Notes from the Now

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

#10Readings – May 15, 2016

In Art, Books, Chicago, Education, Events, Film, History, literature, music, news, University of Chicago on May 15, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Things I have Written

  1. Amplify Arts Conference | Voices UChicago
  2. 4 Events from 3rd Week | Voices UChicago

Books Recently Read (& Recommended)

3. The Big Short by Michael Lewis | The Financial System.  Run by honest geniuses.  Best of The Best.

4. Death from the Skies by Philip Plaitt | Clear Science Writing.  Lot of things to (not) worry about.

Found on the Internet

5. How Illinois Pays For Public Schools, $9,794 Vs. $28,639 | WBEZ |  unconscionable.

6. 2016: Age Of The On-Screen Black Superhero | Two years before #BlackPanther

7. Heads Up: More F-Bombs Being Dropped in Public, New Research Shows | It’s not just me.

8. ‘Normal America’ Is Not A Small Town Of White People | Demographics are changing, even if perceptions lag behind.

9. Columbia is first U.S. university to divest from prisons | Divestment movements remain a viable method to advance moral arguments

10. Oral history: Prince’s life, as told by the people who knew him best | One of many good stories about Prince published after his passing



#10Readings – April 16, 2016

In Books, Chicago, Education, History, literature on April 16, 2016 at 8:16 pm

Things I have Written:

  1. Notes on 3rd Week | Voices UChicago

Books I have read recently (and can recommend):

2. Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith |  Katrina.

3. A People’s History of Sports in the United States |  Sports, Politics, Activism

4. Notorious RBG:  The life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg |  Biography

Internet Readings I recommend:

5.  Evicted by Matthew Desmond – what if the problem of poverty is that it’s profitable to other people?  |   How much of the discussions around poverty are really about inequality and those that profit on the poor?

6. The Invention of the Slurpee

7. Chance The Rapper’s ‘Angels’ Video Shows Chicago’s Splendor

8. New Orleans Begins Freeing Inmates Who Can’t Afford Lawyers

9. Georgia paddling video sparks corporal punishment discussion

10.  Question, Unanswered: Allen Iverson and the NBA’s Culture War

#10Readings – April 3, 2016

In Africa, Art, Books, Chicago, Education, History, literature, news on April 3, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Things I have Written

1. Not A Diarist – March 31, 2016. #marooned

Books I have read recently

2.  March: Book 2 by  John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

Things Read on the internet

3. Can $86 Million Save a Neighborhood? | On the Comer Foundation, Pocket-Town, and Chicago

4. Liberia outsources entire education system to a private American firm. Why all should pay attention |  On outsourcing a national education system

5. The changing rules of segregation in Chicago: or, a Chinatown grows in Bronzeville | On the mechanics of segregation, population shift, and change in Chicago

6.  College endowments under scrutiny | What requirements should there be for tax-exempt institutions with significant (>$1B) endowments?

7. The Journalist and the Troll: This Man Spent Two Years Trying to Destroy Me Online  | What a horror-show the Internet can be.

8.  Death by gentrification: the killing that shamed San Francisco | Rebecca Solnit

9.  The Republican Party Must Answer for What It Did to Kansas and Louisiana  | When do experiments get termed failures?

10.   McSweeney’s List: The Basic Types of Literary Conflict.  | Pants vs. Everything.




10Readings – Jan 11- Feb 7 #recommended

In Art, Books, Education, History, literature, news, photography, Social Media, sociology, Technology on February 7, 2016 at 11:55 pm


Humans of New York

When My Brother was an Aztec

Bad Feminist

Lobster is the Best Medicine


One-Touch to Inbox Zero — Forte Labs — Medium

The real reasons behind the U.S. teacher shortage

Read This Before Co-Opting MLK Jr.

Ella Taught Me: Shattering the Myth of the Leaderless Movement

What School Segregation Looks Like

Twitter’s Brainstorming Notes for Potential New Features.


#10Readings – Jan 10

In Books, Chicago, Education, History, literature, news on January 11, 2016 at 2:00 am

#10READINGS – JAN 1-10

Books/Graphic Novels

Salman Khan “One World Schoolhouse – Such an optimistic tome.  Many (many) questions/comments/concerns, but worth reading for the optimism and the possibilities.

