Archive for the ‘Family and Friends’ Category

Passionate Students

May 21, 2008

The parent of a first-year St. John’s College student reflects on a breakfast with friends and gives great praise to the students and method.

Campaign Attack Was Mild

April 2, 2008

Al Wynn lost his re-election bid for Maryland’s 4th District where he served since 1992. This campaign cartoon from the victorious challenger Donna Edwards looks more accurate as Wynn left Congress early and took a corporate lobby position. Thanks for the memories, Al, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Oh, but wait, Al is gonna hang around in Congress a few more months. This is unprecedented even among the most blatant of revolving door Congress members.  Donna, you couldn’t come soon enough.

Grandma Gets Worms

February 20, 2008

On my daily walk I passed an older neighbor poking the leaves on her porch steps with a stick. Odd, I thought. “Finding any worms,” I inquired randomly. She turned toward me with her left hand open, smiling, and replied, “My grandson has turtles.”

Bricks in the Backyard

February 5, 2008

I made the local news along with my house mate Friday night when the house behind us began to fall apart in a major way. Some loud work over the weekend to bring the rest of it down.  We’re concerned they’re not following EPA lead and dust rules but our fence will be rebuilt soon. No one lived there for 2 years.

Annual Thinking (pt. 1)

January 3, 2008

Pat Deneen’s unique blog celebrates one year. An active political theorist (in terms of publication, speaking and arranging lectures) Deneen today gives a wonderful reflection of the turn of the (Gregorian) calendar. In “Keeping Time” he notes that this turn of the numerical year encourages one of the rare moments for the democratic soul, characterized by a dismissal of the past, acting without concern for the future and bent on rendering daily and seasonal rhythms meaningless, to ponder the nature of time.He writes movingly about the process of heating his home on Dec 31:

The day is marked out by intervals when the stove needs to be fed as the previous load fades to embers. Each piece of wood is the presence of the past in my hands. In passing I’ll think of its past as a tree, the accumulation of seasons of sunlight and rain, of ground and air. At times I lift a piece of wood whose shape or markings bring back to mind the day I split it (invariably, I remember the wood with knots or with twisted grain over which I spilled not a little sweat.

I am reminded of the heat and smell of the bonfire of fallen branches and trimmed hedges we do each year at our family place in Pennsylvania. Deneen connects this sensory appreciation with the “political of daily life”(the blogs subtitle):

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In The Meantime

December 18, 2007

In naming this blog I reflected the current status of my life — hopeful but woefully connected. When I wrote the phrase I was immediately reminded of this book of the same title. A friend shared moving passages she’d underlined while we dined at Kramerbooks & Afterwords. My sister mentioned a few weeks ago this blog’s title is also the name of a popular 1990s song by Spacehog. I was reminded of the song when I saw a few of the 100 Greatest Videos of the 1990s.

(Lyrics below the fold)

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Lists Order Reality

December 15, 2007

Ok, perhaps I should just do a top lists of the week entry, but it’s too late. Here’s one from Cracked Magazine, the ugly step-sister to Mad Magazine. Both often accompanied me on long family car trips as a child. Cracked.com is the ruler of lists and this one will warm the hearts of my fellow Gen Xers.

The 10 Most Terrifyingly Inspirational ’80s Songs

Africa: Global Leader in Fractals and Source of Digital Computing

December 14, 2007

Ever play Mancala as a kid? I did at my friend Topher’s house. It turns out the game (also called Oware or Bao) is connected to mathematical training, specifically in the field of fractals.

This 15 minute clip includes math concepts beyond mortals like you and me. However, it’s an amazing speech that we can all follow. Take the time. The speaker is an ethno- mathematician and is engaged with projects to teach math to US students.  Studies includes insights into hair braiding, break dancing and basket-weaving.  More info on the speaker here, here and here.

Learn more about and play the Mancala game here.