In the Loop

Be it!

Archive for the ‘Arts & Literature’ Category

What do Teachers Make?

I found this by accident, and am so glad of it.  This is a piece by Taylor Mali, a well known Slam Poet and teacher.  As a teacher, i wish more of my colleagues felt this way.  Enjoy:

03:16 – June 03, 2007

Here is the text from it:

What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don’t work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali
www.taylormali.com

He says the problem with teachers is, “What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”

He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about
teachers:

That those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the urge to remind the other dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite conversation.

“I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor”
“Be honest. What do you make?”

And I wish he hadn’t done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
which is, if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and I can make an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

You wanna know what I make?

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence.
No, you can not work in groups.
No, you can not ask a question (so put your hand down)
Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored and you don’t really have to go, do you?

You wanna know what I make?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home at around dinner time:
“Hi, This is Mr. Mali, I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son did today.
he said, “Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?”
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and who they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
beautiful
over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And then hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them realize that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a difference! What about you?

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

Socialnomics

an ‘interesting’ video on the rise of Social Media, and the shift in Paradigm that they are entailing.  I’m not sure i have an opinion on this yet:

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

Through a twisted path i came across this quote today, attributed to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad:

‘If learning were suspended at the highest parts of heaven the Iranians would attain it.’

In fact i came across it in an excerpt of an essay by famous Iranologist Richard Frye, wherein he quotes Ibn Khaldun.  Now i did not know who he was, this Ibn Khaldun, and was much more surprised that i did not know him, after finding out who he actually is!

According to Wikipedia,

was a North African polymath — an astronomer,economisthistorianIslamic scholarIslamic theologianhafizjuristlawyermathematicianmilitary strategistnutritionistphilosopher,social scientist and statesman—born in North Africa in present-day Tunisia. He is considered a forerunner of several social scientific disciplines: demographycultural historyhistoriography, the philosophy of history, and sociology.  He is also considered one of the forerunners of modern economics …  Ibn Khaldun is considered by many to be the father of a number of these disciplines, and of social sciences in general, for anticipating many elements of these disciplines centuries before they were founded in the West. He is best known for his Muqaddimah (known asProlegomenon in the West), the first volume of his book on universal historyKitab al-Ibar.

Seems like quite a character!  Its a shame that we are so well indoctrinated on western (i.e. european) thinkers, and miss out on all the incredible other characters from the world.

Anyways, Ibn Khaldun has  a passage in his Muqaddimah, wherein he makes a reference to aforementioned hadith by Muhammad regarding Iranians:

”It is a remarkable fact that, with few exceptions, most Muslim scholars both in the religious and intellectual sciences have been non-Arabs… Thus the founders of grammar were Sibawaih, and after him al-Farisi and al- Zajjaj. All of them were of Iranian descent. They were brought up in the Arabic language and acquired knowledge of it throught their upbringing and through contact with the Arabs. They invented the rules (of grammar) and made it into a discipline for later generations. Most of the hadith scholars, who preserved the traditions of the Prophet for the Muslims, were also Iranians, or Persian in language and breeding, because the discipline was widely cultivated in Iraq and regions beyond. Furthermore, all the great jurists were Iranians, as is well known. The same applies to speculative theologians, and to most of the Qur’an commentators. Only the Iranians engaged in the task of preserving knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus the truth of the statement of the Prophet becomes apparent, ‘If learning were suspended at the highest parts of heaven the Iranians would attain it.’ The intellectual sciences were also the preserve of the Iranians, left alone by the Arabs, who did not cultivate them. They were cultivated by Arabicized Iranians, as was the case with all the crafts, as we stated at the beginning. This situation continued in the cities as long as the Iranian, and the Iranian lands, Iraq, Khurasan and ma wara-l-nahr, retained their sedentary culture. But when those cities fell into ruins,

sedentary culture, which God has devised for the attainment of the sciences and the crafts, disappeared from them. “

Wow, i did not know that! That arabic grammar was basically systematized and formed by Persian scholars after the arabic conquest.
Professor Edward G. Browne summarizes the extent of Iranian’s contribution to Arabian science as follows:
Take from what is generally called Arabian science from exegesis, tradition, theology, philosophy, medicine, lexicography, history, biography, even Arabic grammar the work contributed by Persians and the best part is gone. (Ed Browne, Vol. I, p. 204)

Wow, i did not know that! That arabic grammar, in its modern form, was basically systematized and formed by Persian scholars after the arabic conquest, namely one named Sibawayh.  Once again according to Wikipedia:

Abu Beshr ʻAmr ibn ʻUthman ibn Qanbar Al-Beşrey (aka:Sibawayh) (Sibuyeh in Persian, سيبويه Sîbawayh in Arabic, سیبویه) was alinguist of Persian origin born ca. 760 in the town of Bayza (ancient Nesayak) in the Fars province of Iran, died in Shiraz, also in the Fars, around 180 AH (796797).

