Thursday, March 31, 2011

Check out yet ANOTHER of my blogs!

Started a new venture- no long essays, just pithy inspiring quotes meant to encourage a positive climate, a nurturing culture, and hopefully boost morale during stressful times:

Monday, March 28, 2011

What to do when your right-wing friends keep forwarding you propaganda

I want to equip everyone with resources to help them analyze and evaluate anything they're told by followers of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, FOX News, or Glenn Beck.

The following links are very useful and reliable. As far as I've been able to see, FactCheck and Media Matters are both non-partisan organizations dedicated to debunking all sorts of political claims from both sides. PolitiFact was started by a newspaper in Florida and has long been recognized as one of the best sites for weeding through what's fact, what's opinion, and what's total bunk.


When it comes to Glenn Beck in particular, I have even more concerns. Rush, and O'Reilly are just your run-of-the-mill demagogues. FOX President Roger Ailes and owner Rupert Murdoch, like the Koch brothers are just powerful billionaires who use their influence to advance their own interests. Glen Beck however, invokes religion frequently and likes to deliberately evoke a religious fervor in his viewers that really makes you wonder if he isn't in it for the money or the politics, but the power-high of having so many people believe him and act on his instructions, like some kind of a cult leader.

The links above can help you sort through his various specific claims, but for me, the bottom line is that almost every time he speaks he uses fear. If he were really trustworthy, why would he need to do that? 1 John 4:18, there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out all fear. By connecting any given issue with non-rational aspects of viewer's thinking, like loyalty, emotion, or moral absolutes, Beck makes it more difficult for anyone to reason with them using facts, details or rational argument.

I wrote about Beck's Mormon faith and his appearant use of religious and moral sentiments for leverage in creating division on my religion blog back when he held a rally on the National Mall- 

Here are two websites that are clearly not objective, they both make it their mission to document and challenge what they consider Beck's history of distortion, smears, defamation, vitriol, disinformation, and taking advantage of people's anxieties.

My advice is that rather than worrying about trying to have a logical answer for every theory and assertion, try changing the subject or gently explaining that you probably won't always see things the same way and so you'd just assume not get into it at this time. Hopefully, eventually, whoever it is that is trying to convince you of their conspiracy theory of the week will eventually get the message and back off.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

POEM: Noisy Chatter

What is it with all that clatter in that tree?
Why is that gaggle of grackles chattering so?

Are they mating? Is all that noise some kind of speed-dating?

Is it just a family reunion?
Are they catching up, after only seeing each other in passing along the flyway during migration?
Are they swapping jokes and gossiping?

Is it a tree-wide argument? Shouting and screaming like on the Jerry Springer show?

Maybe it's some form of laughter-yoga, chirping exercises.

Or is it just choir practice? Planning and preparing this afternoon for tomorrow's Dawn Chorus?

Surely, surely, it's not an avian congress- full of political vitriol and fury.

If only I spoke bird, I might know for sure.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A map of the world

All art really is, is a map of reality
it;s not reality itself,
but it shows you the way.
No wonder that from across the room
it looks better than real life
but up close, it can look even worse.
Every artist, then, is just a glorified cartographer.
Shapes and colors, shades and scratches
are just so many roads and rivers
railroad tracks and cities
hills and valleys
destinations for the eye to travel to.
A record of where we've been.
A guide to where we'd like to go,
or to where are afraid to venture. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011


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Since I set up a Flickr account to use to help me teach Photography to three students by independent-study, I've been uploading all my pictures there and ignoring this blog. I decided that I should put at least a few of them here once in a while. I don't know why I don't shoot in black and white more, I really love it. I could've used a bit more density and contrast in this one, but I still like it. Rosaio here is in Advanced (independent-study) Ceramics. She's be creating some fantastic sculptures. This one is s praying angel. It makes me miss teaching at a Lutheran High so I can talk with kids more openly and more often about their faiths.

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Yesterday after a doctor's appointment, I didn't want to go home right away, and by the time I'd get back to school, the day would be over, so I went for a walk around the pond out at Yellowsmoke park East of Denison. Because of the time of day (and maybe the reflection/refraction off of the frozen pond) I definitely got a blue cast to most of my pictures on this walk. Ironic that it was in the low 60's 2-3pm but the colors appear so cold- whereas if I'd been out here around 6, during the "golden hour" I'd have gotten a warmer palette, but I'd have froze my butt off.

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I was hoping to find some color on my walk, but came up mostly with browns and beiges. Fortunately, I came upon some color left over from autumn that made it through the winter.

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The other day, I needed to take pictures of student's faces for a project where I have them draw themselves. A few of them asked me to take close-up pictures of their eyes too, so I obliged. This was one of the better ones.
Now I've finally posted pictures on this blog again. Who knows, eventually I may even post some writing here again too. Meanwhile, If you'd like to see more (tons more) of my photos, artworks, cartoons, or graphic designs, you can visit me on Flickr at