from administration, who rarely look beyond test scores.
In the school where I taught for a short length of time, I was told to spend
as much time as possible on basic skills so that every kid in the class
would do well on their standardized tests.  Well, if so much time is taken
up with the basics, less is taken up with the intermediate and the advanced,
leaving our kids ... adequate.  They can get by.  But little more.  Which
leaves them wanting in basic analytical and problem-solving skills.  Just
one of the legacies of the Big, Bad Federal- and State-Mandated
Test, which is busy huffing, and puffing and blowing our little, red
schoolhouse down.  But I digress.  Big time.)  When the bar is closer to the
ground, more kids will step over it, rather than leaping.  "'Tis true, 'tis
pity and pity 'tis true, but pity 'tis, 'tis true" and other words to that
effect.  So if kids seemed smarter twenty years ago, alas, they probably
were.
* * * * *

Oh, good lord, I don't want to get into this fight.  I don't.  I agree with
you that standardized testing is a blight which takes valuable time away
from real teaching.  However, I must take some offense at the oft-peddled
idea that "kids" twenty years ago were receiving wonderful educations, while
the "kids" of today are drooling idiots who never attend a class more
difficult than "Advanced Breathing".  I have been to schools all over the
United States.  Course offerings are much broader than they were twenty-plus
years ago.  What is being taught in those courses is more interesting-- I am
very much for a canonical background, but it is important to branch out.

Sitting here a moment, I remembered the father of a someone I used to date--
he was fairly prominent in a large teachers' union.  He said that, despite
how things seem, schools are in large part getting better-- part of the way
in which things are getting better is that problems are acknowledged, and
people care enough to try to do something them.  (The major exception, he
added, was special education, which is being destroyed through
"mainstreaming".)

However, I don't want to get into this, because I will get irrational,
because it *is* a little insulting to read that "kids" are "dimmer bulbs"
and that "standards have been increasingly lowered".  I'd hate to think that
attending a state-funded university this fall will land me with a
sub-standard Ph.D.

Okay, sorry, really.

Final passing thought-- I love the passionate loyalty I always see in
Philadeplhians for The Hooters.  I never really liked them myself, but I've
had two friends from Philly whose musical tastes didn't approach The
Hooters, but they loved them.  I actually saw a Philly goth get excited
about going to see The Hooters with his older sister.  I find it really
charming.

m.

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End of Chalkhills Digest #6-198
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