Specifically, the National Zoo in Washington D.C. because that is where Meredith and I first held hands and we haven’t let go since.

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M-O-U-S-E!

I don’t remember much about the show itself, but I do remember its theme song (for the most part).

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNK5KzI48mM&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

Or, here’s another one (that rhymes with pun) featuring the letter Y from a t-shirt I saw on my friend Brian Weiland about 16 years ago at UMass: IYQ

It took me a while to figure out. And even after I did, I still scratched my head. Brian could pull it off and I liked him for that (and many other reasons).

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For most people, this is just the word that you teach your kids to recognize and learn the letter X. For musicians it’s an instrument in the percussion family and for a percussionist, well…it’s required to be played.

So, I can play a xylophone. Can you?

During my first year of teaching I learned a George Hamilton Green rag (Rainbow Ripples) with band accompaniment to play with he high school band at our large music in our schools month concert. The band played well and the performance was well received.

I never tried anything like that again and I think that that is a shame. Our school band audiences don’t get to see and hear professional musicians playing very often, if at all, and it would have been good to give them more exposure with the hope of raising the bar for the students and their parents in terms of the level of music that they should be striving for.

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Why not?

Ayuh.

That’s it.

(This post had yet to be determined when the news of Bin Laden’s demise became public on Sunday night. I confess that this is not the spelling that I  prefer. I’m not sure it really matters that I even have a preference about the spelling of a terrorist’s name.)

So, if you will indulge me a moment of late night pontification I have a few thoughts about the recently departed Usama/Osama that may add absolutely nothing to the public discourse but I thought I would share ‘out loud’.

First, I am glad he is gone. I would have preferred a capture over a kill, but not because I am squeamish about his death (I am abstaining from the discussion about the morality of his death and our role in it for the time being). Rather, I wish he were still alive in custody because he may have been extraordinarily informative had he been taken alive. Then again, he may have already outlived his usefulness to his friends and enemies.

Second, I am glad it happened. Would I have preferred it to have happened on “my teams'” watch? You bet. Does it really matter (from a national security stand point) who gets the credit? Not really. Three cheers for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

Third, could this be Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment? I am totally going with my meandering mind as it takes me far from my expertise, but hear/read me out. I read the text from his speech to the American public. It made me…well, I didn’t like it. Originally, I thought the opening was good but now I don’t even like that.

What struck me initially was that the guy just can’t get past himself. He needs us to know that he was the one who ordered a renewed focus on finding Bin Laden. Uh, duh…you are the commander-in-chief, remember? The military can’t do much without you at least authorizing it.

Now take this need to pin the success of this objective on his vision/determination and fast forward a year or two (or maybe just a few months). What happens when the terrorists are still coming at us from all four corners of the earth? Will President Obama be up to the task? Will he be able to deliver a focused vision to thwarting current and future threats against our nation? I hope so for our safety’s sake, but I am not bursting with confidence.

If he isn’t careful, then this moment of celebration could turn into a political liability for him. Even with a compliant media this could back fire just like George Bush’s ill-conceived “Mission Accomplished” banner.

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It used to be that whenever I heard this word I thought about Arnold Schwartenegger exclaiming, “Eet’s naught a toomor, eet’s naught!” in response to some petulant child in the classic movie, Kindergarten Cop (there is no debate about the amazingness that is this movie).

Of course that all changed in February of 2008 when we discovered that Meredith had a mass in her brain that was causing debilitating headaches and episodic vomiting. It has been a strenuous ordeal since that discovery, but I’ve realized that it is too important to laugh, and be able to laugh, to have to take away a funny line, or joke, every time something becomes “personal” or “sensitive”. I will still laugh when I think of that scene from the movie and I may even quote it from time to time, but I do confess to having a whole series of serious thoughts whenever I hear the word tumor used in an off-handed way.

I recently heard a joking conversation between two kids at school recently that used a brain tumor as an excuse for not getting something, or being un-smart, and I had to think for a minute about what I was going to say to them. Of course the real problem was their questionable use of self-depreciation as an attention seeking device, but the tumor part slowed down my response to the situation.

Was I offended, I asked myself.

No, not really.

This was just a couple of kids being foolish and the fact that they stumbled on something that is very personal to me did not mean that I had to take offense. It would have been different if I had already told them my wife’s story and then they joked about brain tumors.

There is plenty of truly offensive “stuff” out there so before you get offended by something said in an off-handed manner, take a moment and decide for yourself if it’s worth get upset about. It doesn’t mean you have to laugh, but getting upset may not be worth it.

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