Monday, November 5, 2012

Who's Who in the Green

Dad asked me if I could scan something for him. After reading it, I asked where he got it. He's apparently been holding onto it for years. And years. He retired from the Army more than 21 years ago...


I think he may want this for something he's doing at church for Veterans' Day :-P

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Contributed by South Park Diva

Well, it is just a few weeks until I head off to Restoring Love in Dallas, and I can't wait!  Meanwhile, I've been busy teaching my summer online class - and recently I had an opportunity to introduce my students to the music of Kalai, a fantastic artist that is being produced by Glenn Beck.  I'm looking forward to seeing Kalai live at Restoring Love!

As a teacher of course I have to be very careful that I am not indoctrinating my students into my political beliefs, but the great thing about the songs I chose is that they really display the power of music and words to reach out and take a stand.  Here is the complete discussion that was posted (the music clips are streaming, which means you can listen to them, but you cannot download them!  If you enjoy Kalai's music, please go and purchase these tracks!)  I've already seen some of the students posts, and they make me proud!!!

Discussion Board - WK 5 - Song Study
In our Middle Ages discussion board we spent some time talking about the power music holds over us, both good and bad. This week we are going to very closely study two songs from the same singer/song-writer and break them down. Be sure to answer every question and go into detail on each one! We will then discuss the same kinds of ideas in modern programmatic music.

Listen carefully to the following song, paying special attention to the lyrics (it may take a minute or two for the music clips to load):




What do you think the message of this song is? What do you think the goal of this songwriter was in writing this song? What makes you think that? Cite specific examples from the lyrics.

How do you feel that the music itself supports the lyrics? What kind of instrumentation is he using to support his message? What are the dynamics doing to support it? Give specific examples.
What do you think this song says about the power of music? It speaks of “raising an army out of words and music.” What do you think that means? How does this relate to it being sung by a “peacetime freedom fighter”? 

Now listen to this second song by this same songwriter:


What do you think he is trying to say with this song? What kind of comparison do you think he is making in the beginning strains of the song? Do you recognize what he is referencing in the opening bars (the sort of moaning/singing)? What kind of comparison is he trying to make with this?
Think back on the idea of being a “peacetime freedom fighter” with an army “of words and music". Do you feel that this song is fighting another battle? What kind of battle? For whom do you think this song is written? Do you feel that it can be successful? Why or why not?
Can you think of any other songs (besides overtly Christian music, which generally has a very clear message) that wages a battle of words and music? Have you perhaps listened to a song more closely and realized that you don't actually like the message? Or the reverse? Perhaps listened to a song and decided that you liked the message, and therefore liked the song more? What do you think this says about the power of lyrics in music?

Now take a moment to look at this cartoon:

This makes a strong statement about music videos. What do you think that is? In today's world, music videos are a very popular form of programmatic music. This "program" can either positively or negatively affect our reception of the music. Can you think of an instance where you have completely changed your opinion of a song based solely on the music video?  Do you think that a song should be able to completely stand alone from its video? Why or why not?

Remember that in the 19th Century, programmatic generally referred to instrumental music only, NOT vocal music. Today, we have music videos that take vocal music to a different level of understanding, adding a layer of meaning that we would have not otherwise have had. For this reason, I refer to music videos as "programmatic".
Referring back to the original two songs, do you feel that you could come up with different music videos for each of them that would make these songs mean very different things? Do you feel that the music video might add another weapon to the "army of words and music"?
If the singer/songwriter has come up with a specific music video, do you feel that others should be allowed to create their own videos (using computer software) to post it on YouTube with perhaps a very different meaning? Why or why not?

To wrap up, share any thoughts you have about this discussion and how your reception of music/videos has changed or stayed the same as you have worked through this lengthy assignment!


Monday, May 28, 2012

The meaning of Memorial Day

Today marks five years - to the day, Memorial Day - since 1Lt Kile G. West gave his life for this country. I remember.

Previous posts about Kile here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Prove it!

This sound clip is for all of those who cling to the idea that we are just making all of this "socialist" stuff up. People want proof that those in power have socialist and/or Marxist beliefs and are doing their best to make those beliefs into policy.

Well, if that crap heap of socialist healthcare that was forced on us isn't enough proof, how about this?



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street

Posted by South Park Diva

I sent this email to my family and some of my friends last night:

My friends and family - as you go through your busy days, I hope you will take the time to read this email and follow the links I have provided. This is not a time to be uninformed about what is going on in our country. Period. It is a time of prayer and preparation. Kierstin

Protesters Stage Performance Against the Police?

It seems pretty clear that the police are being set up. We've had situations recently where people are taunting the police and chanting a countdown to charge them, as others are ready with their cameras to record every move. And now this latest - obviously a setup, hoping to pit these "good, moral people" (who are anything but) against our nation's police officers. Pray for our men and women in uniform around the country and the globe.