He was one of the earliest and greatest grammarians of the Arabic language, and his phonetic description of Arabic is one of the most precise ever made, leading some to compare him with Panini. He greatly helped to spread the Arabic language in the Middle East.

Of interest also is the motivation for such work:

Much of the impetus for this work came from the desire for non-Arab Muslims to understand the Qur’an properly and thoroughly; the Qur’an, which is composed in a poetic language that even native Arabic speakers must study with great care in order to comprehend thoroughly, is even more difficult for those who, like Sibawayh, did not grow up speaking Arabic

The other named by Ibn Khaldun is:

Kamal al-Din Abu’l-Hasan Muhammad Al-Farisi (1267-ca.1319/1320[1]) (Persianكمال‌الدين ابوالحسن محمد فارسی) was a prominent PersianMuslim physicistmathematician, and scientist born in TabrizIran. He made two major contributions to science, one on optics, the other on number theory. Al-Farisi was a pupil of the great astronomer and mathematician Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, who in turn was a pupil of Nasir al-Din Tusi.

Now, we all know (or perhaps dont know), that a great number of the so called “islamic scientists/philosophers” were in fact Persians, but who – forcibly – spoke, wrote and published in arabic.  These include – but are not limited to – the likes of :

  • Avicenna: “father of modern medicine”, “father of geology”, (first to introduce the notion of momentum in physics, 500 years before galileo), among a ton of other things
  • Zakaria Razi: considered by many to be the greatest of the “islamic” scientists, “father of pediatrics”, discoverer of ethanol and its refining, author of first treatise on infectious disease, pioneer in neurosurgery and ophtamology
  • Khayyam: one greatest mathematician of his age, one of the greatest poets of all time, possibly the first person to have proposed a heliocentric astronomic model (500 years before copernicus), and philosopher
  • Biruni : one of first exponents of experimental scientific method (the first to introduce experimentation to the study of mechanics, mineralogy, sociology, pscyhology), ‘first’ anthropologist, critic of astrology and alchemy, (not to mention having the great fortune as sharing the same birthday as me!!!)
  • Kharazmi: the founder of modern algebra
  • Farabi: (philosopher, physicists, logician, … )

just to name a few  (here is a more exhaustive list).

Professor Edward G. Browne summarizes the extent of Iranian’s contribution to Arabian science as follows:

Take from what is generally called Arabian science from exegesis, tradition, theology, philosophy, medicine, lexicography, history, biography, even Arabic grammar the work contributed by Persians and the best part is gone. (Ed Browne, Vol. I, p. 204)

Now i admit, a good part of my motivation for this ‘rant’ of sorts is that damn Iran Nationalism which I can’t seem to rid myself of, peppered with a small but omnipresent dose of begrudgement against arabs (i truly am tryign to get rid of that, and have done a fairly good job in the past years),

But here is my point: anytime you look up any of these names, in almost any encyclopedia ESPECIALLY in the west, they are identified as “islamic” scientists, or philsophers, or poets, or…whatever!

That is the the equivalent of calling Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Christian Huygens, and James clerk Maxwell, simply as “christian scientists”.

It makes no sense! What does religion have anythign to do with it.

Either you dispense with the qualifying adjectives before the name, be it religious, or nationalistic, or you stick to the ethnicity/nationality of the thinker.  What does religion have anythign to do with it.

On a final note, Richard Frye, comes across as a very interesting character himself. As a world renowned scholar (prof emeritus still at Harvard), he has been one of the true champions of Persian/Iranian culture through his lifetime.  Here is an interview he had with CNN regarding his wish to be buried in Isfahan upon his death (like two other noted Iranologists Arthur Pope and Phyllis Ackerman).  I just love his comment at the end regarding the Islamic republic and how the Iranian people will get through this as they have for thousands of years:

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

The Daily Show in Iran: Part 3

Jon Stewart’s Daily show in Iran: Jason Jones reporting on the Knowledge of Iranian’s about the US:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil – Ayatollah You So
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

And part 2 of his report (interviews Ebrahim Yazdi, And Abtahi – great interview):

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil – Persians of Interest
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

Makhmalbaf in Paris

Here is an article about the plea from Makhmalbaf and Satrapi who “presented a document to Green Party MPs in the European parliament claiming to show that defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi had received over 19 million votes in the weekend election.”

Marjane Satrapi appelle le monde à rejeter le “coup d’Etat” d’Ahmadinejad.

“Nous sommes ici pour demander à la communauté internationale de ne pas reconnaître la légitimité de M. Ahmadinejad comme président. Le peuple iranien veut que la communauté internationale attende qu’il lui présente son vrai président”, Mir Hossein Moussavi, a déclaré Marjane Satrapi, lors d’une conférence de presse au Parlement européen, où elle était invitée par le Vert Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

A video of Makhmalbaf yesterday at the rally in Paris:

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

Jon Stewart on Iran Unrest

Here’s Jon Stewart Last nite on teh Daily Show commenting on what has been going on in Iran following the elections:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Irandecision 2009 – Sham, Wow
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

And here is the second part:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Irandecision 2009 – Election Results
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

The Fabulous George Carlin Archive

I’d written this post a few weeks ago, but it seems much more fitting today.

