Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to each and everyone. Regular posts will be a resolution this year. Best to the Dog Sledders in Quebec!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time when we can all begin our liberation of the spirit to make this world a place where all human beings can live in dignity.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Seasons Greetings and Such!

Family are flying in from all corners of the globe this week so I wanted to get some stuff up before I forget, or don't get the chance to.

First off, for Paddy and all those accompanying him North; I have had the pleasure of experiencing such a trip and had the chance to revel in the moments that only exist in those surroundings. I have been catching up with some Jack London lately and I wanted to share something of his:

'Nature has many tricks wherewith she convinces man of his finity, - the ceaseless flow of the tides, the fury of the storm, the shock of the earthquake, the long roll of heaven's artillery, - but the most tremendous, the most stupefying of all, is the passive phase of the White Silence. All movement ceases, the sky clears, the heavens are as brass; the slightest whisper seems sacrilege, and man becomes timid, affrighted at the sound of his own voice. Sole speck of life journeying across the ghostly wastes of a dead world, he trembles at his audacity, realizes that his is a maggot's life, nothing more. Strange thoughts arise unsummoned, and the mystery of all things strives for utterance. And the fear of death, of God, of the universe, comes over him, - the hope of the Ressurection and the Life, the yearning for immortality, the vain striving of the imprisoned essence, - it is then, if ever, man walks alone with God.'

Moments like that are possible in the snow; moments where we come close to understanding the essence of simply living. Moments don't last forever, but if we can loose oursleves in moments like that then we can find that the memory of it lasts longer than we will.

I hope all those venturing out have a good time and I hope that everyone involved with PaddyWop will be able to loose themselves in moments of joy this Christmas and get to share that joy with those they love.

Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Duit!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Fall

His heart is a suspended lute;
Whenever one touches it, it resounds.

It was during a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens that I delved into the recesses of the House of Usher. I hasten to admit though, that I left somewhat disappointed. While Poe did manage to create an atmosphere that transcended the pages of the book and saturated the room in which I sat reading, I still felt an emptiness that was not satisfied by the story.
I agree with Mr C that the utter helplessness and frustration experienced by the narrator was described to great effect, and the atmosphere of despair was created masterfully, but I feel it lacked something and the worst part is that I cannot describe what. To me, at least, Poe produced a silence that seemed to permeate through every room, and every character and even every word, if that makes sense, and while that added greatly to the atmosphere of the piece it still left me wanting.
In regards to the incest issue, I originally did not understand how Mr C came to his conclusions but the more I think about it now the more it makes sense. The paragraph he posted on the comments and the way I understand the silence that seems to dominate the piece combine to say more than I had first thought. I am going to go back and read the whole thing again because of this, but I wanted to get these thoughts up first before I returned to the ‘insufferable gloom’.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Рабочие Мира Объединяются!

"Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live"
Happy 7th

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Samhain? How was it.....

I eagerly await word of the celebration that befell Maryland's eastern shore. I also would like a bit of help with the pronunciation of the word. I have much trouble with the Gaelic.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Fall of the House of Usher---

What a wonderful horror story. It gripped me from start to finish. My skin crawled as the thought of the incest between the Usher twins manafested itself in my mind and how that incident represents so much of what we are becoming in this country. The whole edifice is corrupted and collasping from with in.

The Fall of the House of Usher disturbed me a great deal as I read it. Poe managed to create a scene of disolation and dispair by a powerful use of language that almost corrupted you as you read it. It might stand as an analogy for the corruption that engulfs a society inbreeding with itself in order to remain pure and eventually destroying all sembalance of what it is trying to preserve. Poe may have aimed his story at the American South but that is pure speculation.

Poe managed to create a real impression of a drug induced hallucination. I could almost smell the opium pipes buring with every paragraph. I indentified with the speaker and the feelings of helplessness that are beginning to assault me about affecting the world around me. Maybe Paddy is right and we should just flee it all, as the speaker did at the end. Who knows maybe we will have a story entitled "The Fall of the House of Hogwarts". It and every place like it may be truly corrupt and venial.

All of these things passed through my mind. "Usher" was a decent into hell.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Souls pass by, passy by on a whim
thoughtless of deed, benign of a time
that flickers in the fate dimmed
words of repose; the words of this rhyme.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Veil Is Getting Thin

As I went out walking this fall afternoon,
I heard a wisper wispering.
I heard a wisper wispering,
Upon this fine fall day...

As I went out walking this fall afternoon,
I heard a laugh a'laughing.
I heard a laugh a'laughing,
Upon this fine fall day...

I heard this wisper and I wondered,
I heard this laugh and then I knew.
The time is getting near my friends,
The time that I hold dear my friends,
The veil is getting thin my friends,
And strange things will pass through.

Friday, October 26, 2007

An Invitation to our Contributors in Belfast

My Unconventional Warfare class has just begun a unit on Irish Independence. We welcome comments on any of the postings; I just ask that you make clear in your comment that you're writing from Ireland and not a class member.

