Favorite Daughter’s Extra Virginity Redux

20 11 2011

It’s not just olive oil -– women, too, now, are expected to come with a label that reads Extra Extra Virgin.

Remember Favorite Daughter’s Ruminations on Olive Oil and later — a seeming lifetime of growing up later — Let’s Talk About Sex?

Looks to me like these girls don’t know what the authority figures around them expect them to do –- or not do –- to remain “pure”. I’m eerily reminded of the 1950s, in which . . . people figured, I don’t know, if they didn’t mention it, the kids wouldn’t find out about it.

Now there’s a brand-new book all about the first. 😉

Sublime and Scandalous -- yep, that fits!

And in confluence sufficient to make ripening our conversation at this moment seem almost cosmically ordained, I opened this morning’s NYT to see their magazine cover story, “Good Sex” that illuminates her second sense in which we can understand extra virginity’s sublimity and scandal:

“Teaching Good Sex”
By LAURIE ABRAHAM

Introducing pleasure to the peril of sex education.

It starts with a whole other metaphor for how teens think and learn about sex — baseball — which it’s unlikely FavD will be writing about for you, because she’s not a big fan. So I guess we need homeschool-parent diehard Red Sox fans, like JJ (“what does it mean to girls, not just guys, to “throw like a girl?”) and Crimson Wife and Chris O’Donnell, to ahem, get this ball rolling 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 »





Hot, Hungry and Cross with Corporations

10 06 2010

Peevish and peckish would have made a better heading. Thought I would do a FaceBook-style status update here at Snook. Food, weather and something to sneer at, all in one!

It’s about 97 degrees, no cloud cover from the sun, all oil all the time on cable news, no fresh farmer’s market food left in the house. Too hot to go out, too hungry to stay in, too upset to watch something trivial rather than the corpor-apocalypse in real time . . .





The Dismal Taste of High-Yield Corporate School: Shakespearian Tragedy

29 05 2010

What’s in a name? Substitute “kid” for “tomato” and “school” for “plant” — you get the idea. Substitute individual creativity for “sugar” and “flavor” and other nutrients given short shrift by factory farm schooling in service of corporate-backed political controls.

Sacrificing Flavor

The pressure for high-yield plants is responsible for the dismal taste of the supermarket tomato. Harry Klee, a plant biologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, says it’s a simple matter of economics.

. . .”The grower is paid for size and yield — and flavor is irrelevant, unfortunately,” Klee says.

In fact, the yield is so great for some tomato varieties that the plant can’t keep up. Because the plants have been bred to produce so many fruits, they can’t produce enough sugars and other nutrients.

“And so what happens is you start to dilute out all of the good flavor compounds, and you get a fruit that you bite into it and it largely tastes like water,” Klee says.
“Because that’s mostly what it is.”

That which we still call a tomato wouldn’t smell or taste as sweet after we’ve diluted its flavors and aromas, dumbed it down and bred out all its delights. That which we still call an education suffers more yet from its name . . .

I don’t care for tomatoes myself but I love the fruit of another kind of vine. That’s another good play on the same school tragedy: Read the rest of this entry »





How Our Unschooling is Like Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method

12 10 2009

A new home-educating mom (okay, it’s Beta, hi Beta!) has been doing lots of reading and thinking about education methods, as our older-in-educating-herself-on education friend, the New Unschooler (hi Colleen!) did last year.

I just added this comment to Beta’s mix:

I was reading a little about Charlotte Mason homeschooling and I see much that reflects our unschooled education methods (real books, no lectures, etc) but I was never a big Nature Girl — more inside the library or kitchen or theatre type — so it hadn’t appealed to me years ago for that reason and I’d forgotten about it.

Then here in the US, Ken Burns’ new documentary series for PBS started airing, called National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

Young Son (age 14) and I got absorbed in it, recording and watching in the afternoons before his own natural most active time (evening) and about halfway through the series, he got his dad watching with him for a couple of weekend afternoons. We all know a lot more about Nature now than we did! It’s historically riveting but also gorgeous and serene and it moves at a naturalist’s graceful, outdoor-majestic pace — just wonderful Power of Story all around.

Without having to actually go outside. 😉

So it reminded me that we too are eclectic in many good ways. The biggest difference between what we do and the CM method is that what we do is no method, with (what personally is found to be) nasty bits included like it or not . . .

Obviously we unschoolers despite eschewing curriculum and training of children’s habits, nevertheless NATURALLY integrate the philosophical cornerstones of “education as life” and “education as the science of relation” while one bit from wikipedia on Charlotte Mason’s teaching philosophy even sounds Obama-inspired, hmmm, and didn’t his mother teach him at home in the early mornings, wonder if she was a secret CM disciple and he its able pupil . . . Read the rest of this entry »





School Is To Food: Obama-rama Energy for Positive Change

22 09 2009

Snook started blogging the “school is to food” analogy at its inception three years ago this week. (Happy birthday, Baby Snook!)

