Posts

Showing posts from July, 2011

Evolution Sucks

Back when we were all Neanderthals, our diets consisted of a lot of caustic food. The lack of cooking meant that much of our food was damaging to our teeth. In fact, by the time Neanderthal was roughly 16 years old, his back molars would already be damaged and shrinking from his diet. If Neanderthal couldn't eat, Neanderthal would die, so evolution kicked in to make sure his broad jaw could continue to grind up that raw meat and all those nuts. Evolution thought: "If you're going to wear away those molars I gave you, I shall provide you with new ones!"

And bam. Third molars (also known as wisdom teeth) began to grow. Neanderthal was saved. Evolution rocked.

Fast forward thousands of years. Fire is discovered. People cook food. Our jaws shrink. Now, third molars are no longer necessary, as our back molars have ceased to rot out of our heads by the age of 16. People learn to make money off these "third molars" by calling themselves oral surgeons and ripping t…

The Lottery--A Must-See Documentary

Tonight I watched the documentary, The Lottery, which follows four young children who are attempting to navigate through the confusing labyrinth of the NYC educational lottery system. The children in question were trying to get into a public charter school in Harlem called Harlem Success Academy. I found myself simultaneously enraged and sympathetic to the message of the film.

I'll start with the rage-inducing factor--the founder and mouthpiece of the academy, Eva Moskowitz is (there is no other way to say this) a horrible, grating person. While I respect her desire to educate all children at higher levels and her refusal to accept that poor economic status and background will mean academic failure, I find her deplorable for her constant vilification of teachers and unions.Do not misunderstand me; I do sympathize with her struggle and frustration with poorly performing schools. I do, however, reject her notion that failing schools are the fault of the AFL, NEA, or the teachers who …

When Words Just Aren't Enough...

For the past two weeks, I've been trying to decide how to best write about the death of my uncle on July 1st. It was sudden--he went to the doctor for stomach pains, discovered he had tumors on his liver caused by untreated terminal colon cancer, and passed away less than a week later. He asked that there not be a funeral or a memorial service. He passed away about 12 hours before my husband and my planned visit to say goodbye. In lieu of services, there seems to be a lot left unsaid.

But for the first time in my life, words seemed to fail me. I am a reader and a writer, so this failure confounded me. Unable to say something eloquent, I said nothing.

This past week, my husband I took my nieces to Lake Nebagamon in Wisconsin with his family and very close family friends. For me, it seemed eerily reminiscent of the previous year at the lake, when we were all mourning the death of one of the members of the family with whom we share the week. But somehow, a quiet lake in Northern Wiscon…