capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
By the way: This is a different melody than the one you’re probably used to, but as I understand it, this is the tune that Burns had in mind when he wrote the words down in the eighteenth century (and in this performance, there are also a couple of verses sung in Gaelic. so if you all of a sudden don’t understand what they’re singing, don’t worry [probably]).

Lyrics behind here. )
capriuni: Close-cropped picture of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor (12-2)
Okay, here's a Child ballad of Robin Hood, that showed up in my YouTube subscription feed, yesterday afternoon. I have absolutely zero evidence that it inspired Mark Gatiss in writing "Robots of Sherwood," mind. But the adventure described in the lyrics sounds enough like a classic Doctor Who plot, that should Mr. Gatiss admit to it, I would not be in the least surprised.

As evidence, I present this excerpt from the lyrics:

(Quote -- spelling corrected)
'Come, tell me the cause, thou pretty one,'
Quoth Robin, and tell me aright,
From whence thou comest, and whither thou goest,
All in this mournful plight?'
'From London I came,' the damsel reply'd,
'From London upon the Thames,
Which circled is, O grief to tell!
Besieg'd with foreign arms.
'By the proud Prince of Aragon,
Who swears by his martial hand
To have the princess for his spouse,
Or else to waste this land:
'Except that champions can be found
That dare fight three to three,
Against the prince and giants twain,
Most horrid for to see:
'Whose grisly looks, and eyes like brands,
Strike terror where they come,
With serpents hissing on their helms,
Instead of feathered plume.


Now, does that, or does that not, sound like a classic Doctor Who foe and threat?

Here are the full lyrics, written out (from Wikisource):'s_Ballads/129 (if you read all the way to the end, you'll see that this is one version of Robin Hood's story where his life as an outlaw comes to an end, and his life a respected nobleman resumes).

And here's the video of the song being sung, that popped up yesterday (I disagree with his rhyming choices in a spot or two, but it's still earworming me, anyway): (about 11 minutes long).

As a side note, here's a video of "Daddy wouldn't buy me a bow-wow," which is the chorus that Sarah Jane whistles as she walks away at the end of "Hand of Fear," (which might make it ironic, or simply a rounding out of her story arc, when the Doctor sends her a version of K-9 later):
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From Important to Impertinent:

1) The Hearse at the End of the Driveway: (Breaking the silence around mental illness and anxiety -- vivid, first-person description of what it feels like to have a panic attack).

2) A trio of strips from Robot Hugs: "Return" (a message from the future about life with mental illness) "Rat Race" (A fable about/metaphor for job hunting today -- show this to people who say you're not trying hard enough) "Tone Policing" (an explanation of what it is, and what's wrong with it -- this is also another strip of theirs which includes Disability in their Diversity... This is the only strip [not specifically dedicated to Disability] that I can think of that regularly does that. So kudos to them).

3) "Mrs. Ribeiro" (a poem from Sarah Kay about happy learning).

4) "Science Wars" -- Acappella Parody: (The old "Which field of science is most important?" debate, sung to the John Williams theme, aimed at high school students, and an infernal earworm, with puns).

5) Tomska Behind your Sofa -- a Mr. Weebl Song: (Included to make the list an odd number, and also to complete the spectrum from "Serious" to "Seriously?!?!").
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
In ascending order of length, behind cuts (with commentary):

First, the song which opens this video is one of the best encapsulations of Epicurean philosophy I've come across, since I discovered what Epicurean philosophy is.

A long note on the video's format (which, if you're not familiar with the channel, seems really weird) )

We're all gonna DIE (so have a good time, and be nice to each other) -- 'Vlogbrothers channel' 3:19) )

What I find so inspiring about Epicurus is that, after accepting as given that:
  1. the Cosmos is made of invisible atoms,
  2. we're all gonna die when our atoms eventually disperse, and:
  3. Death = Nonexistence

He then came to the conclusion that the meaning of life is Happiness, and that Happiness = Wisdom + Friendship. I mean -- for example -- Nietzsche read Epicurean philosophy, accepted the first three givens, but then decided he wanted to end up in a very different place. Well, I know which road I'd rather travel.

'Simon Says' by Theresa Davis ('Button Poetry' channel 4:00) )

A poem about educators who use their power to abuse students, but it ends with a positive tone. She uses "the F-word" a few times, but it's as an exclamation of emphasis and/or surprise, rather than anger.

The Worst-Designed Thing You've Never Noticed | Roman Mars | TED Talk (18:18) )

About what makes a good flag, and how so many city and regional flags are so bad. It's part educational presentation, part stand-up sit-down comedy. I've watched this 6 times in the last couple of days, and I still laugh out loud at all the vexillological punchlines.

