My college journalism professor decried the birth of USA Today and its “circus spread” style of layout or design. This format, he explained in disgust, spelled the doom of modern civilization, because it showed the strength of television’s influence over newspaper. Television turned the news into a circus. I lasted only a semester as a journalism student. My professor’s point makes sense, though. Media inherit aspects of their previous forms, finding “shape” for them, as Marshall McLuhan was quick to point out. I remembered the “circus spread rant” when I bought my first copy of Generation X by Douglas Coupland. The book’s shape is decidedlyRead More →

Charter schools. They are a bad business model for education. Let’s pretend for a minute that I have no ideological, ethical, or professional investment in keeping education free from the marketplace paradigm. It’s an awfully big suspension of disbelief, true. Let’s pretend that the nation is on the same page about getting our kids an education, and we are deeply honest about looking for solutions to a broken system. In true problem-solving mode, then, everything should go on the table for exploration. That includes evaluating charter schools openly from within its own framework. The argument supporting charter schools depends on the analogy that education isRead More →

Yesterday when I just woke up and was early morning cat-napping, I got a text from someone asking my opinion about a project. I was excited about it, and we exchanged some ideas through texts. I got a “grand idea” that was too complicated to explain in texts. I texted her that I would email her to explain if she would give me a minute. She laughed and said, “Why don’t you just call me instead?” It’s a smart PHONE! Not a smart texting device. A PHONE! It can be used for things besides games, Facebook, and texting. Like CALLING PEOPLE. Donna Haraway, my favoriteRead More →

Viewing Obama’s victory on television was eye opening because it showed how much I’ve let the birthers, Tea Partiers, and 1% define my reality. On Tuesday night I watched Fox News because that is who I wanted to narrate my election returns. Call me a masochist. I couldn’t find the Fox station – a funny commentary on my news viewing habits, since I have no problems finding the channel for other shows. I settled on MSNBC. Love that Rachel. I never doubted that Romney would prevail because I’m that jaded. I lost hope early in this election. At 10:00ish on election night, I was explainingRead More →

Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom toRead More →

Last night I attended the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in the New Orleans Arena. After seeing Los Lonely Boys at the House of Blues in NOLA, my ears hurt for two days. This is the product of living with a rock band practicing in my living room every day as a child and attending too many concerts for forty years thereafter. I decided to wear earplugs last night. I need to protect my hearing because I am losing it. My father lost his. My generation is post-Beatles, post-Elvis. I did not live in a world without Rock and Roll. Perhaps there are other generation-relatedRead More →

Can feminists own guns? Here are some slightly modified excerpts of a Facebook chat conversation between a former student of mine and me. The student has extensive military experience and gave me advice once about the Kid and the Marines. He also met the Kid once. This FB conversation was prompted by a speech in class delivered by a different student on the subject of AK-47s. Me: Did I tell you what my niece told me about the Zombie Apocalypse? Him: We always need new recruits for the apocalypse. Me: She told me that she and her boyfriend actually discussed leaving me behind in theRead More →

It is news to no one that our homes, like our bodies, can be metaphors for our psyches. My deep need to keep and remodel my home after my divorce came from having been dis-lodged so many times  in my life. I counted my moves and I have averaged once per 16 months until I moved into my current residence, where I dwell. The Occupy Movement coincided with my divorce. At the time, I began to ponder the concept of ontological homelessness and how our country’s housing crisis has caused a literal and figurative state of homelessness which has deep implications for our cultural psyche.Read More →

Stealth texting or crotch texting in class. What a nightmare. I can’t make up my mind about permitting mobile devices and other technology in class. Even though I geek out over the latest tech toys, my class policy alternates every semester. Lately, my approach has been NO DEVICES whatsoever (without a disability services accommodation letter). This works best when students hear a thorough explanation and rationale. Unfortunately, last year I decided to “flip” some classes, creating situations where students need tech for activities, and causing a quandary. So, here’s my general NO TECHNOLOGY approach: Students get upset when it comes to outlawing technology in theRead More →

Nigerian scams fascinate me. Due to my recent life circumstances, their mutations surround me. I posted on Craigslist because I want to rent out a room, only to discover the barrage of roommate scams. I joined Match.com (yes, ..oy), which is a veritable cesspool of scammers. Nigerian Scam vs. Spanish Prisoner Saying scammers come out like bugs in the night has disturbing racial overtones. Why did “Nigerian scam” stick instead of “Spanish Prisoner”? Nigerian scams, perpetuated by actual Nigerians but by others too, are more recent than others, and therefore the name is more relevant. Also, people today probably don’t resonate with the idea ofRead More →