April 8 2015 Roman Numerals

I complained about forgetting Roman numerals. I was a classics major! But you can’t keep it all in your head for your whole life. Roman numerals were edged out by something else, maybe all at once, quickly. In some of the walls the bricks give way to smooth, much older slabs of stone with Latin inscriptions, often including numbers. The Latin wasn’t bad, in fact I could regularly puzzle out meanings, ideas even, if they were there (which mostly they were not), never poetry or emotion, just the language of monuments. Maybe the time I memorized an entire Charlie Parker solo, and could sing it, Salt Peanuts, I think, and then the Roman numerals were just gone.

I will try to memorize the call numbers of the radio station we played unceasingly in the Roman apartment. Anne Murray, the Carpenters, Earth Wind and Fire, Boz Scaggs, Dire Straits, Christopher Cross, Diana Ross, Barry Manilow. Some DJ or algorithm aligning perfectly with my memory of of my first clock which was a clock radio. The first emanations, the shuffling click when tiny number plates flip down on their mechanism, a kind of whir, and then a flip. A small orange light illuminated it from the side. F——lip.

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April 6 2015

Easter day in Rome, I walked though intermittent thunder storms and greening Plane trees along the curving river. We didn’t wait to see the Pope, saw his smile in every kiosk and knick-knackery. Walking over that direction, throngs in pastel ponchos sold to them by the men who on sunny days sell selfie sticks. Only men sell them. Later, I turned on the Holy See website as I was searching for the text of the “Urbi et Orbi” (take-away: stay humble). There was a din of people in the square but the screen was dark. The live feed was on, recording with no lights on the people arcing in and then out through the basilica. Their hum as the sky cleared and wind picked up, you could hear that in the live feed.

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December 17 update

1. Wondering: Why is country music so popular in Norway?

2. Reading: Michelle Miller Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology — this is a great book which considers the relationship of new research in cognitive science and their implications for teaching good courses online.

3. Setting up: my first 100% online class: Gender, Race and the Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll, this winter at Portland State.

4. Still happy thinking about: seeing Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai receive the Nobel Peace Price at Oslo City Hall.

4. Reading: Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming.

5. Feeling lucky: I can go into classrooms without fear of violence.

6. Listening: Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, “I’m not a Juvenile Delinquent.”

7. Watching: short days and long nights.

8. Anticipating: my first trip to Africa.

9. Supporting: Know Your IX, a student activist movement working to stop sexual violence on college campuses.

10. Visiting: the northern most road in Europe.

11. Visiting: schools in Storsteinnes, Gamvik, Trysil, Hisøy, Harstad, and more, see a map here.

12. Viewing repeatedly: Feist singing “1,2,3,4” on Sesame Street. Very different from this amazing version, which I suppose is the “original.”

13. Thinking about: Choirs and their civic voice while reading “SINGing, SOCIALizing, SELForganizing: An insight into an engaged Viennese music collective” by Ana Hofman on the Society for Ethnomusicology blog.

14. Hearing: the pealing of bells. Here is Metallica on the same instrument.

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November 11, 2014 Update

Elsa Beskow, With a Nisse

1. Reading: “Civil Society and Educational Publics: Possibilities and Problems” by Kathleen Knight Abowitz, in Promises to Keep: Cultural Studies, Democratic Education and Public Life, eds. Dimitriadis and Carlson.

2. Reading: “Start Something Fierce: A Young Woman’s Guide to Grassroots Organizing, 2nd Edition”  published by the Girls Action Foundation, as part of their Indigenous Young Women: Speaking Our Truths, Building Our Strengths initiative.  Link to download here.

3. Reading: “Troubling Heroes: Of Rosa Parks, Multicultural Education, and Critical Pedagogy” by Dennis Carlson in Promises to Keep: Cultural Studies, Democratic Education and Public Life, eds. Dimitriadis and Carlson.

4. Listening: Anthology of American Folk Music, vol. 1, Ballads, Green Singing

5. Reading: I am Malala:  The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christian Lamb.

6. Very excited about:  Girls: Oregon, Action, Leadership, Service

7. Visiting schools in Ås, Kristiansund, Arendal, Meham, Nordkjosbotn and Harstad, see the map here.

8. Anticipating: a trip to the Polar Zoo.

9. Watching repeatedly: Laura Veirs’s “Froggy Went a Courting” video  (King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O.)

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October 10, 2014 update

October 10, 2014. Back to list form, for now.

Sea Glass, Alta

1. Reading: From the Dance Hall to Facebook: Teen Girls, Mass Media, and Moral Panic in the United States, 1905-2010 by Shayla Thiel-Stern.

2. Reading: “Global Women’s Issues: Women in the World Today” published by the State Department Bureau of International Information Programs.

3. Reading: “Women and Men in Norway” published by Statistics Norway.

4. Listening: “Mississippi Goddam” by Nina Simone many times over.

5. Corresponding: with independent study students, working on girls’ issues at the Center for Women’s Leadership at Portland State University.

6. Visiting: classrooms in Råde, Øystese, Halden, Oslo, Hamar (see my google map here)

7. Trying to ignore: breast cancer awareness month

8. Following: Feminist Approach to Technology (FAT) Facebook feed – a great org in New Delhi bringing diverse skills to girls and young women.

9. Considering: the life well-lived by my colleague, Rosyln Farrington.

10. Soliciting: people who work with girls who want to participate in a special writing project in connection with an forthcoming issue of the Journal of Popular Music Studies I am editing with Diane Pecknold – email me!

