Friday, May 20, 2022

Asheville, NC

 Asheville, NC:

12 Bones Smokehouse (River Arts District)

Addissae (Ethiopian Food)

Art in the Park (Pack Park - Saturdays in June)

The Arts


Blue Ridge Parkway

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville (S)

Chai Pani (Indian Street Food)

Craggy Gardens and Craggy Pinnacle  (Blue Ridge Parkway)

Cucina 24 (Italian meets S. Appalachian - has a daily chef's menu that might be fun - need reservations)  Reservation Saturday


Drum Circle at Pritchard Park

Dupont State Forest (near Asheville, NC)

Firestorm Co-op (Radical bookstore/coffeeshop: 610 Haywood Rd.)

French Broad River

Gaea Gifts for the Soul (S)

Gan Shan (Asian Fusion)

The Grey Eagle (Music Hall)

Gypsy Queen Cuisine (Mediterranean/Lebanese)

Hot Springs (on the French Broad River, NC)

Instant Karma (Downtown - S)

Linville Falls

Little Bee Thai

Lookout Trail Hike in Montreat

Mount Mitchell State Park

Nine Mile (Jamaican Food)

The North Carolina Arboretum (S)

No Taste Like Home (Wild foraging tours - S)

Points of Light (Crystal and Mineral Gallery - S)

River Arts District [Studio/artists guide] (S)

Riverside Cemetery (S)

Roan Mountain

Rosetta' Kitchen (Vegetarian/Vegan Soul Food)

Sovereign Remedies (Locally sourced global menu)

Sunny Point Cafe (Breakfast/Lunch - decadent Southern. Usually a line, but lauded as very worth it)

Thai Pearl

Upper Whitewater Falls


White Duck Taco (Downtown: also the art walk next to it) Friday Lunch (OK, but it has clearly become a lame corporate chain (3 states now) - Thai Peanut Taco was ok, Korean Bugogi taco was excellent, chips were stale and queso was strange, watermelon/mint had no mint flavor and was a tiny portion. 

Zen Sushi - Friday Dinner

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Walt Whitman - "Do I contradict myself?"

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself, 51" (1892 version) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

On the "loneliness epidemic" in America

In thinking about the dangers of our current "loneliness" epidemic in America, we must consider that loneliness is not actually a state of being alone (hiking in a forest, reading a book, working on a project), it is instead a continuous state/sense of detachment or isolation in the midst of others or a community. This is important to consider when reflecting on violent terror enacted by the mass shooter in Buffalo this past week (and countless others from various ideological perspectives), but also in regards to the blind allegiance to our party lines or identity allegiances in which all that matters is that "our" team wins, even if it destroys our lives/community/country/world. Arendt uses the word "totalitarianism," but I find, for this moment, that "authoritarianism" is a more useful word. In the desperation of their loneliness people cede the ability to think (and act) to a governing force and silence the important ongoing dialogue within themselves, driving out any considerations of contradictions or recognition of the plurality of the world. This is a high price to pay for the false promise of peace of mind.

Responding to Samantha Rose Hill's "Where Loneliness Can Lead." Aeon (October 16, 2020) and current events.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Zadie Smith: "I've always been aware of being an inconsistent personality"

I’ve always been aware of being an inconsistent personality. Of having a lot of contradictory voices knocking around my head. As a kid, I was ashamed of it. Other people seemed to feel strongly about themselves, to know exactly who they were. I was never like that. I could never shake the suspicion that everything about me was the consequence of a series of improbable accidents—not least of which was the 400 trillion–to-one accident of my birth. As I saw it, even my strongest feelings and convictions might easily be otherwise, had I been the child of the next family down the hall, or the child of another century, another country, another God. My mind wandered.


Or maybe it's better to say: I've never believed myself to have a voice entirely separate from the many voices I hear, read, and internalize every day. - Zadie Smith. "Fascinated to Presume: In Defense of Fiction." The New York Review of Books (October 24, 2019): 4.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Thomas Jefferson: "I am not a Federalist ..."

I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in any thing else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. Therefore I protest to you I am not of the party of federalists. But I am much farther from that of the Antifederalists. I approved from the first moment, of the great mass of what is in the new constitution, the consolidation of the government, the organisation into Executive, legislative and judiciary, the subdivision of the legislative, the happy compromise of interests between the great and little states by the different manner of voting in the different houses, the voting by persons instead of states, the qualified negative on laws given to the Executive which however I should have liked better if associated with the judiciary also as in New York, and the power of taxation. I thought at first that the latter might have been limited. A little reflection soon convinced me it ought not to be. What I disapproved from the first moment also was the want of a bill of rights to guard liberty against the legislative as well as executive branches of the government, that is to say to secure freedom in religion, freedom of the press, freedom from monopolies, freedom from unlawful imprisonment, freedom from a permanent military, and a trial by jury in all cases determinable by the laws of the land. I disapproved also the perpetual reeligibility of the President. To these points of disapprobation I adhere. - Thomas Jefferson, “From Thomas Jefferson to Francis Hopkinson, 13 March 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Hannah Arendt: "Thinking without a banister"

 There's this other thing, which Draenos brought up ... "groundless thinking." I have a metaphor which is not quite that cruel, and which I have never published but kept for myself. I call it thinking without a banister--in German, Denken ohne Geländer. That is, as you go up and down the stairs you can always hang on to the banister so that you don't fall down, but we have lost the banister. That is the way I tell it to myself. And this is indeed what I try to do. - Arendt, Hannah. Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding 1953 - 1975. ed. Jerome Kohn. Schocken Books, 2018: v. 

