Three Mis-used and Over-used Words That Ought to be Dis-used ASAP. So Rants I.

Yes, it has finally gotten to the point where I can no longer refrain from have a jolly good rant about three words that have been abused so thoroughly by the writers of television programs, movies and by the social media addict generation.  I can’t wait to no longer hear: Amazing, Awesome and Complicated—as in the utterly useless, evasive phrase, “It’s complicated.” never ever uttered again.

You’ve heard them all. I know you have because they’re impossible to avoid these days no matter if you’re in a coffee-shop, the grocery store or the hardware store.

Amazing implies a fair degree of wonder and surprise.  How many ways can people or things be called amazing? Really? What ever happened to you look very lovely or very handsome? That’s a beautiful dress or a very flattering suit–but I’m not astonished at your appearance. Nope, I’m not, sorry.

Awesome, hmmm, I guess this word conveys open-mouth, drop dead AWE and Shock of that inspiring AWE that has pulled the rug out from under our flat feet. My meddlesome mind associates Awe–some or a little of it–with truly above ordinary events and things. Dresses, food, shoes, hairdos, cars are far too mundane things to be imbued with real awe. Who wants to talk Nuclear Bombs? Hmm? Now those are fully awe inspiring in many ways—from their power of destruction to views of the aftermath of their deployment.

It’s Complicated–wtf? Is this or is this not the most banal evasive phrase ever uttered in response to any inquiry about human behavior?

“Why did you cheat on your significant other?”

“It’s Complicated.

I bet it is: pheromones and hormones influence humans in very complex ways. Don’t you just adore your nose? The Complicated things it tells your brain are Amazing and Awesome beyond compare.

Language, it’s Complicated.

Or are people simply too damn lazy to go beyond using stock phrases?

For the hell of it:

*

And then there’s :

It’s terribly complicated, dreadfully awesome and downright utterly amazing.

Heavy sigh.

Breakfast Special, #27, “Lily’s Coat”

Lily’s Coat

“Well, I’ll be damned. Hells’ bells! We’re not open for ten minutes and look who comes through Big Bob’s new door. Good to see you, Benj. You too, Patrick. How’s Nora? Your Dad? Everything good with the clan?” Stanley set up three cups of coffee, one for himself and the two men who were the first to come inside and currently the only people in Big Bob’s.

“Hey Stanley. You’re looking good.” Benj kicked the snow and rock salt from his shoes as he held the door open for Patrick doing the same behind him before crossing the threshold.

“What can we do for you two fine young fine men? Whatever you want. It’s on the house considering you’re the first folks back in here.” Stanley waved a hand indicating that the bar was empty of customers except for the two O’Mara brothers.

“Just a couple of coffees and sweet rolls,” said Patrick. He took a bar stool next to Benj and began toying with the salt and pepper shakers.

“Oh come on, you two can do better than that. You got a stomach bug or what? Huh?” Stanley poured steaming coffee into the cups.

“Nora stuffed us before we headed for Falls. Preventive breakfast I call it. In case we get stuck in a snow-bank along the way, at least we’ll be stuck with full stomachs.” Benj knocked shoulders with Patrick next to him as they laughed.

Stanley set two sweet rolls on plates for them. “That’s Nora alright. So what brings you two to our National Guard Disaster area?  Don’t you dare say it’s because you enjoy the scenery on the ride here. That would be a whole lot of snow-shit anyone can see anywhere.”

His fingers dancing around the rim of his coffee cup, Benj said, “Actually we came in thinking we might meet up with Sarge.”

“Well, he has not been here this morning. He usually comes around every so often after a shift for the breakfast special and a sweet roll. With the docks still closed, I wouldn’t expect him though.” Stanley nodded at the window view of the shoulder-high mounds of snow all along the street with only one lane cleared for traffic. “If Reggie Dawson hadn’t taken it into his head to clear the street that much on his own, I wouldn’t be open either.”

Patrick followed the direction of Stanley’s glance and nodded in understanding. “When was Sarge last in for a special?”

Stanley sipped his coffee. “Let’s see. Pretty sure it was the Friday of the week before the snow really became a bitch. Yep. It was. I remember now. He sat there right at the end. Came in at the end of us getting slammed. Had his usual over-easys.”

