Monthly Archives: November 2013

Yawar Mallku de Jorge Sanjinés

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Zona Sur

I want this on DVD and cannot seem to get it — or find it complete online.

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No hay olvido (Sonata)

Si me preguntáis en dónde he estado
debo decir “Sucede”.
Debo de hablar del suelo que oscurecen las piedras,
del río que durando se destruye:
no sé sino las cosas que los pájaros pierden,
el mar dejado atrás, o mi hermana llorando.
Por qué tantas regiones, por qué un día
se junta con un día? Por qué una negra noche
se acumula en la boca? Por qué muertos?

Si me preguntáis de dónde vengo tengo que conversar con
cosas rotas,
con utensilios demasiado amargos,
con grandes bestias a menudo podridas
y con mi acongojado corazón.

No son recuerdos los que se han cruzado
ni es la paloma amarillenta que duerme en el olvido,
sino caras con lágrimas,
dedos en la garganta,
y lo que se desploma de las hojas:
la oscuridad de un día transcurrido,
de un día alimentado con nuestra triste sangre.

He aquí violetas, golondrinas,
todo cuanto nos gusta y aparece
en las dulces tarjetas de larga cola
por donde se pasean el tiempo y la dulzura.
Pero no penetremos más allá de esos dientes,
no mordamos las cáscaras que el silencio acumula,
porque no sé qué contestar:
hay tantos muertos,
y tantos malecones que el sol rojo partía,
y tantas cabezas que golpean los buques,
y tantas manos que han encerrado besos,
y tantas cosas que quiero olvidar.

–P.N., RT

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The menus for fall

The first day of Thanksgiving was made up of pork tenderloin, red cabbage, espinacas catalana, and corn and quinoa cake with hints of chocolate and lime.

But a real Scandinavian holiday does not have just one dinner. Tomorrow we will have roast organic chicken with apples and prunes, more red cabbage, and orange squash.

That will then allow us, later in the week, to make the so-called gizzard soup, with vinegar, carrots, and leeks.

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Musée du Louvre

Her father received a terminal diagnosis so she pointed out to him that now, not later, was the time to do anything he has wanted to do, while he still could.

He said there was a large museum in a palace, in Paris, with beautiful paintings, and he would like to go.

He is a good old boy, hunting and fishing, and she did not expect him to know art museums, or to have this particular wish. “Daddy, do you mean the Louvre?” She called a picture of the Louvre up on the Internet and he said yes, that was it.

They are going.

He came to Paris in 1945 and was very happy because he understood the French spoken there, and the Parisians understood him. It was the first time he had met people that were delighted he spoke French. He was a little torn up from the fighting in Germany, not wounded, you understand, just a little torn up.

People in Paris said most visitors made sure to see the Louvre, so he went there. It was a beautiful, symmetrical, tranquil building with a large courtyard and a great feeling of permanence. In it was beautiful painting after beautiful painting, room upon room.

He returned every day while he was in Paris, and began to feel well again. He has always wanted to return.

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On grades

Here is a bell curve.  I could use it. I could also have: 20% W and F, 20% D, 20% C, 20% B, and 20% A. This would up my grades, and be nicer than a bell curve since more people would have A than F.

Not that it will help you at all, but here’s my wacky system. I teach writing, and points and percentages never made sense to me for writing assignments, so I grade on a 4.0 scale. I think this is also what I was trained to do as a baby teacher. The special beauty of the 4.0 scale is that 50% of a 4.0 is a 2.0 which is a C, not an F. So grade inflation is built into the grade calculation. Throw in 5% participation, a 5% reflective easy peasy final, and 15% homework (graded on a 5.0 scale–yo, kids, doing the reading every day IS your extra credit–which means, yes, I teach college and check homework, and the homework is always to do the reading, annotate it, and bring it to class, but if I didn’t do it, I’d be lucky if three students did the reading), and I feel like I have room to assign scary college-level grades on the actual papers because they can make Ds on all the papers and still walk out with a C, if they do everything else. There are some situations in which a student can automatically fail the course: plagiarizing a whole paper (not the accidental, I don’t know how to use quotation marks crap, but a whole paper), plagiarizing two more more times, and not doing all the papers. They don’t have to pass all the papers, but they have to do all of them. I get a whole lot of Cs and a sprinkling As, Bs, and Ds. I’m not counting the WFs or Ws. No one can ever make me pass a student who doesn’t attend or turn in the work. Period. Or at least not yet.

This means that almost every student who writes all of the papers, attends and reads regularly, and doesn’t plagiarize will pass. After learning to emphasize drop dates and putting my definition of plagiarism and penalties on every assignment, I’ve pulled my average pass rate up from 50% or less to about 66%, which is, of course, pretty damned sad. I teach primarily first-year comp, so we’ve got a high tolerance for failure, and I’m not (as far as I know) under pressure to increase my pass rate, though it does break my heart to see students taking out loans for Fs.

I really dread to think what will happen if Obama’s proposals to link an institution’s eligibility for financial aid to its pass rate / graduation rate. Of course, the intention would be to make universities offer students more tutoring and support to help them succeed, but that’s expensive, so the reality is likely to affect who is admitted and, even more likely, to put pressure on us to pass almost everyone by lowering standards. I’m usually a fan of Obama, but not on this one. It’s like No Child Left Behind for higher ed.

I think I’d be tempted to dumb down my job in a way that not only makes it easy for the students but also makes it easy for me. If they don’t have to work for grades, why should you have to work so hard to make sure that they pass? When my father taught high school math, the lowest a student could get on a test was 40. Students could earn up to 60 points to add to that 40, so they only had to earn 20 points to get a D and 30 to get a C, but it was still kind of hard to get an A. Maybe something simple like that would work?

#OccupyHE.

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Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Juegos, Questions, Resources, Theories, What Is A Scholar?

And then, the opposite kind of academic advice

There are also those inexperienced professors and otherwise unqualified individuals who insist that they know more than one does, and who require one repeat efforts already tried and failed, or re-run investigations which have already had clear results.

I cannot count the number of times I have had some person saying to me, you must do exactly what I say, because if you do not, the meaning of it will be that you want no improvement. And then they speak wildly about doing really destructive things.

The only times I have actually jumped off the proverbial cliff and done what these people wanted, it has been a waste of time at best. At worst, it has caused havoc from which I have still not recovered.

I do not know why academics, allegedly trained in research and in objectivity, so tend not to be able to think rationally; or why professors in foreign languages, allegedly trained to see otherness, can only project their own fantasies and speak to these.

All of these things have to do with gender oppression, I see darkly.

#OccupyHE.

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