Friday, August 31, 2007

screen test

After Lilly pushed through the screen door, trying to greet Becky as she came home from work, I was again perturbed by the amount of damage one dog can do. Becky takes that in stride, anymore, and promised to take care of it. A few days later, I found her on her knees, using the end of a ballpoint pen to repair the screen. She stretched the screen back over its frame, and used the pen to push the black tubing in, to hold the screen in place. Then she had to run an errand, and asked me to finish the repairs. I did it! This may seem like a simple thing, but I've never worked on screens--even when I worked at a hardware store.

Once again, I am reminded that taking action--even a small action--can create a disproportionately large amount of joy and hope.

Friday, August 24, 2007

real education is always religious

"Almost all our teachers at Booker T. Washington were black women. They were committed to nurturing intellect so that we could become scholars, thinkers, cultural workers—-black folks who used our minds…

To fulfill that mission, my teachers made sure they 'knew' us. They knew our parents, our economic status, where we worshipped, what our homes were like, and how we were treated in the family…

Attending school then was sheer joy. I loved being a student. I loved learning. School was the place of ecstasy—-pleasure and danger. To be changed by ideas was pure pleasure. But to learn ideas that ran counter to values and beliefs learned at home was to place oneself at risk, to enter the danger zone. Home was the place I was forced to conform to someone else’s image of who and what I should be. School was the place where I could…reinvent myself.

School changed utterly with racial integration. Gone was the messianic zeal to transform our minds and beings...Knowledge was suddenly about information only. It had no relation to how one lived, behaved..."

--bell hooks, from her "Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom"

Monday, August 20, 2007

for alma mater...

Just got back from my 25th high school reunion. Only 35 or so of the 180+ 1982 graduates of River Valley showed up, but we had a great time. Unlike the first reunion, at 10 years, which was not long enough after graduation, or the 15th, when I wasn't yet comfortable enough with my life, this time, we were all simply glad to see each other, and the old barriers were largely absent. It was good to catch up with folks, to hear about the interesting lives that have spun out of that particular group of people.

I don't think the low turnout was due to the fact that the school was built on an Army Corps of Engineers dump site; I hope to see more of us in 2012.

Friday, August 03, 2007

fireworks wednesday; tcff

"Fireworks Wednesday" is a terrific film by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. It shows a young woman who experiences second thoughts about her upcoming wedding, as she watches the troubled lives of the couple for whom she works. Fascinating, complex relationships are shown, without easy morals or answers. The scene at the place where folks go to find day work was moving for me--we employed people should be grateful!

We saw this at the Traverse City Film Festival, presented by Michael Moore. Other films I wanted to see include "Once" (*wonderful* musical); "The Valet" (hilarious); "Slaughterhouse Five" (goodbye again, KV); "Blue State" (moving to Canada post-Bush election); "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" (video game champs); "The Lives of Others" (Academy Award winner); and "The Ten" (comedy about breaking the ten commandments).

Y'all are always welcome, but the first weekend in August will offer great films at a good price!