Monday, February 27, 2012

Critical Reading Activity AP English

This photograph by Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda was awarded first place in the World Press Photo Award competition for 2011.

Re: Critical Thinking Exercise for AP English

Hello Class,

Part of the critical thinking process is context. Please look at the photo we discussed on Monday in class of the mother and son in the mosque. Here is the link to the photo (number one). Then, read number two so you can develop a context for understanding the photo. Finally, critical thinking involves connecting the story or photo, in this case, to additional information that will help you understand the meaning.

Number three will give you background on why the people in Yemen are rebelling against their government, and number four gives you factual information about the country of Yemen.

My questions to you are: Do you think this photo helped cause social change/revolution in Yemen? What was the photographer's message? What do you think the photographer, Samuel Aranda, wanted his audience to think or feel when they saw his photo? Why do you think it was voted the BEST photo of the year by the World Press? (These are all critical thinking questions that are commonly asked in American university classes.)

1. World Press Photo of the Year

2.. The Story Behind the World Press Photo on the BBC, February 21, 2012

3. And, recent news from Yemen on the status of the revolution and the election on the BBC, February 21, 2012

4. BBC Country Profiles on Yemen - facts about the country

Two important questions I want to add to the homework:

1. How did your ideas, assumptions and inferences about the photo change after you read the information in links one through four?

2. Why is it important to keep an open mind while you read?

New information is being created in the world every second. It is important that we keep an open mind and be willing to be flexible with our ideas and thoughts as new information becomes available to us! Have a great day!

Educational P.S. because I believe in a good postscript. After one week, ask your students to search the term "Yemen" on Google News. Discuss the fluidity and ever-changing nature of knowledge. The students will realize that the situation in the country changes day by day, hour by hour. 


Friday, February 24, 2012

Lady Angels in India

Ladies Room at the Gandhi Museum in Madurai

Ceiling Fans at the Dreams Beach Resort in Varkala

Temple Greeting from Hampi

Little Angel Bus in Mamallapuram

Monday, February 20, 2012

Waiting for Guffman (1996)

It's a Christopher Guest appreciation night. A Mighty Wind blew through my apartment earlier this evening. Now, I am Waiting For Guffman. And later tonight, This Is Spinal Tap will serenade me to sleep!

Corky St. Clair: I was shopping for my wife Bonnie. I buy most of her clothes and Mrs Pearl was in the same shop! And it just was an accident you know, we started talking... about panty hose, she was saying... whatever that's not the point of the story but what the point is is that through this accidental meeting... it's like a Hitchcock movie you know where you're thrown into a rubber bag and put in the trunk of a car, you find people. You find them. Something, is is it karma? Maybe. But we found him, that's the important thing. And I got Bonnie a wonderful pantsuit.

IMDb Quotes

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mixing Ingredients

Image Courtesy of Erich von Lawrence

Durga Power

Stone for carving beautiful Hindu deities is piled high in the city of Mamallapuram on January 23, 2012.

Durga was carved in stone in the city of Mamallapuram. She has eight or ten hands, which suggest that she protects the devotees of Hinduism from all directions.

Hanuman Temple in Hampi - February 2, 2012

Hampi is the birthplace of the monkey king Hanuman. Hanuman plays an important role in the Indian epic the Ramayana. In the Ramayana, Sita, the wife of Prince Rama, is kidnapped by the demon Ravana. Hanuman commands his army of monkeys to build a bridge from India to the island of Lanka where Sita was being held captive.

Prince Rama rode into Lanka on Hanuman's shoulders and fired an arrow into Ravana, killing the demon and liberating Sita.

The Hindu deity, Ganesha, is in human form with the head of an elephant. Ganesha represents the power of the supreme being to remove obstacles and ensure success in human endeavors.

I call on you Ganesha to clear the obstacles in my path!

