Verse of the Week

www.bible.com/72/1co.13.4-5.hcsb

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Resilience

Life is bound to get hard at one point or another. This short video is a resilent shot in the arm to prepare you to help you come back from a tough time.

Sepia Saturday

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This week’s prompt inspired me to look for images of strange inventions. I happen to be rewind a book called TheWonderful Future that Never Was, which is full of cool, quirky devices. (I’ll review that book, when I finish it.)

These wacky inventions do have purpose and whimsy, but when they were first made, I assume the inventor was serious.

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Source: Nationaal Archief at the Hague

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Popular Science Monthly (via Internet Archive)

I guess roller blades won out.

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Radio hat, Nationaal Archief

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Rubber Boat Boots from National Archief

Red Velvet

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Dion Johnstone as Ira Aldridge, CST

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented an excellent production of Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti. The story of the first African American to play Othello on the London state in 1833, the story explores racism. As we know, abolition was a hot issue in the mid-1800s. In England there were protests against the slave trade.

When Ian Keen, who starred as Othello, fell ill the manager of the Covent Garden Theater chose Ira Aldridge, a black actor from America to play Othello. Some in the cast were excited and supportive, but Ian’s son and another actor were strongly opposed.

Aldridge was a fine, thoughtful actor, whose goal was to work in London. He takes his art seriously and gives a passionate performance the first night. However, the critics were shocked to see an actor of African heritage on stage and their reviews were venomous. The manager, Pierre LaPorte is a good friend of Aldridge and he counsels the actor to tone down his performance. Yet we can see that Aldridge can’t rein in his perfectionism. His desire to bring Othello to life as he reads the play leads to disaster. A consummate professional, Aldridge pushes the edges of his performance.

The performances were all pitch perfect and the play was compelling as it showed a chapter of theater history, I wasn’t aware of. The play has been produced in London and New York. If it comes to your hometown, I highly recommend you check it out.

Have to Disagree

Yesterday I had lunch with a colleague from China. We didn’t talk about politics much, but we touched upon the possibility of Oprah running for president (which I feel is entirely up to her and I’d decide her ability to run the country during the primaries). My friend mused that he just wished we’d get a president who’d unify the country.

I’ve thought this over and I have to say I disagree. It’s not that I love the tenor of vitriolic discourse, but I don’t mind disparate view points. We want differences. If you’ve read and agree with John Stuart Mills’ essay “On Liberty” you even want bad ideas to be freely expressed. I actually love brisk, lively debate.

What I’d like to see is more civility. I don’t care about a society having huge differences or a culture war. I just think such disagreements should be conducted with civility. So I don’t think we’re missing unity. I think we need more respect, more listening and more rationality.

A Place Apart

Travel writer, Dervla Murphy is known for boldly flinging herself across the globe and opting for the most inconvenient transport forms to encounter cultures that pique her curiosity. In A Place Apart, Dervla takes her trusty bicycle Roz up to Northern Ireland. Written in the 1970s, when the “Troubles” or terrorism, if you’re not fond of euphemisms, was running high, Dervla examines the complexities of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The result is an encounter with a people who confound and amaze her as much as any.

I had oversimplified the issues of Northern Ireland and thought that it was simply a conflict over religion. Religion wasn’t the cause and the conflicts weren’t between just two groups. There weren’t two sides. There were several. Both Catholics and Protestants had several subsets.

I was impressed by Murphy’s chutzpah as she’ll enter a pub where she’s marked as an outsider and regarded with suspicion, yet she’ll tough it out to get people to open up and share their opinions and insights. I will note though that most people were welcoming and saw the value in sharing their point of view and experiences.

The violence people suffered was shocking. Fathers shot dead while watching TV in their living rooms. Children shot. Families on all sides suffered and no place was safe.

While things have changed for the better in Ireland, which gives hope for all conflict zones, our world still has spots where death and violence are an everyday occurrence.

Bullet Journals

In Indonesia both Tara and I dedicated a good amount of time to goal meeting and avoiding procrastination. Our trainees are busy teachers and like us have important goals that we want to achieve, but finding the time to get to work is tough. It seems other chores crop up and little gets done. I hate that I do so little writing during the school year. I put so much time into teaching and put my own writing on the back burner.

One habit I hope will fix this is starting and keeping a Bullet Journal. The video above explains how to make one and how they can empower you.

Another tactic I’m employing (though not as much as I should) I learned from a Coursera class called “Learning How to Learn.” It’s a great 4 week course to improve learning skills for people of any age, but especially for high school and college students. The professor advocates the “Pomodoro Method” to beat procrastination. The name comes from an Italian expert who had a timer that looked like a tomato (tomato in Italian is “pomodoro”). The tactic is to set the timer for 25 minutes and to get to the task you need to complete. Don’t let anything stop you! What you’ll find is at first, you are tempted to not work. You’ll have an urge to complete a “short” chore, to check email, etc. Ignore that temptation. Soon those unrelated temptations fall away and you make progress. In fact often, I’ll be writing and the timer goes off and I’ll stretch for a couple minutes and do another 25.

Give it a try!

What’s your experience with procrastination? How do you overcome it?