"While You Wait" (A Play from The Smart Set, June 1900)

The Smart Set (Cover)MRS. VAN CLEEF—Now, in this divorce business, there seems to be a great rivalry between South Dakota and Oklahoma, but the Oklahoma firm’s circular is a good deal the more enticing. Listen. It says (she reads from a circular which she takes from her pocket): “Our newer States, in compiling their laws, have seen fit to show more liberality in the matter of obtaining divorces than may be found among the older states, whose laws on this subject were enacted at a time when ideas were less in accord with the advanced liberal thought of the present.

“As the Mohammedan devotee confidingly turns his eyes toward the tomb of his beloved leader, so has Dakota been regarded as the Mecca of hope to weary companions in matrimony.”

Isn’t that nice? We’ll be the weary companions.

Helen Churchill Candee on Women in Oklahoma Territory

HCC BWCandee’s contrast of O.T. home-seekers with “helpless, discouraged women, inefficient and parasitical” certainly cuts more sharply than her later works. At the risk of reading too much into one colorful phrase, perhaps this reflects a bit of her own “strength via defiance” – her own refusal to be a “helpless, discouraged woman”?

Candee was caring for two children in a frontier town. Divorce carried substantial social stigma, whatever her former society or current surroundings. It must have taken some grit and grind in practice, however much grace and style were manifested in the presentation. A little defensiveness or hostility is not inconceivable. It happens.

Helen Churchill Candee - An Introduction

Helen Churchill CandeeHelen started her formal education in one of America’s first kindergartens, then attended several girls’ boarding schools of the sort only available to a certain quality of family – and even then mostly only those in New England. Before she was a teenager she spoke and wrote multiple languages, was schooled in grace and etiquette, and probably knew more history and literature than a majority of adult men in the nation at the time. She was particularly inspired, according to one diary entry, by an event at which Charles Dickens read aloud from one of his works.

How many of you have heard Dickens live? My point exactly.

Mo Money Mo Problems: House Bills 1400 and 1401 (Guest Post: Rep. John Montgomery, HD62)

NOTE: Rep. John Montgomery was elected to represent HD-62 (Comanche, think "West of Lawton") in 2014 and re-elected this past November. I consider him a friend to #oklaed and a decent guy all 'round. He's also unexpectedly amusing when he's mocking me privately on social media. Like, he's REALLY good at it. That's rare.

Not the mocking part - I get that a LOT. But being good at it - THAT'S a gift. 

Bills, Bills, Bills (Silver Lining Edition)

I’m not known for the sunshine I spread or my rainbow-themed unicorn farm. I’m surrounded by edu-bloggers in Oklahoma and beyond who are both smarter and more experienced than myself, and I’m under no illusions about the role I play.

But I do believe in being pragmatic. Having spent most of 2016 burning energy I didn’t have promoting the so-called ‘Teacher Caucus’ and related issues in #OKElections16, and having had slightly less than zero impact (the pro-education newbies who won were the handful I’d never gotten around to writing about), I’d like to try to find approaches that might, you know… work.

Let's Talk About Vouchers, Part One (What Happened In Cleveland?)

Angry ElephantThe Oklahoma GOP has for some time now held unchecked control of both the State Legislature and the Governor’s chair. Voters have handed them the keys, a 12-pack of Keystone, and encouraged them to have their way with the state. You’ve no doubt noticed the resulting prosperity trickling down all around you.

Missing the Old Testament

Scary PreacherI don’t write many posts about Bible stuff, or faith in general. As incoherent as my posts may be, I try to remain tethered to topics at least remotely related to public education.

Mostly, though, I’m simply not a good spokesman for Christianity – nor is that my intent here. It’s neither a sermon nor theology. It’s merely a layman’s reflection. 

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy... (6/5/16)

The 2016 Legislative Session is over, more or less - although we'll be suffering from the fallout for at least another year. If you're aware enough of what's going on statewide to be annoyed, but haven't had the time or inclination to read up on every issue, here's the Blue Cereal Guide to the Latest Oklahoma Clusterfoolery - State Budget Edition. You're welcome.