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.

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The Reich Stuff

Yesterday, Transterrestrial Musings contributed to the venerable April 1 tradition with the headline Pro-German Protesters Demand Ceasefire. That brought to mind something I’ve pondered recently: does the Third Reich seem so unique at least in part because we never had a chance to see what the Aztecs, Moghuls, ancient Mesopotamian civilizations, and other pre-industrial empires would do if they had mid-20th Century technology? I can imagine boxcars unloading people at Tenochtitlan…

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.

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Yon Tanpèt Pafè

In the wall mural of global incompetence that is our Crisis Era, Haiti has become the most lurid corner, a hallucinatory labyrinth worthy of Hieronymus Bosch; not so much the canary in the mine as a collapsed side tunnel whose maimed and trapped victims are within earshot and line-of-sight of First World institutional leaders already fumbling with a dozen groundwater leaks and toxic gas buildups in the main shafts.

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Masters of the Air – 100th Bomb Group

Observations of the series and from other sources

I am 7 episodes into the series, based on the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts in Britain during WW II, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I became so interested in the series that I started to read a book on the last surviving member of the 100th Bomb Group, John “Lucky” Luckadoo. I was surprised to learn that the series was so accurate they brought many of the historical figures to life, with no fictional embellishment.

As an aside, the one thing even this author did that bugged me a bit was refer to what was the US Army Air Force as the “Army Air Corps”. It seems a common mistake.  A minor nit perhaps, but by June 1941, the US Army decided that the mission of their Air Force had expanded such that their aviation arm was its own Air Force:

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