Who Are Doctors Who? Not That Kind of Doctor

15 11 2011

Learning is fun, not work. Schooling is work, not education. . . I believe school screws up such lessons as these, and all the hapless [not-very-doctor-like] folks who receive them.

So as I showed you right here at Snook, Young Son became the Doctor Who sort of doctor this year for Halloween:

Then this morning as I opened up and aired out my own mental Tardis with some sunshine, caffeine and my cable company’s connection to the cosmos — you’d know if you knew who doctors like us play in real life, that a Tardis is unbelievably larger on the inside — a jolt of recognition hit me:

All while I was sitting here
in my favorite Tardis-sized t-shirt: Read the rest of this entry »





Help Cancel Toddlers & Tiaras

18 01 2011

Caring cock of the snook to Valerie Moon for linking this open letter to the so-called “Learning Channel” as if this were about that:

. . .these pageant programs are both emotionally and physically abusive.

The content of the show is reprehensible and the time has come to stop being a complicit entity to the unfair and unhealthy treatment of these little girls.





Ideas of 2010: Happy Thinking!

17 12 2010

Better than shopping or Christmas punch for holiday stimulation. . .

Think of fashion constrained by public dress codes for example, as Snook often does over t-shirts, kilts and serious hats.

This collection offers all sorts of ideas to unwrap, everything from the Armored T-Shirt and the Bra Gas Mask to End-of-Men Fashion and the Raw Meat Dress. (Oh, not to give, um, short shrift? — to the Small-Enough Youth Condom and Performance-Enhancing Basketball Shoes!)

For the 10th consecutive December, the magazine has chosen to look back on the past year through a distinctive prism: ideas.

Our digest of short entries refracts the light beam of human inspiration, breaking it up into its constituent colors — innovations and insights from a spectrum of fields, including economics, biology, engineering, medicine, literature, sports, music and, of course, raw-meat clothing.

Happy thinking!

Maybe the expressive antics themselves are enough to ponder without delving into what ideas they represent, a thought suggested by the magazine quoting Andy Warhol.

Or maybe these ideas are best contemplated not individually but as one panoramic whole, power of story like A Christmas Carol forcing us to face how we got here, where we are and where we’re heading, unless we somehow wake up sufficiently to change our future and fast?

And just where is that, would the piece have us think? Read the rest of this entry »





Because JJ’s a Sucker for Royals, Weddings and English Accents

16 11 2010

Breaking news! You saw it here first!





EDUCATION NATION Tuesday: Different Memes for Different Dreams

28 09 2010

Gen. Colin Powell and his wife Alma are the morning’s featured guests. Part of it really is inspiring, how education begins the moment a child connects the sound of his/her mother’s voice to the face, about the big answers to our education crisis being commitment and caring and whole communities helping to “keep each child in play” — good power of story.

Powell power of story. 😉

They head up America’s Promise Alliance. He says it’s not all schools but about 2,000 schools are drop-out factories, mainly in “doughnut holes” where a community got left out of everything, and that in only one more American generation when minorities become the majority, we’d better have already changed those school settings and educated those future adults, so they can step up and lead the nation. She says that high school dropouts aren’t just economically locked in but are most likely literally headed for prison. They are saying too many kids from the schools they’re working to change, can’t even get into the military.

So it’s both a moral imperative but also practical self-interest in our own defense.

Here’s the downside of what I heard: their prescriptions for relentless parent pushing and militaristic boot camp examples — teachers breaking teens down to build them back up as a well-trained credit to the uniform, parents teaching unquestioned obedience and “minding the adults” even before kindergarten Read the rest of this entry »





Open Education Ticket to Future French Opens

31 05 2010

It’s the French Open as well as Memorial Day, and I’m a tennis fan, former local league player until my knee blew out. So I’ve connected tennis and other sports before, to “school” and unschooling.
For example:

” . . .did you know tennis used to be played by monks using human flesh as their rackets??

