Andrews Wall

   Stuff that may appear on this site is Stuff that caught my fancy, either because I agree with it, or because I disagree with it, or, like a good teacher, I think it will make my students - or in this case, my audience - think a little bit harder, as we especially do when something gets us riled up.

   So, as is said in other venues, "The following remarks may not reflect the views of the management."

   Feel free to react negatively or positively to the things you may find - though please do so with dignity and respect for our common humanity, even though we may not always agree.

Advice to Graduates-9-03-16-Intro1c

How to get to know
what you don’t know:

Stuff Andrews has on his Sansa Clip+ as MP3s, on his Kindle, and maybe even in an actual book!

Don’t listen to what anyone says about these books until you’ve read them for yourself.
Use your brain!
The Politically Correct only think what they’re told to think!

If you have suggestions to make the list more “balanced,” let me know.

1. Arnold Toynbee
A Study of History
(1000-page version) - a little outdated, but makes good universal points.
“We all fall down...”

2. Hans Zinsser
Rats, Lice, and History
One of my favorites that I listen to often.
“Nature Wins...”

3. E. D. Hirsh of U.Va
Cultural Literacy
“How the educated communicate with images and stories.”

4. E.D. Hirsh
The Making of Americans
“How to fix the schools.”

5. Daniel Pink
“How to love your work: Intrinsic motivation.”

6. Malcolm Gladwell
“Gut feelings are often right!”

7. Hickey and Roberts
The Science of Vitamin C

“Why the Old Guy doesn’t take any medicine...”

8. Thomas Sowell
Ethnic America
“How we all got here...”

9. A. Hamilton, J. Madison, J. Jay
The Federalist Papers
“Arguments that made us...Librivox MP3 version”

10. Nina Munk
The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs...
“What happens when you think you can erase world poverty in 5 years...”

11. Richard Rhodes
The Making of the Atomic Bomb
“Awesome picture of the personalities who gave us our last Pandora’s Box:
the cloud in our future.”

12. Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point
“Little things can have big effects.”

13. Theodore Dodge
Alexander: etc
“How to take over the world...”

Jodi Picoult
19 Minutes
“School massacre through the eyes of a novelist.”
Dave Cullen
“The real thing...”

14. Robert Brow
Religion: Origin and Ideas
“...from Western view, but a good short summary of them all...can get free online.”

15. Bush and McIlhaney
Hooked: ...Science on Casual Sex
“Oxytocin, bonding, and the mind.”

16. Miriam Grossman
“Ivy League Psychiatrist about what they don’t tell you about ‘love’ and relationships...first published as “anonymous”

17. Erik Larsen
In the Garden of the Beasts
“How the upper classes missed the clues about Hitler...just like today...”
Ken Follett’s books show this as well: Fall of Giants and Winter of the World.

18. Ralph Ellison
The Invisible Man
“One of the best of the best for African-Americans and anyone. Those that will get you... your own people...”

19. Many Many More...on all sides of the spectrum, as you can’t think for yourself without the data needed to make choices as to what works...
just a quick list of  stuff, though I love detective novels like from Patricia Cornwell, Grisham, Patterson, etc.

1776: Year of Illusion

Sun-Tzu at Gettysburg

The Help

Metro 2033 and Metro 2034 “After the bombs in Moscow subways...” Youtube free

The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb

Hirsh - The Schools We Need


C. S. Lewis - The Problem of Pain and Mere Christianity

Robert Spencer’s books on the Middle East culture

G.K. Chesterton’s religious books from early 20th century - Everlasting Man, etc

What’s so Great about Christianity?

More Fiction

Glass Castle

I Am Charlotte Simmons - Tom Wolfe on UNC Chapel Hill sort of...

Josephus Wars of the Jews - Librivox MP3 - murderous wars in the 1st Century

Advice from the Old Guy…
Short Version

Andrews blathering on to his beloved
recently-graduated students
who are going out into the wild world
 with the hope that you can do a better  job
  than our present leaders are doing
 at the moment.

“If you don’t know
what you don’t know, 
you won’t know
what you’ll need to know
to be the best...
...the best...
not just ‘average,’
as so many are
satisfied with being.”

After nearly a half-century of teaching,
the old guy has learned a few lessons that
might help his beloved kids to be informed
as they enter the present unraveling world:

As Mark Twain put it,
 “When I was a boy of 14,
 my father was so ignorant
 I could hardly stand to have
 the old man around.
 But when I got to be 21,
 I was astonished at how much
 the old man had learned in seven years.”

1. Old World / New World
From the relatively uncomplicated world
of a few years ago,
a new world has sprouted, with
 the buzzards of poorly-directed change
circling above our heads.

Wars, starvation, disease epidemics,
and other international turmoil
seem to be warming up
nicely in the background,
with perhaps an earthquake,
a volcano,
 global climate something-or-other,
 or another Kardashian marriage
 in the offing.
Good Luck!

