My opinion? Meh. I mean, yeah, I’m glad I know it even if I hardly use it, and it has its benefits — does the ACT still have that one cursive requirement? But people type more than they write now because it has its benefits too, and so to me there are justsomanyotherproblems with the U.S. educational system about which I’ll much sooner get on my high horse.
Anyway, I soon discovered just how many people feel strongly about the cursive thing. A post about putting cursive back in school curriculum showed up in my Facebook feed because one of my relatives who was at Thanksgiving dinner liked it. It reads:
Massachusetts is one of several states that wants to keep penmanship lessons in the curriculum. Do you think we should keep cursive writing alive?
The post was from a Massachusetts radio station. So many of their 35,065 Facebook fans liked and shared it that it essentially went viral across the country: 831,893 likes and 64,405 shares, as of this writing (er, typing). That’s a lot of people!
Some of the comments make fine points, but none of them have persuaded me to get more passionate about cursive. There were also stupid comments like this one:
The cool thing is that the Constitution is no longer just in cursive. Look, you can read it on Wikipedia. Just another benefit of digitization.
This week the State of Connecticut closed its investigation into the Sandy Hook shooting. Inside the report are some rather strange tidbits about Adam Lanza. Imagine living in this household:
[His mother] was concerned about him and said that he hadn’t gone anywhere in three months and would only communicate with her by e-mail, though they were living in the same house.
[H]e would not sleep in a hotel. In fact, during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, with no power in the house, the shooter refused to leave the home and go to a hotel.
During the week of December 10, 2012, the shooter’s mother was out of town in New Hampshire. She arrived home Thursday evening December 13, 2012, at approximately 10:00 p.m. [the night before the shooting].
The shooter was particular about the food that he ate and its arrangement on a plate in relation to other foods on the plate. Certain types of dishware could not be used for particular foods.
The mother did the shooter’s laundry on a daily basis as the shooter often changed clothing during the day. She was not allowed in the shooter’s room, however, even to clean. No one was allowed in his room.
The shooter disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays. He would not allow his mother to put up a Christmas tree. The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings. The mother also got rid of a cat because the shooter did not want it in the house.
I’m thankful for author Seth Godin, who posts a great Thanksgiving message on his blog every year. It’s thought-provoking, in that it makes me think about some new reason to be thankful for something I hadn’t considered before.
In the US, today some people will give thanks for what they personally have. Others will focus more on what has gone right for family and friends. And others will dig deeper and think hard about what they can do to take an even longer view, and to create a platform where even more people will be thankful a year or a decade from now.
What a great thought: that we should not only thank the people who help people be more thankful, but also consider what we can do to make people more thankful.
In my first two and a half weeks in North Dakota, the number of people who would approach me, introduce themselves, ask how I’m doing or if I needed anything, etc., amazed me. That warm welcome has made this transition so much less scary. They went out of their way to help me, and I am thankful for that. It will also motivate me to do the same thing once someone else is the newbie and I’m one of the regulars.
Next up on the docket is Beastie Boys v. GoldieBlox, Inc. in the 4th Circuit Court for “Ridiculous Applications of Copyright Law”
You know that amazing ad for GoldieBlox engineering toys? The one that features three young girls busting up our pretty pink princess toy culture using one of the greatest Rube Goldberg setups ever devised? The one that has a chance to be played during the Super Bowl, so that people everywhere can see the value of promoting STEM education in young girls’ lives?
Well, the Beastie Boys don’t like it. GoldieBlox produced a parody version of the Beastie Boys’ hit song “Girls” for that ad, and the Boys of Beasthood are going after them for copyright infringement.
GoldieBlox is claiming “fair use” in a counter-filed court claim (or whatever it’s called, I’m a scientist, not a lawyer), which I actually think GBlx have a pretty good case for, but I’m not going to bore you with legal mumbo-jumbo. This is made especially ironic by the fact that the original Beastie Boys song has, shall we say, a decidedly less than flattering view of women.
Inside the GoldieBlox court filing, I found this sick burn directed at the Beastie Boys’ original lyrics compared to the inspiring GoldieBlox version:
In the lyrics of the Beastie Boys’ original song, girls are limited (at best) to household chores, and are presented as useful only to the extent they fulfill the wishes of the male singers. The girls are objects. The GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video takes direct aim at the song both visually and with a revised set of lyrics celebrating the many capabilities of girls. Set to the tune of Girls by the Beastie Boys but with a new recording of the music and new lyrics, girls are heard singing an anthem celebrating their broad set of capabilities—exactly the opposite of the message of the original. GoldieBlox Girls are the subjects; they are the actors taking charge of their environment.
