I haven't been posting much for awhile...
School has been very busy. I'm coming to grips with the reality that the program for which I signed up is not geared to the needs of the non-traditional college student, let alone one who is part-time. As a result, and combined with new developments in web design and interactive media in the three years I've been there, some of what I learned the first year has changed enough, that I may end up spending one or two more academic quarters just getting caught up. With any luck, the folks in charge will eventually allow me to graduate. At least that was our understanding. Until then, I must occasionally remind some high-handed official that, in fact, I am NOT just some punk-ass kid fresh out of high school, that I already HAVE a bachelor's degree in a related field, in this case from a REAL university, and that -- in response to veiled threats of not earning the lofty associates degree, whoop-de-dooo -- with a decent portfolio and a line on my resume that says, "Postgraduate study, web design and interactive media, Art Institute of Washington, 2004-09," I could still get either a promotion, or into a master's program. (Oh, and did I mention I've been an honor student the entire time?) So things are a bit up in the air right now, at least for me.
My scouting work as an assistant district commissioner has stepped up a bit. We're looking at the prospect of salvaging one or two units that have lost membership in recent years. Boys are often attracted to the "megatroops" with up to one hundred members, and program expectations to match. Parents are attracted too, because it allows them to drop the boys off and go their merry way, knowing enough of the other adults will be there to keep a program viable. The problem with this mentality is in the long run. Not only are some boys denied adequate opportunity for leadership, but the scale of such an enterprise makes the very idea of a "boy-run" troop less likely. Even barring that problem, the concept of a familiar neighborhood troop of twenty-five to fifty boys falls by the wayside, and certain parts of town are virtually unserved by the Scouting program. It has taken about a year to convince the local Powers That Be, that the "alpha male" approach to unit development is not only a bad long-term policy, but it makes the commissioner's role a pointless one.
Sal and I went to The Surf Club in Hyattsville last Friday night, for what was supposed to be the last night of zydeco before the place is finally sold by the Hall family, after over fifty years of business, to some joker who wants to turn a perfectly good roadhouse into a Latin night club. Like we don't have enough of those in town already. Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners kept the party going till midnight. We spent nearly an hour trying to get out of the parking lot because someone parked their car right behind ours, and left the motor running and the doors locked. Turns out it belonged to some 89-year-old guy who was a friend of the owners, who finally woke up from his chair long enough to realize his license plates were being announced. Fortunately, he had an extra key, and drove away before the cops could show up. So I called the dispatch and cancelled the report. Considering this was Prince Georges County, I could have been there till morning to file a report. Besides, neither Sal nor I could bear to file a complaint against some old man who was obviously embarrassed (not to mention who shouldn't even be driving).
And speaking of Latin, Father McAfee was mentioned in The Washington Times yesterday, in a story on the growing popularity of the Traditional Latin Mass, especially among the young. Yesterday was also the Feast of Christ the King in the old calendar (being the last Sunday in October). We had a slightly different group of young men serving that day, and there was the necessary adjustments, combined with a bit of coaching now and then. Plus, when the first master of ceremonies (that would be yours truly) is on the altar with the priest during the Canon of the Mass (highlighted by the Consecration), one of his tasks is to turn the pages of the Missal. The book is entirely in Latin, including the instructions in red, or "rubrics." Fortunately, I know just enough Latin to know what to look for in the priest's actions, and to be able to negotiate when to turn the pages. It also helps to be alert, not only for what the priest is doing, but the others serving at the altar as well. When someone forgets to ring the bell, I'm the guy Father looks at momentarily, muttering "bells." That's when you learn to (alliteration alert) send signals subtly. The choir and organist had strings and tympanum, and a magnificent setting for the Mass -- by Mozart, I believe. It was magnificent, but when we got to the end of the Canon, I thought the choir's singing of the "Benedictus" would never end.
The change of seasons for a homeowner always means a change of scenery. Summer clothing is packed away, winter clothing brought out of mothballs, including coats and scarves. It won't be long before I have to think about "the holidays," and what's in store for all that. Thankfully, Sal and I have a similar attitude. It's all about being thankful for what you have, giving what you can to others, and keeping your expectations realistic. For Sal, it also means pulling out the stops and sending home two or three balikbayan boxes to the Philippines, full of stuff they couldn't live without back home. Guess who gets to help pack. I can't wait.
Now for a real story. For all those idiots who persist in keeping Gore/Lieberman stickers on their cars, and insisting that George Bush didn't really win the election because he didn't get the popular vote, Kevin Gutzman over at LewRockwell.com has an excellent piece on why the American President is chosen by an electoral college. You know a country is in trouble when even some candidates for the Presidency need a damn civics lesson.
Well, that's all the news that fits.