Saturday, May 05, 2012

Customer Review of History and Education policy

Been going through a bunch of papers and came across this, that I thought others would appreciate:

History: The Customer Reviews
The New Yorker October 17, 2011

The Tsar Falls in Russia

I do not recommend the Russian Revolution. At first, I fell for the hype and was kind of excited to set fire to my landlord. But now it seems like it’s just getting to be a lot of yakkety-yak. What we need is already with us, as far as I’m concerned: breathing, harvest, an icon by Andrei Rublev in our church, some carnal relations.

We have enough trouble with Baba Yaga; we don’t need men from Moscow to tell us their dreams for our children. What do they think our children are doing today? They’re catching chickens and gathering damp birch sticks. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

This customer recommends the reign of Peter the Great instead.

On a slightly more serious note:

I've been reading The Anxiety Economy from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of The Atlantic, which raises lots of issues but the most explicit is an (admittedly not very unique) point about education.

I may not have been following the presidential race as much as I might like, I feel his point of education barely coming up in the campaign is an understatement. It seems to me that there has been almost nothing on such a fundamental and potentially explosive issue. I really don't have good idea of where the candidates stance on education policy, especially Romney. The only specific proposals I really know of from Obama are the "race to the top" and educational debt relief. Have I missed something?

Friday, May 04, 2012

Lonely Hearts, and lots more besides....

I came across the most recent copy of the London Review of Books and couldn't resist taking a look to see for myself the famously witty personal ads in the back. Sadly, there was only one worth any note this time:

Woman, 35: Large, untapped reserves of buttock and frontal lobe. Contact me at (email given).

There was also an interesting letter, in response to an article about a geographical oddity in Europe, Neutral Moresnet :

The Akwizgran Discrepancy
Reading Neal Ascherson’s account of Moresnet-neutre reminded me of another quirk of European geography (LRB, 22 March). The border between East and West Berlin followed the pre-existing municipal boundaries, but this line was quite irregular and when the Wall was built it cut a few corners. I remember seeing, in West Berlin in the mid-1980s, a collection of Gruftis and Autonomen – goths and anarchist punks – who had set up camp on a triangle of land about fifty yards on each side, hard up against the Wall, where they were playing very loud music and smoking spliffs without any interference from the West Berlin authorities. This was because the campers were on what was technically East German territory. I also saw some doors, with no handles on the Western side, set into the Wall where it ran alongside this triangle, and I was told, although I didn’t see it myself, that every so often the Volkspolizei would come through the doors, drag the Gruftis and Autonomen into the East, rough them up and throw them back out.
Nick Wray- Derby, UK

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Metaphorical Avocado and Other Deep-Sea Butterflies

Having a good time daydreaming about what a blog entitled "The Metaphorical Avocado and Other Deep-Sea Butterflies" might contain/discuss.