01 February 2011


STORM. The image below is from NASA's GEOS-13 satellite, showing the January 31st storm system which covered at least a third of the continental U.S. with snow, cold and wind. This equates to an area of more than 1.2 million square miles. Click on any image to enlarge.

WRITING. Last night on the PBS news hour, Jeffrey Brown interviewed journalist, author, and teacher Roger Rosenblatt on the art of writing. You can view the entire interview, as well as read the transcript, here. Perhaps my favorite moment came in response to Brown's rhetorical question, "Why write?" Rosenblatt's response resonates deeply in me -- "We write to make suffering endurable, evil intelligible, justice desireable, and love possible .... the most important is love. After all the suffering, all the injustice, all the evil that ones sees in the world, if you can rise above it and make it beautiful and thus lovable, then that's worth a life." Yes.

BLACK HISTORY. Each February the culture at large, and schools in particular, celebrate Black History Month as "a remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora." Some detractors ask why only blacks? Why not Native American history month, or Asian history, or Latino history? The only other oppressed social minority to receive similar attention is Women's History Month in March. There is certainly nothing preventing us from broadening our field of vision to include other minorities, and we surely would benefit from knowing and understanding each other better. Perhaps the most obvious answer is that much of this country was built on the backs of black slave labor. Further, black culture has permeated nearly every aspect of American culture -- music, art, literature. It is good to know our roots, including the roots which have been censored or distorted by professional historians. For a shocking window into just how partial our education has been, I recommend reading the book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James Loewen. I promise that you will not see your world in the same light afterward.

HUMOR. On a lighter note, here are a couple of YouTube favorites. My Blackberry Is Not Working! had me rolling, and Memory had me thinking "yeah, I can relate."

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