Comic Book Girl

Originally posted on Donalyn Miller:

While I was out of town last month, our 16-year old daughter, Sarah, had a reading emergency. She told me the story over dinner when I came home, “Mom, my English teacher assigned us an independent reading project.”

I leaned in, whole body listening, “Hmm. What are the guidelines for the project?”

Once a teacher, always a teacher. I can’t help it. I wanted to know how “independent” this independent reading project was.

Sarah ticked off the requirements, “It has to be a book we haven’t read…”

We’re good so far. That’s a reasonable expectation.

She continues, “The book has to be 200 pages long.”

Whew, The Catcher in the Rye just makes the cut at 224 pages. Sorry, Of Mice and Men, you’re too short. Arbitrary rules like this one communicate to kids that teachers think students are lazy and hate to read, and they go for the…

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A Brief Walk Through the Circles of Hell

Originally posted on Duck Pie:

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Albert Camus isn’t light vacation reading. He also penned the least likely passage to make it into Amsterdam’s tourism promotional materials.

When I travel, I try to pack fiction about the place I’m visiting. But I’d forgotten to do my research before a planned long layover in Amsterdam that would give us a few hours’ wandering around the city, and the only novel that had come to mind that day in Kramerbooks was The Fall, about a narcissistic French expat who plays lawyer to criminals and outcasts in a post-war dive bar called the Mexico City and leads you, the reader, around the city telling him the secrets of his past.

The expat asks: “Have you noticed that Amsterdam’s concentric canals resemble the circles of hell? The middle-class hell, of course, peopled with bad dreams. When one comes from the outside, as on gradually goes through those circles, life — and hence its crimes —…

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New York Soccer Team Set for Historic Match in Cuba

Originally posted on TIME:

The New York Cosmos will go up against Cuba’s national squad in Havana this summer, according to a new report, marking the first time in decades that a professional U.S. team will play on the island.

News of the soccer match was errantly announced early, according to the New York Times, which reports the game will take place June 2 during a lull in the Cosmos’ schedule. The Cuban national team will use the game to prepare for July’s Concacaf Gold Cup.

Baseball remains the island nation’s top sport, but soccer has been growing in popularity. Although the Cosmos is a second-tier team in the states, some of its international players like Raul and Marcos Senna, former stars of Spain’s World Cup team, are recognizable in Cuba.

The U.S. announced in December that it would thaw and restore full diplomatic ties with Cuba after more than half a…

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The One Other Thing Apple Could Announce Monday

Originally posted on TIME:

Apple’s Monday, March 9 event will likely be almost entirely centered on the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is such a big deal for the company — it’s Apple’s first new product line since it introduced the iPad back in 2010 — that it’s unlikely to make any other big announcements, instead using the time to answer the many lingering questions about Apple’s first wearable.

Still, that doesn’t mean CEO Tim Cook won’t resist the chance to show us One More Thing.

What else could Apple announce at Monday’s Apple Watch event? We could see the much-rumored and long-awaited Retina MacBook Air, which would put an ultra-high resolution display in Apple’s entry-level lightweight laptop.

Apple has yet to say it’s working on such a machine, but the rumor mill is running hot these days: The Wall Street Journalreported last week that Apple suppliers have already started producing a…

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Baring the Female Breasts: Beyond Objectification

Originally posted on Stories From the Belly:

There is so much more to a woman’s relationship to her breasts than meets the naked eye. In this post, I am thrilled to have two of my favorite bloggers, KS of Kosher Adobo and Jennifer Berney of Goodnight Already, joining me as we pay homage to this most famous of feminine body parts.

http://tinyurl.com/ocvkvkc Two Tahitian Women by Paul Gauguin http://tinyurl.com/ocvkvkc
Two Tahitian Women by Paul Gauguin

CHERRY

I am a junior in boarding school. Behind me is a “Save Sex” poster and a perfume ad: “Femme Fatale: When the female of the species is more dangerous than the male.” It’s the night before the first day of school. I am tugging on the neck of my shirt, admiring my bra strap. Every bra I owned just a year before was white or beige, looking more like bandages for my then AA breasts. But this 36B brassiere, red and lined with lace, which I bought…

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Selma, mighty Selma (2014)

Originally posted on Tananarive Due Writes:

“People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them.”  –James Baldwin

la_ca_1021_selma David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma.

