Saturday, May 31, 2008
We slept in, watched cartoons, were lazy with the kitty. Then we took a walk to look for a last item for the school camping trip coming up this week. The weather was gorgeous: sunny, not too hot, dandelion puffs blowing in the wind, the scent of lilacs on the breeze. We stopped at the Letterbox Creative Store for Cupcake Saturday. We bought one of each of the four kinds of cupcakes made by the fabulous Sheela Namakkal, whose catering business is called Miel y Leche. Today she was serving a lemon-blueberry, strawberry shortcake, "hostess" (like a ho-ho), and a yellow cake with dark chocolate frosting. We saved them for later, and went on to Twin Cities Green, a newish store on Hennepin, where I thought we could find a water bottle. Not only did we find a Sigg bottle, but one with a Japanese design! Yes!
We walked back to have lunch at Lucia's Bakery: fruit salad, a biscuit, a corn muffin, with yummy Darbo preserves. I love the corn muffins at Lucia's, especially with their chili, but today we wanted to get to the matinee at the Uptown Theater on time to see The Fall. We sat in the balcony, right in the first row. I love being able to still go to a theater with a balcony. It had some eye-popping cinematography, amazing locations, lovely acting. We give it two thumbs up.
On the way home, I bought a copy of Persepolis (I and II), because we had seen it last week at the Riverview, another great cinema.
We were at home, noodling around, when suddenly we heard the tornado siren. Since there was still sun shining through the window, we didn't race to the basement, but checked out the TV report; possible tornado forming in a storm to the north, with "golf ball sized hail." With the disaster in Hugo fresh in our minds, we got the cat carrier ready in case we had to go downstairs, but when the storm arrived, our hail was only dime sized. After closing all the storm windows, I crossed my fingers that we wouldn't have the huge hail we'd seen on TV, but no windows were broken. We saw a huge rainbow when the rain ended. In just a few minutes time, it rained hard enough to send a little flood down the street gutters. Gotta love that Minnesota weather, and thank goodness this weekend we just had the thunder and hail, and no tornado.
I'm trying to soak up all the time I have with my girl because she'll be away all week at this camping trip, the last hurrah of her middle school year.
Friday, May 30, 2008
- Free Ride: John McCain and the Media, by David Brock and Paul Waldman
- The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him—and Why Independents Shouldn't, by Cliff Schecter
- McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, by Matt Welch
10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don’t): gracias, Professor Zero and MoveOn.org
- John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has “evolved,” yet he’s continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1
- According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain “will make Cheney look like Gandhi.”2
- His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3
- McCain opposes a woman’s right to choose. He said, “I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned.”4
- The Children’s Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children’s health care bill last year, then defended Bush’s veto of the bill.5
- He’s one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a “second job” and skip their vacations.6
- Many of McCain’s fellow Republican senators say he’s too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He’s erratic. He’s hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”7
- McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8
- McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his “spiritual guide,” Rod Parsley, believes America’s founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a “false religion.” McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church “the Antichrist” and a “false cult.”9
- He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10
And since we want documentation, here you go:
1. "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008
"McCain Facts," ColorOfChange.org, April 4, 2008
2. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008
"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008
3. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008
4. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007
5. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008
"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007
6. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008
"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008
7. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008
"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008
8. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008
"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008
9. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008
"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008
"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008
10. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Of course, this meant I had to spend some time listening to parrots singing and talking on YouTube!
Mozart's Queen of the Night aria as sung by Menino (R.I.P)
Rocky is a beatboxing parrot
Caesar says lots of things, but my favorite is "WHAT-ever!"
This parrot is dancing to the theme from Star Trek Voyager (for Fresca!)
Monday, May 26, 2008
Here is a list of U.S. military actions during its history, including wars against indigenous peoples during colonial expansion, slave revolts, and internal labor disputes. (Note that the language often presents external troop deployments as actions "to protect U.S. interests".)
Iraq Veterans Against the War has gathered the testimony it presented during four days, of eye-witness accounts by veterans of their time in Iraq and Afghanistan in its Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan site. The truth is hard to stomach, so at the same time that we are exhorted to honor the sacrifice of "our troops", the facts about that sacrifice are often ignored, and the needs of those who return are not being met.
