dimanche, janvier 23, 2005


oh, Mon Dieu! This is sick. The British Home Office reports that it is considering the request to boycott the national commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?! These Muslims are hideous people to ally themselves in such a way. It was bad enough that many Arab Muslims fought with the Third Reich, but to perpetuate something which should be an embarassing part of their history with such open selfishness is hardly a respectable move. I can only hope that Muslims who speak about their cultural tendencies towards peacefulness and respectful behavior between humans will wonder where their teaching goes astray and work to correct this gross behavior.

"BRITISH Muslims are to boycott this week’s commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz because they claim it is not racially inclusive and does not commemorate the victims of the Palestinian conflict.

Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has written to Charles Clarke, the home secretary, saying the body will not attend the event unless it includes the “holocaust” of the Palestinian intifada."

How self-centered can these Palestinians be? Everything is about them them them!? They're just political hogs. They manipulate the media and they think somehow that they are always in the right. How is it that our world supports this and listens to it. What is the British Home Office THINKING?! or are they not thinking? The latter being most likely. I can only pray that Her Majesty's Crown should never be so besmirched that such blatant insensitivity to what is decent and humane will tarnish the "Empire the Sun never sets over"... oh, wait, maybe it's too late for that already.

Nonetheless honour is due to those Allied and Russian troops who sacrificed to free the Jews, the homosexuals, the political prisoners, the handicapped, and the Gypsies who were held in those camps. (Nothing meant by the order these people are listed in, just randomily thinking and writing.) The liberation itself, while only one camp among so many, was such a beacon of hope that people can turn the tide of man's cruelty and inhumanity, because of Auschwitz's easily recognized name.


Do people have no respect and no humanity left in them? Today's world of soundbites keeps people from thinking. Riots apparently also keep people from thinking clearly about what is right as a human. .. we would rather give the candy to the petulant child than discipline the child properly...

how terrible.

mercredi, janvier 19, 2005

this is what you are paying for...

Okay, every year that I've been here, I've had this conversation at least once with a freshmen.. and I'm curious to know.. does no one ever tell them?

Random freshman asks about the REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) which I encourage all science and engineering students to at least apply and try to get .. and most certailnly to do if they get it.

me, myself, and I: REU's are based on the money available, so it's like you get a certain amount of money not the same amount each year prob, and so you have that many slots then you rank the people and then take that number of people you can take from the top and go until fill all the availbe things slots you can pay for that's bout it.. it's not like school where they go “no we didn't like you and dind't htink yo would fit” it's more like, enh we need this many frsehmen this many soph and this many juniors they like people who are ecited and interested who will work hard you know the usual stuff

Random freshman: i have no clue who to use for recs

me, myself, and I: does it have to be profs? I’ve forgotten

Random freshman: dont know, but who else would i use?

me, myself, and I: did you ever do research before?in high school? high school teachers...
if you ever worked int he summers doing science then do that…get those people

Random freshman: i never did :-(

me, myself, and I: I'm not sure what' youve done, but priority is higher on someone who knows you and can say good things then on official sounding people

Random freshman: its all academic for me

me, myself, and I: okay so try high school teachers in science who can attest to your intelligence --if not that then go afte the profs you had last quarter that you did well in their classes --well i need someone who can talk about my lab abilities or comp sci abilities than anyhting ese

me, myself, and I: so do you have an high school eteachrs who can say you are smart and have a passion for science? if not, then try any of your profs or even TA's from last quarter who would be willing to say anythig nice for you.

Random freshman: i have teachers from hs and maybe my comp sci teachers

buyt theyre students...seniors apparently they nkow theyre shit better than others

me, myself, and I: okay, well do that get a high school teacher and a senior to write if you need tow

Random freshman: and if one?

me, myself, and I: it's the only way they can assess your ability or interest to do anything that you say you can or want to do.. the only way to verify. yo're better off with two

me, myself, and I: one, you don't really ahve a good handle on it but I'd go with the senior from ISP if they got to know you cuz it's closer to now and more relevant

Part of school and doing well in school is 1) getting a research opportunity to either help pay for school or else to learn how to do research so you can get these kinds of jobs

me, myself, and I: you do that by going and asking around.. or you pick up things on your own and learn that and show them you know how to do whatever it is you learned..

Okay, and this is the part they always seem astounded by...
me, myself, and I: the other part of school is building up relationships with professors.

Random freshman: i didnt think of that

me, myself, and I: you have to pick subjects you like and go to office hours and talk to the prof about the subject.. but of course only do it if you are genuinely interested

Random freshman: nor did i think id need them so soon

me, myself, and I: yup, so this is part of what you're paying ofr to go to a real university. If you have this kind of connection with profs here you can do anythign essentially

Random freshman: im about to email my physics prof from last quarter to stop by and talk about my final form last quarter maybe i can get this thing done soon. this is why i need a lab job first....

me, myself, and I: because they will have a good opinion of you and you keep your connection going and then you utilise it over the course of the next 5-6 years. while you're here you keep up twith them these relationships usually last 2 years after grad too and sometimes even longer... but it's vital to build this kind of thing up otherwise you have nothing but classes. we'll talk about this later, but you have to be smart about the way you do college.. if you want just classes you should pay a lot less and go to UIC or Loyola or whatever these little er places are that aren't research intensive...here youa re paying for the opportunity to do research and form the ocntacts you need to succeed that's what the extra approx. 7K in tuition at least hat you pay more than the other places is for... they expect you to utilize those resources

