A Man of Bricks and Mortar

His was a life of bricks and the skillful hands to lay them, fast and capable hands as adept as machines. His was a history thrown with gale force at walls and buildings all over town, a long constructive life of making things to last. Everywhere now in his decline were the monuments of his having passed that way, standing in red clay and mortar, signs of a man’s existence no less expressive than those of whatever poet you might wish to mention.

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Testing the Punisher

The best way to make your way through a four-year university system is to take every single Summer Session course you can.  You speed through the work.  The instructors are much more malleable and welcoming.  You are able to learn at a much quicker pace over a three-week session instead of a 15-week semester.  However, there was one summer class I took at a local Midwestern, land-grant university that I will never forget because it was so awful and because I was so clearly, but unwittingly, branded by the instructor, as a Student Who Could Do No Right.  That instructor was wrong, but he was the unrighteous one wielding a grading curve like a cudgel.

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Moral Indoctrination and the Church

The Greeks made a bold move and removed the question of morality from the secular world and replaced that mandate with the universal ideal of ethical behavior governed by laws.  We became a people of rules and laws and ethics in the state — making us completely unique in the world — because no other competing species for our time and space is able to cognitively think, make value judgments and create a standard, equitable, criteria for living as citizens that requires we help each other instead of trying to kill each other.  We are ruled by our minds and not our emotional instincts.  We have patterns of written expectation we agree to adhere to in order to get along with each other — and the role of the historic Church in antiquity was to mediate the meticulous, and sometimes tenuous, dyad between a people and their state — and to help regulate an effervescent values system and to negotiate a context for living a moral life in a shapeshifting world.

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The Right Not to Dissect

From my Inbox:

The Dissection Choice Bill (S.1739) was voted on by the New Jersey Senate Education Committee on Monday, May 23, at 10 a.m. That bill allows public-school students in New Jersey from kindergarten through grade 12 the right to not participate in certain experiments involving animals and require schools to provide an alternative education project without discrimination.

Students will be pressured to dissect frogs, pigs, rats, cats, snakes, turtles, starfish, rabbits, sharks, minks, sheep, and cows-many of whom will be snatched from their natural habitats or the streets-if this Dissection Choice Bill does not pass.
Whether for religious, ethical, environmental, or educational beliefs, students deserve an alternative to the cruel and inhumane practice of dissection-and this right must be protected by state law. Residents and nonresidents of New Jersey are encouraged to take action.

You can visit Cut Out Dissection for more information but be warned the site is filled with graphic deaths.