a feminist

I was sitting in the waiting room at the oncologist’s, when a young kid, a teenager, came in with what I assumed to be his girlfriend. The kid talked about x-rays of his lungs with the admins, so it seemed he was the patient. They went to sit across the room from me and I couldn’t hear their every word, but it was clear the young woman had had a discussion about feminism in class today.

“Feminists don’t hate men,” she said. “Man-haters are called misandrists.”

She said they had looked up the definition of a feminist, and learned that a feminist is a person who supports equal rights, and equality in pay and opportunities. Her boyfriend said that he thought those things were no-brainers. “Then you’re a feminist!”, she said.

This is where I couldn’t quite hear his response. But clearly he didn’t like the word feminist, or the idea that he was one.

Too bad, kid. You were doing so good. I have a feeling that 18 year old girlfriend won’t be giving up anytime soon, tho.

here are two things that have to do with work

First, the secret teacher stairs. The main staircase in our building is grand, and curved, and takes up most of the main lobby. These unassuming stairs are in the back of the building. For some reason students don’t know that the stairs are there until they are about to graduate after four years. I have no idea why; it’s not like anyone is trying to hide them. The little stairs are a tad scary looking in photos, but in real life they are cool on a hot day, and quiet. Plus, they take you right outside if you want. Not bad.

And then, below, is one of the best compliments I have ever received. When he was two years old, my oldest nephew told his dad, my brother, that “Lotta knows how to play in the sandbox”. That’s a good one too. I mean, what two-year-old doesn’t like a good sandbox, and a positive review from a pro, that has to mean something. But, when a student says that you have taught them how to think… That’s hard to beat. There are a lot of cliches about teaching, but to me, thinking, and talking, is what it’s all about.

public service announcement

Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is not the Mexican independence day. Encyclopedia Britannica tells you that Cinco de Mayo is also known as the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, and is “a national holiday in Mexico in honor of a military victory in 1862 over the French forces of Napoleon III.”

They continue: “On May 5, 1862, a poorly equipped mestizo and Zapotec force under the command of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French troops at the Battle of Puebla, southeast of Mexico City; about 1,000 French troops were killed. Although the fighting continued and the French were not driven out for another five years, the victory at Puebla became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination.” 

And: “The day is celebrated in Mexico, especially in Puebla, with parades and speeches. In some cities there are reenactments of the Battle of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo has also become a festive holiday in parts of the United States with large Mexican American populations, including many cities of the Southwest. Celebrations in the United States often extend beyond the actual day to encompass an entire week, with parades and festivals that include music, dancing, and food.”

Mexico celebrates its independence from Spanish rule on September 16.

you can dream

This is the front end of a 1939 Frazer Nash/BMWThe Blackhawk Museum in Danville houses truckloads of antique cars, and pretty much all the cars are fantastic. Some of them are beyond fantastic. There is one, from the 1920s, that is made from tulipwood. They seem to rotate the exhibits tho so the tulipwood one wasn’t on display yesterday when I was there.

I think what is fascinating with these cars is that they are so much about the dream of the future, and about the dream of traveling there. Cars from the 1930s look like space ships. They look fast, as if the future couldn’t get there quick enough. The romance of that is irresistible. A Toyota Prius? Dull, and practical. But does it really have to look dull and practical? There is a statement about our times in there, and it isn’t good.

There were two old guys walking around the exhibit yesterday, making conversation like 5 year old boys: “This one is mine!”. “No, I’ll go with the Packard.” Adorable.