Sunday, December 30, 2007

Restoration Hardware in my Pottery Barn

Ladies, I know this will come as no surprise to you, but gentlemen, make no mistake...Size does matter. Regardless of what you've heard, it's quite obvious that if you are a true American, you must aspire to have really big furniture. I mean overstuffed, bloated, sofas...
Immense dressers...

And dining room tables capable of hosting an entire Viking raiding party...

I don't mean to suggest that there's anything wrong with this. Oh, I could try to connect the dots. You know...Mass mailings of catalogs from companies like those mentioned in this post's title create a desire for the opulance and splendor of "The Wellington" or "The Turner" collection to fill bedrooms or dining rooms and thus people buy huge homes outside their means in order to accomodate the huge size of this furniture using tricky lending packages they really don't understand and which eventually end in foreclosure creating a crisis of national proportion.

No, I won't blame that crisis on companies like those named above. Furniture doesn't drive home sales, obviously. However, the standard of living suggested in the catalogs published by these companies is certainly not middle class, and yet, well...that's what really gets me. I mean, how did I end up on their mailing list? One would think that with all the access to information we have these days, companies would better target their mailing of glossy, clearly expensive catalogs by accessing home sales records and mailing only to those homes of 3000 square feet or more. And yet, here I sit with over 30 catalogs a year from no less than five different companies all of whom manufacture furniture so large it wouldn't even fit through my front door.

Of course, the size of the furniture isn't the only thing disproportionate about these pieces. Take a look at their prices???!! $179 for a measly nightstand? Did I miss something here? I mean, these are mass-produced pieces of furniture, right?? And if it's really big, it's probably "Assemble it yourself" quality.

Or maybe I'm just looking at this the wrong way. Maybe the furniture isn't bloated, immense, or obese. Maybe it's comfy, homey, roomy, enveloping, a bosom. That'd make sense. Most of us would like to nestle our heads back there again. Maybe if they sold it to me that way I'd like it better. Instead of naming their furniture lines after the blue-blooded, landed gentry who traipsed the English heather a century or so ago, why not anthropomorphize it?

Look at this:Now, that's comfy looking, homey. Why not say this sofa is from the "Buxom Chest" collection and comes only in "creamy milkmaid"? That seems reasonable and certainly helps me understand why I'd buy this sofa more than "The Charleston Collection."

Or what about this one:

In a nod to Monty Python, I'd say this couch is from the "Huge Tracts of Land" collection and comes in a beautiful "Bloody Lipstick." Again, at least I can see that, and laugh at it as I max out my credit card.

Or it's just me, right? It's my problem. I'm just a miserable old curmudgeon. (Is that redundant? Doubly so?) Sure, I could be envious of those who have "Huge Tracts of Land" and "Buxom Chests", but I truly think there's something more here. It's an entire American obsession with size. In our bodies, we want to be thin, trim, fit, but our appetites deny us this. The land of plenty is too much for us. We succumb to its cornucopias. Plates of food large enough for two people and then some. Cars the size of small busses. Movie theaters large enough to hold 24 screens (though said screens are barely bigger than a large screen TV). Acres of parking lots at malls the size of small townships. We have it all. But think about it. What do we do? We complain about it. "It's too crowded." "The food is bland." "The blindspot is too big." Or my favorite, spoken by an employee at a local Movie-emporium, "I hate working here."

I guess what I'd like to suggest is the tired epiphany that, bigger isn't better. (This post, big as it is, is an excellent example of that truism.) It doesn't make us any happier, more satisfied, or better fed. Although, sitting here in my small sofa with my wife's feet contending for space with this laptop...I guess a bigger sofa would make things a bit more comfy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I grow old, I grow old, /I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

When I was much younger than my current measure of 4 decades, I berated the generation ahead of me for their sleeper hold on the culture. I was tired of Gilligan's Island reruns, Grateful Dead shows, and Abbie Hoffman running around telling me I had to stick it to the man (rest in peace, Abbie). I was part of the ascendent culture and felt smothered, out numbered as we were, by the vast mass of humanity spawned by returning GIs. I recall reading an essay in Time magazine wherein the BabyBoomers were described as a neurotic generation for whom every twig they step on becomes fodder for a therapy session. How vindicated I felt. I was part of a valid culture that needed to be heard, and someone was hearing us.

