Not long after our December wedding, I acquired two heart-shaped metal pans, perfectly sized for use in baking a suitable Valentine’s cake for my Beloved. (Though we were relatively broke, I justified the purchase … the cost of a new card every Valentine’s Day over our lifetime together would add up, but these baking pans could be used over and over, every single year!)
As the number of our shared Valentine’s Days now edges ever-closer to fifty, our focus swerves beyond the traditional declarations of heart-shaped love. Few store-bought cards and still fewer cakes have surfaced because the occasional hastily-written love poem or hand-drawn note represents a sweeter treasure. Continue reading “Care Bear”→
Over the course of many years, I’ve come to realize writers are a rather strange subgroup of the human race. I count myself in that number and readily admit my strangeness … uniqueness, that’s the term I prefer. Actually, I’ve heard it said all creative people are strange, slightly off-center. Maybe so. When I hear of the strange things other writers do, I tend to shake my head and roll my eyes. Then I go on with my life … and my writing.
Here’s one example of the strangeness I’ve observed. The Twitter profile (shown above) belongs to a woman named Vanessa Place. (Her name appears just underneath the left-side photo of actress Hattie McDaniel.) From what I’ve read, Place uses this Twitter account for the purpose of tweeting – 140 characters at a time, plus or minus – the entire text of Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone With the Wind. I suppose one might argue this is an artistic expression and benign protest by which she registers her disgust with the racial stereotypes portrayed in the 1936 novel. Continue reading “Manufactured Outrage”→
A student named Kevin Bruce wanted to talk with an academic advisor. Bruce, a junior at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, hoped he could get quick answers to his questions but instead found himself in the midst of a firestorm when he recorded and subsequently posted video of one advisor (Abby Dawson) accusing him of harassment. The reason for the accusation? Bruce chose to sit and wait (since he was already there) rather than return in an hour.
This situation surprises me. Insofar as I have no experience at KSU (nor any other institution of higher learning in recent years), my limited frame of reference is the university from which I graduated. Comparing my experience to what is shown on the video above is a difference of night to day! From what I recall, my professors and the associated staff members were always eager to interact with students and provide help whenever needed. As Bruce points out on the video, students are paying for this assistance! Continue reading “Dawson Up A Creek”→
Fifteen years ago, the Mel Gibson / Helen Hunt film, What Women Want, was released. The film is an entertaining look at what happens when a charming and seductive man named Nick experiences a freak accident. The morning after his accident, he realizes he has a new ability … he can hear the thoughts of women around him.
The movie presents an interesting dilemma. With the tag line “Finally … a man is listening” giving voice to the almost universal longing of women to have the listening ears of their men, it’s understandable this film was generally well received. Flip that scenario around and Gibson experiences why there are hazards in hearing a woman’s unfiltered innermost thoughts. Continue reading “A Man Who Listens”→
Back in the 1990s, a number of books landed on the bestsellers lists relating various aspects (and viewpoints) on the male-female communication divide. Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand explained boys and girls approach language and communication differently. John Gray’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus offered a similar take … men and women perceive the world differently and naming those differences helps promote successful communication.
As we continue through The Book of Job, it’s becoming clearer that Job and his comforters (though not from either Mars or Venus) have been mis-communicating. In part, they may have been saying the same thing, but not successfully enough to reach a level of true understanding. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same thing? I know I have. Admittedly, it’s often because I’m more concerned about making a certain critical point. Perhaps Job’s friends were doing the same … and that’s why the first half of the books seems so repetitive. Continue reading “Reflected Glory”→
From the time I was born, I had feeding issues. Those were the days when breastfeeding was on the decline and my parents had difficulty finding a milk-product I could digest. Cow’s milk made me sick so they began testing the potential of other similar milks.Eventually, they settled on goat’s milk which enabled me to thrive. Those were also the days when goat’s milk wasn’t sold in every grocery store. I’m not sure where they found goat’s milk in our relatively large city because I doubt it was readily available … I’m just glad they found it!
Once I graduated to solid food, my belly matured enough that I didn’t have serious food challenges. However, there were plenty of foods I didn’t care to eat. (Truthfully, my daddy was a picky eater and I know I must have watched him turn up his nose at multiple foods, especially vegetables. I learned from him … but then I ventured out on my own. He’d eat peas and lima beans, while I’ve always gagged on them!) Continue reading “Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats”→
Currently, my Beloved is a dues-paying member of the now-famous (or infamous, depending upon one’s point of view) Planet Fitness franchise of non-judgmental workout centers. The recent hubbub revolves around a female member who expressed her dismay (to PF management) and questioned the appropriateness of a naked – and obviously male – individual boldly ensconced in the women’s locker room. (In this HuffPost news story, the naked male is referred to as “a transgender woman.“)The outspoken woman in the story discovered almost immediately how seriously PF adheres to their stated policy of the facility as a “Judgment Free Zone.” In a move that surely defies the notion of “the customer is always right,” management at the Michigan facility immediately revoked the complainer’s membership! (Freedom of speech? Not here!)Continue reading “Preferred Pronoun Fitness”→
Over at the blog See, there’s this thing called biology, my friend insanitybytes22 always manages to generate stimulating conversation with her twice-daily posts. Today’s post is no exception and forced me to ask the question: Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?
IB22 doesn’t pose a question. Instead, she urges: Honor Your Bronze Age Parents. I won’t spoil her insightful observations by repeating them here, but please click over to her blog and prepare yourself for an excellent read.
In IB22’s post and the comments that follow, she addresses the point that here in our 21st century world, there’s a common arrogance we have about our vast knowledge, and with that arrogance, a reminder about how often we tend to look down our noses at previous generations who were so embarrassingly ignorant. Continue reading “Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?”→
In my first job at the ripe old age of sixteen, I didn’t need a résumé. All I had to do was fill out an application, have an interview with the personnel manager and they hired me! Those were the good ole days when one’s personal presentation generally meant more than a résumé … so there was no need for fiction, no reason to pad my minimal (i.e. non-existent) credentials. Padding my résumé would be a future acquired skill.Though my experience as a baby-sitter wasn’t a résumé enhancing accomplishment, I’d have had no qualms about highlighting it – it was legit. I had the actual experience. But who among us hasn’t written a rosy résumé featuring skills and experience presented in their most favorable and hyperbolic light?
It’s easy to talk about how great education was a generation ago. People do it all the time, and they don’t even have to offer but maybe one or two anecdotes to “prove” what they see as the abysmal condition of education today. Now I’m not going to knock today’s education (nor am I going to compare it to the good ol’ days). I think both eras likely typified instances of excellence and shoddiness … depending on multiple factors.
In my case, I’m confident I received a relatively high quality education, though I’d venture to say there were faddish practices embraced in the 1950s and 1960s just as there are today. If I have a complaint, it is that education often becomes captive to trends; I’ve wondered if it’s because teachers get bored teaching the same material every year. Rather than stick with what they know works (can we say phonics?), they eagerly adopt “new, improved” methods. Continue reading “Set a Spell”→