2. The New You Review!
Going off to College:

The best time for a New Start!
If you’re off to college or regular life,

 now’s the time to become the person
 you’ve always wanted to become.
As you leave the old folks behind,
 shy people can become brave,
 talkative people can become studious,
 and you can get a whole bunch of new friends
 who will see you as you want to be seen.
 Take advantage of it!

3. The Smartest to the Samest:
If you’ve been considered the smartest at SHS,
 you might be a little surprised that colleges are
 full of the smartest kids from everywhere else.
 No more coasting!
Here comes the real competition!

However, as you have survived Andrews
 interminable compositions,
writing should be a lot easier.
 Let me know....

4. The 50/50 Split:
The Short or the Long College Experience.
Without Mom and Dad to keep you straight,
 you might think that the opportunities for
 endless parties, late nights and late rising are
 just like heaven.

Just remember that fewer than half of the kids
 going to Va. Tech, for example, are there a bit
 later, as the $28,000 party year often ends with
a more-disappointing new start
after a long trip home.
Parties don’t help to pay the huge college loans
 you’re now taking on.
 Use your time as if it will affect
 the rest of your life.
It will...
5. Major in something
 that has a job connected to it,
not something that’s easy
 (allowing you to spend more time partying),
 or that “interests me.”
 There aren’t too many jobs for folks majoring
 in 9th-Century Slobbovian Frog Art.

Make sure that your major matches your skills.
 Andrews would make a pretty horrible
mathematician. You’re unlikely to become a
professional photographer if you’ve only taken
pictures with your cell phone. If you’re going to
become a “writer,” make sure that you major in
something that will keep you from starving until
 your Great American Novel gets discovered.
6. Barf Heaven?
Contrary to public opinion, it’s just as much fun
 to talk and go places with clear-headed friends
as it is to have bleary conversations with
bombed-out loud, smelly, and sometimes angry
acquaintances who want you to know how
much fun they had throwing up last weekend.

Just because a significant number of friends
think that ethyl alcohol imbibery (English
teachers have a right to make up new words!) is
the path to happiness doesn’t mean that folks
who enjoy interacting with people with clear
minds can’t choose a better path.

Andrews prefers chilled and stylishly decanted
 Welch’s Grape Juice…although some like
Kumquat-cucumber cocktails.
7. The Glorious Gal Window –
4 years of freedom:

While guys can remain little boys for their
 whole lives, girls shortly end up taking care of
the kids and the cooking and the houses and the
clothes and the trips to school, soccer,
swimming, hockey, baseball, dancing, and other
places, in addition to a full-time job or two,
while the guys are off working or fishing.

Girls! Right Now is your 4-year window
 to go  to the places and do the things that
 you’ll never have the freedom to do again
 in the same way.

No Babies! No Boy Baggage!
Girl Friends are the Best Friends!

Get a bunch of girl friends together and go
 places and see things in this country or abroad
– like a year of college in Europe,
 just having a good time…
without the pressure, the jealousy,
and the substances
 of the standard social situations.

8. Gals #2: Reverse Liberation?
Free to be Used?
“Build yourself a levee deep inside.
Build yourself a levee girl
when the waters run high.”
-Natalie Merchant

If you’re being used,
or if he’s jealous or controlling,
dump him and wait 30 days,
no matter how much it hurts.
And then you’ll be OK.
There are plenty more in plenty more time.

9. “Ripeness is All” - Shakespeare
in King Lear

“If you’ve done it all,
you’ve done it all,
if you’ve reached the end
while you’re still at the beginning.

The joys of discovery
aren’t as much fun
if you’re bored from
having done too much
too soon too often
...before you’re ready.” ja

10. The un-bright leading the new:
Leadership Lessons.

As the present world political and financial
 leaders don’t seem to be the brightest
 we have ever had,
(though they are possibly the greediest):
A. Follow your brains instead of your leaders! 
B. Gather the evidence.
C. Examine both sides of the evidence.
D. Don’t listen to those
 who only look at one side.
E. Think about the evidence.
F. Confidently give your opinion about
 how things should be done.
 You’re just as smart as many of the “experts.”

If they’re so smart,
why is the world is so messed up?
You have a chance to make it better
 when you take over!

11. Political Correctness =
intolerant tolerance;
separationist togetherness;
insensitive sensitivity;
discriminatory anti-discrimination;
doing good that results in evil;
straining at gnats
swallowing camels.

Encouraging breaking us up into
mutually-exclusive little groups
results in endless strife,
as most of the world well-illustrates.  

Most of the more than 200 million  killed
 during the 20th Century were killed for
someone’s idea of “good,” which involved
killing off the “other” groups who resisted
 their path to a perfect society.

