My fabulous breadth of knowledge

In the continuing tradition of self-humiliation of childhood me (which is, of course, also a great exercise in self-aggrandizement befitting a truly self-absorbed self), I bring you Selections from School Reports, Grade 5.

Report 1: The California Condor
For: Geology and Birdwatching
Grade Received: 80/100 (apparently my analysis of migratory habits and illustrations were lacking)

The California Condor likes to live in dry lands, which is probably why it’s called the California Condor instead of the Oregon Condor. (1)

It is a carrion eater. It feeds on dead deer, cattle, sheep and ground squirrels. The fact that it eats spoiled meat is related to the fact that it has a bald head. If its  head had feathers on its head it would get skin infections from the carrion (spoiled meat) it eats. Because it has a bald head, the sun beats down on it and the skin infection, which is on top of the skin, just crumbles away. (2)

The California Condor has a very slow reproductive rate. The female lays her egg in a cave or a hole or something. She only lays one egg every two years!!!

Once these birds were pretty common and could be seen in flocks of 20 or more. Now there aren’t even 20 alive. The reason these birds are almost gone is that people said "Oh, what a neat bird," picked up their shotgun, and killed them. (3)  Of course people don’t do that now that there are only 14 alive. People are trying to make more California Condors. (4) And in 10 years the population may have risen again. (5) But if they don’t succeed, in 10 years there could be no more California Condor!!!

(1) I think my teacher gave me a shitty grade partly because I was a wiseass. And because let’s face it, people, birds are BO-RING.

(2) Here we see that my future as an editor was uncertain at best. Also, my obsession with skin infections and spoiled meat is a little bit disturbing. Perhaps I shall still grow into a serial killer.

(3) Despite my obvious difficulties with singular/plural conflict here, I think I bring up some valid points about the dangers of hunting and the power of blunt speech.

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(4) Despite my concurrent required sex-ed class with the same teacher, I seem to be fuzzy on the practicalities of this.

(5) How prophetic! It’s true! They aren’t in danger of being extinct anymore. But honestly–it’s a big scary ugly bird, who cares? Yes, all right, hippies, I know that every species has a place on the food chain and it’s all part of our fragile ecosystem but thinking about it too much harshes my mellow; besides, spoiled meat is gross and so are skin infections.

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* * * * *

Report 2: The Beatles
For: Language Arts
Grade Received: "Super!"

Do  you know that John Lennon went to art college before he became a Beatle? How about that the Beatles made three movies? And that the Beatles became the most popular group in rock music history? (1) This report will tell about four things: how the Beatles became a group; some famous albums, song lyrics, and movies; problems they had as a group; and how they broke up. (2)

The Beatles consisted of John Lennon (1940-1980), Paul McCartney (1942- ), George Harrison (1943- ) (3), and Ringo Starr (1940- ).

One of the famous albums the Beatles made was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Another famous album is Abbey Road, which has "Maxwell’s Silver Hammer," "Come Together," "Here Comes The Sun," and alot (sic) of others. (4)

There is something very interesting about the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Some people, like myself, think it’s about the illegal drug LSD. If you’ve ever heard the words to it, you would probably agree. The first few are: [and here I quote the first two verses verbatim, thereby fulfilling almost one entire page of the four-page requirement–don’t say I wasn’t crafty]

As you might have noticed, L is Lucy, S is Sky, and D is Diamonds. But, believe it or not, John Lennon denied that, and said that the song was about his aunt Lucy or something! (5)

If you are at all familiar with LSD, you know that it makes you hallucinate. Don’t the lyrics to the song sound like you’re hallucinating? You bet they do! (6)

Getting back to the Beatles themselves, being the most popular group in rock music history was not all fun and games. They had a lot of problems as a group, too.

One biggie, this one, changed their career. Once, when John Lennon was interviewed, he said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. It was true, now, that more people did buy Beatles records than go to church. (7) But, the interviewer misunderstood him, and the title of the magazine article that was published said BEATLES GREATER THAN JESUS, and that madesome people mad. Pretty soon, there were anti-Beatles committees. Beatles songs were banned from a lot of radio stations. People had parties where a big bonfire was built, and they threw Beatles records into it. In some households, Beatles became a bad word!

