Friday, August 14, 2009

Hope & Hell in a Hand Basket

Velvet is in a valley in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont, not far off the Long Trail. It's Fair Day at the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp. I wanted to go, but being impoverished and refusing to sleep on the ground at a state camp site with public toilets and showers that run for 3 minutes on quarters, I couldn't afford it - particularly since in less than two weeks, we must install Velvet at Tree Hugger Academy.

He's prepared in every way I could think of. He knows that some people make better friends than others, and he knows good weed when he smells it. He's been exposed to diverse environments such as the Nepalese Jungle and the Wind River Region of the Grand Tetons which has given him a broader perspective on the planet and its people. It was important to Buzz Kill and me that Velvet see the world.

In keeping with the meme that has developed into the Menopausal Stoners Soundtrack, here's another one from the vault:

My parents listened to these guys all the time back in the sixties when all things were possible. In that valley, at Fair today, those kids, the parents and Hippy Dippy Quaker staff, believe all things are possible. too. Theses guys also believed all things were possible:

We're old and tired now, but many still believe and trust in the next generation to accomplish more than we could. Maybe we didn't do so badly, and maybe we're not that old after all. But when you consider things like the national malaise that swept the Reagan administration into power which led to a country full of SUVs crowding parking lots at churches and malls and Costco and Christian Feeding Troughs with all you can eat buffets on Sundays - well, it's fucking depressing.

I feel like all I can manage is to make enough money to send my kid out into the world with the values and education to keep trying to make it a better place. If I'm lucky, I've got a few bucks to send to activist organizations where people have enough energy to aggitate for the progressive agenda.

As it happens, my chosen profession - my vocation, if you will - is teaching preschoolers. I fully believe that if you can show little kids how to act in a community then there may be hope for the future. I work at a place where the parents are already on board with this idea. My old school wasn't bad, but in September, I will be returning to an institution that was designed back in the 1930's with the mission of becoming a beacon of hope on a hill in New York City. The grandchildren of a robber baron provided the funding in an act of supreme karma cleansing. The foundation money supports the structure itself today, although like most everything those funds have been compromised by the economic clusterfuck.

In any case, I'm delighted to be in a place where every brick in the building was laid to spread progressive values. Back in the 1930's, progressive philosophy sprung up all over the place as a result of the stock market crash in 1929 and other miseries caused by rich assholes. I only know about progressive thinking through my studies in the foundations of modern education in America and some personal research into theology - but the principles are the same. It's an entirely different ethical orientation than that of the robber barons - who exist today running health insurance companies instead of rail roads and the slave trade. Same shit, different day. Brings you back to that fucking depressing point again.

The other day, JD at This Tumbleweed Life posted The Beatles' song, "Little Piggies." The piggies to whom George Harrison was referring back then are the same jerks in clean shirts playing in the dirt of the health care industry. Last night, I was listening to my favorite music, relaxing in the big, green leather barcalounger that Buzz Kill mandated remain in the living room via our divorce decree. As the music washed over my tired soul, it seemed like audio comfort food. Like surrounding yourself in mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, this favorite music from the formative years.

While a small percentage of the country shouts down Reason, sometimes with firearms at presidential appearances (Mr. Charlestown called it correctly in the comments to JadedJ's post when he said that guy was a whore just trying to get hisself on TV) - it looks like this country is going straight to hell in a hand basket again, led by a crew of Contemporary American Nonthinkers.

But the sun has come up on another morning, and I haven't killed myself yet in a fit of despair and the world hasn't collapsed into post-apocalyptic chaos like in Mad Max, which means we have to keep on keepin' on. Actually, Mad Max was keepin' on, too. It's a big drag that Mel Gibson is nut job from a family of nut jobs - but that's life. What are you going to do? Me? I'll listen to The Beatles:


dissed said...

Best post yet, hands down.

Green recliner must stay in the living room? Can't you drag it onto the patio and accidentally douse it with lighter fluid, or something?

PENolan said...

It's kind of ugly - but it's not a bad thing. Lots of people l-o-v-e to kick back in that chair.

Jaliya said...

Here's another pigs-at-the-trough song: Paul Simon's "Pigs, Sheep and Wolves". In fact, Sarah Palin could be its poster girl.

I would love to visit Vermont, and hang at the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp.

Pay-as-you-poop toilets, and a 25-cent three-minute shower: further crimes of the pigs at the trough! I wonder when they'll start charging for a 911 call:

Dispatcher: "OK, give me your address and we'll send an ambulance right out ..."

You: "It's 1128 Moll--"

Recorded voice: "--You are out of time. Please insert 25 cents."


Phone: *click*

... Robber barons have an ethical orientation!? Wow! >;-D

I, too, have been soothing and sassing my soul with classic rock ... and Sinatra, since it's summer ...

I love the soundtrack!

BTW ... did you ever write of how you came up with "Menopausal Stoners"?


P.S. Check out my Pushing Fifty blog; yesterday's post. Heh.

themom said...

Excellent post. Sounds like the progressive academy has some good ideas - at least a starting point. I grew up with, of course, The Beatles and then came S & G. Still great listening music for me.

word verification: wilyokids

PENolan said...

themom, it must be an omen of good

Jaliya - HCW, aka The Narcissist, first used the phrase Menopausal Stoner to describe me in another context but I knew a good phase when I heard it. Then, I was up at the hippy dippy Quaker camp, as a matter of fact, when Velvet said I looked like a burn out. I said, "Are you calling me a Menopausal Stoner?" Velvet laughed and shouted, in front of all his friends, "That's exactly what you are. A menopausal stoner!"

I might have been a post feminst pot head floosie, but we're still stuck in the patriarchy.

jadedj said...

Good Post, but pretty damned depressing, as you say. The beat goes on...and it appears we have learned nothing.

Pass me the Beatles and get out of my face assholes (not you PE...them).

Mr. Charleston said...

PE... thanks for stopping by my place. Please come back. Always nice to meet a new friend.
Everyone our age (well, you're a bit younger than me)... ah, everyone around our age who were part of the movement feels the same depression. I can really get pissed off when I think about the way the blacks have squandered the civil rights movement. But that's another story.
Mr. Charleston prescribes you treat yourself to a movie tonight. Go see Julie & Julia. It's great. And just what the doctor ordered.

Utah Savage said...

Another great post my dear.

What is it with all the Beetles nostalgia? I posted a Beetles song yesterday too.

Gail said...

Oh Trish-

This is all SO outstanding!!! Simon and Garfunkel? Tin Soldiers - Crosby Stills Nash & Young!!! Beatles - Black Bird and all this on the 40th anniversary of WOODSTOCK!!!

And you, the most amazing Mom who gave your son the world to knos so eh would know himself. Oh I could go on and on. And you, helping to form young minds - a vital part of writing their stories. such a huge responsibility you have taken on. I applaud.

Love you girl

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

if i were gonna go back to get another (or even a first) Ph.D., I'd do Vygotsky (et seq) in neo-nate/early-childhood ed...that's where the action is...

If ever you wanted an apt example of Vygotskyian scaffolding in the ZPD, watch one kid "teach" another how to play a video game...

PENolan said...

Woody, I live in the ZPD. I'm thinking I'm going to shut up about early childhood and parenting on the internet however and focus on getting paid for these pearls of Menopausal Stoner wisdom ;)
I hear lots of publications will not accept submissions that have appeared elsewhere and self-publishing on the internet counts.

PENolan said...

Hello Mr. Charleston, I most certainly will stop by your blog again. JadedJ, I knew you didn't mean me - you would have called me something much more creative than asshole.

Utah, I heart you.
Gail, I heart you, too.

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