It's also got me thinking of the challenge of designing a Disability Pride flag that goes beyond the blue stick-figure wheelchair person. That very well may be a separate post, soon.
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
In the early 16th Century, "Geek" meant "village idiot."
In the early 20th Century, "Geek" meant "actor in a carnival side show."
In the late 20th Century,* "Geek" meant "a person mocked for their weird enthusiasms (as if they were an attraction in a carnival side show)."
In the early 21st Century, "Geek' meant "a person proud of their enthusiasm for esoteric fields, not caring if they are mocked."

This is why I love being in the company of geeks. Their enthusiasm is contagious, even when I don't share enthusiasm for their particular favorite thing. Here's a video of a mathematician who is a Klein Bottle geek. I bet you'll be grinning by the end of it. I bet you!

*first noted in popular culture in the movie "The Breakfast Club"
capriuni: a vaguely dog-like beast, bristling, saying: grah! (GRAH)
Last night, I decided to check out the Mudcat forum (folk music and blues), and near the top of the page, there was this thread:

Obit: Andy M. Stewart (1952-2015)

That's the "saddened" part of this post. Here's my addition to the thread (as "Guest"-- hadn't realized my cookie had expired):

Aw... Dammit.

I hadn't heard him perform in quite a while, but I was blessed enough to have heard him live in several performances. He was a great singer, songwriter, and a gracious performer on stage.


Now comes the "Enraged" portion of this post.

Today, while looking for web pages about him and his music, I came across the crowdfunding page his sister had put up to help him pay for his medical bills (it had not reached the goal by the time he'd died), and therein, she explains why she needs to raise money for him, including this passage (the added emphasis is mine):

Having lost so much my brother is facing a situation where he will need to leave his home and move to wheelchair friendly accommodation. He will need daily nursing care to assist his living. He does not 'meet the criteria' for entitlement to a motorised wheelchair because he has the use of his arms, even though this kept him housebound for many months. Except for when someone visits to help get him out of the house that's what he will go back to.

(The crowdfunding page is here: It's now raising money for a funeral)

Okay. So I am under no illusion that having a motorized chair would definitely have lengthened his life (it might have... a little). But I do know from experience that spending extra time and physical energy just getting from one end of your house to the other puts a real damper on creative writing. The world could certainly have used more songs and humor from this fellow. And we are all poorer for the loss.

Now -- what about all the wonderful, creative people in this world who became disabled before they were famous?! What is the world missing? All because of fear mongering about fraud and disabled people "scrounging off" Society.

So I'm going to take a moment to lay deeply felt curse against those who keep trying to "tighten the restrictions on entitlement 'criteria'":

May every sweet thing you bite turn to ashes and hair in your mouth
And may every draught you swallow turn to mouldy slime.

And here: have an article (link courtesy of [personal profile] jesse_the_k) about the real value of motorized chairs: Don't worry, he won't get far on foot -- he's dead

To end on a more upbeat note, have a video of Andy M. Stewart performing one of the songs he'd written, back in the day:

(I still don't have audio, but I've been in the audience when he's performed it on stage)
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
... Making cut paper, five-pointed, stars from squares of paper.

Five folds, one straight cut. A video is here: (haven't found a text, or diagram, or still picture, set of instructions yet). It really is ingenious. I wondered who figured out the math, 'cause drawing a pentagram by Euclid's method, using straight edge and compass, is mind-numbingly complicated.
capriuni: Text: "Everyone! Grab a spoon. We need to Move the Ocean!" (Ocean)
(I'd ordinarily post this behind my "Disability Discussions" access filter, but I'm in a "Shameless Agitator" mood, and want this to be publicly available to search engines)

I first posted this video almost three months ago (July 31), with no other comment than:

"This man is saying all the things I've been [saying] about why "C.P. = 'Retardation'" (unfortunate term still common in medical contexts) is Bullsh--

But because he's the "normal" parent, people believe him. Whenever I've said this, it must be that my C.P. "warps" my perceptions...

I left it there, because it was the end of a long, hot, day. I had neither time nor energy to unpack my reactions, and type them up. But summer's passed, and today is still young. So I'm finishing what I started.

The video is roughly 18 minutes long, and I encourage you to watch the whole thing. But if you can't, I want to focus on these two points that Dan Habib made in this speech:

First, at around the ten minute mark:

56% of kids in this country with intellectual and developmental disabilities spend their entire day in self-contained, seprate settings just for kids with disabilities ... whether it's classes or separate schools. Even though we know ... and all the research says ... that that is not going to yield better outcomes for them. Advocate for inclusion. Advocate of inclusive education.


