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Will, this might make you giggle: a commenter in a online discussion about removing the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance suggested we replace them with "under Canada" so the kids get a geography lesson, too.

"…one nation, under Canada, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".  I like it!

Sep 4, 13 5:25 pm

sounds good to me donna! we are going to be your energy overlords pretty soon anyway so might as well make it official.

Sep 4, 13 6:10 pm

Do we get some free healthcare with that overlordiness? SIgn me up!

Sep 4, 13 7:03 pm

Under Canada.  Love it.  Unless you feel like turning things upside-down. Since which way North actually points is irrelevant.  :-)

Sep 4, 13 9:59 pm

I pledge allegence to the haggis of my neighborhood charcuteria.
And to the head cheese next to which it stands, one pate, under sausage, pork rillettes, with linguica and foie gras for all.

Sep 4, 13 11:15 pm

I wonder if other people never learned "indivisible" until well into middle school. I remember that part sounding like "indabibablebiblaboo" for the longest time. Although maybe my teachers might not have given a shit.

Sep 4, 13 11:25 pm

Toaster - I still have a hard time saying that word. Along with "applicable" and "into temptation".  They all seem to just stick on my tongue mid flow.  

Sep 5, 13 8:23 am
Sarah Hamilton
I have to say the pledge daily. It irks me that the students don't join in. Sure, they stand, but its a battle to get them to, and they'd be on their phones if I'd let them. Religion and such aside, I see the pledge now as simple unification. It reminds us that we are America, a family, and even if America is doing silly things, we still have each others backs if things get tough. It also seems so disrespectful for them to NOT say the pledge when they have so much, and people have their lives on the line for it.

I guess I would be ok if they were just silent. They don't have to be part of America, but be respectful. Stand still, and be quiet.
Sep 5, 13 8:30 am

I would rather sing "America the Beautiful". Hope the school year has started well, Sarah. Another one of my friends quit architecture and is teaching middle school as of this week. She loves it. 

Speaking of architecture and education, I need to move closer to work but the neighborhood I want to live in has an open classroom elementary school. There are no classrooms, no walls, just a big room with each class in a different part of the big room. I'm intrigued. Anyone have any experiences with these open schools? Noise levels didn't seem to be a problem, so it works?

Sep 5, 13 9:31 am

i can appreciate that sarah and agree 100%. we are so privileged its insane to not pay some respect to the fact. but im an old person. aren't you supposed to be young and irresponsible?

when i was a kid we did the lords prayer and god save the queen, then the national anthem every morning.  followed up with calisthenics to mr. roboto.  like every day.  every. day.  the lords prayer and god save the queen i can sort of forget but bloody hell if i can get mr roboto out of my mind. styx has much to answer for.

Sep 5, 13 9:36 am

Styx has *much* to answer for indeed.  That voice, eek. But I'll point out that nothing has changed since we were kids:  ALL the crappy pop music that Angus is exposed to is in his PE class. 

I agree, Sarah.  It's really not asking too much to make students (especially in a public school) state an allegiance to a country that allows enormous leeway in the rights one has to express dissatisfaction with it.

Sep 5, 13 9:58 am

Not many kids understand what it means to pledge your allegiance to country and flag.  Libertarians and hard-core conservatives argue It's the elevation of state above the rights of the individual (the antithesis of individual liberty and freedom).  People on the left think it's jingoistic, quasi-religious, anti-patriotic, and demeaning to those among us who are not currently treated with "liberty and justice"...


And I'm sure most kids don't understand what it means to not participate - that non-participation is also an act of free speech - and should be done with purpose instead of being preoccupied with electronic gadgets.  This is some serious shit.


Forcing young children to recite something they don't understand is probably the most disturbing to me.

Sep 5, 13 10:10 am

as a member of the "left," i would like to clarify our position.  it's good to say the pledge.  it's good to love your country.  the people all upset about "under god" should get over it.


Sep 5, 13 10:16 am

as a member of the "left," i would like to clarify our position.  it's good to say the pledge.  it's good to love your country.  the people all upset about "under god" should get over it.

