This is pretty much exactly when The Next Generation went from being a warmed-over piece of shit into a show about SOMETHING.
Guinan: [Data]’s proved his value to you.
Picard: In ways I cannot begin to calculate.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, 2x09, “The Measure of a Man”
Stories of Tomorrow: How the Joy of Writing Spreads…
Tomorrow’s stories start in all sorts of places: on the drive to work, or at the movie theater. One constant source of inspiration? The classrooms that tackle NaNoWriMo through our Young Writers Program. YWP educator Connie Greenlee tells us about watching the joy of writing become infectious:
My husband first participated in NaNoWriMo nine or ten years ago and noticed the Young Writers Program on the website. He encouraged me to use NaNoWriMo with my 4th grade students. The first year was really an experiment, and so successful that I’ve been doing it every year since.
At first, some said that NaNoWriMo doesn’t fit the curriculum and were hesitant about the value of it. But these doubts and hesitations went away when they saw how engaged and excited the kids are about writing and how that engagement continues on year after year. Allowing the students to choose what they write about is very empowering for them. There are often results that I don’t expect.
The live-action feature film debut of visual artist Takashi Murakami, the film brings Murakami’s trademark visual aesthetic to a live-action world; your elementary school years may not have looked like this, but all that imagination and moments of wonder feel familiar all the same.
Obit of the Day: Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou, one of the great voices in American writing, passed away on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86. A Renaissance woman, Ms. Angelou was a dancer, poet, memoirist, actor, and director. She worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, and James Baldwin. She served on presidential commissions for both Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. President Bill Clinton invited her to deliver a poem (“On the Pulse of Morning”) at his first inaugural. And in 2010 she received the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.
Born in Missouri on April 4, 1928, Ms. Angelou’s early life was marked by trauma that she detailed in her National Book Award-nominated memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She was raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was only seven years old. Emotionally and physically scarred, she felt guilt when her uncles murdered her abuser, believing she was responsible for his death. She would not utter a word for more than five years.
After choosing to speak again (precipitated by a relationship with a mentor named Mrs. Flowers), Ms. Angelou began to flourish academically and artistically. Attending high school in San Francisco she began taking classes in dance and drama. (She also worked, for a time, as the first black woman to drive a cable car.) By the early 1950’s, with two young sons, she moved to New York where she first broke into entertainment, beginning as a nightclub singer. She also continued her studies in dance working with legendary choreographers Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham. She also earned a role in the national touring company of Porgy and Bess (1957-1958)
New York also had an impact on her literary career. It was there that she met James Baldwin and joined the Harlem Writers Guild. It was also around the same time she first heard a young preacher from Alabama, Martin Luther King, Jr., speak on civil rights.
In 1962 she left the U.S. to live in Egypt and serve as the editor for a weekly English language paper. Two years later she moved to Ghana where she met with Malcolm X while he was touring the country. Following the meeting Ms. Angelou returned to the U.S. to work with Mr. X on the creation of the Organization of African American Unity. (Unfortunately the organization was never fully realized after Mr. X’s assassination in February 1965.)
She decided to re-direct her efforts by working with Dr. King and was named Northern Coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). This relationship also ended in tragedy when Dr. King was assassinated on Ms. Angelou’s birthday in 1968.
Just a year later Ms. Angelou gained national acclaim and a National Book Award nomination after the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - the first of six memoirs. Encouraged in her work by Mr. Baldwin, Caged Bird, is still popular on high school reading lists 45 years after publication.
Ms. Angelou was now in high demand and her output continued to receive the highest accolades. Her first book of published poetry, Just Give Me a Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie (1972) earned her a Pulitzer Prize nomination. That same year her screenplay for the film Georgia, Georgia became the first by a black woman to be produced. In 1973, she earned a Tony nomination for her performance in the Broadway production Look Away. She also a supporting role in the 1977 miniseries Roots.
During all this she continued to publish her life story, publishing five books following Caged Bird: Gather Together in My Name (1974), Swingin’, Singin’, and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas (1976), The Heart of a Woman (1981), All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986), and A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002). (The last earned Ms. Angelou her third Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album, she earned two others in 1993 and 1995.)
The body of Ms. Angelou’s written was so vast, including additional poetry and children’s books, that in 2013 the National Book Foundation awarded her the Literarian Award for her contributions to literature.
Sources: MayaAngelou.com, The Poetry Foundation, IMDB.com, Wikipedia, Grammy.com
(Image of Ms. Angelou is courtesy of MayaAngelou.com)
So how do we begin to make a transition from this fear-enabled, angst-filled, respect-stunted, violence-prone and civility-impaired nation of fools without the ability to hold even the most basic of conversations without resorting to ad hominem attacks about Progressivism, Socialism, Marxism, conservatism, Nazism, racism, or Communism and get back to a nation powered by ideas, fueled by innovation, guided by clear vision, charged with enthusiasm for the future, and with the idea that only as a nation of real equals do we have a chance to tackle a potentially troubling and very challenging future filled with perils aplenty – a constantly growing need for diverse and renewable energy sources, better food to feed an obese and sedentary nation, a more even educational system providing higher quality education at lower costs, handling a crumbling technological infrastructure in all of our cities, ever-rising debts in the management of said cities, mass transit systems, school systems, prison systems and local governments, a reduction of our nation’s status as the leader in technological innovation, military might, and national idealism, wars all over the globe, some of which we take part in and other we shamefully allow to take place without intervention because our assets are not yet imperiled. Do we not have enough to deal with without the people and particularly the leaders of our nation acting as if we had simply gone mad?
Now that I’ve responded to the questions put to me by Anne Goodwin @Annecdotist, it’s time for me to nominate ten deserving blogs for the Liebster Award! Now, I hope I did this right and chose blogs who have 200 followers or less, but if I did not, it’s because you kept your followers…
For most superheroes, fighting for truth and justice means fighting for the status quo. The typical plot: Supervillain(s) attempts to take over the world and/or steal property; superhero(es) stop them.
The journey from disjunction to order is only emphasized by the fact that the heroes are themselves often outsiders in some way. Superman is an immigrant; Batman has a traumatic childhood backstory; the X-Men are policed and persecuted mutants. Yet despite the fact that they are underdogs, the heroes nonetheless fight for the mainstream authorities. Thus superheroes are often fantasies of assimilation—a dream of outsiders being accepted by, or turning into, insiders.
At best, that fantasy offers a promise of acceptance to everyone, making for an inclusive vision of the American dream. At worst, superheroes end up as establishment lackeys, marginalized individuals currying favor with the mainstream by targeting other excluded groups on behalf of the Man.
Twenty-five years ago, though, in 1989 writer Grant Morrison and artist Richard Case began working on Doom Patrol, a comic that ended up telling a different kind of superhero story. Over four years and 44 issues, Morrison, Case, and a number of other fill-in artists inverted the usual connection between heroes and the law.
Read more. [Image: DC]
Want to install your own solar panel? In Oklahoma, you’ll be charged a fee to produce your own energy.
In weird Brazilian cave insects, male-female sex organs reversed
"This may be the role reversal to end all role reversals.
Scientists on Thursday described four insect species that dwell in extremely dry caves in Brazil, feed on bat guano and possess what the researchers called an “evolutionary novelty.” .
The females have an elaborate, penis-like organ while the males have a vagina-like opening into which females insert their organ during mating sessions that last 40 to 70 hours, the scientists reported in the journal Current Biology.”