“He seem okay to you then?” Benj dipped his sweet roll into his coffee.

“Oh hell yeah. Right as rain. Had a book as usual. Gave me a little lip for fun.”

“You ain’t seen him since then?” said Patrick.

“No.” Stanley shook his head. “Last I saw of Sarge he was high-tailing it out the door in hot pursuit of Lily. Have no idea if he caught up with her, but he sure put a leg on after she left.”

Benj and Patrick looked at each other, then at Stanley. Patrick leaned over his coffee expectantly. “How long has Sarge been seeing this Lily?”

Stanley shrugged his shoulders. “Never saw them together before that Friday. All I can say is that he sat down next to her. They gave each other a little grief. She ate like a starving pig as usual. He ate. She left. He grabbed his sweet roll and left right after. What more can I tell you?”

Benj grinned. “So what do you know about this Lily? Besides she eats like a pig.”

Stanley shook his head. “Oh that Lily, she’s something else, Benj.”

“What? She like some hot to trot firecracker?”

“Hot to trot firecracker? Lily? Hell no, Patrick. Atomic bomb is more like it.”

Mistaking Stanley’s line of thinking, Benj and Patrick laughed with glee. “So she’s like, what, stacked to the max?”

“How’s her ass action? She got a cute little wiggle in her walk?” Patrick shook his sweet roll to illustrate this notion.

Stanley laughed. “I hate to disappoint you guys, but you got it all wrong.”

“Awww Stanley. You’re such a tease,” said Patrick before eating half his sweet roll.

“You’re just yanking our chains with the atomic bombshell bit?” Patrick slumped dejectedly on his stool for a few moments.

“No. I’m not. I meant it. Only not like you two are thinking.”

Patrick punched Benj in the shoulder while keeping eye contact with the barkeeper. “Okay. Okay. So how did you mean it, Stanley?”

“Wait a minute.” Stanley glanced at the door and out the window. “I don’t want to start something I can’t finish. Let me lock the door. Fifteen minutes more of being closed won’t hurt anyone.”

“What the hell, Stanley?” Benj swirled on the bar stool while watching Stanley lock the entrance door. “You got FBI secrets to share or what?”

Returning to his place behind the bar, Stanley got comfortable on a stool, topped off everyone’s coffee, then looked from Benj to Patrick. “Remember when the shit hit the fan big time at St. Luke’s Church in the Flats a couple of years back?”

“You mean all that about Father John being a pedophile?”

“That’s it, Benj. That’s what I’m thinking of.”

“Oh I remember that. That was one storm that just wouldn’t blow over. So what’s this Lily got to do with that?”

“So—Lily started that shit-storm and kept it blowing for as long as it did.”

“I don’t recall reading about any Lily in the papers.” Patrick shook his head as he wiped his hands on a napkin. “I think I’d remember if Father Joseph had said anything about a Lily during Sunday Mass when he talked about St.Luke’s and Father John.”

“That’s because Holy Mother Church didn’t want it getting out who was really calling the shots in the Flats. Church didn’t want anyone finding out about what Lily knew any more than necessary. Lily knew a hell of a lot about what Father John did, when, where, who and how many times. Last thing the Church wanted was some reporter getting in deep with Lily. And they sure as hell didn’t want their own giving anyone any ideas about chatting her up. The parents were another thing. The Holy Fathers couldn’t care less about how they were carrying on. They just came across as clowns in the papers and on television because of how they looked and talked. Church could deal with the parents. Or so it thought at the time.” Stanley drank his coffee and waited for a response from either of the two men.

“But this Lily could have just gone to the papers herself. Why didn’t she?”

Stanley grimaced. “Lily wasn’t interested in getting press. What she wanted was Father John out of the Flats and out of the priesthood. She wanted him listed as a sex offender with the police and that was just for starters. She wanted him prosecuted to the full extent of the law. On top of that she had other priest fish to fry. And they weren’t in Falls. Now the only reason I know this is because my cousin Pauline manages Father Richard’s office in M-. She’s been there for two decades. She types up all the top line letters herself to keep things quiet and contained. According to Pauline, Lily and Father Richard had a meeting in person, right there in Father Richard’s office for about an entire day.  Right after that, Father Richard got busy and put some serious hurt on a priest in Minnesota, another one in Texas, and one in Washington State. Pauline doesn’t know what happened after that because only those letters went out. Nothing came in reply. Nothing in writing anyway. Everything else Father Richard did was either on the phone or face to face behind closed doors.”

