Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Pirate Looks at Forty

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all
Let's get the basics out of the way first. On December 30th, 2006 I turn forty years old.

Several people have told me lately that forty is no big deal - it's fifty, or sixty. Or just forty-one, because that proves your on your way to fifty. Whatever. After all it's really just an arbitrarily ordered random number. It's based on our base10 decimal counting system, which has its origins in the fact that we all have ten fingers and ten toes. As this guy taught us, had we been born with twelve fingers and twelve toes our counting system would've been quite different, and our age milestones would come about (what we call) thirty-six and forty-eight. This wouldn't even be the year 2006, it'd be... um, well actually I have no idea what 2006 would be in base12 but that's not the point - the point is that just because forty, in human terms is a nice round number and starts off an other set of ten numbers, it really doesn't mean a heck of lot different than thirty-nice or forty-one.
Watched the men who rode you switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of 'em dream, most of 'em dream.
So what does this mean to me? I don't really consider myself a "pirate" like the song says but I do see myself as a romantic, a dreamer, a creator - someone who enjoys the lure of adventure and drama.
Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late,
Cannons don't thunder, there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate.
Arrivin' too late, arrivin' too late.
But I've not traveled the world, barely ventured beyond the borders of the U.S. I've not written a Great American Novel (though last month I sure tried). I'm not a captain of industry, not a great leader, not a person of any particular note outside my immediate sphere of family and friends.

I've never sailed a sloop through the Keys, never climbed El Capitan, never rode horseback in the Colorado plains. Never scuba'd the Great Barrier Reef, never watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace or walked the Great Wall of China.
I've done a bit of smugglin', I've run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away so fast
Never meant to last, never meant to last
I've never started a business, run a business, been responsible for the management of a business. I don't have a stock portfolio - if you ask me if I have Bonds, I'll ask you "Barry or James?" I'm not sure what my future holds for employment - I'm still looking for what I want to be when I grow up.

I've had some small success in performance arts. I've created a small name for myself in musical directing plays, which certainly keeps me in theatre but it's past time I move up and become a fully invested director.
And I have been drunk now for over two weeks
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks
But I got stop wishin', got to go fishin'
Down to rock bottom again
Just a few friends, just a few friends
So now, at forty, where does this leave me?

I have a wonderful family. A wife who loves me, and whom I love. Two kids I think the world of and are growing up before my eyes. My parents still encourage me, my brother's getting married. My church has given me a host of friends I will cherish the rest of my life - of which about 16-20 will be at our house Sunday night for New Year's Eve. I'm comfortable, I can still get out and play a game of softball without keeling over.

Heck, maybe now that I have my thirty's out of the way, I can start really living.
Mother, mother ocean, after all the years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupation's just not around
I feel like I've drowned, gonna head uptown
Who knows? Guess I'll untie from the dock and shove off - looks like the sea is smooth and the weather's calm. I wonder what's beyond that horizon?

Let's find out. Wanna sail?

"A Pirate Looks at Forty"

-- Lyrics by Jimmy Buffett

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 29, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty Four

Appetizer - How do you usually celebrate on New Year's Eve?

For the last several years, we've had 4-5 families that we go to church with come out and spend the evening with us. This year we're smoking ribs (per Laura's request) and adding a lady whose family will be in New York for New Year's. It's a great time we look forward to all year.

Soup - Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.

Here's two - I suffered some employment setbacks that had me reevaluating my place there. Most of the immediate problems have at least been addressed, though time will tell what the ultimate resolution will be.

The other would be the fact that, unexpectedly, I ended up in a horn band that rehearsed throughout the year and will have our first public performance at a wedding on January 5. I've never actually played in a band before (keyboards) and I'll also be singing a few numbers, and I'm really looking forward to it. I also had a couple other good experiences music directing shows in 2006 that have put my hobby/career on a nice path.

Salad - Where was your favorite place that you visited in 2006?

We visited Ft. Lauderdale and spent the week there during the 4th of July and had a wonderful time.

Main Course - What resolution is your top priority for 2007?

Same as every year, take over the world.

Well, absent that to perform necessary home repair that we've been putting off for a while. Also we'll be moving BrainyBoy from his small room to the bigger playroom downstairs, and moving the playroom into his old room. He'll be 11 in February, and really needs a bigger space since he's becoming a young man.

