Monday, September 29, 2008

Politics and My Home State

See this article in Slate on the presidential election and who might win NH. Funny to me is the commentary at the beginning on the politics of the state, the fact that the state was taken over by Democrats in 2004, that it has a strange executive group under the governor called the Executive Council, and the fact that it was the only state that the Current Occupant didn't repeat in 2004.

And this too:
New Hampshire's license plates have made its "Live free or die" motto famous, but it's not just a motto. This is a state with no sales tax and no income tax on wages. It's the only state in the union without an adult seat-belt law. It's a state that grants its citizens an explicit "right of revolution"—see Article 10 of the state constitution—should the people's liberty ever become endangered.

More Convergence

So, there's an article from the NYT about the fact that Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashana and the Muslim holiday of Ramadan are coinciding this year. It's a pretty fascinating article, but the best line ever is this:

"The result has been a kind of monotheistic traffic jam in September along the paths of the tiny walled Old City, especially as dawn approaches each day."

Friday, September 26, 2008


So, I saw the exhibit on Jim Henson last weekend at the Smithsonian, which was awesome. (Weirdly, I ran into one of my cousin's ex-girlfriends at the exhibit.) In a total convergence of stuff, there's an article on the Muppets in the NYT.

College Days...

Actually, more like summer job days. Here's an article from the NYT that describes a street version of the game that I played with my summer teaching job colleagues during the summer of 1999. A game I wouldn't want to play anymore, but it's certainly fun to read about!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Today started well, but the grading is getting intense and starting to aggravate. A friend guessed that I may be having post-Mountain Day blues, so I choose to blame that rather than losing my Zen due to grading. Somehow, that's a better reason than work being slightly overwhelming. I'll get it all under control tomorrow and feel better before the weekend, hopefully. With any luck, I'll also be able to go car shopping on Saturday to look for something snazzy to replace the 20 year old car... Methinks it's time. At any rate, since I can think of nothing else, here's a song lyric and a poem that have resonated in recent days:

"'s a dirty trick I play on myself, imagining [he] might call, just because I've waited patiently..." --We're About 9, "Telephone Booth"

Summer Nocturne
Let us love this distance, since those
who do not love each other are
not separated. --Simone Weil
Night without you, and the dog barking at the silence,
no doubt at what's in the silence,
a deer perhaps pruning the rhododendron
or that raccoon with its brilliant fingers
testing the garbage can lid by the shed.

Night I've chosen a book to help me thing
about the long that's in longing, "the space across
which desire reaches." Night that finally needs music
to quiet the dog and whatever enormous animal
night itself is, appetite without limit.

Since I seem to want to be hurt a little,
it's Stan Getz and "It Never Entered My Mind,"
and to back him up Johnnie Walker Black
coming down now from the cabinet to sing
of its twelve lonely years in the dark.

Night of small revelations, night of odd comfort.
Starting to love this distance.
Starting to feel how present you are in it.
Stephen Dunn, from Everything Else in the World. New York: Norton, 2006.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Science and Education...

though not at the same time. First, a little moping about Monday -- if I don't believe in them anymore, does that mean they won't exist? The same goes for the fall and the fact that we're past the equinox. I didn't vote for that!

And now, on to the show:
- From the NYT, an article about a glacial pothole that has been found under the site of the World Trade Center construction site. Very fascinating for the geologists among us. And for me too.
- From the Christian Science Monitor, an article about people who might want to become teachers.
- Also from the NYT, something about the call for less emphasis on SAT tests. Dude, that debate is SO 10+ years ago!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Treading Water

I feel swamped but not overwhelmed with schoolwork at the moment. I think I would be overwhelmed if not for the summer work I put in. Thank goodness I did. I'm relatively caught up on grading, relatively on top of what I'm doing at any given moment. Of course, I'm already "behind" in the freshman class, but that's ok, I think. It'll all work out the right way, even if we don't read all of the last book. Fortunately, the last one that we're scheduled to read this year is a series of short pieces, really, so we can skip around if needed.

Wednesday, more than halfway through the week, yay!

