Bob Wills Reunion, April 28, 2007

March 31, 2007

Turkey, Texas, again hosts the annual Bob Wills reunion on the last Saturday of April — April 28, in 2007.  National Geographic Video features a short introduction to Turkey, with heavy Bob Wills overtones.

Turkey’s website is down for maintenance as I write this, but it may be a good place to check for more details.   Bob Wills

Texas “million-air” songwriters

March 31, 2007

One of the large copyright license clearance organizations for music performances, Broadcast Music, Incorporated, (better known simply as BMI), keeps track of how many times a song is performed on radio. When a song passes a million performances, it is said to be a “million-air” tune.

Texas music license plateAccording to the governor’s Texas Music Office, a million plays of most popular tunes is equal to 50,000 broadcast hours, or about 5.7 years of continuous play.

Texas songwriters have quite a few tunes in that category, and a surprising number of them of recent vintage. More below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Last call for Texas history carnival, Fiesta de Tejas!

March 31, 2007

Today’s the last day to nominate your post, or another’s post, for the inaugural (and we hope not last) Fiesta de Tejas! blog carnival of Texas history and other things Texan.

Texas relief map from geology.comSend the good stuff! You can send it through the Blog Carnival entry site for Fiesta de Tejas! (which is a good idea, since it saves copies), found here, or send it to me directly at edarrell AT sbcglobal DOT net.

Map image: Texas relief map from

Carnivals! Education, liberals . . .

March 30, 2007

Ecole des Beaux-Arts

. . . what’s the difference?

The Education Wonks host Education Carnival 112.

Lots of carnivalia at Framed: Discourse & Democracy, with Carnival of the Liberals #35.

And, while we’re at it, one of my favorite blogs hosts the 57th Skeptic’s Circle, at Aardvarchaeology. It’s well worth a browse. Brain learning, how do we tell what’s accurate, etc.

Photo: Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris

Intelligent design: Cromulence achieved

March 29, 2007

Editorial writer Rod Dreher of The Dallas Morning News reacted to the news that scientists at Southern Methodist University are protesting a conference on intelligent design in biology, scheduled to be held at the university April 13-14, with an opinion piece that calls for a defense of free speech, and compares the adherence of intelligent design to the adherence of Marxism at SMU

In other words, Dreher defends intelligent design as having finally achieved a high degree of cromulence:

What snots these academics be.

One might be foolish to disagree. Intelligent design is cromulent. The conference will embiggen the intellectual life of the university, regardless the shadow it casts across the light of reason.


Quote to think by: Timothy J. Campbell and the Constitution

March 29, 2007

What’s the Constitution between friends?

–Timothy J. Campbell (1840-1904), Attributed, circa 1885

A little more below the fold? Certainly. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from the Sub Terrain: Basketball class

March 27, 2007

Notes from the Sub Terrain is an occasional — okay, spasmodic — set of observations from a certified teacher working as a substitute.

Basketball class

The assignment said “upper level, basic biology.” But upon arriving at the school the Sub learned the teacher to be replaced was one of the basketball coaches. The school’s team had won in the state playoffs the previous night, and the coach was assigned to scout the next week’s opposition in a game on the other end of the state. Cool.

Oh — except for this: The first hour was basketball, in the gym. The Sub wasn’t dressed for it, the Sub doesn’t play much basketball, let alone coach it. Worse, the assignment had said nothing about a first hour – the bell had just rung, and The Sub was late. What room? “Green Gym.”

Where is the Green Gym? the Sub asked. “I have no clue,” the substitute coordinator said. There are several gyms, but they are not in exactly the same place. “I think it’s near the arena.”

Trudging to the attendance office, the Sub got crude directions. Only 10 minutes late so far.

Found the Green Gym. 22 students were dutifully engaged in four different games of basketball. Notes from the coach said the students should play “pick-up” games for the period.

As the Sub walked into the gym, two students from the full-court games broke off and ran over, volunteering to help with attendance, so no roll would need to be called. There were no absences. Attendance took a couple of minutes, and the students went back to their games.

Every few minutes one of the teams in one of the games would hit 21, or some other magic number, and the game would end. When two or more games ended, the students designated different teams and went at it again. After about 20 minutes someone yelled something about getting enough water, and the students took breaks individually to get a drink.

The Sub recognized many of the kids. They were, many of them, troublemakers in other classes. Here they made no trouble. Disputes about fouls were settled quickly and amicably, and the games went go on. Good shots, or good defensive plays got vocal approval from all quarters. Hot dogging got jeers: “Just play!”

For 70 minutes the games rolled quickly. Then, without prompting, one of the students rolled out a ball cart, put a couple of balls away and headed to the locker room. Within three minutes all the balls were on the cart, the cart went into a closet, the lights were turned out and the gymnasium was empty.

The Sub wants to know why all classes can’t be that way, with the students doing the work, willingly and happily, without complaint, without prompting or prodding, and finishing and cleaning up on time.

The Sub noted that most of the students did not shower, but instead masked themselves in clouds of Axe body spray, which the Sub thought unhygienic.

The Sub said he later learned that the class was the junior varsity basketball team, mostly. He said the discipline they showed was impressive.

The varsity team won their next playoff game, and headed to the state tournament. The Sub said that if they are as disciplined in the big things as the junior varsity players are in little things on the basketball floor, they will win the state championship.

How can we restructure other classes to get the benefits of student self-discipline? the Sub wonders. Why don’t the students make the connection that discipline makes them champions in one area, and strive for similar discipline in other areas?

Why don’t the teachers, coaches and administrators make the same connection?

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