Madalyn Murray O'Hare certainly made her share of enemies.  It seems like that was her purpose in life, and quite an empty one at that.  Some interesting things about her:  she's actually a Yankee (a Pennsylvanian) who ended up in Texas, and she shares a birthday with our architect President Thomas Jefferson, another guy with dirty hands he couldn't keep off some of those women who worked for him.

What normal person doesn't like hearing the National Anthem sung at a ball game?  By the way, Curt, it's "under God."

I'm a centrist, by the way.

Sep 5, 13 10:25 am

morning all!

Sep 5, 13 10:41 am

I think I sang America the Beautiful too much in music class as a kid.  Oh wait, that's My Country 'Tis of Thee.  To this day it still makes me cringe.  We used to say the pledge everyday in class.  I liked it.  Then is stopped.  Not sure why.  I don't care one way or another about the "under God" part.  I'm not in any means religious, although I think it flows better without it. 

Morning Nam.

Sep 5, 13 12:13 pm

I don't know, toaster.  I think it's fine to force children to do *some* things. Otherwise what will they have to rebel against in later years?

Sep 5, 13 12:43 pm

"Prominent legal challenges in the 1950s were brought by the Jehovah's Witnesses, a group whose beliefs preclude swearing loyalty to any power other than God,[30] and who objected to policies in public schools requiring students to swear an oath to the flag. They objected on the grounds that their rights to freedom of religion as guaranteed by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment were being violated by such requirements.

In a 2002 case brought by atheist Michael Newdow, whose daughter was being taught the Pledge in school, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the phrase "under God" an unconstitutional endorsement of monotheism when the Pledge was promoted in public school. In 2004, the Supreme Court heard Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, an appeal of the ruling, and rejected Newdow's claim on the grounds that he was not the custodial parent, and therefore lacked standing, thus avoiding ruling on the merits of whether the phrase was constitutional in a school-sponsored recitation. On January 3, 2005, a new suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on behalf of three unnamed families. On September 14, 2005, District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled in their favor. Citing the precedent of the 2002 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Karlton issued an Order stating that, upon proper motion, he would enjoin the school district defendants from continuing their practices of leading children in pledging allegiance to "one Nation under God".[31]

A bill, H.R. 2389, was introduced in Congress in 2005 which, if enacted into law, would have stripped the Supreme Court and most federal courts of the power to consider any legal challenges to government requiring or promoting of the Pledge of Allegiance. H.R. 2389 was passed by the House of Representatives in July 2006, but failed after the Senate did not take up the bill. This action is viewed in general as court stripping by Congress over the Judiciary. Even if a similar bill is enacted, its practical effect may not be clear: proponents of the bill have argued that it is a valid exercise of Congress's power to regulate the jurisdiction of the federal courts under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, but opponents question whether Congress has the authority to prevent the Supreme Court from hearing claims based on the Bill of Rights (since amendments postdate the original text of the Constitution and may thus implicitly limit the scope of Article III, Section 2). Judges and legal analysts have voiced concerns that Congress can strip or remove from the judicial branch the ability to determine if legislation is constitutional.[32]

Mark J. Pelavin, former Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism,[33] objected to court stripping in regards to the Pledge of Allegiance, "Today's House adoption of the so-called "Pledge Protection Act" is a shameful effort to strip our federal courts of their ability to uphold the rights of all Americans. By removing the jurisdiction of federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from cases involving the Pledge, this legislation sets a dangerous precedent: threatening religious liberty, compromising the vital system of checks and balances upon which our government was founded, and granting Congress the authority to strip the courts' jurisdiction on any issue it wishes. Today, the issue was the Pledge of Allegiance, but tomorrow it could be reproductive rights, civil rights, or any other fundamental concern."[34]

In 2006, in the Florida case Frazier v. Alexandre, a federal district court in Florida ruled that a 1942 state law requiring students to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.[35] As a result of that decision, a Florida school district was ordered to pay $32,500 to a student who chose not to say the pledge and was ridiculed and called "unpatriotic" by a teacher.[36]

In 2009, a Montgomery County, Maryland, teacher berated and had school police remove a 13-year-old girl who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom. The student's mother, assisted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, sought and received an apology from the teacher, as state law and the school's student handbook both prohibit students from being forced to recite the Pledge.[37]

