Sunday Slowdown: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

I don’t know about you, but I just looked up and the winter holiday season seems to bearing down on us in a big way. Getting ready for Thanksgiving and everything that follows is a signal that the school year is approaching its mid-point. I can remember getting to this time of the year growing up in Bloomsburg and feeling that sense of hope, a hope that school was turning a corner. I had some amazingly interesting and creative experiences at BHS, but there were too many times I hoped the year would come to a close.

With that said, I wanted to share with you a talk from the always inspiring TED series by Sir Ken Robinson. I hope you enjoy this as much I have and take inspiration from the embedded message. It is a moving and funny plea for us to rethink the very foundation of our educational system — that our schools should be embracing and promoting creativity and creative thought. Sir Ken’s argument is that many of our school experiences work to undermine the very nature of creative thought that are the the underpinnings of our growing knowledge-based economy. As an educator, I am always striving to engage students in new ways to push them to arrive at creative solutions to novel challenges. What Sir Ken asks us to do is to recognize that schools should be a place that fosters joy and engagement each and everyday.

Everyone (including us) moves pretty quickly during the week. On Sundays, it’s nice to take a little breather. The Sunday Slowdown column will feature links, stories, articles, videos, or other interesting things that our writers find during the week. We will all contribute and try to share things that we find interesting, thought-provoking, and sometimes even a bit silly. But remember: this is community journalism, so if you find interesting things to share, make your voice heard and share with us at info@thebloomsburgdaily.com.

Sunday Slowdown: How Many of These Things Do You Say?

Bloomsburg FountainI’ve seen this video crop up a few times and while I find it amusing, I wonder just how accurate it is for all of NEPA. For example, I know the waitress at the Texas always used to ask “Are youse together,” but I don’t ever recall hearing anyone around our parts saying “Heyna.” Instead they would use “Hain’t” or, my Grandmother sometimes even says “Henna or no.”

So sit back, put your feet up on da davenport, make sure youse got fresh batt-trees in da remote control, pop open a couple two tree yuenglings, and enjoy enjoy!

Sunday Slowdown: The New York Harbor Boatlift

NYC ViewOn September 1st, 2001, I moved in to a beautiful brownstone in the Hamilton Park section of Jersey City, NJ. The landlords were a couple who lived on the bottom two floors. My partner and I lived on the top two floors. We, like most people in our neighborhood, were daily commuters into New York City on a subway system called the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) line.

On Tuesday, September 11th, I had the rare opportunity to sleep in and work from home for a few hours. Everyone else in the house left for the city at their usual rush-hour time.

Having just moved to our new place, we were still unpacking and still waiting for the phone, cable, and internet to be hooked up. Sometimes, Ignorance can truly be bliss:

Even though I was only a mile – literally just across the river – from the World Trade Center and could see the towers from the end of my block, I didn’t know what happened until it was already over.

One of my former landlords (and still great friend) from that beautiful brownstone sent me this link earlier in the week and it brought me right back to that day, sitting on the front stoop, waiting for someone – anyone – to come home. The tunnels were closed to non-emergency vehicles, the subways collapsed and flooded (it would be two years until the PATH service was fully restored). But all three of the other occupants of 216 8th Street made it back home that afternoon. Two of them were boatlifted from the 38th Street pier by a Waterways ferry and the third was boatlifted from Pier 11 down by Wall Street by a tug boat.

I wanted to share this video because, like the boat captains who had to do something to help when they saw people in need that day, we all have that instinct in us to reach out and rise to the occasion. And we’ve proven that this September, ten years after that fateful day.

– Jen Ralston

BOATLIFT – An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience

Sunday Slowdown: On Women, Beer, and Brewing

Everyone (including us) moves pretty quickly during the week. On Sundays, it’s nice to take a little breather. The Sunday Slowdown column will feature links, stories, articles, videos, or other interesting things that our writers find during the week. We will all contribute and try to share things that we find interesting, thought-provoking, and sometimes even a bit silly. But remember: this is community journalism, so if you find interesting things to share, make your voice heard and share with us at info@thebloomsburgdaily.com.

If you take a drive around the area, it is quite easy to see that brew pubs are the places to be. We now have the Berwick Brewing Company, Marley’s Brewery, Old Forge Brewing Company, and Turkey Hill Brewing Company where interesting, locally-crafted beers are made and enjoyed on site (or taken home in growlers to be enjoyed later).  The trend seems to have been born from an increase in home brewers who pursued the craft as hobby and then realized there was a market for more complex beers.

Why has it happened in the last ten to twenty years especially? Homebrewing was illegal in the United States until 1978, when President Carter signed a bill that repealed prohibition-era, federal restrictions on making small batches of beer and wine. So hobbyists turned into professionals and beer drinkers who were fed up with insipid, watery “macrobrews,” were happy to become customers.

Up to this point, the vision you are probably crafting in your brain is one of hulky men lugging sacks of grain, brewing beer in their basements, and then consuming it with other men.  But women actually play a large role in both the history and consumption of beer.  A recent article in Slate, “The Hops Ceiling,” talks about the role women have played in beer making, as well as the challenges they face attempting to break into the industry that they essentially created.

Four-thousand-year-old Mesopotamian clay tablets describe the brewing process in a hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer. From ancient Sumeria through medieval Europe, women ruled the kettles. Beer can be described as liquid bread, so there was nothing unusual about women using their baking ingredients to brew in home kitchens. It wasn’t until entrepreneurial women began to sell their beer that men really moved in, restricting the creation and sale of beer to powerful male-only guilds.

As someone who both cooks and enjoys beer, I find it interesting that so many responsibilities, when considered only “domestic,” are relegated to women.  And once those responsibilities have commercial potential, they become male-dominated. The professional chef versus the home cook is the perfect example; cooking is the job of most women at home, but women have an extremely hard time breaking into the chef role in restaurant kitchens.  Brewing beer is apparently no different.  We come to find out that women not only like to drink beer, they like to brew it too.

Photo by Daquella manera