We are born with brains, so we come into this life with the basic equipment needed to think, but that doesn’t mean we all have the innate ability to think well. I guess this is analogous to the fact that we have been given arms, but the average bicep looks and functions considerably differently from the bicep of a world-class bodybuilder. In other words, not … Continue reading Building the Muscular Mind (Installment One)
If you’re a long-time reader of my blogs, you know that I spent about two decades living the life of an expatriated American. I am proud of that time in my life. I first went abroad as a Peace Corps Volunteer, to Poland, not long after the collapse of the Soviet system, and then lived in the UAE, Turkey, and Egypt. Prior to my leaving … Continue reading Beware: Garbage In, Garbage Out
Disclaimer: Previously known by the Anglicized spelling of Turkey, President Erdoğan has asked the international community to recognize the nation by its Turkish spelling, Türkiye, on June 28th, 2022. Türkiye is a country distinguished by it’s blend of European and Asian culture. Although after speaking with some locals, they consider themselves not to be European, Asian, or Middle eastern, but to be Turkish is to … Continue reading Turkish Literature: Where diverse culture meets unique literature
San Antonio, Texas, the city where I currently live, is located about eighty miles away from Uvalde, a town that has been in the news a lot in recent days. Unless you’ve been doing a Rip Van Winkle lately or are someone who lives outside the United States, I probably don’t need to tell you that in Uvalde, a little town of mesquite and pecan … Continue reading Uvalde, the State of the Electorate, and a Rant
Our lack of action to curb gun violence sends the message that we don’t care about the problem, even if it means dead kids. Continue reading We Don’t Care About Dead Kids
I spent a good portion of this past Saturday helping my wife with her small business. She is a master baker and makes a variety of Mediterranean breads and desserts. Her goodies are artisanal and high-end. She sells them each Saturday at a farmer’s market located in Boerne, Texas, a town with a large German-speaking population and a place where people have money. About noon, … Continue reading Sacred Places
On Saturday I listened to an interview to a Belgian politician who was saying that Governments should let out of the political scene extreme rights parties. He claimed that they receive too much visibility from the media and this is a reason for their popularity. He suggested not talking to them, as simple as that. Some agreed with him, others did not, because we are … Continue reading Declaration of Honour
Note: This blog was originally published as an Op-Ed in the San Antonio Express-News. I’m republishing it here today because it relates nicely with Learning to Question: A Pedagogy of Liberation, a book I’m reading and one I wrote about in my most recent Pointless Overthinking blog. *** I am an American educator. My job is hard, and I sometimes feel like I’m fighting a … Continue reading Community Colleges Are Helping to Transform America
Some weeks ago, I checked out Learning to Question: A Pedagogy of Liberation, by Paulo Freire and Antonio Faundez, from the library at the college where I work. Yesterday, after having the book sit around unread since I’d taken it home, I decided the time was right and opened it up. I’m not far enough along in the text to be able to comment on … Continue reading Participating in Something New and Special
Would you stop using your car? Do you know that by increasing the road capacity to reduce traffic jams would make the situation worse? This is an interesting story about a practical application of the “Braess Paradox”. 2009, The Netherlands. Some inhabitants of one Rotterdam’s neighbourhood receive a strange email: they have been watched while driving and are asked to stop. Is it a threat, … Continue reading Would You Stop Using Your Car?
Several days ago, I invited my wife out for a meal at Hong Kong Harbor, a buffet-style restaurant that serves Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food. Toward the end of our time at the eatery, a waiter dropped off two fortune cookies. I’ve gotten some really good advice and words of wisdom over the years, so I’m always eager to retrieve and read those little slips … Continue reading I Ate the Cookie
As someone who manages a couple of writing centers at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas, USA, I’m often asked, by faculty members of one sort or another, to do writing workshops for students. Exactly one week ago today, I did a critical thinking activity with a class of writers. It’s a workshop I’ve done innumerable times with countless pupils. Toward the end of … Continue reading I’ve Been Thinking about Thinking
Today, we celebrate the International Women’s Day. Do you know the true origin of women’s day, why is it on March 8? Fire in the Triangle factory The fire in the Triangle factory in New York on March 25, 1911 was the most serious industrial accident in New York history. It caused the death of 146 people (123 women and 23 men). The event had … Continue reading March 8, the True Origin of Women’s Day
Before I get into the body of this piece, I’d like to say that the conflict in Ukraine is especially interesting and tragic because I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Poland during the mid-nineties, not long after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was sent to Rzeczpospolita Polska—I still remember quite a lot of Polish—to … Continue reading What Vladimir Putin’s War Is Teaching Me
“War would end if the dead could return.” — Stanley Baldwin. Just imagine you wake up the following morning to the sound of bombs exploding and artillery firing. The enemy has invaded. You didn’t think it would ever happen, but there you are. Suddenly you’ve been thrown back into the 1940s. Now, what do you do? Do you gather your most prized belongings and flee? Or do … Continue reading Must We Not Fight for Peace?
A hater can be defined as a person who uses expressions of hatred and violently insults individuals, usually taking advantage of anonymity and especially on the Internet and on social networks. What is behind haters behaviour? Last week, Italian’s iconic Sanremo Music Festival took place. In 2021 the band Måneskin won and maybe that’s why you may have heard about Sanremo Festival. They are very … Continue reading What Is Behind Haters Behaviour
I didn’t really have a topic in mind for this week’s blog. I was running out of time, and then, miracle of miracles, late on Saturday evening, I watched Austin City Limits, a weekly TV program, run out of Austin, that features hour-long musical performances. This week, they had a concert by Terry Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band, a group I’d never heard of … Continue reading Terry Allen: Writer, Artist, Musician, and Generally Cool Guy
I know what you are about to say. If you want to get something (material things) you need money. But you’d be surprised what you can get by swapping and bartering goods and services. Have a look at this story and find out that there are also ways when you don’t need money to get what you want. Soda for Vodka Summer 1959, Moscow. During … Continue reading You Don’t Need Money to Get What You Want.
I have been thinking for a while about the word of the year 2021. The word of the year 2021 I believe is vaccine. How many times have you heard it said? Sometimes, an old and very well known word is renewed, launched again and then it takes over. I definitely think that the word of the year 2021 is vaccine. This word is about … Continue reading Word of the Year 2021
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a medical healthcare professional. Please read our disclaimers page here) With the obvious exception for those who have legitimate medical reasons, I believe that making vaccinations mandatory for COVID-19, in the current climate, can be ethically justified. Now, to be clear, there’s a difference between mandatory vaccinations – where certain penalties are levied on you for not complying – versus compulsory vaccinations … Continue reading Should Vaccinations Be Mandatory?