JJ loves analogies if you haven’t noticed yet. 😀

This one especially. Neither food politics nor school politics can be thought of as “free market” power of story — not if we want the kids to grow up healthy, that is:

It simply makes it impossible to avoid the question of what it means to live in a democracy when such basic aspects of our lives are affected by the actions of others in a manner so completely outside our reckoning. These are people we haven’t elected, and institutions which our elected representatives have not only failed to control but have actively aided in their folly.

It may be one of the most positive outcomes of this crisis that it compels us to ask fundamental questions about our political system, questions we may normally be too complacent or polite to ask. . .

Some of our earliest “school is to food” thinking is linked below and on Snook’s blogroll you can find some dedicated food food-for-thought we like. Today I found a new winner for that roll, thanks to Lynn and Sam talking here, about dog-whistle politics, of all seemingly unconnected things.

Obama Food-orama!

And btw, while we are connecting ideas you can’t get much more inspiringly healthy and smart and “pro-life” than anything about Michelle Obama.

In the beginning there was “school is to food” Snooking: Read the rest of this entry »





Jolly Old LONDON (and Cheeky Young Beefeaters)

30 07 2009

en route

“Jolly Old London – Beefeaters and all!”
Posted by kiki under England, London

After a wonderful last night in Paris, complete with send off party at the Eiffel Tower, which I saw glitter, we left for our last port of call on this epic voyage: London. We were quite tired when we arrived so we stayed in for about a half hour and then we decided that Magnums and exploring were in order. So we set off toward St James Church and then quickly realised that London is actually a lot smaller than Paris and distances on maps are not deceptively small. So we found ourselves at Buckingham Palace and marveled at its beauty and Beefeaters.

But the Beefeaters at Buckingham Palace proper are nothing. They are behind the fence and you can’t see them very well. So as we wandered aimlessly down the road away from the Palace we saw more, vigilantly guarding a cordoned off area and generally looking pretty cool.

(They were babies – couldn’t have been more than 23, and trying very hard to look older. – M.)

We quickly fell in love with one who we have aptly named Smirks. As his name suggests, he does not have the traditional Beefeater stoicism. He kept shooting his eyes in our direction and grinning like a Cheshire cat. But his stealth training paid off in the fact that, though he smirked cheekily at us at least five times, we failed to acquire photographic evidence.

After spending at least thirty minutes having lovely conversation about Smirks and his Senior Officer right next to them as if when they go on duty they suddenly become deaf to idiot tourists, we mosied down to Trafalgar Square where we had our dinner.

The Sherlock Holmes [Pub & Restaurant] just roped us in and we were quickly in love with it. We had traditional English meals: I had Shepherd’s Pie and Mer had ham and eggs and chips.

sherlock holmes pub Londod streetfront

With the enthusiastic support and help of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s family, the pub was filled throughout with various artefacts and pieces recording the adventures of the Master Detective, including such diverse items as Dr Watson’s old service revolver, original cartoons and the stuffed and mounted head of none other than Read the rest of this entry »





Bruxelles to Paris to Lausanne, Traveling Girls Make Tracks

18 07 2009

en route

“Two Long Travel Days…”
Posted by kiki under Switzerland

But all in all, now that we are in beautiful Lausanne, Switzerland, we could not be happier.

We won’t bore you with the details of our travels but when we finally reached Switzerland, we were amazed by just how beautiful it really is. I mean, people tell you that it’s beautiful, but it’s REALLY beautiful.

My friend Val’s parents so graciously offered to lodge us in this paradise, and Yvonne met us at the train station when we arrived, babbling about the beauty of a country surrounded by the likes of the Alps looming in the distance, their peaks shrouded in mist. We walked the short distance from the train station to their impeccable apartment with an indescribable view.

Lausanne Gare (train station)

Lausanne Gare (train station)

After watching the arrivée of the Tour de France on TV we went to the golf club (Club Domaine du Brésil) of which Gérard is the president. They’d held a tournament that day and we arrived in time to watch all of the participants come into the club house and then the subsequent awards ceremony. Of course there was then an “apéro” which featured meat platters, gourmet vegetable pizza, fabulously spiced filo dough creations, and tartes raisinées.

Gérard then quickly grabbed my attention by asking if I would like to hit some golf balls Read the rest of this entry »





“How Food Makers Captured Our Brains”

25 06 2009

School is to Food . . .
so is resistance futile?

What do you think “control of the cookies” means? — how we can and must control the cookies, or how the cookies control us, iow control BY the cookies? Maybe the former because of the latter?

(Can cookies give me a headache?)

Three years ago during Snook’s opening run, I felt the food headache coming on in Mindless Snacks Are to Mindless School and Mindless Eating.

