The Orlando Sentinel recently published a letter by a local community college professor expressing his disgust over a new Florida law that requires an American flag to be displayed in the classroom in which he teaches. I took issue with some of his points, and wrote a letter to the Sentinel in response. When the editor called to let me know that they would be publishing my letter, she very kindly said, "We haven't heard from you in a while." It's nice to be missed! You can read Professor Scolaro's letter and my response on the Sentinel website. I'm also putting mine below, in case the Sentinel link breaks, which it's bound to do eventually. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 9:49 pm | Edit
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Category Politics: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
My friend knew she would get a reaction from me when she sent a page from the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin. She might not have expected a blog entry, but she knew I would be upset. Amy Blumenthal's Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Read should disturb every parent. As many children do, Ms. Blumenthal's daughter suddenly discovered, in the middle of her kindergarten year, that she could read. Initially thrilled, she suddenly stopped, saying, "I don't want to read." When asked the reason, she replied, "Because my teacher doesn't want me to." (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, January 24, 2005 at 4:52 pm | Edit
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Category Education: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
It seems ludicrous, with the thermometer reading a very pleasant 72 degrees, and the rest of our family enduring subzero temperatures and the prospect of up to two feet of snow, but we, too, are under a winter weather advisory. Conditions are expected to change rapidly tomorrow, bringing in the coldest temperatures of the season and the possibility of several hours of hard freeze. Where we live does not usually get the worst of what is predicted, but we'll have to keep a weather eye out. I hope we don't have to pick all the grapefruit off our tree at once!
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 5:54 pm | Edit
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Category Hurricanes and Such: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

That's the intriquing title of an article by Vigen Guroian, a professor at Loyola College in Baltimore, who warns that unsuspecting parents have been "persuaded that they must send their children to college with no questions asked, when in fact this [is] the near-equivalent of committing their sons and daughters to one of the circles of Dante's Inferno." That comment is only slightly less blunt than the title of a book I heard about but never read, I Spent $75000 To Send My Child To Hell!

The article is lengthy but valuable, and you can read it here. According to what I hear from my own campus spies, Dr. Guroian is unfortunately more accurate than not. I once laughed when I read about a college at which the lack of dormitories was a matter of principle; now I recognize a noble attempt to swim against the sweeping tide. Perhaps it is time to rethink the entire college experience, to heed John Holt's advice and ask ourselves, "Where are we trying to get, and are we getting there?"

Update 5 April 2009  The link to the essay on why the college does not provide dormitories no longer works, so I have removed it, but the school in question is New Saint Andrews in Moscow, Idaho. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 21, 2005 at 1:26 pm | Edit
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Category Education: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.  (Proverbs 3:27)

Last night some friends came over for dinner, and were enchanted by the Lady Grey tea that I served.  When they left, I thought about giving them some tea bags to take with them.  However, we had plans to go to the beach together this weekend, and I decided it would be nicer to bring the tea with me, as a surprise.  Unfortunately, due to a crisis at work, we had to back out of the beach plans.

The moral: If you can do something good, do it now. Tomorrow is not promised to us.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 21, 2005 at 11:10 am | Edit
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Category Random Musings: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor, by Ken Silverstein (Random House, 2004)

In June of 1995, the Federal Government swooped down upon an unsuspecting Michigan subdivision, where a teenager's efforts to build a nuclear "breeder" reactor in his backyard were bathing his neighborhood in dangerous levels of radioactivity. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 14, 2005 at 9:13 pm | Edit
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Category Reviews: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Florida has been experiencing unseasonably warm weather recently, though here it is not as welcome as the 60 - 70 degree temperatures in the Northeast has been seeing. I'm not ready for shorts and temperatures in the 80's yet, and neither are our plants, which must have been dreaming of an early summer this week.

What a change this morning! Suddenly the air pouring through my open office window has a welcome chill, driving off the computer-generated warmth. Time to switch back to long pants, maybe even break out some soup and our Christmas hot chocolate. Alas that the cooler weather that brings blessing to us brings hardship to more northern climes!