So now, here I am, some twenty-years later watching David Byrne, one of the idols of my young adulthood, grey-haired now, diminuitive, and far more sedate on stage, crooning his way through one of the most beautifully sublime of all love songs, "Naive Melody." And what am I feeling...? Old! I want to drag the past into the future, grab the youth of today and expose them to the amazingness of Jonathan Demme's collaborative masterpiece, Stop Making Sense. I want to show them the brilliance of Byrne's performance there, his sublime dance with a floor lamp. I want to deny the Byrne of now and conjur the big-suited Byrne, pencil-necked Byrne, champion of all cultured nerds of the 80s.

Ah but christ sake! What does it matter? And who am I anyway, to inflict my culture, fading as it may be, upon the progenitors of tomorrows visions and art?

So you take a look. Compare the two versions, 20 years apart (or so). And then tell me I'm wrong, or at the very least, point me to something new to get my mind off this....


Oh, I should have been a pair of ragged claws/scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm da DJ AND the Rapper

So I went fishing today... searching through the deep pools of my musings and rants, just to see what I could catch that was worth keeping. I found this one. It's amazing what a little vitriol does for one's prose. Makes it all kicky and jumpy...full of energy, but not necessarily well reasoned arguments. Ah who cares! This is my entry into the world of hip-hop. Now I'm gonna go git me some old-school Adidas and a leather jacket. Run-DMC ain't got nothin' on me. Remember this is several years old, so you're going to have to go back to the memory banks for this one, circa 2005.

It goes a little something like this...

The president said something so profoundly stupid this past week as to make my jaw drop. So here goes. Hold on to your hats, cause...

"I'm gettin' ready to lay it down, whack the track
gonna blaze a trail to the truth they lack.
'Said I'm not bound in the red white and blue
Gotta be a part of the thinkin' man's crew, to
your father and to your mother
ride the wave of the evidence from one lie to another and
spinnin' words like I'm kickin' it, freestyle
a blaze of light, clearin' the haze for a thousand mile.
What I'm preachin' you shoulda gotten long agos
but the Media heads ' blowin' smoke out their assholes
consolidation good for the airwaves? etcetera
Easier to keep free speech in check that way, ha!
So I'm broadband-bringin' it, no holds barred
By ' time I'm done they'll be feathered and tarred.
Not enough to stop at excoriation
Gotta hold 'em accountable for the State of the Nation."

(Excoriation...State of the Nation--that's the best rhyme I've made in a very long time...just an aside.)


So if you watched the news, or read a paper this week, buried somewhere in all the reportage (that's the French pronunciation, please: re-por-TAJ) on Katrina was, probably, if your paper/news station isn't owned by Ruppert Murdoch or other FOBs (friends of Bush), a quote from the appointed president (yes, I'm still bitter about election 2000) about the good that will come out of this tragedy: "But out of this devastation we're going to make it [the gulf coast] even better than it was. Trent Lott's house was destroyed; it was a beautiful house. But we're going to build it back just the way it was and I look forward to sitting on the porch with him.

Here, on the gulf coast so thoroughly destroyed by the epic storm, George W. Bush reminds us once again of his pedigree. As if it were not reminder enough that his tax cuts benefit the rich. As if it were not enough that the head of FEMA (Michael Brown) and the heads of numerous other governmental agencies are members of Bush's circle of friends. As if his status as a fortunate son were not, in these words which, due to their utterly crass nature we can only assume were not scripted, he offered in his everything's-gonna-be-alright...Brownie's-doin'-a-heck-of-a-job voice, Bush finally lets us know, once and for all, where the common man stands in relation to him--far enough away so the president and friends won't hear us reminding them that their shit stinks, too.

Tens of thousands of poor and middle class American's lost their homes, utterly and entirely. And the good news from the president is that Trent Lott's gonna rebuild, better than ever (with money from FEMA??? Not that he doesn't deserve it, just asking. Though I hope it takes him just as long standing in line to get his $2000 handout. Ah cynacism.) and our president will be sitting right on "The Porch" with Trent when it's all done, grinnin' like a carpetbagger. Will Trent open his home to some of the people who lost their meager homes to the waters that spilled over and through the levees that received 35 million dollars less in funding than they were supposed to have received? (Where'd that money go...? Oh yeah, War.) Sure, I can see it now. Trent and the President serving over 1000 lemonades /hour to the poor and destitute who just want to share The Porch with Mr. Lott.

