Monthly Archives: May 2008

Journey Through the Center of the Earth

TelectroscopeIf someone finally figured out how to dig a hole to China, or to London in this case, and you could be seen through a giant underground telescope on the other side, what would you do for your trans-Atlantic audience? Would you have a message to write on a big posterboard? A flag to wave? Would you use sign language? Blow a kiss? Think fast. You only have until June 15 to go to Paul St. George’s Telectroscope on the Fulton Ferry Landing by the Brooklyn Bridge or to the one on the other side by London’s Tower Bridge on the Thames.

I saw an old man in a Sherlock Holmes hat (I assume he was in London) do a little dance in front of the Telectroscope, kicking his legs out and waving his arms. This was on the news, so maybe that’s why he was hamming it up. But it also struck me that it was as if he thought this was a fleeting opportunity to test technology’s latest limits, in which he needed to be as “big” as possible to be understood. Like when people talked way too loud on their newfangled cordless phones and even louder into their poor cell phones. Or a more apt comparison– when film was first invented and silent movie actors had only their bodies to convey plot, emotion, character. The same must be used for our audience of strangers on the other side of the ocean, who can’t hear us but can see us surprisingly clearly.

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Filed under All The World, Art, Science & Technology

Everybody's Free To Feel Good

Instead of having you listen to me babble today, I am going to let you inside my head in a different way. For the past two days, I have been playing this song over and over. I find tremendous comfort in the words. Somehow it releases me, gives me perspective and helps me get out of my own way. Granted, it’s a bit “deep thoughts,” but hey, I never pretended to be above the cheese factor.

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Filed under Art, Music, Therapy Thursdays, Writing

The Pill: Help Write its History

Check out this call from our very own Daniel May’s amazing, amazing mother. Her hilarious bio:

Elaine Tyler May grew up in Los Angeles and now teaches at the University of Minnesota. She was twelve years old in 1960 when the Pill was approved by the FDA. Although not yet old enough for the event to have any personal significance for her, she was already interested in the subject because her father was one of the clinical researchers who helped develop the Pill, and her mother was a founder of free birth control clinics in Los Angeles. In spite of her later efforts at responsible use of contraception, she is the mother of three offspring.

And the query:

Dear Friends (and friends of friends…),

The Pill is often considered one of the most important innovations of the twentieth century. As I investigate this claim for a new book—set for release on the 50th anniversary of the Pill’s FDA approval (Basic Books, 2010)—I’m looking to include the voices and stories of real people. I hope yours will be one of them. Continue reading

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Filed under General, Generation Overwhelmed

Anti-Racist Toddlers

Today, I read on Resist Racism about schools in Glasgow, Scotland, that are introducing anti-racism curriculum in nursery schools, for children as young as three years old. From the Evening Times article:

Research shows racist attitudes can be picked up by children as young as two. A similar programme in 170 city primary schools in 2005 led a slight drop in the number of racism incidents.

I’m delighted by this tidbit, particularly because of the disturbing news out of Iowa last week, where 297 illegal immigrants were sentenced to at least five months’ jail time, followed by deportation, for getting jobs at a meatpacking plant with false documents. This was the largest raid by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on a single workplace in U.S. history.

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Filed under Beauty in a Wicked World, Education, In The News, Race

Attention and Intention

I’ve been thinking quite a bit–as usual–about the pace of our lives and the ways in which we have to choose clarity. My column over at The American Prospect Online this week is on the topic–specifically looking at the problematic laptop use in classrooms as a window into the ways in which we all play victim to technology’s incessant invasion into our lives. Hint: It’s not the technology. It’s you.

But I’ve also had a real revelation because I spent the entire week lamping in the sun and shade of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. No email. No laptop. No cell phone. No communication other than the direct–facing another human being in the (sometimes sun burned) flesh. Continue reading


Filed under General, Generation Overwhelmed

The Land Of Opportunity

We’re coming off another wartime Memorial Day Weekend, and today, President Bush and Senator McCain are defending their opposition to new G.I. Bill legislation that passed in the Senate last week. The bi-partisan bill promises to restore veterans’ educational benefits to levels found in the original G.I. Bill, which famously opened college doors to sons of farmers and factory-workers. According to the U.S. Department of State, by 1956, about the time that benefits expired for World War II vets, America had gained 450,000 trained engineers, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists, and more than a million other college-educated individuals thanks to the original G.I. Bill.

Few would disagree that the G.I. Bill had a tremendous impact, and with all of its feel-good effects (besides sending vets to school, Uncle Sam also backed the low-interest mortgages that created the conditions for contemporary suburbia), it’s easy to forget that it was never intended to simply say “thank you” to our servicemen.

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Filed under General

Monday Brag Round-Up, May 26

Kimberlee Auerbach

  • “What’s with Guys and Sexting? Dating and Dirty Texts!” at Daily Cents

Courtney Martin

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Filed under Brag Round-Up, General