Random freshman: and i better as hell start now

So for future reference... This is part of why one college is "better" or more "reputable" or "pricier" than another college....
sigh, next post will hopefully be about my pet peeves regarding an aspect of education in high schools.

dimanche, janvier 16, 2005

a Turkish towel?!

okay, so here we go, I sneak into the store with my companion, who is trying to avoid her spouse (who is a consummate shopper and a real jerk)... to pick up a few items for her wardrobe which are in dire need of replacement... (like, me, she rarely ever changes her wardrobe preferring practical to silly. Now, mind you, I don't shop much , if ever,...) so immediately I'm dazzled by the fantastic feathery packaging that a mere pillow comes in... There's some section on home entertaining and home decorating right as you walk in, I suppose. These piles of couch pillows are right on a table of some sort when youw alk in. Of course after I shake the packaging for a bit to ascertain that it is indeed merely the packaging which is covered in these distractingly colorful feathers, I realize that the pillow within is a same run of the mill dull pillow.. I'm obstinately opposed to purchasing things I can make myself.. I figure if I can make it.. and Gd gave me hands and a creative mind to be thusly industrious, well, why should I leave it to some business person and ad exec on Madison ave to stifle my inner self-sufficiency? ... okay, so fine.. . I move on int he store, disgusted that the fluffy and colorful feathers are on the pillow for the same reason they're on a parrot or a male cardinal... to attract my eyes and lure me in...
sigh. (who knew madison avenue advert agencies knew about bird coloration for mating purposes?)

so then we get further embroiled in the store... and I find these towels, which look like normal towels to me, but have this marvelously beautiful tag on them, which has a gorgeously.. (visually luxurious tag) designed background color scheme and proceeds to tell this wondrous story about the wonders of Turkish cotton and how this is all combined to give you an incredible towel.
okay, I don't know when I last bought a towel, usually I bum them off my Mum and bring 'em home. or I get free or cheap ones from various locales or science expos (found me out, I'm not too big into this shopping stuff, eh?) and gargantuan curiosity overcomes me... now that I've read the long detailed tag, describing how centuries of Turkish craftsmanship and the fine materials treated as only the Turks know how (whatever that means) has produced this exquisitely fine soft towel. Okay, I give in and touch the chartreuse colored cloth.

It's not nearly as soft or luxurious as I thought it would be.
Stunned I sit down on the nearest ottoman/settee they're selling.. conveniently located for such a surprise...

It's a lie!!!

Okay, so Wiggin tells me these people are wastes.. these ad people..

they just burst my bubble about the towel....

Anyway, my dear friend is working and has been working in the production business for a long time.. essentially since I got out of radio, I think. We used to soothe his feelings and tell him that at least his stuff isn't really so useless and he's helpingthe world one ad at a time.. but once I read _The Worldly Philosophers_ well,I wasn't too keen on adverts or on business people.

What about highlighting 'the other" making osmething seem exotic makes aproduct all the more marketable? well, it's how unique that product is, right? This is so unusual and you'd have a luxurious item in your house.. something as simple as a towel though isn't going to attract a lot of attention so it's not like you're going to get heads to turn the way you would by having a Louis XIV harp in your drawing room. So somehow it's the internal pleasure one gets from having special things, I suppose. Anyway, what's to keep me from taking an ordinary distowel and telling you is Turkish cotton. Maybe it's really American cotton, combed in Poland by a Turkish immigrant? What makes it Turkish and what makes Turkish cotton good (besides the hype we can generate just by telling tales about it)?

C'est la monde.

dimanche, janvier 09, 2005

times past

I went through lots of "phases" as a child. Certainly, I had some indulgences and adventures. By the time I graduated high school, I had gone through a dance performance program, a vocal performance program, went as a youth ambassador to Japan and the Republic of Korea, worked in the political arena, written as a journalist intern at a newspaper, been a DJ with my own special show, and gone to a gifted and talented youth program in astronomy and space travel. My life since then has hardly been as interesting and so I wonder sometimes at my youth and that driven person I was. If I didn't have all the pictures, documents, and memories, I'm not sure I would be able to vouch that I'm the same person who did all that.

I know all the things that have shaped me and changed me since then -some better than others, of course. I know today I could hardly be different from what I am now, not so confident, not so sure-footed, not so motivated, etc. I wonder if everyone's life is so paved with regrets and nostalgia at what a person once was and what they could have been...?

On the other hand, looking back at all I accomplished then, I see, too, again what other people saw when they looked at me. Nostalgia.

Beyond that, I wonder if -since I condemned my kids to a life where they can never have the opportunities I had...- whether that education is really so important after all, since I've forgotten so much of that information anyway, but also I wonder if I didn't just exhibit the worst sense of nurturing/parenting by stripping the right from my kids to have all the opportunities that life can offer unbound by kashrut, unbound by duty to H", and unbound by societal and ritualistic restrictions.

I know what I did was right; I just question my general sanity in having done that.