11. Anticipating: going to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December.

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August 17, 2014 Update

Hello from Norway,

More than thirty years ago, the Norwegian –U.S. Fulbright office, together with the education ministry here, decided to undertake something called the Roving Scholar program. Unique to Norway, the program supports the work of three American Studies teachers each year as they travel around the country, visiting high school classrooms and teacher training/continuing education classes. The program is free for teachers and students, and is one way that the Norwegian government supports English education and American studies.

I am fortunate enough to be one of those Rovers this year, and I will be working with students around Norway on topics near to my heart and mind – popular music and social change movements in the 20th century U.S.

I landed in Norway just over two weeks ago, and I am beginning to schedule my travels around the country, as school comes back into session. I hope that any ungdomsskole teacher reading this will be sure to find out more by clicking this link to my info page on the Fulbright site.

It is an amazing privilege to be a part of this program, and to have the time and space away from my regular teaching schedule at Portland State to read and reflect on teaching, American cultural imperialism, and the transformative possibilities of music in high school humanities education (among other things!)

I’ll try to keep this blog alive, but I will certainly make more regular updates to my Facebook and Instagram pages, so go ahead and follow me there if you’d like to know more!

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May 12, 2014 Update

Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow, 1912

1. (Featured) Good news

2. (Reading) Shelley Nickles. “More is Better: Mass Consumption, Gender, and Class Identity in Postwar America.” American Quarterly 54.4 (2002): 581-622.

3. (Listening) Beyoncé s/t

4. (Reading) Dan Butin, “There’s No App for Ending Racism: Theorizing the Civic in the Age of Disruption”

5. (Reading) Stephen Valocchi, Social Movements and Activism in the U.S.A.

6. (Reading and listening) Colloquial Norwegian

7. (Reading) Eileen Zurbriggen and Tomi-Ann Roberts The Sexualization of Girls and Girlhood: Causes, Consequences and Resistance.

8. (Reading) Rain City Rock Camp Ladies Rock Camp United We Band Tour Guide

9. (Reading) Elsa Beskow, Pelle’s New Suit

10. (Reading) Jillian Hernandez “‘Miss, You Look Like a Bratz Doll’: On Chonga Girls and Sexual-Aesthetic Excess” NWSA Journal 2009, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Fall).

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April 2, 2014 Update

The Poky Little Puppy, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, 1942

1. (Conversing with) Dodie Stevens, who had a hit in 1959 with the song “Pink Shoelaces”

2. (Listening) Laverne Baker “Jim Dandy to the Rescue”

3. (Reading) ‘Don We Now Our Gay Apparel’: Gay Men’s Dress in the Twentieth Century ed. Shaun Cole

4. (Reading) Gay New York by George Chauncey

5. (Reading) Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar

6. (Reading) What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture by Mark Anthony Neal

7. (Reading) Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy by Rinku Sen

8. (Studying) Colloquial Norwegian

9. (Writing) a paper for Console-ing Passions about  “Pink Shoelaces,” age, race and sexuality.

10. (Reading) Tracks by Louise Erdrich

11. (Enjoying more upon every read) The Poky Little Puppy, by Janette Sebring Lowrey.

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March 10, 2014 Update

Eloise Wilkin from "Birds", 1958

1. (Visiting) Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington Headquarters

2. (Reading) Reinventing Project-Based Learning by Suzie Boss

3. (Reading) The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America by Ruth Rosen

4. (Watching) The story of the Amen Break

5. (Reading) Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform School and Business in the 21st Century by Cathy N. Davidson

6. (Visiting) Various Portland Montessori schools

7. (Responding) 30th High School Reunion invitation

8. (Watching) 20 Feet from Stardom

9.(Watching) Bruce Springstein covering Lorde’s “Royals” in Aukland

10. (Reading) The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age by Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg

11. (Revisiting) bell hooks Teaching to Transgress

12. (Listening) Girl Pharrell Williams

13. (Reading) FAQs about what adjuncts do when there is a faculty strike at PSU.

14. (Managing) Poetry Out Loud, state competitions for the national poetry recitation contest  — open to all high school students in the state.

15. (Reading) Birds illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

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Feb 20, 2014 update

Umbrella by Taro Yashima, 1958.

1. Reading: Michelle Habell-Pallán “’Death to Racism and Punk Revisionism’: Alice Bag’s Vexing Voice and the Unspeakable Influence of the Canción Ranchera on Hollywood Punk” in Pop When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of Doubt, ed. Eric Weisbard.

2. Watching: YouTube video of Lucha Reyes, “Ay Jalisco No Te Rajes” (1941)

3. Watching: YouTube video of Yoko Ono covering “Fireworks” by Katy Perry

4. Listening: Pharrell Williams (pls. issue me a late pass)

5. (Re-) Reading: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

6. Reading: Article in the Atlantic from Oct 2013 by Amanda Ripley “How Sports Are Ruining High School: The Real Reason U.S Students are Falling Behind”

7. Also from the Atlantic, Oct. 2013, “High-School Sports Aren’t Killing Academics” (Research shows that schools with strong athletic programs have higher test scores and lower drop-out rates) by Daniel Bowen and Collin Hitt.

8. Reading: Article by Daphne Brooks “”The Write to Rock: Racial Mythologies, Feminist Theory and the Pleasures of Rock Music Criticism”

9. Watching: House of Cards

10. Reading: Midterm exams

11. Reading: Umbrella by Taro Yashima, 1958. Also see Crow Boy.

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