I can't help but wonder how much of a link there is behind this national statistic and another that I've seen cited around the Web (often verbatim, so I suspect writers of Websites are "copy-and-pasting" each other) that 'between 30% and 50% of children have some level of mental retardation or seizure disorder.' (also note that the presence of intellectual disability and of seizures are often independent of each other, so I find it troubling that the two conditions are lumped together in this way).

Second, at around the eleven minute mark:

I've come to -- to believe that maybe it's really not about [my son and students like him] . . . Maybe it's actually about the other kids. Maybe we need to show that inclusion benefits typical kids without disabilities as much -- or more -- than they benefit [disabled kids].

The truth is that there are all these research studies that are being done at universities that show academic benefits for typical kids who are learning in inclusive settings. And there's one particular study that was done at Vanderbilt where they did two groups of kids they studied. One group were in an inclusive environment alongside their peers with disabilities. The group that worked alongside their peers with disabilites had an average of a 15 point increase in their academic achievement. that happened and it was because when you're working collaboratively with a peer ... with a friend ... with somebody who might need a little extra assistance ... or some coaching ... you're much more engaged in the curriculum. You want to understand it. you want to study it.


On the one hand, this makes me want to pump my fist in the air and say: "[Durn] Right!" Inclusive societies do better by everyone.

On the other hand, this passage also makes me angry. There's the obvious question of: "Why should the lives of "typical" children be worth more effort and care than the atypical -- especially since it's out of the control of the children and their families?"

But also: The way Mr. Habib explains these demonstrably better outcomes has bothered me since I woke up the morning after I posted this. It's an explanation that sounds to my ear very like the medieval Church's endorsement of alms and of begging: Because being able to offer charity is good for the soul. His son is good for his "typical" classmates, because he is in need of their help -- which frames his role in the class as more of a passive, rather than active participant.

So, here, I would like to offer a few alternate explanations for the improved academic outcomes in inclusive classrooms:

1) Disabled students are role models for their more "typical" peers -- they demonstrate the fact that there is more than one way to solve a problem, and overcome a barrier. Disabled students are in a position to teach as well as receive help in learning -- so that their presence helps other students learn whether or not those other students ever become their "buddies," or take a personal interest in helping them out.

2) Schools that strictly segregate students by some arbitrary metric or piece of paperwork in a student's file,* are also likely sending the subliminal message that difference is taboo, and demonstration of weakness will lead to ostracization within a stigmatized social group. Is it any wonder, then, that kids don't do as well in such a learning environment?

3) And finally, a school that embraces a culture of inclusiveness -- from the teachers to the parents to the administrators, and which encourages peer collaboration in a way that Mr. Habib describes -- is more likely to be creative in its teaching methods, and more likely to look for -- and find -- solutions to unanticipated problems.

There! Now I've got that off my chest. I feel (a little bit) better.

*The Chesapeake Public School System, for example, mandates that every student who has an Individual Education Plan (an I.E.P) on file, must ride to school on the dedicated "special" bus -- even if the child is perfectly capable of riding a "regular" bus -- so the special ed students are being segregated even outside the school building.
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)

I'd post the original, but it's a depressing video of a baby orangutan in a 1960's concrete zoo enclosure... That just makes the song so damned melancholy. And this video is so visually clever.

Sometimes, the reboots are better.

... On the other hand, the lyrics are all about playing outdoors, and all these kids are in a cinder block school building where the only light is fluorescent...

capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
The only thing I have to add is this: I take this to be a plot bunny challenge for all of those out in Journal Land who write superhero stories...

capriuni: half furry, half sea monster in wheelchair caption: Monster on Wheels (Monster)
So, I was sitting here, trying to polish commentary on the history of Disabled American Veterans, and how the medical model of disability was systematically designed to quell dissent in the aftermath of WW 1, and thinking:

"Damn! I need to watch something Ab-So-Lute-Ly SILLY, right now!"

And I figure I'm not alone. ... So I went to YouTube, searching for this:

And lo! I found there were more \o/

And yes, they helped. I hope they cheer you up, too (even the already-happy could use cheering).
capriuni: "Random" in mixed fonts, with "Stuff" in French Script on a red label obscurring a common obscenity. (random)
(But I really like this icon).