Up the Ra!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Wolves of Learning

This post appeared in another blog and rather than just link to it, I republished the whole thing.
It is from EdTechJournal at

The Wolves of Learning
At birth we are blessed with a natural curiosity. There is a great wildness in it. A shaft of sunlight illuminates a world of dust and delicate objects floating in air, as if by magic. A child who catches a glimpse of this will stop whatever it’s doing and begin to explore what it sees. We are called to learn.
Our natural curiosity is like a wild animal; it hunts where it needs to in order to satisfy its deep hunger. As children, we awaken each day with an insatiable appetite to learn. It is in our early years that we are “wolves of learning”. There is a deep, DNA-based, natural connection between learning and survival; call it the burning relevance of the empty stomach.
Over the centuries, as we have institutionalized learning, we have taken something precious from our children, our young “wolves of learning”; and from ourselves. The wildness of our natural curiosity has been tamed, domesticated, and subdued.
We have done this by giving our children virtually no control over their education, little responsibility for their learning and whatever natural curiosity they have has been replaced with a structured curriculum. We reward them for following directions and doing what they are told and reprimand them if they wander too far from our agenda. Since it is our agenda and not theirs, they put minimum effort, if any effort at all, into what we ask them to do. They are in compliance mode. Compliance produces the lowest level of effort. Fear of retribution becomes the prime motivator rather than the excitement of learning.
We have trained them to expect to be fed without going on the hunt. Like domesticated pets, we offer them bland processed learning laid out in prescribed amounts at certain times of the day. We decide what they are fed, how much, and when. They rarely experience learning by their own wits, their natural curiosity, or even serendipity. They will not gorge on learning and fight over the scraps until their bellies are full.
We have so successfully domesticated our students that they are likely to rebel when they are asked to use the natural gifts for learning with which they were born. It’s as if we were trying to release a pet house dog into the wilderness, the odds of survival would be small. Within hours the dog would be back in front of the door, begging to have its master serve its dinner to it in a dish.
Let us find ways to give our children back their birthright, their natural curiosity and facility to learn. There have to be ways that we can organize our learning institutions to accommodate individual curiosity and the standardized curriculum. I believe that thoughtful educators can create environments that are less restrictive and provide much more natural habitat for learning. Let us find ways to foster the wildness and thrill of learning again. Let us answer the “Call of the Wild”.


Monday, October 08, 2007

The Earth Begins to Cool

let the night fall
for i am not afraid of the dark
or of imaginary evils
or of myself
and my own power
let the night fall
let it come with its dreams
its mysteries
its wonders
let the night fall
let the goddess drape her scarves of black
around me
and clear the cauldron's surface

so that i might remember

Written by Lady Lissar

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Fall of the House of Usher

Here is a link to the Fall of the House of Usher by Poe

The Fall of the House of Usher


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New life, Old ways.

Samhain is upon us again, and to get in the mood I am hoping to revive the PaddyWop book club. I am not sure what people may have read before so below is a list of possibilities. Comment on what one you would prefer and hopefully by the end of the week there will be a decision. Then hopefully by the time Hollantide comes around we will be able to disucss.

1. Uncle Silas: A tale of Bartram-Haugh, Sheridan Le Fanu

2. The turn of the screw, Henry James

3. The Withered arm and other stories, Thomas Hardy

4. The Fall of the house of Usher, Edgar Allan Poe

5. Ghost stories of an Antiquary, M. R. James

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Well i have so much that I'd like to say. I went out tonight with only the purchase of nasty cigarettes on my mind; I ended up spending the night in our favorite pool hall watching classic US war movies. IT WAS amazing.

Blog Link

Here's the link to my Unconventional Warfare class if anyone wishes to have a look at our discussions
Feel free to add your comments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In interiore homine habitat veritas

Not to worry, I wont always bother you with my school readings, but I thought this one, which I am required to read before orientation, is especially relevant to this audience. Let me share a few excerpts from "On Democracy and Education" composed for the UChicago class of 2011:

"One week later, again in the fall of 2005, I keep a phone appointment to talk with the head of the committee that is searching for a new Dean for the School of Education in one of our nation's most prestigious universities. Hereafter I'll just refer to the university as X. They want my advice, or think that they want it. Since, as a result of the first two incidents and many others of a similar nature, I'm already alarmed about the future of the humanities and the arts in primary and secondary education, I lay out for this woman my views about education for democratic citizenship, stressing the crucial importance of critical thinking, knowledge about the many cultures and groups that make up one's nation and one's world, and the ability to imagine the situation of another person, abilities that I see as crucial for the very survival of democratic self-government in the modern world. To me it seemed that I was saying the same thing I talk about all the time, pretty familiar stuff. But to this woman it was utterly new. “How surprising,” says she, “no one else I've talked to has mentioned any of these things at all. We have been talking only about how X University can contribute to scientific and technical progress around the world, and that's the thing that our President is really interested in. But what you say is very interesting, and I really want to think about it.”

"Today, however, these insights of Tagore and Dewey are ignored, in favor of an education for economic success. Whether a nation is aspiring to a greater share of the market, like India, or struggling to protect jobs, like the U. S., the imagination and the critical faculties look like useless paraphernalia, and people even have increasing contempt for them.
Indeed, most outrageously and thoughtlessly, the U. S. is currently egging on other nations to emulate our worst, not best, traits. The two major universities I have mentioned are both very strongly concerned with educational initiatives abroad. Needless to say, given my examples, these initiatives do not focus on the creation of sympathy and the cultivation of critical thinking.
What will we have, if these trends continue? Nations of technically trained people who don't know how to criticize authority, useful profit-makers with obtuse imaginations. I believe that outrage is called for, on the part of every person who cares about the future of democracy in the world, and I think intellectuals should be leading the expression of outrage.

the rest found at:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Burn Baby Burn

"Everything American will disappear one day, more completely
than that which was Greek, or Roman, or Egyptian. This is one
of the ideas which pushed me outside the warm, comfortable
bloodstream where, buffaloes all, we once grazed in peace. An
idea that has caused me infinite sorrow, for not to belong to
something enduring is the last agony."
Henry Miller, page 57, Tropic of Capricorn