In the NYTimes, a column by Helen Benedict:
THIS Memorial Day, as an ever-increasing number of mentally and physically wounded soldiers return from Iraq, the Department of Veterans Affairs faces a pressing crisis: women traumatized not only by combat but also by sexual assault and harassment from their fellow service members. Sadly, the department is failing to fully deal with this problem.read the rest. And PBS provides more coverage of rape in the military in this episode of NOW.
David Carr, NYTimes media critic, writes about how little coverage there is of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now in The Media Equation: The Wars We Choose to Ignore
...And although the Pentagon and the current administration will go to great lengths today to talk about the pride we should all feel in the fighting women and men of this country, increasingly onerous rules of engagement for the news media and the military make it difficult for the few remaining reporters and photographers to do their job: showing soldiers doing theirs.
Yes, the message seems to be, we honor the dead, but do not show them in your pictures. Of course, we care deeply about the wounded, but you now need their signed permission to depict their sacrifice. As the number of reporters and photographers has gone down, the efforts to control those who remain have gone up....
So we turn to Juan Cole to give us some information about the U.S. military casualties of this war, in Informed Comment. Not only the number that the Pentagon counts, but the number who have died after receiving care, or after returning home, the wounded, the suicides, attempted suicides, those with PTSD, their shattered bodies and their shattered families.
But the U.S. does not count the number of Iraqis it kills, so we have to got to Iraq Body Count, a database set up to try to name the dead in this war, with the bitter understanding that their numbers are probably too low, because they do not estimate; they record only the number of reported deaths of civilians by military and paramilitary violence:
Iraq Body Count (IBC) records the violent civilian deaths that have resulted from the 2003 military intervention in Iraq. Its public database includes deaths caused by US-led coalition forces and paramilitary or criminal attacks by others.
IBC’s documentary evidence is drawn from crosschecked media reports of violent events leading to the death of civilians, or of bodies being found, and is supplemented by the careful review and integration of hospital, morgue, NGO and official figures.
So, after all this dismal reading, what can one do that is positive? I highly recommend this initiative by Minnesota's Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie: Honor a Veteran by Voting.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
There are so many other great exhibits ongoing at the MIA, including the natural history paintings from Suriname of Maria Sybilla Merian, but we are just going to see this one because we have to do some shopping for pants. Someone has grown three inches in the last year, and it wasn't me. I am now one of those moms who is shorter than her lanky daughter. We wear the same shoe size, but she doesn't like any of my shoes, for which I am thankful.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I am a big fan of the Twin Cities New Media Alliance and its newswire site the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Their slogan is "Local News for Global Citizens" and they fulfill this mission by providing a mix of content from over 40 local media partners, citizen journalists, and a wonderful professional staff. They are making exceptional use of the potential of "Web 2.0" interactive capacity to foster participatory citizen journalism:
The Twin Cities Daily Planet is conceived as an experiment in participatory journalism, built on a partnership between professional journalists and individual citizens. Collectively, the residents of the Twin Cities have far more expertise and insight than can be found in any one newsroom. The premise of the TC Daily Planet is that new technologies are making it possible for these citizens to become more active and powerful participants in the news production process. One goal of the Daily Planet is to harness that community intelligence and enable individuals to share information and work together for the common good.
The roster of folks participating in this national conference is amazing. I'm especially excited by the large presence of young people among them.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Jamal and Kamilah's hip hop
Jaime and Hok dance the Wade Robson choreograhed hummingbird and flower.
Anya and Pasha's audition cha cha.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
If you click on Jason Kottke's meme aggregator, When Obama Wins..., and click on it enough times, eventually it comes up with "...we'll find the map to Candy Mountain!"
Is it all too good to be true? Should we be wary of our very desire to hope so as not to risk being disappointed? Is hope for change just too painful and dangerous? If we get excited about the possibility of a real change in Washington, are we dupes? naive? apologists for the patriarchy?
It's as if we are all crabby like Charlie the Unicorn, burned one too many times because we didn't want to be left out.
*"The magical bridge of joy and wonder... "
And then there are all those accusations of "drinking the Kool-Aid." What? you haven't yet "drunk the Kool-Aid"?
