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Posts Tagged ‘educational’

Ham and Fox

picture of Answers in Genesis logo

I'm posting off schedule to pass several odds and ends of information on to you. I've known for a while that our church, Hampton Park Baptist Church, is having Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis come speak. What I didn't know was the exact schedule or the topics. Now that I know, I thought those of you who live in the Greenville area might want to visit for at least one of the sessions.

Here's the schedule for Ken Ham's sessions:

Sunday, November 1
9:00 a.m. "Genesis: Key to Reaching Today's World"
10:30 a.m. "The Relevance of Genesis in Today's World"
4:30 p.m. "Defending Christianity from Today's Secular Attacks"
6:00 p.m. "The Origin of 'Races' and the Biblical Answers to Racism"

Monday, November 2
6:00 p.m. "Answers for the Most-Asked Questions about Creation, Evolution, and Genesis"
7:30 p.m. "How Can a Loving God...? — Understanding Death and Suffering"


picture of Fox News header

If you haven't heard this, the White House is accusing Fox News of not being a legitimate source of news, calling them biased, etc. There have been reports that the Obama administration has tried to block Fox reporters from news conferences, etc. It's no secret to anyone paying attention, and many are, that the current leaders in Washington D.C. are not fans of Fox News.

NPR has put a survey online so that people can voice their opinion. It's found at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2009/10/in_white_house_vs_fox_news_war.html

The voting is quick and easy, with no need to create an account or to log in to anything. It asks if you are for the White House or for Fox News in this matter. I don’t usually post things like this, but I don't enjoy seeing the rapid erosion of freedom of speech and I do not approve of thuggery. The current crowd in Washington seems intent of silencing voices that don't sing their praises or that don't sing the tunes they prefer. Speak out, while you still can.

When I voted this evening, I was surprised to see that the votes are currently almost 75% in support of Fox News in this controversy. I was amazed because I would characterize the listeners of NPR as tending more towards the liberal end of the scale.

If you have any comments on either of these topics, I would enjoy reading them.


"Satan's not too keen on surrendering territory." - David Hosaflook

=^..^= =^..^=

Do atheists get insurance for acts of God?

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picture of mug

Aren't words a fun blessing?! Long time readers of my blog know that I love words and word play. One kind of word play that I have not done much with is the anagram — a word or phrase that is made by transposing or rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. The closest I've come to doing anything with anagrams is playing Boggle and Text Twist.

Students in my French lit courses always seem to be surprised to learn that several great names in French literature wrote under pseudonyms that were actually anagrams of their real names. In the sixteenth century Rabelais published his first book under the pseudonym of Alcofribas Nasier — an anagram of François Rabelais, minus the cedilla. The eighteenth-century author François-Marie Arouet wrote under a pseudonym. The Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, plus the initial letters of the sobriquet "le jeune" ("the younger," like our "junior," but spelled ieune back then instead of jeune) was rendered "AROVET LI." The anagram of that is the better-known name Voltaire.

Today's blog post is a some anagrams that I have accumulated through the years. Someone out there has way too much time on his hands. Remind me never to play Boggle or Scrabble with the person who came up with these!

The Original → The Anagram

dormitory → dirty room

the Morse code → here come dots
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I Think, Therefore I…

picture of Le Penseur by Rodin

Next week in Survey of French Lit class we will be looking at some of the writings of Descartes. His famous je pense, donc je suis (I think, therefore I am) has radically changed the way many people view life, especially the French. They tend to be very skeptical and pride themselves on their reasoning abilities. However in French, just as in English, words can have two different meanings — for instance take the phrase "I rent my garments." Similarly in French je suis can mean either "I am" or "I follow", depending on the context. Sometimes I wonder how things would be in France today if Descartes had really meant, "I think, therefore I follow."

In today's iv, if you can put aside the illogic of all these philosophers, inventors, and scientific/mathematical people being together in the same café at the same time, there are some high-class puns that will definitely add a measure of "gravitas" to ivman's blague.

The Philosophers' Café

René Descartes was sitting in a café. The café owner asked if he would like another espresso. He replied, "I think not." And he vanished!

Pierre and Marie Curie sat there beaming radiantly after Descartes vanished in a puff of smoke.

The café owner then noticed Einstein was there, and he asked him what he thought of what had happened. Einstein replied, "It's all relative."

At another table, Ivan Pavlov drooled, as if Descartes' logical disappearance rang a bell.

Sir Isaac Newton pondered the gravity of the situation.
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What They Don’t Know….

picture of Oz Venn diagram

One of the interesting facets of having completed 36 years of teaching is the observable differences between today's students and those that I taught at the beginning of my career. There's no difference, of course, in IQ — my current students are every bit as bright as those I taught "back in the last millennium," as I love to say when referring to my younger years. One thing I do notice, though, is that what today's students know and don't know is vastly different from what my former students knew and didn't know.

I try to stay current on some aspects of today's pop culture so that I know what my students and others are talking about. I'm not always successful in that endeavor, though — there's just so much to keep up with and so little time! It's quite a balancing act trying to keep up on (dreary) current events and to dabble in several of the many avenues of social networking as well as trying to do as much reading as possible on French Literature from the Middle Ages in preparation for my course lectures. Talk about having one's feet planted in two different worlds!