Is Rome already burning (in an American context)? This passage was written in the 60's, about a guy in the 20's, and just like in Miller's day there seems no shortage of people today who feel like we Americans are nearing (or on) the brink of extinction (which in a nuclear era isn't too fantastical a worry...). Some think the sky is falling 'never mind losing world dominance---America will be a totally destroyed in 30 years time!!!!' But I wonder, and furthermore put to the readership as a question: Are we just a bunch of worry warts? Are we really about to lose it all (which in my opinion wouldn't be so bad) and go under like Rome did, or are we really just going through a lull? And if we actually are going under, why?
What worries me the most is the frenzy that is created by false media. Too much crap these days is being turned into an "end of days" type symbol for us to gawk at: Lindsey Lohan goes to rehab again, Michael Vick kills a bunch of dogs; and the reactions this stuff yields is so major (and glamorous) so as to make it seem absolutely cataclysmic, egging on the Rome is Burning sensation.
Maybe, if instead we unglued our heads from the TV screen, turned around and looked at all of the truly terrible shit going on, then we would stop fucking up so much. Maybe if people stopped thinking that America is going down the shitter because Lindsey likes to blow coke, and started to think that America is going down the shitter because of our GOD DAMN CORRUPT PRESIDENT then we wouldn't be in such a slump and we'd realize the sky isn't actually falling for the reason we think it is. Congress has spent DAYS addressing Michael Vick's dog fighting, meanwhile, oh you know: mass genocide is occuring, nuclear bombs are being built by men with the temperament of a 2 year old, America sinks further into debt! and the lifeblood of our country can't even get medical treatment never mind a roof to sleep under! you want to know whats barbaric, you fucking worthless shit, Byrd, its barbaric that you spend your time (or rather West Virginia's time) on such detritus as Michael Vick.
What I would give to just unplug CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and every single talking head who's pockets are getting lined by big business as we speak and to let people figure out what is really a problem, to stop the absolute deception that is going on right now, distracting us from the important and getting us all frenzied over some dumb girl's drug problems and guy who never learned that "dogs are people too"...
Maybe I'm over categorizing as to who is so sucked into the spell the media has cast, but it sure as shit doesn't seem like anyone's turning the crap off, and inaction in this case feels to me like treason in another guise. Support legitimate media sources, turn off the crap, and thereby do all of us a favor by diverting energy towards action that will keep us from going under.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bout Frickin' Time - Wonder if he too wants to 'spend more time with his family'

Farewell: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave his resignation on Monday and leaves his position Sept. 17.
``This is a great, great development. ...The next attorney general has to understand that his primary loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law and that sometimes he has to tell the president no.'' -Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, one of the fired U.S. prosecutors.
``There comes a time when if you don't have the respect of the Congress and the American public and your own people in the department then it's time to step down.'' - Fired Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden.
``He demonstrated that his loyalties lie with the president and his political agenda, not the American people or the evenhanded and impartial enforcement of our laws. ... My hope is that the president will select a new attorney general who will respect the rule of law and abandon partisanship, who will serve the American people and not the president's political ideology, and who will answer to the Constitution and not political operatives.'' - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.
``The president must nominate an attorney general who is a lawyer for the American people, not a political arm of the White House.'' - New Mexico governor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson.
``Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job. He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove. This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House.'' - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Buying a car.........

I was at a used car clearance sale yesterday and I heard the most incredible excuse ever for a salesman to get a social security number before a person even wanted to buy a car. Our salesperson tried to pressure us into giving up our social numbers to the data base which my wife resisted heroically.

When the people at the next table balked the saleperson stated "I am sorry but homeland security and the Patriot's Act require that we check all social security numbers of people wishing to buy cars to be sure they are not terrorists making car bombs." I almost spit out my teeth!

It may be time to rethink how we govern ourselves.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir

This group sounds incredible, if you could show me how to get some audio up here C i would be able to grace our site with some, but I'm a little inept on that front. They sound incredible on their site and I'm pretty sure that I'll go. They're singing at the Library of Congress on September 12. If any of you are interested, let me know.

Heres a link to some of their audio:
Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir

May we all feel the presence of Samhain in our lives

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

C'Est Moi

From the latest issue of The American Conservative:

"Four words the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee should never have to say to the nation's chief law-enforcement officer: "I don't trust you."

That was the scene when Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales was questioned about pressuring his hospitalized predecessor to reauthorize the administration's domestic surveillance program. The senators' disdain crossed party lines: "Your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable." the panel's ranking Republican told him.

But the AG didn't blink. He knows that devotion to his powerful patron -- not his middling legal credentials -- keeps him in a job. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Gore Vidal commented that Gonzales "thinks he's Attorney-General of Mexico." "No, that is not a racist remark," the novelist averred, anticipating the easy put down. Those familiar with cronyism's corrosive effect on the rule of law will glean his meaning -- and wince.

Loyalty, far more than skill, seems to be the Bushian shibboleth. Called to testify about the U.S. attorney firings, former White House Political Director Sara Taylor told the long-suffering Judiciary Committee, "I took an oath to the president, and I take that oath very seriously." "Did you mean, perhaps, you took an oath to the Constitution?" Chairman Patrick Leahy suggested. "I, uh, yes, yeah, you're correct, I took an oath to the Constitution, uh, but, what..." "I know the President refers to the government being his government," Leahy continued, "It's not." That may have been news to Ms. Taylor.

But Bush is unbowed. The White House has just announced that it will order the Justice Department not to prosecute administration aides for ignoring congressional subpoenas. Expect full compliance from those sworn to uphold the President -- and his monarchial notion of justice."