On March 11, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in the case of Newdow v. Rio Linda Union School District.[38][39] In a 2–1 decision, the appellate court ruled that the words were of a "ceremonial and patriotic nature" and did not constitute an establishment of religion.[38] Judge Stephen Reinhardt dissented, writing that "the state-directed, teacher-led daily recitation in public schools of the amended 'under God' version of the Pledge of Allegiance... violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution."[40]

On November 12, 2010, in a unanimous decision,[41] the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston affirmed a ruling by a New Hampshire lower federal court which found that the pledge's reference to God does not violate non-pledging students' rights if student participation in the pledge is voluntary.[42] A United States Supreme Court appeal of this decision was denied on June 13, 2011.[43][44]

All states except five (Hawaii, Iowa, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming) give time for the pledge to be recited as part of the school day.[45]

In September 2013, a case was brought before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court arguing that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Constitution of Massachusetts. [46]"


The above is reason enough not to force kids to say the pledge, or at least wait until they decide whether or not God figures prominently in their lives, because the legally costs are mind-numbingly idiotic.

Sep 5, 13 1:08 pm
Sarah Hamilton
Man, I should sue the school for making me say the pledge. I could use the extra cash!

Last year, I had a Pakistani exchange student. I told him he didn't need to su the pledge, but to just stand still and quiet. He chose to say the pledge with everyone else.

And I think you have to be crazy to teach middle school. Those kids are weird!!

As for the open classroom thing. I've never heard of it, but I think it would be very distracting if I was a student.
Sep 5, 13 1:35 pm

And I think you have to be crazy to teach middle school. Those kids are weird!!

Oh, I don't know, they're in that "phase" - when their hormones are a new discovery and running unchecked, so they're hard to manage - rebellious if they're boys, and overly emotional if they're girls.  I think the middle grades would be the hardest to handle as a teacher.

Q:  How do you make a hormone?
A:  You pinch her.

Sep 5, 13 1:42 pm

Hi TC, just have to interject.  The best reason to leave out "under God" is because the rhythm of the pledge is totally wrecked with it added in there.

Sep 5, 13 5:17 pm
I always liked teaching elementary school and kindergarten age kids best. They haven't learned that learning is uncool yet.
Sep 5, 13 6:24 pm
Sarah Hamilton
I don't get this rhythm argument. I've said the pledge over and over, and the under god part seems integral to the rhythm. Am I saying it differently?

I pledge allegiance
To the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the republic
For which it stands
One nation
Under god
With liberty and justice for all.

Wait, where does the invisible part go?! I say this thing EVERY DAY! I'm gonna have to pay attention tomorrow.

We also say the Texas pledge, daily.

Honor the Texas flag
I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas
One state
Under god
And indivisable.
Sep 5, 13 6:26 pm

For which it stands
One nation
With liberty and justice for all.

Sep 5, 13 8:13 pm

Sarah's birthday is today.  Happy Birthday!!!!!

Sep 5, 13 10:30 pm

fun fact.

People used to salute the flag in a manner similar to the Nazi salute... it's where the Nazi's got it from.

Back to you...

Sep 5, 13 10:47 pm

I don't know.  I think the French national anthem has the most pomp and circumstance, and I don't think it has the word "dieu" in it.

Those French ... they have a few things dialed - cuisine, diplomacy, snobbery, and even menage-a-trois.

And H.B., Sarah.

Sep 6, 13 12:28 am
Sarah Hamilton
I prefer a soft B2, observant. I've even been known to go up to a B9 on occasion, but its too soft for note taking.
Sep 6, 13 7:59 am

2b?  that's more of a crayon than a pencil.  .09mm hb is the only way to roll

and happy birthday!

Sep 6, 13 9:13 am

Never ever ever less than 2mm leads!  Only dweeby repressed engineers use anything less than 2mm leads.

My CaranD'Ache 3mm with HB lead is still my favorite marking instrument.  Sarah, it's close to being older than you are.

Sep 6, 13 9:19 am

Oh, and this is a beautiful project.

Sep 6, 13 9:20 am

i didn't think people used lead holders anymore....

edited real quick to add, we don't draft on drafting tables anymore. 