How many people really know what the glib phrase really means? Those of us who grew up in San Francisco in the seventies remember the real pain and horror of the events behind this little bit of net-lingo that has been taken up by press and pundits.
I'm a lousy polticial pundit; I thought Reagan could never be elected because he was so awful, that Kerry had to win, because how could people re-elect that fool? But I refuse to give up on optimism.
If the California Supreme court, mostly Republican appointees, could find in favor of gay marriage. Did I ever think I'd see that in my lifetime?
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Don't tell me that doesn't matter. He has stated repeatedly that he is in favor of repealing Roe V Wade.
To some people, the evidence of McCains utter corruption during the S and L scandals of the 80s, and his role as one of the Keating Five is "ancient history" but to me it is one of the reasons why the man should be disqualified from holding public office. He is a symbol of the corruption of big money capitalism at home and abroad.
ETA: Cliff Schecter's book The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him--and Why Independents Shouldn't is a scrupulously documented record of McCain's actions and words.
Serendipity is great stuff. Our neighborhood is having its annual collective garage sale. We wandered out and I immediately found a great blue and white vase I'll use for tulips across the street. We also met a neighbor, Peggy, whose relatives had driven up from Iowa with stuff for the sale!
We followed a sign that said "sale in alley" and found a table full of old cameras of every kind, none of them working, but all of them very cool-looking. As we were chatting with the seller, a professional photographer who also collects old cameras, I mentioned that I wanted to get a camera that worked for my daughter, who was gazing with enchantment at the table. Twenty minutes later, we left with a kit that includes a leather carrying case, an Olympus EVOLT e500 SLR camera with two different zooms, extra batteries and memory cards (two kinds) all the cables, lens filters, rechargers, manuals and the original box. Because I'd been looking around for something like this to give my daughter as a graduation present and because she has such a great eye when she takes pictures, much better than mine, I recognized that the price he was asking was an incredible deal, (thank you, Steve!) and after he showed us some of the controls and explained some basic concepts, I could see this would be a comfortable camera for a novice to learn with. Like a lot of pro photographers, he had upgraded to a much fancier set-up, and I know from another friend who is married to a photographer that it can often be tough to resell when you upgrade. And I was dreading going to the stores and being bombarded with specs, or trying to find out online what I should get. So he got a garage sale windfall, and we got a fabulous deal on a complete kit for my artistic child. And we met another neighbor.
Happy, happy graduation, dear! Now it's time to play and learn. There are lots of lessons online, but we also have a dear friend who is a photographer, and we will join her for a camera safari at the end of the month.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
A couple of days ago, as I was driving to the school board meeting to speak out in favor of the Human Rights Campaign's curriculum to counteract homophobic bullying in the public schools, I listened to radio news headlines that were almost apocalyptic: the death toll climbs from the cyclone in Myanmar and the authoritarian regime is stealing food and aid from the people; reports of the earthquake in China eloquently communicate the pain of all those parents who've lost their only precious child in the rubble of collapsed schools; tornados are increasing in severity, but is it becaue of increasing in severity because of global climate change? the degradation of ecosystmes contributes to the raging wildfires; Bush's lackeys have finally declared polar bears a "threatened" (but not endangered!) species, and admitted that maybe there's something to this global warming stuff after all. Food and fuel prices are rising, and the poorest will be hit the hardest. I feel anger and sorrow. It's tempting to give in to despair. But, as Alex Steffen says, in his manifesto for a politics of optimism "Cynicism is obedience." There is a global movement for change, made of many pieces. Some of them connect at Worldchanging.com. As they say, "Worldchanging: Change your thinking"
Last week, my contribution to the meme of Passion Quilt was a post about how I am passionate about teaching as "changing perspectives." Today I'm joining folks who are blogging about human rights, and I want to think about it in the same way: what do we need to do to change our thinking about our relationship to the planet so that we can make changes for human rights.
I got an email from someone at the The Advocates for Human Rights, (formerly known as the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, but they have grown),letting me know about this event. I clicked their link and it took me to something called "Bloggers Unite:Blogging for Hope, hosted by BlogCatalog.com. If you click there, you can see what other bloggers are thinking and writing about human rights. We are working together for a critical pedagogy of hope.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Wow, I have a reader whom I don't know? Hi, Anonymous commenter!