- The American Conservative, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fender Park

And so to Fender Park, where tired feet seek the trodden path; where beggars and borrowers can afford relief, where reunions of young and old gather to hear tales of distant relatives on distant shores; where we’re inspired. Where rain can never soak nor wind dishevel; where the stars don’t shine nor the sun rise but is never touched by darkness; where destruction fuels life. Where ancient dances are more than just a memory and where merriment and misery flow from every tongue. Where at once we all long to be close to, and at others far away, but where a part of us will always be, laughing, crying, living and dying. Where? The road to Fender Park is short and easily trod; the road away is long and each step echoed by God and man and fates footfall. So while we may lest rest our weary selves under its saffron skies, for all too soon we must turn from Fender Park, and lament its beautiful guise.
We had been told, on leaving our native soil, that we were going to defend the sacred rights conferred upon us by so many of our citizens settled overseas, so many years of our presence, so many benefits brought by us to populations in need of our assistance and our civilization.

We were able to verify that all this was true, and, because it was true, we did not hesitate to shed our quota of blood, to sacrifice our youth and our hopes. We regretted nothing, but whereas we over here are inspired by this frame of mind, I am told that in Rome factions and conspiracies are rife, that treachery flourishes, and that many people in their uncertainty and confusion lend a ready ear to the dire temptations of relinquishment....Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow-citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of the Empire.

If it should be otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached bones on these desert sands in vain, then beware of the anger of the Legions.

- Marcus Flavinius, centurion of the Augusta Legion

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sounds Familiar

Unfortunately more people do not speak out about this kind of behavior and many good people in all professions (i know of at least one at Hogwarts) face these kind of unsubstantiated charges.

A Poem

Here is a poem written and read by Father Andrew Costello of St. Mary's Church in Annapolis. Check out Father Andy's Blog at Reflections on the Bay

What's Important
read by Fr. Andy

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Labor's cry for help

Here is the clip from the Democratic debate at the labor rally at Soldier's Field in Chicago. It speaks for itself.

Steelworker's Plea and Edwards reply

A blog to view..........

I watched Meet the Press this morning and was impressed by the discussion between Markos Moulitsas Zúniga and Harold Ford Jr. I am all for Markos!. I would suggest that you go and visit The DailyKos Maybe PaddyWop will join the coalation!

Friday, August 10, 2007

If Anyone Still Doubts That The Ruling Corporate Oligarchy is Subverting the Republic

Let's test the First Amendment, shall we?
"George Bush, leave this world alone." "George Bush, find yourself another home."
I'm still here and employed, my freedom of speech intact. (As I write this, anyway.)
Wish I could say the same for Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, who sang those same two lines (to the tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall") Sunday night in Chicago, where the Seattle-based band was headlining Lollapalooza.
The performance was webcast on AT&T's Blue Room entertainment site.
But the part where Vedder slammed the president? Cut by AT&T's "content monitor."
"This, of course, troubles us as artists, but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media," Pearl Jam said in a statement Wednesday.
AT&T took until Thursday to admit its monitors had made a mistake; they were only supposed to bleep out excessive profanity or nudity of the Janet Jackson "wardrobe-malfunction" kind. An AT&T spokesman told The Associated Press that it was trying to secure the rights to post the whole song on the Blue Room site.
Are we buying all that?
Do we have any choice? That's really the issue here.
If anything, Pearl Jam's Chicago-style silencing gave mainstream consumers a taste of what's at stake when media giants like AT&T have a firm grip on what we receive through the myriad technologies at our fingertips.
"What happened to us this weekend was a wake-up call," the band said. "And it's about something much bigger than the censorship of a rock band."
Amen to that.
The incident raises the issue of "net neutrality," which seeks to address the freedom and access the Internet is supposed to allow us, and the control being harnessed by those who provide access.
Consider: Corporate providers can give faster download times to some content, and not others.
And if they are the ones holding the content, we have no choice but to watch what they choose to show us.
That, to me, is censorship.
Corporations say we should trust them not to censor.
Mistake or not, AT&T just gave us a reason not to.
I understand it's a delicate dance. Technology is advancing so quickly, it's hard to keep up with who owns what, how it is presented and what safeguards should be in place.
But I think we're clear on the First Amendment, and the right it gives artists like Vedder to say what he feels without fear of being cut.
We depend on artists to make us think and learn and raise our own voices not only in song, but at the polls. Woody Guthrie. Bob Dylan. Joe Strummer of The Clash, who sang, "Know your rights."
(Among them: "The right to free speech — unless you're dumb enough to actually try it." God rest Joe's soul.)
We need to keep a close eye on our rights, but also on those being taken by corporations.
And for those who missed it, Pearl Jam is making the full, uncensored webcast available on its site. (
Good thing; some of us would like to sing along.

By Nicole Brodeur
Seattle Times staff columnist
Viva la Mescaleros!
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Who Will Celebrate With Me?

Ah...What if

If only we elected people who make sense and have experience rather than members of the ruling oligarchy (I include Gore right along with Bush on that one).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Freedom takes another hit...........

Why is it more important to look like you are tough on terror than it is to allow the Constitution of the United States to be mocked with another wiretapping law? Wiretapping Law.

Maybe it is time to forget about the Constitution and go back to the Declaration of Independence. Remember those words........... "When in the course of human events....." I am afriad human events are not on the course of freedom these days.

Friday, August 03, 2007

So Long Tommy

I grew up listening to this gem of a man as he sang in Boston with the Clancey Brothers. His music and songs and reverence for the nationalist tradition from which they spring will be with me until I die. [Obituary in the Belfast Telegraph ]

De-school Now!

