humanities

Distractions, distractions everywhere!

So, as you may know, if you’ve read a bit of my blog the last couple of weeks, I am attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month, or, NaNoWriMo for those of us who are “in the know”.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, I am on my Monday, the first day for my darling husband going back to work for the day. As such, I decided to motivate myself. I went for a walk, intending to eat a nice brunch and write before grocery shopping and coming home. Well, life doesn’t always work out the way we intend it to.

The sushi place I wanted to eat was not open for another 35 minutes, and I’m way to impatient and busy to wait around for that long. So, I nixed brunch and went shopping. Two packages of chicken, some carrots, celery, a small bottle of soda and a small bottle of water later, and I was on my way. I am intending to make delicious chicken soup for dinner, and was happily marching along, nearly home, when my morning took a turn that thrilled me.

One of the establishments in our neighborhood is an old-fashioned country store-workshop type of building. I believe it used to be a general store. Perhaps I’ll learn a wee bit more of its history after today.

The proprietors of this establishment have a couple of small, cute dogs. One is a pug. She is friendly and willful and the elder gentleman that I talked to today simply cannot seem to get her to listen and being hindered by limited mobility doesn’t help him much. By this I mean that he walks with a cane and cannot chase the energetic little pug as she scampers off, eager to investigate whatever strikes her fancy. Today, that was me.

As I grew up on a cattle ranch, I have experience with dogs simply running up to sniff me. The fact that I have a natural affinity for dogs helps matters in that I can usually get the animal to listen to me, even if it won’t listen to its owner. It’s nuts, because my own dog ignores me until he’s pissed me off; then he cowers like Pain and Panic from Disney’s Hercules.

No matter. Today, this little pug wouldn’t listen and I walked her back home, even stepping just inside the doorway so that she would enter her owner’s home. He was grateful, so he gave me a copy of a map of Historical Orenco. I was, of course, delighted. I love seeing what the world looked like in the past. I mentioned how perfect this little photocopied gift was for me, since I am studying to be a cultural anthropologist. Upon hearing that, the gentleman stopped me from leaving as I had intended, saying, “Hold on, I have something else for you.” He disappeared into his shop again, returning with a roll of paper that made my week.

The outer layer is a newsprint from 1879!

You may not be excited about that, but I am! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have long had a forbidden love-affair with old (1920s and prior) printed work. I had the opportunity once to explore a couple of abandoned farmhouses that each had a few dozen books in them from 1950 and before. I was in heaven and wished I knew how to protect them and had the time to read them and study them. Unfortunately, I never did.

Now, I have as much time as I need to study these prints. I can’t wait to see what glimpses into the past they provide and when I’m done reading them, I’m intending to frame them. They are, currently, my most prized academic possession. I just hope I can set them aside until the end of NaNoWriMo. That’s going to be the challenge, right there. How to stay focused on my crazy goal with the siren call of historical print media singing to me. . . Ah, it’s a good thing I am strong!

Now, off to write and have a long-delayed meal. Good thing it’s only lunch time, huh?

๐Ÿ™‚

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Categories: Anthropology, creative writing, education, hobbies, humanities, NaNoWriMo, reading, writing | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Music calls us all. . .

. . .regardless of ethnicity, creed, or religion.

This link shows a grainy video of a “rave” in Iran. Having never attended a “rave” myself, I can only compare this video with those of raves depicted by the media here int he U.S. and I must say, I’d rather go to a rave where the main attraction is a fire-dancing person than one where the main attraction is drugs. Not that I don’t believe there was alcohol and other illicit materials somewhere on the premises of the rave in Iran; I just think that the music, the freedom of self-expression, the freedom to practice one’s art (especially since the fire-dancer was a female) are the bigger draws at the rave in Iran than raves here in the U.S.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulm4Gj406E8&feature=youtu.be

It is scenes like this one that make me so concerned for humanity at large; how can anyone view this video and not see fellow human beings have a much-needed, stress-relieving great night at a party?

I suppose I’m just too decadent in my worldview. . .

 

Categories: counterculture, humanities, Social Mores, subculture | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Education, not fabrication, please. . .

O.K., fair warning: this is a rant and likely to be a long one. However, it is one that I think may find some chord of resonance in whomever reads it. So, thanks for reading. . .

Something’s been bothering me lately.

Specifically, a video I recently watched, that can be found at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAeKXdLZhOg

And, if you’d rather see an official trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoeMm0Tm95M&feature=related

My first problem is this: how can we expect our children, our future contributors to society, to be competitive in a globally connected marketplace when they must undergo the reversal of 12 years of brainwashing before they can be productive members of a modern society? Let me tell you, undoing one’s brainwashing is difficult, even when you did it to yourself.

