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Friday, April 29, 2016

Pose

Let the world know you as you are. not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?
~ Fanny Brice
- - - - -

A few weeks ago Leslie and I went to the Botanical Gardens in Clemson and walked around. I told her to post like it was her senior picture. This is what she did. I don't know what she was doing with her hand. Weirdo.

But that's not my point. My point is that I think we take senior pictures the wrong way. Well, if not the wrong way, at the wrong time. Seriously. Senior pictures? Shouldn't you get those taken when you get your AARP membership?



(Note: Yes I am scheduling this to be posted when Leslie is out of town. I'm stupid, but not super-duper stupid. Just the regular kind of stupid.)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Enlightenment

Practice and enlightenment are not two.
~ Dogen
- - - - -

I really like this quote. I believe it. I believe that whatever we practice we become. And what we become we are enlightened by. Our practice becomes the way we impact the world around us. The ways in which we become enlightened (i.e., the things we practice) are the ways in which we make a difference. Practice makes effect, I guess.

I am enlightenment of sarcasm.
And also of fixing vacuum cleaners.

Don't be jealous.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Teaching

A child becomes largely what it is taught; hence we must watch what we teach it, and how we live before it.
~ Jane Addams
- - - - -

We are all teachers. We teach intentionally and unintentionally. We teach by words and deeds. We teach when we know people are watching and even when we don't realize they are watching.

Wait. I didn't mean that we are all teachers. I meant that we are all awkward messes. 

Wait again. Maybe it's the same thing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bird

you were born with wings
why prefer to crawl through life?
~ Rumi
- - - - -

Outside: Tweet!  Tweet- tweet!  Tweet!

Leslie: That's a red-breasted mother---

Me: LESLIE!

Leslie: Whatever. I hate those people who know all those birds by their whistles.


Dear Undergraduate Self,

Smart move not becoming an ornithologist.

Love, All Graduated Self.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Oil

Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.
~ J. Paul Getty
- - - - -

We rely too much on foreign sewmachine oil.
Thank goodness for domestic sewmachine oil.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ham

He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.
~ C. S. Lewis
- - - - -

I love my friend Sally.  She has helped me a lot and challenged me a lot and shown me that life away from work matters more than life at work, but that also doing a good job is important.  She has shown me that it is best never to disagree with her on the big things and if you disagree with her on the small things then shut up and keep it to yourself.

All that said, the reason I am writing this post about Sally with this picture is because I had this photo in draft mode and it was titled "ham."  The next blog in draft mode - the one right under it for several months until I figure out what to do with it - was titled, "balls."  And Sally loves ham balls.  And I do, too.  

And they are not pig testicles.  I mean, I guess you could call pig testicles "ham balls" but that isn't what I'm talking about.

My point is, it's good to have lots of different people in your world to teach you things.  And it would be smart to find out what exactly kind of "ham ball" you are eating before you start eating it.  Actually, it's probably good to find out what you're eating before you eat it all the time.

There are a LOT of life lessons in this blog.  

You're welcome.

Upon rereading this draft, I realize that having a blog draft titled "balls" could be rather provocative.  So, consider yourselves provoked.

Also, "balls" would not be a bad birthday blog title for a Sally post, either.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cool


Cool means being able to hang with yourself. All you have to ask yourself is 'Is there anybody I'm afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room and saw, I'd get nervous?' If not, then you're cool.
~ Prince
- - - - -

Maybe his passing is the death of cool. I am more affected than I expected to be to hear he has died. I feel like some things that would have caught me off guard or make me think differently won't be created now. He did, wrote, sang, filmed and otherwise created that stuff - the stuff of surprises. Often.

I went to see Prince for $5 when I was in college. It was a great concert. In 1993 I went to see the world premiere of "Billboards" - based on Prince's music and performed by the Joffrey Ballet - at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. That's when "Thunder" became one of my favorite songs of all time.

I wasn't a super-megafan. I know some of those people. That's not me. I am pretty moved by his passing, though. It's one of those times when you know that there won't ever be anyone like that again. I know that's true for every person. This person, though... He made a huge impact on music and culture. And he was not like other people in very visible ways.

I used some of Prince's lyrics and words to wrap up my last class this semester.  They included: 

"Act your age, not your shoe size."

"A strong spirit transcends rules."

"Compassion is an action with no boundaries."

"The gatekeepers must change."

"No child is bad from the beginning. They just imitate their atmosphere."