I was raised by two civil rights activists – attorney John Due and the late Patricia Stephens Due—so stories of Martin Luther King, Jr. were common in my house. My mother first met Dr. King at a CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) workshop in Miami in 1959. My aunt, Priscilla Stephens Kruize, who attended with her, is an activist. Our godparents were activists, black and white.

Even without an official holiday, my sisters and I got to skip school every January 15 for annual birthday celebrations that brought neighbors, activists and politicians to our home to reflect on Dr. King and the legacy of The Movement. We held hands, listened to Dr. King’s speeches, and sang “We Shall Overcome.” As an adult, I co-authored a civil rights…

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Poet and Beast

Originally posted on mywordpool:

It’s not about dropping words like stones down wells,
Listening to the clanks and clunks ricochet off the walls
As you hover near the edge, pleased with your senseless noise-making.

It’s about dropping yourself down the well.
It’s about human skin against stone –
That warm slap that wakens the blood
And can be heard for miles.

It’s about getting inside, you know?
Crawling into the English language
Like a wounded animal and
Curling up beside its pounding heart.

That’s the music.
The steady thump, thump of it going on
In its endless monologue.
You sync your words with the swelling of its lungs
And hope they sound like keys of an accordion
Breathing in dust and bellowing out clouds.

The beast at the bottom of the well
Has never bared its teeth at me.
At night I bury myself in its fur and
We move as one – a…

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A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Jefferson’s Very Small Batch Bourbon, And Grits.

Originally posted on Empires, Cannibals, and Magic Fish Bones:

It’s late, cold and I’m drinking Jefferson’s Kentucky Bourbon Very Small Batch.  Much spice and vanilla on the nose with citrus notes everywhere–green apples and rum in there as well.  Taste?  Very clean, refreshing, slightly sour with red-hot candy, anise, a bit of lemon, bit of grass, and cookie dough.

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A roll of nectar in the mouth, head tilts back, eyes close and the mind wanders to the past.  In this case, Flannery O’Connor’s insightful diagnosis of memory in her classic short story A Good Man Is Hard To Find.  Over the years, I’ve read and re-read this story, assigned it in various classes, and discussed with students its many aspects of the absurd, grotesque and violent.  The story also contemplates our relationship to memories and what might happen when the past shapes the present.  The following scene occurs halfway through the tale, and marks a turning point…

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How I Learned to Trust The Needle

Originally posted on #HOPEJAHRENSURECANWRITE:

Recently, a millennial came to my office and asked me if she should get vaccinated, even though her mom had never wanted her to.  I didn’t tell her what to do.  Instead, I told her why I vaccinate my own son.  Here’s what I said.

How I Learned to Trust The Needle

When my son was a couple of months old, I took him to the third of his many well-baby appointments. On that day, our pediatrician approached me tentatively. “This is the appropriate time for his vaccinations,” she informed me in a cautious, even tone.

“Load him up!” I screamed, “Give him a double!” My baby son looked up at us and blinked, unperturbed by the hysterics to which he had become accustomed in utero. I signed some papers, and the doctor vaccinated him against an assortment of maladies. More than a decade has passed since then, and today I…

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#DressingWhileDisabled

Originally posted on Just Stimming...:

The shoes.
There are two stories I could tell you.

One: I’m clinging to my roommate’s arm, trying to (re)learn how to walk in heels.

Two: a friend sent me a pair of shoes.

*****

One: I wore heels, once. I was in a choir, a choir that was a Really Big Deal, and the high school girls had to wear character shoes. I got the lowest possible heel, and I was okay, mostly.

I liked how they sounded on the floor, so sometimes I wore them in college, or to DD council meetings, or when I went to Washington. I think they had maybe a half-inch heel.

I lost my character shoes in the move. Two years went by. I tore all the muscles in my left ankle, every last one, and I couldn’t go to physical therapy.

I put on a new pair of heels, and I knew, instantly that…

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