Tag Archives: Education

Philosophy for the Uninitiated

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...
Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to TinyJB, missjunebug recently checked out the website/podcast The Partially Examined Life at partiallyexaminedlife.com. What a fun bunch of smarty pants guys. Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan are equal parts irreverent, serious, hilarious, analytical, erudite, and absolutely entertaining.

Plus they have great voices. This matters in a podcast! Especially one you plan to listen to on a regular basis.

Readings are recommended with each philosopher (partially) examined, but take it from missjunebug, they are not essential to deriving some useful information that just might improve your understanding of life, meaning, and the monad. (Okay, for that last one you’ll just have to listen to the podcast on Liebniz.)

Here’s what the winsome foursome have to say for themselves on their website:

The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don’t have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we’re talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. 

(missjunebug loves her some writers who know how to use the parenthetical word or two)

In homage to the philosopher who inspires the name of their blog, the boys begin with Plato’s Apology where Socrates makes as strong case for self-examination as Mark Zuckerberg does for selfies on Facebook. If you are a seeker, a questioner, or a wonderer, check out one of the many podcast episodes on partiallyexaminedlife.com. There are over one hundred to choose from or you can do what missjunebug is doing and begin at the beginning with Plato and his man Socrates.

Perhaps, you will come to agree with Plato that “Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.”

The Assets: An Altogether Admirable Airing on Netflix

Seal of the C.I.A. - Central Intelligence Agen...
Seal of the C.I.A. – Central Intelligence Agency of the United States Government (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back in January The Assets turned out not to be an asset to ABC.

ABC has pulled the plug on troubled eight-hour mini-series The Assets after two very low airings. It will be replaced by Shark Tank repeats in the Thursday 10 PM hour for the next three weeks. The Assets started off with a dismal 0.7 rating for its premiere last Thursday and managed to fall even lower last night, to a 0.6, which qualifies as the lowest rating for an hourlong original on the Big 4 networks this season and likely ever. In its defense, The Assets does not hail from ABC’s entertainment division but from ABC News as it is based on real events. The Cold War spy drama doesn’t have stars in it and didn’t get any marketing. There is no plan yet for the six unaired apisodes

via ABC’s Pulls ‘The Assets’ After Two Airings | Deadline.

Netflix that streaming/buffering digital island of misfit media toys provided a leeward refuge for The Assets. The C.I.A. agents got to come in from the cold, harsh ratings war and find a new audience, a more appreciative audience like missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB. Having been bitten by the spy game bug at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum not too long ago where nifty spy gear and spy craft were beautifully curated, mjb and the mister cannot get enough of the spy game film genre.

Despite The Assets not catching on with an audience on network television, it’s worth catching on Netflix. So what if there are no big stars. So what if the marketing was non-existent. So what if Shark Tank co-opted its time slot. None of that will matter when you immerse yourself in the long game of spy vs. spy and the relentless efforts of two earnest C.I.A. operatives to catch a mole in their ranks.

The best part is that it’s a true story based on the book Circle of Treason written by Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille, the two C.I.A. agents involved in the painstaking pursuit of one of their own, a very bad, very treasony, very greedy agent who finally gets a very satisfying comeuppance.

mjbTip: Skip the sharks!

 

Yo: A Revolutionary Devolutionary App!

missjunebug loves the way the new app Yo keeps it simple.  She’s particularly fond of it because her ElderJB has used this abbreviated greeting for years, unless, of course, he’s super enthusiastic and then he says: Yo Yo.

Yes, that’s right: there is an app for that. An app that sends a greeting/affirmation/confirmation/dispensation/rectification/notification in two simple letters: Yo. Tired of texting and getting misunderstood because of aggressive autocorrection? Try Yo. Need to let someone know they need to contact you or assist you? Try Yo. Want to keep in touch with a significant other and just let them know you are thinking of them with a two-letter shout out? You gotta go for Yo.

English: Pedro Flores Yo-yo Circ. 1928-1929
English: Pedro Flores Yo-yo Circ. 1928-1929 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, missjunebug is not making this app up! Its creation was commissioned by Moshe Hogeg who grew weary of texting laboriously to his assistant, for…well…assistance. Mr. Hogeg is the CEO of Mobli, a photo and video sharing service who contacted Or Arbel, a former techie employee at Mobli to figure out how to solve Hogeg’s problem. Arbel came up with Yo, the app that allows users to say Yo to their contacts and like ElderJB, if they are really enthusiastic they can double tap the contact and send out a Yo Yo.