Google racket history and you’ll see. . . tennis power of story and how
tennis and school/church treat individuals as interchangeable parts, to
ill effect
. . .

Versatility isn’t a talent, but a desire to extend ability.

Where did Nadal find this spirit of court innovation?
Not at an American academy. Nadal’s parents resisted that siren’s song. He stayed close to home… far from the Nick Bollettieri-style compounds in Florida.

Instead, Nadal grew up with dimension, was raised a chameleon… Nadal applied his eagerness to learn and adjust as he decoded the subtleties of grass during Wimbledon.

Such court awareness isn’t a virtue of American tennis academies. And the forehand factories are not the answer to the country’s talent deficit. . . The numbing baseline games, the one-dimensional plans, the mechanical style, these characteristics will only send Americans down the rankings. Nuance has to be a part of the U.S.T.A. program at the Evert Academy if it is to succeed at producing players as resourceful as they are robotic. . .

Intelligence isn’t manufactured, but nurtured. . .
Welcome to the Federer Era, in which there is little room for shallow, superficial tennis. ”

School is to sports . . . shallow, superficial and inadequate to the challenges ahead. And Big Corporations are in charge of it all, on or off the courts, in or out of school:

Why on earth would the corporate sponsor know more than the WTA CEO about tennis? Say, who’s running the women’s tennis tour anyway? I have to admit Read the rest of this entry »





Time for “T-Shirt as a Second Language” Test, Ready?

7 05 2010

If you were here for this, get your serious thinking hats ready for this:

That wasn’t the only symbolic protest on Cinco de Mayo. About 20 students showed up at Pioneer High School wearing “Border Patrol” T-shirts. By the end of the day, administrators asked them to remove the shirts, which they apparently did with no problems . . .

Snook’s community of thinking parents host ad hoc honors seminars from time to time: Harry Potter and book banning, homeschool hegemony and the parents’ rights movement, Sarah Palin and fightin’ mad white women. One of the topics that just keeps on giving is the power of story in school speech and dress codes, particularly combined on t-shirts.

No “evolution” shirts in marching band, we can’t have a high school associated with gasp, science! Though it was admittedly “not directly against the school’s dress code” and not reasonably construed as anti-bible, even unintentionally, a few offended parent/teachers nevertheless successfully demanded the band’s new shirts be collected, destroyed and replaced with school budget money.

There was no issue of students (or their parents?) starting a riot at school over the marching band shirts, or none I recall. One boy sent home in another state — for wearing his heritage-proud kilt to school — was told it was for his own safety, to prevent not a riot but just stereotypical school bullying (for wearing girly clothes, as the principal saw it.) Another boy was sent home for “being disruptive”, supposedly, when he wore Pastafarian pirate regalia to school. Were all the anti-pirate toughs about to beat him up too?

Confederate battle flags and t-shirts in the South do start school riots, disrupt “the learning environment” and get kids hurt for real, never mind the slogans and songs — been there, done that, let’s don’t play it again:

With the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear the case, this leaves in place the lower court’s August 2008 ruling that upholds the school’s policy. The appeals court states that Read the rest of this entry »





Why Fencing Knickers Make Me Feel at Home

4 03 2010

Getting one’s first pair of fencing knickers is not something that most families celebrate. 😉

But COD and his seasoned 16-year-old Dark Horse fencer will appreciate it, if no one else can. And this week I’m in the hunt for any family-and-friends moment that can draw the cozy circle of “home” closer.

My life seems a little surreal because we’ve moved into a local hotel, pending new traditional wood floors being sanded, sealed and finished throughout our home of ten years. You don’t want to know how dusty places I haven’t seen since 2002 had gotten — we’ve all been sneezing our heads off — or how many boxes of books we packed before we could notice any difference (over 100.) Everything we own from electronics and delicates to the refrigerator and washer-dryer is now stuffed into our garage like a Jenga puzzle, front to back, floor to ceiling, and I mean everything — including, unexpectedly and rather unfortunately from my POV at least, the shirts and suits DH needs for work and all of Young Son’s personal hygiene products.

