Tag: Cafe Discovery

Café Discovery

We are starting work on next year’s programming for Women’s Studies already.  We’ve decided to try to work on relationship violence as an issue.

We recognize the problems this presents us.  As Reverend Todd put it:

…films are a good idea…but only after men are on board.  If films are shown that show male abusers/scumbags/therapy-recipients (heaven forfend anyone should find himself in therapy!*) before our men are on board, the message will likely bounce off the surface without getting through.  I believe what’s needed first are programs aimed at manliness: what does it mean to be a real man, gentlemanliness, male spirituality, the role of men in a rapidly changing society (read: the feminization of society), male sexuality, etc. In that context, issues of how men sometimes perceive women should also be addressed and fleshed out, issues like: “She was asking for it,” “Women lie,” “Women try to ‘trap’ men,” sporadic true stories that get stretched and distorted and used to define all women.  Until this territory is covered, anything that could be seen as taking “bad” men and rubbing their noses in the mess they’ve made will probably be met with emotions ranging from guardedness to hostility.

*Just thinking to myself: Do we really want to show only the “bad guys” getting some emotional therapy?

Café Discovery

Since I came out, I have been especially active in trying to promote National Coming Out Day in the fall, World AIDS Day on December 1, and Out and Proud festivities at colleges and universities wherever I could reach them.  The latter are usually in the Spring, since Gay Pride events usually are scheduled in the summer when activity on campus is light.

What if they gave an Out and Proud Week and nobody was?  Or maybe it’s just that nobody cared.

We arranged some programs and selected some going on around us and tried to encourage members of our campus community to attend.  There was little interest exhibited.  Not from straight folks.  Not from GLBT folks.  Actually, more straight folks showed up than gay folks…and some of the straight folks clearly hadn’t reached a positive place with regard to the issues.

And some do not understand that issues is plural.

Café Discovery

Sometimes I wonder if it would have been better to have done worse in school.  If I had had some of my work rejected, maybe it wouldn’t have affected me the way it has as an adult.

But it never was rejected, all the way through college.  Whenever I tried, I did well.  Flunking out of Penn wasn’t the result of not doing good work.  It was the result of not working because I had already given up…on life.

So anyway, as I mentioned in Friday’s MitM, my birthday was followed the next day by a rejection form letter from Calyx press.  That was a downer.  They didn’t apparently think any of my six poems were suitable for their Journal.  They assured me it wasn’t just one person who thought so, but at least two readers thought they were not worthy.

That made me feel better, do you think?

Café Discovery

The time has almost come.  By next week it will have passed.

While I should be performing other tasks and thinking about other things, my mind keeps wandering back to the fact that I was born 60 years ago on Thursday.  The number addict in me observes that 60 = 22 * 3 * 5 is a special number.  But we all knew that, didn’t we?

Sixty minutes in an hour, so a minute is minute (small).  And a second is called a second because it is 1/602 part of an hour…second power.  Magic number…as is 360 (=  23 * 32 * 5) …perhaps because it can be divided so well into equal pieces in so many ways.  Anyway, the Sumerians thought a sexagesimal system was cool…and that gave us our timekeeping strategy and the way we measure angles.  Who knew…until much later, that 60 was also the number of elements in the smallest non-abelian simple group?

One could go back further than the Sumerians and discover that the Chinese use a calendar with a cycle of sixty years…the Jia-Zi system.  

each year within the 60-year cycle being named with two symbols, the first being base-10 (called Tian-Gan, ??  or heavenly stems) and the second symbol being base 12 (called Di-Zhi, ??  or earthly branches).

60 is the least common multiple of 12 and 10, of course.

Magic numbers are scarce, until you actively look for them.  Then you discover that all integers are magic.  

    Proof: Let x be the smallest non-magic positive number. If x exists, x would be special…and so x would be magic from some perspective or other. If no such x exists, then all postive integers are magic by induction.

Sort of.  Not a real proof, of course.  The term “magic number” has not been defined here…as I purposely intended.

But I digress…

Café Discovery

If I have seemed preoccupied the last week or so, that has been because I had homework that required doing.  I mean, I got to choose whether or not to do the assignment, but it was still homework.  A student at the University of Central Arkansas asked if she could interview me via email as background for a paper she’s writing.  She’s an Honors College student there.

Anyway, answering the ten questions she sent me became a task.   I have completed that task and sent her my answers.  

But it was a bit more emotionally taxing than I expected it to be, so I have decided to share it here as well.

Pain shared is lessened.  Joy shared is increased.

It is also possibly the case that some of this is news to some of the membership here at Docudharma.  One never knows.  If you’ve not heard it before, it’s new to you.

What follows is what I sent her, with some html formatting added.

Café Discovery

It was the fall quarter of 1974 at Portland State University.  I had transferred to PSU after three quarters at the Sylvania campus of Portland Community College.  I was enrolled in a class called Introduction to Algebraic Structures, along with Advanced Calculus, German, Differential Equations, Vector Analysis…and a class I can’t recall.  But this is a story about Algebraic Structures.

The class was taught by Marjorie Enneking.  It was in that class that a doorway opened, a doorway into a deeper meaning in life.  At the time, it was a doorway to the deeper meanings of mathematics.  Same thing.

Marjorie generated the thought (or maybe it was spontaneously generated) that mathematics was about words.  Up to that point I had foolishly been concentrating on the numbers.  The trees had been concealing the forest.  I had been focusing on How, when the real meat of mathematics was in the Why.

Café Discovery

Once upon a time I took an idea from real life and tried to implement it online.

It seemed easy enough.  Provide a place for people to talk about education, teaching and learning.  To encourage discussion, provide an essay.  To provide a service, provide some links.  

It succeeded in some ways, but it also strayed away from what it’s intention was.  Naming it Teacher’s Lounge was probably the mistake.  I’m not very creative when it comes to titles.  That title apparently conveyed the impression that people who weren’t teachers weren’t welcome.  As if I have an exclusionary bone in my body.

Whatever the reason, people who weren’t teachers mostly stayed away…or apologized for not doing so.  I think that says a lot about the state of education at the present:  people actually apologize for being interested in it.