Why the Communism?

Ever wished you could be back at school, but without the awkward lunch room/locker room/school bus situations? If so, you should check out the Khan Academy. Sal Khan has videos on pretty much everything (although lacking in the area of history a bit).

I found this one on communism. If you’ve never read Marx’s Communist Manifesto, this is a nice little crash course. Khan’s political leanings are clear, but he does a great job mapping out different types of government and how communism came about, how it works, and where several modern nations stand today.

next stop…Amsterdam…

Short update from across the lake: I’m leaving L’Abri (ahem, em em) and headed to meet up with Johnny in Amsterdam. I will be travelling via car, then train, then chunnel, then bus, then…I’m not sure. I will take the chunnel to Brussels, and I am considering stopping to check out the UN headquarters if it’s close by the station.

In Amsterdam I’m looking forward to the Anne Frank house, the Van Gough museum, and a WW2 museum. Also biking and canals!

L’Abri has been great, although it’s been a short experience and I’m leaving feeling like there is much unexplored. I feel like I’m just getting to the point where I can really think, and now I’m leaving.

I’ve had one semi-big epiphany. My question has been, “What is the role of women in the church?” I think what I’ve really been asking is “What is my role in the church?” Not that the first question is not worth answering, I think I’m just tired of thinking about it for now…

I’ve burned out on theology, and now I’m reading Prince of Tides (thanks, Chili T!) and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. I highly recommend both although I’ve completed neither. 

Pedicures are Gluten-Free!

Yesterday, following my oral exam (which I passed, btw), Maury and Betsy accompanied me to soak my feet and my soul at Nouvelle: A Westside Nail Salon. Since I’ve had less than excellent feet work done with both of them recently, I was eager for something better. Nouvelle came highly recommended by many of our fellow Atlanta Westsiders. After a hot water bath for our feet, we were placed in semi-inverted position with our legs elevated in a cushy chair. It was divine.

An hour and only $28 later…we emerged with soft feet and beautiful nails, although I’m not 100% satisfied with the color. Maury and Betsy would not let me get dark purple on May 7, nor rich girl red. I decided to go with “Dim Sum Plum,” part of OPI’s new Hong Kong line, you know, since I teach World Cultures. It’s a touch perky for my taste, but it’s ok. Next time, I will go with my gut. I’m so edgy.

I don’t think I will be going back to Nail Talk and Tan anytime soon. It was the perfect way to spend a post-exam afternoon! And as Betsy remarked, pedicures are gluten-free!

Race: The Power of an Illusion

This week in World Cultures, we are talking about Latin American colonialism. Today I asked my students to compare high social status in American culture today to high social status in Colonial Latin America.

The conclusion: Many of the characteristics are the same. Heritage, money, education, occupation…

Somehow (who knows how), the conversation of racial classification came up. At some point each year, my I get my students to try to “sort” people by race using this PBS Sorting People Game. It’s pretty cool to do on the Smartboard because everyone can watch.

Of course, the students realize that you can’t tell a person’s heritage, where they are from, or what they are good at just by looking at them. However, I still had a student shout out for each picture, “oh he’s DEFINITELY Native American…” each time. It became quite humorous.

With about 1/3 of our school being “non-white,” there are always interesting stories such as the Willy’s burrito man addressing Nilai’s mom (an Indian-American woman) in Spanish, or wondering why so many Asians live in Duluth.

It’s also always interesting to watch the kids as they stumble through discussing such a hot-button, complicated, and personal issue. They say things like, “this feels weird,” and “that’s racist.” I love sitting back and watching them react. I believe it is so important to bring up the topic in a risk-free place at an early age.

Today was a good day.