Dessert - Using just three words, describe 2006.

Preparing, evaluating, enduring.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 22, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty Three

Appetizer - What is one of your Christmas traditions?

We always travel to visit my wife's extended family in West Tennessee on Christmas Day and spend several days down there.

Soup - Who is the easiest person on your list to buy presents for?

I'm a guy so my list's not too extensive: my wife, and...well, that's about it. She generally takes care of buying for the kids and our parents (although I do have some advisory responsibilities).

Salad - What is your favorite Christmas scent?

Hmm...the sausage balls my mom makes every year :)

Main Course - If you could give a fellow blogger a Christmas gift, who would it be and what would you give them?

I'd give my good buddy Michael someone to share the rest of his life with who respects him and appreciates his wacky sense of humor and inexplicable love for Dr. Who and the Washington Redskins.

Dessert - What's something on your Christmas wish list this year that you need (not just want)?

I don't really "need" anything, per se.

Come See the World

My 25th Anniversary World's Fair blog gets props and a link in today's online edition of the News Sentinel.

The story is about the vendor with the kiosk at West Town Mall selling 1982 World's Fair memorabilia, hoping to drum up some interest in a 25th Anniversary celebration. A noble goal :)
"The whole point of selling the T-shirts was to gage what Knoxville's interest in a 25th anniversary celebration would be," [co-proprieter Ronnie] Wilson said. "Across the board, people have been really interested in it. The fair is so nostalgic. People are definitely proud of the fact that we were just a small city and hosted the world."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Halloween Comes Early in 2007!

The news is in! The title of the final Harry Potter book will be:

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the title of author J.K. Rowling's seventh and final book in the wildly popular Harry Potter series. Rowling handed fans a special Christmas present this morning by unwrapping the eagerly awaited title on her Web site,, launching feverish speculation about the meaning of each word and clues for the outcome of the series.
Speculation is running rampant regarding meanings behind the title. I'm just bummed because my guess was blown out of the water, "Harry Potter and the Disdainful Stare".

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Congratulations to a couple of local bloggers who recently welcomed new members of their extended families:

Rich of Shots Across The Bow has a new grandson, Mason.

Cathy of Domestic Psychology has a new niece, Elizabeth.

I'm sure they'll each be getting new laptops from their proud relatives any day now!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How the Mighty Have Fallen...

My wife would probably laugh at me for posting this..

But let's put it this way - Tennessee fans out there, think back to when UT won the national championship in 1998. Great, huh? And for you Red Sox fans, remember when they won the Series 2-3 years ago? What an experience! Finally, there must be a time when your high school team won the state basketball title, or your cousin's Jr Varsity Lacrosse team won the Region?

Now imagine three of those championships rolled into the span of one or two weeks. Pretty exciting, heady stuff right? And wouldn't you feel like at least one of them would do nearly as well the following year, right?


(here's where the laughing starts)

Last year I placed 1st in all three of my fantasy football leagues. All Three. First place. Won the league, won the tournament, the whole thing.

This year?

Flopped in all three. Because of the less-than-stellar machinations of New Orleans QB Drew Brees, who was on two of my teams, and other factors they all lost in the first round of our playoffs.

So no three-peats this year.

I'm sorry, why all of you are out there laughing about how pathetically sad this sounds, I'm going to go off here and sulk.

Oh wait - one more thing that just makes it that little touch worse.

The aforementioned wife? Her fantasy team had a bye this week, and now plays my opponent for a shot at the championship.

Hmm...I think I'll try Fantasy Golf...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yeah, This Is a Good Time To Post...

...when nobody's online.

Finally finished all my "productions" this weekend, culminating in the great Christmas youth drama/comedy Sunday morning. I'd be happy to provide details, but you'd just skip over them anyway so there's no real point.

So what's everyone's plans for Christmas Day and the immediate vicinity thereof? We'll be headed for Jackson, TN Christmas Day to visit the in-law relatives for several days. Probably will bump into Big Orange Michael at some point coming back.

Friday, December 15, 2006

World's Fair Anniversary Update

Check out my 25th Anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair site. A couple of updates, especially a link to a recording of Red Skelton reciting his inspiring "Pledge of Allegiance," and some photos I posted of the Tennessee Amphitheater from during the World's Fair.

The 25th anniversary is May 1, 2007 - Little more than 4 months away. What's Knoxville doing to commemorate this huge milestone? As far as I know to this point, not so much.

