Near 500 words: Fairy Tale U

Now that Little Bo Peep has found her sheep and Humpty Dumpty has been put back together again, Mother Goose is devoting her time to a new project. Education. She is opening a school of higher leaning for those who wish to be fairy-tale endowed. Here’s some of the outstanding courses she’ll be offering at Fairy Tale U.

1.Prince Charming 101. Prince Rupert teaches the gentlemanly ways of wooing yon fair maiden. Without looking at her shoes.
2.You-tube phenomenon Cinderella will be giving her world-famous Housecleaning Techniques.
3.You won’t need a Fairy Godmother in the clothes department after you take Fashion Consciousness by The One-and-only Fairy Godmother. “It’s all in the shoes.”
4.Baking with Hansel & Gretel and their um-um good recipes.
5.Repunzel lets her hair down with Hair-styling 101.
6.Big Bad’s Huff-and-Puff Way to Real Estate Success.
7.For those in the weight-consciousness mode, the “Just Right” Diet by Goldilocks and the Three Bears is perfect.
8.Child Care by Rumpelstiltskin
9.Relationship Secrets by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
10. Flying Etiquette with the Wicked Witch of the West introduces students to  proper broom-riding techniques. Come and hear her say, “Eat your heart out, Harry Potter.”
11.Jack’s Course on the Bean Stalk Methodology of Survival.
12. After rescuing Grandma, Little Red Riding Hood joins the University with her Tips on Elder Care.
13.Beauty’s Taming your Inner Beast shouldn’t be missed.
14.Puss-in-Boots will share his secrets on How To Be Successful In Business Without Really Trying.
15.And for the meteorlogical-minded, Dorothy and Toto will be here for Storm Chasing Procedures.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creative Artist: Thurgood Marshall, Civil Rights Crusader

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. In honor of Black History Month, this week’s Creator Spotlight is Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall:

Brown v. Board of Education

Thurgood Marshall on the United States Supreme Court

Don’t Disappoint Your Mom: A Mother’s Day Story

The Thank You Note

Dear Mr. Hamsun,

I want to thank you for that F you gave me for American history this semester. I’m writing this at the behest of my dad. He believes that you were very courageous in giving me that grade since my dad is on the Board of Trustees and he could fire your rear. However, Dad believes that you should learn from your mistake. You will have to take a cut in salary for the next semester.

David

Response to the Thank You Note

Dear David,

Thank you for the nice note. Your dad is right. One only learns from one’s mistakes. When I was in prison for embezzling at Enron, I had a lot of time to think. Thinking it over I came to realize that I had been one selfish bastard and I needed to change. My days at Enron had been go-go-go, party-party-party, and now here I was doing time. By the way, I had a lovely cellmate. He was in for bank robbery—and he taught me all sorts of tricks of the trade. Which I intend to share with my class next term. It’s called practical steps to success in business. Hope you’ll attend.

As I lay there on my bunk night after night, I realized I had wronged a lot of people: my former co-workers, my girlfriend Gretchen (I loved calling her Gretchen, not Gretch as her brother often insisted), but most of all I disappointed and harmed my mom. It brought little tears to my eyes. I had been a wuss. Would Mom ever forgive me? You can let everyone else down, but please don’t let your mom down.

Anyway I learned from my mistakes and here I am teaching little runts like yourself the ABC’s of life. So get a life, come to my class next term and learn a trade.

Mr. Hamsun

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: To sing a better song

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. From time to time, a reflection on the movie will appear below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is

It’s an oldie but goodie, the movie “Educating Rita”. But my, how I love it what with Sir Michael. ‘Course I am speaking Michael Caine. This is up there with my other two favorite Michael Cainers, “Alfie” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. In this one, he’s paired with the wonderful Julie Waters. They give us two delightful characters.

In the opening scene, Sir Michael is walking a professorial walk onto a college campus, somewhere deep in the heart of England. We can compare this walk with her walk as a woman uncomfortable with her surroundings. She’s wanting more from her life than the usual drudgery of a working class husband and a baby. She’s a hairdresser full-time and a student part time at the university where Caine professorizes. It’s called Open University, the program she is in.

Anyway, back to the opening scene, he goes into his office with its comfortable chair, surrounding with shelves and shelves of books. He reaches for one of the books. It’s “The Lost Weekend”. If you remember, that is the name of the movie where Ray Milland gives up the booze and has one heck of a case of the dts. Behind the book, wallah. A bottle. So now we know that our good professor drinks. Turns out our professor not only drinks. He drinks a lot.

But this is not so much his story. It’s the story of a woman who is trying to dig her way out of a life she no longer likes, a life of low expectations. Have a kid, have a few laughs, get old, die. She wants more. She wants a lot more. Have you ever wanted something so badly that it hurt and the hurt cut deep. That you would give up just about everything to get it. That is Rita’s want. Rita’s bound and determine to get it by getting herself an education. And come hell or high water Sir Michael’s professor’s going to give her the shovel to do it with.

Her soul’s dying where she is at and she sees this professor as her way out. But he’s not about to go along willingly. He’s become a cynical sort of poet. A poet who hasn’t had a decent poem in years. His wife gave him a divorce to give him new material for his poetry. It didn’t work. So here he sits in his professorial office, getting drunk. In walks this mid-twenties woman who wants the world of learning and she expects him to give it to her.

When he tells her to go back where she came from, she says, “We’re all surviving with the spirit in tact.” But you know that she’d like to add, “But that’s about it. That’s all there is where I come from. And I’m not settling. At least, not for that.”

What she ultimately learns from this adventure, what he ultimately teaches her is that all that education cannot disguise the pain of what it means to be a human being. It can only teach her that it takes labor pains to be born into a new human being.

“Educating Rita” belongs to that rare breed of movie about the adventure of learning. It’s in the class with “Good Will Hunting”, “Dead Poets Society” and “84 Charing Cross Road”. It’s about that wonderful relationship that can occur between teacher and student. And, like Dr. Frank Bryant, the poet-professor, it is often the teacher that learns more than the student.

Do you have a favorite teacher? What made them a favorite?