Patrick hunched his shoulders and leaned over his coffee. “You’re saying he didn’t want any records or a paper trail.”

“Exactly.”  Stanley topped off his own cup of coffee and then Benj and Patrick’s. “But that didn’t put an end to what was going on in the Flats. When Father Richard’s hands were tied by higher-ups in regard to Father John, it was Lily who organized those folks to drive Father John out of business and basically shut down St. Luke’s on their own. The Sunday donations stopped. The tithes stopped coming in. The people stopped coming to mass. There were even carpools for getting people who wanted mass over to St. Teresa’s or any other church. Till this day, if anyone wants to go to confession they go to St. Teresa’s. Baby needs a christening; it’s done at St. Teresa’s. Someone needs last rites; they get the priest from St. Teresa’s to the Flats for them.  All of that is still going on. There may be a priest in residence at St. Luke’s, but only God Almighty hears him say mass. That church is a tomb.”

“Ahh ha. And this Lily is behind all that?” Benj exchanged looks and shrugs with Patrick before they both turned doubtful eyes back on the older man.

“Obviously none of that would have happened if people hadn’t paid attention to her. But she’s the one who light their fuses. No doubt about it.” He watched the two brothers smirk while remaining good-naturedly attentive to him. Deciding to take advantage of their interest and the lack of anyone walking or driving down the one lane street, Stanley warmed further to his subject. “As if that wasn’t enough, after those people got a taste of what they could do, they started doing other things. They formed what they call the Neighborhood Watch out there. It’s got ex-gang bangers, retired cops, blue-collar guys, white-collar guys, blacks, whites, Hispanics, Indians, Asians, the whole nine yards. You name it, if it lives in the Flats; they got it in the Watch. Falls PD may ignore 911 calls from the Flats, but the Watch doesn’t.”

Benj stretched his arms and locked his hands behind his head. “How you know all this, Stanley? Is there a Flats newsletter going around or some such?”

“How do I know all this?” Stanley’s eyebrows arched high as he met Benj’s eyes. “I know all this because my sister’s daughter, Joyce, she’s a nurse at St.Syms, lives in the Flats. Joyce bought a house god awful cheap there some time back because she wanted something close to work. As Joyce tells it, Lily pulled all those people together when she went after Father John for those kids he was messing around with. She really put the hurt on St. Luke’s when she got up at some community meeting and made some speech about if people still wanted to go to church and listen to some priest tell them how to live their lives after what Father John had done to their children, then they needed to go find a good man, because that’s what makes a good priest. So some people started visiting the other churches to check out the priests.”

Patrick laughed. “That’s funny, Stanley. Sounds like she sent them shopping for a better deal.”

Pointing his cup at Patrick, Stanley nodded. “That’s about what it boiled down to, Patrick. Now, lots of folks had been dishing some priest at St. Teresa’s ever since he arrived because he stuttered so much. They didn’t like listening to him trying to talk right. You know how that goes, especially with the old timers who want everything just perfect. They figured the Church had given them a lemon priest. Some of the Flats people go to St. Teresa’s to check out this priest anyway. When they show up out of nowhere to have a little chat, he stops what he’s doing and gives them his undivided attention until they’re good and ready to say bye-bye. Those folks didn’t give a damn about his stuttering. They just wanted a priest who flew right and played by the rules. They wanted a good man.  Joyce said that when the people from the Flats showed up at St. Teresa’s for Sunday Mass for the first time it was like a people bomb had exploded. Church was packed from the first pew to the last and out the doors. Guess which priest was saying Mass that Sunday. After checking out all their options in Falls and M- and everywhere in between, they chose the lemon priest. Now every time the lemon priest says Sunday Mass, St. Teresa’s is stuffed to the gills. That priest doesn’t even have a chance to ask for help. Roof needs patching. It’s done. Window needs fixing. It’s done. His funny little scooter needs a repair. It’s done. St. Teresa’s food pantry needs filling. It’s filled. Why? Because when the people from the Flats call him, he answers without any bullshit.  And he doesn’t mess with their kids.” Stanley drank the rest of his coffee.   “Ever see a picture of an atomic bomb exploding?”