But I'm too sensitive. This isn't about the race card. Ok, so Trent and Bush are both rich, white southerners. And hey, I don't really have any evidence that either of them will turn away the poor and destitute who would like to share in the great good fortune of the privileged class. So let's look at the image from a symbolic sense. What meanings does the image of George and Trent kickin' back conjure??? Is it of two men relaxing after a day of "hard work?" Hardly. If you remember what the president told us during the last debates, "War is hard work," and George and Trent have not just returned from the streets of Falujha. Is it an attempt to harken back to a simpler time, the Rockwellian America where we all had front porches, where after the day was done we would gather with family and neighbors to share a sunset or watch the romping play of our next generation? Well, I'm guessing here, but I can't envision Trent's place being a simple single home on a tree-lined street where neighbors are just a "can I borrow a cup of sugar?" away. If they're on the porch watching the sunset, it's probably over acres of professionally landscaped ground secured by fences, walls, or other such means of privacy. Symbolically, all I can read in the image of George and Trent on the porch is largess, privilege, and a blithe indifference to the gulf that separates them from the common man.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on them. After all, this disaster touched so many. I should feel sorry for all of them. And I do, even Trent. I cannot imagine losing my home (even if it's not the only one I have). But I can't hold back. The flood of lies and deceit and bungled policies is just too much, and like an Orleanean levee, I'm broken. Because you see, what I'm talking about goes beyond Katrina. It goes to the heart of waging a war founded from the first on deception. It is the thing hiding in the shadow of the tax breaks for the rich. It lurks behinds the curtains of scripted press conferences and government manipulation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. What I'm suggesting here is that George W. Bush has done more harm to the American image in the world than any president since Nixon. Not only is this President's perspective of reality so off base as to qualify him as hallucinatory, but his vision is so skewed by nepotism, egotism, neoconservatism, anti " liberal--intellectualism " , religious fanaticism, and a host of other -isms as to make him a danger to our society and all we know. His poor planning has colored desert sands red with the blood of almost 2000 US servicemen and women and left thousands more fighting for a goal that is shifting and elusive. His hiring of officials is marred by graft, and his fiscal policy has turned him into the biggest spender in all US presidential history. Finally (and only so because I'm getting tired), because he has a tenuous grasp of the economic stratification that typifies urban America (which brings us back to the quote where this jeremiad started), he has widened the gap between the haves and the have nots in a Reganesque fashion, and given millions of middle-class Americans reason to doubt why we even try to move up a ladder withdrawing ever farther from our grasp.

But it is not enough to criticize with clever insight and pretty imagery. Something must be done. Ex post facto accountability will not suffice here. This government ought to be held accountable for all the lies, miscalculations, and doublespeak it has unleashed upon the public since the day it took office. The flooding in New Orleans aside, seeing Trent and George on That Porch ought to infuriate every single American who cares about justice, equality, due process, and our place in the world. The evidence speaks loudly. Write to your congress men. Rip into those who support the president. Destroy him on the grounds I list above (and all the acres of ground I left untilled (or maybe tilled in letters last year...or the year before)). Now is not the time for conciliatory attitudes or consensus. There can be no consensus when one party rules the Congress and is so thoroughly convinced of its monstrous philosophy of neo-conservatism. These neocons embody what Emile Chartier warned about: "Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it's the only idea you have." The danger here is that those who are possessed of the idea are the ones elected to rule over this great nation, and that danger reaches into every nook and cranny of our lives, our bodies and our minds. You should all be afraid. You should be very afraid. And the only way to relieve this fear is to fight it, to oust it from this Porch of noblese oblige.

So this evening if you have a porch, go out and sit on it, and look out into the night sky. In the context of the universe, your life is but a blip, an insignificant smudge of atoms brought together for an infinitesimal time. But in the history of human kind, you are an incredible conglomeration of atoms filled with a potential never before seen in the universe. You have a singular power and will whose limitations are only self-imposed. It does not matter if you write a congressman, post notes via e-mail, or organize picket lines and camp out at the president's vacation home. What does matter is that you do something. Remember Gandhi's sentiment: Whatever you do will, in the scheme of things, be insignificant. But it is very important that you do it. Let your porch be where it starts, and let "The Porch" be what you end.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Ok, so I don't think I want to say too much about this other than...

You read it.

Just when you though it was safe to go back into the water.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ann Coulter redux: How not to do journalism

It's not that I think I'm terribly observant. I mean, it's awfully simple to fault Ann Coulter for her sloppy journalism. It's not even that I think those who hear "the truth" in Coulter's writings ought to be sent back to high school, or at least be required to take a test in which they are asked to clearly identify black and white. Rather, it's because I think Coulter deserves to be called on the carpet (along with those on the opposite side of the spectrum who practice shoddy journalism) that I point you today to a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer's "Currents" section. Mark Bowden, coauthor of Blackhawk Down (originally a piece of outstanding journalism published by the Philadelphia Inquirer before being turned into a book), attempts to clear his name after Coulter printed factually incorrect statements regarding his statements on US involvement in Iraq.

