Bonnie Raitt with her own special stew of grown woman funky, bluesy pop.
Fever turns to cold, cold sweat,
Thinkin’ about things we ain’t done yet;
Tell me now, I gotta know, do you feel the same?
Do you just light up at the mention of my name?
A metaphor for human alienation and connection, as well as Andy Summers’ favorite guitar riff from his days with The Police and the band’s first #1 hit in the UK.
“Message In A Bottle” gives love its due (“Love can mend your life, but love can break your heart“) but, unlike Paul’s famous conclusion in his first letter to the Corinthians, Sting makes a case for the essential, foundational, rock-bottom importance of hope:
But I should have known this right from the start,
Only hope can keep me together.
Well, Taylor Mali’s What Teachers Make: In Praise Of The Greatest Job In The World is good…but not as good as the poem. (Yes, go watch the performance; it’s worth it. I’ll wait here.)
Back already? Well, now you know why I say that this book not being as good as that poem is not an insult*. In fact, the book is excellent—a tightly packed, engaging, and powerful argument in defense of teachers and the work they do.
Mali speaks from experience. He spent nine years as a classroom teacher in a variety of settings and several of his best poems draw from that experience. Some, like I’ll Fight You For The Library: A Poem In Four Letters and Tony Steinberg: Brave Seventh-Grade Viking Warrior, are included in the book and enriched by the background details Mali provides here.
What Teachers Make is a book teachers can give themselves as a present. More importantly, it’s a book people who care about teachers can give to teachers as a present. And more importantly than that, it’s a book people who care about teaching and learning should read for themselves.
After all, those who don’t respect teachers and their work enter into the public arena these days fully armed with their own set of attacks on the profession. You’d be a fool to do battle with them without having your own weapons at hand.
*And if you don’t know, that means you didn’t watch the poem. Really, go watch it. Now.
There’s been a lot written and talked about regarding terrorism and violence in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings last year. Here are a couple of under-discussed perspectives:
- That violent injuries and deaths suffered by (mostly) white victims in affluent neighborhoods get a lot more attention than the 237 shootings that have occurred during the past year in Boston;
- That white supremacists, mostly acting alone or in small groups, are responsible for more terrorist acts and violent deaths in recent years than many of us had thought.
Boston Globe columnist Kevin Paul Dupont is a hockey guy but—like many sports journalists—he long ago figured out that racism is at best a combination of “profound ignorance and hate“. (Covering an industry in which individual performance standards are visible to the naked eye tends to have that effect.)
The occasion for Dupont’s latest column is the racist blowback to Hank Aaron’s recent comments that “we are not far removed from when I was chasing [Ruth’s] record. If you think that, you are fooling yourself…. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
As Dupont comments, “What a delightful cocktail of wisdom, impatience, and anger. Career home run No. 756 for Hammerin’ Hank, a sheer delight to hear someone rip into the truth as if wheeling the wood into a 3-and-0 fastball.” Read more…
Michael Card’s “The Basin And The Towel” isn’t an Easter Sunday song; it’s a Holy Thursday song.
But it’s a quietly powerful Holy Thursday song that’s meant for the other 364 days of the year, too.
And the call is to community,
The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow,
that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.
(And, as occasionally happens on this little blog, we still don’t know each other well enough for me to tell you why this song means so much to everyone here at MassCommons World Headquarters. But trust me, it does.)