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Showing posts from March, 2011

Flannery O'Connor: The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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I have a lot of “favorite” Flannery O’Connor short stories . Flannery O’Connor’s   short story, "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," is included in   The Complete Stories . This story is somewhat haunting, possibly because O'Connor freely borrows key images from a number of her other stories. For example, the image of the car as a vehicle of freedom and justification is used in   Wise Blood   (with its main character   Hazel Motes   noting that a man with a good car doesn't need salvation); and the notion of Catholicism as a dismissible un-advanced and "old" religion by a character who hasn't the patience to think deeply about spiritual things is used in   The Displaced Person  and other places. And, as is common, the story includes a widowed woman  with an invalid adult daughter who is unmarried. (It's interesting how often O'Connor uses this image since she was a physically afflicted, unmarried adult daughter living with a widowed mother. It&#

Join the Club and a Fourth Place

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I heard an interview today with MacArthur and Putlizer Prize winner Tina Rosenberg on her book Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World . Rosenberg explores the positive role peer-pressure plays in bringing about social change. In the interview she talks about old ways of teaching, take for example the importance of an individual better health practices, often fail, but social pressure from peers can effectively foster change. Hearing this interview fit perfectly with something else I've been thinking about - the Internet as a Fourth Place for community building, aligning with the three other anchor places for social interaction: home, work and community spaces, such as bars, coffeehouses, community parks and the like. The Internet as "fourth place" allows a person to form a community of ideas that may not be readily available in one's geographic community. In a sense, the Internet created social interaction in the Middle East in recent months to

Sketchy

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 Monastic building in a small village.  I'll share my art with you from time to time.  I hear the snickers across the Internet waves.  Yeah - this is what I call art - and it's MY art. True, I'm not trained and I'm certianly not a "natural." Nevertheless, I enjoy the creative process. This is one of only two actual "drawings" I have available. The few others surving pieces of my art are  paintings. I posted this sketch to make a point. I was  am, in essence,  learning to draw . You'll notice that it took a couple of attempts to get the steeple set up properly. And, the front entry had to be redone. The first attempts at getting both on paper went askew. As I recall, I did this drawing as an attempt at teaching myself to express perspective . I am fascinated that lines can be put together to represent a point of view.  Now, where am I going with this? I'm not sure. However, I have an "add on" story to tell. This drawing

Just Before Sunset

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I thought I'd share a bit of my every day life in southern Orange County, California  since I spend quite a bit of time at the beach, particularly at the end of the work day. This video is in Dana Point , just behind Ocean Institute. View Larger Map

Shock, Awe and Grace

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I've thought about this before. Suffering, calamity, misfortune, crime, hatred, ignorance – these realities abound in the world and fill the headlines. When natural disasters occur, news vendors rush to count the dead. I fear that the news of intense events is creating a numbing effect in many. I don’t place blame. This is the way life is. Shock is hard to take, especially when it is often repeated. People look for relief from bad news in order to keep going.   However, there is another view of shock. Flannery O'Connor talked about "shock" as an instrument for instruction in her writing. Shock is often the vehicle of grace in O’Connor’s short stories that causes a character to examine her life and to make a change that leads to living a more authentic life. As O'Connor put it, “To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures .” Flannery O'Connor had the sense that biblical parables were

Hudson Taylor: Athlete Ally

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Wrestling coach Hudson Taylor started Athlete Ally . Mr. Taylor's effort is important and timely, particularly as there is national awareness of bullying and teasing of LGBTQ/questioning youth. I'm sensitive to this, as an educator and as a person of faith who believes in affirming the dignity of all. Here's an interview with Taylor describing Athlete Ally.

Lisa or Eddie

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I haven't read Andrew Ferguson's Crazy U , but I did read his article "How to get your kid into the Ivy League," which was published in the March 18, 2011 issue of The Week . Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College I read stuff like this all the time because "getting kids into the Ivy League" is what I do for a living. Or, at least that was people think/hope I do. Actually, I'm a former admissions officer who worked at two hyper-selective and desirable universities. I'll post more on that later. My take-away from Ferguson's article is at the end when he says that the highly competitive admissions process forces kids to eschew being Lisa Simpson. Rather, in applying to college, applicants become charmers, like the character Eddie Haskell in Leave It to Beaver . I see it all the time and my heart sinks when a bright student comes into my office to discuss his college essays. He'll read the essay prompt and as