It gets better! Look at this chart comparing the lyrics of the original to the lyrics of the parody cover, it’s too good:
The Beastie Boys and Def Jam records just need to do the right thing here andlet it goooooooooo(preferably slow and low). That’s where you come in!
It wouldn’t hurt to tell GoldieBlox that you’ve got their back, too: @goldieblox
Keep voting so the GlodieBlox ad can be played during the Super Bowl
Universal Music Group/Island Def Jam’s VP of media relations is named Lauren Schneider, and she has an email address: email@example.com
I love the Beastie Boys, and they have done a lot of good for the world since their rambunctiously youthful days. Do the right thing. Fight for young girls’ right to party … with toys that empower STEM education.
Signal boost the hell out of this until this meets its rightful end!
“We say the iPads are not marching and playing the show, but what the iPad has allowed us to do is, from a technological standpoint, it has allowed us and our students to see the drill move, to see their individual positions on the field, to have their music, to have the recordings of the band—really everything. It’s a band in a box.”—
What are you possibly going to do all weekend? I’ve still got stuff to put away in the apartment, although I’ll probably keep putting that off. I Skyped my family last night. I’ll be going on my first North Dakota run this morning. I’m —
But how are you gonna go running in North Dakota if it’s so cold? Temperatures are hovering in the 30s and 40s lately, so it’s fine. But! As luck would have it (and this is seriously lucky), Crosby is building a health center… that has an indoor track… that opens later this month… that is literally across the street from my apartment!
Wow! Yeah! Anyway, you interrupted me. I’m also gonna be catching up on reading the news and watching my TV shows. I need to go to the grocery store today because I’m out of orange juice. I could also go to the movie theater, but the movie this weekend is “Ender’s Game,” and sci-fi isn’t my thing. I think that’s everything.
My dad and brother are flying back to Ohio as I type this, and I am now in my own apartment all alone. Having not envisioned anything like this happening as recently as two months ago, it’s kind of terrifying. On the bright side:
It would be vastly more terrifying had they not come with me for three days to help me settle into a city 1,400 miles away from my family.
I now know how to entertain future visitors.
Being home alone means I don’t need to wear pants.
More dispatches to come. If you’re too impatient for them, that’s OK too.
There are four cities in northwest North Dakota worth briefly describing to you: Crosby, Tioga, Williston and Minot. Take a moment to identify them in the top-left quadrant of the above map.
Important note: North Dakota refers to all its communities as cities, regardless of their size. Crosby and Tioga have fewer than 2,000 residents — Rootstown, by comparison, has 7,000 — but they are cities nonetheless.
Also important: Unlike the eastern United States, where when you exit one city or town you’ve immediately entered another, in North Dakota there is often more than a half-hour drive between populated communities, and in that half-hour drive you will see basically nothing — often not even trees. It’s mostly just farmland and oil wells. Plus, the highways are mostly straight in one direction for miles and miles with very few curves or turns. Driving through North Dakota is rather uninteresting. The above map doesn’t list every community in North Dakota, but the fact that even tiny Crosby and Tioga warrant inclusion in the map should give you a sense of how sparse the state’s population is.
My employer has two offices, one in Crosby and one in Tioga.
At first I’ll be working in the Crosby office, because (a) that’s where an apartment was available for me and (b) that’s where my boss works, and presumably she’ll be the one training me. Here is a picture of downtown Crosby:
Hopefully in the spring, once I have a few months under my belt, an apartment will open in Tioga and I will move over to that office because (a) an apartment there would be more affordable and (b) of the three schools I’ll be covering, two are in the Tioga area, so this would reduce my amount of travel.
Crosby and Tioga are an hour apart.
Small as they are, they have enough businesses in each city that people don’t really have to drive elsewhere for any everyday needs. They have banks, restaurants, grocery stores, doctor’s offices, hospitals and hotels, among other services.
The nearest big cities (as in, what we consider a city) are Williston and Minot. Both have a small airport. They are also the nearest places to find many recognizable national-chain companies like Arby’s or Sears or Motel 6; the only such ones I’ve found in Crosby and Tioga are Napa Auto Parts and American Family Insurance.
Williston is the nearest of the two, an hour from Tioga and 80 minutes from Crosby. It has 18,000 people, roughly the same as Streetsboro.
Minot is 90 minutes from Tioga and two hours from Crosby. It has 43,000 people, roughly the same as Cuyahoga Falls.
You’ll also see a decent-size city above Crosby on the map: Estevan, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It is 45 minutes from Crosby and 75 minutes from Tioga. It has 11,000 people.