But you haven’t seen anything yet. They had a bigger problem than that. When they were touring the Phillipines, in one of their concerts, they apparently "snubbed Imelda Marcos." They were kicked at, hit, booed, etc., and their manager Brian Epstein suffered a sprained ankle. Their chauffer got a couple of broken ribs, too.

On the other hand, people loving the Beatles was often worse than people hating the Beatles. At their concerts, you could barely even hear the music, because of the crowds screaming their heads off!

One time, when they performed in this fenced in place (8), people actually pushed the walls down and attacked the Beatles!

There are a lot of theories about why the Beatles broke up. Here are two of them:

Paul started writing more [SHITTY –Ed] songs than John. On singles, he wanted his song on the A side and John’sn song on the B side. On albums, Paul wanted the twelve songs he had composed on both sides. There was no more room for John’s songs. John lennon didn’t want to fight about it, so the Beatles broke up. (9)

Another theory is about Joko Ono, John’s wife. Paul, George and Ringo didn’t like her, and John chose Yoko Ono over them. (That one is just a theory, of course.) (10)

(The rest of it is your predictable Mark David Chapman-style rambling).


(1) I don’t think this is true anymore; I think some cock-ass Christian rock group or frickin’ U2 or NSYNC has that honor now.

(2) This report technically had a bibliography and I definitely remember doing some notecards and an outline, but I am pretty sure I got most of the information from my hippie-ass parents, who at the time were still reeling from John Lennon’s death and spinning "Let It Be" on our living room mono hi-fi.

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(3) George, bless him, still alive and making super shitty movies and the world’s most dubious solo album (WHICH I LOVED!!!) at this time. I got my mind seeet on yooou, I got my mind seeeet on you, la la la la. That was my favorite song. I had some pretty shitty taste in music despite my precocious interest in the Beatles.

(4) My parents had broken or lost their copies of Revolver and Rubber Soul, which I still blame for an almost lifelong dearth of understanding what true musical genius is.

(5) I still don’t buy the whole Julian-made-a-painting crap, because that would imply that John spent quality time with Julian and Cynthia looking at paintings and not out boning avant-garde Japanese broads, but in my advanced age and wisdom and unfortuante familiarity with the effects of LSD, I now realize that this song, like many of the other songs on Sgt. Pepper, was about how deep, awesome, and important the Beatles were.

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(6) At this point in my life, my father was just getting used to being a lawyer (at the time, he worked as an assistant in the Attorney General’s office, where later in life he would rise to Deputy Attorney General and then be appointed and then elected, by a large margin, to the Court of Appeals, where he spent most of his time when I was 10 arguing cases, but I digress). Out of solidarity, I probably wanted to be a lawyer as well and was practicing my supported-argument skills.  Unfortuantely for all familial hopes that I will someday make something of myself, however, I no longer want to be a lawyer, although to be fair, I did spend 3 years as a professional "Law & Order" watcher, which is kind of the same thing.

(7) Would that that were still true, kids, would that it were still true.

(8) This is probably an example of journalism a la "my dad bullshitting about something he remembered from the 60s."

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(9) That is the reason given to me by my mother, a notorious revisionist and non-confrontationalist. What a load of bullcrap! "Didn’t want to fight about it." You can’t blame them, though,  it was only 1986 at this point and they probably weren’t over Lennon’s death yet. Hippies. Hippies and sweet, sweet moms.

(10) My mom, refusing to talk shit, even about Yoko.

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3 thoughts on “My fabulous breadth of knowledge

  1. George Harrison bankrolled “Withnail and I,” so any reference to his super-shitty movies needs some caveat to that effect. Also: write to tell me about your glamorous new life.


  2. And he bankrolled some Monty Python movie too, but that still doesn’t completely excuse “Shanghai Surprise.” My glamorous new life involves sitting around on my parents’ couch uploading old school papers to the Internet, fucko, how much more do you need to know? I’m leaving for CA in three weeks, though, so all is not lost.


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