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Month: April, 2015

Lady Day at 100

If only the world could’ve been better around her, shine on Lady Day, shine like the sun.

Good morning, Universe

i forgot the month of my birth is now dedicated as Poetry Month. What an art form poetry is, put it to music and it can warm the soul whilst reaching out to billions. Speak it softly and let the words flow through you for an enlightening experience. Simple words, complex rhythms or just the drumming of fingers on wood to keep time. How you listen, or read it, whatever works for you makes the pleasure personal. You will never understand the muse which gave rise to the words in that order being put down on the page. Everyone, including the author, will get a different meaning from the words used. This makes poetry personal and unique to the beholder. A much maligned art form in recent years it has been making a comeback of late. We have seen an influx of poets coming through taking the art form back to basics, giving it a beat and allowing the poet to shine like a star.

Rap, hip hop, call it what you will, the best is simply poetry given a beat and the worst? Well, as always that will disappear up its own tailpipe. Hasn’t it always worked that way?

There is crying in science. That’s okay.

Tears and crying can be a good release for passionate feelings. This moved me so I hope you have the tissues handy.

The Two-Sentence View of History

History teaches nothing if we brush our past under the rug.

An Indigenous History of North America

I’ve been reading a lot of accounts recently that argue indigenous people asserted much more control over many areas of the continent into the 19th century than modern people usually assume (check out The Native Ground by Kathleen DuVal or An Infinity of Nations by Michael Witgen, not to mention Hamalainen’s Comanche Empire) and I got to thinking about the response my post about the teaching of Native history received.

One of the most common responses was along the lines of “Well, Native Americans didn’t contribute much to history anyway, they didn’t do much important, it’s sad but they were basically just wiped away by Europeans.” There is an incredible amount of hindsight bias in that kind of thinking. When you are living in a society in a time where Native people have been very carefully thrust out of view, it is easy to see the dominance of European-descendants as an inevitable…

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We Don’t Need No Thought Control

We are failing our youth, this means we’re failing ourselves and the rate of failure is growing exponentially with every passing nanosecond.

A Buick in the Land of Lexus

we-dont-need-no-thought-contro

Our kids are in CRISIS.

I work with teenagers in an affluent suburban area.

They don’t comprehend what they read. They use calculators to multiply 10 x 10. The average high school junior has no clue what the word “diligent” means.

They write essays resembling those of a 5th grader. About how Albert Einstein discovered electricity.

In tests administered in reading, science and math to 15 year-olds globally, we are behind TWENTY NINE countries in math. And our kids’ performance in reading and science is  not much better. And yet, American investment in education is unrivaled, globally.

Are you scared yet?

We lead the world in the consumption of illegal recreational drugs. And one of the chief sales outlets?

Our SCHOOLS.

Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world.

EVERY DAY there are over 5,400 suicide attempts by kids in grades 7 – 12.

NOW are you scared?

The two places teenagers…

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Search and rescue

There is a moral in here, if you look for it. There are no wrong answers…

candidkay

My mother, when she was dying, said to me, “There are no wrong answers, Kris.”

She was speaking from the vantage point of someone who has nothing left to lose. Someone with the luxury of looking back on a life filled with worry about making the right choices and realizing, in the end, most of those choices become irrelevant.

I was torn between staying at her bedside and going back to Chicago to take care of my kids. I felt I did not have a choice. My kids needed me. I was the glue in our household. But my mother needed me also.

Recently, I was worrying about the right job, the right parenting, the right financial and life decisions. As I’m sure many of you do. Few of us are immune to trying to game the system for the best results.

choices, options, alternativesIn most situations, you can stay put until…

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Our generation did not invent political correctness, but we can fight it

Claire Lehmann

Political correctness is not a new phenomenon. The fact is that many dangerous questions are currently walled off by the baby boomers who dominate our universities (and large sectors of the media). Today’s culture war likes to scapegoat young people for the rise of the illiberal Left, but the responsibility really lies with the generation who came before us.

Each one of us has the ability to generate a hypothesis. A hypothesis simply comes from asking a question about the world and then using our imaginations to answer it. Almost every advance in human history first came from a person willing to look at the world, or the status quo, from a different angle. But if questions and hypotheses are going to have any impact they must be articulated. Questions have to come out of our minds and into the world around us.

The problem with P.C. is that it…

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Domestic Violence & The NFL: Five Things Roger Goodell Needs to Know

This is so true and domestic violence is on the increase in so-called civilised Western Society. We have to help the victims not give in to the perpetrators.

Sad but true: Childhood bullying is a good preparation for cycling on England’s roads

So true, bullying can never be justified!

Helen Blackman

As a schoolchild I was subjected to some horrendous bullying for the crime of being (drrrrumroll) ginger. Explaining this, as an adult, it’s not unusual for other adults to ask why I didn’t just dye my hair, which amazes me because even at the age of 11 I had worked out that the problem wasn’t me being ginger. The problem was other people’s attitudes to me being ginger and those attitudes would have become more entrenched, not less, if I had dyed my hair brown. By the time I was in my teens I had worked out that it was important not to change but to maintain my appearance. If people rejected me because of the colour of my hair they weren’t worth knowing. As a reason for discriminating against someone, this was less than skin deep.

There is no doubt that the bullying scarred me. I attribute much of…

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The Finger, or “Bird Is the Word”

A potted history of how to get away with telling someone to “fuck off” without using words!

Strong Language

Nixon did it, and so did Kennedy. George W. Bush has been caught numerous times on tape grinning broadly and flashing what he called the “one-finger salute.” It has been described as “flipping someone off” or “giving someone the bird,” but when it comes right down to it, the gesture of raising the middle finger ultimately translates as “fuck you!” Every nation has its own array of verbal assaults, but they also have their arsenal of insulting gestures as well. In the United States, the ubiquitous finger is our call to arms. Unlike swearing aloud, which is based upon actual words with specific meanings, gestures are purely visual, and the finger has a kind of inherent meaning that words don’t have. In our case, the raised finger was initially most likely meant to resemble the erect penis, with the tucked-under fingers as testicles. As obvious as this may be, few…

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