Monthly Archives: March 2023

Tech Tuesday A Day Late

I had this idea for different daily themes that would help me blog regularly. So, cliché as it might be, I was planning on “Tech Tuesday.” So, I logged in, brought up a new post ready to right about how much fun I have been having with my new digital planner, only to realize it’s Wednesday. A friend said you know you are really retired when you don’t know what day it is, and it doesn’t matter.

Anyway, I am doing “Tech Tuesday” a day late and, as I mentioned above, celebrating my new digital planner. Mine is from Only Planners, and it was an impulse buy related to a general desire to streamline my analog life using digital tools, with a focus on the iPad as my main device.

I have been using it since the beginning of March, experimenting with the various tools and templates to plan and track my life. I still use Google Calendar and other web-based tools for shared events and reminders, but the digital planner has mostly replaced my analog calendar and tracker. I started out using the text tool but have come to rely more on the Apple Pencil. My lettering has gotten better, and it feels more analogy to sit down with a pencil in hand. For now, I have stuck with their built in templates and particularly like being able to have multiple versions of the monthly calendar to track different parts of my life.

I might suggest that, if you are considering moving in this direction, do some research as now that I have purchased the planner, I am getting lots of ads for others.

What I haven’t given up are my morning pages: three pages of long hand writing. I tried it with one of the digital notebooks but didn’t like the “feel” of the pen and paper. I have seen ads for screen protectors that claim to mimic the feel of paper. I suppose I will need to figure this out as the downsizing continues. And then there’s the question of what to do with the 22 years of spiral bound notebooks I have. But I think that’s another blog post.

World Poetry Day

From UNESCO’s website:

UNESCO first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard. World Poetry Day is the occasion to honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media. As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.

World poetry day website

Two of my favorite poets are Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver. They share a reverence for nature that resonates with me.

Bill Moyers interviewed Berry in 2013.

Two of my favorite poems show his range of voice: “The Peace of Wild Things” and “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.”

Mary Oliver also connects nature and spirituality. Two favorites: Wild Geese and, since we are also celebrating the Spring Equinox, Spring.

Ron DeSantis Doesn’t Want You to Watch This

Invisible History: Middle Florida’s Hidden History, produced by the Florida State University film school, focuses on middle Florida, the cotton growing counties in the panhandle where slavery was an essential part of the economy. It is everything people like Governor DeSantis want to eradicate: stories of black people enslaved, often tortured, for the sake of profit, with all sorts of apologists ready to say why it was acceptable.

Watch this now before the Florida legislature labels it pornography and forces its removal. You may need to make a donation to your PBS station in order to access Passport where it is streaming.* Here is the preview. Many of the commentators are black professors at Florida universities, and I wondered if they had come under attack for participating in this documentary, which was made in 2021.

*You may find it via your public library via the Hoopla app.

The More Things Change

In 1979, I was the editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper, and I had the scoop of my young journalistic career. Through a source that may or may not have been my mother, a library aide at the elementary school, I found out that books were being quietly removed from the shelves when parents complained without following the division procedures that required a public review. The division library supervisor agreed to be interviewed and provided a strong quote about how much she abhorred this kind of censorship. Just a few days from publishing when she called us at home and asked to have the quote removed. I was angry and disappointed but ended up doing what she requested. The article still ran and may have led to change. But I learned a lesson about power and politics.

Now, power and politics are publicly flaunting censorship, using the law to ban books, emptying the shelves of books by authors from Mary Wollstonecraft to Ruby Bridges with a special focus on those that feature LGBTQ+ characters and issues. Burning books has always been a favorite of fascists and fanatics, fearing the freedom that comes from access to the world of knowledge. In this case, it continues the eradication campaign being carried out by those who are threatened by the mere existence of people with different lives and ideas.

When I taught middle school, I had an extensive and diverse classroom library that supported my reading workshops , and I wonder how many of those books would pass muster, especially when it seems that one complaint can lead to removals for everyone, even if the complainer does not have children in the schools and admits to not having read the whole book. Some of the families that aren’t usually included in the “family-friendly” policies are beginning to push back.

At least, in our web-based world, banning books is much more challenging as we can access virtual shelves. Wollstonecraft along with most of the banned classics can be found at Project Gutenberg. The Internet Archive includes books and lots of other media.* Brooklyn Public Library has been offering library cards for teens across the country to access their banned books. Public libraries offer extensive access to digital resources, providing a level of anonymity for people who may not want to go to the checkout desk at their local branch.

This is all very concerning, frightening really, as these fanatical conservatives seem to be holding lots of cards (read state legislatures and the Supreme Court) right now. This video from Clara via Fifty Shades of Whey is a horrifying summary of the past few months. With all the noise and news and silly stuff, it can be easy to lose the plot of what is happening. Watch and weep and then get started on the work.

*Including an extensive Grateful Dead archive, a band that was often “banned” including after an infamous concert at The College of William and Mary in 1978.