Cursive and Other Archaic Skills

My daughter recently reviewed the various academic programs available at the Hill Country elementary school which Wee Jamie will eventually attend, when she makes her pile in real estate and moves up to that community. Among the skills on offer is training in writing cursive – which we were both pretty thrilled to hear about. (Although I do hold out for home-schooling Wee Jamie.) Apparently, teaching cursive handwriting has been pretty much phased out in elementary school curriculums of late – in favor of either printing or keyboarding… apparently, very few people now hand-write documents. Scrawling a signature is about as far as most people go, these days of computers, cellphones, email and being able to fill out forms on-line.
For myself, I have perfectly awful handwriting; not all the cursive practice in third and fourth grade could remedy this quality a single iota. Frankly, I envy anyone who has excellent flowing Palmer-style handwriting, or the gentleman I met at an art show who could do perfect gothic script lettering – freehand. I have usually resorted to printing, if legibility to another person was a requirement, and there wasn’t a typewriter or computer handy. But I fully support Wee Jamie being taught to write cursive, for the very excellent reason that even if you can’t handwrite legibly – you can still read handwritten documents. Otherwise, whole libraries and archives are closed to someone who simply can’t read such documents.

Read more

Fever

A fever, so the doctors and medical experts tell us, is a symptom of a deeper issue; an illness which most often is a mild and fleeting thing. And then, there is the serious and life-threatening fever – in either case, a fever is a way of telling us that something is wrong, and we’d best pay attention.

Just such an indication in the body politic is the occurrence of vigilante groups – a kind of civic fever, an indication that civic adjudication – the administration of justice in the case of offenses against law and order to the satisfaction of those offended by crime – has become seriously out of whack. It is a purely human drive; if one has been harmed by the unlawful actions of another, one would prefer to be assured that justice has been served – and if not made whole again, at the very least satisfied that the offender has been properly chastised for their offense.

Read more

History Friday – The Angel of Goliad

A project for the Tiny Publishing Bidness this week reminded me again of a woman and incident in Texas history; a woman about whom very little is actually known, but has a full-length statue, a monument to her on the grounds of the old citadel of La Bahia, near Goliad, Texas. Her given name was Francisca or maybe Francita, but what her birth surname was is not known. Anything about her background, family and education is unknown, save that they were supposed to have been good. It is known that she was orphaned as a small child, raised by respectable connections and eventually became the common-law wife and companion of one Captain Telesforo Alavez, who already had legally-wed spouse. There are no contemporary images of her, and no interviews with newspaper writers or historians later in her long life. Her only mark and image remain in the memories and memoirs of the men whose lives she saved – an image of a brave and fiercely moral woman, unafraid to protest the evil of cruelty and murder. Thereby, as the saying goes, hangs a tale.

Read more

Separate

So this is a story which first percolated up to my attention at the Powerline blog last week – a perfectly vicious attack on a teenager by a bigger and apparently stronger teenager, which has put the first teenager in hospital with likely permanent brain damage – if she even recovers consciousness at all. There’s something about having your skull repeatedly slammed on a concrete sidewalk which will do that. The attacker has been detained, which is a nice gesture on the part of local law enforcement, and a Go-Fund-Me appeal has already raised a considerable sum for the medical care of Kaylee Gains. The name of her attacker, hereinafter referred to as Little Miss Thugette, however, seems to be under a veil of secrecy in those few stories which have appeared in the news media. The comments appended on sites where the story does appear tend towards the cynical: if the colors of the two girls were reversed, most commenters acknowledge that there would be screaming headlines for weeks in all the print media, TV pundits rushing to make their two cents clear by taking a knee (literally or metaphorically), the inner cities in blue states would already be in flames and Al Sharpton would be ubiquitous in demanding justice. (Of the mob and rioting sort, naturally.)

Read more