I'm not unmindful that the new temperatures that are wonderfully cool to us are the same ones that were wonderfully warm to our loved ones just yesterday.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 14, 2005 at 9:12 am | Edit
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Category Everyday Life: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Lime Daley is the name of Jon Daley's Internet hosting and embedded hardware and software systems company. It is also the name Porter gave to a great drink Jon and Heather invented. For the curious, here is the recipe for a Lime Daley:

ice to taste
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 drops Boyajian lime oil
1 twelve-ounce bottle Blenheim “Old #3” (red cap) ginger ale

Put ice in a tall glass. Add lime juice and lime oil. Slowly pour in Blenheim. Stir well. Be prepared for the strongest kick a non-alcoholic drink can have. (To remember the proportions, think “3, 2, 1, blastoff!” It’s appropriate.)

(I predict will be a powerful business.)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, January 10, 2005 at 1:21 pm | Edit
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Category Reviews: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Computing: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Everyday Life: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Everywhere you turn these days you'll find an opportunity to make donations to help the victims of the recent Indian Ocean tsunami. My favorite is World Vision International, a well-established organization that has been doing good work in developing countries longer than I've been alive. Some of the reasons I like World Vision are succinctly explained in a statement I quote below from their tsunami donation website. Before you click on the World Vision link, however, there is one thing I'd like to clarify. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 8:57 am | Edit
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Category Random Musings: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Don't you just love it when things you like to eat turn out to be good for you? Turmeric is a spice commonly found in Indian curries and other Asian dishes, as well as good old American French's mustard. Curcumin, the component responsible for turmeric's yellow color, apparently provides numerous health benefits. Most recently, a study at UCLA has shown that curcumin may be efffective in treating and preventing Alzheimer's disease. In those tests, curcumin succeeded in preventing the formation and growth in the brain of the amyloid plaques that are the hallmark of the disease.

Since amyloid plaques are also present in the brains of people afflicted with the human form of mad cow disease and other spongiform encephalopathies, this finding may be of even wider importance.

Hmmm...perhaps we'll have curry for dinner...or maybe something Thai....
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 7:07 am | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

Yee-Ha! I just pushed Florida past Wisconsin to take over the #33 spot in the Geography Olympics. Pennsylvania (#31) here we come!

When I started keeping track, Florida was down at #45, so I feel that I (and many others) have made good progress. Currently Nebraska is #1 (Andy must be helping out.)  (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, January 3, 2005 at 1:59 pm | Edit
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Category Education: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Many churches have early evening "family services" on Christmas Eve, so that young children don't have to stay up for "Midnight Mass." That's a mistake, I think. Children who stay up past midnight are less likely to awaken before the dawn on Christmas Day. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, December 25, 2004 at 2:15 pm | Edit
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Category Everyday Life: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
'Tis the final day of Advent, and family is gathered around. Tonight we hear the penultimate story from Jotham's Journey, which we have been reading each night while the Advent candles are lit. Soon we will travel to church, bracketing our worship with fondue: cheese before and chocolate after. A white Christmas is unlikely, for the snow has been washed away by yesterday's rain. Perhaps we will have some Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music instead, which is almost as good.

The Season of Waiting is almost over. It is hard to observe Advent in our culture, where "Christmas" begins in October and ends about noon on December 25, just as the Christmas Season is beginning. But our small attempts have succeeded in shutting out some of the clamor, and drawing our eyes to greater wonders.

Billy, age five, is greatly excited. He hung his stocking from the mantel, and moved the large airplane cockpit control panel toy from in front of the fireplace, so that Santa will find no obstruction tonight. Then he solemnly declared to his cousin, "It wouldn't matter if Santa doesn't come, because the important thing about Christmas is Jesus' birth."

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 24, 2004 at 3:51 pm | Edit
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Category Everyday Life: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
News reports are trumpeting findings which, if true, show that our society has fallen even lower than I had thought. A study of almost 1000 Texan women found that they ranked watching television high on the list of activities that give pleasure, while taking care of children was low—almost as low as doing housework. (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 3, 2004 at 9:12 am | Edit
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Category Children & Family Issues: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Random Musings: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
We have a friend who just delivered her third child after two previous Caesarean sections that followed non-progressive labors. According to a recent report in the New York Times, that blessing would not have been possible with many doctors and hospitals. For a number of reasons, many hospitals are refusing to allow patients to attempt VBAC's (vaginal births after Caesarean). (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at 1:58 pm | Edit
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Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Random Musings: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
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