Can missjunebug hear a What What?

Before you scoff her off, be warned that Yo (It’s That Simple) has been financed to the tune of a cool million bucks and an equal amount of priceless buzz. Some of that buzz comes from Mr. Hogeg who sees a whole new way to do lightweight, unobtrusive communications with those people we are in close contact with that are, yes, in our contacts!

missjunebug wonders how soon Mark Z. will scoop up this laconic app with the two-letter one-word lexicon. P.D.Q. she suspects.

missjunebug also wonders about all the ways Yo can communicate some useful messages when Mr. Hogeg’s team finesses this app. Yo: Notify a missjunebug reader that there’s a new post to read? Maybe. Yo: Let a soccer fan track World Cup goals scored? Why not?

Keep your sweetie from feeling neglected? Yo. Yo.

It’s all about the Yo.

SPY Time!

missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB had a fine time at the Ronald Reagan Library & Museum last Sunday checking out the soon-to-be-closing exhibit SPY: The Secret World of Espionage. She urges immediate compliance with her order that you make sure you see it if you are anywhere near Simi Valley!

Minox
Minox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clandestine craft will be revealed! According to the RRL&M website the exhibit is “unprecedented.” Check out the umbrella with the poison tip! The mini document cameras! The ice pick used to assassinate Leon Trotsky! What? Yeah, it’s there! The OTPs (One Time Pad) that were used to create virtually uncrackable codes! Too cool for school, but perfect for spies! The secret compartments in shoes! Lipstick cases! Matchboxes! Those spies were super tricky! There are nearly 300 documents and spy gadgets from the CIA, the KGB, the FBI, and the National Reconnaissance Office that will amaze you. But that’s not all! There are some super spy interactive displays that are just plain fun. Run through a laser maze! Disguise your voice! Learn secret writing!

The exhibit even has a video of a Russian dead drop that took place in 2010!!! The Cold War may be over but Spy vs. Spy still continues! However, the exhibit does not. It wraps up on March 9, 2014, so do not miss it!

Then after all that spy fun, go have a beer at the Ronald Reagan Pub right underneath the awesome Air Force One. The beer is chill: the view, sublime. Cheers!

If you choose to accept this mission set your coordinates for 40 Presidential Drive Simi Valley, CA. 93065 and complete it by March 9.

mjbTip: missjunebug is now ready to watch the Second Season of The Americans where Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play (practically) heartless KGB agents living among us doing Moscow’s relentless dirty work! missjunebug has it on good authority that even Vladimir P. tunes in to this show! Maybe you should check it out!

But first take a look at the photos missjunebug took with her tiny  I-spy-phone5 camera:

Tiny but effective. Photo by mjb2014
Customizable Matchbox Camera. Cool EK! Photo by mjb2014
Holy Moly! It's the real deal. (But not the skull: replica) Photo by mjb2014
Holy Moly! It’s the real deal. (But not the skull: replica) Photo by mjb2014
Nyet, Comrade!! Photo by mjb2014
Nyet spaseeba, Comrade!! Photo by mjb2014
On the West Side: Flower Power for Real. Photo by mjb2014
On the West Side of the Berlin Wall: Flower Power for Real. Photo by mjb2014

 

On the East Side: An enforced blank slate.  Photo by mjb2014
On the East Side: An enforced blank slate. Photo by mjb2014
Perfect R&R locale. Photo by mjb2014
Perfect R&R locale. Get it? R&R! Photo by mjb2014

 

Pub with a View Photo by mjb2014
Pub with a View. Hey, MrJB, get your hand out of the pic! Photo by mjb2014
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missjunebug turns a New Page: Wisdom Words

The Canongate Wall façade of the parliamentary...
The Canongate Wall façade of the parliamentary complex has quotations inscribed onto pieces of rock. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

so missjunebug thought it would be fun and inspiring to begin a new page on her little blog:

Wisdom Words

Click on the tab above, right next to “About missjunebug.”

This page will (periodically) highlight some smarty-pants wisdom she’s come across and stickied to her Macbook Pro Dashboard. She has so many Wisdom Words stickies stacked up on top of each other than she can barely read all the daily weather reports she tracks for her hometown, Elder JB’s (Kigali, Rwanda), Tiny JB’s (Lafayette, IN), JBbro&JBsis-in-law’s (Dallas, TX), Mr.JB’s erstwhile hometown (Chicago, IL), and a few of missjunebug’s aspire-to-visit-again cities including Paris, New York, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas (to see a friend, not to gamble!)

missjunebug thought her readers would appreciate the Wisdom Words much more than the daily temperatures and weather conditions around the country. And it will go a long way toward cleaning up her cluttered dashboard.

ElderJB and TinyJB and sometimes even trusty Mr.JB have been the past recipients of mjb’s Wisdom Words in a slew of emails. She thinks they could probably use a break from the onslaught of edification: she’s decided to edify elsewhere. That’s where missjunebug’s readers come in.

Just click on Wisdom Words for the first one and the (periodically) succeeding entries!

And maybe, just maybe, she and her beloved readers will grow a little bit wiser (periodically)!

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Reading: Its Own Reward

Book of the Decade! Photo by mjb2014
Book of the Decade! Photo by mjb2014

“When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.”
Virginia Woolf

missjunebug is way behind her time in writing a new blog post! She has been very, very busy reading and rereading some wonderful books. Here’s her current shortlist for fab reads:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is a stunning narrative that follows a young Theo Decker through loss, grief, and ultimately redemption. What. a. book.

The Dinner by Herman Koch is a darker, more satiric view of a couple of young, overprivileged youths run amuck and their sociopathic parental units. Disturbing x 10 but worth your time.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach has everything a good book should have: great, relatable characters, strong dialogue, literary leitmotifs à la Herman Melville, and some great moral take-aways. Even if you can’t stand baseball, you will enjoy this novel. Chad’s hit a first-time-up-to-the-plate home run!

The Tenth of December by George Saunders is a short story collection that is long on substance and searing satire. G.S. is the king of voice creation with each story having a compelling and distinctive style. missjunebug’s fave? Has to be “Semplica-Girl Diaries.”

Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith is a crime story with a difference: It’s really written by J.K. Rowling. And it’s really good. missjunebug is a big fan of Detective Cormoran Strike. With a name like that, how can he not be awesome! Note to J.K.R.: Sequel, please!

Now missjunebug is moving on to The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame. Should be good!

mjbTip: If you find yourself not finding time to read, join a book club. It’s the best way missjunebug can think of to keep motivated to keep reading and sharing. And believe her when she says, “Sharing is the best part!”

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Short Post: Worth Reading

Out fo a nice Kayak Morning...
Out fo a nice Kayak Morning… (Photo credit: BenSpark)

 

missjunebug has been doing some interesting reading lately. She came across a quotation in Roger Rosenblatt‘s  book of personal meditation entitled Kayak Morning reflections on love, grief, and smallboats that is not only worth sharing, it is worth living by. Read it and believe. Then act on it!

 

Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden.

 

Attributed to Philo

 

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Four-Hour Body: Easiest Eating Plan Ever!

So it’s that time of year when missjunebug and her Trusty Mr.JB begin to think about improving their health, slimming down a bit, and getting fit! The January resolutions didn’t quite pan out and the pre-Easter makeover didn’t quite make it, so now summer looms in the June gloom and they are both ready to turn over a new (stevia-sweetened) leaf.

As mentioned in an earlier post, missjunebug and her fab fam have been reading the Tim Ferriss books all of which riff on the number four: Four-Hour Work Week, Four-Hour Body, Four-Hour Chef. They are fun x 4 to read and they guarantee full body, brain, and brawn overhaul with minimum expenditure of effort and maximum pay off. Tim even encourages his readers to learn a foreign language along the way to their “new you” status! missjunebug is pretty sure with Tim Ferriss as a guide, anything is possible!

Which brings missjunebug back to the Easiest Eating Plan Ever: Four-Hour Body. Five Simple Rules. These are reproduced straight from missjunebug’s copy of Tim’s awesome book Four-Hour Body. Some of these succinct rules will sound very, very familiar to you as they appear on most sensible eating plans these days. Others not so much.

English: A closeup look at Burke, the latest p...
English: A closeup look at Burke, the latest pinto bean from ARS and university plant scientists. It resists a host of harmful fungi and viruses that can otherwise cheat growers of a bountiful harvest. Photo by Scott Bauer.http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains.

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you are just picking new default meals.

