Sunday, November 29, 2009
That's all I have to say about my front yard right now except that it's probably a good job that the sun went down when it did, forcing me indoors to confront the laundry. Joy tells me, apropos of nothing, that there's a reason people aren't supposed to cut their own hair. Meanwhile, I worry about Tree Top Joe's feelings next time he passes down my street with his shears. Perhaps there's a reason he charges $40 a snip, and perhaps there's a reason I can barely tell he's been. Perhaps that's the whole point!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
President Barack Obama was announced Nobel Laureate for Peace today "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
"Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population." The Nobel Committee.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Please consider writing your representatives in Congress and asking them to send a letter of inquiry about the situation to the Vietnamese Government. It is vital that those in power in Vietnam understand that the international community is watching.
Find who to write to by scrolling down the left-hand side of this Blog and sticking your zip code in the "Hassle your reps" box. Whatever your belief or worldview, please consider giving 30 minutes to the cause of peace today. Thank you for being. xox
More on Bat Nha here: http://helpbatnha.org/
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Holy water, offering the sign of peace, kissing the Torah, ritual washing, and sharing of prayer mats all came under scrutiny.
A Jewish Rabbi is suggesting the implementation of "Buddhist bows" at his temple. What a delightful interfaith idea. Namaste!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
In my doctoral studies, we're wrestling with the interesting problem of how to be fair-minded critical thinkers. Many of us can argue a strong case about a subject on which we're knowledgeable or about which we're passionate, but to be fair minded means having the integrity not to skew the facts or give in to the temptation to select only the evidence that supports our own position. To be fair-minded also means I need to try to wear the shoes of those who offer differing views of the world from my own and to look at their ideas and data in disinterested (not to be confused with uninterested!) fashion.
This is easy to say and very difficult to do. Our perspectives are frequently so much a part of us that we don't see them. Let me offer a short story to illustrate my point.
Yesterday, I was driving in Dallas with my daughter Joy when she pointed out, "Oh look! A whole line of white girls in pony tails running!" She thought this sight was rather peculiar and funny. The world we live in is rich and diverse, and to see a group of only white girls who all looked the same was odd and somewhat amusing--they looked like a row of Barbie dolls bobbing up and down as they crossed the park.
For completeness, I should mention that Joy is a white girl who frequently wears a pony tail. What I pointed out to her was that seven years ago she would probably have said, "Oh look! A line of girls running!" The first seven years of her life were spent in a small village in Cumbria in the north of England. The population was entirely white--so white that it couldn't see the whiteness of itself.
This is parallel, to me, to those who tell me they don't have an accent or a cultural background. The truth is we all do, but when we live only with those who speak and behave like ourselves, we simply don't notice it.
Thinking with fair-mindedness, to me, begins with acknowledging my own blindness and struggling forward, hands held out, feeling for clues...
Friday, July 10, 2009
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, said this: "The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference."
Be the change, people!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
On this day of days, July 4, when as a dual British/American citizen I celebrate my country's liberation from the tyranny of (ahem!) my country, I am reflecting on the double-irony that "My Country 'tis of Thee" is sung to exactly the same tune as "God Save our Gracious Queen." Perhaps if I simply hum, I can feel whole again!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
It's good to know the things we teach in the classroom are not only understood in terms of lesson material but useful in the everyday lives of our students. I've introduced Twitter in class this summer, and it's been fun watching the Tweets roll by.
My favorite student Tweet from last night: "Now I know how to use pathos n logos to get to date many hotties."
Ha ha ha
I have created a monster!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Question frequently asked by
students after missing a class
Nothing. When we realized you weren't here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours
Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 per cent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I'm about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 per cent
Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose
Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring this good news to all people
Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?
Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human existence
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been
but it was one place
And you weren't here
by Tom Wayman
From: The Astonishing Weight of the Dead
Vancouver: Polestar, 1994.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Read Liesl's blog at http://www.clottedcognition.com/ If you're a student who liked me, you're gonna love her, so take her class already! One of these days, we're gonna get that learning community together, Liesl--maybe with a service learning component involving community gardens?
Saturday, May 9, 2009
...in a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire...
The poetry pants fade in the wash, but Joy re-scribes them in lessons if the teacher is being dull--the more boring the lesson, the more interesting the pants. Participial phrases always produce great creativity!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī
جلالالدین محمد رومی
Sunday, May 3, 2009
today, a five-year-old,
Happy Birthday, my beautiful teenage daughter--13 today. Wow!xoxoxo