Anyway, enjoy.

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 15, 2006 - Feast One Hundred and Twenty Two

Appetizer - What was your very first job with a paycheck?

I worked as an usher at Halls Cinema 4 when I was in my first year of college - that was my first job with an actual paycheck. In fact I may have actually started that summer after I graduated before I started UT. Later the theatre upgraded to 7 screens, and I heard recently that it is now or soon will be closing. Bummer. I had a lot of good times in that theatre :)

Soup - Did you ever lose something really important to you?

I watched "Arrested Development" three times over a span of months, as a favor to Michael. Unfortunately that's an hour and a half of my life I lost and will never get back...

Salad - What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

A fiancee :) My wife and I publicly "proposed" to each other at the Wesley Foundation Christmas service at UT back in December of 1991.

Main Course - Tell about a favorite "hang out" place for you and your friends when you were in high school.

While it was never quite the equal of Arnold's on "Happy Days", after football games a lot of us went to Mr. Gatti's pizza on Clinton Highway. I enjoyed doing that. It's gone now, too.

Dessert - Name something that always brings a smile to your face.

My kids would be the sappy answer, but I always laugh if I'm watching "Who's Line is it Anyway" or "The Dick Van Dyke Show"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Well, That Was Annoying

Apparently the site filtering system my company subscribes to, our old friend WebSense, has decided that the Beta Blogger editing site falls under the category of "Sex".

I'm not sure how that happened...

Anyway, I'm home now and unable to blog at work for the foreseeable future. Which I'm sure has most of you just on your knees bawling, I'm sure...

UPDATE (12/15): Huzzah! It's not filtered anymore! So now I can waste more time posting from work. Like....I am right now.

And...still now.

Wow. More time wasted. Hey, this is fun.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ponderances, Perplexions, Puzzlements...

Here are a few things percolating around my brain these days.

  • Remember the old hit song about the guy who's calling long distance information in Memphis, TN to try and find the number for his little girl, Marie?

    How dumb was his uncle to write the message on the wall, anyway?

  • Whose bright idea was it to remake "A Year Without a Santa Claus" as a live action movie? Amen, sister. I refuse to watch the Grinch or Cat in the Hat live actions as well as one of her commenters does.

  • I went to the mall Saturday afternoon around lunch for over an hour. Probably one of the worst times of the whole season to go to the mall, right? Wrong. People were friendly, it was crowded but not too much. Traffic was heavy but not too bad. I was able to park close enough to not have to hike. Sales clerks were helpful and friendly - not just to me but to other customers, cause I made it a point to watch. No pushing, shoving, raised voices, bad feelings. Where in the world do people actually find these rude holiday shoppers and workers I keep reading about?

    I think you bring into situations what you yourself possess, and expect to find. I'm typically a pretty friendly person and I expect to find friendly, good-hearted people. And that's who I find.

  • Why is David Cutcliffe's name not being mentioned in connection with the Alabama coaching vacancy? Should I mention Alabama grad David Cutcliffe? Should this fact in itself give me cause to worry?

  • Isn't the fact that we might be able to put a moonbase on the moon sufficient reason? Does everything have to have a zero sum cost-benefit analysis? Can't we just do cool stuff for the hell of it? I mean, we found 71 trillion dollars to fight the war in Iraq and didn't take a hit, we can scrape up a couple billion and go to the moon to stay, right?

    Oh, and...take me with you?

  • Why are anti-global warming pundits always so fired up to repute the facts of global warming, as they understand them? Regardless of whether our coal-fired emissions and auto exhaust and everything else causes holes in the ozone layer and is raising the temperature of the earth or not, isn't it still, like, a good idea to reduce that pollution if we can? So c'mon, lay off it the resistance - even if it's not necessarily going to affect global temperature or whatever, it's still a good thing.

  • Why do semi trucks continue to get free passes to pull out traffic and pull into truck stops around Lovell Road, while blocking cars all over the place? I'm just waiting to get behind a slow-moving semi getting on the interstate and suddenly realize the light's turned red while I'm still in the intersection - and then get zapped by the traffic camera. Not to mention the way they always line up and pull right into your path to go wherever they want to go.

  • (checking the political news) What...we still have functioning political parties in America? C'mon, give it up already!!