As learning moves into the 21st century , if we wish to create life long learners, we have to create learning structures that speak to learning styles and needs of what Marc Prensky calls the “digital natives” (Prensky, 2006). James Paul Gee speaks of them as the “the gaming generation.” (Gee, 2006). Teaching and Learning need to become one, in an anarchy of creativity. The interesting question is will there still be a formal learning system that sits on top of the informal learning system we all use in our lives? Human beings need to develop the habits of independent thought and life long learning that will help them to become productive questioning citizens of the new flat world that we now inhabit.
Just as the printing press ushered in the new societies of the renaissance so too has the Internet now ushered in a new renaissance of learning and exploration that is changing everything human beings are learning and doing. We are now longer in a world of scarcity of information. We are in a virtual world of overabundance which we need to learn how to navigate.
Our schools are not designed to successfully engage our young people in the world of independent and constant learning and interpretation. It simply does not interest them any longer. Distance education has always tried to emulate classroom education since the early 19th century. As the Internet has developed it has made the whole idea of controlled curricular education, whether distance or face to face, obsolete. Students entering our Universities this fall are learning content that will be obsolete by the start of their junior year. We are in a new world. To explore that new world we must be committed to putting digital tools into our students’ hands and integrating those tools into the evolving world of the Internet.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Shanghai Revisted Through An Alternate Lense

Since postings to PW this summer have appeared somewhat sparingly, I offer a blast from past. A year ago Paddy was spewing venom from his desk in Shanghai. In contrast I give you a much more measured and contemplative view of China, from the very same East China Normal.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A video you have to see....

The video below is now on YouTube and has spurred a political video making contest on Chris Mathews' Hardball show. ( His censors did not let him show it all....) Lets all have at it. Power to the People:)

Hilary Music Video

Putin's Russia

As a student of Russian language I'm constantly asked "why do you study Russian, what good is that?" Well, typically I ignore the bastion of stupidity that haunts many of the questioner's minds and try to comfort them with an "oh what'd you think of Harry Potter?" but for those of you who recognize the Russian language as a possibly-legitimate venture, I have further reason for the language's importance. Anna Politkovskaya's "Putin's Russia" is a journalist's approach to the corruption and horrors of Putin's regime. I've only read the first 40 pages, but the writing has been intelligent and the content horrifying, and still highly edifying. On par with Peter Maass's "Love thy Neighbor." Furthermore, Politikovskaya was shot dead in the elevator of her Moscow apartment last year most probably due to her muckraking approach to Russian politics, specifically the Chechnyan wars. I picked up a copy at Politics and Prose for 12 bucks or something, it is Very much worth the read.

The Washington Post review: "A courageous investigative journalist...In the tradition of the great Soviet dissidents. Politkovskaya was unwavering in telling the gruesome truth about the injustices that she witnessed"

Thursday, July 12, 2007

SPS Blog Open for Comment

Sieg Heil Mein Tintin

So now they're trying to ban Tintin. Isn't that rich.

London, July 12: Comic book character Tintin is in the midst of a race row, after Britain's Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) accused one of the books of making black people "look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles".

The CRE claimed that the book -- Tintin In The Congo -- has projected "hideous racial prejudice" and recommended that its sale be stopped.According to The Telegraph, the Borders chain of bookshops has agreed to move it to the adult graphic novels area of its shops, but the official Tintin shop vowed to keep selling it, as did Waterstone's and WH Smith.Tintin, written and drawn by the Belgian author Hergé, was first published in 1931 but was redrawn in 1946, when Hergé removed several references to Congo being a Belgian colony.

I don't recall anyone, myself included, calling for the ban on most of the literature of Britain from the 17th and 18th centuries because it portrays the Irish as lazy, potato-eating, popish dullards and simpltons.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The History Boys

By David Halberstam Vanity Fair
August 2007 Issue

In the twilight of his presidency, George W. Bush and his inner circle have been feeding the press with historical parallels: he is Harry Truman - unpopular, besieged, yet ultimately to be vindicated - while Iraq under Saddam was Europe held by Hitler. To a serious student of the past, that's preposterous. Writing just before his untimely death, David Halberstam asserts that Bush's "history," like his war, is based on wishful thinking, arrogance, and a total disdain for the facts.

read full article here

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Maybe More Americans Should Read This From Time-to-Time

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
[A free pint at 4GF for anyone who can identify this patriot; a man who, when pushed to rebellion, let his musket do most of the talkin'.]

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

WIP Heads to Nanny's

Seission Night still hangs on at Nany's despite the appalling transformation of the rest of the bar.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Wop Sided in Buffalo---

The Wop has gone back to heaven for the weekend to enjoy some of his old haunts. I am sitting here at 9:00 am eating a raw Salens hot dog and loving life. I am going to Mighty Taco, Hoak's on the lake for a real Buffalo Fishfry, will have a plate of "cherrystones", have a beer or two at J.P. Bullfeathers, and party by rear off at Sunset Bay on the Lake. It will get me in the mood to do a Norm at Nite on Tuesday night with the Irish kids when I get back to Washington. To the left is pictured St. Gerard's Roman Catholic Church where I attended school as a kid. The school has long been closed and is now used as a home for unwed mothers.