As I noted above, such sloppy journalism is not the sole province of Coulter and the right. It is present, too much so nowadays, on the left as well as the right. Coulter, however, is a huckster of such rotten fruits of labor that one ought, at all costs, avoid puchasing any of her wares.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Umm...This is a sales pitch?

Ok, so I really don't want to talk politics on this blog, but is it me, or is the new "plan" solve the mess in Iraq, which the president has referred to as "Return on Success". . . is this for real? "Return on Success?" The rationale is that the more success we achieve in Iraq, the more soldiers we can send home. Right...doesn't the same thing happen when you win the war or achieve victory over your foe?

So how does success differ from winning the war, and how does winning the war differ from victory? "Victory in Iraq," which was the prevailing rhetoric and defined the mission there, has disappeared from the administration's lexicon. Now, it's about "return on success."

God! I feel so stupid. I think there's an "Interminable Idiocy Field" that radiates from Washington, DC and it must be growing, because it's almost reached us here in a Collegeville, PA. This will all end soon, right. Tell me it will, please? Mommy?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Everlasting Life: To Sekou Sundiata

Some eight years ago I took a rag-tag group of brilliant, rebellious, artistic, marvelous students to the Geraldine R. Dodge poetry festival at Waterloo Village, NJ. It was my third trip to the biennial event, but my first with students. In preparing the agenda for the day, some of my students noted the presence of a poet, muscian, and all around performer named Sekou Sundiata. (He was also a teacher at the New School for Social Research--students included Mark Doughty of Soul Coughing and Ani DiFranco). While we didn't get to see Sekou Sundiata that day, I soon after purchased a copy of his recording longstoryshort. I was hooked. His ear for the musicality of language, his rhythm and timing (is that "flow?") . . . if Jazz were words, this is what it sounded like. In his theater pieces, he mixed poetry, music, drama, and image into a carnival of histories, both personal and national. Indeed, his most recent theatrical work, The 51st Dream State was exactly that. (You may need to sign up for NYTimes website in order to read that article.) You can see a sample at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The last time I heard Sekou Sundiata was in September of 2006 during his appearances at that year's Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. In what was the most remarkable event I've ever seen at the poetry festival, Sekou teamed up with fellow poet and Kora player Kurtis Lamkin in an improvisational celebration called "Everlasting Life." To Kurtis's Kora playing, these men wove a tapestry of lines from their poems and improvisations. The atmosphere itself became a liquor of poetry, intoxicating all of us in the tent. What flavor it was only we knew. You had to be there because it was, as all things of supreme beauty, ephemeral. It is gone, and sadly, so is Sekou.

Sekou Sundiata died on July 18, 2007. He left behind him a body of challenging work in a myriad of media, and a voice that sounded of lazy city streets on humid summer afternoons . . . a voice that just won't leave my head.

In addition to those links above, check out:

The Blue Oneness of Dreams

Audio Clip

In Memorium

Sekou on Fresh Air--interview or Remembrance


And then, these incantations from You Tube:

And this one...

You'll also find him in Bill Moyers' book based about poetry at the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival, The Language of Life, which seems to be where most people found out about him.


New American Theater

Come on and Bring on the Reparations

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gogol Bordello

Ok, so only a few words here. Gogol Bordello rocks with the kind of smart, witty, punk sensibility that used to warrant the best of The Dead Kennedys, sans all the self-important political posturing of Jello Biafra. That's not to say that GB's front man Eugene Hutz doesn't have anything important to say. It's simply to note that he lets the music and his manic presence on stage speak. This is punk at its best. No didacticism, just ragged licks, wicked beats, and passionate performance...No! It's even better than that, 'cause it has accordion and gypsy sensibility. If you start to listen, you should listen all the way through, otherwise they might just curse you and your first born child.

NPR has a great interview with Eugene Hutz and you can download a GB concert at their "all songs considered" podcast. (There's a link off the NPR Summer Concert series story under the link to the Fresh Air interview.

NPR and Gogol Bordello.

Teaching, Learning and Jazzing on the Standards Movement

(Here's another manifestino from my classroom blog. "Stop me, oh ho ho stop me/Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before." My apologies to The Smiths.)