“Those who cannot remember the past
 are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana

12. The Four Lusts...
Lust = wanting something so much that
you’ll do anything to get it.
A. Power
B. Money
C. Food
D. Bodies

Be most suspicious of those who love power,
 and do everything you can to limit them.
The best example of distrust of power in the history of the world is,
 believe it or not,
the U.S. Constitution,
where the  Founding Fellows and Gals
looked at the Incredibly Stupid Kings, Nobles,
 and Greedy B*******s of 5000 years of
history and tried to create a government that
would keep them under control.
Study us and them from that point of view,
and you’ll see why the U.S. is so
 unique in history.

“Power tends to corrupt and
 absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
-Lord Acton

The only leaders who can be trusted are  those
 who are hemmed in by checks and balances
which are enforced by informed citizens who
have in turn been informed by a press which
reports objectively and accurately the
leadership failings of those they like
 as well as those they don’t like.

Thomas Jefferson:
 “The basis of our governments being the
 opinion of the people... were it left to me to
decide whether we should have government
without newspapers or newspapers without
government, I should not hesitate a moment
to prefer the latter.

Remember Shakespeare on Lust:
If we think our lives will be made perfect
if we get the things that we want too much,
our disappointments will likely
match our hunger.

13. History is a great teacher.

Become generally familiar with
 the history of civilization.
It’s only about 5000 years,
 as Neanderthals didn’t write much...

 “What happened when they tried this before?”
“Why are we doing it again?”
 “Is this right?”
“What works?”

14. What Doesn’t Work:
Geography Survey
Do you really want to live there
or be like that?
Google major and minor countries
using words like:
Violence [Country Name];
Treatment of Women [Country Name];
Freedom of Press [Country Name];
Persecution of Jews / Christians
[Country Name];
FGM [Country Name];
Terrorism [Country Name].

Do your leaders condone these behaviors?
Dump them!

More than 50 million people are now
 displaced refugees because of the stupidity...
and silence... of present world leaders.

More than 800 million people face starvation every day, mostly because of stupid leaders.

Andrews’ too-long Grad Speech
 from 2001 on Stupid Leaders:

The Duck Test:
“If it looks like a duck,
waddles like a duck,
and quacks like a duck,
it’s probably a duck.”

If someone tries to tell you that you can’t
 believe your eyes...or your mind,
they are probably the ones
who need glasses.

If they tell you that they want to kill you,
believe them...or they will...

15. “Somewhere over the Rainbow...”:
Belief in the Easy Button:

Be suspicious of leaders or prospective leaders
 who promise schemes that  will end war,
poverty, disease, or economic problems if you
 just give them your vote and trust them .
You’ve been snookered!

as the somewhat pessimistic
King Solomon said,
“There is no new thing under the sun...”

16. Having Brains is not enough:
Brains + GRIT = Success
TED Video from Angela Duckworth it#

To be a Great Musician:
Brains + 10,000 hours of practice.
To be a Good Musician:
Brains + 8,000 hours of practice.
To be an above-average musician:
Brains + 4,000 hours of practice.
Brains + No Practice =
Just a gray, gooey mass accomplishing nothing.

17. The Healing Power of Doing Good:
If you find that you are miserable and depressed and lacking in purpose, even though you have met many of your goals, go out and find someone whom you can personally help,   whether it be for an organization or in your own environment - personally. ...and you’ll find yourself being healed...

18. The Old Guy:
 A Noiseless Patient Spider –Whitman

Andrews teaching philosophy:
Why the old guy is still around
after 48 years.

A NOISELESS, patient spider,
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory,
    it stood, isolated;
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant,
    vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament,
    out of itself;
Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly
    speeding them.        
And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded,
    in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,
    —seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d
   —till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling,
     catch somewhere, O my Soul.

19. Enjoy Our Wonderful World:
“Glory…for dappled things,
…for skies of couple-colour
…for finches wings…
…landscape plotted and folded…
All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
  Whatever is fickle, freckled    
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
         whose beauty is past change…

...and for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness
deep down things...

     …with Ah! Bright Wings… “
                   -Gerard Manley Hopkins

Have a great future!
Love ya much!
Keep in touch!
-Jim Andrews:

Miscellaneous Musings of a High School / College English Teacher

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The Old Guy

Advice to Graduates-9-03-16-FragileFreedom-intro2
Advice to Graduates-9-03-16-Part-I-intro

Jim was honored by being asked by the
Senior Class officers to be the 
graduation speaker
at Stafford High School
in June 2001.
His friend the principal suggested
12 minutes
as being nearly optimal,
but once Jim got warmed up,
after the initial fright
at the sight of the 3000 people
in the  audience,
he went on for a few minutes
longer than that.

If you are inclined to peruse
[English teacher word for "read"]
Andrews' ramblings,
click on the blackboard above,
and settle in for a long read.

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 Andrews’ “Short” Reading List

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