Some “Very Good Advice” About Parenting Advice

24 10 2011

The Guilted Age:
Making Your Own Rules

This week’s guest post is from the fabulous JJ Ross, who has worn many hats including academic, secular humanist, and unschooler. She shares her thoughts about parenting beyond the advice of others.

This is the first in the series “Good Advice / Bad Advice,” with a new post every week from now until the end of November. –LN





Spring Comes to Florida Despite Worst Governor Ever

4 03 2011

Young Son's reading tree in full flower as he reads Sherlock Holmes, of course (photo credit - Mom's phone)





JJ is Christmas Present, Young Son is Fezziwig!

14 12 2010

Someone (write Lynn if you’re cross!) was silly enough to demand pictures of Scrooge:the Musical, so . . .





What’s in the Name “Misotheist?” Power of Story, Literally

9 12 2010

“It is a rare cocktail of trauma, a sense of righteousness, rationalism, and a rebellious constitution,
combined with an indestructible belief in divinity,
that leads to misotheism. “

CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
December 5, 2010
Hating God
By Bernard Schweizer

. . .Not merely taboo, misotheism is illegal in a few places. In some Islamic countries the death penalty awaits a person convicted as a mohareb, an enemy of God. Only in 2008 did Britain repeal a long-unenforced blasphemy law that made saying something like “I hate God” or “God is hateful” a punishable offense.

Ireland has moved in the other direction. Last year it strengthened prohibitions against blasphemy. To publicly spit at God in Ireland can now cost you 25,000 euros.

. . . Misotheists are a category-defying species:
They believe in God (hence they are not atheists), but they hate him
(hence they are not theists).

So who are these people? Obscure, cranky, immoral, unproductive, and
criminal loners? Not quite. Try William Blake, William Empson, Zora
Neale Hurston, Philip Pullman, Percy Shelley, Mark Twain, Rebecca West, and Elie Wiesel, among other writers who have enriched our literary and philosophical heritage over the last two centuries. . . .

Misotheists’ affinity for literature is partly due to its make-believe
quality, which has served as a defense against public prosecution of
authors from Flaubert to Joyce and Nabokov. But fiction has another
advantage over nonfiction when it comes to God-hatred: Read the rest of this entry »





What’s the Meaning of the Word “Life”?

4 12 2010

Are you SURE??





Bah, Humbug!

1 12 2010

Here’s what Young Son and I have been busy with, for him too busy to finish Dracula so he can start on Julius Caesar and for me, too busy to blog much lately.

(At least it’s Christmasy!)

Scrooge: the Musical at Quincy Music Theatre





What JJ’s Reading and Being Confounded By

30 11 2010

. . .mostly news and commentary, mostly online, although the other night I did finish the latest Grisham legal thriller in real book form, with a hard cover and paper pages. It reminded me of a true story of my own and of the book, Bonfire of the Vanities — all about the power of conflicting stories full of both truthful fiction and factual fakes, stories that compete to confound us into real rage and real riots in our streets, but to no real (much less happy) end either as individual persons or as The People.

I am both aflame and unable to stop shivering.

“For all its apparent realism, Mr. Wolfe’s novel is not realistic. A 650-page narrative in which it is almost impossible to find a character who experiences a generous impulse or acts out of a generous motive may be said, in fact, to defy realism.”

As our new century’s political storms rage on and the light is dying, we can rage, rage back against it, and against each other. We certainly have the right to live our mutual lives as satire in the streets.

But if this reviewer was right, Tolstoy offers us the more enlightened lesson of problem-solving in a storm . . .

So what I’m reading is always a story with power but which story are we in, these days? And which story has the power? The more I read, the harder it is to know. Seems that as our stories and their power implode, power of story increasingly is all about power of story itself:

In a democracy, people have a right to know what their government is actually doing. In a pseudo-democracy, Read the rest of this entry »





Banned Books Week: Think for Yourself, Let Others Do the Same

1 09 2010

Thinking Parents know how enthusiastically we celebrate Banned Books Week here at Snook, every September. Last year’s theme was “Ideas Are Incombustible” and imo still fits the social inferno some folks are stoking with spittle-soaked frenzy.

