Creative corner

    Ramona's picture

    Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. (And I mean that sincerely)

     

    On Christmas Day, 1914, only four months into the brutality of World War I, a spontaneous miracle happened on the Western Front.  On that day German and British soldiers laid down their arms and gathered together in No Man's Land to share food and cigarettes, sing Christmas carols, and play a few games of football.
     

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Facts! Lies! Facts! Lies!

    Does Paul Ryan want to permanently end Medicare, the way the program is run now?  Well, yes.  Does he want to keep the name Medicare so that people don't think he's trying to end Medicare?  Yes.  Was Politifact wrong last year when it accused Democrats of lying about Paul Ryan wanting to end Medicare?  Yes, by any reasonable measure, yes. 

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Kevin Hogan Is a Great Teacher; Mike Beaudet's a Pornographer

    Twenty years ago I got my first teaching job, as one of two young English teachers hired by a little high school in greater Boston. The other new teacher was a guy named Kevin Hogan. Kevin was already a much better teacher than I was, assured while I was struggling, deft where I was stumbling, natural in the classroom in a way I wouldn't be until years later. The kids loved him. I liked and admired him.

    Ramona's picture

    Feeling Guilty about Giving Thanks. It's a Liberal Thing

     

    This year we've decided to stay home for Thanksgiving.  Our nearest family is 350 miles away but every year but one (and now this one) we've managed to be together for this holiday.  We'll be seeing them all in three weeks or so for the Christmas holidays, but I'm missing them acutely today. 

    Donal's picture

    In Loco Parentis

    When it rains, it pours. I attended and graduated from GP in the 1970s:

    Former priest put on probation for fondling two Georgetown Prep students

    A former priest was sentenced to five years of supervised probation Thursday for fondling two students at Georgetown Preparatory School, where he taught from 1989 to 2003, as prosecutors compared the school’s initial response in the case to the scandal unfolding at Penn State University.
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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Farewell, Little Phone

    I recently changed cellphones, for only the second time in my life. I held onto my first cellphone for five dented, dinged and battered years, and did not replace it until it vanished on me entirely -- possibly because it had at long last dissolved into its constituent atoms -- while I was  traveling.

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    Ramona's picture

    FRIDAY FOLLIES: Tea Party Games, Rabid dogs, Sweet Old Fools, and Stories that Soothe.

     

     I swear, the weirdest thing going last week was the Tea Party debate hosted by Ted Turner's brainchild gone wild.  (When I heard that the once-venerable CNN was going to give free air-time and thus a large dose of credibility to yet another crazy bunch hell-bent on taking back every single right and privilege afforded us by hundreds of years worth of struggle by our more forward-thinking ancestors, this is what I said out loud:  "Waaaaaahhhhhtt??"  (Mo

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Forgetting September 11th

    It's strange to be cajoled, everywhere you turn, to "remember" September 11. It's not like we've forgotten it. Who needs a reminder of this? It's like being told "Remember gravity!"or "Remember oxygen!" I am reminded every day, thanks. It's all around us.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Fixing College Football: Pay the Kids, or Don't

    It's college football season, and that means corruption and scandal. (Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about that corruption.) We've actually gotten to the point where Sports Illustrated, not the Chronicle of Higher Education but Sports Illustrated, has called for a major university football team to be disbanded.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Republicans Reject Obama-Boehner Speech Deal

    In a stormy meeting on Thursday, Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives rejected Speaker John Boehner's compromise with President Obama over the schedule of the President's speech to a joint session of Congress.

    The White House had sent Mr. Boehner a request for President Obama to address Congress on the evening of Wednesday, September 7. Such requests are considered routine and have been approved 47 times since 1962 without challenge.

    But in the volatile political climate of 2011, nothing can be taken for granted. Many Tea Party-affiliated Republicans had campaigned against wasteful speechmaking in the 2010 election, and 216 had signed a "No New Speeches" contract sponsored by Grover Norquist's fundraising organization, Americans for Talk Reform.

    "Americans don't need more speeches," argued House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in an hour-long discourse from the House floor last week, "They want the folks in Washington to shut the heck up."

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Dividing My Books

    This summer I've moved house three times. My job and my partner are in two different states, a common problem for my generation of college professors. I count myself lucky that our jobs are only a few hundred miles apart, which means the highway and not the airport. But keeping a one-person apartment in each place has stopped making sense, so we've bought a house in one city and rented a professional's bachelor pad, a short walk from my office, in the other. Voila!

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    Ramona's picture

    Poor Old Detroit: Who is going to save it from itself?

     

    Detroit is my unofficial hometown.  I spent more years in and around Detroit than anywhere else in the country. I loved growing up there, so it would be hard not to have feelings for the city now, even after all of the scandals, the neglect, the excesses, the tearing-down of beautiful landmarks, and the destruction of entire formerly lovely neighborhoods for no earthly good reason other than that nobody cared.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Capitalism for Customers

    At the moment I'm in Prague for a conference. It's my first time back in almost two decades, since just after the Wall fell and the Czechs broke up with the Slovaks. I used to walk around this place with old Czechoslovak bills, still in circulation, which had been stamped in one corner with a "C" (or an "S") to indicate whether these were now Czech or Slovak crowns.

    Ramona's picture

    Betty Ford: Truth was No Stranger

    Until last night, when I heard that she had passed, I didn't realize how much I admired Betty Ford.  Truth said, my first thought was "I thought she had died long ago."  I do that a lot lately.  Betty lived to be 93 years old and hadn't been seen in public for several years.  That's the only way I keep in touch with public figures -- by seeing them in public.  So when public figures I admire or enjoy are gone from view they're gone from thought, and when they pass, only then do I see it as moments lost.  I should have been paying attention.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Thanks, Marcelo

    Note: Will Kohl over at Back2Stonewall asked me if I’d write him a guest post about some of my experiences in Brazil. Here is that post, originally posted at Back2Stonewall.com

    I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t Gay friendly. But it took coming to Brazil for me to become a full-fledged Gay ally. That change started almost immediately upon my arrival.

    Ramona's picture

    Men, power, reckless sex: Why? What are we missing?

    I don't always read or agree with Maureen Dowd, but I do have her on my blogroll and now and then a title grabs me.  Yesterday she wrote "Your Tweetin' Heart".  Yes, I knew it was going to be about Anthony Weiner, but I read it anyway because sometimes her take on odd things like that is refreshingly different. 

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Revisiting LeBron (and Retaining Employees)

    So, last summer LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland, leading to a massive outburst of Clevesentment and a widespread belief that Cleveland had burned down among my friends and family who don't live there (and not just among them, judging from the search terms that old post collected). A year later, he's gotten himself to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career.

    Ramona's picture

    On Hallowed Ground: A Memorial Day look at Cemeteries

    Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service.[1] First enacted by formerly enslaved African-Americans [2] to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War – it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

    Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.
    Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. (Wikipedia - Memorial Day)

    This is a day of pilgrimage in big cities and small villages all across the country.  Cemeteries will be filled with people cleaning headstones, placing flowers, connecting and remembering.  There will be life in those places of internment.  I see cemeteries not as sad and depressing depositories of the dead, but as vibrant places alive with personalities, infused with memories, steeped in unique beauty.  I see them as outdoor galleries of fine art and folk art, ripe for photographing, which I do every chance I get, but with the sense that I am treading on hallowed ground.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Longing for the End of the World

    So, for most of May Christianity has been in the news. Or rather, a tiny splinter of Christianity has. The leader of a tiny religious organization predicted the Rapture on May 21, and there was lots of news coverage.

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