Numbers kind of remind me of tests, and the semester is over, so I'll try to reply in the spirit of sincere dialogue, although I do prefer addressing someone by a name. I"m long-winded, so if you actually return to read this, here goes. I moved your questions about my previous post out of the comments, because I found myself writing such long answers.
1. How do you know that the parents opposing this are a "minority?"
2. Which other political action committees besides HRC do you think we should allow to pilot curricula in our public schools?
3. Do you recognize that the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage is a controversial political issue?
4. Who is a child's primary educator, the parent(s) or the school?
5. Have you read the "Welcoming Schools" curriculum?
6. Can you accept that people who oppose this curriculum are not by definition bigoted or homophobic?
Re: HRC, politics and what goes on in our schools? short answer, what isn't political about public school as an institution? Public school is mandatory because the state wants to produce citizens who will support the status quo. This has its pluses and its minuses, depending on how invested one is in that status quo. In my ideal world, our schools would be a lot different: there would be free full-day preschool starting at age 3, as there is in many European countries. Teacher-child ratios would be more reasonable; there would be at least an hour of PE a day; music and art would be as important as any other subject; all children would have daily instruction in a second language from first grade on; the children would have more than a pitiful 20 minutes to eat lunch, and that lunch would be healthy, prepared on site, and nothing with high-fructose corn syrup would be allowed on school grounds. NCLB would be abolished...you get the picture. We would have an anti-bias and gender-fair curriculum and teach that people should be valued above profits (heresy!). Alas, I am not queen of the world. I'm happy that the public schools in Minneapolis are as good as they are, given how they are subjected to continual funding shuffles, staffing uncertainty, and the mandate to provide for special needs students without adequate funding. Am I concerned about the agenda of the Human Rights Campaign? Well, they screwed up on ENDA, but that's another conversation.
Re: 4: Primary educator? Short answer: their peers. Ideally, parents do their best to teach their kids how to be good people. We may also teach them a bunch of other stuff: please and thank you are big in my house. Kids are in school 8 hours a day, and during that time the schools are in charge of their education on a series of subjects, in accordance with federal, state, and local mandates (standards, testing). But guess what? schools teach our kids social norms all the time: stand in line, raise your hand, ask permission to go to the bathroom, don't run in the halls, don't have jello spitting contests in the cafeteria, don't make snotty remarks to the teacher, take turns, be nice, don't hit. We expect the school to ensure their physical safety, and by necessity the schools also have a huge role in shaping their emotional and moral life, whether we like that or not. And kids learn a lot from each other, sometimes more than we recognize. Peer influence is huge, huge.
re: 5. Did I read the HRC "Welcoming Schools" curriculum? That's a somewhat insulting question, but yes, I did, quite carefully. I am an educator, so I understand the importance of homework and research. That is why I recognize that Kersten's article misrepresented it, and the discussions I have seen make claims about it that are often simply untrue: it does not mandate "sex education" nor will it "do away with gender" as I have seen at least one person assert.
As an educator, I also know that when a school adopts a curriculum, they make use of a set of resources, which they adapt to fit their needs. There is no state organization that will require a test, like the math and reading tests my child just took, to see if they "got it right." It is quite likely that the schools (and primarily the teachers) will decide which elements fit best with their community, their style and their already existing anti-bullying policies. Because I have been actively involved in my school I know the real, live people who are doing their best to teach too many kids with too few resources. They want the tools to do a better job, and they thought this curriculum served an unmet need. Before a curriculum can be implemented, you need to have the teachers on board. If they decide this is not something they can use, well, hey.
re: 3. What? gay marriage is controversial? why, I hadn't noticed. Ok, seriously, her dads' marriage is legal in the European Union, and frankly, it hurts me that there are people who want to deprive them of their happiness here.
re: 1 and 6: Actually, when I read the comments in response to a couple of blog posts, I was rather grateful to see how many people who did not identify as GLBT were supportive of the Welcoming Schools curriculum or at least of the idea of the need for it. When I spoke at the school board meeting tonight, I just said that I don't want any family to have to feel afraid the way I did: afraid that the school would be unkind to my child and my family, or look away when others were unkind or cruel. Then I sat down and cried because I hate it that people are fighting to keep our children in a situation of fear. I didn't have time to narrate in tedious and dreary detail all the bullying I have endured, witnessed, or (finally, after the age of 40) fought against. Someone else spoke about teen suicide rates, depression, and the public and mental health issues that homophobic bullying causes. Several people came up very quietly and thanked me and shook my hand. The folks who didn't come but wrote to me that they supported me and were glad I was there to represent them also make me believe that we are not the minority.
