Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snowflakes and Full Moons

Perhaps my life may only permit me to be a weekend blogger. And though it is quite late on a Sunday night, I do feel compelled to comment on two bits of nature that really took my breath away. The first was in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, actually. The moon was so enormous it felt as if I was walking toward some fabulous artist's science fiction matte painting. It still remains huge this evening. Apparently last night it was fuller and closer to the earth than usual, but we had snow last evening, so very cloudy skies. So I did only see the moon on the day before it was full and the day after it was full, but given the absolutely breath-taking sight it remains, I consider myself an optimist to have gotten to see even that. Perhaps I was just in a positive swing all weekend, because as I was taking the recycling out yesterday morning there was the lighest of snow falls. The kind where the snowflakes alight upon your cheeks like small feathers from a crystal bird. "Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes . . ." always seemed a dumb lyric to me until yesterday. And now, I must confess that those are among my favorite things, as well.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Last evening I saw Jen Childs' musical comedy /historical look at the "Worst Act in Vaudeville", the Cherry Sisters of Iowa. The 1812 Productions original musical (book/lyrics by Childs, music by James Sugg) Cherry Bomb was structured in a classic Vaudevillian evening with acts broken up into various genres from burlesque to crooning to juggling act. The pacing of the whole show was swift, making the intermission seem the longest part of the full 2.5 hour evening. Performed at the gorgeous old Plays and Players Theatre on Delancey St. in Philadelphia, Cherry Bomb, while outrageous and slapstick at times, had the subtle undertones of a critique on American entertainment and its fast buck mentality. Impresario Oscar Hammerstein exploited the Cherry Sisters' talentless bravado to improve his box office takes, and Childs, quite insightfully, sees the parallel's to today's American Idol executives, who consistently want to air the awful auditions since these spike the ratings much more than the "legitimate" talent. The question is posed in the lyric at the end of Cherry Bomb's Act I, Good, What is Good, illuminating the theme which intrigued director/writer Childs from the start, why are we entertained by others' humiliation? Brava to Childs and the energetic and talented cast of Cherry Bomb for giving life to the story of the Cherry Sisters and looking not at the spectacle of these women's lack of talent, but bringing heart to their moxie and their humaness.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year, A New Resolution

So, it was nearly a year and a half ago that I "started" this blog with a whopping one line post. I have definitely not proven myself a blogger yet. There is something about blogging that still feels a bit odd to me. I write in my own little black leather bound journal to organize my thoughts or reflect on events to process their meaning. There is the humble possibility that perhaps a grandchild might find it in an old box some day and gain insight to ol' grams. But the blogosphere presents the frightening reality that exponentially more people may have access to my inner thoughts and quite immediately at that. But there is also the factor that in order to publish my thoughts on the web, I keep thinking that I have to have something profound to say. After several years of seeing the pointless drivel that clogs cyberspace, I feel myself in the self-affirming paradox of feeling like I have something at least more profound than 70% of what is out there, and the wish not to clutter the Internet with my pointless drivel.
Having been on Facebook now for six months or so, though, I'm feeling more comfortable in this transparent digital world. As a digital immigrant teaching a slew of digital natives, I'm in agreement when such techno-educators like Will Richardson who adamantly says that we must use all these tools and be a part of this environment in order to help our students navigate this new world. Like Robert Bly's description of the Sibling Society, so many young people are fearlessly utilizing the Internet, yet they lack the parenting to do so wisely. Richardson likened it to parents giving their kids keys to a car that the parents have no idea how to drive.
So--in order to be a better teacher, and adult, for that matter. I am publicly resolving today to practice what I preach. I'm going to write more regularly. And I'm doing it on a blog. So that when I teach my students how to be safe yet transparent, to be immediate yet well crafted, I'm going to know what I'm talking about.