Thursday, December 10, 2015

nut, bridge and strings...

Nut not shown.
Last night I finished the nut, and bridge for a box guitar I am calling the "rustic wonder" and during the day, I started another cigar box guitar as a demonstration for students so that they will know how to make the box for their own.

During the day I was reminded of three friends. In the truck I've been listening to a CD of rock music by my friend Mario and his band in Buffalo. Mario is undergoing treatment for cancer and this should be his last week of chemo and radiation. I was introduced to making musical instruments as an educational device by a good friend Roger Dale, who had been art teacher in Berryville, Arkansas when I first moved to Eureka Springs. He coached me as I made my first dulcimer.  From that starting point I began making just a few of them for sale in my own wood shop. Roger is now suffering from Alzheimer's in Wichita, Kansas. I have a recent photo of him on my desk to remind me of our great friendship and what he and his family are going through now. I also got a call from a friend who is now 91 years old and has moved to Texas to be with his son and daughter. He had lived over 60 of his years in Arkansas and misses this place, but aging and the loss of his wife has made him dependent on his family.

In any case, time marches onward, and we must celebrate each day we are able and bask in creative light.

I attempt to keep this blog out of politics, knowing that there would be readers from both sides of the political divide who need to know about and consider the essential role that the hands play in the shaping of character and intellect. But is it particularly disturbing to me to see an absolute nut running for for the Republican nomination for president, and worst is that he is having such success at gaining Republican support by saying such hateful things. The more pernicious his remarks, it seems, the more support he receives. First he directed his malicious comments to Latin immigrants, and now to Muslims. In the past, successful candidates have served as bridges and strings, with philosophies reaching out to span the full instrument of American culture, and to embrace the diversity of our people. Trump is like a train wreck in slow motion. We can't help but watch wondering who he will insult next and how high his inflated sense of self-righteousness will soar.

The nut is actually a small but important part of a musical instrument. It is what supports the strings at just the right height above the fret board and positions them as they pass  to the bridge that communicates their vibrations into the body of the instrument. Big nuts in American politics we can do without. Kareem AbdulJabbar wrote a great editorial on the Trump candidacy here.
I can explain exactly how the deficiencies of American educational policy play out disastrously in Trump's success as a candidate. In the meantime, we have 15 making days until Christmas, and if you need presents for this holiday season and have no time to make them yourself, check out my Etsy store. 

On another note, Obama signed a new education bill into law today, replacing  "No Child Left Behind." The new law is called the "Every Student Succeeds Act." Let's hope that with this act, government gets out of the way of student learning and allows the real success students can earn by doing real things.

Make, fix, create and insist that others learn likewise.

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