The Arts

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The arts were an important aspect of my childhood: if I wasn’t in band or reading, what would I be doing? I wasn’t good at math, and while science was interesting, I didn’t like dealing with numbers. Music has numbers too, but it’s not complex like measurements.

When I heard about public schools cutting the arts to pay more attention to exercise, I was disappointed. When my university football program made itself to be in dire need of funds and pushing humanities to the side, I was shocked. People give money to athletic programs, but the arts get left with nothing.

Why?

Now, Trump wants to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and its sister agency National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). These are federally funded programs that have done so much for rural America, and saving lives through drawing, painting, reading, writing, music and theater.

I can’t explain the need for continued funding for the Arts in this post, but this article in Paste Magazine can, by looking at how low-income, at-risk children and war veterans will be affected by the proposed cut. And this article in Quartz, documenting how important the NEH is to America’s story.

Yes, we all need to know basic math. We need to embrace technology at work and learn how to use a computer and some software. We need to exercise and be healthy. But we also need to be creative and express who we are. You can’t express your feelings in a spreadsheet.

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Career Wednesday: Same story, Almost

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Journalists are held to a high standard, and plagiarism is (or should) be on the top of the list of no-no’s. Reporters have gotten fired for plagiarizing their stories so it’s a big deal.

This morning I was reading 13 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Dairy Queen. I was intrigued by item #4 and clicked on the first link, which took me to Dairy Queen’s New Blizzard Is Gonna Blow Your Mind. Both were fun (and yummy) reads.

However, I noticed two things about the articles:
1) The opening sentences are too similar and copy each other
2) Both compared the Royal Blizzards in a similar fashion (and linked) to Ben & Jerry’s cores ice cream: the links were named differently, but only one word was changed

In terms of competition–because every media outlet both online and on TV want to be the first to publish information first–it could be coincidence that the two articles are as such. Maybe the authors share a brain and came up with the same content, unbeknownst to each other? :/

I don’t know which annoys me more, the first item or second. I understand that bloggers read other blogs and link to each other in stories, but one couldn’t come up with a different opening sentence? (Ok I guess the first item annoys me more).

Writers, how do you make sure that you’re not plagiarizing your content? Am I completely wrong in comparing these two articles and citing one plagiarized the other? Let me know in the comments!

“The Breadwinner”

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After stumbling upon Bob Odenkirk’s “By the Book” interview for The New York Times (whose book suggestions have made my “To Read” list) I browsed some of the other people profiled and came across Malala Yousafzai’s one. I admire her for being an advocate for education, and for being so strong after getting hurt by the Taliban.

A book she mentioned for girls to read was “The Breadwinner” by Deborah Ellis, about a young Afghan girl named Parvana who, after her father is arrested for being educated in England, disguises herself as a boy in order to help her family survive.  It’s categorized as children’s literature, and it sort of reads that way, with short paragraphs and no big words. But it’s a really fast read–I finished it in a day. It’s the first book in a trilogy, the other two works being “Parvana’s Journey” and “Mud City.”

Ellis does a harrowing job in showing the Taliban rule in Afghanistan and how women and girls are treated there. She also captures the fighting spirit of a girl who doesn’t quit despite tough times. I’m trying to find a way to read the rest of series for free (haha!), because it is that good. Highly recommend.

Back to my Love, Books

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I don’t remember if I wrote a post about reading for fun, but here it is. After a long drought, I’m happy to report that I’m not only back to reading for fun, but reading multiple books at once! I know it’s strange to get excited about this, but it’s been a while since I’ve read for fun and/or read more than one book at the same time. It’s a great feeling to start up again.

The books I’m reading are “A Town Like Paris” by Bryce Corbett; “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, and “A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan.

What books are you reading? Or want to read?