Back to Unschooling: “Think, Analyze, Write”

28 08 2010

Not to defend it exactly, but JJ’s top-five university bachelor’s program in news-editorial journalism in the early 70s, worked pretty much the way this younger critic describes as ideal: constant thinking, analyzing and writing for real-world experienced professors, the work heavily weighted toward history, culture, political science, government, law, economics, research and investigative techniques, even one required course on “cybernetics” to acquaint us with the basement-sized mainframe in Weil Hall —
which considering we still used manual typewriters in the J-school instead of electric, was cutting edge if not almost fancifully futuristic. (That was also my first exposure to Marshall McLuhan.)

I nevertheless take her point. Indeed I’d extend it more generally to formalized, factory model “schooling” at any level. Read, think, analyze, write no matter how old you are or where, with whom, doing what. Make learning and your life’s work a wild ride you wouldn’t trade for anything! Read the rest of this entry »

Favorite Daughter Cast in First Musical Theatre Lead!

25 08 2010

She’s now in rehearsal to play the shy, word-loving middle schooler Olive Ostrovsky in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

Award-winning regional community theatre. Hilarious show yet also deeper, very much about schooling versus actually learning how to live, not being perfect and not necessarily following the rules, and exploring how no matter where we are or what we do, we become ourselves through real relationships . . . AND she has a pas de deux plus two solo vocals!

Here’s the dramatic one, which she sings to/with her loving but absent and apparently somewhat self-absorbed parents, “I love you” and “How I wish you were home.” (Olive is pictured here as the pink-overalled competitor number 11)

Here’s a (rather jumpy, sorry) live-action version:

Count on hearing much more in coming weeks from Olive’s proud IRL mama, who also “always knew she was a winner.” Life IS pandemonium!

Hey, do you think I should mention her “olive oil” essay to the director for the playbill?

We Need to Sing Our Epics or Lose Them

20 08 2010

For any nation in any age including here and now, the ultimate war is over competing narratives, conflicting power of story.

Snook, as faithful readers can attest, is all about narratives and the power of story — in education, relationships, science, politics, work and play, war and peace, in the meaning of life itself. Search this blog using the phrase “power of story” to stay busy reading and thinking for many hours. Add music/musical theatre and “thinking and feeling” to your search, and plan on making this your new homepage indefinitely. 😉

We’ve animated Snook with epic discussions of the Great Derangement of Matt Taibbi, the language stories and Political Mind of George Lakoff, the political right-speak realism of Frank Schaeffer, the situational ethics of Philip Zimbardo and his Lucifer Effect, Harvard’s Howard Gardner on educating kids to love truth and America instead of fighting over it, Don Beck and Ken Wilber’s memes, Richard Florida and his “creative class” plus meaningful movies from Milk and Mindwalk to Hairspray and Madagascar, not to mention Harry Potter and Stanley Fish, plus the leading science lights of edge dot org.

(More Mindwalk and Harry Potter. More Stanley Fishing for meaning of life memes. And the beat goes on . . .)

But nobody tells the story of story better than this new offering from another expert, one with a name that sings a story too, Read the rest of this entry »

Why Nance and I Never Took a Dime for This

18 08 2010

Just to be perfectly clear! 😉

It’s a tricky balance, the advertiser boycott. How antsy and fearful do you want advertisers to be when there’s potentially provocative content at issue? How cautious do you want networks to get? Reasonable minds can disagree.

But the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee that speaking your mind will have no economic consequences. [It can] . . . be, let us say, commercially risky if you’re aiming for a broad audience — or if your sponsors are.

How the Mosque Fearmongering Got Going

16 08 2010

Like the right of the First Lady and her nine-year-old daughter to visit Spain for a few days, much less the right to marry in California while gay even if white conservative Christian activists determined to take over State via Church slam their very existence as “tacky” or “unwise” oh, or “disrespectful” (code for offensive to real Americans), uppity rival religions anywhere in this great nation obviously can’t count on the Constitution in the same way those same white conservative Christians demand as THEIR god-given right.

Glenn Greenwald:

This is one of the most impressive and commendable things Obama has done since being inaugurated . . . what makes it particularly commendable is that there is no political gain to be had from doing it, and substantial political risk.

Justin Elliot: “[N]early 7 in 10 Americans now say they oppose the project. How did the Cordoba House become so toxic, so fast?”

See the Salon timeline of orchestrated mass hysteria on a cracker, a la Joe McCarthy:

To a remarkable extent, a Salon review of the origins of the story found, the controversy was kicked up and driven by Pamela Geller, a right-wing, viciously anti-Muslim, conspiracy-mongering blogger, whose sinister portrayal of the project was embraced by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.

Here’s a timeline of how it all happened:

Harry Reid Says Mosque Should Be Built Somewhere Else

Angle and Vitter Issue Unasked-for Opinions on “Ground Zero Mosque”

The Season After Summer? Back-to-School, of Course

16 08 2010

“The keeper of my time is my keeper.”

“If love of money is the root of all evil, the taming of time must surely be its minion. . .”

There were always five natural seasons, not four, immutable as day to night to day again:
Back to School

So was it written, so shall it be done, amen?
That’s why it seems to me now that this time of year is the most natural time for a Culture Kitchen classic: We the Clockkeepers and Our Tyranny of Time:

Have you noticed Big Government and Big Business have effectively taken over all our time, one way or another? — colluding to Read the rest of this entry »

Librarians Save the Day! Eleven Movies with Power of Story Power

16 08 2010

Favorite Daughter will love, love, love this: Librarians Save the Day!