“With the mushroom cloud and all spreading out.” Benj illustrated with his hands. “Oh yeah.”

“Same thing with Lily.” The barkeeper spun his empty cup in its saucer. “When she delivers a payload there’s a big bang, mushroom cloud goes up and down. Ripples just keep on spreading out wider and wider.”

Scratching his head, Patrick sat up straight and frowned at his brother and Stanley. “This does not sound like a woman who’d be up Sarge’s alley.”

“Anything but. Way too labor intensive.”

“You fellas are probably right. You’re his brothers.” Seeing a certain sort of opportunity in the situation, Stanley decided to make the most of it. “But if you saw how they were checking each other out here at the counter, both of them being sly about it, you might be singing a different tune.”

Not at all buying Stanley’s line, Patrick said, “If Sarge was giving this Lily the once over, then she must have something to grab his eyes. What does she look like anyway, Stan?”

Benj backed up his older brother. “Come on Stan. Give us something besides a yarn about the freak show in the Flats.”

“Alright already. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, you two are a couple of Peter Pan Pests today. Tell you what. Next time you see a Hudson Bay Blanket coat hoofing it in Falls, that’s Lily. “

“You got to be kidding. Oh Stan. I don’t know about Patrick, but you’re killing me with your bullshit. I’m thinking I’m going to take you up on that freebie breakfast just to make up for doing you the favor of listening to all this shit.”

“I’m serious. You want to know what Lily looks like and if she might trip Sarge’s trap, then go find the Hudson Bay Blanket coat. You do know what one of those looks like, don’t you?”

“What do you take us for? A couple of morons? We know what a Hudson Bay coat looks like. She can’t have the only one in Falls.”

“True. But she’s the only person I’ve seen in the last, what four or five years wearing one all winter long. If I see the coat on the street, I think, ‘there goes Lily.’ What do you know, every time I drive past that coat and see a face, it is Lily. Never yet have I been wrong about who is wearing that coat here in Falls. Not once. Okay. Now, let’s fire up the grill and have us all some eggs because I don’t think anyone else is coming through that new door until some more folks are dug out.”

Patrick and Benj banged their palms on the bar-counter in agreement. “Hell yeah, fill us up for the return trip with sunny-siders and some burnt pig, Stanley.”

After Patrick and Benj departed, Big Bob’s grill man, Murray, came out from behind the grill blind. Joining Stan in another cup of coffee at the empty counter he pulled apart a cinnamon roll and ate it piece by piece. “Stan, are you sure that was a good idea, telling those two about Lily and her coat? They might do that and give her grief she don’t need. ”

“Ah they’re harmless as far Lily is concerned. They won’t lay rough hands on a woman. A man, now that’s an entirely different story. They’ll fight any guy dumb enough to swing a dick in their direction. They don’t care who or how big in any sense of the word.  I think Sarge has given them the slip again and they’re trying to pick up his trail anyway they can. Telling them to look for Lily when who they really want to find is Sarge, is like sending them on a wild goose chase. If they’re looking for her coat, then they’re not looking for Sarge. And in my book, them not finding Sarge for as long as possible is a damn good thing all by itself.”

“No argument on that score from me. Why they don’t just let Sarge do his own thing is beyond me.”

“It’s all about control, Murray. All about control. I’ve known Dylan and Nora for years. They always held their boys pretty damn tight when they were just kids. Now they hold the boys and their families tight too. Seems like they all want it that way. Except for Sarge who has been fighting that tight hold ever since he was a little kid. Unlike his brothers, Sarge was born with a mind of his own. That’s why Sarge and crazy Kozy get along so well.”

“Stan was that legit what you told them about Lily and Father Richard or were you just blowin’ smoke up their asses?

