Just A Note:

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Have a GREAT weekend yaw'll!!! and don't let this political shit consume ya,Have FUN!!!

Orders from capnfun : )

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), November 17, 2000


Orders are orders!

I will be taking a quick two-night jaunt to the Oregon coast this weekend, all by my lonesome. Here at the height of Christmas go-to-the-mall-and-go-stark-raving season, the beach should be pretty well deserted except for the gulls, sandpipers, pelicans and the occassional Pacific fur seal. Should be chilly, but mostly sunny. Perfect.

Also, I got tired of loading the "I'm closing this forum" thread. I think I will hang out on this one for a while.

Have a nacho.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), December 07, 2000.

Brian, this is always one of my favorite times of year to be at a beach. It's just you, the sand, the surf, the water birds.

Life is good.

Have a wonderful time (I know you will!).

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), December 07, 2000.

Lusenet, you must please allow, a final. communication May it be fate or destiny. I yesterday received in the mail, an fat envelope with return address of "Soldiers Sytems Team". I did not know such a society, I pictured a napam to explode ( once one listens to the news). Tonight, my curosity. got the best of me, and I knelt on my knees and said "Lord, you brought me here, and you can take me out". I zipped open the package that had "FOE" written in human script on the back, and low, what did my wondering eyes appear, but the ribbons and medals of my Father, that I had requested from the United States Military, four years ago. My Father served during WW2, And he was a prisioner of war. And before by eyes, where I anticipated an demise to my own physical life, suddenly appeared Pretty Ribbons, those given once upon a time, to those who truly deserved. Call me Whaco, But this is my story, I lived it, and I am sticking.

-- No Fake (seen@itanddone.com), December 07, 2000.

On a purely factual note: I saw gulls. I saw sandpipers. I saw (yes) an extremely curious Pacific fur seal (lifted its head out of the water a good 30 inches at least just to gawk at me repeatedly).

I saw NO pelicans. This last fact is a disgrace. In my last ten visits to the Oregon coast I have ALWAYS seen brown pelicans - usually a good four or five flying in single-file formation, dipping gracefully at the waves in an animate curve.

Ah, me. No pelicans. What can the world be coming to?

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), December 10, 2000.

When I entered High School as a freshman in 1968 (in Portland, OR) a lot of things were changing very rapidly. Here are a couple of stories.

Story One: On Strike! Shut it Down!

Soon after the start of the school year rumors began to fly that a couple of seniors were thinking about organizing a sitdown strike in protest of the dress code. The dress code, for those who have no memory of the thing, was a set of rules about what a student could wear, how long their hair could be, and what styles were acceptable or not. It gave rise to all sorts of farcical situations, such as vice principals carrying tape measures and measuring sideburns on boys or hemlines on girls. One could not cut their hair in a "mowhawk", however short or long it was, because it was "disruptive".

Anyway, the dress code in 1968 was heartily disliked by all red-blooded, right-thinking high school students, so the rumors were eagerly passed around. A short time later, a set of counter-rumors were making the rounds: the seniors had lost their nerve. The sit down strike was off. This was soon followed by another set of rumors that set a date, time and place: 2pm in the hall by the library.

So, when the fateful time rolled around, no one knew what to think. There was no organization, no leadership, no directions, only rumors. So (naturally) at 2pm (it was just after the bell rang - in between classes) a lot of curious students began to accumulate in the hall near the library to see what would happen.

Sure enough, there were a few students (I saw four) sitting down by the wall of the hallway. Others saw them and asked, "Wow! Is this the sit down strike?" They answered, "We're just sitting here. If you want to sit down, nobody's stopping you."

So, a few more sat down. Then some more. Then a whole bunch did. In a couple of minutes there were about 150 students on the floor and nobody could get through the hall. Then the bell rang. Some of the students who were sitting decided it was time to get up and go to their next class - but it was pretty chaotic. The whole hallway was clogged up with new students sitting down, others getting up, others trying to walk through. That's when I split for my next class, too.

When I got out of class it was time to go home. I walked out the front door of the high school and - lo! - there were news reporters interviewing students about the sit down strike. We made the evening local news. It was reported as a straight up and down legitimate strike, with clips of students vociferously complaining about the dress code. A week later, the school board put the dress code on the agenda and a lot of students (and parents) came to complain about how unfairly and arbitrarily the code was enforced. The board relented to the pressure and the dress code was abandoned.

