Improv Class Starts Tomorrow! (Feb 2015) and other stuff

It’s been a busy week – I haven’t posted since the 16th. (I never made a commitment to myself to “post everyday”, but it was a fun run.)

Since the 16th, though, I’ve finished a draft of my MA project paper and finished assembling the book of poetry I’ve been working on since the end of summer. I have a copy with me, formatted for 6″X9″ with page breaks and fonts. I am going back over to see if I like the sequence of the poems and whether I am going to include any pictures (drawings and/or photos). Then, off to the editor.

I’m working on some music for an Indegogo promo for Pointless Pub and starting to pull together the setlist for our May Rotary Club gig “Lost in Space”.

But, the big news is that my Improv for Non-Actors class at Ann Arbor Rec and Ed starts tomorrow night. It’ll be about the sixth or seventh go-round and it’s always a lot of fun. Seeing new faces and some repeats and opening up space for them to just relax and have a good time is a real treat.

ImprovFlyer2015

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Daily Thought for Feb 16, 2015 (Mon)

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With Lent coming up, we are looking into a program that
suggest eating a reduced diet for 40 days as a way of
showing solidarity with the poor, of experiencing a tiny
bit of what it means to be without readily available and
abundant food, and maybe just to simplify things a bit.

I wanted to provide some links, but I can’t find them right now.
I will post them later.

I do know that the origin of the idea was
a conversations Jean had with me about the book
“A Place at the Table”.

Daily Thought for Feb, 10, 2015 (rough morning)

Black Day V2_sm

Goal for the day: spend as much time as I can on the M.A. project.
Step 1: Find the notes from my last draft.
So: searched and searched and can't find them. Frustration. Anger. Self-loathing, etc, etc.
Until: sat down and made the drawing above.
Then: decided to take a different tack - reading "sista docta" (Joni L. Jones) 
and going through my notes on "What the Buddha Taught" (Rahula) to bolster my 
argument for using a phenomenological approach to thinking about ADHD.
Result: yep. When stalled, switch gears.

All of this made me think of using the phrase “The only way to it is through it.” Which made me think: “where did this phrase come from?”

Earliest reference I could find was in a poem by Robert Frost titled “A Servant to Servants” (1914). A woman – exhausted from taking care of her husband and many men who seem to room with her – is ruminating about a new fellow who is camping out on their property. How she finds that attractive – that he has just walked away from life and is living in nature.

Here’s the original passage from Frost:

Len says one steady pull more ought to do it.
He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far
As that I can see no way out but through—

The line seems to refer to her husband’s attitude toward her exhaustion and possible mental illness. He argues that she should just “tough it out”. I’m not sure that’s the answer in ALL cases, but it got me through the morning. I went “through” it by accepting that I was not going to find what I wanted and that there was still plenty of other work to get done.

Daily Thought for Feb 4, 2015

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Over the years, I’ve had conversations with different people about the idea of “law”. You can talk about it in terms of politics, religion, justice, even the rules of writing poetry and blogs. My position has always been that laws are useful in the same way grade school is useful: you need clearly defined boundaries until you are are wise enough to make up your own mind. Then, it can be a different story.

One quote I’ve had around for a while is credited to Plato and shows up all over the Internet:

“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” – Laws, Book IX

As a philosophy teacher (at least up until March of 2014), I knew enough to be suspicious of the way that was phrased. I’m a Platonist at heart and I don’t like seeing my guy misquoted. So, I went and found the original reference. Sure enough, it’s different. And not just subtly, enough to make you stop and think.

So, here are two other translations for your consideration:

Laws are made to instruct the good, and in the hope that there may be no need of them; also to control the bad, whose hardness of heart will not be hindered from crime. This is from a web post titled “Pet Peeves and Plato’s Politics“. He doesn’t cite his translation.

The Internet Classics Archive translates it this way: Laws are partly framed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued, or softened, or hindered from plunging into evil.

The key difference between these two and the original, more popular, quote is this: Plato understood the need for law. Yes, there may be times for civil disobedience and even for ignoring laws that are outdated or senseless, but the idea that we don’t need laws wasn’t his point.

Daily Thought for Feb 2, 2015

About Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

A while back, UTNE Reader ran an article about Abdul Ghaffar Khan titled “The Islamic Gandhi”. When you read about him, it seems like he should be a household name, in the same way as Gandhi (who he knew) and Mother Teresa. Of course, being Muslim, he is not. Which is not meant to be a political comment on my part, but a simple recognition that most of the people I know do not know a lot of Muslims. So, to do a little bit of good-news spreading, I’m adding some quotes and some links to information about him.

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It is my inmost conviction that Islam is amal, yakeen, muhabat – selfless service, faith, and love.

Only a dead nation remembers its heroes when they die. Real nations respect them when they are alive.

Who was Badshah Khan?
http://wagingnonviolence.org/2013/07/who-was-badshah-khan/

From the Progressive:
http://www.progressive.org/mag_amitpalabdul

YouTube Video of a 10 minute biography produced by the Gandhi Memorial Fund:

A link to the movie “The Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan, a Torch for Peace”, produced in T.C. McLuhan, released in 2008
http://www.thefrontiergandhi.com/

Others

http://www.mkgandhi.org/associates/gafarkhan.htm

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/SRR/Volume11/gayatri.html