Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
It's been incredibly surreal. I was glad to get back to work at the library yesterday. I need to take this extra time I have to catch up on grading and get organized for the rest of the quarter (as well as the beginning of next); but more likely, I see myself twiddling away the hours, waiting for something to happen.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.
When I hear the rhetoric about "Real America," the unfounded challenges to Obama's nationality, I also hear the echoes of those who sent Hughes to eat in the kitchen. I think, aren't they ashamed? But those voices are on the wrong side of history and will slowly become more obsolete. I look back at this past year and think Obama has accomplished a great deal; once (and if) the noise dies down, we'll better recognize that.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
These days, I come back a lot to memories of 7th and 8th grade (and the unreliable narrators of those memories), because my elder daughter, Julia, is now in 7th grade, which means, of late, that she lives in a world filled with endless girl dramas of the most unfortunate and, alas, ordinary kind.
I’m not sure that our selves really are so continuous. And the experiences of childhood are not really as universal — i.e., as accessible to us as parents — as we’d like to believe.
Maybe it would be good if the economy collapsed totally or we had a total war like WWII so women would have to spend all their time focused on tilling the fields, working in factories or doing something constructive to keep themselves and their families in food, shelter and clothing, leaving them no time to think about the silliness that is the subject of this article. I cannot imagine productive intelligent women (whether holders of one or more degrees or possessing little education) wasting time on such foolishness. Indeed, I'll bet women who were successful mothers in years past never did.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
From the age of 12 months [infants] will point at objects that an adult pretends to have lost. Chimpanzees, by contrast, never point at things for each other, and when they point for people, it seems to be as a command to go fetch something rather than to share information.
Indeed, it is in our biological nature, not our political institutions, that we should put our trust, in his view. Our empathy is innate and cannot be changed or long suppressed. “In fact,” Dr. de Waal writes, “I’d argue that biology constitutes our greatest hope. One can only shudder at the thought that the humaneness of our societies would depend on the whims of politics, culture or religion.”
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
- both my brothers calling me yesterday, checking our Thanksgiving plans, making sure there wasn't anything else each could bring;
- my 87 year-old grandmother, insistent, relishing the chance to prepare another turkey dinner;
- my mom, hating parades, but enjoying getting her house ready for the Christmas season more than anything else;
- my dad, in Kenya, helping me to keep things in perspective, and technology, for allowing us to stay in such close contact;
- and my friends, near and far, showing me such kindness and warmth.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I can calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see, I am sure it bends toward justice.*
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
When I was a child, my favorite phrase was "I'm bored." I used it to signal my dissatisfaction with whatever activity or people surrounded me. And I usually uttered to my mother, who always, no matter how many times I'd said it, had a new suggestion: call a friend, read a book, draw a picture, etc. If I'd had the word then, I probably would have said, "I'm experiencing ennui," just to be extra annoying. Despite myriad options, I always had trouble filling empty space.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up. ... When she opened the package at home there was written on the box, under the skull and bones: "For Rats."
Friday, October 30, 2009
And in an age when all psychic life is being understood in terms of neurotransmitters, the art of introspection has become passé.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
I'm loving Sydney, and I especially enjoyed my trip up to Cairns and to the Great Barrier Reef. Pictures are coming, I promise.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
- A student said to me, after thanking me for the class, "You don't give yourself enough credit." And I immediately thought, man, I must be projecting some serious insecurities if I have students trying to help me buck up!
- I leave on Saturday!
- My car's a mess of old City Beats, blankets, a pair of shoes, three coffee mugs.
- My living room floor's a mess, too. I'm sitting in the middle of it, down blanket and laptop covering me, with a space heater aimed at me. I'm still cold.
- Just watched the last forty minutes of Days of Our Lives... I've watched it off and on since I was probably ten, when Carly was buried alive and Marlena was possessed by the devil. Who am I to judge you for watching Dancing with the Stars?
- I don't remember the last time I've had real food in my house (unless granola bars and coffee count as real food).
