Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Born Against. Remembered. Missed.


"Nine years into the future and we're still counting the dead
and the dying/Still totaling the countless hidden
victims of heightened state terror/Still believing of
a peace and prosperity/Of a peace with a hundred
thousand executed by disease/Of a prosperity with millions
living on the streets/And I've got to wonder, What the fuck
its going to take?/Can it be undone?/Can we
stem the tide of violence or are we gonna sit back,
relax and watch tv while the "have nots" get their
heads kicked in?/Keep counting the policies that
failed and the lies that worked?/They worked!/
We swallowed them down deep swallowed them whole."
("Nine Years Later", 1990)


"Once again the battle field is your body and those
who want control have laiddown their terms in black & white
and red all over/They keep the backstreet butchers
in business/As advertised from a bullhorn/
And the all-knowing man has set up his make-believe
graveyard with tiny white crosses for millions of
make-believe souls/Someday I'd like to see a cross
set up for a real livehuman being who bled to death
to maintain the sanctity of Mary/"Mary & child!"
scream the bigots who couldn't care less about human life/
Obey their self-righteous lies while your sisters
and daughters die/All decisions are final/
Your body is forbidden."
("Mary and Child", 1990)

Even more archival minutiae.

This is our punk rock...


"...let's link arms/sisters and brothers/and let's promise/not to retreat/there is glory/in our failure/so let's march/to the rhythm or fatigue/to live our loves/without leaders/to live in joy/without fear/let's walk together/to the valley/and let the light/redeem our tears..." (A.S.M.Z., 2004-ish; Chris Jensen photo; YouTube[Dresdennightlife]video)

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Speak Memory

People, young and old, need a way to grieve and honor the memory of loved ones who've passed away. The best part of my first semester is a memorial installation my ELD students create called "Speak Memory."


My current class consists of 31 kids from 12 different countries who speak eight different languages* (40 separate languages are spoken on campus!) Each person brings a unique perspective to the process and for several beautiful months they transform the library into an interactive space filled with art, poetry, sayings from their languages, and tributes they've written.


The beauty of project-based instruction is that authenticity brings out the greatest work from kids, regardless of language ability or educational background. Everyone one can be an expert and nothing motivates like success.


(*Spanish, Chinese, Farsi, Arabic, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Bulgarian, Tongan)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Oreamnos americanus

If your neighbor has no problems, give him a goat.


Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results


20 years ago my uncle Rick taught me how to climb. Little did he know he'd be setting me on a course that determined much of my life from that winter onward: how I'd treat my body; where I'd live; work I'd have (or not have.)

This year Rick turns 52 and true to form he'd set a stout "birthday challenge" for himself. He'd climb a total of 52 top-roped laps on Joshua Tree routes that he'd led, all within a day. Two weeks ago he pulled it off. While he may not have jaw-dropping power or the physique of a svelt gym rat, Rick pulls like a fiend. Fueled by an apple fritter, three Red Bulls, and a diet Pepsi he ticked 55 laps with an hour of high desert sunlight to spare.

The birthday challenge is just one of many standout achievements for the year. He also day-hiked all 14 of California's fourteen thousand foot peaks in a season, linked Mt. Baldy, San Grogonio, and San Jacinto in a day all the while holding down a more-than-fulltime gig as a chemist.

I only hope that I'll have as much drive and passion for the backcountry when I'm his age.

For more inspirations: