Miscellany

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That Quotation Meme

Last seen at New Kid's: Go here and look through random quotes until you find 5 that you think reflect who you are or what you believe.

  1. If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.
    Dale Carnegie
  2. Live simply that others might simply live.
    Elizabeth Seaton
  3. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
    Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991), The Lorax
  4. Wherever you get near the human race, there's just layers and layers of nonsense.
    Thornton Wilder (1897 - 1975)
  5. I am not a star. A star is nothing more than a ball of gas.
    Elijah Wood

Spread the word. Spread it!

I've known Jason for going on three years now, and it doesn't surprise me at all that he's biking across Canada to raise money to fight AIDS. I encourage all of you to donate to the cause and circulate the link to their site. Here's Jason's announcement:

Hi everyone,

I'm currently cycling across Canada this summer and am stopping in
Toronto for the XVI International AIDS Conference. 4,500 km have been
completed and there are another 3,000 km to go. This week we are trying
to spread the word as much as possible about the bike ride so that we
can reach our fundraising goal of $50,000 for bicycle ambulances in
Malawi, Africa. If you can, please consider donating to this very
worthy cause and help pass this email along to your friends and family.

Thanks!
-- Jason

My name is Jason Shim and I'm biking across Canada with Kylie Hicklenton
to raise money for bicycle ambulances in Malawi, Africa. These bicycle
ambulances will help transport AIDS patients from isloated villages to
local health clinics. I do not have AIDS. I do not know anyone who has
AIDS. All I have are the tragic stories that have been told and retold
by people who have been there and witnessed how this disease devastates
communities. I am 23 years old. If I lived in a rural village in
Malawi, Africa I could expect to live another 14 years. If I had a
child, there is a 1 in 4 chance that they would not live to see their
5th birthday.

Imagine what it's like to be suffering from HIV/AIDS in an isolated
village. You cannot get the medical help you need because you cannot
afford to pay someone to drive you there. This is a reality for many
people living in rural villages in Malawi. It can take several hours to
walk to a local health clinic that is 15 km away. This time can be cut
down to a mere 40 minutes with the help of a bicycle attached to a
portable stretcher. This time can mean the difference between life or death.

As we bike across Canada, we spend about 8-10 hours each day on the
road. The journey is over 7,000 km and through blistering summer heat,
rain and mosquitos, we cross our great nation. I have to admit, at
times it can be tough, but each day we remind ourselves of one thing:

We ride our bikes to raise money so that others can ride bikes to save
lives.

There is where you come in. Our goal is $50,000. Does it sound like a
lofty goal? It is. But perhaps not when you shift your perspective and
see it as 1,000 donations of $50. Or 5,000 donations of $10. Or 10,000
donations of $5. This email is being sent out to 200 people. If each
of you donates just $5 and forward this to 10 people who are also
willing to donate $5, we will meet our goal.

We have donated much of our own time, money and energy to this project,
but this all means nothing without you. We need your support and
encouragement. Please take a moment to visit our website at
http://www.bikeacrosscanada.ca, donate and post a comment every now and
then. We read every single comment and though we may not always respond
immediately, it always cheers our spirits to hear from friends, family
and strangers. If you can, please donate and encourage others to do the
same!

Thank you for your generous support and encouragement!

Jason Shim
jason@bikeacrosscanada.ca
http://www.bikeacrosscanada.ca

Questions

  • Why am I dreading finishing up my acknowledgements page and my dissertation abstract so much?*
  • What should I do in Minneapolis/St. Paul for the couple of days/nights I'll be there?**

* Okay, I know why I'm foot-dragging with the acknowledgements: They're not really required, but folks tell me I'm obliged to have them in there, and I think the whole thing is cheesy and a little too sentimental.

** What I want to do: see Strangers With Candy and Snakes on a Plane. They're not playing in Greenville. But that doesn't seem right, really; I should do something that really gives me the Minneapolis/St. Paul experience. Unfortunately, I'll be a little too early for the great Minnesota get-together and a little too late for the Fringe Festival, but there are lots of things uniquely characteristic of the place that I can do -- hang out in Dinkytown one last time, go to the Bryant-Lake Bowl, something. I guess I'm thinking movies would be the thing just because I'll be so drained from the defense that all I'll want to do is sit in a movie theater and eat popcorn. Plus I'm not sure if anyone else will want to get together, so I'll need to plan stuff I can do by myself if necessary.

Far too busy

Sigh. I'm frantically preparing syllabuses for three classes, preparing for my imminent dissertation defense -- I have to do a 40-50 minute lecture before the actual q&a starts -- and I'm trying to get everything settled post-move. Then there's the move into my new office coming up too.

What I'd really like to do is some artsy design work. I want to redesign my template for this blog, and I want to create a snazzy professional static site. But I guess that stuff will have to wait. What are all of you doing with your last weeks of summer?

Now in Greenville; the Political Discourse Awareness Project

Whew. We finally got here to our new house in Greenville yesterday. ABF should be bringing our stuff in a few days.

Also, I recommend that you go and check out this post of Holly's about the personal and the political. I have more to say about it, but I'll have to write that post later. For now, I'll just say that I've been thinking a lot about what "political discourse" is, and how it's interpreted and misinterpreted. I'm toying with the idea of doing maybe a weekly post under the rubric of "the political discourse awareness project," in which I link to a couple of posts that I consider to be political discourse, but perhaps many others wouldn't recognize them as such. Then I'd do a bit of explanation of why I think they count as political discourse. Here are a couple:

Badger's essay about trying to get health care coverage for her late husband's illness. This was a precise point at which government (SSI, Medicaid) met the personal.