Sep 6, 13 9:35 am

I have a drafting table set up in my basement - which I still use maybe once or twice a week.


Although lately I've been doing a lot of work in rhino...

Sep 6, 13 10:16 am

I gave up lead holders decades ago for Turquoise HB. Richer line, easier to handle and sharpen. But a lot of my drawing is with whatever is handy on whatever is lying around.

Sep 6, 13 10:52 am

still use two of the koh-i-noor technigraph leadholders (red) that i've had for years. not only is the writing mostly worn off, the textured barrel is almost smooth. i like the weight of these better than the later plastic ones. 

Sep 6, 13 11:23 am

I prefer a soft B2, observant.

Too funny.  Delayed reaction and head scratching on my part.  H.B. meant Happy Birthday!  Now, belated. 

I used to have the pencil hierarchy taped somewhere next to me.  Ditto for the galvanic response of adjacent metals chart.  Remember that from the basic "Fundamentals of Construction" book?  That's a cool reference book.

Sep 6, 13 11:50 am

I haven't thought of pencil scales in years.  I think I prefer b myself.  I tend to press hard so I snap the hard stuff.  Too soft and everything looks fat.

Sep 6, 13 12:12 pm

Steven, seriously, how many years have you had those Koh-i-Noors? I've had my Caran D'Ache for 26. Very few objects have been in my life for that long.

Sep 6, 13 12:25 pm

i don't remember not having them. likely 1986...

Sep 6, 13 12:39 pm

I still have a Pierce Electric Lead Pointer. That's from before Kroy took over.

Maybe I should put it on eBay ...

Just noticed the image source is from LEADHOLDER, The Drafting Pencil Museum.

Sep 6, 13 12:43 pm
Sarah Hamilton
I listened to the pledge this morning. We DO say the indivisable part. I am now in agreement on the under god rhythm part.
Sep 6, 13 12:44 pm

Anyone remember these?

Sep 6, 13 12:46 pm

Years from now, a new generation will be reminiscing about the vintage wireless mouse they used for years before tablets and gestures.

I still have some lead holders rolling around somewhere. However, I never really used them to draft save a few times. I preferred having a few different sized mechanical pencils to get the line weights. 

Sep 6, 13 12:58 pm

Anyone remember these?

Yes.  Somewhat. 

Sep 6, 13 2:25 pm

brian, those are almost exactly my pencils.

best pencils ever.  had to get them myself too, since apparently my company only wants to provide pens for doing site measurements.  the brown one is for drawings (.09 lead) and the black one is for red lead, since apparently the only size they make red lead is .05.  it's too think and breaks, but what can you do?

Sep 6, 13 3:06 pm

curtkram: if the lead is too thin and it breaks, you get a 2mm leadholder! Those skinny leads are for engineers!!

Sep 6, 13 4:26 pm

that only applies to red lead, which is not available in a .09 thickness for some reason.  i think the red lead is typically more fragile than normal pencil color lead.  maybe a lead holder and 2mm red lead would be an improvement over my current red pencil predicament though.  then i suppose i would have to get the special sharpener....

Sep 6, 13 4:51 pm
Sarah Hamilton
The only issue I ever had with any of the above pencils was the rough metal grip. It would rub the nail side of my ring and middle finger raw.

An I'm sorry Donna, I just can't get behind lead holders. I can't. It requires too many tools to use. And that sharpener inevitably spills in your bag. What a mess!
Sep 6, 13 6:26 pm

i remember all those tools but agree with sarah.  they were messy making (or i was). i used a pencil for less than a year before the drafting tables in our office were taken out and computers set down instead. 

ive been drawing with a pen for more than 20 years.  had a muji nib pen for almost 10 years but switched to cheap pens with erasable ink lately. not nice to look at but awesome to use.

hb2u sarah!

Sep 7, 13 2:05 am

I never use anything to draw seriously, than a 2h lead holder, and perhaps a 7-9h to lay down some really fine lines. With a 2h lead holder, you can get the full range of grays, and form a complete mastery of line weights. I love rolling the lead holder to keep the tip sharp. 

Sep 7, 13 8:54 am

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