Interesting news in Buffalo concerns the Catholic Church. The Diocese is plannng to close several Catholic churches and schools in some of the old ethnic neighborhoods around the city. The Polish community has responded very bitterly to the idea. Buffalo Common Council Presient David Franczyk introduced legislation condemning the Bishop's actions including language that the Dioceses' plans has "a whiff of ethnic cleansing" to them because it would force city catholics to attend generic suburban parrishes far from ethnic neighborhoods. Buffalo Bishop Kmieca responded that "Not only to make such a statement, but to put it in writing and to introduce it into the public record is appalling, irresponsible and misinformed" The whole controversy might make a great case study over at Hogwarthe's but then it deals with little people and Catholic issues so maybe it isn't "worthy" of their consideration Read the article in the Buffalo News. The city's Polish community feels particularly picked on in the controversy is predominately Catholic Buffalo and the Buffalo News covered that on Friday. Enjoy the articles if you choose to read them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

PaddyWop is Going to Germany

PaddyKrautWop will have to be the temporary title, just to make our German friends feel welcome. Nonetheless, I have set my sights on Germany for this winter's break from the University of Chicago (December 7-january 7). All Paddywoppers are invited to join me and I will provide more info about flights and what not soon. I just wanted to throw this plan out there, see if anyone has any tips, any requests.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Open Season

Ok, so we have some self-proclaimed policy hot-shots in the Hogwarts summer program who just cant handle the idea that other people think differently than they on certain issues (no prize in figuring out that these would be Republican-leaning individuals). Today Paddy published the first issue of the Southside P.S., that silly lil lunch-time, desk-published rag that causes so much controversy because the tough-minded, hawkish rightists can't stand the First Amendment. So I throw open the gates of free expression to anyone out there who wants an informed (I think), relatively intelligent, and politically-minded audience: here is the URL of the SPS online. Feel free to comment on any of the articles or write your own. I also publish a hard-copy every few days, so if you wish to write an op-ed (from the right, middle or left) there I'd certainly entertain any submissions.

PS - they've been discussing the 'Bong Hits for Jesus' trial before the Supreme Court and will be meeting with Justice Alito on Friday.


Jun 14th 2007
From The Economist print edition

It is time to let the Russian royal family rest in peace
Peter Schrank

WHEN, a few years ago, word came that British bird lovers anxious about the decline of the house sparrow had appointed a sparrow tsar, it seemed that the tsar vogue must have reached its zenith. France already had a crime tsar, London a traffic tsar, Japan a banking tsar, the European Union a
foreign-policy tsar, and America had tsars for adoption, baseball, B-movies, manufacturing, record labels, you name it. No one, however, could outdo the sparrow tsar, or so you might think. Surely he would prove to be not so much the reductio ad absurdum as the dernier cri, the ne plus ultra in the once-rarefied realm of tsardom? But no. The latest newcomer, unless one has been added since you started this paragraph, is President George Bush's war tsar.

In fact, tsar-creation has never even faltered. Newish title-holders include Canada's copyright tsar, New Orleans's recovery tsar, Singapore's baby tsar, Tony Blair's respect tsar, Thailand's condom tsar and America's nipple tsar (Michael Powell, whose job as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission was to prevent a repetition of Janet Jackson's televised bosom exposure). They join an ever-swelling band of AIDS tsars, counter-terrorism tsars, cyber-security tsars, economy tsars, food-safety tsars, learning-disability tsars, piracy tsars, water tsars and even mental-health-service-user tsars.

All of which is a bit odd. One of the few points of agreement for most of the 20th century was that tsars were a Bad Thing, a particularly nasty example of natural selection that started with some brutal caesars, took in some belligerent kaisers and found its most excruciating expression in the Russian variants. Their rehabilitation in almost every quarter must rank as the most sudden, surprising and complete in the history of brand management. Republican Americans cannot get enough tsars. The purist-nationalist French, overseen by the Académie Française, seem ready to embrace them. And the Russians—yes, of all people, the Russians—have succumbed to an advertising tsar. A haemophilia tsar cannot be far away.

Nowhere is the triumph of the tsars more evident than in the wicked world of drugs. This world is divided into countries whose citizens yearn to see a drug tsar appointed and countries that have already got one. Why is a drug tsar so universally necessary? To see off the drug barons, of course. Until quite recently barons were a Good Thing. They brought bad King John to heel at Runnymede. Now they are a Bad Thing. What next? Führers, Caudillos, Duci, Gauleiters and Generalisimos must be due for a comeback.

It is time to put a stop to all this. The English language, borrowing, as so often, from Latin, already has a word for a supreme head. It is supremo. Journalists should try using it (they can fall back on big cheese occasionally). For their part, governments should try using titles that accurately describe the activities of their officials.

Once upon a time Britain had a minister for war. Now the same job is done by the secretary of state for defence. It also has a Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard. No one would guess it, but he is a deputy government whip. Minister for delivery and quality sounds plain and straightforward, but no one knows what he delivers, never mind its quality. Does the minister for social exclusion promote social exclusion, just as the minister for education presumably promotes education? Perhaps it does not matter: in Britain obfuscation is all.

Japan, by contrast, has a minister for the privatisation of the postal services. That is explicit. Unfortunately, minister for the rechallenge is not. His job is to give people a second go in life, though that sounds very much like the responsibility of the minister for disaster management. In Japan, however, that title means what it says. Elsewhere it refers to damage limitation, a task for spin doctors.

Now did the tsars have spin doctors? They certainly had lifestyle gurus. Time, surely, to rehabilitate Rasputin.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Somebody at Blogger is going to pay....

Imagine my surprise at getting an email this morning informing me of the existence of the new and improved PaddyWop... a mere 4 months or so after it happened.

Well, like MacArthur returning to the Philippines; or perhaps more appropriately Napoleon returning from Elba, I'm back. With a vengeance.

Neocons and multiculturalists alike should despair, because this degenerate French aristocrat has a bone or two to pick...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Still on a bar stool......

