Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not (quite) a fool

I found this funny and am posting this on March 31 so it will not be wrongly misinterpreted as a hoax of a hoax. I must admit I am not a very big fan of April Fool's Day. It seems cruel to have an entire day devoted to attempting to cuckold other people. Isn't life stressful enough without having to spend 1/365th of each year (barring leap years) desperately attempting to avoid humiliation? I spend enough of my time doing that already; no need to introduce intentional additions.

That said: seems that in 1957, BBC's "Panorama" ran an entire episode on the spaghetti industry in, of all places, Switzerland, including extensive footage of women carefully removing strands of spaghetti from trees and spreading them out to dry. Now that's pretty funny -- and entirely harmless (unless, I suppose, one then booked a trip specifically to go harvest spaghetti and encountered disappointment upon arrival).

Here's the link:

Know of a great, harmless hoax article or news story that was shared on April 1? Post a link in the comments!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Vote

From this morning's paper (a McClatchy-Tribune wire story in the Oregonian), and addressing the vote in Egypt yesterday regarding proposed changes to the Egyptian constitution:

"Whether for or against the proposed amendments, Egyptians were overjoyed at what they considered their first real vote, discounting the decades of rigged polls under Mubarak. Some voters sobbed with happiness, and passers-by offered water and sweets to people standing in lines that stretched for blocks. Families brought children to witness the historic day." *

It is so easy to take our votes for granted. We become frustrated--and with good reason--about the deficiencies in our own system. But Americans, too, have fought and demonstrated and faced hardship to enjoy this privilege. In an era of vote-by-mail it is harder to share with our children the feeling of "going to vote," and I find myself wishing I could share with my daughter the impressions I received when going with Mom to vote at the high school I would one day attend. I marveled at the BIG hallways and the bust of James Madison in the foyer; the gravity of stepping into a polling booth impressed upon me the importance of the affair. My living room may not be as grand as a high school foyer, but Egypt provides me with a reminder never to trivialize the project of filling out a ballot... and next time, I'll be sure to share the experience with my own child.

* Hannah Allam, "Millions turn out for Egypt vote" (Sunday Oregonian, 20 March 2011, p. A8)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My daughter would agree with Bucky on this one

In honor of all the lectures I've had to write on the Mongol Empire for the world history class I'm finishing up at Western Oregon:

Get Fuzzy

More content-driven postings to come.