March 2017

The Gettysburg Address, Part Two (Dedicated To A Proposition)

Lincoln At Gettysburg (Blue)

Lincoln could have talked about the Constitution, but instead points to the year of the Declaration of Independence – the ‘birth’ of our nation and a written statement not only of rebellion, but of ideals. The Constitution has rules about running for the Senate and requiring the various states to play nicely together; the Declaration proclaims all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. The Constitution is functional, but birthed in compromise and politics. The Declaration is idealistic and uninterested in practicalities – it glows and pretty music plays whenever we close our eyes and call its name three times.

The Gettysburg Address, Part One (After Everett)

Lincoln At Gettysburg (Purple)

President Lincoln was invited as well, but unlike today the presence of the President did not automatically presume he would become central to everything else. Lincoln’s role was to give some closing comments before the final song or prayer – not to upstage Everett. While it’s likely people anticipated more than the two or three minutes it would have taken for him to deliver what became known as his “Gettysburg Address,” they certainly weren’t expecting anything particularly extensive either. That wasn’t why he was there.

The Evolution of Bicycles

Velocipede

Recognize this? It’s almost a bicycle. No pedals, though – just a wooden frame and wheels. The ‘velocipede’ had to be customized to the height of the rider, and could only be ridden without losing your ability to reproduce by sticking to well-maintained garden paths or other flat, soft-but-not-too-soft ground. The kind not found most places.

It was also pretty tricky to turn. You had to lean, firmly but subtly. Crashing not only hurt, but dramatically reduced whatever level of ‘suave’ you’d managed to retain while straddle-running on the darn things.

Sam Patch, American Jumper (Part Two)

Sam Patch

Within a few years, Patch had a reputation as a drunk – usually the fun kind, but sometimes just the drunk kind. It’s likely he was a heavy drinker before, but now people recognized him. They may have bought him drinks, in the way people do to show appreciation or solidarity. Along the way, Patch somehow found himself bestowed with a pet bear, which he began taking around with him and lived with as a pet of sorts. 

As if that weren’t colorful enough, the bear joined Sam on many of his jumps - off of cliffs, bridges, and waterfalls. Wherever Sam jumped, so jumped the bear. 

Seven Reasons You Probably Don't Suck (For Teachers)

Jayne's Hat

Statistics say you’re probably pretty good. Once you control for poverty and upbringing and factors well-beyond your control, the reality is that most American public school teachers are at least adequate, and many are quite impressive. If this is your first year, you’re probably not as good as you will be; if this is your twentieth, it’s possible you’ve lost a few steps along the way. But overall, I suspect you’re a miracle worker every day and simply don’t see it.