So who are these "young, enthusiastic" people "occupying" our major cities. Most in the media would have you believe that they are "everyman" - that they are like the Tea Party only much, much better, nicer, friendlier, whatever. Not quite.

The next time someone tells you that the Tea Party is a violent and racist movement, while those who Occupy Wall Street, Atlanta and other cities are "just like you and me", think on this - not one Tea Partier has been arrested in any protests or gatherings. Tea Partiers clean up after themselves. They get the proper permits to be in an area. They respect the police. They do not urinate or defecate in public - especially not on police cars. They do not distribute condoms, so that they can have sex on public streets and in parks. They do not march with someone's "head" on pike. They do not call for cannibalism, nor do they encourage gay teens to "kill your parents." They do not destroy private or public property.

If someone shows up at a Tea Party event with a racist attitude, they are CHASED OFF!!!! It's that simple. They are told that no one agrees with that disgusting display and asked/told to LEAVE. When the Occupy Wall Street protestors start yelling anti-Semitic slurs and insulting Jewish people in the streets, people generally look on and do nothing. Or worse, they agree. In fact, the American Nazi Party has just given these lovely people their endorsement.

Of course, there is the alleged "spitting" and N-word incident back when the Health Care bill was passed. And Andrew Breitbart offered $100K to ANYONE who could come up with a shred of evidence to support that claim. In fact, the entire incident was up on the news wire in 90 minutes - claiming that the N-word was chanted 15 times - and no one got it on film? And that story was put together, edited and run in 90 minutes! No one was arrested? Indicted? No one came forward to get their reward money?! And if you're thinking "but I saw this on a video," well, think again. Videos can be edited.

I hope when you think on the Tea Party you do not fall victim to the media hype. I am a proud Tea Party member, and you know me. Who do you think I am? Do you trust me? Do you think I am a good person? While you may not agree with the beliefs of the Tea Party (small government, fiscal conservatism and the Constitution being the trifecta), don't ever believe we are ANYTHING like these "useful idiots" currently occupying our nation's cities. Every movement has a few kooks, but the overwhelming majority of the Tea Party are good solid people - not racist, not gay-haters, not calling for violent revolution in the streets - can you truly say the same of the people who are at this moment tearing up the streets of our cities?

Pray if you are the praying type. And prepare. Decide where you want to stand and stand there firmly. It is time to decide who YOU are and how you want to be remembered in this world.

Friday, October 7, 2011

#iam53


I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Music on a full scholarship, but I ran up several credit cards that I couldn’t afford.

I over-borrowed on my student loans for my Master’s Degree. I continued to run up credit card debt I couldn’t afford.

I met my husband and upon marriage we started to work on paying down our combined debt.

I needed student loans for my doctorate, although I also worked two jobs and had a graduate assistantship. I was learning.

I couldn’t find a full-time position in my field upon completing my coursework. I worked part-time for two years while studying for my exams and completing my final requirements.

I lost my job several times through the years due to down-sizing. I finally went to corporate America to find a full-time position with benefits so I could start paying on my student loan (which was in deferment).

I worked in the corporate world in a forty-hour per week position. I was grateful to be employed with full benefits.

I now drive forty-five minutes one-way to get to my teaching position at a small community college. I consider myself blessed to finally be working in my field.

I try to help students avoid the bad choices I made! I know that my struggles have made me a better educator. I have more empathy for my students who are incredibly poor and work two or three jobs to pay for school and basic things like…FOOD!

I consistently work an overload and my husband works two jobs so that we can pay down our debt. We are close to only having our combined student loan debts and our car payments as our only debt. But my student loan debt alone is more than $750 per month. My student loan has never gone into default and never will.

No one made me over-borrow. No one made us acquire credit card debt. And no one is making us behave responsibly and pay off those debts!

And if I lose my job tomorrow, I will take whatever work I can to help support my family and continue to pay my debts.

I am the 53%.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/11 Memorial

Posted by South Park Diva

This year I organized a simple 9/11 Memorial around a few songs from my choirs at the college where I teach. I am pretty darn proud of my "kids" for putting this together so quickly. They are a small group, but they have a lot of heart.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Letter to Senator Boozman

Posted by South Park Diva

This is the letter I wrote to my Senator this evening:

"Dear Senator Boozman,

I haven't heard much lately about who you support for the presidential nomination, and I just wanted to let you know how I and many others feel.

I have the unusual situation of living in Northwest Arkansas, but working in Southwest MO, and since I spend more time in MO than in AR, I have joined a group called Heartland Conservatives of Neosho. Nice group of people! As I talk with fellow conservatives, listen to talk radio and just tune into what is going on, I find that many people agree with me on one important thing: the time to vote "hold your nose and vote the Republican ticket" is past. Long past!