But by golly, we got out with Young Son’s fencing bag, chanter and bagpipes, Irish stepdance hard shoes, the library’s Les Miserables still in progress, his iTouch AND one of the chess boards. . . oh, and more than a dozen geek t-shirts.

And this laptop, upon which I now muse.

So anyway. Our regularly scheduled daily activities proceed unabated here “at home” except we’re not. At home, I mean. Instead of taking a vacation from our home, it’s more like our home is taking a vacation from us! Who are we, really — just where we are now or also where we were, where we hope to be? What we have with us at the moment and can show, or also what we’ve collected over time, even if we can’t get at it or forgot where we put it?

Wednesday afternoon we went to the fencing salle as we always do, but from the opposite side of town so it was the same but different. The knickers in his suddenly adult size had come in, hurray, so that when he’s ready for his first tournament, Read the rest of this entry »





What We Did for MLK Day: Musical Theatre of Course!

18 01 2010

You know the kids and I watch “1776” for the Fourth of July.

So this year in honor of Martin Luther King Jr, we decided to watch this. It was Google’s graphic today that inspired it, because there’s a scene in the movie that looks just like this:





Georgia Boy Says He’s Not Cross-Dresser, Just Creative — So Far Still Alive

7 10 2009

Atlanta Journal-Constitution in its news coverage:

. . .the 16-year-old says an assistant principal at North Cobb High School told him last week he needed to dress more “manly” for school, or consider being home-schooled. . .On his second day of school, Escobar says he was pulled out of class to speak with a police officer who told him he was concerned about the student’s safety.

No religious issue for once, at least:

Bryan Killian says that he follows the Pastafarian religion, and that as a crucial part of his faith, he must wear ‘full pirate regalia’ as prescribed in the holy texts of Pastafarianism.

The school, however, say that his pirate garb was disruptive.

For my son it would have been the kilt. Good thing we just homeschooled without being sent home by authorities:
Salute when you call my son a cross-dresser!

A kilt IS manly attire, inarguably NOT cross-dressing, yet this same dress code argument could be made — it’s disruptive because it’s unusual and might be misunderstood — thus it would jeopardize his own safety in the thuggishly conformist school environment. (If not from the other students, then jeopardy from fearful and/or frightfully ignorant adults.)

Kids get beaten up for being in the honors club instead of in a gang, no matter what they wear or how much they all look the same. Not for cross-dressing but just for crossing the street. Even to death.

And sending them home from school can get them killed, not keep them safe. Read the rest of this entry »





Fun Jaunt to Costume & Magic Shop

2 10 2009

Young Son decided he would be Inspector Javert from Les Miz for Halloween this year and after a few afternoons scouting thrift shops, we thought of the local landmark costume & magic shop, mainly because as a French Revolutionary policeman, Javert sports a tall black top hat — magicians used to pull rabbits out of such hats.

Lesmis-javert illustration

So we figured they must come from magic shops, and sure enough . . . oh, but that wasn’t all, oh no! We now have a black opera cape and gloves, a black walking coat and cane, real human-hair mutton chops with spirit gum PLUS the marvelous top hat.

And a good story. The place was packed with college students, guard at the door to direct traffic, so the atmosphere was fun. The fellow who squired us around and knew where everything was even on the highest shelves, instantly got into the Javert character and yet did a Scottish accent the whole time because Young Son was wearing his kilt.

The guy even tried to sell us a sporran. 🙂





My Most Favorite Part of the Speech Tonight

9 09 2009

The striking image and power of story of those three amazing, accomplished, influential though unelected, intelligent, compassionate, complicated, and yes, beautiful pro-choice (AND pro-life, pro-liberty, pro-pursuit of happiness) women sitting together in the gallery:
Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden with Victoria Kennedy between them.

Now that’s integrity of public and private life.
Great stuff.