Saturday, August 27, 2005
Here's the deal: List ten songs you currently are obsessing over -- any genre, any format, etc. If you have a blog, do it there; if you don't, do it here. Then tag five people or so. Here are my songs, in no particular order:
Arcade Fire: Wake Up
Rufus Wainwright: One Man Guy
Bikini Kill: Feels Blind
Will Smith: Switch
Imperial Teen: Teacher's Pet
The Go-Betweens: Heart and Home
Missy Elliott: Lose Control
Guns N' Roses: Mr. Brownstone
The Positions: Back to Me
Okay: Mark, Eli, Jon, Ezra & Alex, Kate & Eden, Emily, CJ, Ross, and Liz -- consider your nectarines gently nudged by my knuckles.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
The Cyclone's notorious first drop (of 85 feet at a ridiculously steep 60 degree angle) was phenomenal. Then, for a blessed one minute and 50 seconds (covering 2,650 feet along the way), you're whipped around six 180 degree turns, 18 track crossovers, and a whopping 27 changes of direction. I left with bruises and the next day woke up with sore muscles. Of course, I wouldn't have my wooden roller coasters any other way. I feel perfectly content with skipping Cedar Point now.
Also while in NY, I ran across the funniest bathroom stall graffiti conversation I've seen in quite a while:
Drunk woman #1: I hate those damn Red Sox, except for that Mike Timlin, who is H-O-T.
Drunk woman #2: I'm with you, except mine is Brian Daubach. Woo hoo!
Drunk woman #3: The Red Sox rule! MLB Champs 2005!
Drunk woman #4: The Red Sox can go fuck themselves! Yankees rule! They were just throwing the Red Sox a bone!
Wow, where to begin? First, I love that there was a drunken baseball debate happening in a women's bathroom stall. This makes me happy.
Second, I need to point out that Yankees fans have, uh, interesting taste in men. Timlin and Daubach? These certainly can't be the same fans who drool over Jeter.
Third, just throwing the Red Sox a bone? Then what are they doing this year? Setting a big juicy steak in front of us? Cause it sure looks to me like the Sox are going to win the Division, and that the Yankees are in a 3-way tie for first in the Wild Card race. Red Sox rule!
Friday, August 19, 2005
Also, note the hip new TM home page, as well as the exciting news about more "Free Music" in the works. Plus Kristin's working on a new solo album AND a 2nd edition of "Murder, Misery and then Goodnight". What a way to start my morning. I love this woman.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
After my weekend trip to the National Building Museum, I am convinced some part of me was an architect in the 18th or 19th century. Their current exhibition, Tools of the Imagination, made my blood pressure rise, my eyeballs explode, and my latent kleptomania emerge. You can see some of the beautiful instruments as part of an exhibition flyer. Here are the tools I especially wanted to swipe:
1) Four-layer magazine case: Who doesn't want to keep all of their architectural implements in a nickel silver bound burr walnut case?
2) Beam compass: Or, in this case, a "microscopic" beam compass.
5) Volutor: That Andrew Kay is a genius.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Thursday, August 11, 2005
It's amazing how much things can change in a mere 10 years. The descriptions of the school's current state in 2005 from this Providence Journal 5-part series do not ring true to me at all. I guess I sensed things were changing at the middle school when I was in high school and heard stories from my friends' younger siblings. But this?
Woonsocket Middle School -- New England's largest -- has been called a labyrinth, a jungle, a danger zone, and even a haven.
Now, sure, there really is nothing unique about this situation. There are bad schools around the country, many much worse than this. Woonsocket surely isn't the only community where parents are yanking their kids out of public school to go to uptight Catholic ones. And teachers clash with an ever-changing repertoire of administrators everywhere. So what's the big deal?
Well, I guess what really disturbs me is how fast the school became an absolute quagmire. To me, it epitomizes the complete disinvestment in public schools that's happening around the country, particularly in urban settings that have experienced recent waves of immigration and only seem to be getting poorer. (According to this article, 32% of Woonsocket Middle School students live in poverty and 61% come from low income families.)
In a recent conversation with someone familiar with urban New England school settings, it was agreed that investment in schools alone is not enough. The ailing schools are merely a consequence of a community that's suffering in a myriad of other ways. So do you start trying to repair the city's economy before the schools? Do you attempt a simultaneous fix? I guess that's what I went to policy school to try to figure out, but hell if I know.
Perhaps the one concrete recommendation that jumps out to me is to build another school -- this structure is clearly too small and old to hold all these kids. Woonsocket is far from being the largest city in New England, so there's no reason for it to have the largest middle school. Split the school in half, have smaller class sizes, you know the drill.
Fat 6th graders who like to wear plaid blazers should feel comfortable at Woonsocket Middle School, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't in 2005. Kids who hate going home at night should have a reprieve during the day at Woonsocket Middle School, and it sure sounds like the nightmare only continues.
Teachers, administrators: learn to get along and friggin' figure out what the hell to do with the students. Mayor, City Council, community leaders: you're no longer a mill town filled with Canucks, Italians, and Irish folk. The population's changed, so get with the program and serve your constituents -- yeah, even the ones who don't have money.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
This devastating memory was jogged tonight as I watched Andy Roddick lose rather handily to Paul-Henri Mathieu a mere two days after Roddick won the Legg Mason here in D.C. Mathieu's performance was incredible, culminating in a scrambling point on his serve that ended with Mathieu running down a Roddick volley for a desperate forehand winner. It was amazing.
I like Roddick enough, and I loved Pete Sampras. But I imagine it being infinitely more satisfying to walk onto a tennis court and beat someone who everyone is expecting to kill you than to walk onto a tennis court and fulfill everyone's expectation that you're going to win.
Guaranteed Roddick will come out firing in next week's tournament. No one likes to learn the Yzaga lesson.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
[Update: You now have to purchase the article to read the last paragraph. Basically, the article describes the award for humor fiction writing that Strauss established at Carleton, and that Eli is the only winner of the award he has ever met. And that Eli won two years in a row. And that one of Eli's winning stories pondered whether or not dogs could be Jewish.]
Saturday, August 06, 2005
AFH is working on tsunami reconstruction in Asia, improvement of "tent cities" for refugees and internally displaced persons, and construction of soccer pitches in South Africa with a focus on the pitch as a place of community gathering for HIV/AIDS prevention.
These folks ain't after the Gehry or Calatrava glamour -- they're not making much (if any) money. But they understand that not only wealthy people deserve thoughtful, ecologically sound, aesthetically pleasing design. Hats are off, guys and gals.
Friday, August 05, 2005
Hampshire is also home to yet another phenomenal center -- the Civil Liberties and Policy Program. CLPP hosts an annual reproductive rights conference and organizes a National Day of Action that sounds pretty damn cool. Those lucky kids...
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
It appears as though an Australian barista started the rumor. I guess Kevin trusts her to make his coffee, so she must be telling the truth, right? Right? Don't burst my bubble. My team of monkeys can beat your team of monkeys.