Story Two: How Much is that Beanie in the Window?

Not long after the dress code crashed and burned I went to the Student Store to buy a Bic pen or a PeeChee or something like that. The store was in a tiny room and it stocked the sort of items that students might want and administrators would approve of. As I bought my pen my eyes wandered up to the highest shelf behind the counter where it saw a bright flash of green and gold (the school colors).

Naively, I pointed and I said, "What's that thing up there?"

"That's a freshman beanie. It used to be that all the freshman had to wear them all the time, but now nobody buys them. It used to be that if an upper classman caught a freshman without his beanie they could make him sing the school song."

"The school song?"

"Yeah. We have a school song. Didn't you know that?"

"No. You know the words?"

"No. I could care less."

"How much for the beanie?"

"Uh. I don't know. How about fifty cents?"

"I'll take it."

And that is the story of how I bought the very last freshman beanie ever sold at my high school. I wore it to all my classes that day. I never did learn the school song.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), December 11, 2000.

Projector Squad

I attended a K-8 elementary school. In my school, a few lucky 7th and 8th grade boys (yes, boys only - feminism was still deep underground in 1967) got to be on the "Projector Squad". I was one of the few, the privileged, the chosen ones.

The idea behind Projector Squad was that the teachers were not expected to know how to run a movie or film-strip projector. Instead, when they wanted to show a film they would sign up for a time slot and a member of the Projector Squad would bring the equipment to their room, set it up and run it, then take it away afterward. For this to happen, the lucky squad member was let out of his own class for the duration of the assignment. Woo-hoo!

We got to wear a "special" grey Projector Squad jacket that identified us, and when we were wearing it we could walk the halls anywhere in the school at any time during the day and no teacher would question our right to be out of class. Woo-hoo!

The projectors, screens and other equipment was kept in a converted janitor's closet that was locked at all times (to prevent kids from messing with the stuff or stealing it). But Projector Squad members had a key! Woo-hoo!

I can well remember the feeling of power and responsibility, as I wheeled a cart with a projector and screen into, say, a 4th grade classroom. Every eye was on me as I set up the screen and threaded the film into the projector. Consequently, every eye was on me if I screwed up!

The worst screw up was if the film broke in such a way that the take-up reel stopped taking up, while the film proceeded to spool out of the back of the projector and onto the floor, while still projecting the picture. A couple of minutes of that and there were hundreds of feet of film unwound in a terrible mess! Gawd, the humiliation of having to turn the lights on in the middle of a film and clean up your mess in front of all the kids. You were just thankful if it wasn't your home room, in front of all your friends and enemies.

Another big embarrasssment was having the screen collapse after you put it up. It would clatter to the floor with a huge noise, making everyone jump out of their skins. May this never happen to you or your loved ones.

On especially stormy and rainy days, the kids were expected to play in the gyms instead of outside. The school was crowded and on inside days the gyms would be packed with a milling madhouse of kids. As an escape valve, kids could choose to pay a nickel and watch cartoons in the auditorium. Guess who showed the cartoons? Right. Projector Squad! Except there were never any adults in the auditorium to keep rainy day mayhem from breaking out. The Projector Squad member was the lone representative of law and order. He took the money at the door (and kept the non-paying from sneaking in), ran the cartoons, and kept what order there was.

I learned to dread those stormy days as much as the teachers did. The only hammer I had was that I could evict any kids who broke the rules, causing them to lose their nickel. That is to say I could evict them, if I could catch them! This wasn't always easy. Needless to say, any little kid who tried to evade capture had good reason to rue their decision to resist arrest, once I got my hands on the little bastard. They got frog-marched out the door with no pity from me and a good painful twist on the arm to seal the lesson.

Projector Squad was where I first learned to cherish the peculiarly "swedish" lilt of English spoken backwards. It was a standard way to pass the time to dawdle in the Projector closet after an assignement was over. For amusement, we would play movies backwards in the closet, with the sound turned low so as not to attract undue attention to what was going on inside. It was usually good for a laugh.

Lord knows I recall more of what I did on Projector Squad than what I did in the classroom. supposedly learning my lessons.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), December 12, 2000.

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