Wednesday Assigned Reading

  1. Is this what happens when everyone moves to the same place?
  2. Before you move there, you should know TX schools dare not take a position on the Holocaust. Thanks KN.
  3. Against alcohol.

Wednesday Required Reading

  1. Social-emotional learning for school principals.
  2. Depression is complicated.
  3. Newberg school board adopts policy banning Pride, Black Lives Matter symbols in classrooms. There are no moderates in Oregon, just lefties and righties.
  4. How much would your favorite classical composers have earned on Spotify?
  5. The digital death of collecting.
  6. Burned out? Maybe you should care less about your job. 

Sentence To Ponder

“Immigrants have been awarded 38%, or 40 of 104, of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine and physics since 2000.” 

And 35% since 1901.

Ever considered that instead of endangering us, maybe immigrants are improving and extending our lives? Share this factoid the next time a janky politician broadcasts their racist/nationalist fearmongering.

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Whose Laughing Now?

When I was conceived, God went through his check list. When he got to “ears?” I thought he said “beers” and asked for “two large ones”.

Consequently, as a child, after moms took me to the barber, people would say I “looked like a taxi cab going down the street with its doors open.” 

Fast forward to the global ‘pan. Look who can hang their mask on their ear when walking between classes. Meanwhile, all the sad sacks who made fun of me sticking theirs in their sorry pockets.

Whose laughing now suckers?! 

Monday Required Reading and Listening

The semester is in full swing. Time to raise your game.

  1. Our high-speed transport future. Doubt I’ll live long enough to find out if it’s 670 (Branson) or 760 (Musk) miles per hour.
  2. And the future of weight-loss.
  3. How to help kids struggling with their mental health.
  4. The best young adult author going explains how to connect with kids through the written word.
  5. China’s Hot New Rental Service: Men Who Actually Listen. Groovy, we’re trending.
  6. Astute Ryder Cup analysis you’ve been clamoring for. I hope the U.S. hasn’t “ushered in a new era”. I prefer my Ryder Cups like I do the Good Wife, close.

Kharma’s A Bitch (E)

In case you don’t listen to hip-hop, (E) signifies “explicit” so if profanity offends you, move on to your next favorite blog. You’ve been warned.

Wednesday night broke perfect for a shortish ride before the ever earlier sunset. No sunscreen required, a tinge of fall in the air, I decided to weave my way around North Olympia with its blessed absence of stop lights. Twenty five miles, zero stoplights, put that in your pipe and smoke it you sad sack urbanities.

To the guy on East Bay Drive with the big ass battery pack who passed me like I was standing still, fuck you and your cheater bike. I’m sure it felt good to whizz pass my sad sack human powered self, just like it feels good to cheat on your tax return. Electric bikes are fine for the elderly, the impaired, anyone with swollen balls, but you looked like a perfectly able middle aged dude, so fuck you.

Fast forward five miles. Starting to pick up speed on Lemon Rd thanks to what’s now a tailwind, when lo and behold, I notice someone on my wheel. I nod hello and Eric pulls aside me in his vintage 1992 Lemond “steel is real” steed. And like two testosterone addled MAMILS (middle aged men in lycra) we hit Lemon street HARD. Eric no doubt thinking about my carbon fiber frame and electronic shifting exactly like I thought about Mr. Battery’s bike. “Fuck you Mr. Modern Technology,” he seemed to say with each pedal stroke.

Which, of course, I wholeheartedly deserved. At least I pay all of my taxes.

Netflix’s ‘The Chair’

Six very short episodes totaling three hours. Final grade, ‘A’. It’s the story of a newly appointed Chair of an English department at a fictional “near Ivy”. The larger stories are the corporatization of higher education, the declining status of the humanities, and the rising tide of social media-based groupthink among (many) students.

The filmmakers hit the elderly/senile/tenured faculty especially hard and it’s always hilarious. Sandra Oh is excellent as the besieged Chair, but her adopted daughter may be even better. Kids are usually filler, but she’s a complex, edgy, thoughtful human just in smaller form. Other filmmakers take note. 

The contrast between the young hip prof and the one well past his expiration date missed the essential element of excellent teaching—the degree and thoughtfulness with which students engage directly with one another. Had I consulted, I would’ve recommended substituting more poetry class-like dialogue for the Hamilton-like performance which was far fetched. Partial credit for that vignette though because with the exception of this all time great teaching film, t.v. and film teachers are almost always center stage. 

We don’t go to sporting contests to watch coaches. We don’t go to symphony concerts to (just) watch composers. So why do filmmakers take us into classrooms to primarily watch and listen to teachers? The answer of course is because way, way too many teachers talk way, way too much. And that teacher-centered model has seeped into our consciousness to the point that it’s rarely questioned.

Postscript: Clearly, no sophomore slump for Ted Lasso. Still so well written. A wonderful mix of intelligence, humor, and humanity.