Then there's this post at Raising WEG about children's shoes and clothes. Here are some excerpts:

Did you know that Payless didn't make a single athletic sandal for "youth" girls (wearing sizes 10.5 to 4.5) this year?  All our old "girly" sandal standbys, Dora and Strawberry Shortcake and Disney Princess, are only available in toddler sizes, through size 12.  Once girls reach kindergarten, however, their mainstream sandal choices narrow down to a few strappy sandals -- most of them with small heels -- or flip-flops.

How did I not notice this?  All week long during VBS activity time, we had four- and five- and six-year old girls tripping over cement walkways and running too carefully through the grass as they tried to negotiate athletic activity while wearing flip-flops.  This is probably a peak age for the embrace of all things girly, and when these girls go to buy shoes, they no longer fit into the clunky Princess sandal that gives them enough traction to climb trees, kick balls, or just climb a standard set of stairs without worrying about walking right out of their shoes.

No, instead they find a light-up Princess thong.  They find an entire shelf full of flip-flops, espadrilles, and thongs.

There is one single youth-sized rugged sandal marketed to little girls at Payless.  It has a one-inch heel.

No little girl can grow to adulthood in American without learning the cardinal rules of shopping. Of course everything about girls' clothing signals the importance of buying new clothes as often as possible. The US economy might crash to a standstill, if ever girls started expecting to buy the thick cotton t-shirts over in the boys' and mens' departments. Imagine what might happen, if my daughters' Target t-shirts had held up to more than a season's worth of washings. Their drawers might be filled with two-year old t-shirts, as their brother's are -- and we certainly can't have that.

I'd like to write that I've given up wondering why preschool girls need to show all of their thighs while wearing shorts, but preschool boys get to ward off cancer-causing skin rays with shorts that come down to their knees. But it would be a lie. Every time I think about this, I get a little apoplectic. There is no physiological difference between the waists, hips, and thighs of preschool boys and girls. What perverse set of sexual standards do we embrace when we teach our four-year old girls to show four times more skin than their brothers?

Have you ever considered how much more time girls have to spend getting ready to go outdoors than their brothers, because of the sunscreen issue alone? Thanks to his t-shirts with actual sleeves and nice long shorts, Wilder is out the door and playing before I have either one of the girls fully slathered.

I find this one to be political due to its far-reaching consequences. Freedom of movement is a fundamental freedom, and girls' freedom of movement is being compromised, subtly, every day. Arguably, this has implications for girls' confidence, physical strength, ability and willingness to protect themselves, consumption habits and economic standing, body image, Title IX, and more.

What do you think? Would you like to see me do a weekly "Political Discourse Awareness Project" post? Ideally this would be a collaborative effort; I'd love it if others would participate too.

I can't even begin

...to explain how brilliant this movie is:

I can't wait to see the actual movie too.

Star Trek Cribs

Pet Peeves Meme

Via jo(e) and New Kid:

1. Grammatical pet peeve. (Must keep my pedantry in check here) Easy -- using "at" at the end of a sentence, or a variation thereof, especially at the end of a scholarly presentation: "Okay, yeah, so that's where I'm at with my research right now." But actually it bothers me anytime, anyplace. I know it's perfectly fine to use prepositions at the ends of sentences, and other ones don't bother me at all. It's just something about the superfluity of "where I'm at" when someone could say "where I am," plus I hate the way it sounds.

I also don't like it when people use pronouns in the nominative case in contexts when they should be used in the objective case. Ex.: "She went to the store with Jane and I." The pronoun at the end of the sentence is the object of the preposition "with," so the correct usage would be "She went to the store with Jane and me."

2. Household pet peeve. When people kick off their shoes and leave them in the living room. Same goes for clothes. Cluttered counters and other surfaces.

3. Arts & Entertainment pet peeve. Some of you are going to be horrified, but...the acting in old movies and TV shows -- I'm thinking mostly 1940s and 1950s, but a lot of movies before and since then, too. The way they talk always sounds the same to me, with the same prosody, cadence, inflection, etc. Watch any episode of The Twilight Zone; that's how everyone sounds to me.

4. Liturgical pet peeve. I don't know. I hear that at some churches, preachers use PowerPoint in their sermons. That's crossing some kind of line.

5. Wild card. It irritates me when people I hardly know and haven't seen in years comes up to me and says, "You don't remember me, do you?" It just seems kind of pitiful, like the person thinks I'm higher up on the social ladder than s/he and is implicitly admitting it, but compensating for it by ensuring that I end up looking like a jerk if I don't remember the person, which I almost always do, and even if I don't, I don't give the person the satisfaction of my groveling; I just shrug. Jeez. Just say, "Hey, I think I know you from somewhere," or better, "I don't know if you remember me, but we had so-n-so's class together."

Bonus (things I do that become other people's pet peeves): Jonathan hates the way I correct other people's grammar (which I have no idea I'm doing, by the way). He says that someone might make a grammatical mistake, and I repeat the statement with the correct usage. It's hard for me to think of an example, so I'll use jo(e)'s. If someone says, "There's lots of apples in that tree," I might say, "Yes, there sure are lots of apples in that tree."

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