As the irish character of the new Nanny's continues to fade into corporate nothingness Paddy and the Wop branched out a week of so ago and began to explore Adams-Morgan for new set of bar stools to sit on. We had a great time at The Toledo Lounge on U street. A lot of interesting people sat next to us. A shout-out to the congressional aide we met even if you are a republican with a southern twang. The jello shooters added a new twist to the night....and they were green and purple!

More to come later.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Remember them always.........

May the memory of this president fade into nothingness as the memory of the soldiers he wasted in battle grows to greater prominance. May we all be "rebels of the Sacred Heart" with solidarity forever.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Not just the worst foregin policy

Jimmy Carter meant it......I will say it....

George W. Bush is the worst President in United States History....on all counts!!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Finally, A President With Some "Constitution"

I would just like all to note the words of President Jimmy Carter. The man, for however much people dont like him, really came through here and I hope citizens (in addition to the readership) will consider what he has to say:

Mr Carter told the BBC Mr Blair's backing for US President George W Bush had been "apparently subservient".

He said the UK's "almost undeviating" support for "the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq had been a major tragedy for the world".

His comments came as Mr Blair paid what is likely to be his last visit to Iraq.

He flew into the capital, Baghdad, for talks with President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri Maliki at which he is expected to push for greater reconciliation between Iraq's Sunni and Shia factions.

Mr Blair is due to leave office at the end of next month.

'Global schisms'

Mr Carter said that if Mr Blair had distanced himself from the Bush administration's policy during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq it might have made a crucial difference to American political and public opinion.

"One of the defences of the Bush administration... has been, okay, we must be more correct in our actions than the world thinks because Great Britain is backing us," he told the Today programme on Radio 4.

"So I think the combination of Bush and Blair giving their support to this tragedy in Iraq has strengthened the effort and has made the opposition less effective and prolonged the war and increased the tragedy that has resulted."

The war had "caused deep schisms on a global basis", he said, and he hoped Mr Blair's successor, Gordon Brown, would be less enthusiastic in his support for it.

The former US president has been a fierce critic of the US-led war in Iraq.

In an interview last year, he said he was "disappointed" by Tony Blair's failure to use his influence with President Bush more wisely.

In 1976, Mr Carter unseated the incumbent Gerald Ford to become the 39th US president, serving until 1981.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, for what presenters cited as decades of work seeking peaceful solutions and promoting social and economic justice.

--Courtesy BBC

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Back to English

I changed the language of the Blog back to English. I wish I knew Italian so that I could have changed it to that. Someday I will remove the bushel basket from the light.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

We fought a revolution to rid ourselves of the British Monarchy. Why do we welcome the Queen to our shores to celebrate what they tried to destroy?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Need a Night at Nanny's

I need a night at Nanny's. I miss the uncompromised atmosphere that we get at the bar. Plus I want to try out my new video phone and see if we can add some things to the blog.

I also want to discuss what direction we should take the evolution of Norm at Nite for the summer. I just realized that we missed the road trip for Flogging Molly. Oh well.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Of note to us at PaddyWop

Here is an article in the 4/30 Post that is relevant to us here at Paddywop. The truth has enemies everywhere.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It has been a month--

It has been a month since anyone has posted to Paddywop. I am a bit disheartened by the size of the audience but then I guess I nothing to complain about. Life goes on and I am a bit sad is all.

I did get a new cell phone today. I have wonderful plans for it but i am sure none of them will come to pass.

I wish I was still at Hogwarthe but I am not. Mark my words...I will always be a "rebel of the sacred heart!" and for that I thank paddy and Flogging Molly.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

And, of course, history doesn't really matter anyhow

Ouch!! I toyed with the idea of putting this on the Euro site, but then I'd be accused of "liberal bias" since there is nothing such as 'truth' anymore. Any yes, WOP, I'm stifling all comments on affirmative action as well...well, except that one.

oh and let's not forget

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Surviving the night on handfuls of gorp and with the aid of my amazingly versatile new light saber (more of a light dagger actually), we broke camp and headed back down the mountain to where we had left the car the day before. The temperature had risen a bit during the night, so a thaw was on. While enjoying a cup of coffee a lone X-country skiing slid past our camp – she had been on the mountain alone the night before and had a difficult day ahead of her in the slushy snow; not sure how far she had to go, but she had a large pack. Made me think how heavy my pack would end up if I ever decided to go long-distance solo. Hmmm…and whether or not my failing knees could take it. About a mile down, the extent of the thaw quickly became apparent and spirits lifted as the sun came out to warm our descent.

Most of the snow on the road had already melted within abut a half mile of the car, so there was no real problem at all making it back down to the valley. However, we still had three free days and needed to figure out exactly where we wanted to spend them. Sobin relentlessly harped on the point that ‘we should’ve headed to North Carlonia’ as originally planned. Ah well, as the poet said, ‘the best laid plans…’ (Ours, however, we not exactly laid well, let alone in competition for the best laid.) Of course the world famous Smoke Caverns were just a few miles down the road, but I could garner no support for the side-trip, despite the added attraction of West Virginia’s largest souvenir shop AND FOOD!
Ah yes, food. Stopping at the Little Mountain General store (it may have been he 'FOR ALE' sign outside that worked on my subconsciousness and made me pull in) for a “cheese-burgar” [sic] and a cup of coffee, we sat at the food counter, chatted a bit with some locals trying to devise a new plan for continuing the trek, and speculated on how odd, or rather I should say unique, this Spring Break trip might appear to mot people (boring people). But the ‘burgars’ proved tasty, the locals somewhat taciturn, but friendly and helpful, and the Potomac Valley, though not yet touched with the breath of spring, still looked quite lovely in the mid-day sun; the snows of Dolly Sods behind us, we headed 30 miles north to Wardensville to make our way up to the Tuscarora Trail. [To be continued – please feel free to add your thoughts here Sobes.]