During one of our many interesting lunch room discussions last school year, a colleague mentioned something he had read online. One professor in a community college contends that he has found only one thing with which his students, who vary greatly in age and background, all seem to be familiar. Here's that portion of the article:

One of the things I try to do on the first night of English 102 is relate the literary techniques we will study to novels that the students have already read. I try to find books familiar to everyone. This has so far proven impossible. My students don't read much, as a rule, and though I think of them monolithically, they don't really share a culture. To Kill a Mockingbird? Nope. (And I thought everyone had read that!) Animal Farm? No. If they have read it, they don't remember it. The Outsiders? The Chocolate War? No and no. Charlotte's Web? You'd think so, but no. So then I expand the exercise to general works of narrative art, meaning movies, but that doesn't work much better. Oddly, there are no movies that they all have seen—well, except for one. They've all seen The Wizard of Oz.

The preceding quotation is from an article in The Atlantic online called "In the Basement of the Ivory Tower" by Professor X (really)

I'm not sure that we could justify applying his findings to all college students in America, but I've made enough allusions to things in the Wizard of Oz in my classes to know that most of my students always seem to catch them. When we learn the French -re verbs, I enjoy presenting one that's not in our book — fondre. I demonstrate its meaning by writhing, sinking down towards the floor, and saying "Je fonds" in a high-pitched voice. Most of my students catch on right away that I'm saying "I'm melting" and imitating the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz. I guess that that would lend some credence to Professor X's statement.
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Mug Shots

picture of the Mona Lisa

Have you ever seen the Mona Lisa? I'm not asking if you've seen a picture of the painting — I'm talking about the painting itself. I saw it for the first time the summer of 1972 with my French cousin Annie. Her family lives in the suburbs of Paris, and I was visiting them and other relatives on my first trip to France. (My paternal grandmother was French.) In my mind's eye I pictured what this most famous portrait in the world would be like. Since it attracted millions of visitors each year, I assumed the painting would be "larger than life." I was surprised that it is only 30 inches × 21 inches (77 cm × 53 cm). Below is a picture of the Mona Lisa, known in France as La Joconde and in her native Italy as La Gioconda.

picture of the Mona Lisa in her protective case

It's a good thing this world famous "mug shot" is in that protective case — earlier this month (August 2) a Russian woman pulled a ceramic mug out of her purse and threw it at the Mona Lisa in anger and frustration. The deranged woman was sent to a psychiatric ward afterwards. Because of the protective case, this woman's attack was an unsuccessful, literal "mug shot."

The painting has a long history of attacks. It was stolen in 1911 by an Italian nationalist, a Louvre employee named Vincenzo Peruggia. My French grandmother was a 12 year old girl at the time of the theft — I wonder if she even heard about the theft.... The painting was finally returned in 1913. In 1956 it was doused with acid. Later that same year a man damaged the painting by throwing a rock at it. Sometime in the 16 intervening years between those attacks and my 1972 visit, Mona Lisa was put in that climate-controlled, protective case.

I know it seems a bit irreverent to call this celebrated portrait a mug shot. But that term took on a new meaning last month at the 12th annual Rocks Aroma Festival in Sydney, Australia. The festival featured the huge picture of Mona Lisa made of 3604 coffee cups. 564 pints of milk were used to lighten some of the cups of coffee cups to achieve the required shades for the design. Here are two pictures of the picture.

picture of the Mona Lisa coffee cups

picture of the Mona Lisa coffee cups

Now that is a mug shot!

Many other items have been used to recreate versions of the Mona Lisa. This one was done by 300 employees at a department store in Osaka, Japan. They built their rendition with nothing more than old train tickets — several hundred thousand of them.

picture of the Mona Lisa made with train tickets

A mystery artist used about 800 Rubik's cubes to create the image below. He twisted each cube to get the colors he wanted on the top face before placing them next to each other on a board.

picture of the Mona Lisa made with cubes

Lego has its own Mona Lisa.

picture of a Lego Mona Lisa

That wasn't enough for Eric Harshbarger who used Legos to create "Mona Lego," composed of over 30,000 Lego blocks. It measures six by eight feet and weighs over 45 pounds.

picture of the Mona Lego

Chinese artist Ju Duoqi did a version of Mona Lisa with vegetables. Her veggie Mona Lisa ("Mona Tofu") is made out of rice, sea kelp, and tofu.

picture of the veggie Mona Lisa

In addition to various versions of the Mona Lisa, there are plenty of perversions. Here she is with bubble gum.

picture of the Mona Lisa with bubblegum

Here's Goth Mona Lisa.

picture of goth Mona Lisa

Here she is in a burqa.

picture of the Mona Lisa in a burqa

Here are some animated "gif" images of Mona Lisa.

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

picture of animated Mona Lisa

I'll end this part of the post with a Mona Lisa comic strip.

picture of Mona Lisa comic

Some of my regular readers may have noticed that I didn't do my usual Thursday blog post last week. I had to make a quick trip up to Ohio to help deal with some issues that my mother is having. If you are one who prays, please pray that Mom's thinking will clear up soon. She is having some exceedingly dark thoughts right now, and it's hard to know why this started happening all of a sudden.

What are your thoughts about the Mona Lisa? Do you think it deserves the status it enjoys?


"God calls dead rebels to life." - Joshua Pegram

=^..^= =^..^=

If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

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