[sticker on a car in Southern India in February 2012]

Reading Goethe in China

I never guessed that I would be reading Goethe in China. The image on this attached book cover portrays the Modern Library Publishing House's representation of the plot. Sublime, romantic, angst-filled content awaits readers living on every continent. My students selected a novella that speaks to the heart of hopelessly romantic young men and women in Chinese society in 2012 just as passionately as it spoke to the youth living in Germany in the eighteenth century.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Mystery of Love

Excerpt from The Washington Post, February 14, 2012

"Love Remains the Mystery of Life" by Joel Achenbach

The Greeks had a nice vocabulary of love, starting with agape, the unconditional love, and eros, the passion that may involve a flaring in the groinal region, and philia, the friendship love, and more. Modern writers find all kinds of words to describe the shadings of love.

“According to Sternberg (1988), for example, types of love are determined by various combinations of passion, intimacy, and commitment. Possible combinations result in romantic love, infatuation, companionate love, liking, fatuous love, empty love, and consummate love.”

Couples neurologically regulate each other through their eye contact. At first, early in the relationship, the eyes are key to the flirting, the fun, the connection. Then if you get married, you get caught up in all the management part of life, and people stop having fun and stop having eye contact.

It's never entirely clear where sex fits into a discussion of love. You can have love without sex, and sex without love. The experts tell us that women fall in love and then want to have sex, and men want to have sex and then fall in love. In the long run, somehow, supposedly, it all works out, collectively, for the species. We all get along, because, through divergent evolutionary needs, we all wind up co-signatories on a mortgage.

But there are outliers, exceptions, mutations, perversions, distractions, digressions, transgressions. If it weren’t for transgressions, we’d have no literature. Anna Karenina; Hester Prynne; Madame Bovary; every John Updike character.

[Leave it to literature to create the mutations. Hurrah for my academic discipline!]

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Beep Beep Vroom Vroom


I failed to reach the goal of carrying a motorcycle license in the year 2012, but I did rent a scooter for two days in Goa. Buzzing around exploring the coastal beaches, I memorized the plate number- 7582- so I could identify my scooter in crowded parking lots. Tim, a fellow traveler from Great Britain, gave excellent driving advice, which I followed meticulously. Slowing down to a crawl on gravel and sand and keeping both hands on the brakes kept me safe in a beeping mass of motion. An hour after climbing on to the scooter, the rules of the road were becoming clearer, but I still swallowed hard while learning to trust other drivers who zipped by my un-helmeted head brushing my arms with their cool tailwind.

2013 is my year for a dirt bike complete with the American license.

Kids tuk-tuking it to school in Madurai.

Five Is My Lucky Number

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Peace of Hampi

I had not realized how life in urban China has taken a toll on my need for nature's calm and silence. Strolling through the rice paddies surrounding Hampi and spending time beside the slow flowing river hidden among the boulders gave me solace and the respite my soul needed from car engines, crowded buses, neon signs and the hustle of city life in Jiangsu province.

Guru's Song

Ever wonder what to do to pass the time when riding the rails in India? This is what my group of wandering/wondering minstrels devised. Although Naveen left his guitar behind in Kochi, despite the lack of instrumental accompaniment, he still sings like an angel.

Bringing a deck of cards can also help pass the time as the lush landscape of Southern India flies past the train window.

Lotus Blossom

I bought a lotus flower, which I then fed to a hungry cow for a snack. The cow gobbled the petal and stem and rainbow happy karma flowed into my life.

This shot was taken near Demon Mahishasura's statue on the Chamundi Hill in Mysore.

Kerala Kathakali Centre Fort Kochi

Kathakali Dance in Fort Kochi, India
January 29, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sensual India

Contemplating Life in Madurai City - January 24, 2012

Indian Dance Festival in Mamallapuram - January 23, 2012

Riding the Rails in India

Mango Tree Restaurant Shoe and Cat Bed in Hampi
February 3, 2012

India: January 22 - February 9, 2012

About Me

My photo

What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.