‘William & Mary’ Posts

The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.

william and mary’s new griffin mascot is really a pant-less eagle

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


after more than two decades battling with our own consciousnesses, college of william and mary students and alumni have a mascot to call our own … an eagle that has misplaced its pants.

back in the 1980s, the school realized that the then current moniker (the “indians”) wasn’t going to cut the social mustard anymore, even if one of our original mandates was as a school to educate those who had the alleged misfortune of being born non-european.

at the time, the school boldly chose to drop the nickname, but curiously insisted on keeping an obvious indian-derivative (the “tribe”) in its place, and then fought tooth-and-nail to keep an indian feather on the school logo (a fight they eventually lost).

(note to school: that last part about the tribe and the feather might have tarnished some of the nobleness of the re-logoing effort.)

anyway, a multi-year lack of identity ensued, which included a couple of dark years where we had an asexual amorphous green blob as our mascot.

but then … the same branding geniuses that sacrificed a beloved president to appease out-of-state christian fundamentalists came up with an *even better* way to market the school:

instead of coming up with a new mascot that matches the “tribe” nickname (or, you know, changing our nickname to something that matches our new mascot) the college of william and mary now has the very worst of both worlds …

… we’re a tribe of eagles that have misplaced our pants.

in due fairness to the administration, the creature is apparently a mythical Griffin, “a mascot that unites strength and intelligence, recalls our royal origins and speaks to our deep roots in American history.”

unfortunately, that still doesn’t explain to me what happened to the dude’s pants.

loose ends

Sunday, 4 October 2009


the lady sparkler and I have been crossing things off our list, dilligently trying to get everything resolved so we can relax with some peace and quite before sparklet arrives…

and then we realized neither of us really has an interest in relaxing.

case and point: things were winding down this weekend (I finished off the kitchen, and found places for those “last few items” without a place to live — she washed two and a half tons of baby clothes) when we spontaneously decided to rearrange the living room.

nominally, the problem was nominally getting rid of a DVD cabinet that we forgot had (non-safety) glass doors, but the lack of quality television programming (I actually watched a William & Mary football game I was so bored) might have had something to do with it.

so, we moved things around, and made space for a new chair that we are waiting to be delivered. the sofa now looks into the kitchen (which is a little weird) but the new setup is a much more economical use of space.

the real “win” however is that I added something else to the todo list, because taking down the cabinet pulled up some of the wall paint, which will need to be patched and repaired.


in mt. pleasant, dc:

2y, 2m, 17d

found: wait, mary was hot?!?

Sunday, 3 May 2009

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[Mary II (as in College of William & Mary), Kensington Palace, London, England, UK.]
I went to the College of William and Mary, and grew up in Williamsburg before that — and in all my time, i never saw a portrait of Mary II where she looked female, much less attractive.

I’m suddenly feeling much more supportive of my alma mater.

Glen Coe

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

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[Glen Coe, Scotland, UK.]
[Glen Coe, Scotland, UK.]
[Glen Coe, Scotland, UK.]
[Glen Coe, Scotland, UK.]
the mountains around Glen Coe are officially on my list of most beautiful places on the planet. there is an strange quiet and sadness that permeates the landscape, which might be why it’s (erroneously) translated as the Valley of Weeping.

for those playing along at home, Glencoe is where several dozen of MacDonalds (ancestors on my maternal grandmother’s side) were killed in their own home by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, because the MacDonalds had not yet pledged their allegience to new monarchs William and Mary.

(yes, THAT William and Mary.)

it really is stunning here — so stunning, we’re going to stop again on our way back from the Isle of Skye, too.

See All the Photos on Flickr:
Glen Coe, Scotland





wren cross

Monday, 18 February 2008


the college of william and mary — my alma mater — has become the latest bauble in the rhetorical culture wars that have been consuming our society.

in october 2006, the school’s president removed a cross from permanent display on the altar of the college’s Wren Chapel saying it was important for people of all faiths to feel welcomed in the college’s buildings.

that cross is still available (and actively used) for christian services, but would not be displayed by default.

a frenzy of opposition arose, largely from outside the college community. one petition collected 10,000 signatures demanding the “return” of the cross, but less than 30% of the signers had ever been affiliated with the school.

what few people know is that the cross isn’t actually property of the school — it has been loaned by bruton parish church (and caterbury, the parish’s college community) in 1931.

and, for the two hundred and fifty odd years before that loan in 1931, the chapel was without a cross of any kind — as no Anglican Virginia church displayed a cross during the colonial period.

but, just as in the pledge of allegiance — in which the divisive “under god” phrase wasn’t added until the mccarthy fueled 1950s but is seen by some elements as being core to the pledge itself — historical fact has little to bear on modern controversy.

during the late 1990s, i was the liturgist for caterbury (the “owners” of the wren cross) and was the person responsible for both the only regular service in which the was used and (in as much as anyone) for the cross itself.

while i didn’t threaten to revoke a $12 million donation to the school over the issue, you could argue i’d be one of the people most emotionally outraged by the wren cross controversy.

but i’m not.

why? because i’m comfortable in my Christianity, and as such I don’t need to cling to iconography to support my religious beliefs. i also feel like we all paid tuition to this great college without regard of our religion — and as such, we should all feel equally welcome in the college’s buildings.

unfortunately, the school’s president Gene Nichol resigned this morning — under pressure from alumni withdrawing donations from the school — for having these very same constitutionally guided views.

and while i know that the College won’t even notice, after much deliberation i have decided that I can no longer financially support a school that succumbs to such petty partisanship and radically exclusive views — even though i’ve been supporting the school financially every year since 1995.

i can only hope that someone comes along to right this ship, but that won’t happen so long as the campus remains obsessed with the views of fringe elements from outside it’s walls.

musings: a tale of twenty-two parties

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

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Ah, ’tis the season of love, joy, and parties. This year, we have two work parties each, two more parties at our house, a couple trips to the theater, and about half a dozen happy hours between us.

Not that I am complaining, but I actually had to stop commuting to work via bicycle in mid-December, because we have something just about every day after work for the last two weeks before Christmas. Thank God we finished up our Christmas shopping in late November, or a lot of people would be getting a whole-lotta nothing.

The highlight so far — for us, at least — was the Christmas Cartoon Extravaganza. Each year we collect as many television Christmas specials as we can, and throw a party where they are playing in the background. Our place is a bit small, but we managed to cram in twelve people to watch three and a half hours of pure animated Christmas goodness, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty Returns, Robbie the Reindeer, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends christmas special, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I think this is only the second or third time the lady sparkler and I have thrown the Extravaganza, but I have done something similar on and off for the last decade. I wish I could take credit for the notion, but the idea originally came from a Theatre Department tradition at the College of William and Mary where people gathered each year and managed to turn How the Grinch Stole Christmas into a drinking game.

The basic premise of the College version was to drink each time you hear the word “Who” — as in “All the Who’s down in Whoville” and “Cindy Lou Who who was no more than two.” As you can imagine, the “winner” was essentially declared by the first commercial break by looking around at whomever was still standing.

Fortunately, the thirty-something version entailed just sitting on the couch and thinking warm thoughts of friends and family, though we did “go crazy” by slipping some peppermint schnapps into the cocoa.


Saturday, 18 November 2006


[College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia]