I. Terrible Beauty
Between screenings of our own films this week, my class is watching the documentary “Devil and Daniel Johnston”. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned Mr. Johnston and this documentary before, but this is the first time I’ve shown it to a class. The story of an acute bi-polar singer/songwriter who can’t sing and can’t avoid exposing the very center of his emotional heart is not an easy one to watch at times. I had to wait for the right bunch of kids, and the reaction has been dramatically bifurcated. The 8th Graders generally love it. One immediately got a Daniel Johnston cassette from the 80s and spent the whole day yesterday in school listening to it. Another spent significant time at his website.
The 7th Graders, as a rule, are just staring aghast while viewing the film, like it’s a pool of fresh vomit in the cafeteria.
Watching it with this two reactions going on simultaneously is almost as wrenching as the film/story itself. It’s also serves as the most extreme example of what school tends to be (standardized testing and preparation for standardized testing) and what school perhaps could/should be (exposure to things like “Devil and Daniel Johnston”). But that’s just me. I wonder what standard/benchmark “terrible beauty” falls within, whether it’s Yeats or Daniel Johnston.
And yeah, putting Yeats and Johnston in the same sentence is kinda cool. Here’s a clip from the film I found:
The New Mexico Mock Trial Regionals are this weekend. I encourage everyone to go check it out today at 9:00 and 1:30 at both the Federal and District Courts at 4th and Lomas, and tomorrow at District Court. As with Daniel Johnston, I’ve mentioned mock trials at least once here before, but if you need to resurrect your faith in kids, school, Justice, America and Jurisprudential Apple Pie go see a round or two. It does a body/soul good, trust me.
And, oh yeah, Go Albuquerque High. They have two teams this year and pretty much every participant is a “graduate” of my little classroom. I’m not much on fandom, so I’ll just give a general rah-rah to all who play the game, AHS or otherwise. Have fun guys.
The little backpacker you see above looking up at my wife during a camping trip is named Oly. He’s a Golden Retriever and he’s having a little medical situation. We haven’t got the biopsy results, but it’s looking about 99% sure he has an intranasal tumor. And that ain’t good. Not good at all.
We first ran into Oly right around the time we got married in 2001. He’s been everything a Golden should be and more. Crazy as a hatter running around for his first four years, dependable as good shoes in his older days and the emotional cornerstone of our animal-crazed household throughout the decade.
It’s been a tough few days. Tough enough to make you realize you’re melting down over “just” a dog, but unwilling to care that it’s “just” a dog. And a reminder that our pets are like our children and parents all in one never so neat 10 year package. We get all the joy of their arrival and the misery of their departure in a single decade (or so). Sometimes you wonder if it is worth it.
Sorry to end on such a note, but sometimes that’s just where the note happens to be.
Have a good weekend, folks. Really.