I’ve chosen a title here that I’ve used before, and I’ll admit, it’s not original. I first encountered the analogy between teaching and jazz in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer several years ago. I had just begun to sound the depths of Miles, Coltrane, Bird, Ella, Lady Day . . . all the jazz greats, and the analogy sounded so apt to me. In the years since, I’ve found nothing that can touch the appropriateness of that analogy, especially with the advent of NCLB and the standards movement. Jazz music has standards, too, but no one interpretation of a standard is the same as another. Jazz is rhythm--lively, original, pulsing, moving rhythm. Oh! if only the masters of the standards movement understood such a thing. But they don’t, and so instead of classrooms with teachers who devise themes, set tempos and then guide the students through improvisations on vital rhythms, we get monotone, mechanical, classrooms filled with the sounds and voices of neutered storm troopers--stillborn music, dumb, mute, ordinary. It’s the perfect tune for an outdated metaphor of education. This is the music of the assembly line model of education. I had hoped it had died after the revolutionary work of the 60’s, but it’s back. Now conducted by the maestros of capitalist conformity, education becomes the factory for standardized groupthink, churning out production-line models of a proletariat weaned on “proficiency." When we allow business and its drive for accountability to become the impetus for education, when success is measured in dollar signs, when we go to school to get a job and not an education...when we do those things, we bury our humanity, our opportunity to transmit what is good and right about our civilization. Certainly there is an economic purpose to education in a capitalist democracy. But economies are selfish, wanting only to feed themselves, and they are ignorant of the socializing, democratizing, humanizing functions of education. Fear of a US decline as a world economic power has given rise to a system of education driven by accountability, standardization, and false promises of wealth and independence for those wiling to play by the rules of a game whose goals they can’t even begin to divine. (Explanation for that statement would take too long. Understand it as yet another riff on the ulterior motives of the standardized test movement. If you want more, however, read Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind. It's a brilliant synthesis of just what the looming "conceptual age" has in store for us and why standardization and testing is, for the most part, wrong.)

I’ve been here before, and if you’ve read things I’ve written, you’ve been here with me, but few things need such a pounding as this. What we’re perpetrating upon students is the ruin of imagination, curiosity, wonder, and joy. There is a pleasure to finding things out, to discovering. Why else would we leave our homes in search of better lives, new lands, adventures, opportunities? ‘Makes me think of Miles Davis’ classic album, Kind of Blue. Miles and his band walk into a studio and start improvising, discovering, riffing, playing off each other, learning from each other, discovering where the music can take them. It is pure, unadulterated discovery. It is life. Where in school is there room for such opportunities when we are driven by standards, when joy takes a back seat to mandates, when the motivational drive of new discovery is stalled by the weight of what’s been discovered? (I’m mixing metaphors and catapulting new conceits--jazz, assembly lines, cars??? Forgive me...I’m improvising here.)

And what of us, the teachers? Where do we get off leading our students to the drudgery of the days spent advancing towards the ends already defined for them? Forget for a moment the crimes against humanity committed upon the future of this country. Why is there not an uproar from our ranks for the crimes committed against us? When teaching becomes standardized, we become automatons, our professional certificates worth no more than the paper on which they are printed. Wither our creative drive? We demean ourselves when we accept that we are merely robots who run programmed curricula. At that point, our presence, our knowledge is reduced to admonishing those who won’t “Buckle Down,” and to coercing compliance through fear of failure. Would that we had taken our own Hippocratic oath to do no harm, because I can’t find any good in the medicine we’re making these kids swallow. How many times have I heard, “Study Island? That’s just one less lesson for me to worry about teaching.” (Study Island is a test prep "drill and kill" computer program mandated for all students in my school.) I’ve said it myself, and now, in retrospect, I wish I’d been shot for it. Such abdication of my roll is treasonous to the cause of education.

I might be off the deep end in my thoughts, I know, and perhaps I’m spending quite a bit of time in left field. But the deep waters hold mysteries, and what emptiness and idle times left field affords in this age where all policy makers push the ball to right field brings a peace and clarity to my understanding which my vitriol belies. Still, shouting, screaming, why aren’t more of us doing it? NCLB, standardized testing...we are witnessing the murder of the art of teaching at the hands of these, their knives slipped slowly into the heart of each and every one of us...and no one screams. What horror when we assist our own murders? What horror when we ourselves silence the music of discovery?

If you’ve read this far, perhaps you’ll tackle this article.

The author delves deeper into the analogy between teaching & learning and Jazz. His insights should inform us all.