George Carlin, that fabulous, genius of a stand up comic, (and Mr. Conductor on Shining times station!) died today, at 71.  It’s funny, every so often, you think to yourselves, there are certain people that you hope wouldn’t ever die.  Just becasue of how creative, and original they are, because of how much they contribue.  The two people in the entertainment business i always had this pre-emptive Lament for, have been George Carlin and Woody Allen. 

But what is wonderful is that while he may be physically gone, the body of work that is his legacy is preserved, and he stays with us in our thoughts.  So let us enjoy it, thinking about him.

So here is an archive of George Carlin videos available for free on the web:

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

Dirty Car Art

I love the internet, because it lets you realize how incredibly creative, people can be.

This is the art of Scott Wade, who ‘paints’ on dirty cars.  I find it a brilliant idea.  Enjoy (click on the photo):

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

Ask an Iraqi

UPDATE: The original video was blocked, so i’ve found another copy of it now on Youtube.

I came across this clip by accident. It is a segment from Ira Glass’s “this american life”. I did not know of this show, but it has begun running recently on Showtime i believe, and was originally an award-winnign radio show in the US on public radio.

This particular segment, which i found beautiful and powerful, is about an Iraqi who goes around the US, with a small wooden booth titled “talk to an iraqi”, and he just sits there and lets people come and ask to him.

What you see, is fascinating on a human level, on a psychological level, and helps explain a lot. For me it recofirmed the power of words. How many of the orindary americans (as well many ordinary people of ANY country) are able to regurgitate slogans that are fed to them, over and over by their governemnt, without the least bit of reflexion on their meaning.

i just found it so well down, because it was not emotional, not manipulative, simple and moving. Enjoy (and spread it if you like it):

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

It’s amazing, my bond with Rachmaninoff grows ever deeper. He has truly become the voice of the divine for me. Such a beautiful soul.

It was thus that i came across some recordings of the Rachmaninoff Preludes and Etudes-Tableaux, by the mysterious and engimatic English pianist, John Ogdon. Now i’d heard of him before, as mentioned by a very dear – and sadly former – friend: wolfgang. He’d mentioned Ogdon to me on a few occasions, embellishing his engimatic and somewhat tragic life, as only wolfgang could. I did not truly listen to what he played me at the time, because i was quite impressed by the technically difficult piece he’d played for me, and the facility with which Ogdon seemed to go through it (the piece was Balakirev’s Islamey).

On the other side of this equation, are the Rachmaninoff Etudes-tableaux, which like many other things that are going on currently in my life, are a taste only recently aquired. It is odd, as much as i have always adored Rachmaninoff, i always had some difficulty in appreciating his Etudes Tableaux. Until i found this recording of the completes etudes by John Ogdon.

I will give you a sample. It’s a couple of excerpts from the Op.39 No.5. The first part is the beautiful opening with the main melody, and then a small fade out as i brough in the absolutely divine climax of the etude (if this doesnt bring tears to your eyes, i dont know what will) where he recapitulates the main theme in the left hand along with typical vintage rachmaninoff chords in the right hand. Just magnificent:

So, why did Ogdon have this effect suddenly on me? I dont know. There is no secret that he was one of the trugly greats of all time, in terms of his technical wizardry on the piano. But he also had a highly musical sense. Why try and dissect a beautiful thing? He was genius. That is what genius, someone who can give you somethign that no other can.

He somehow is able to produce a sound so clear that you can hear every single note, and yet at the same the volume of sound he generates is incredible. He holds the entire piece, which is not exactly easy, so coherent thanks to his technical facility that he can actually attend to the musicality with more ease perhaps than others. and finally there is his insight. Taht is the intangible.

Anyways, sadly, as is too often the case, his life was marred by tragedy. The gentle giant that he was, he underwent a severe mental breakdown in the 70′s and was hospitalized for many years. When he finally came back out, in ’83, he was different, although he continued to play and record (along them his high praised recording of Sorabji’s famous, or rather infamous, Opus Clavicembalisticum, almost 5 hours long, and arguably the most difficult piece ever written for the piano).

Here is a very nice documentary on John Ogdon, found on youtube. Enjoy:

If you want,subscribe to the Loopy RSS feed!

Quote for this Click

  • He has Van Gogh's ear for music. - - - Billy Wilder


Recent Trackbacks



Quote for this Click

He could never see a belt without hitting below it. - - - Margot Asquith

Archives


Loopophotography

More Photos

Activism


Blogroll


Friends


Group Blogs


Interesting


News Coverage


Online Magazines


Science


sports


Networking

Personal
 blogs For the voting button use: Top
 Blogs Webfeed (RSS/ATOM/RDF) registered at http://www.feeds4all.com
Blogarama - The Blog Directory


Top Blogs
Blog Flux Directory

The Ecosystem


Meta


Visitors and Referrers


stats

Referring Links