Last month I had a few pieces at Big Think I really liked, so I've put together a list of links to them.

Enjoy.

A Glorious Waste Of Time 
We were in the middle of a conversation around the table at a restaurant when our first year art student made a comment about her classes. "You might be a better artist than you know," I said. "You’ve just got to put the time in. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something." She looked at me with the kind of skepticism only a teenager could muster, her eyes widening in disbelief.  Read More
 
Real Education Reform Begins With "No Parent Left Behind"
A Blueprint for Reform, The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the next big idea for the nation’s school systems that the Obama Administration wants Congress to implement, when you really think about it, is simply a mechanism to provide access to quality elementary and secondary educational opportunities in as many communities as possible. I applaud the president’s efforts to de-emphasize standardized testing. I commend his administration for realizing that the input from local school districts is more important than ever. But I think the bill we really need would be called "No Parent Left Behind."   Read More
 
Japanese Film Legend Kurosawa: Master Craftsman 
I’m writing a novel, titled Anamorphosis, that revolves around the challenges an African American auteur experiences when he agrees to direct a film because he needs the money. I’ve never made a movie myself, so I’ve had to rely on research and my imagination to generate the chapters I’ve accumulated so far. My protagonist, at one point in the story, is enamored of the time he spent in Japan, where he was forced to use the lack of space to his advantage as a director. The amazing thing about this scene I made up is, until this week, I’d never seen a movie by a Japanese director, but when I watched Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa, I could feel I’d been on the right track all the time.   Read More
 
My Favorite Cigar Store Closes Down Today
My favorite cigar shop is closing today. I got an email on Friday from the owner. "Closing down sale, cash only sale, all must go." I've lived through the demise of a business or two myself, so I am acutely aware of how hard it was for the owner to type those few terse words. It was the only cigar store in the area with a bar in it, attracting an eclectic clientele who often hung around to debate the issues of the day over a glass of beer or wine. In many ways, the closing of this small business is a grim, uniquely personal reminder of the fundamental weakness that continues to persist in our national economy.   Read More

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