  • Why does December 30, 2006 loom ever closer and closer like a big black hole on the horizon, threatening to devour me and suck the ever-loving life out of what's left of my quaking, dessicated limbs?!?!?!?!?


Safe Landings...

Long-time Knoxville traffic reporter Pete Michaels will attempt an emergency landing at Downtown Island Home airport around noon. Reportedly his landing gear is stuck and won't come down, so he's circling to burn up fuel before attempting the landing.

Godspeed, Pete. Good luck.

UPDATE: CNN has live video.

UPDATE 2: All clear. Belly landing successful. Return to your homes - nothing to see here...

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Well, the work situation has resolved itself somewhat. My supervisor has worked her magic and whipped up a compromise, and my "nemesis" has apologized. I'm somewhat mollified, although there are still some unresolved issues. While the actual details of the problem have been addressed and clarified, the principles involved by and large have not. My job requires me to be the lead source of expertise on web design, how the internet works and how it relates to healthcare marketing and the the truth remains that I was completely bypassed in all areas.

Like I said, the marketing rep apologized and said she had had a lot of pressure from all sides to produce a working site and took what she felt at the time was the path of least resistance. She assured me that while she's never had a problem with my responsiveness to their needs or my skills, she knew I'm usually backed up with a number of projects at once and the third party they contracted with would be able to provide them with easy and personal access. And that she just took what she thought was the easiest path for everyone. I told her that I understand wanting things to work out the easy way, but next time to at least consult me for assistance and let me use the things I've learned to help pave the way.

I know, clear as mud without specifics... I've tried to keep the details and people vague, because as we all know it's bad juju to blog about work, but this is more of a personal thing to me than a work thing, really. It goes back to the old self-confidence/self-esteem/respect by others thing I mentioned a couple of posts back. It'll be awhile till those needs are met to my satisfaction, but it's a start.

So the manager and myself are ok, which is good. It's completely in my nature to forgive easily and I hate knowing that I'm carrying a grudge of any kind and anyone would be carrying a grudge against me. It is a bit of a load off my mind.

Now we'll see where the practical compromises arrived at this afternoon lead us, and whether they will actually solve the problems.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, December 08, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Twenty One

Appetizer - Which language would you like to learn and why?

I took several years of French in high school and college and still retain enough to be able to translate a little bit of the written language. Not much spoken. I'd love to be fluent in French. I just think it's a beautiful language to speak and hear.

Soup - What's the funniest thing you've heard or read so far this week?

Tink has been in rare form in the "Conversations" mode this week. That'll be a separate post... Suffice to say sometimes kids when they're angry or upset can really say some funny things...

Salad - Which movie was so bad you couldn't watch the whole thing?

I can't recall ever actually leaving a movie theatre or turning off a video just because it was unwatchable. The worst movie I recall seeing in the theatre was "The Stuff", a wretched little "horror" movie with an stupefyingly boring Michael Moriarty.

Main Course - If there were a holiday in your honor that didn't use your actual name, what would the day be called?

There already is: Father's Day.

(cue "awwwwwwww"'s)

No, if I were a big time famous dude who like, freed slaves or invented Jello or something, my holiday would be called: Arts Appreciation Day where all forms of art: music, dance, theatre, painting, etc. would be honored and performed/created. And they would serve nachos and dip, cause I love nachos and dip. And Cheese Bings from Old College Inn.

Dessert - Name one movie which is coming out soon that you would like to see.

I'd like to see "The Nativity". If the production quality is anything like "Passion of the Christ" it's going to be a heck of a film...

My son wants to see "Night at the Museum" because he just finished the book about the movie, and he started it before he even realized it was a movie that was coming out soon...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hierarchy of Needs

I've never seen this - what do you think of its use or value?

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a theory in psychology that...contends that as humans meet 'basic needs', they seek to satisfy successively 'higher needs' that occupy a set hierarchy. .

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as deficiency needs associated with physiological needs, while the top level is termed growth needs associated with psychological needs. While deficiency needs must be met, growth needs are continually shaping behaviour. The basic concept is that the higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus once all the needs that are lower down in the pyramid are mainly or entirely satisfied. Growth forces create upward movement in the hierarchy, whereas regressive forces push prepotent needs further down the hierarchy.
I found it very interesting to examine the levels of needs and use it as a guide to see what holds one back in life.

