Monday, May 30, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
Now, I've heard many strange snippets of conversation, particularly at copy or office centers, but this has to be the best. Picture it. Two women, working at a table in the FedEx Kinko's in Willow Grove, PA., with papers, photos, and forms all over the place. The table is right near the door. So, as I walk out with a box of post card mailers for the theater, I hear the one of the women -- she with the cell phone surgically attached to her ear -- say: "Right now we are working on the first ever work visa for a chainsaw artist." That's right. Obtaining a work visa. For a chainsaw artist. Man, my job is soooo boring.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is “look under foot.” You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world. -- John Burroughs, American naturalist and author (1837–1921)
"100 lists are fun to discuss, fun to argue over," Richard Schickel (TIME magazine movie critic) told The Associated Press. "I don't think anybody should say, `That's it, that's the final 100! No disputing this for the rest of eternity!' You know, stuff changes. Life changes. You change." [MSNBC.com]Now, I liked Finding Nemo, truly enjoyed it, but does Nemo really hold its own on a list like this?
...parents of Culbertson Elementary School kindergarten students were invited to the school last October "to share a talent, short game, small craft or story" that would help the class learn a little more about their child. [delcotimes.com]One of the options was to have the mother or father share a reading from the child's favorite book. So far, so good. Right? Right. On the appointed day, Newtown Square resident Donna Kay Busch, mother of 6-year-old Wesley Busch, came to her son’s class prepared to read a passage from his favorite book. To be specific, she planned to read four verses from Psalm 118 of the Old Testament. That's right, little Wesley's favorite book is the Bible. Well, the teacher got a tad concerned and contacted the school principal, Thomas Cook. Mr. Cook concluded that reading the passage would violate the separation of church and state, and decided against letting her read it in class. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that the "Bible Mom" is upset enough to sue. This very month, Busch filed suit in U.S. District Court:
The school district, school board, Mesaros [Superintendent] and Cook are named as defendants in the suit, which states 6-year-old Wesley Busch "suffered personal humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress" as a result of the decision not to let his mother read Psalm 118 of the Old Testament. Busch is seeking damages in excess of $100,000, attorney’s fees and a ruling from the court that acknowledges her rights were violated. [delcotimes.com]Is this a problem? Does the lawsuit seem frivilous? Some folks are saying that if the mother had wanted to read from any other religious text, there wouldn't even be a story. But Ed Partridge, president of the Marple Newtown School Board, has acknowledged that:
[R]eligion may be talked about in schools "in terms of culture and tradition. But no one is allowed to come in and read from the Bible, the Torah or the Koran."So, is this a case of Bible-bashing? Or is the school board justified in their actions? In general, I don't see what the big deal is. I have no more a problem with a reading from the Christian Bible than I do with passages from the Havamal, the Upanishads, the Tao Teh Ching, the Kalavala, or a Native American sacred story. In fact, I would hope that -- within the context of exposing children to various religious ideas and pointing out that different people believe different things -- teachers are doing this very kind of thing. But perhaps I'm just naive on this topic. However, I have to say a few things before closing:
- I am a little skeptical that a six year old -- with no coaching from his mother -- chose the Bible as his favorite book.
- Perhaps Busch could have picked a better passage than Psalm 118 as her reading. Even if little Wesley truly did choose the Bible for his mother to read, I really can't see a six-year-old putting this particular chapter on his top-ten list.
- This whole thing smacks of an attention-getting "oh Christians are being persecuted" attempt. Just check out this quote from Busch:"I would like there to be an awareness of the hostilities toward Christians that exist at that school." [Philly Inquirer]
The Pirates of Illiopolis Biologist Sandra Steingraber takes a frightening, in-depth look inside the secretive, highly toxic, and dangerous world of PVC manufacturing in small-town America.
In the current issue of Orion magazine.
I'm still reading the piece. I'll update this blog entry with my own thoughts/review later.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
Photo taken 05.19.2005 Originally uploaded by brainwise.
I'm pretty glad I had the camera-phone handy. I might be even happier if that had not been my last box of tissues. (It really wasn't).
The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.
 In case you didn't know, a recycling lid is a box lid used to collect ... um ... recyclables such as cardboard. At least, that's what it is in our kitchen.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Friday, May 06, 2005
Just look at his face! Click the pic for a larger version at Flickr. Oh my gods, he is just too cute. The little beast.
OK. So the pic does not exactly capture the "Oh No" aspect of his reaction to Mrs. Brainwise's upcoming departure, but trust me. He was bummed. He just got too distracted by the toothpaste box. He actually tried to get into it!
Of course, that's the shot I missed! :(
But Otis is truly missing his mommy. I don't stay in one place long enough for him to get a good snuggle going.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
"Podcasting is not just about portable media players," said Curry, the former star MTV VJ who developed podcasting in mid-2004. "Podcasting is an entirely new form of broadcasting that enables anyone to create powerful content.Now, if video killed the radio star. And music downloads are killing the RIAA. What exactly will podcasting kill (or thoughtfully maim)?
Put writing in your heart, that you may protect yourself from hard labor of any kind and be a magistrate of high repute.This good advice comes from a 19th Dynasty (1298 - 1187 B.C.E.) Egyptian inscription. In other words, learn your hierglyphs and you'll be on easy street. Source: Egyptian School Daze; Archeology Magazine, March/April 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
We need you to help PUBLICIZE the event so that future time travelers will know about the convention and attend. This web page is insufficient; in less than a year it will be taken down when I graduate, and futhermore, the World Wide Web is unlikely to remain in its present form permanently. We need volunteers to publish the details of the convention in enduring forms, so that the time travelers of future millennia will be aware of the convention. This convention can never be forgotten! We need publicity in MAJOR outlets, not just Internet news. Think New York Times, Washington Post, books, that sort of thing. If you have any strings, please pull them.And they have a few suggestions for the help they need:
Write the details down on a piece of acid-free paper, and slip them into obscure books in academic libraries! Carve them into a clay tablet! If you write for a newspaper, insert a few details about the convention! Tell your friends, so that word of the convention will be preserved in our oral history! A note: Time travel is a hard problem, and it may not be invented until long after MIT has faded into oblivion. Thus, we ask that you include the latitude/longitude information when you publicize the convention.
You can also make an absolute commitment to publicize the convention afterwards. In that case, bring a time capsule or whatever it may be to the party, and then bury it afterwards.
I have a few more specific suggestions for the help they need, but we won't get into that right now -- if ya know what I mean. But even after saying that -- and despite the fact that Prophet or Madman isn't acid-free ... paper -- I'll post the info and link here anyway. Why? Because it's fun! And it gives me another excuse to mention my brilliant Dr. Who Revival idea, and even post a pic of the good ol' TARDIS: recommended reading list. Hmmmm ... I wonder if one should RSVP from the future? Thanks to Heretical Ideas for the info.
Monday, May 02, 2005
-- Jessica McKeon, winner of the fifth annual PARADE Classroom® Poetry Contest For more about this young poet, see the Fresh Voices feature in the April 24, 2005 issue of PARADE Magazine.
Today he is Batman His true identity concealed via his jet-black cape still damp from the dryer
Today he duels evil Racing against time in his convertible top, two-door plastic Playskool car
Today he breaks cryptic codes Hacking into his Etch A Sketch and disabling reactor buttons on his mom’s cell phone
Today he saves Gotham City One cruel-intentioned peace-threatening plush toy at a time
Tonight he departs to the Bat Cave After a long day of portraying Batman he closes his eyes and ponders what is to come tomorrow
Tomorrow he is Captain Hook and Barbie is walking the plank