Rule #3 Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night are allowed.

Rule #4 Don’t eat fruit. Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.

Rule #5 Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday.

What could be simpler? missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB have had no trouble staying on this plan because it is so super simple: protein, bean, green. That’s pretty much it!! Oh and did she mention how super boring it is! Life without carbohydrates is drab indeed, but when Sunday rolls around–their “go nuts” day, life is good indeed!

Today, for instance, missjunebug and Mr.JB had a marvy brekkie at Pete’s Breakfast House in Ventura–(search for mjb’s review of this great eatery!) Waffles! Syrup! Milk! (and a strip of bacon or two and an egg or two for good protein measure.) Let the carbohydrates roll!! Of course, they can only roll until tomorrow when it’s back to six days of protein, bean, green! missjunebug suspects there is a modicum of discipline required in staying on this plan, but honestly she thinks it’s easy because you can never overeat protein, bean, green. It simply can’t be done!

So if you are feeling a little sluggish and in need of some slimming, say good-bye to sugar and take the Four-Hour Body Five-Rule Challenge! Summer looms just past the June gloom!

 

 


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missjunebug Recommends…

Bread perfected: The croissant! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug has been busy lately traveling, returning home, regrouping, doing laundry, catching up with bill paying, etc., etc., the usual maintenance post travel, but she’s also been thinking about some recommendations she’d like to share with you.

So here goes:

Download (and pay for!) Justin Timberlake‘s new album 20/20. It is the best music to walk to missjunebug has come across in a long time (and dance to, too!). The songs are stellar and many great ones await you beyond “Suit and Tie.” which you’ve probably already heard about 100 times by now. (missjunebug still loves “S&T” no matter how many times she’s heard it.) And truth be told she has a big crush on J.T. She hearts him BIGTIME. Lucky Jessica Biel. Seriously.

Check out anything written by Tim Ferriss. This guy has got it going on with his Four Hour protocols. Currently missjunebug and members of her dear fam are reading The Four-Hour Chef, The Four-Hour Body, and plan to read The Four-Hour Work Week. missjunebug really doesn’t need The Four-Hour Work Week, since her work week is even less than that! Ha! Seriously, these books are so smart, so entertaining, and so helpful you will not be disappointed!. T.F. is a phenom.

Read anything written by Julian Barnes. Right now. Really. Go get one of his books. He is one smart Brit. missjunebug recommends The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life. Okay, missjunebug has actually only read The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life, but she plans to read all of his books a.s.a.p. because she’s sure the others are equally great!

Eat some croissants. They are so yummy: crunchy, buttery, layers of delicious bready air! How did the French ever come up with these? Beyond brilliant. missjunebug recommends that you eat these in Paris for the best croissant experience ever! And after you eat some croissants, make yourself some crepes. They are super easy to make using Krusteaz pancake mix and a great crepe pan. missjunebug recommends a made-in-France de Buyer which makes crepe making super fun. Of course, you can make crepe batter from scratch, but the Krusteaz is easy peasy and delicious. Just make sure if you are following the The Four-Hour Body  eating plan (which you will be after reading Tim Ferriss’s book) that you save these for your 7th day where you can eat whatever you want! Vive la France and vive Tim Ferriss!

Speaking of Paris, missjunebug recommends checking out travelingprofessor.com for excellent travel trips and guided tours in France, Italy, and South America. They are reasonably priced, informative, not too touristy, and fun, fun, fun. missjunebug and her Mr.JB just returned from a week in Paris and a few days in Normandy. It really pays to get to know a city by spending time in it as opposed to a quick cruise-port-of-call fly by in a tourist bus. missjunebug has done both and she’s likes the get-to-know-where-you-are-for-awhile walkabout much better!

Whew! That’s about it for recs for now!

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Creating Creativity

Creativity is Not Device Dependent
Creativity is Not Device Dependent (Photo credit: eliztesch)

missjunebug has been thinking about creativity lately thanks to a Wall Street Journal article she read recently. She learned a few things and she had a few of her own ideas about creativity confirmed. The insight that missjunebug applauded is also the one she finds most personally relatable: creativity thrives in transitional times.

What are some of those transitional times?