That's why I think (and I am hopeful) that those who sincerely want our schools to be inclusive, respectful and safe will work to make this a reality for all of us, not just people who are like you, who want to keep the schools safe for bullies and feel all morally superior about it at the same time. Sorry to be so blunt, but that's what your questions felt like to me.
But, if you actually came back and read this, thank you; I appreciate the opportunity to write this down. I welcome a sincere engagement if you care to reply.
Here is a slightly edited version of an email I sent to family, friends and parents, asking for their support:
You may have read or heard about the Minneapolis Public School's implementation of the Welcoming Schools pilot program, an anti-bullying, GLBT inclusive curriculum. MSP Superintendent, Dr. Green, strongly advocates a proactive approach to address the issues of bullying in our schools, especially as it targets GLBT children, their families, and all children who witness or participate in bullying behavior targeting
e states:"The Welcoming Schools curriculum is a tool to combat bullying, by focusing on diversity, gender stereotyping and name-calling. This project, being voluntarily piloted in three MPS schools, complements the district's health education standards which require that students from kindergarten and up "state a way that people are the same and different," and students from second grade and up "identify different family patterns (nuclear, single parent, gay, lesbian, adoptive, foster, extended, etc.)."
Yesterday's homophobic and grotesquely misleading column by Katherine Kersten in the Star Tribune has generated much discussion (some negative and quite a bit positive) about the implementation of this pilot program. As a minority of vocal opponents can generate misinformation about the curriculum and a create the false impression that this project lacks popular support, I plan to attend tonight's school board meeting to speak in support of the Welcoming School's pilot program.
LAST MONTH"S MEETING, ONLY OPPPONENTS SHOWED UP AND THERE WAS NO VISIBLE SUPPORT! We can't let Kersten's demagoguery mobilize those who want to keep the schools safe for bullies; we need to confront these efforts vigorously and publicly.
[My daughter's school] already has an active bullying prevention program and my daughter reports to me that she has not experienced bullying herself (although she recognizes that it may occur). Every child should be fortunate enough to have the experience she has had.
I wanted to let you know that am #4 on the list of people to speak between 5:30 and 6:00 tonight at the Public Input time slot for the School Board Meeting.
As a member of Rainbow Families, the mother of a 8th grader, and professor who is active with the GLBTA Program and the Transgender Commission, I will be there because every child has the right to learn in a safe environment, because all children suffer negative consequences when some children are bullied, and because I interact frequently with adult students who are still suffering from bullying at the school where I work. I applaud the strong commitment by the Superintendent and School Board to educate staff and teachers as well as students and their families about what we can all do to combat bullying and create affirming and welcoming schools in partnership with Out 4 Good and Rainbow Families
I will only have 3 minutes. I hope that you or your friends, co-workers, or acquaintances might consider being present at tonight's meeting to support me and my family, and to increase the visibilty of public support for GLBT families in Minneapolis Public Schools.
Better yet, if you have the possibility of putting yourself on the agenda, you can call and you will get 3 minutes, too!
Our family and others are out at school as families with gay parents.
Not every family or child has had the positive experience we have had; we need to work to change this. Thanks
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Professor Zero tagged me with the Passion Quilt meme. What is an image of what I am most passionate that my students learn?
Change your perspective.
The image is from the Upside Down Map page, which reminds us that "it needn't be a Eurocentric world."
What other ways can we change our ideas about who we are in relation to others? What kind of difference can we make if we listen to the stories other people are telling us about the way they see themselves in the world? My first teaching experiences were language instruction--French and Spanish. The first literature class I was able to teach in English was about women's autobiographies. Since then I've gone on to teach about the literatures and cultures of many regions of the world, but my hope as a teacher is always to have students make a connection to their own lives, so that they might see that the way things are is not necessarily the way things have to be. My most recent "teaching" is not in the classroom, but as a member (an ally) of the Transgender Commission where I work, because we can't teach and learn if we do not feel safe and welcomed. When some students came to me to asking for help in working to make the bathrooms more safe for them, as people who were assaulted because their gender presentation did not match the expectations of people they met in the bathrooms, I had to do some learning so that I could be a more effective ally.
