Stutter Class Contribution

Wrote about the stutter of John Hammond. Thought about how I used to have a class participation mark, early in teaching career, mid-1980s. Would take attendance, and then ask students randomly to contribute to class discussion. Class participation mark being 5%, as I recall.

Student came to my office. Said I want to give up the class participation mark, in return for you asking me no more questions.

His reason:

I had a stutter in high school. I overcame it. Now, when I am in your class, despite being prepared, I become nervous that you are going to ask me the exact question that I don’t know. I am getting tense. My stutter is coming b…b..back.

No more class participation marks. For anyone. Ever.

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From the tree

Neil Remington Abramson, a Presbyterian elder, commented as follows:

I always thought the two religious traditions of my family were Anglican through my father, and Lutheran through my mother, and I was always happy with Anglican. I regarded Presbyterian as a rather pragmatic choice for reasons of convenience, as much as anything. I try to remind myself that where a person is called to serve may be different from where he might have thought he preferred. Turns out I was wrong about my father’s Anglican traditions. I get communications from my father’s mother’s side of my family and discover they are all so pleased I have “converted” to Presbyterianism, because that whole side has always been Presbyterian and the Anglican was a bit of an aberration, a great grandfather who converted to win his sweetheart to marry him. So in falling farther from the tree, I have fallen closer to the centre, in a way.

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Commenting on the beautiful chaos of the rising flowers throughout a retiree’s front lawn. Her retired next door neighbour has everything manicured and precision throughout. Flowers not yet elevating, seemingly waiting for the command to order.

What she said:

My neighbour worked in a very ordered job, where everything had its place.

I could never have done her job. I preferred to think.

Retiree with the chaos of flowers is a former social worker.

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Thin Lizzy: Don’t Believe A Word

Don’t believe me when I tell you


Live and slowed down:

Def Leppard cover that comes too close to the original:

Space Elevator:

Andreas and Friends:

Couch Covers: Interesting acoustic

Laura Izibor, assuming a degree of ownership:

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Everything Planned

Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows:

Two weeks from tomorrow will be my first day of retirement. I’m feeling a bit antsy, like I was not very well prepared for a big exam coming up. I’m feeling a bit blue because I didn’t have to go yet and it puts an end to 25 years at SFU and about 40 related to being a professor, teacher, consultant, trainer, and – way back – teaching assistant. Mandatory retirement at 65 has ended and many of my colleagues plan to go to 70, or even 75 – whenever – or when they finally have the earth pounding down on their coffin in the cemetery. Or so they say! And I’m “only” almost 64. A colleague looks at me, I imagine, with a mixture of pity and wonder. What could I have been thinking, to have put in for early retirement?

At the time, it seemed so abstractly clear, but now, 18 months later, I wonder. It’s not that I theoretically will have nothing to do. I haven’t staked out my place on a bench on the Burrard Inlet, breadcrumbs in hand, awaiting the hungry ducklings.

I’m not going to be like my stepdad, also a professor, who spent his first year of retirement mostly watching TV. I hope not.

So what’s the problem?

Six weeks ago I was walking the dog and suddenly, without a hint of warning, I was flying through the air, and landing with a thump on the ground. It was like the giant fickle finger of fate swooped out of the sky and flattened me without warning. I thought: Well, I’m so lucky. If I were older, I could have broken my hip. Nothing seemed to hurt and I walked the kilometer back to the car. Next day, however, an X-ray revealed a broken bone in my ankle. The crutches and big cast boot forced me to cancel my travel plans. And I’ve been mostly sitting at home, unable to drive, barely able to walk, for six weeks, and goodness knows how much longer beyond.

You’ve got everything planned. Everything is set. Without warning, it hits you, and there is nothing you can do. You don’t see it coming, and even if you did, there’s no time to step out of the way. Fate crashes down on you, and everything is lost, even if you don’t quite realize it at first. I bet it’s like this with a sudden heart attack. Or a stroke. Bang – you’ve had it – a bolt from the apparently clear sky. I bet even cancer is like that. There’s a moment when you suddenly sit, gasping in shock. Suddenly it’s all over and you barely comprehend what’s going on. If you comprehend at all.

I had all my plans for retirement. Everything organized. Everything under control.

Now? We’ll see. At my age, who knows?

Who knows, anyway?

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Too Much of Too Much


Barry Jenkins in front of Lukes Guitars

From Eddi Fiegel, Dream a Little Dream of Me: The Life of ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot (2005):

…there were also constant comings and goings from a seemingly never-ending stream of friends, colleagues, sometime boyfriends, visiting rock stars, acquaintances and friends of friends… On any given day, the house seemed almost like a split-screen movie with half a dozen different scenarios taking place simultaneously in different parts of the house…

…many of them were simply there to take advantage of her hospitality. Her house was widely known for offering a steady supply of good food and drugs in the comfort of extremely pleasant surroundings…

The hangers on and the drug-heavy crowd…

In one’s house, and backstage. Constant parade of people and drugs.

Remember William Hawkins saying that he got out not because he didn’t like the stage, but because of what happened when he left the stage.

Had wondered for a number of years why Barry Jenkins, former drummer for The Animals, would leave a successful early career and spend the rest of his life operating a used musical instrument shop.

Makes sense, when the alternative is constant fog and chaos.

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Sun and Cloud

I met a man standing on the street today
Through his eyes, the world looked so grim
As if we all don’t know just what it’s like
When the rain falls down and the lightning strikes

My ex-wife would comment on how the weather on Good Friday was usually grey.

Started to notice.

Then on Easter Sunday, noticing that the grey had usually passed.

Easter Sunday this year being rain and clouds during much of day.

Wondered if predictors were

Then a break in the clouds. Some momentary clearing of minutes. Sky opens up.

Then clouds return.

And I’ve been around long enough to learn
That one man’s blue sky is another man’s rain

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