1) The dream I had this morning / through the night (it was one of the ones where I'm not sure whether each cycle through REM sleep were separate dreams, or just continuing "chapters" in one long dream) included (In order of descending complexity, incomplete):

Cut for those who don't care about dream rambles. )

  • My favorite part of the dream was that it had this musical number (yes, even dream riffs on the choreograhy) as a background theme throughout the whole thing (or nearly) which is now an earworm in my head (not that I mind):

2) Last night, I watched this video, which was posted back in January to mark the tenth anniversary of the probe Huygens landing on Saturn's moon Titan. I don't have any working earphones/speakers at the moment, so if the narration and/or background music is cringe-worthy, I apologize. But I was captivated without any sound at all; you can always mute. My favorite part is at the very beginning, where you see the Earth and Moon from Huygens' p.o.v., showing just how small the Earth is, how small the moon is, and how far away the moon really is. That's what it looks like "to scale;" good to remember:

3) Last evening, while I was having dinner, I watched a grey squirrel outside my kitchen window dig up (what I think was) an acorn and eat it -- hooray for springtime cliches (and dining companions)! BTW, squirrels don't bury their acorns because they're afraid of thieves. It's just that (contrary to Beatrix Potter illustrations) they do not have tiny kitchens with tiny stoves and tiny pots. Acorns fresh off the tree have too much tannin to be edible, but autumn rains, winter snows and spring thaws all work to leach the tannin out. This is how humans do it. The squirrel way takes longer, but seems so much much easier, I'd try that method, first, frankly.
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
So I took a break from my poetry book, and tried it out --redoing a video for a birthday song I wrote a few years ago: Your friends all sing (With redone lyrics, too).

...The mic also picked up the sound of its own creaking as it moved while I opened and closed my jaw ...

Um, I'm not sure how to fix that.

Also, I'm rather pleased to have written my closed captioning track completely typo free on the first attempt. :-)
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
I wrote this song back in 2013, and posted a YouTube video of it (with me singing) on May 13th. Back at the end of August, another YouTuber who posts song videos asked if he could cover it. I said yes -- after all, I'd written it so it could be heard. Well, tonight, he posted his remix; here it is:

He's changed the melody of the "B" part of the tune, to make it more of an original, and changed one word in the lyrics. But he got the gist right. And he has a more convincing "US" voice, so he's a more convincing narrator for this song than I'll ever be. ... and his subscriber list is orders of magnitude bigger than mine, so...
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
My new headset/microphone arrived Friday. I plugged them in on Saturday. And guess what? The microphone actually works, so I can record my voice again (which I haven't been able to do for over a year), which means I can get back to making videos of my poems, and maybe some other stuff, too....

This means also desensitizing my cringe reaction to the sound of my own voice, which will be awkward...

The downside is that, in the meantime, Windows Movie Maker has 'updated', and a lot of my favorite features for animating text and transitioning between still images are no longer available [/sarcastic yay], so I'll have to come up with other means of blending word/audio and visual elements into something that expresses what I mean.
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
On my Solstice 5 Things post, I ended with a bonus of Craig Ferguson's video cover of this song. That video clip, which is apparently on one of his personal channels, has since gone private. So here is the original band's own video. I hope it will bring you pleasure, and be a happy earworm:

And on a related note, here's a post from Dave Hingsburger about the power of making noise to keep evil at bay (which is a tradition even my atheist mother embraced): Pandemonium: my New Year's Resolution.

Keep banging on!
capriuni: Text: "an honorable retreat ... not with bag and baggage, yet scrip and scrippage. (Scrippage)
I get on those kicks, occasionally -- often without provocation. But this kick was provoked by the fact that I'm preparing a document for a POD book, and the only "standard" font that the publisher in question ( A) recognizes and B) that I actually like (Garamond) is one that did not come included in my Windows 8 computer. So I had to purchase and download the font for myself. I'm happy I did (I'll use it lots). But now, I'm drooling over all the other pretty fonts I want, but can't afford, right now (<3 Gill Sans <3)

Anyway, when I get on kicks, I watch YouTube videos on the topic. That's how I found this animated short, which I sensed several folks in my circles would enjoy, so:

capriuni: text: "5 things" (5 things)
A mix of Fantasy, Art, and Science, in that order:

1) Nebula (What How to Train Your Dragon SHOULD have been)

2) Jake Shimabukuro sound checks his ukulele

3) We land on a comet!

4) Blessed -- by Patti Durr Patti Durr is a Deaf artist and social justice activist from Rochester, NY. This is a video of a recent mural she's done, filmed through a narrow vertical opening, so the whole thing unfolds over time. There is, naturally, no sound track.

5) And last (but certainly not least): What's hidden among the tallest trees on Earth? (a TED-ed video)


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