Saturday, April 30, 2011


"You know, I look at the papers, I'm not really inspired by things. I'm inspired by the people around me. That keeps me going." -Sting

Sting - We Work the Black Seam

All Young and Beautiful

I am up very late, which is probably not what I need after getting up very early this morning to check out the royal wedding. I only got to see bits and pieces as I got ready for work, but I have checked out the highlights on YouTube and I must say it was all very lovely indeed. It was a very nice way to start the day.

This evening I felt like trawling through some music I haven't listened to in a while. I had completely forgotten this song. Enjoy it.

Annie Lennox - Keep Young and Beautiful

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


***A warning: I'm talking politics again, so if you are one of my dear friends who loves me in spite of rather than because of my way of looking at the world, feel free to just not bother with this post. Or you can just skip down to the nice tune at the end.***

Hooray! I really was pleased today when President Obama announced that in the important work of government, it's annoying to have the media clogged with "sideshows and carnival barkers" (NYTimes). How nice to have a president who can turn a phrase. This just in time for news to break that Fatah and Hamas have been in talks with the new Egyptian power brokers (again, NYTimes). Because, you see, important things are afoot in this world, and maybe we should be able to have access to news about them.

Apropos, this morning on NPR's Morning Edition there was a fascinating commentary about how to revive the evening news: cancel fluffy entertainment "news" shows and put the real news in its place. The argument from Eric Deggans, a Florida media critic, is that with people coming home from work later, the real news needs to be on when we are home to see it. Could one dare to wish for a world where average people actually took an interest in world events over gossip? Maybe insipid conspiracy theories like the "birther" foray would have less traction in a less gossipy arena.

Wish. Wish. Wish.

Jesus Jones - Right Here Right Now

Friday, April 22, 2011

Melancholy, Day 5

I spent today waiting for the inevitable: Monday.

Yeah. I know how crazy that sounds. It was a Friday off. And all I can do is think about the week ending and going back to work.

I did clean the oven. So please note the line in today's song about having one's head in the oven, because mine was there.

I've also been reading Ethics for the New Millenium by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. His ideas about reality remind me of the description of right-brain world that Jill Bolte-Taylor experienced when she had a stroke that knocked out the left side of her brain off and on over a broad stretch of time. A mass recognition of such a reality would surely change the way we treat each other: if we are who we are because we are in relation to everything else, and we would cease to identify the boundaries between ourselves and others as such a hard line, we might feel more empathy toward each other and find ourselves less able to defraud each other in the little ways that happen every day.

I was discussing with my dad my disenchantment with the idea of the free market system as something righteous and moral. All things being equal, I'm sure it would be a nifty system. The problem is, all things are never equal and have not been from the beginning. The free market system has no mechanism in place to say that if an employer buys a person's full-time employment, that person must be paid enough to live on. And yet in an ethical system, I don't know how that observation could be overlooked. If you buy the labor of someone's life, they should be able to live off of selling that to you. I am tired of seeing poverty entrenched in families and so unwilling to let go. I am tired of seeing the champions of capitalism buy influence and use it only to shore up their own position.

I am not trying to say that free markets should be replaced with some other system. I just think we need to recognize that it is not an ethical system and that in recognition of our common humanity, we must put safeguards in place to abolish exploitation.

Time to put my head back in the oven.

The National - Conversation 16

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Elsewhere. Day 4

There are things that make me remember my best friend growing up. She passed several years ago, but so many things bring her back, and sometimes very urgently. Today it was changing the sheets on the bed. I remember that when we were quite young she showed me how her dad had taught her to make nice corners with the sheet, which was something he had learned in the military. I remember being a bit incredulous that her dad would care what the corners looked like, especially since they were hidden under the bedspread. Of course, now I corner my sheets, but I don't do it ever without thinking about her.

I am getting the feeling of panic again - scratching at the mechanism that keeps time rolling forward. I haven't accomplished nearly enough this week. About the only thing I have accomplished has been giving my mind a couple of days of rest. I guess that's something.

On another note. I was talking with a couple of my students last week about music - and about how consistent the 80's 1-2 1-2 beat was, and how it lasted a whole decade, and how I did like it then, but I'm not thrilled to see it coming back en force. Why not have more bands like The National? With talented, inventive drummers? What? The world is short on talent?

Then pardon me while I enjoy the drumming here.

The National - Runaway

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Inspired - Day 3

Here is something good. I will resist my urge to pontificate about how this good thing came out of a time before too much standardized testing and I will just point out my awe that it is surviving, especially when 4th graders have a lot of testing on their plates.

John Hunter, Public School Teacher, on the World Peace Game

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lost in Thought...Day 2

Off to teach. A quick admission, though: I didn't get through half of that to-do list yesterday. I got caught up by a book...surprise surprise. Roots by Alex Haley.

Here's a gift for you!

Basia Bulat - If It Rains

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happiness Day 1

It is wonderful to look at a day from its beginning and find several tasks to be done but nothing scheduled - no rush to get here or there, just the leisure to complete things as I will. It's even more buttery to feel like this on a Monday.

Here are the things I need to do today:
  • go to the school to pick up the jump drive I left there last week
  • go to Trader Joe's for some groceries
  • run some mail to the post office
  • cook some pork chops for the freezer
  • correct some projects for the college class that I couldn't work on over the weekend because they are on the jump drive I left at the school
  • work on a unit planner that is seriously overdue, but that also requires that troublesome little jump drive
  • go outside for some air before the weather turns so humid I won't want to
  • clean a room of the house.
That last one is a daily goal for the break. Let's see how it goes. Honestly, if I can clean 3 or 4 I'll be happy.

Things I have already accomplished:
  • reading comic strips for the day
  • turning on some music
I guess I'll go get a shower.