Based on my previous post, I see one notable area of deficiency - The Esteem level. At least in my work, I have a need for self-esteem, confidence, achievement and respect by others. I do not think it has affected my respect of others in a base way, except where circumstances have cause others to fade in my estimation of their professionalism.

I notice other areas scattered throughout the pyramids I feel lacking in as well.

I wonder, though at the Self-Actualization at the top - I don't feel a loss of creativity, though it's possible I just don't recognize it. It will take some thought to consider the other areas of Self-Actualization I have lost sight of while waiting for the baser needs to be met.

As I said, it's an interesting map to better understand oneself. Where do you feel some of your own basic needs are being unmet, and how does that affect your life and how you live it?

(Hat tip: Michael Williams)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Whenever a show finishes, I sometimes feel a bit lost - as if I should be doing something, but I'm not. I feel like I should be getting ready to do something tonight, but all I have is a small church rehearsal.

It's not just creatively, either. Although I work full-time, I find I'm unable to devote my entire attention to my job (obviously that's never the case, since I'm typing this here at my desk). But it's moreso during a show. Now that the play is over, I'm trying to jump headlong back into my real job and I notice things I either neglected, set aside till later or just missed or let slide while I was "gone". One of them jumped up at me yesterday afternoon, when I learned that while waiting on a set of web updates to come from a particular department, said department decided to contract out to a 3rd party vendor for their services. Which completely circumvents the entire purpose of my being here - I'm charged with handling all web design for the whole company, and for someone to go behind my back and spend extra money for someone else's design is a huge slap in the face, an unprofessional action that involved deception and irresponsibility. Tomorrow I'll see the person responsible for it, and I will need to contain my own emotions and maintain professionalism when all I want to do is chew them a new one.

It's so wonderful to be appreciated for the things you do.

Meanwhile I received today a wonderful note from one of the members of my King and I band thanking me for the opportunity to play and complimenting me for how I handle that large part of a show. It was very kind and considerate of him to do so - he in fact had nice things to say about everyone involved - and in that case I felt quite appreciated, as if the things I do and work hard for actually meant something to someone.

We put up Christmas lights last night and the night before - I'll try and get some pictures if I can snap that 2-1/2 minute window between when I get home and when it gets too dark (see what I mean about hating Standard Time?). At least I get to spend a little time with my family now before everyone goes to bed...

We're gearing up for the first performance of "The Atomic Horns" just after the new year. It's a wedding, then we play a huge gig at a fundraising gala for the Oak Ridge Playhouse. I'm enjoying and looking forward to concentrating on the band for awhile and laying off the theatre. In fact, unless something irresistible comes up like a directing job (ha! talk about unappreciated...) I'm going to do nothing performance-wise but the band for the first half of 2007.

So at times I drift, sometimes I'm stable. Not sure which happens more right now I'm looking for a rope...

Monday, December 04, 2006

And What Was Your Sunday Like?

Here's mine:
  • 6:45 Get up, drive to church.
  • 9:00 Direct choir in big Christmas cantata with orchestra accompaniment
  • 11:00 Direct choir in big Christmas cantata with orchestra accompaniment again
  • 12:00 Run to Buddy's directly after last note of 11am service, pick up lunch for myself and Tink while Laura fixes Tink's makeup for the show coming up...
  • 12:30 Drive myself and Tink to Oak Ridge
  • 1:15 Prepare for performance
  • 2:00 Direct band for final "The King and I" performance
  • 5:00 Strike band equipment, load everything into car while helping get Tink out of costume
  • 5:05 Learn panic-stricken Tink believes she's lost her street clothes
  • 5:10 Find Tink's street clothes hanging where she left them, resolve panic
  • 5:40 Finish loading car, say last goodbyes, drive back to church
  • 5:41 Realize you left Tink behind, return to theatre
    (just kidding on the last)
  • 6:15 Get to church, grab bite to eat from youth supper, hand Tink back off to Laura who was there for handbell practice
  • 6:30 Rehearse with church youth for Christmas play coming up in two weeks. Rejoice because all of them get there eventually.
  • 8:15 Go home
  • 8:45 Spend small amount of quality time with family, watch Seahawks kill Denver defense and ruin my fantasy team's chances this week, watch replay of last second Titans field goal I taped earlier, cuddle with Tink and her wet hair just out of the shower, watch a bit of Harry Potter with BrainyBoy
  • 9:30 Rest of family goes to bed. I'm too wired to sleep. Watch more football. Eat popcorn.