My second problem is this: I have children, the oldest of which just turned 16. How is he supposed to respect his peers and not wonder when the crazy is going to slip out when he knows that most of his peers have their actions governed by a mythical, mystical sky-Daddy?

My third problem is this: we need more hard science graduates. We need to keep students engaged and excited about the actual reality of life around us and building the infrastructure we need, learning the math we need them to master. How can they be expected to do this at a collegiate level if the scholastic learning in their formative years was based on a curriculum that was modified in such ways as substituting one genre of music for another, or telling impressionable children that dinosaurs were on the Ark (not that the Ark should be being discussed at public school in the first place, but I digress. . ..)? They will be reeling from the betrayal, from the complete and utter dishonesty that was perpetuated by everyย  (or nearly every) trusted adult in their lives up to that point.

Believe me, I’ve been there. Sometimes, I still am.

Here is a delightful, if long, article that details the biggest problems with attrition in hard science fields: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/education/edlife/why-science-majors-change-their-mind-its-just-so-darn-hard.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all& Now, having read that, and watched the two clips above, do you begin to see what I see?
Since my associate’s degree is in Early Education, I suppose it comes as no surprise that my last link in this chain of future hopelessness if things continue as they are currently progressing should be an article detailing the problems with keeping children in younger grades interested in science, too. Too long has science labored under the titles of “uncool”, and “for geeks only”, and other disparaging titles. http://phys.org/news/2012-04-students-science.html this article has some great ideas. I hope that future- read, near future- educators can employ some of them to help our children grow and maintain a fascination for science.

How else are we going to help our planet, progress our species, and possibly colonize our near space neighbors, such as the moon or Mars?

‘Cause I’ll tell you what, my family and I have already discussed it and as soon as they open colonization of one or the other, we’re off this rock. I will be one of the first anthropologists in space, baby!

๐Ÿ˜€

Categories: education, humanities, science, writing | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Bounty versus Scarcity. . .

. . . in this case, I am not referring to money, but food. Basic, necessary, life-sustaining food.

Today, on my favorite website to pass the time at, I saw a photo slide show, one of which is the inspiration for this post. It seems that someone traveling with an group of sumo wrestlers managed to take pictures while on an “honored guest” tour of North Korea (just typing that sent tiny little wanna-be shivers heading for my skin). He was able to either post the photos while in the country, or to post them after, but either way, there were 13 images of North Korea as they want their most treasured visitors to see it.

This is an image from inside a grocery store. Notice how, at most, things are stacked only about three deep? This helps visually “bulk up” the appearance of the wares on the shelves, in my experience. And most people don’t look past the first few items of a group, anyway. At first, nothing struck me as really odd about this picture. I mean sure, there are obvious differences between this display and one in an average urban grocery store here in the U.S. The individual packages are not crammed in, two or three high, until the shelf cannot possibly hold any more, with a nearly identical shelf of goods above it.

No. These goods are quite obviously separate and distinct components of a meal. The top holds curry mix, which is basically a chunky, spicy gravy, for those of you who don’t know. It can be read or green, vegetarian or not, but I recognize the packaging and believe it is boxes of golden curry, a dish I’ve yet to actually try.

The next shelf is home to 1 kilogram bags of what is likely rice or milled grain.

The bottom appears to be bags of dried meat or dried vegetables. I cannot see a weight, nor read the language, but these are fairly educated guesses based on close examination of the photo.

So, we have one barely (according to urban Western standards) stocked display case with curry mix, rice or grain, and veggies or meat.

In a grocery store.

Whose shelves in the back ground are just shy of empty.

And this is their version of bragging.

I just spent lunch in the cafe at Whole Foods.

See much disparity here, ’cause I sure do.

I cannot wait until global social mores can be agreed upon and general human dignity and empathy rules the day instead of greed, power struggles, and corruption. I shudder to think of how many innocents struggle the world over because of heinous decisions made by those who have no business making decisions in the first place. I firmly believe that education is a key tool for the betterment of humanity, but as I have no idea what is taught in North Korea, I have no idea if even that will help. I would love for the people to call upon the humanity of their leaders, but that doesn’t seem to possible. Are they truly inept and cruel, or are they just holding on to a sinking ship? I just don’t know. But I do know I feel a wee bit guilty for all the food I currently have in my house and I do not like that feeling. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Categories: education, humanities | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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