Just like Prince surprised the world over and over again, he also inspired me to surprise myself by quoting from the song "Sexuality" in class this week. Thanks, Prince.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Power

Isn't the smallest chance of victory enough of a reason for us to keep on fighting?
~ Jason, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
- - - - -

What if Power Rangers were like Park Rangers. Instead of going around educating people about parks or giving tours or teaching safety or teaching about the environment or monuments - what if Power Rangers went around and educated people about power and safety and responsible use of power?

What if that is what Power Rangers really are -- teachers? Aren't all teachers like Power Rangers because they teach us about the power of knowledge?

I don't know. I never watched that show.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sausage


The less people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they'll sleep at night.
~ Otto von Bismarck
- - - - -

I took this photo in Pittsburgh a few years ago when I was there for a conference. I like that the guy waved when I took the photo. I bet he has some pretty good self-esteem. He works at Wiener World, after all.

Also, I just thought of something.  If you say a kid is a "spoiled brat" that means something different than if you say the same thing about a sausage.

Wow, do I have some important thoughts.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Trap

A forest bird never wants a cage.
~ Henrik Ibsen
- - - - -

This birdhouse makes me laugh.  Birds can't read.

Birds can't read because they don't wear reading glasses.

They don't wear reading glasses because they don't have ears to keep them on their heads.

What's really sad is when a bird pays a visit to the ophthalmologist who can't help the bird instead of the ornithologist which is where the bird meant to go but the bird can't read.

The world is cruel.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bench

A throne is only a bench covered in velvet.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte
- - - - -

You know "riding the bench" really isn't much of a ride at all.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Brevity

If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams - the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
~ Robert Southey
- - - - 
Me:   Just thought of this...  Jared is your Maine squeeze.

Kirk:  Omg.  That's all.  ;)

Me:  Oh Maine Goodness?

Kirk:  Omg!  Do you know about nexttokimdavis on Twitter?????

Me: I AM nexttokimdavis on Twitter.

Kirk:  Please let that be true.  Oh please...  Let that be true.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Building

Architecture is a visual art and the buildings speak for themselves.
~ Julia Morgan
- - - - -

The stories in buildings fascinate me.  What goes on behind each of these windows.  I think that's why floors in tall buildings are called "stories."  There is something to be learned, told, seen, and kept secret on every floor.

Not secret from me because I REALLY want to know what's going on there. But secret from you because you don't want to know as much as I do.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bridge

Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will lay me down.
~ Paul Simon
- - - - -

Should it be "Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lie down?" Probably not. But can a bridge lay itself down? It's an inanimate object, right? So should the lyric be, "Like a bridge over troubled water bridge builder guys will lay me down?"

No. No it shouldn't be.

That would be a very different kind of song.

Music is a mystery.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Influence

You don't have to be a person of influence to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they've taught me.
~ Scott Adams
- - - - -

How we use our influence is a lot like how we use our privilege. If we make a habit of using it to help, to listen, to lift, and to encourage, then it becomes second nature. Actually, I think it becomes first nature. 

If we don't, then we become lousy people by nature. 

It takes work to be happy.
It takes work to be a good person.

A lot of people don't like work very much.

I try not to follow their lead.

Instead, I follow the lead of people like Leslie. People who assume most people are good or at least want to be good. People who help first and ask questions never. People who are constantly seeking to learn and who own the fact that they don't (and will never) know everything. People who don't conflate wisdom with worship or kindness with cult-following. People who do good things because there are a lot of good things that need to be done. I like people like that. Leslie is like that. I like her.

So, I'd follow Leslie just about anywhere. Especially if I'm in the back of the canoe she is paddling.

Curiosity

The cure for boredom in curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
~  Dorothy Parker
- - - - -

The old lady invited the children into her house to play with her finger puppets. When the children saw the dish with the doll heads in it, they were uncomfortable. You're bound to be uncomfortable when you see a dish full of doll heads. If not, there is something a bit off about you.

"Go ahead," the old lady invited, "Take a puppet and put your finger in it and we'll do an entertainment together."

The children paused and then looked at Lucretia, who was the oldest. She would know what to do.

"Um..." Lucretia stalled. "Um... Will it be a tragedy or a comedy?"

The old lady stared over her smudgy spectacles at the girl. She didn't smile or frown. After a minute she said, "There are no comedies. Only prologues for tragedies."

The children backed toward the door. 

"No, no. Come now. Let's do an entertainment," the old lady begged, her walker scraping the floor as she chased after them in stumbly slow motion. The children then took off running, leaving the door open behind them.

"Hmh," the woman murmured in a satisfied way to herself. "That oughta keep 'em out of my yard for a while."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Kindness

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
~ Albert Schweitzer
- - - - -

I guess what Dr. Schweitzer was trying to say is that climate change is kindness.

