Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen
8 October 1917 – March, 1918

© David Roberts, the War Poetry Website, www.warpoetry.co.uk  1995 (or 1999).

Faust/Marsalis: Why the Arts Matter

Amidst the hullabaloo about Common Core standards in schools, the arts have been swept into the corner. This insightful article points right to the heart of the matter: young people today, more than ever, need to engage their entire beings in their learning. Through exploration, experimentation, and relating the world to their unique sense of self, a wholistic education is possible. Self-expression is a basic human need. The ability to think critically about anything and everything is an essential developmental skill. The arts provide both. Why are we limiting our young people’s learning and potential for enlightenment?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, and Wynton Marsalis, master musician, wrote a joint article for USA Today about the importance of arts education.

They wrote:

“We hear widespread calls for “outcomes” we can measure and for education geared to specific employment needs, but many of today’s students will hold jobs that have not yet been invented, deploying skills not yet defined. We not only need to equip them with the ability to answer the questions relevant to the world we now inhabit; we must also enable them to ask the right questions to shape the world to come.

“We need education that nurtures judgment as well as mastery, ethics and values as well as analysis. We need learning that will enable students to interpret complexity, to adapt, and to make sense of lives they never anticipated. We need a way of teaching that encourages them to develop understanding of…

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Missed My Camera!

What a difference a lens makes. While I never claimed to be a professional photographer, I was really happy with my Canon Power Shot ELPH 110HS. I could point and shoot almost anywhere, and take decent videos, even with seemingly no light, and the lens would adjust to the light conditions, focus, and–voila! It zoomed from macro-like close-ups to a very wide angle. All I had to do was frame the shot. I LOVED that camera. It really seemed like an intelligent machine.

Then, on a family camping trip last July, the unthinkable happened: not respecting the delicacy of the viewscreen, I (or someone) cracked it. And then it stopped working. I was distraught. After three months of mourning, I brought it back to Best Buy. I had the 2-year warranty, after all. They, of course, no longer carried the same model, and I settled for another model, still Canon, still the ELPH line, but this time, it was the 130IS. The focus was not as clear, the lighting corrections not as agile, and the pictures just lacked a certain crispness. Then I found that it had a light leak: if shooting into or close to a strong light source (I always push the limits in getting an image), a vertical streak of white light would appear right through the picture. What a disappointment! Back to the store.

I finally decided to look for the 110HS online. I found one on eBay–brand new, reputable seller–and ordered it. I am back in business, getting great shots again, and feeling that all is right with the world again–at least as far as my photos are concerned.

This is a great camera for anyone who is artsy but doesn’t want to mess around with an SLR–all the learning, the time it takes to set up a shot, and the bulk. It is flexible, reliable, and infinitely portable. This model is the one. I feel like I’m reunited with my true love.

My Phone Will Never be Smarter Than Me

Little Bubble #2:
Smart Phones

Xmas tree

Did you have a good Christmas? Were your spiritual and material ambitions accomplished? I had a nice couple of weeks off of work. We had a few low-key holiday celebrations with family and close friends. Perhaps the most memorable thing I did was to lobby for, and help plan, a family vacation in the snow. We’ve been up a few times before, but it has been a few years since our last visit. The kids are teenagers now, and it was a good time to get them out of town and doing something different—that they enjoy. We also spent time visiting with some good friends we hadn’t seen in a long time.

As far as presents go, I’ve learned that if you really want something, you need to get it for yourself. I got myself a smart phone, bringing me irreversibly into the 21st Century. I fought it off for a long time; I really did.

Continue reading “My Phone Will Never be Smarter Than Me”

Lake Tahoe

Mountains Reflected in Lake from Malcolm's Deck

Panorama of Lake Tahoe

A little family vacation at the lake over the New Year’s weekend revealed record low snowfall and relatively mild temperatures. Though frosty at night, the days were sunny and up in the 50s to 60s. Man-made snow kept Heavenly Valley ski resort open and busy as ever.

I don’t particularly care for the commercialism of the town… but it is a resort after all, and the locals need to make their money during ski season and in the summer boating months. The ice sculptures on the streets and the Christmas lights everywhere gave South Lake Tahoe a festive feel.

Driving to the west along Highway 89 to Emerald Bay State Park affords views of snowy mountainsides and an overlook of beautiful Emerald Bay, where Fannette Island can be seen, on which stand the remains of the Tea House that was built between 1928-1929. It is an annex to a Scandinavian-style stone mansion called Vikingsholm, partially hidden by trees on the South Shore of the lake.

All photos and text © Anne Campagnet-Reed 2014