And how was your Sunday?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Four to Go

The Tennessee Titans (5-7) have four games left in the season. Today they beat AFC Super Bowl favorite Indianapolis with a last second field goal, similar to how they beat the NY Giants last week with a last second field goal.

Tennessee has four games left to play in the season: Houston, Jacksonville, Buffalo and New England (all AFC teams). I believe Indy was probably the toughest team left on their schedule before today, with the Patriots running a close second.

It's very possible the Titans could end up the season, after starting off 05, at a respectable 9-7 or 8-8. Going by past history, it's entirely possible for a 9-7 or even an 8-8 team to make the playoffs. That's a very, very big IF but it's exciting nonetheless - especially they way the Titans have been playing of late.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Gas up again

Gas went up another 6 cents everywhere yesterday. Inexplicably. Amazing, wot?

Then I noticed this morning that the first station I saw go from $2.07 to $2.13 is now at $2.19. In two days gas went up 12 cents. I expect other stations to quickly follow suit.

Sorry, did a pipeline burst and I missed it? Did the price of crude suddenly rise? Whoops, quite the opposite although there are fears it might rise. Sometime. In the future. Whenever. Best to hike the prices now, before the holiday travel season actually starts, because, you know, people might be paying too little.

Expect it to go back toward the $2.50 mark at least by Christmas.


No, not the power outage kind - although that did happen this morning at our house and apparently all over Knoxville.

I'm talking about why the Ravens-Bengals game on the NFL Network was blacked-out in Knoxville last night? What's up with that, NFL Network? You think anyone from Knoxville is going to drive four hours to Cincinnati and catch this game? The purpose of a black-out game is to keep locals interested in attending the game...

NFL Network, supposedly you're trying to drum up interest in your channel by televising these live games...

Wouldn't it help to, like, actually televise the live game?

Just a thought.

Citizenship Test

Frank at Left of the Dial has posted the first 10 of the proposed 144 new citizenship tests prospective US citizens are required to take. Since he challenged his readers to see how well they'd do, I thought I'd test my retention of Mr. Secrist and Mrs. Payne's American History/Government classes and see how I do:

1. Name one important idea found in the Declaration of Independence.

That all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights: the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

2. What is the supreme law of the land?

The United States Constitution

3. What does the Constitution do?

It sets up and explains our system of government, as well as spells out our basic rights and responsibilities as Americans.

4. What does “We the People” mean in the Constitution?

It certifies that the people, the citizenry of the United States are solely responsible for creating, upholding and following the laws of the land. The government is to be a servant of the people's will and not their ruler. We the people take it upon ourselves to create a nation, united together in a common cause in pursuit of perfection. We ourselves establish what laws will be created and followed, and how our people will be protected from within and without. We will help our fellow citizens and defend them, no matter who they are or where they live, ensure that all citizens are well and fairly treated and ensure that these freedoms are secure and stable to last for all generations to come. And we the people sign our names to this document, via our representatives, and swear to uphold these laws and guidelines.

Funny, I learned more about that question from Schoolhouse Rock than in high school...

5. What do we call changes to the Constitution?


6. What is an amendment?

An alteration or addition to the basic rules of the Constitution that spells out a law affecting all citizens, regardless of state citizenship.

7. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

The Bill of Rights

8. Name one right or freedom from the First Amendment

The people have the right to free speech, and not have their ideas, words, writing, music, art or opinions regulated by the government or risk persecution, prosecution or imprisonment for holding and relating such views.

I think it's important for all Americans to remember that with that right we must be responsible with how we use it. Nobody has the human right to scream "Fire" in a crowded theatre, since it could immediately produce a panic that might bring harm. Similarly we don't have the human right to release information that might prove harmful to other people, especially in times of war or other conflict. There are moral differences between the legal rights spelled out in the 1st amendment and the human rights we all as civilized and responsible people should understand.

9. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

Wow - got me there. I'd have to look the exact number up... 25 maybe?

10. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

It established the 13 British colonies as a separate and independent nation, free from fealty to the throne of England and all taxation responsibilities, etc.

How'd I do?

Two Heads are Better Than One

Prepare to be creeped out, spellbound and amazed for about 9 minutes. Unbelievable.