(pause) 

I guess he wasn't a doctor of ecology. Or a doctor of nature. Or a doctor of let's make sure the world lasts for a long time.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Troubles

A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of.
~ J. K. Rowling
- - - - -

I think that maybe troubles melt like lemon drops in hell. I mean, it would have to be really hot to melt hard candy, right? And I imagine that if you are in hell whatever problems you had before become pretty small considering you are now in hell.

And does that mean that Satan has never had an actual lemon drop? That he only has had lemon drop syrup?

I have so many questions. 

And you all have so few answers. 

Rather, your answers just don't match my questions.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Batman


You don't get heaven or hell.  Do you know the only reward you get for being Batman?  You get to be Batman.
~ Neil Gaiman
- - - - -

Leslie sent me a video with a little kid arguing with his dad about Batman.  His dad kept calling himself Batman.  Then the kid would say, "You're Robin.  I'M Batman."  It went back and forth for a while and then the dad finally gave in.

Well, I wrote back to Leslie and said that the kid wasn't Batman that I am the one who is Batman.  I said it very directly and firmly.  I think I used an f-bomb and exclamation points.

I talked to Leslie later about it and she told me that I had actually typed, "I am Barman."

I am a Batman who doesn't conform to your standard notions of Batman.  On so many levels...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Self

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
~ Joseph Campbell
- - - - -

Sometimes people ask me where I come up with such great ideas for my blog. They ask me if it is hard being so brilliant in a world that is so confining and conforming. They ask me how I rise above the mediocrity that surrounds us all.

(pause)

Not really. Sometimes people do ask me if they can borrow a pen, though.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Suitcases

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again' we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.
~ Jack Kerouac
- - - - -

I am pretty good at packing and moving. I try to keep things organized and boxes marked well. There have been times I have moved and not done a good job at those things, but most of the time I try to do a good job at those things.

That said, there comes a point in every move when you put things where they fit rather than where they belong. I feel like there is some kind of parallel to education there. We sometimes put students where there is room for them rather than where they might thrive. Or we put things in a course because we can teach them but miss the things that probably should be in a course because to include them would make it too complicated or difficult.

Then we end up with education that looks like a suitcase at the end of a move instead of a neatly organized box of materials which make the most of time and space and anyone involved in packing or unpacking them. Then we end up with things like this...

Leslie: What's in this suitcase.

Me: A roasting pan and Christmas decorations, of course.

Monday, April 4, 2016

God

Pray to God, but hammer away.
~ Spanish Proverb
- - - - -

Pray to God for good spelling.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bucket

Human beings will line up for miles to buy a bucket of catastrophes, but don't try selling sunshine and light - you'll go broke.
~ Chuck Jones 
- - - - -

There are a few challenges in collecting buckets. First, where do you store them? You better have some space. Second, how do you define "bucket" as opposed to other containers? (That might not be a very big challenge, but I don't know. I haven't done any research on that topic.)

Then there is the matter of keeping a record of what buckets you own. Do you do by description? By photo? A written record or a catalogue of some kind? 

Finally, how do you complete your collection? If you collected buckets and before you died you really wanted to get a few rare / prized buckets then I guess you would have a bucket list on your bucket list.

Bucket collecting is not as simple as you think, but why are you thinking about that? Seriously, I'm sure you have better things to do.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Mannequin

Those who are satisfied to stand still should not complain when others pass them.
~ Proverb
- - - - -

The other day my brother Kirk posted something about having a strong desire to watch the movie "Mannequin." Now Kirk is weird on a number of levels - this being a very small example of that. However, it did get me to thinking about an idea for a new movie.

As I recall (and I haven't seen that movie since it first came out, I don't think), the mannequin in "Mannequin" comes to life. What if they did a more contemporary and factual version about a mannequin that is just a mannequin and does not come to life?

Just to mix it up a bit, I think they could use a male mannequin this time. I don't know why. Maybe it's because mannequins are literally objects and there is already enough objectification of women. Maybe it's just to help separate my version from the 1980-whatever version.

Anyway, my movie would focus on how others experience the mannequin who can't come to life. What does he teach them about themselves? How do they project their issues on him. He isn't really able to do anything about their issues, but he serves as a catalyst for their own explorations.  I suggest that we call the film, "Mannecan't".

I'm sure Kirk will be working on the screenplay soon. If he hurries we can release it in time for the 30th anniversary of "Mannequin". Let's not wait until 2021 for the release to coordinate with the 30th anniversary of "Mannequin II" because - well, I don't imagine there will be nearly the hubbub over that film's 30th anniversary.