Archive for November, 2008

November 23rd 2008

Half a Century

Half a Century

Well, I turned 50 today–woohoo! I think it’s been about 28 years since the photo on the left, so I thought I’d show it off. I’m wiser only in the sense that I know now how little I knew then and have an inkling how little I know now.

Peace Party
Peace Party, 1980?
Just Married
Just Married, 2000
Me at 50
At 50

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November 22nd 2008

Drums, Part 1

Drums, Part 1

Downloaded my monthly allotment of songs (50) from emusic today.  I’m the kind of guy that spends, like three years in a used record (or book) store, only to finally leave with nothing I first intended to get.  I browse a lot.  I got to thinking about the music I like, and how drumming fits in.  Last night, my wife and I rented The Visitor, a great movie about human relations post 9/11, which features African drumming.  So, I downloaded some of what emusic had of Mickey Hart, the Grateful Dead drummer who has built a solo career encouraging. developing and cataloging drumming from all over the world.

I’ve been a fan of good drumming since King Crimson and Yes turned me into a Bill Bruford nut (see Drums, Part 2), but progressive rock is sometimes lacking in something human and hopeful.  Where Bruford turned to jazz to find that sentiment in his solo voice, Hart turned to African rhythms, which add a different influence.  Hart’s world music projects have a sense of hope and beauty to them that is like no other.  Drums speak to something deep within me (all of us?).

Here’s what I downloaded:

While I was in an African mood, I also got (but it isn’t drums per se):

You too can get 50 DRM-free downloads: Get 50 FREE MP3s from eMusic

While you’re in the mood, check out the websites:

Finally, a few songs to whet your appetite:

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November 15th 2008

Onions

Onions

I was thinking about onions this morning.  I know it’s a nonsequitor, but Thanksgiving is approaching and I love green onions, the festive look of red onions, cubed into the salad, the subtle taste of onions in the dressing.

There’s a National Onion Association–I suppose I should have expected it, but it surprised me anyway.  In the “Media Center” section, there’s all sorts of onion-related quotes and trivia.  Some of the trivia isn’t (“What Beatles song has “onion” in its title?”) and most of the quotes are from chefs or food writers (“It’s hard to imagine civilization without onions.” –Julia Child) but it’s a nicely done site and how much can you say about onions anyway?  There’s an extensive history section and, of course, recipes.  The NOA is “the voice of the onion industry” and

is dedicated to educating the foodservice industry, as well as, consumers about bulb onions and their many uses. According to the USDA, the estimated [annual] per capita consumption of onions in the United States is approximately 20 pounds per/person.

I learned a lot, including that we have a long way to go to catch Lybia, which consumes 66.8 pounds of onions annually per person.

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November 14th 2008

Keith Olbermann on Proposition 8

[from A Million Monkeys Typing]

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November 14th 2008

Fly On The Wall

Fly On The Wall

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall next January 20th?  A new president skipping through the West Wing in his boxers shouting “nuculer, nuculer,” twirling like Mary Tyler Moore while “You’re going to make it after all” plays in the background…

Well, that’s what I would do!

The new First Family

Nice to have a president classier than me–who wants their beer-drinking buddys to run a country!?

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November 11th 2008

Fair Use

Fair Use

Because I often teach online; and because I often use movies and other visual content in my face-to-face classrooms, the subject of fair use is important to me.  There’s a lot of sturm und drang about it, but I pretty much do as see fit for my learners–everything I do in the classroom is for the classroom, so I figure I’m covered… at least I hope so.

Anyway, this month, The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education was released by a group of media literacy educators (more than 150 members of leading educational associations)–and it’s both comprehensive and activist.  It addresses “the transformative uses of copyright materials in media literacy education that can flourish only with a robust understanding of fair use.”

This document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances—especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant. It is a general right that applies even in situations where the law provides no specific authorization for the use in question—as it does for certain narrowly defined classroom activities.

This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K–12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education.

The Guide does not explore the limits of Fair Use, but it does exhort educators to be leaders and to challenge “misguided institutional policies” that may restrict Fair Use.  The Guide was created to deal with the recurring activities teachers must use in media literacy education and to outline principles that apply to such teaching.  There’s a short video (below) and you can download the full report.

More information on Fair Use can be found on the NCTE blog.

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