Thursday, September 30, 2010

3-in-1: Banned Books Week 2010

I have been a bad blogger, and I have neglected my reposting of Banned Books week! So today, please enjoy 3 books in one update:
That one addresses one of my living nightmares: in this post-modern age, discrimination has been reversed and then re-reversed. It's 2010, people. Shouldn't we just get along?

(If I didn't have to get to work this morning, I would insert here a rant about Israel's continued settlement building in the face of peace talks - much to the world's dismay. Yesterday I read an op-ed proposing that Palestinians hit the streets demanding to be able to vote in Israel because the Israelis settling on their land have that vote. Wouldn't that be a nice thing to see.)

(I could also rant about France kicking out the Roma.)

The people who would ban the dictionary would probably be the same people insisting that English be the only language spoken in schools. Just sayin'.

Yeah. Brown Bear is an inane book. There are lots of way better books out there, but reading specialists love it for its alliteration! Except in Texas, apparently. But the Texas Board of Education makes lots of decisions with which I don't quite agree. Take their decisions regarding the history curriculum over the last year for example.

Well. I've got to go fight the madness.

Modest Mouse - Float On

Monday, September 27, 2010

In the spirit of Banned Books Week,

I am still reposting today's comic strip even though I have no interest whatsoever in reading Twilight AT ALL. But I do think Liz is funny with her T-shirt at the end.

Hooray for books. Right now, I am reading another set of short stories spun into a novel. A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, by Yiyun Li. It is a treat I get to read while on hall duty. Thankfully, my hall duty this year has so far been low traffic enough that I've been able to read a bit. And it is a good read. I'm sure I'll write more when I'm done (I'm about halfway now).

Well. It's the beginning of the week, so there is more work to do. Ha! That's the beginning, middle, AND end of the week! I thought of a fun new game for practicing semi-modal verbs today, but now I have to make it. Always the challenge: doing the work to implement the good ideas. I also want to get it made in time to get it laminated before using it Friday. The race is on. Many of the students have seemed quite motivated lately and I want to keep that as long as possible.

Here's a song to enjoy. A high-octane take on the Italian folk style.

Gogol Bordello - Super Taranta

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Queen Victoria Presents: Banned Books Week

Oh, I do love my comic strips. And The New Adventures of Queen Victoria is one of my favorites. This week she is celebrating Banned Books Week, with her usual aplomb. I expect I'll be reposting all of them, but if you want to read them on the GoComics site where I find them, here is the link.

I can't wait to see what Pab has going on for the rest of the week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ha! Gary and Elaine are at it too!!!!

Happy Donald Hall Cheese Day

I love fortuitous coincidences. Today is the birthday of Donald Hall, former poet laureate, and Amilynne and I have given it the name Donald Hall Cheese Day in honor of his greatest poem, O Cheese.

And here is the Pearls Before Swine comic for today. Also genius.

Pearls Before Swine

So why is Donald Hall's birthday such a great day? Because it has undergone natural nachofication.

Or maybe it's been fonduified.

Whatever suits your fancy.

Happy Birthday, Donald Hall.

O Cheese
By Donald Hall

In the pantry the dear dense cheeses, Cheddars and harsh
Lancashires; Gorgonzola with its magnanimous manner;
the clipped speech of Roquefort; and a head of Stilton
that speaks in a sensuous riddling tongue like Druids.

O cheeses of gravity, cheeses of wistfulness, cheeses
that weep continually because they know they will die.
O cheeses of victory, cheeses wise in defeat, cheeses
fat as a cushion, lolling in bed until noon.

Liederkranz ebullient, jumping like a small dog, noisy;
Pont l’Evêque intellectual, and quite well informed; Emmentaler
decent and loyal, a little deaf in the right ear;
and Brie the revealing experience, instantaneous and profound.

O cheeses that dance in the moonlight, cheeses
that mingle with sausages, cheeses of Stonehenge.
O cheeses that are shy, that linger in the doorway,
eyes looking down, cheeses spectacular as fireworks.

Reblochon openly sexual; Caerphilly like pine trees, small
at the timberline; Port du Salut in love; Caprice des Dieux
eloquent, tactful, like a thousand-year-old hostess;
and Dolcelatte, always generous to a fault.

O village of cheeses, I make you this poem of cheeses,
O family of cheeses, living together in pantries,
O cheeses that keep to your own nature, like a lucky couple,
this solitude, this energy, these bodies slowly dying.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Am Not a Big City Girl

Last night I was looking at the homepage for Lapham's Quarterly. Their new issue, coming out soon, has as its theme "the city." Not to get off the point, but I really do have mixed feelings about cities. Well. I should be specific. I have very mixed feelings about one very big city in particular. New York. Everyone acts like "ooooOOooooooo. New York." And I just want to say that there ARE other cities and other places that are NOT cities besides New York. I get tired of every TV show that wants an air of the cosmopolitan being set there. I get tired of every cop show being set there. I get tired about hearing about its news and about its mayor. And I really, really hate the "Start Spreadin' the News" New York song. With a bottomless loathing. You know, there is a big, wide world outside of New York. And yet, I do like it fine. I like that you can find a newsstand with Italian magazines. I like that it has museums. I like that I could go a thousand times and still always find something new to do, and I like that I've only really been there once so the vast majority of the thousand times are still ahead.

Anyway. Lapham's Quarterly. And they have a bit about the sense of the blasé that tends find root in city dwellers. Funny how I don't find ennui in the woods. Here's Pliny the Younger:
"Oh, sea and shore, veritable secret haunt of the muses, how many thoughts do you suggest to the immagination and dictate to the pen!"

I am feeling homesick for the mountains. The real ones. With granite peaks well above the tree line and glacier-fed lakes at their bases. For the dry air that fortifies the lungs. For family that fortifies the soul.

The Rosebuds - My Punishment for Fighting

Sunday, September 12, 2010

That autumn feeling is here.

We've been lucky to have a couple of days with highs in the 80's - not exactly crisp, but with a drop in the humidity, and with the lower angle of the light hitting the leaves in the trees in the park on the way home from work, it harbors tidings of fall. Fall is not my favorite season, spring is, but I do love fall too, although it carries in its colder air the barren winter chasing on its heels. It is a time for closing up: I imagine myself with an old wooden 2-part door (you know, the kind on Snow White's cottage) and as autumn comes I shut the top half against the cold.

The start of school went off all right. Now it's busy busy busy.

Tori Amos - Black Dove

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Oh, Nick Cave, I Love You.

So I am still working on the morning disc. And I had a problem accessing the file for the one song on Nocturama that I had downloaded years and years ago. So I decided to just get the whole album. So I am listening to this song for the first time, and I just plain have to say that I love Nick Cave. Unabashedly. Wow.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Wonderful Life

Not much

I am really trying to make myself wake up. So I am continuing the waking up song hunt for the new waking up CD. This song will definitely make the final cut.

Ian Brown - Time is my Everything

So you would not believe the mess my classroom is in for today being the Saturday before the start of school. I have at least a few more hours of physical prep to do, plus the planning. There are also tests to be written on the readings the students were to do over the summer. This was the best-organized set of summer reading assignments I have given yet: I really hope the students did them and retained their skills over the summer.

Well, cheers for Ian Brown. That song is super good. Now I must be off to getting myself ready for the day.