Do you want to tag yourself? I am tagging Gugeo and Thinkery, for now.
Here are the guidelines:
+Post a picture or make/take/create your own that captures what YOU are most passionate for students to learn about.
+Give your picture a short title.
+Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt.”
+Link back to this blog entry.
+tag five other educator-type blogs.
This post appears to be the origin of the meme: Miguel Guhlin.
There is a Flickr Passion Quilt pool.
You can see some of the other Passion Quilt images here.
Here's my favorite graduation scence from the movies: The Marx Brothers in Horsefeathers. Groucho sings "I'm against it"
Also from Horsefeathers,"What's the password?"
Getting off the boat in "Night at the Opera"
"You've got to sing one of Maurice Chevalier's songs to get off this boat"
The Marx Brothers play an crucial role in Hannah and her Sisters with "Hail Fredonia"
Monday, May 05, 2008
I was surprise to learn that there have been some significant changes in the understanding of fibromyalgia in terms of the use of "tender points" as part of the diagnosis; apparently, there is more recognition that fibromyalgia pain can occur in many other sites, and in response to a variety of stimuli (odors, lights, loud noises) that there is quite likely a Central Nervous System disregulation in the processing of pain and other stimuli. Researchers are finally starting to listen to patients, accumulate enough data and anecdotes, and see more patterns. Another new idea is that fibromyalgia may be more common in men than previously believed, because there was an overemphasis on a specific "tender points" exam.
One doctor shows where the tender points are. Another talks about conditions that need to be ruled out, such as various inflammatory diseases like lupos or rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism. Sleep deprivation, depression, and other issues are discussed.
This discussion may be too dry and technical for most people, but for those of us with chronic pain disorders in general and fibromyalgia in particular, this is a fascinating and very useful discussion, especially because it shows what doctors SHOULD be doing to help us understand what fibromyalgia is and is not.
Part One and Part Two.
Part Two deals with the "psycho-social" environment and stressors that affect people with chronic pain; pay attention to the person, not just the pain. Since I got my diagnosis (about 16 years ago), the medical community has learned a tremendous amount, and there has been a shift to a more compassionate and clear-eyed view of fibromyalgia and chronic pain.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
These pictures are from 2006. One of my favorite moments is when the Sun comes across the lake to meet the May Tree.
The Star Tribune posted this great video about all the preparations of building the costumes, floats, and puppets for the parade, an effort that involves the community.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Ever since AI announced that Neil Diamond would be this week's guest, I have been subjected to the uncontrollable phenomenon of my "memory jukebox." This guy wrote so many hit songs in the 60s, 70s and 80s, his music was everywhere. And I am one of those two kinds of people: the ones who do not like Neil Diamond's music. In fact, as a kid, I felt a visceral loathing for it, something about his voice bothered the hell out of me. So for the last week, I have had Neil Diamond songs on my internal soundtrack, and it is driving me freakin' crazy.
I looked up earworm and it turned into another one of those fascinating games of Chutes and Ladders through Wikepedia. It turns out that the term "earworm" is translated from German fairly recently, but the phenomenon has been used in popular culture for ages.
Earworms may be songs or tunes that become stuck in the phonological loop, the part of the brain that rehearses verbal information in Baddeley's model of workingmemory. This usually happens when a person sings the song or hums the tune once and then repeats it in his or her mind.
Learn more in this Treatise on the Deadly Earworm, chez Edgewriter.
Mark Twain wrote a story about getting a jingle stuck in his head called "A Literary Nightmare", describing how a rhyming ad got stuck in his head and drove out everything else until he was able to pass it on to someone else. You can read it here, but be careful! It will infect you!
What song do you recommend so I can kill off these evil ND earworms rampaging in my phonological loops? Here's DJ Earworm's mix
Here's a bit that's billed as an antidote to Manilow earworm
This one sometimes works.