Walks from here to there

Showers to prepare you for the rest of your day

Relaxing baths

A quick run or a leisurely jog

Waking

Falling asleep

missjunebug has a vivid memory from high school where she spent the evening grinding out trigonometry problems. She got stuck on one, gave up, went to sleep, and the next morning Voilà! She had the answer! This was close to missjunebug’s last taste of success in math altogether, but that was one heady moment for her! (She still thanks Mr. Clay for his infinite patience!). More recently, in fact a day or two ago, while she was finishing up a shower, she got the first six lines of her “In Not Of” poem that she grew into a finished piece in no time! Creativity can be elusive, but if you take the time to tap into these transitional times, missjunebug guarantees you some very creative flow!

Other creativity creators?

Try walking away from the problem to arrive at a quick solution: too much focused concentration can block creativity.

Have a relaxing glass of wine or two. Down a cold Stella and let the creative times roll!

Let your mind wander where it wants. It will often arrive at a much more creative place where you will find new inspiration for your project or problem.

Finally, in coincidental keeping with the Pantone Color of the Year 2013: Emerald, gaze at some green, that promising color of renewal and growth, to get your creative juices flowing! According the WSJ “Students with green test-cover pages gave more creative answers than those whose pages were white, blue, red, or gray.” Maybe colleges need to ditch the Blue Books for green ones!

mjbTip: Relax into your creativity!

 

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You Can Teach an Old Bug Colorful New Tricks!

missjunebug's Kinda Sorta Color Wheel! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug's Kinda Sorta Color Wheel! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug has recently returned to college! She’s taking a class at the very school where she used to teach. She’s pretty sure it’s more fun to do one homework assignment than to grade 30! Especially if it’s art homework! The very cool class she’s enrolled in is called 2 Dimensional Design, a course that provides a firm foundation for other art courses offered. She enrolled on an impulse, not much on t.v. one night as she did a quick internet tour of current classes at her local community college and a couple of clicks later Voila! She’s an art student!  On Fridays from 9-4! for 18 weeks! Yikes!

Actually, it’s turned out to be a blast, once she got past her worry of being the oldest one in the class and the one least versed in art. As it turns out she IS the oldest one in the class, but not the least versed in art thanks to years of accidental art study in museums and a few wrestling matches with watercolor paints and brushes–the brushes always won!

She’s had fun learning things about color, composition, line, and a dab of art history for good measure. Her professor has awesome art chops and shows in galleries around the world and is all of 25 or so years old. He’s on his way to making it in the REAL art world of moneyed collectors who call all the shots of who makes it and who doesn’t. missjunebug is sure her prof will make it! Why is she so sure? Because if he can manage to teach this old bug new tricks, he can do anything!

Need a lift? Want to embrace a new hobby? Expand your intellectual abilities? Take a tip from missjunebug and enroll in a class at your local community college! As Mr.JB and missjunebug always said while paying for ElderJB and TinyJB’s educations: No dollars better spent than those spent on education!

Believe missjunebug when she says, “Community college classes are the best bargain in town for those education dollars!”

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Lifelong Learner Finds Lots of Help Online

Romantic history painting. Commemorates the Fr...
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug loves to learn about all sorts of things online, no doubt just like her readers do. This weekend she hit the motherload! She read an article in her local Sunday paper that lead her straight to one of the coolest online teachers she’s run across, and believe her when she says she’s done her share of online learning from the videos at lynda.com for techy stuff to the weighty academicearth.org for lectures from the hallowed halls of our most esteemed universities.

But the one she discovered this weekend sets itself apart by being so fully engaging and captivating that missjunebug can’t wait to work her way through the more than 1500 lessons online in subjects including math (not missjunebug’s fav), economics, chemistry, physics, history, current financial topics, and many others. The eponymous online site www.khanacademy.org translates Sal Khan’s love of learning into an open academy for the whole planet. missjunebug enjoyed his lively instruction about the French Revolution (Part I & II), making her way all the way through the Reign of Terror in one short evening! She can hardly wait to get to the lesson featuring that rascal Napoleon Bonaparte!

According to the news article missjunebug read, Sal just wants to teach the way he himself would like to be taught. A simple, but brilliant idea, Mr. Khan! missjunebug would expect nothing less coming from an M.I.T. graduate in Computer Science with an M.B.A. from Harvard. (Smarty pants!) Keep up the good work and think about branching out to literature study, one of missjunebug’s personal favs. If you can explain those pesky word problems, no doubt you’ll have no problem analyzing great literature!!

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