Chanticleer #9

I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up. 

Henry David Thoreau


January 1, 2000


“Looks like we MADE it!”
The big event has come and gone.
I got up this morning and the birds are still avoiding my new bird bath.
The sun is still casting shadows on the leaves which keep falling, blown by the wind
that keeps blowing. My electricity is on, the water is running, I’ve got a dial tone, CNBC
is showing infomercials, my ISP is up, my online mutual fund, brokerage and bank
accounts appear to have the decimals in the right places (unfortunately),
my kitchen floor still needs sweeping, and I still have laundry to do.
And once again … “Tomorrow is another day-ee.”
And of course, “There’s always something ….”

Chanticleer and I sincerely wish you, your families and your friends health, happiness, security, peace, prosperity and self-actualization for 2000 and beyond. Cock-a-doodle-NEW!


An article in the December 26th Dallas Morning News (DMN) modestly billed itself as “The Ultimate Last-Minute Guide to Changing Your Life”. (If it’s still posted, the online link is: It’s not. R.I.P.) This guide offered tips and anecdotes related to:

  1. Finding/dumping a mate,
  2. Losing weight/accepting yourself,
  3. Reading more,
  4. Quitting smoking,
  5. Making spirituality a part of your life,
  6. Learning to laugh more,
  7. Managing time,
  8. Learning something new,
  9. Giving back to the community,
  10. Managing money.

While not commenting directly on the priority, completeness, appropriateness or ultimate-ness of this “ultimate” guide, I would like to offer an additional activity which could result in some positive changes as you go about your daily living: making better discriminations.

By which I mean, sharpening your skills at recognizing, acknowledging, appreciating, and ultimately behaving in accordance with the differences between:

  • acts, and the consequences of those acts
  • facts and inferences, assumptions, beliefs, etc.
  • motivations and means
  • what is implied and what is inferred
  • symbols and the ‘things’ the symbols stand for
  • maps of a territory, and the territory itself
  • what is ‘learned’ and what is ‘taught’
  • the assumption or premise
  • and the resulting position, attitude or behavior the label you give a group, and the attributes or behaviors of individuals within the group, e.g., Baptist1 is not Baptist2| engineer1 is not engineer2 | teenager1 is not teenager2; etc.
  • your expectations and your evaluations
  • the current attitudes and behaviors of someone,
  • and that person’s past attitudes and behaviors, e.g. Steve1990 is not Steve2000
  • traditions and purposes
  • what something or someone does, versus what we say something or someone is
  • words and the things to which the words refer
  • what you ‘know’ and what you do
  • what you experience versus what you say about your experience, versus what you make those experiences mean
  • what is printed in a book, paper or article versus your interpretation of what is printed
  • this and that, etc.


Controversy brews in Belen (New Mexico) High School, over the senior class choice of a “class song.” The local school board will decide this month whether or not the song, voted on by the majority of the seniors, can be mentioned (not performed or sung, but just mentioned) in the printed graduation program.

Here are the lyrics of the song at issue: Goodbye To Romance

Yesterday has been and gone
Tomorrow will I find the sun
or will it rain
Everybody’s having fun except me I’m the lonely one
I live in shame
I said goodbye to romance [yeah]
Goodbye to friends, I tell you
Goodbye to all the past
I guess that we’ll meet,
we’ll meet in the end
I’ve been the king, I’ve been the clown
now broken wings can’t hold me down
I’m free again
The jester with the broken crown
It won’t be me this time around
to love in vain
I said goodbye to romance [yeah]
Goodbye to friends, I tell you
Goodbye to all the past
I guess that we’ll meet,
we’ll meet in the end
and I feel the time is right although I know that you just might say to me
what you gonna do
what you gonna do
But I have to check this chance
goodbye to friends and to romance
And to all of you
And to all of you
Come on now!
I said goodbye to romance [yeah]
Goodbye to friends, I tell you Goodbye to all the past
I guess that we’ll meet,
we’ll meet in the end
and the winter is looking fine
and I think the sun will shine again
and I feel I’ve cleaned my mind
all the past is left behind again
I said goodbye to romance [yeah]
goodbye to friends, I tell you
goodbye to all the past.
I guess that we’ll meet.

Granted, these lyrics are probably more Beavis and Butthead than Lennon and MacCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, or Gilbert and Sullivan. But what does the school board find so objectionable about the song?

Actually, the controversy concerns not the song, but the song writer and performer – Ozzy Osbourne. The reporter refers to Osbourne’s, “… wild-eyed hard-rocker’s image, born of mysticism and the occult”. The article notes that “the aging heavy-metal rocker has offended some in the past for, among other incidents, biting the heads off of bats on stage and urinating on the Cenotaph outside the Alamo in San Antonio.”

One of the board members stated, “Ozzy could be singing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ and I would have a problem with it because of his history as someone who presents a negative message and negative world view.” The board member admitted that “he has never heard the song, but is concerned about the rocker’s ‘nihilistic world view’. ‘I don’t listen to the guy’s songs, but I’ve heard some and I’ve heard some interviews that were real distressing.’

[Insert Robert De Niro voiceover: “Tdings … I’ve hoid tdings … not TDIS dting … but tdings!“]

A senior defended the choice: “By choosing this song, our class isn’t saying we approve of everything Ozzy has ever done in his life. We chose a song; that’s all we did. The song isn’t about violence, lewd acts or gangs; it’s just a song … I think it’s simply about saying goodbye to friends.”

So where do you draw lines here? Can you evaluate a creative work irrespective of the creator? Does a reputation determine reaction? Can a reaction change a reputation? What’s being ‘taught’, and what’s being ‘learned’?


This letter to the editor appeared in the DMN last week in the wake of Muhammad Ali being named “Sportsman of the Century”:

Ali a draft dodger – I will always remember Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) as a draft dodger. We all had our duty, no matter who we were. – Rowlett, TX


Just as a personal favor to me, would you please cringe everytime you hear someone say, “Absolutely!”?


Oklahoma state representative Tim Pope will introduce a bill requiring public school students to use “courtesy titles” when addressing their teachers. Pope’s bill is based on a recently-passed law in Louisiana; “I’ve checked with Louisiana schoolteachers and administrators, and they’ve had nothing but good things to say about it. [It’s] basically saying, let’s teach kids that they have to behave in a respectful manner towards their teachers.”

The law carries no penalty or punishment.

Carolyn Crowder, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, “questioned whether civility in the classroom is an issue that needs to be addressed by the Legislature.”

No mention is made of impending legislation requiring teachers to behave in a reciprocating respectful manner towards their students.

Beauty and Beholders
Does anyone disagree with the wisdom inherent in the old adage that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder“?

Similarly, but perhaps not so obviously, I would ask you to consider that plenty of other ‘things’ (or as De Niro would say, “dtings”) are determined by the “eye of the beholder.”

Do you agree or disagree with this partial list? … duty, success, esteem, prosperity, privacy, security, happiness, peace, anxiety, tolerance, loyalty, kindness, meanness, anger, casual, professional, trust, respect, disrespect, progressive, sensitivity, courtesy, righteousness, truth, blasphemy, joy, jubilant, uplifting, sickening, cynical, ridicule, appropriateness, humor, goodness, jealously, envy, stress, evil, patriotism, grace, wisdom, taste, obscenity, sin, hate …

Here’s to all your beholdings in 2000. May they be sane, appropriate and – most importantly – yours.