This year’s official theme features a robot unplugging his head from the Borg download, happily reading a real book instead. (No technology required, not even a Kindle.)

You can tell the robot is happy from its glowing eyes and smile of satisfaction. If you follow the sequence of robot art through the whole list of books known to have been challenged during the past year, you can see the free-to-read robot’s power of story play out — thinking for yourself and letting others do the same turns into real liberty (and eyes aglow from books) for all.

Who could be against that? Well, this parent for one:

Lee, Harper
To Kill a Mockingbird

Removed from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary
School classrooms in Brampton, Ontario, Canada
(2009) because a parent objected to language used
in the novel, including the word “nigger.”
Source: Nov2009, pp. 203–4.

And this guy — who sounds like he should cut way back on the caffeine and might keep deadly firearms at home but perversely fixates on the threat of library books in his child’s backpack instead. We loved this book when FavD was a kid, read it aloud together and then went on to read several more Read the rest of this entry »





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:
Spring
Summer
Back to School
Autumn
Winter

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 »





Anthony Weiner’s Good Line on a Bad Day

30 07 2010

Just heard him on Hardball, telling Chuck Todd that Democrats too often “bring library books to a knife fight” lol . . . fits me too.

Except the GOP is loud and proud on fighting with guns, not knives, hmmm. . .





Living Upside Down, Inside Out

7 04 2010

We’re still struggling to manage every single thing we’ve accumulated and inherited through a half-century, trying to make new sense of it, creating fresh combinations that suit our family now, rushing to beat the heat, humidity, pollen, bugs and reptiles — a Florida garage is not secure for humans or belongings against any of those — and I fear we are losing.

I notice it’s like the vanishing return of radioactive half-life. The first week you work so hard and reduce the mounds by half but for the second week’s same effort, you get only half as much reduction, and so on, and so on as the payoff for time spent shrinks exponentially, and I’m to that point where I realize this is my new endless reality, but then again, at least it’s better than Sisyphus (do fundamentalists believe that religious story was literally true too, I wonder?) because at least the WHOLE rock and the WHOLE mountain don’t face me anew every damn morning.

What we’ve already brought inside and unpacked onto the new floors in the changed room use plan is all wonderful and beautiful, but it’s disconcertingly odd and I don’t have comfy routines set up to make anything easy yet. Answering the phone, where IS it?? The only refrigerator is still in the garage, and our kitchen cabinets were stuffed with breakables we chose not to wrap and pack, so nothing is in the right place for everyday marketing and cooking and snacks. In other words, it’s all upside down and inside out, still, and this is going into the third month of living like this. I am “home” but most of my waking hours are being spent outside working away to seemingly little effect, in the chaotic, dust-and-pollen saturated, southwestern-exposed garage.

How many more hundreds of books can I possibly bear to part with?

Talk about being punished by rewards. I’m developing a whole new appreciation for that concept! :-0





Where is Young Son?

13 10 2009

We’d been to the branch library and then out to scout up a vest for his scenes as a Village Boy in the upcoming Irish dance version of The Snow Queen. I looked up and he wasn’t around. Guess where I found him?

He’s out in the far back yard under the big pear tree. In his kilt. Reading the 1,400-page unabridged Les Miserables newly procured from said library. With his iPod earphone playing the cast recording of the musical to set the mood . . . remember his costume this year is Javert from Les Mis.

Oh, just recalled that he also has the 1937 Smithsonian-archived dramatization from Orson Welles on his iPod so maybe he’s listening to that instead, can’t be sure since I have nothing to do with it!

He loves it when a plan comes together. This is why latching onto power of story and riding it for all it’s worth, works to learn anything and everything — at least for him. And really, what else matters? 🙂

les mis orson welles mercury theatre cd box

p.s. early Wednesday — when he wakes up this morning (or afternoon?) I’ll show Young Son this very un-classic, unhistorical Les Mis tie-in I just found poking around:
“Purists of a nervous disposition may wish to stop reading now.”

It may delight him or it may appall him but either way we’ll have fun, can’t wait to see which! 🙂