“Oh it’s legit all right. I could tell by the looks on their faces they weren’t buying one word of it even though I was telling them the gospel truth according to Pauline. I figure, hey, truth is stranger than fiction. My conscience is clear. I didn’t lie to them. They think I did though. So they won’t be wasting any time sharing that story. They forgot it before they even went out our new door.” Stanley looked at Murray. “Probably best you forget it too.”

Murray popped the last of the cinnamon roll into his mouth. “What? You say something Stanley?”

~~

Breakfast Special, #28, Fair Trade Creed Reads, part 1, Les Mis:

https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/breakfast-special-28-fair-trade-creed-reads-pt-1-les-mis/

~~

Breakfast Special, #28, Fair Trade Creed Reads, part 2, Stealth:

https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/breakfast-special-28-fair-trade-creed-reads-pt-2-stealth/

~~

Breakfast Special #28,  Fair Trade Creed Reads, part 3, Two Guys On a Roof:  https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/breakfast-special-28-fair-trade-creed-reads-pt-3-just-two-guys-on-a-roof/

Higher Education Quebec Style = 400,000 Defy Bill 78 to Denounce Tuition Hike. Oh and about Education…

       Now one hundred days of protest is some serious field trip out of classroom mental work– and this exercise in the freedom to speak one’s mind with one’s feet apparently will not end with the conclusion of the course term. in Quebec.  Apparently Canadian students enjoy their affordable education so much they’re willing to fight for it with zeal and determination.  Bill 78 is an effort to shut down the student strike protests against the 75 % hikes in tuition. Bill 78 in effect demands that people submit to the dictates of the state and refrain from protesting en mass or face serious fines (1,000 to 25,000 dollars) and arrest. Wearing a mask could get you 10 years in prison.  OOOOO what do the elected official fear from the mask wearers?  Damn that film V for Vendetta for its mask wearing protestors for popularizing those masks which scares the hell out of totalitarians. Every effort to ban and il-legalize the masks serves as a red flag marker as to who is who on the battlefield for mind control. Some Canadians I’ve chatted with recently declare Bill 78 is the death knoll for Premier Jean Charest and his ‘liberal’ party.  Take note–these days the world ‘liberal’ has vastly different meanings depending on where, who, when–it’s all about context.

If you’re wondering what’s with the red square — little red felt squares are worn by the students and their supporters in Quebec.  Yes, I am in solidarity with anyone who believes quality education should be available to everyone. I would like ALL education to be ‘free of charge’ because the mind is the most vital frontier and no one should be denied the opportunity to learn–ever.  Can you imagine a world in which our monetary and other ‘resources’ are focused on education that enables humans to actualize their imaginative creative intellectual potential –instead of focused on making war, engaging in genocide and destruction of anyone some folks consider a threat to their bastions of power and control? I suspect if we’d been enabling the flourishing of the mind we might not have sown the seeds of our destruction via the pollution of our own habitat.  Or at least I hope we would not have done so.  One never knows what course intellectual freedom might embark upon. Hell, some of the great scientific minds created the atom bomb–and enabled it to be ‘used.’  So, yes, I admit there are such dilemmas.  Yet, if there’d not been a military industrial complex running rampant then the course of human history would be —-???? We don’t quite know do we? Plenty of Science Fiction authors have explored alternative realities. I suspect this is one reason the genre threatens mainstream fiction writers — because it explores more than the status quo of possibilities and pushes the imagination into uncharted waters.

A few fundamental basics regarding quality education to consider. Oh yes, all of this comes from experiencing what ‘works’ in a teaching environment. This is NOT speculation:

Optimum student class size–14 students.  This is not a secret number. It’s been shown that a student teacher ratio of 14 to 1 produces major benefits.

No standardized tests. They’re just money makers for the corporate testing business and serve no other purpose than to generate profits. They’re useless for gauging real mastery of material. Ability to properly employ and discuss material in useful and creative ways reveals having learned a subject.

No corporate produced textbooks. The textbook industry is another huge money-maker that enables mass indoctrination and manipulation of information. Guess why Americans don’t know much about HISTORY beyond what someone decided they ought to know to stay malleable.

