Saturday, March 23, 2013

A brief history of school prayer in America

Since the Supreme Court decision of 1962, school prayer has been banned in American schools. Thinking back to my childhood and those happy days at Fanny Hillers School, I can remember when we said the Lord's Prayer at the start of the school day. I remember it was the one time of the day when the three religions represented in the classroom, the Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant religions attacked the prayer differently, much to the consternation of the teachers.

When we said the Lord's prayer, the five Jewish kids had to keep silent. As a Catholic I was obliged to say the Lord's prayer up to the last sentence then stay silent for the most poetic part of the prayer, "for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever" but could join in for the Amen at the end. Vatican II allowed for this extension to the Lord's prayer, but by that time it was banned in schools anyway. Looking back it must have seemed strange for half the voices to be cut out at the last sentence.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all the children in the classroom except for the two Jehovah's Witness kids who had to sit and keep quiet. As children mature the Pledge moves from the loud sing songey declarations of the early grades to the mumbled voices of high school.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Who would have thunk it

Just went onto the David Bowie website to find out about his new album. The album in CD costs $11 but if you want it in vinyl it's $26. Now back in the 90's I was told I should get rid of my albums and replace them with CD's. I was told the sound was so much better that soon all vinyl albums would be obsolete. Who would have thunk it. Now people are paying double to get the same songs in vinyl. If only I had kept my bell bottom blue jeans.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

That's the way to open a shopping mall!

This story caught my eye today. It took place in Leeds, in the U.K. Most of us know the town from the Who  Live at Leeds album. Well they have a new shopping mall and this is a  story with a video from opening day.
I wonder where she's going to wear that dress?

Editor's note: College memories.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Yahoo's edict on working at home

Most of us have been following the brouhaha concerning the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, and her edict that all the staff of Yahoo have to show up for work everyday. In the flesh. No more goofing off in your undies and logging unto the Internet in your kitchen. Being a woman and a mother, she is twice scolded for being against women working in a way amenable to  handling  family responsibilities. Now, even the Times has chimed in on the controversy.

In a previous job I worked from home, albeit without pay, just as a way to keep up with the things I couldn't fit in at work. To many of us, however, working at home perhaps seems more like the above picture. Here the babies are typing in the documents with Mom. Perhaps this picture is not as efficient as it could be in a time work continuum.

We are presented by Ms. Mayer an ideal of workers networking on tasks and coming up with creative ideas as they hang out in the coffee break room. My experience is that more bellyaching and gossiping takes place in such environments than light bulbs going off on top of people's heads, but perhaps that is just my own, largely civil service experience. If I was a betting man I would say more and more people are going to continue to work at home in the workplace.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

So it's March, the ordinary month

March is the ordinary month. The temperatures are higher than February but it's still windy and the trees are still bare. There are no legal holidays normally, except this year Easter is early so that makes Good Friday a holiday, at least in some states. March sort of is the month of continuations. Yes spring technically starts in March, but in reality spring comes in stages, and  then there is Saint Patrick's Day, which can be fun but for non Irishmen is no big deal.

One nice thing about March is, if you want to take a chance on the weather, it's a good time to travel. Sure everything isn't open in most tourist areas but the prices are lower, the kids are in school, and you get to see the locals living life as life is really lived, before the streets are cluttered with tourists with cameras. When I worked in a public library I always took my vacations in March partly because that is tax season,

Editor's note: Many states also celebrate Maple syrup weekends in March and Michigan has declared March maple syrup month. Ho hum.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Microsoft wants to be hip

The past week I have noticed an influx of  Microsoft Surface commercials on the tv. Everything we thought about Microsoft is now wrong, apparently. No longer the the realm of men who wear pocket protectors while using DOS, now it is attempting to appeal to young hip types. I don't know if it is working or not.
I guess the kid below looks happy, though. :