I'm not sure about your opinions on the whole Tea Party movement - or whether you buy into the whole "Tea Party are terrorists/hobbits/violent/racists" meme - but conservatives as a whole are just plain tired of politicians who will not stick to conservative principles. Politicians who feel we should say safe things, rather than sticking to principles. RINOS!

I've heard recently that "Republican Insiders" seem to feel that Mitt Romney is the best choice for the Republican nomination. The GOP as whole seems to be attacking the Tea Party and determined to put a big government, progressive Republican in the White House. I can assure you that if Mitt Romney is the Republican nomination I will either write in a third candidate or not vote at all. It's that simple.

It is time for conservatives to take a stand. I am not going to let the fear of four more years of Obama cause me to vote for someone who is just "Obama-lite." Let's nominate a truly conservative candidate. Someone who is politically and fiscally conservative. One who stands with conservatives on issues of immigration, global warming, reducing taxes and reducing the size of the government. No more progressive Republicans. No more RINOs.

I've spent a lot of time in the past six years paying attention to politics, trying to figure out what I truly believe. I've listened to different arguments and come to my own conclusions. Back in 2008 I voted for McCain. It is a mistake I will not make again.

It seems as if the GOP is terrified of the power of the conservative people who make up the Tea Party. They perhaps hear the death knell of their party. I wonder if we are viewing the death of the Republican party. I feel that it is time to take a strong stand for true conservatism - political AND fiscal conservatism. And that means reducing taxes AND reducing the size of the government. Making the hard cuts and allowing Americans to be the strong supporters of each other that we always have been.

I hope that if you have an opportunity to speak to your colleagues in Washington DC you will pass on my sentiments and assure them that this is the way the wind is blowing in the Republican party. We are tired of politicians who are concerned only with keeping themselves in power. We are certainly tired of politicians who feel the need to belittle the very important movement of the Tea Party, which has gotten millions of Americans truly involved for the first time in a long time.

I do not believe you are one of these corrupt politicians, which is why I gladly supported your campaign - and why I am writing this letter to you now. I just ask that you speak up for the true conservatives who are hoping that the GOP will not insult us by insisting on putting a big government PROGRESSIVE on the party ticket.

Thank you, as always, for being a politician who listens!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Torpedo Squadron Nine

In trying to research names for the next section of my grandfather's Carrier Air Group Nine yearbook from World War II, I came across a February 1948 issue of Naval Aviation News that has an article on Torpedo Squadron Nine. It's on pages 10 & 11 of the PDF. I look forward to taking the time to read the whole thing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

2011 Project Valour-IT fundraising campaign

I didn't join a team this year for the competition. I've taken on other responsibilities that prevent me from being able to post daily for during the campaign. But, that doesn't mean I won't help spread the word. Soldiers' Angels' goal is $100,000 over the two-weeks from July 1 to July 14. If you aren't familiar with Project Valour-IT, here's what Chuck has to say:

In 2005, I was wounded. For some months, I was unable to use my hands. They were simply too badly damaged from the blast, and the surgeries to make them usable again left me unable to do anything for myself.

Then came Soldier's Angels, who gave me a laptop, and paired it with special software that allowed me to control the computer, using only my voice! Imagine, being able to do anything you can do with a mouse and keyboard, using just your voice. For me, it allowed me to do one thing, that I could do before I was wounded.

That one thing--when everything: feeding, cleaning, scratching, everything had to be done for me--that one thing I could do for myself allowed me to connect to my soldiers, friends, and family. That one thing... that one thing began a long road to recovery. It gave me hope; that I could learn to do other things like I did before.

That one thing is only possible if people like you care enough to help. We have provided thousands of these systems since 2005, but the needs for these systems is still increasing. I visit military medical facilities and meet with wounded troops, and know that there are ways to help them... and right now, I have to tell them to wait because we need funding.

Should our wounded have to wait for something that can help them heal, take their mind off their pain, or bring them a little sense of self?

Please help us raise $100,000 between July 1-14; to keep us in the business of providing for our wounded. It seems like a lot of money, but every single dollar helps. Every dollar donated goes to the troops. None of the VALOUR-IT donation goes to administrative or other costs. You'd be hard pressed to find any charity that does that, but it was a stipulation I made when we set it up. That number seems huge, insurmountable. But you know how you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time. Give what you can, please. I know times are tough. Times were pretty tough for me, too, and are pretty tough for young men and women learning how to use prosthesis, getting skin grafts, having wounds washed out.

Donate if you can, please share the message with others. Get your friends to give what they can. Write about it on Facebook and twitter. Call in to a radio or TV show. Spread the word. Spread the love. Spread the hope.

Thank you.

Chuck Ziegenfuss