Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library

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Coffee Talk {In the Cafe}

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}Hi, if you’re a regular reader you know that on Fridays I write a little post that I like to call “Things That Leave Me Scratchin’ My Head”. It’s all about the crazy stuff that  I’ve read on the web or heard about on TV during the week. After writing that post for a year, I’ve learned one thing: there is a never ending stream of bizarre among the human race. And I love us for that.

With the new year I’ve decided to do a little revamping of these posts. The only things I’ve changed are the title and the picture. I like to think of these posts as if they’re conversations you and I would have over coffee. So I hope you’ll continue to join me each Friday for a cuppa and some head scratchin’…

1. Rape isn’t funny. And those who commit it, regardless of their age or athletic ability should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This past week a young lady who was gang raped in India died from her injuries. In Ohio an underaged girl was raped by members of a football team who videotaped the incident and then texted and tweeted about the incident. Reportedly members of the football boosters and others in the town helped to cover up the incident to protect the reputations of the football players. This is why Penn State happened. Stop giving athletes carte blanche to be jerks. Social media activists, the victims parents, and Anonymous are collecting information to help prosecute the rapists. I applaud them and the others who’re helping to bring this young lady’s rapists to justice.

2. I didn’t watch CNN’s New Year’s Eve show. I never watch it. And I’m glad I didn’t as it seems the big drop was Kathy Griffin falling to her knees and kissing Anderson Cooper’s crotch. Seriously. I don’t know who keeps telling her that she’s funny, she’s not. I don’t know who keeps telling her that she’s edgy, she’s not. I don’t know who keeps putting her on television, stop! This is one of  the reasons teens don’t appreciate the intimacy of sex.

3. When I was a kid I suffered from the ugly trifecta: thick glasses, braces, and freckles. I remember when I was about 15 years old a guy actually said to me “Someday you’re going to be irresistible.” I wanted to throat punch him. After nearly 5 years in braces and promises of all sorts of good things, my parents bought me contact lenses and I came into my own. But those braces were hard. And they hurt. That’s why I find it so mind boggling that there are people who’re wearing fake braces. Apparently, fake braces are all the rage in Asia and kids are dying from them. Black market braces I can’t believe I just typed that cost about $100 and can contain lead. Some teens are even putting them on themselves and then choking on the pieces when they come lose and slide down their throats. Hey, teens, you know what’s really cool and fashionable? Sending me your $100!

4. Another college student has nearly died because of hazing. deep sigh How many stories are we going to read like this before students get it through their heads that being whipped with a paddle, drinking as much alcohol as quickly as possible, or any of the other stupid stuff they do is not the way to acceptance? Of course, the parents are planning to sue the school because they didn’t watch their kid close enough; but my question is, Mom and Dad, what’re you planning to do to your kid? When are parents going to make their kids take a little responsibility for the dumb things they do? Theoretically, your kid is an adult meaning they’re supposed to be making smart decisions, and on some level they have to know that hurting themselves to join a sorority or a fraternity is ridiculous.

So what had you scratchin’ your head this week?

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Imagine a World With None of That

Hands on Globe

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Have you ever been inside so long that you’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin?  To hear the sound of birds singing?  To smell the dirty comforting scent of grass?  Well, that’s how I was last week during my switch from evening shift to day shift.

While sitting at the picnic table and drinking my coffee, I heard a plane fly over head and I instinctively looked up.  I watched as the plane flew out of sight and as it disappeared, I noticed that I had been just a wee bit tense.  I also noticed that a group of students had also stopped to watch the plane but they almost immediately went back to their previous activities ~ playing frisbee, eating, smoking cigarettes, being young co~ed students.

When I went back into the library, I told my co~worker about what had happened and she said she still looks up when she hears a plane too and part of her tenses up also…  As we continued talking, it dawned on me that the students who were outside playing don’t have the same frame of reference that my co~worker and I have.  They were little kids ten years ago, they’ve always lived with the threat of terrorism (I did too when I lived in Italy but it was different when we returned to the States)…

Tonight at my daughter’s choir concert, the director introduced the last song of the evening, Imagine by John Lennon, when he mentioned the phrase “frame of reference.”  When we hear Imagine, we think about the Vietnam War, the turbulence of the 60s and 70s and the idealism of youth. Even those of us who are not quite old enough to have experienced that turbulence directly.  This, the choral director stated is not what the kids of today “imagine” when they hear that song.  In order to put the song into perspective, he asked the kids to tell him what they imagine when they hear the song.  For those of you who think music and the arts are not an important component in education, I wish you had seen the video these kids put together ~ it encompassed history, social justice, politics, all the things that we want our children to learn and experience. One of the students stepped forward and said when they heard the song, they saw the hurt in Haiti, the death in Japan, the uprisings in the Middle East, the pain of bullying and they “imagine a world with none of that”.

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