And finally, if you’ve not read it, get yourself a copy of Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s seminal text, Teaching as a Subversive Activity. We need more voices like their’s today. I’ll be writing more on that book in a later post. (Maybe)

As Sylvester used to say, "That's Dissssthpicabble": On Ann Coulter and Crititainment.

Here's something I posted back around the beginning of August on the blog for my classroom. I'm moving it here 'cause I don't really think kids give a hoot about Ann it should be.

Now I hope you’ve had your breakfast a long time ago, ‘cause this piece by Ann Coulter is enough to make you chuck your Cheerios.

So let me first say that as a teacher of English and as a coach of debate, Ann Coulter has a distinct voice. That’s something I look for in good writing and something a debater has to have in order to sway judges sentiment. But let me also say that Ann’s writing is technically unsound, filled with unwarranted assertions and given to easy barbs and just outright mean-spirited attempts at humor. Some of her ilk might call that “satire”, but if that’s satire, then I know plenty of high school students who can easily sling the muck with more verve and panache than this tired and worn harpy. She stereotypes, generalizes, and otherwise uses a broad brush to paint her skewed picture of the world. You want satire, then go to Johnathan Swift. At least his barbs are secured to the polychromatic real world rather than the monochrome visage of an ideologue. I could go on, but it just gets ridiculous and I’ve not the energy nor the time to waste. Suffice it to say that I’m damned scared that there are people out there who say that Ann “speaks the truth."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Remembering is just a great trick of the mind..."

The title of this post comes from a great book for young teens called Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick. In the book, two misfits find each other, go on quests, encounter danger . . . basically all the motifs of American fiction you'd find in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn . But it's new, and fresh, and, at least for boys, it's a great read.

Anyway, one of the main characters, Freak, tells his friend, Max, that "Remembering is just a great trick of the mind, and if you try hard enough, you can remember just about anything." I've always found that interesting, especially given that eyewitness testimony can sometimes be unreliable for just this very reason.

So here's the hard segue into today's topic--human memory. In terms of science, you really can't beat the lab of the modern neuroscientist for a place to find people searching for the holy grail of human existence, at least in a biological sense. What is consciousness? How do we recognize faces? Why do we react to music so profoundly? Such marvelous questions and all the study focused on this grapefruit sized organ encased in our skulls. You'll do yourself a world of good if you read this series of four articles from the LA Times.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I like them...a lot. This one is about a half mile off the eastern bank of the Hudson river, about 2 miles south of Bard College.

I'm working on a book about them.

I'm working on a lot of things.

Aren't we all?

Another Blog O'mine

About a year ago I started cooking up a website with iWeb on my powerbook. While I wish I could code html, it's been way too long since I took a course in html and I figured I'd avail myself of the wonderful products Apple has made available to make me a more productive person.

So here's my other website. It's specific for my class at Perkiomen Valley Middle School East and requires a user id and password. The blog is also specific, mostly to the arts, education, and the convergence of the two.

Creative Expressions

You'll need a username and password to access it. If you'd like that, just e-mail me. However, please be aware that any of the artwork on the site, especially that work contained in pictures of students at the Berman Museum of Art is covered by all appropriate intellectual property law and copywrites. No one may appropriate those images for their own use.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Big Styrofoam Things?

So welcome to the first post in what I hope to be a blog that examines the small things in life as well as those things that just irk me. Just like big styrofoam things.

So you may be asking, "Big styrofoam things?" The explanation is simple. Purchase a new stereo, a computer, anything really that is in someway fragile and along with your purchase you'll receive big styrofoam things. On one hand, they're so important. Their purpose is obvious, and for the most part they perform their jobs admirably. On the other hand, they irk me. What do I do with them afterwards? If I give them to my kids, I find polystyrene fragments all over the place. Recycling them in my area is difficult (though not impossible). And then there's the fact that Dow Chemical has the trademark on the "Styrofoam" brand name of polystyrene. That irks me.

"Big Styrofoam Things" is also the name of the fictional band my college buddy and former roomate, David Wannop (aka "Dave Gold"), and I decided to form during a late night radio show we hosted at Temple University's Ambler Campus. The band remains imaginary, but if it were ever to come to fruition, it would probably look something like Hurra Torpedo.

And that should be enough to give you some idea of what I'm talking about here. If not, then check back. Something else is bound to show up.

Topics for this site include but would never be limited to:

Education (I am a teacher).
HS Lincoln Douglas debate
Art of all types
Information about the human brain

and so....