The Jackdaw Journal
A Publication of M2 Communications

jack-daw [JAK-dah], n. 1. a glossy, black, European bird, corvus monedula, of the crow family, that nests in towers, ruins, etc.; has a proclivity to collect bright objects that attract its attention; can include bits of ice, things round or square, twigs, filaments of light bulbs; specialist on the lookout of what fits the construction of its nest.

jackdaw journal [JAK-dah JERN-al], n. 1. a repository of bright objects — wit, wisdom and whimsey — collected and/or created by Michael McKinney.   2. a web log or blog


February 2008 Archives
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Charles Handy on Education

February 25, 2008

Charles Handy writes in his memoir, Myself and Other More Important Things, about the state of learning today:

Charles Handy
The way schools are designed goes against the grain of human nature. I firmly believe that we can learn anything, provided we want to enough. The problem is that most of what we are asked to learn in schools does not excite us or interest us. We are asked to take it on trust that it will be useful to us in some distant future, and when you are fifteen, thirty is an age away, out of sight out of mind. As I have discovered for myself, warehoused or stockpiled learning goes off rapidly. All lessons should have a “use by” label attached if they are going to stick.

We have to work with the grain of our children’s interests not ours, to start where they are, not where we are. As it is, children are learning anyway, although it may not be what we want them to learn.

There is a lot of learning going on in society, the trouble is that most of it is not in schools. We learn most when we are working on things that interest us, and for most people those things aren’t in school.

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Joe McNally on Creativity

February 27, 2008

Joe McNally is a photographer and photojournalist. In discussing his new book he made this comment that gets to the heart of creativity and good communication. “Getting your camera in a different place is very crucial because the world is much seen. So if you can just put a twist on some already expressed situation you’re gaining ground photographically.”

McNally has a blog and talks about his new book, The Moment It Clicks, here.

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William F. Buckley Jr (1825-2008)

February 29, 2008

Witty and thoughtful journalist, critic, editor and conservative, William Francis Buckley Jr. died yesterday at the age of 82. At age 29 he founded the National Review.

In Up From Liberalism, on the Opinion page of the Wall Street Journal, they reported:
In his last years, Buckley grew discouraged about what he considered the drifts of the American right. In an interview with this page in 2005, he noted that "I think conservatism has become a little bit slothful." In private, his contempt was more acute. Part of it, he believed, was that what used to be living ideas had become mummified doctrines to many in the conservative political class. At the Yale Political Union in November 2006—Buckley's last public audience—he called for a "sacred release from the old rigidities" and "a repristinated vision." It was a bracing reminder that American conservatives must adapt eternal principles to new realities.

Buckley himself never lost his faith—in God, his country, the obligation to engage in the controversies of the age, and the wonders of the mind. His half-century at the center of the American scene was a model of thoughtfulness and political creativity that remains as relevant today, perhaps more so. Ave atque vale.
William F. Buckley wit and wisdom:

I believe that the duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world. I further believe that the struggle between individualism and collectivism is the same struggle reproduced on another level.
God and Man at Yale, 1951

At a press conference during his campaign for mayor of New York City: Do you have any chance of winning?
Buckley: No.
Q: Do you really want to be mayor?
Buckley: I've never considered it.
Q: Well, conservatively speaking, how many votes do you expect to get?
Buckley: One.
Q: And who would cast that vote?
Buckley: My secretary.
—1965 (When later asked what he would do if elected,
he replied, "Demand a recount.")

Henry Gibson: Mr. Buckley, I have noticed that whenever you appear on television, you're always seated. Is that because you can't think on your feet?
Buckley: It's very hard to stand up carrying the weight of what I know.
—Appearance on Laugh-In, 1970

I am lapidary but not eristic when I use big words.
—Column, 1986

Reagan: "Well, Bill, my first question is why haven't you already rushed across the room here to tell me that you've seen the light?"
Buckley: "I'm afraid that if I came any closer to you the force of my illumination would blind you."
—Debate in 1978 with Ronald Regan on the Panama Canal

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