Joe Kelly “I Kill Giants – In my opinion, an emotionally beautiful graphic novel.

Claudia Rankine “Citizen: An American Lyric –  Powerful.  Timely. Deserving of all the accolades and more.

Jonathan Hickman “The Nightly News –  Complex. Disturbing.  Visually stunning.

Web Read the rest of this entry »

“Junot Diaz @UChicago, Oct 2015”

In Art, Books, Events, literature, photography, University of Chicago on October 20, 2015 at 9:17 pm

via Instagram

“Waiting for Ishiguro”

In Art, Books, Education, Events, literature, photography, University of Chicago on March 25, 2015 at 7:40 pm

via Instagram

Unsolicited Recommendations – January 2015

In Books, Chicago, Education, Events, Film, literature, music, Technology, University of Chicago on February 8, 2015 at 9:30 am


App –  Microsoft’s Outlook App for the iPhone is great (so far) for those of us who have to use exchange for our work-lives.  I get that it’s a rebrand of some technology that Microsoft bought, but from my point of view I’m less concerned about the app’s origin and mostly concerned w/ functionality.

Book – I didn’t read much in January, but I did enjoy* (with the caveat that “enjoy” is constrained to the genre, and the rules of the genre, thus a business book is always just an insight or two wrapped in a litany of stories that are an odd mix of poor decisions or common sense) Scaling Excellence:  Getting to more without settling for less.

Graphic Novel – Rob Rodi’s “Thor & Loki:  Blood Brothers” was a fun read.

Album –  I’m of the (advanced) age where “Sukierae” by Tweedy sounds good to me.

Documentary –  Two documentaries from Netflix that I enjoyed in January were: “Something Ventured” on American Venture Capitalism and the 3-D printing documentary “Print the Legend

Film –  Selma!  Powerful.

Articles – I don’t (yet) have a good method of tracking the best articles I’ve read online, but from memory, I enjoyed:  Next City’s profile of Derek Douglas (who happens to be my boss at UChicago), everything about this Humans of New York profiling a school in Brooklyn story,  and John Lewis’s take on Selma and its attendant controversies.

TV – PBS’s “Shakespeare Uncovered” is good.  The King Lear episode might make you rethink how original “Empire” is.   Also,  Star Wars: Rebels manages to channel the spirit of Star Wars in an enjoyable way.

Events/Speakers – You should try to see Cornel West in person.  He’s very present in his surroundings and engaged with his audience.  Also, if there are more events surrounding the School Project in Chicago, you should go.  Passionately committed people trying to figure out how to make education work in chicago (particularly after the school closings).

“Cornel West @ UChicago RMC (Feb 2015)”

In Books, Education, Events, History, photography, sociology, University of Chicago on February 2, 2015 at 7:11 am

via Instagram

Recollections: Eleanor Roosevelt – A World Made New

In Books, History, literature on October 5, 2014 at 10:05 pm

I’m almost at the end of the “Roosevelt’s An Intimate History” on the DVR.  I can’t claim to have particularly studied the Roosevelts – beyond the landmarks of American History that they are responsible for –  so I’m not viewing this as a critic, but rather a someone who’s learning some of the text, and most of the context & subtext for the first time.

I didn’t realize that FDR’s paralytic illness began when he was at the age of 39.  I didn’t exactly realize how TR, FDR and Eleanor were all related.  I didn’t realize just how much of a liberal trailblazer Eleanor Roosevelt was, particularly on issues of civil rights.

I did however read “A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in 2004, on a trip to New York City not long after I had decided against going to graduate school for human rights studies.  I’d like to reread the book now that I have more context on Eleanor, but even without a deep level of context it’s a book I’d recommend without fail.  It succeeded in being a story about the evolution of the document itself – with surprisingly detailed accounts of the arguments around specific sections of the text – and more predictably about the characters central to its formation.

I tend to be in the camp that believes that we need to establish broad common understandings before we can realistically attempt to enforce anything specific.    Without common first principles,  even just actions can reek of opportunism.  In the UN UDHR, we see one of the great successes at setting those first principles for the broadest range of humanity and we have to celebrate the individuals who championed it.