Thursday, March 30, 2006

Good News on COBRA & Simonton Court

So I just learned that Mac can be covered with our health insurance plan for 3 years for the monthly premium for individual coverage ($370 at present.) Not that you will need it when you get a fine paying job with wonderful benefits, but, just in case . . .

And Keith Ellis just called from a beach on Key West, to let us know they were laying in the sun, watching the waves, and they love Simonton Court! Really, how good a time can they be having if he's calling us from a beach?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Doubling down on a pair of dunces, er, deuces

Called That One!

Told Dad the basketball of the year to watch would be the last 5 minutes of the U Conn - George Mason game . . . then he had to watch the next five minutes of overtime, but he didn't complain.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Does he sip or guzzle the Kool-Aid?

Fascinating post by Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley (via Andrew Leonard in Salon) about his recent discussions in China. Senator Schumer's comments scare me.

We're gonna miss you, bro

This morning when I went to Hill House to pick up Breetel and Christine, Breetel announced that when they woke up this morning, Coltrane was dead. We had a small service in the bathroom, and then flushed his poor, limp body.

We've expected it for about a week, he's been looking very sad, and hanging out on the bottom of the bowl a lot. In the past, he had always been very active.

Rest in peace, Coltrane.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spring Break (Wooo-Hooo!)

Pictures from my spring break trip to Naples, Florida:

Alisha, Matt and Dana posing "thumbs up" at Stonewall Jackson Shrine in Virginia
Alisha, Matt and I with Pedro at South of the Border, once again with thumbs up.

Dana writing in our trip journal at the beginning of the trip... And so it begins.

Alligators at Wonder Gardens. Alligators are very very scary and should be avoided outside of cages or on the same side of cage as you. We decided alligators are dinosaurs because they are small versions of what we imagine dinosaurs to be like.

We also went to the beach and to the African Oyotungi Village (As seen on TV), but I have no pictures from those adventures.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Simon's Rock Diversity Teach-In

Today was the Diversity Teach-in. All students were asked to attend two classes given today. There were three sessions times, with about ten classes offered in each session time, so there were many options to choose from. However, I will start with the events of yesterday.

On Tuesday we had a community meeting, which was scheduled Monday. Tuesdays are not a normal day for community meetings, but Mary Marcy, the Provost, felt that we ought to have one before the teach-in, as there was a lot of controversy surrounding the announcement of the teach-in. So more than a hundred students, faculty and staff gathered in Kellogg, and we had an open forum for discussion, where students and faculty and staff voiced their opinions and objections, and they were responded to by anyone who felt like they could respond. The session lasted for two hours, with some heated discussion. I didn't speak. Tim expressed concern over the recent vandalism of his dormitory, and the fact that while he is one of only seven students in the dorm, he had never been spoken to by Student Life about the incident.

Last night at seven, a lecture was given by Tim Wise, an author who is known for his talks on diversity. He was phenomenal, a very good public speaker who presented facts that coudln't be denied, and did it all while keeping the entire place rolling on the floor with laughter.

This morning the seminars started. I meant to go to one in the first session, but overslept. At twelve thirty I went to one about the limits of liberalism. It was lead by two of my favorite teachers, Asma Abbas, the main political science teacher (she started last semester but the entire student body adores her because she is a phenomenal teacher, I haven't had her for anything but have had extensive discussions with her) and Philip Mabry, my sociology teacher. The seminar was attended by more than forty people, so we moved out of the classroom we were packed into in favor of the lecture center. We talked a lot about the "liberalism" of Simon's Rock, and the manner in which the individual influences and is part of the community. It was interesting, I did not participate in the conversation because I was a bit uncomfortable with the lecture set up and intimidated by those who were speaking.

The second seminar I attended was called Black in the Berkshires, and was run by James King, my literature teacher, and Saleem, an RD who lives in the mods. The seminar started with James and Saleem producing facts about this area, and then sharing some of their stories from living here. They then opened the floor, and other black students in the seminar shared their experiences. We then began talking about how we can start to fix this and make black people more comfortable at our school and in the general community. The main lesson was that just because you don't see racism happening doesn't mean it isn't there, and we have to take the word of those who are experiencing it for true. Tim Wise had brought up at the lecture that racism was never considered a huge problem until a white man took a medicine that made him black for a couple months and he wrote about it. We had been hearing the same thing from black people all along, but no one really cared or believe it until it came from the mouth of a white man. I spoke some in this class, perhaps because I'm very comfortable with James King and Saleem, as well as the other students and teachers who were attending the seminar.

Following we had another community meeting to discuss the teach-in, and discuss what could have been done better and what we should change for the future. I spoke twice in this. First I said that I enjoyed the teach-in, but felt it was a jumping off point, and that one day was not enough to create a real change unless we continue with the idea. I also suggested that we can hardly expect diversity and it acceptance at our school until the Seminar Series, the only required classes at Simon's Rock, diversify rather than being a bunch of book written by dead white guys. I spoke about something else as well, but it is irrelevant outside of the context of the meeting. Overall this meeting was better than the first, with less tension and more productive things said. Perhaps the most interesting part was when we were all sharing our ideas by raising our hands, and Rory, a white male students, started talking without raising his hand more than once. Mia, the student who was running the meeting, asked him to raise his hand before he spoke, and he said "Damn the hands!" To which Kate van Olst, a senior, replied, "Damn white males dominating a conversation on diversity."

Overall, a very interesting twenty four hours.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Diversity Teach-In

Tomorrow, all of our classes have been cancelled, so that we can attend a diversity teach-in. There will be a bunch of classes on different subjects and how they interact with diversity. This teach-in has been met with disgust from many students, as well as approval from others. I thought I'd share this post from the Simon's Rock blog on the issues, as the comments are fairly interesting.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

No kites in Lahore

You know, you click on a link about the banning of kite-flying in Pakistan and you feel pretty certain you know how the article is going to play out -- Islamic fundamentalists hate kites, sad children, etc., etc. But that's not the story at all.

Yes, that's right, it's all eBay's fault

The Internet is great. Why, in the past, it would have taken these winners years to lose their money. After all, you can only scratch off so many lottery tickets per day....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A little bragging...

Last night, I went to the benefit performance of Hedda Gabler at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. My friend Matt has a family friend who works at BAM, so his dad has season tickets. The performance was amazing. Cate Blanchett played Hedda and gave a wonderful performance.

The play, however, was overshadowed by the celebrity audience. I never thought of myself as a lame celebrity chaser, but there definitely is some thrill to being mere feet away from actors and directors that you admire. The final list of people we recognized: Mark Ruffalo, Marissa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett, Martin Scorsese, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Mary Louise-Parker, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. I am sure there were plenty more there that we didn't even see.

After the play, we attended a dessert reception, where we spent our time trying to act cool while following the various actors around. Matt actually accidentally bumped into Scorsese, and matt and I were standing 2 feet away from Liev Schreiber when Naomi Watts brought Cate Blanchett over to meet him. Cate Blanchett is as glamorous and beautiful as she is on film.