No useless grades. Grades do little more than serve as carrots on sticks. Children have been paid to get good grades in research studies.  The little student research rats behave just as one might expect–they produce only as long as they’re PAID. No more funding and they cease putting forth effort for grades.  That reveals nothing good about carrots or the educational system that fails to incline children to be invested in their own learning.

As for uniforms–who gives a damn what you’re wearing if you’re not engaged in the act of discovery. Uniforms might ease some social issues in some contexts but they cannot improve a child’s learning experience. Some parents like uniforms because of how easy they make “clothing issues”. Well, if clothing issues are the main concern something is seriously skewed at the core.  Uniforms are just another money-maker for those businesses that produce them.

Discovered a common thread here regarding the involvement of ‘Business’ in education? Business has NO place in education.  It does not foster engagement in the act of discovery. Businesses exist for profit margins and selling products–NOT for fostering the critical thinking skills of human beings.

As for “teachers” in education. It’s a tough job these days to be a teacher anywhere. The pedagogy for classrooms has clearly failed under the current system of operations in the public sector.  Education is not a ‘service’ industry where just punching a time clock is enough.  People’s minds are not like car parts on conveyor belts waiting for assembly. Lecturing to the ‘drones’ does nothing but leave all children behind–far far behind. To teach is to lay aside ego and engage people — not all of whom one ‘likes’– in order to educate their imaginations so that they are active participants in the world rather than factory robots.  This is not easy nor for the faint of heart. “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” No shit.

Information regarding Bill 78  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_78

Visit Democracy Now!  http://www.democracynow.org/  for coverage of the student protests. They had a good feature piece today (Friday May 25, 2012). http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/25/maple_spring_nearly_1_000_arrested

The Educated Imagination website dedicated to Northrop Frye http://fryeblog.blog.lib.mcmaster.ca/  O my, Frye was a Canadian?? Hehehe, see this post is ‘connected’ …..

And  Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination   http://northropfrye-theeducatedimagination.blogspot.com/

Nothing is perfect–but there are much better ways to educate than are currently employed en mass in the United States.  I think some Americans have figured out enough to know that closing 60 schools in Philadelphia is not a great idea.  http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/25/whos_killing_philly_public_schools_daniel

How is your imagination today? Please do share your thoughts if you’re so inclined.  No rulers for knuckle bashing nor ink pens held at the ready for grammar put downs in this blogcasa comment section. Anyone have a positive educational experience to share? Hmm? Horror stories also are ‘welcome’. Is your school under siege? Are you a teacher wondering what the hell has gone so horribly wrong? Are you a lucky teacher  in a great supportive environment with eager students?

 

Beware the ‘dark side’ lurks in all of us…

A venting me shall go…oh yes, oh no!

We’ve all got them—the days when we would gleefully smack that deadly serious red button and put an end to this entire circus of absolute nonsense constantly spreading mayhem and chaos of nothing good around the little blue and green globe. Now, get this straight—I have no issue with the little green and blue planet itself—the earth, not as we know it as a world of badly poured concrete—but—as it was in all its natural wonder and splendor—perfectly interconnected—this I have NO issues with.  Issues come with the arrogance of the species preying on others, including its own kind, with dark delighted derangements that range from conducting drone assault wars to murdering its own kin with impunity while smiling politely and calling it ‘good business.’ Face it, the creation and use of the atomic bomb sealed our doom by revealing the absolute truth of homo sapiens’ mentality—the drive to kill each other for whatever reasons we can muster to lie to ourselves about this reality. Homo sapiens wallow in the artistry of lying. We wrap ourselves in lies the way a caterpillar encases itself in a cocoon. Only we do not transform into beautiful butterflies. No, we, with all our focus on the ‘beautiful image’, we transform into darker and darker incarnations of arrogant knowing weapons of destruction on levels minute and massive. We even lie about wanting to do something about our natures, which, in moments of pure clarity and fleeting honesty, we are entirely aware of when we confront the depth of the darkness we allow to dominate our lives by the choices we individually and as a species make every day.

Yeah, today is a day I can smack that deadly red button and no number of incoherently babbling human babies would deter me one iota (they’re just lying wanton killing machines in the making).

impact

blink hiroshima

      gone children, mothers, fathers

                blink nagasaki

 

 

 

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki

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