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rebels of the Sacred Heart

Now I'm aimin' for heaven
But probably wind up down in hell
Where upon this alter I will hang my guilt ridden head
But it`s time I'll take before I begin
Three sheets to the wind, three sheets to the wind
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
I said no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
Terrified of the open road
Yeah, where it leads ya never know
But rest assured he'll be on you back
Yeah, the holy ghost through his tounges in black
As the band dog howls and the young girl cries
The blessed virgin in her proud dad's eye
The albatross hangin' round your neck
Is the cross you bare for your sins he bleeds
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart

Genuflect all you refugees who fled the land
Now on guilt you kneel
And say a prayer for those left behind
From beyond the pale to the northern sky
So you saved your shillings and your last six pence
Cause in God's name they built a barbed wire fence
Be glad you sailed for a better day
But don't forget there'll be hell to pay
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
I said no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
Reserrection no protection all things life must be
Ah no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart
Now bless me father for I have sinned
But it's the same old story again and again and again
Ah well, such is the bread of an everyday life
From mornin' to noon to this shadowless night
Rebels are we, though heavy our hearts shall always be
Ah, no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heartI
said no ball or chain no prison shall keep
We're the rebels of the sacred heart.

Thanks to C, the Poet, and of course Flogging Molly for a beautiful Saturday spent in a land far far away. And to all of those unfortuntes we slammed into, my apologies; Paddy and Wop together in motion add up to a good deal of momentum.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Most Curious WV Adventure

Spring Break! For some this dredges up images of drunken idiots shedding clothing and inhibitions in direct relation to the number of beers consumed in some vain attempt to prove something, earn a hallowed place in someone else's lexicon of buffoonery, or pretend that they had an 'awesome' time of it all. Those who know me - and at this point, considering the restrictions on PW at the moment, that's anyone reading this - that particular ritual was neither written into Paddy's liturgical calendar nor intrigued me as a pastime. Spring Break 2007 took Paddy and two traveling mates about as far from the hyped beaches of college misery as possible. We had five days set aside for a backpacking adventure, and eschewing the long drive from DC to the Smokey Mountains we headed westward into the mountains, destination Petersburg WV and the Dolly Sodds Wilderness. Keen on tackling a good first day trail, we reluctantly passed up the opportunity to visit Smoke Caverns and ‘West Virginia’s largest souvenir shop and food’ (Paddy was intrigued by the claim to WV’s largest food, but owe drove!). We did, however, stop at an Army surplus shop in Pertersburg with a might fine collection of camies, where we should have paid more attention to the woolen gloves. Shortly after departing Petersburg, home of the Golden Trout and WV’s largest military museum, we left the Potomac Valley and began our ascent. Having made it about halfway up the mountain, we suddenly became aware of the fact that Spring had not yet made it to this part of West Virginia, as the dirt road turned to mud, then slush, and finally to snow-covered track. Onward and upward we climbed in our new-model, mid-range Japanese sedan, sliding round one precipitous corner and up till we simply could get no further; we actually ground to a halt in about 6 inches of wet snow and were lucky to get the thing turned around, still about 3 miles from the parking place, our proposed jump off onto the trail into Dolly Sodds. Not to be thwarted, however, we all agreed to leave the car on the side of the road, don our packs, and hike the rest of the way to the car park. Before setting out we chatted with a couple of local boys and their dog coming down the mountain; they had tried the ascent in their 4x4 but had been forced to turn around as well. A cold, steady sleet began as we began the trek to the top. Now dear reader, you might expect that a three mile hike up a road would prove relatively easy and straightforward. Let’s just say that there were times when one or another of us actually vocalized the phrase, ‘are we crazy.’ A rhetorical question of course, but it perhaps needed saying, if only to reassure ourselves that we weren’t.

We started out at 4:35pm. By 5:30pm we had made it as far as some crazy hunter’s shed, still something like a mile and a half from our destination, at which point we decided we would spend the night camped near the car park and set off down the trail in the morning for a full day’s hiking and three stream crossings. Shortly after the hunter’s shack, all vehicle tracks came to an end on the road and we found ourselves slogging it up the remainder of the mountain in about six to twenty inches of snow. 6:10: we reached the summit but still had a remaining 1.2 miles across the ridge before the jump-off point down the trail. A brief conference ensued as to the feasibility of reaching the trail-head before darkness descended, cut short by a return of the sleet; we headed west into the woods. By 7pm our light was failing, the sleet, made more bone chilling by an cruel wind that whipped across the ridge, was taking it’s toll (I failed to mention that one of us made the ascent without gloves or woolen cap), and we experienced while hastily trying to get the tent up that brief moment when you wonder if this is the point when it all starts to go really, dangerously wrong. I’m not playing at the melodramatic here; there was indeed an instant when the thought passed over me that we should have set up earlier, a mile down the path. Anyway…we managed to get the tent up and passed the night without incident, though our planned dinner of beef stew had to be replaced with handfuls of gorp and cheese consumed within the tent. Oh, Matt did manage to boil enough water to produce a couple mugs of raman. Reassessing our situation in the morning, we decided, with the trail being completely snow-covered and the prospect of even more intense winter-camping ahead of us, to sod Dolly Sodds, and head for greener pastures (and greener mountains if possible).