Those were previews of coming attractions I guess, because today comes How Food Makers Captured Our Brains:

He left the house, and the cookies remained uneaten. Feeling triumphant, he stopped for coffee, saw cookies on the counter and gobbled one down.

“Why does that chocolate chip cookie have such power over me?” Dr. Kessler asked in an interview. “Is it the cookie, the representation of the cookie in my brain? I spent seven years trying to figure out the answer.”

The result of Dr. Kessler’s quest is a fascinating new book, “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” . . .

Food like sex is literally human power. It gives us power and has power over us. It is at once visceral and sublime, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Food is life and death and everything in between, so human institutions like Family, School, State and Church naturally covet and try to control its power over us for their own ends. You name it, food’s got it and we need it.

Would you believe a public official (heading her state house committee for children and families, no less!) powering her own twisted ideology of parent rights through food’s power, misusing it through Family, School, State AND Church all at once? See Read the rest of this entry »





While We’re Debating Who Deserves Humanity. . .

8 01 2009

As Darwin jotted down in a notebook of 1838, “He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.

Not to learn about how the baboons think, but to learn about how WE think.

In the December 30th, 2007 issue of the [New York Times M]agazine, animal columnist Charles Siebert published a touching tribute to two of the most memorable contributors to communication studies: Alex the parrot and Washoe the chimp. With respect and admiration, he honors their place of distinction in our human sciences, while acknowledging the imposition we humans placed on them. His obituary is entitled: “The Communicators.“

See also Creature Comforts from last Sunday, and food journalist Michael Pollan’s 2002 piece about the evolution of how humans think of and treat animals, caused by our needs and changes more than theirs, just as robot theologian Anne Foerst teaches and preaches.

Her philosophy is that everything really is all about us, but unfortunately that means NOT that we should dominate and subjugate when we can get away with it, but that we hurt ourselves spiritually (and often practically too) when we do, and thus we’re the ones who must learn and change, to improve things for ourselves. Not self-sacrifice, enlightened self-interest! Read the rest of this entry »





Only Brains Innocent of Sex Hormones Can Learn??

14 07 2008

“Shortening childhood means a shortening of the time before the brain’s complete re-sculpting occurs,” says [ecologist Sandra] Steingraber. “Once that happens, the brain doesn’t allow for complex learning.”
She adds that the brain can only build the connections used to learn a language, play a musical instrument or ride a bike before it gets flooded with the sex hormones that come with the onset of puberty.

Cock of the Snook to this blog for printing Steingraber’s learning science, but not for just swallowing it whole without even chewing on it a little . . .don’t see a citation though surely she got this idea somewhere, and she might even have impeccable sources that would make me think twice. Without that to go on, I can mock it freeform without qualm. 🙂

So she’s ecologist and mom but not a cognitive psychologist, right? — nor can she speak from experience (yet) as a mother of children who’ve actually arrived at puberty, early or any other way, only to be tragically rendered learning disabled due to this mind-addling sex hormone flood (??)

And if puberty really makes complex learning impossible, why don’t we just cancel school beyond age 10 or 11 (never mind college and grad school!) and save ourselves all the taxes and grief? Is she writing a book advocating that, now that her chemically protected, television-untouched tykes are in School all day learning only goddess knows what?

I guess we all ride our own hobby horses. For me it’s so obviously our Tyranny of Time — you know, SCHOOL and its associated SLEEP DEPRIVATION causing so many of our culture’s interconnected education, family, social and health pathologies. (More on sleep research messing with learning here.) Funny to read in her own words, that this oh-so-careful mother of an ecologist isn’t bothering to create an alternate ecology for her own children healthier than School.

Probably I should go back to the Teresa Heinz Kerry blog tour collection and see what we can spring forward with . . . more on that here, thinking about the “body burden” we put on women and children and also here, about educating our own “parents’ palate” to help improve the health of learning environments at home and school.

UPDATE – I just decided this would make a provocative response for this fortnight’s Thinking Parent essay: “Does Every Child Need to Go to College?”





Powerful Aroma of Home and History In Hot Cross Buns

22 03 2008

Young Son is learning to play the bagpipes, with a Scottish family of professional performers. So I chat with the mom and drink tea twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as the dad and Young Son play their pipes.

This week she mentioned her plan to search local bakeries for traditional hot cross buns, for Good Friday.

I only remember hot cross buns from the nursery rhyme we girls jumped rope to, once upon a time. And I never thought they were any more “real” than four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie . . .

hotcrossbuns6.jpg

Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot Cross Buns
If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot Cross Buns

This power of story in this bakery specialty remains hugely popular in the UK (actual Christian devotion, not so much? ) And taking the hot cross bun historical perspective in a whole different direction, one of the links warns families that these days, “finding hot cross buns made to ‘Slow Food’ principles can be quite difficult. . .”
Has anybody got a hot cross buns story to play here for our entertainment?