Politics depresses me right now, as I'm desperately scared that the wrong people will win the Presidential election in November. On the other hand, I'm always up for talking about the state of education, so here are a few things of note:

- from the NYT, something on a public prep school in Yonkers
- in addition from the NYT, their blog on teaching

Monday, September 15, 2008

On a Plane

So, ladies and gents, here's a tip from your friendly neighborhood single person: no matter how attractive the person sitting next to you on an airplane is, it's rude to tap them on the shoulder and ask them to talk to you "because you're bored" when that person is wearing headphones AND reading a book. Yes, this happened to me on the way home from NH. Luckily, he shut up when I told him I'd been in NH for a funeral. The other option, I suppose, would have been to tell him that I'd been visiting my boyfriend, which would have been an outright lie, rather than just an exaggeration. Sheesh!
Quote from a book I'm currently reading, The Gathering by Anne Enright:
"And what amazes me as I hit the motorway is not the fact that everyone loses someone, but that everyone loves someone. It seems like such a massive waste of energy -- and we all do it, all the people beetling along between the white lines, merging, converging, overtaking. We each love someone, even though they will die. And we keep loving them, even when they are not there to love anymore. And there is no logic or use to any of this, that I can see." p. 28

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I'm back in NH this weekend, for the briefest of moments. I arrived on Friday evening and go back to MD on Sunday morning. Purpose of my trip? My friend Stacy's memorial gathering. It was good that I came, but it was a weird gathering, to me. So different from the Greek approach, with TONS of people, food, conversation about the person who is missing. This was very sterile in some ways.

I was sad, cried, and it made me think about how so much of life is such a crapshoot. You live your life, hoping that you're doing the right thing, hopefully doing something that makes you happy. With any luck, you find someone to share it with you who is good to you and to whom you are good. And hopefully you get to spend a lot of years with that person.

It's not fair that Stacy only got three years with her husband, 30 years on earth to do her thing. I know that some people get far less and others waste the time they have, but still, it's just not fair.
Back to Mary Oliver I go, for some insight:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thinking is Hard!

Ok, not most of the time. But some of the time, yes. Mostly at school first thing in the morning. Hence, the decision to go back to coffee in the am. O caffeine, my one vice in the world. It's a truly love-hate relationship.

The teaching is going very well -- I feel like I can see things coming this year that I couldn't see before, that I'm really getting better at the whole thing.

There's a lot to balance this year, between the new preps, the CFG group, and the outside distraction of the beginning of reunion planning. (But on that note, I activated the nominating committee and know who I'm going to call for adding to it! So, check!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Too Much Fun

I had so much fun over the weekend, starting the reunion planning process and just generally gallavanting around old South Hadley. Cider doughnuts from Atkins, lunch from Tailgate, running through the pouring rain, reconnecting under the trees by the grave. There was funny too, and in that spirit, I present to you, dear readers, our rejected reunion themes:

- Balls.
- Rap Show.
- What's in my box?
- Where are we? Reunion!
- Listen, bitches...
- We (heart) Sarah Palin.
- Straight women unite!

Rarely ever do I do so much giggling as when I am with MHC women.

One of the other favorite quotes for the weekend:
"It's just not a trip to Atkins if you're not crammed in a car with lots of other MHC women." --Anna B.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Any politician who promises to end partisanship is lying.

How would they be able to raise money if there wasn't conflict between the parties?

The party that knows they're going to lose comments about ending partisanship.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More Lies

Definition of conservative: one who resists change.

Party of conservatives? Republicans.

How have McCain/Palin been framing themselves? People who advocate lots of change!


Bring on the revolution.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Politicians and Taxes

Any politician who tells you that they are going to cut your taxes is LYING.




Sure, increase the federal deficit now! No problem. Just bill my children for it, would you?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Economy Down!

A story from the NYT about the falling prices of lobster and how that's affecting lobstermen in New England. That's what my stepfather does...

Another, same source, about the difficulties that schools are facing with rising numbers of kids who are homeless or who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. And that's on top of slashed budgets due to general belt-tightening or reduced tax income. No good.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Into the Fray

Quite frankly, this is true:

"Asked if Ms. Palin will be able to judge the demands of the vice-presidency with her complicated family life, Mr. Schmidt [chief strategist for the McCain campaign] said, 'She’s been a very effective governor and again I can’t imagine that question being asked of a man.'" --from the NYT, article here

It's not a fair question -- each woman (family) has to decide for herself and her own family how to balance best and it's nobody else's business what she chooses and why. That's feminism's legacy to her.

On the other hand, I do think, since they brought it up, that it's valid to point out that the Palins have described the decision to remain pregnant as Bristol's choice and that Sarah Palin and her ideological counterparts want to take that choice away from all American women. If they had their way, they wouldn't be able to crow triumphantly that she had chosen life -- there wouldn't be a choice to make.

Still, to imagine that in this world of the 24-hour news cycle, where no topic is off-limits that they could have actually have been deluded enough to think that people wouldn't pass judgment on the family...