- That Skyline 3-way I just finished sure was good.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Anyone surprised by the venomous, over-the-top opposition to Mr. Obama must have forgotten the Clinton years. Remember when Rush Limbaugh suggested that Hillary Clinton was a party to murder? When Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in an attempt to bully Bill Clinton into accepting those Medicare cuts? And let’s not even talk about the impeachment saga.
The only difference now is that the G.O.P. is in a weaker position, having lost control not just of Congress but, to a large extent, of the terms of debate. The public no longer buys conservative ideology the way it used to; the old attacks on Big Government and paeans to the magic of the marketplace have lost their resonance. Yet conservatives retain their belief that they, and only they, should govern.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
- No movement on the MFA front; the end of the quarter is kicking my butt, and I haven't had time to focus on researching schools, putting together portfolios, and gathering references.
- There are still not enough hours in the day. Supposedly sleep helps keep colds at bay. I decided a while ago that a full-night's sleep was key to my mental stability, and now there's evidence that I have that sleep to thank for my relatively good health these past few years.
- The Reds have been winning a lot lately; why couldn't they have done that in June and August???
- I'm psyched that the Bengals are 1-1. This city, as pessimistic as we get about the Bengals, will absolutely explode with joy and excitement if the Bengals make a playoff run.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Writing became the tool I used to digest my life and to understand, finally, the grace, the gratitude I could feel, not because everything was hunky-dory, but because we can use everything we are. Actually we have no choice. We can't use what someone else had--a great teacher, a terrific childhood. That is outside ourselves. And we can't avoid an inch of our own experience; if we do it causes a blur, a bleep, a puffy unreality. Our job is to wake up to everything, because if we slow down enough, we see we are everything.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
- Pepper Soup with Lemon and Lime - this cold soup was rather hot, but would make a good salsa.
- Domino De Eguren Protocolo Blanco - a nice white wine that went nicely with the hot (spicy) soup.
- Black Bean Dip with Tortilla Chips - Just what the name describes, but very yummy!
- Vega Sindoa 2008 Rosado - a decent rose
- Pollo Con Salsa Fresca - Boneless chicken with white onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves, ground cumin, and ancho chili. Very tasty!
- Campos Reales 2006 - Nice, balanced red
- Carne Fajita Burrito - Skirt steak and all kinds of flavorful goodness wrapped up in a tortilla. Mmm.
- Atalaya Almansa 2007 - As far as I remember, this was a dry red. Went nicely with the fajita.
- Three Latin-themed cheeses:
- Queso Asadero - soft, almost like mozzerella. It would be good for melting, but bland by itself.
- Queso Cotija - tasted like parmesan.
- Queso de Mano - this raw goat's milk cheese was very flavorful and easily everyone's favorite. According to the notes, it is aged for a minimum of four months, and it's generally produced on a small scale.
- Txomin Etxaniz 2007 Txakoli De Getaria - I think this was a light white, but usually station five is something sparkly.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
"Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice..."
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
the less money the volunteer received in compensation for her suffering the more the subjects disliked her. The people explained the woeful injustice by assuming that it was her own fault: she was shocked because she wasn't paying attention, or was incapable of learning, or that the pain would help her perform better. The martyrs fared even worse. Even though this victim was supposedly performing an act of altruism - she was suffering for the sake of others - the witnesses thought she was the most culpable of all. Her pain was proof of her guilt.In other words, the observerers altered their judgment in order to reconcile their sense of moral justice. The results suggest that participants believe that if a woman is being tortured, surely she must deserve it. If a man is wrongly executed, ultimately it doesn't matter because he was probably a scummy person.
It's certainly created some dissonance in my own mind. I've always believed, no matter what else is going on in my life or in the world, that people are good at heart and that ultimately we all want the same things: a chance for happiness for ourselves, those we love, and fellow man. But seeing how disingenuine politicians are and watching the mainstream media perpetuate falsehoods have been incredibly disturbing and disheartening.