While writers might seem more glamorous, librarians are the quiet heroes of the literary world. They stand up against censorship, they uncover ancient mysteries, they laugh in the face of computerization and stop the corporate world dead in its tracks.

From Katharine Hepburn to Rachel Weisz, we’ve rounded up films that give librarians the center stage. Remember these?

Christopher Hitchens and the Big C (Cancer, not Christianity)

10 08 2010

That’s applause you hear . . .

A Message to Those Praying for Christopher Hitchens
by Jeffrey Goldberg
Aug 9 2010, 10:05 AM ET

On behalf of Christopher Hitchens, who thinks all of this skydaddy talk is ridiculous, thanks to all of you who wrote in to Goldblog to report that they would be praying for him as he undergoes treatment for esophageal cancer (you can hear him talk about his current predicament here).
[see also video of him discussing sickness and theology]

I would like to reiterate, of course, that Hitchens is still solidly atheist (strike that “still,” actually, because it implies his mind will change, which I don’t think will happen, at least, as he says, in reference to the mind we know today as Hitchens’s mind—what medicine does to his mind is a different story), but nevertheless I can report that he does not mock those who say they are praying on his behalf. What you could really, do, of course, if you’re interested in making Hitch happy, is buy this book.

As for the few of you who wrote to Goldblog to say they were praying for Hitch’s death, I can say that he does not care one way or another what you do or think or pray, but on behalf of myself and the entire team here at The Atlantic, let me just say, Read the rest of this entry »

No Rich White Guy Privilege Here!

9 08 2010

The undeservedly wealthy, white Glenn Beck calls President Obama’s America in which workers have dignity and good jobs, “the damn Planet of the Apes” but Tokyo Rush is even richer and whiter and more mindlessly privileged, with even more tough guy bully spewing forth: the beautiful, brilliant and astonishingly popular First Lady and her beautiful little black daughter in bright summer cotton, could never deserve a few days traveling with old friends and luncheon in a Spanish palace on their own merits, nope, nope,it must be white liberal guilt for SLAVERY
and why don’t they slink back to it before they and all the other black apes who support health care and a non-white president, ruin America?

Well, so much for the rich white gal’s Mama Grizzly “leave the families alone!” refrain (will she tweet her fierce defense of little Sasha and threaten to shoot Rush in the face from a helicopter or waterboard him or at least demand an apology as she did from David Letterman, any minute now? Ri-iight.)

The increasingly pissy and disturbingly disproportionate Maureen Dowd was bad enough, implying that even in the third millennium with a law degree and impressive accomplishments of her own, the President’s wife should stay home and do nothing but make him toast (?!) , not have her own life even as a strong mom.

This was btw a mother-daughter trip, the likes of which any First Lady is entitled by the People (of America) to make as she chooses — unlike all those ritzy daughters-in-tow trips Palin herself was making on the public dime from Alaska to NYC and Rodeo Drive WITHOUT the People (of Alaska’s) approval.

But I was ranting about Rush today, not the lipsticked pit-bully bear. Didn’t the childless (there’s one bit of good news!) Tokyo Rush himself vacation in Hawaii last winter, playing golf and then paying out of pocket for his luxury hotel getting him to a world-class hospital, for his non-heart attack heart-attack?

Limbaugh: “I got no special treatment whatsoever.”

And then didn’t he throw a lavish million-dollar-plus wedding with Elton John as bought-and-paid-for slave for a day, compared to the wedding of another First Daughter whose mother and father could have matched him for flash and trash but brought family values to the party instead? Chelsea’s was a real traditional first wedding too, not fourth or fifth or Read the rest of this entry »

Blind to “Conservative Christian” Privilege as Justice

6 08 2010

Meg gets my appreciative cock of the snook for this.

A round-up post with more links and a couple of videos appears on the same blog, here.

This Would Explain Greg LadenBlather and his LadenHosen

2 08 2010

Science writers play rough. They like hoaxes, humiliations and Oxbridge-style showdowns that let them use words like “claptrap” and “gibberish.” There’s a reason people don’t call themselves deconstructionists and pick fights with science anymore.

. . .“The ship is sinking,” mused PZ Myers, the writer of the [ScienceBlogs] site’s top blog, Pharyngula . .

[W]hile I found interesting stuff here and there, I also discovered that ScienceBlogs has become preoccupied with trivia, name-calling and saber rattling. Maybe that’s why the ScienceBlogs ship started to sink.

Greg Laden Blog Full of Unscientific Crap [even PZ Myers Calls It Out]

School Sock Puppets “Laden” with Logic Disorders

Evidence Mounts for Greg Ladenblather as Flame War Flashpoint

Unboxing Our Lizard Brains

“Sexist Patriarchal Tyranny” of Homeschool Divorce

1 08 2010

How to help homeschool moms who divorce?:

I am making it my personal mission in my lifetime to see the divorce stigma within the home schooling community be exposed for the sexist, patriarchal tyranny that it is. I hope to see women band together to help each other raise their children and home school their children in spite of divorce.

I hope Snook can help her. I hope we all can. Sounds like it will take both the secular and sacred putting their values where their mouths are, to get it done.