Ruth Ozeki "Is it odd to see a book within a book?"

Is it odd to see a book within a book? It shouldn't be. Books like each other. We understand each other. You could even say we are all related, enjoying a kinship that stretches like a rhizomatic network beneath human consciousness and knits the world of thought together. Think of us as a mycelium, a vast subconscious fungal mat beneath a forest floor, and each book a fruiting body. Like mushrooms, we are a collectivity. Our pronouns are we, our, us.

Because we're all connected, we communicate all the time - agreeing, disagreeing, gossiping about other books, name-dropping, and quoting each other - and we have our preferences and prejudices, too. Of course, we do! Biases abound on library shelves. The scholarly tomes disparage the more commercial books. Literary novels look down on romance and pulp fiction, and there's almost a universal disregard for certain genres, like self-help.

Ozeki, Ruth. The Book of Form and Emptiness. Viking, 2021: 94.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Run Lola Run (Germany: Tom Tykwer, 1998)

EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY YOU’RE FACED WITH A DECISION THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Lola receives a phone call from her boyfriend Manni. He lost 100,000 DM in a subway train that belongs to a very bad guy. She has 20 minutes to raise this amount and meet Manni. Otherwise, he will rob a store to get the money. Three different alternatives may happen depending on some minor event along Lola’s run.


 Run Lola Run (Germany: Tom Tykwer, 1998: 80 mins)

Brockmann, Stephen. "Lola rennt (1998) or Cool Germania." A Critical History of German Film Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010: 456-467. [Professor has copy of the book]

Koski, Genevieve, et al. "No Time to Dye, Pt. 1 — Run Lola Run." The Next Picture Show #318 (March 1, 2022) ["Steven Soderbergh’s new straight-to-streaming movie KIMI wears its many influences on its sleeve, but we saw our inspiration for this week’s pairing in its protagonist’s colorful dyed hair, reminiscent of one of the many eye-popping elements of Tom Tykwer’s 1998 international breakout RUN LOLA RUN. But what really links the two films is the breakneck pace they share as they chase after women trying to achieve an urgent goal on a short deadline. This week we home in on RUN LOLA RUN to parse its interplay of style and substance, and debate how and to what extent this fleet film stumbles over its weighty themes of time, choice, and fate."]

---. "No Time to Dye, Pt. 2 — Kimi." The Next Picture Show #319 (March 8, 2022) ["Steven Soderbergh’s new thriller KIMI is as brisk, stylish, and sure-footed in its approach as Tom Tykwer’s 1998 arthouse hit RUN LOLA RUN, but with a much different set of cinematic goals and references in play. Does KIMI’s spare, simple, stylish approach alchemize into what one of our panelists calls “pure entertainment” that’s “easy as breathing,” or does it leave too many unfilled spaces and narrative holes to trip over? We hash it out before bringing LOLA in to compare the two films’ commitment to brevity and adrenalized filmmaking, how that commitment plays out via their respective soundtracks, and the ways in which each tackles conflict and codependency in relationships."]

Kosta, Barbara. "Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run and the Usual Suspects: The Avant-Garde, Popular Culture, and History." German Pop Culture: How American Is It? ed. Agnes C. Mueller. University of Michigan Press, 2007: 165-179.

Head-On (Germany/Turkey: Fatih Akin, 2004)

The volatile German-Turkish drama Head-On (Gegen die Wand, 2003/2004), the fourth feature by the Hamburg born writer-director Fatih Akin, snapped up the Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival and riveted audiences the world over with its tempestuous portrait of lovers torn apart by cultural differences, hard living and psychological illness both real and imagined. Cahit (Birol Unel), a rough hewn German prone to bouts of drinking, fighting, and womanizing, meets Sibel (Sibel Kikelli), a delicate Turkish refugee. In a Hamburg psychiatric ward after suicide attempts. His is real, hers is faked, to escape a marriage arranged by her devout Muslim family. Sibel begs Cahit to marry her to win back her family's esteem; Cahit agrees, believing the sham marriage will repair his wrecked life. The couple share an apartment and little else - he's a slob with a temper; she's a demure neat freak with a heart of gold. When they find themselves falling in love, it's with the brute force of a sucker punch to the gut. Akin employs dark comedy and tragedy to marvelous effect in Head-On, showing the messiness of romantic love in all its ragged, terrible glory. -- Bailey, Andrew. Cinema Now. Taschen, 2007: 26.

 Head-On (Germany/Turkey: Fatih Akin, 2004: 121 mins)

Berchtel, Sandrah. "Identity, Cultural Representation and Feminism in the Movie Head-On." Cinej Cinema Journal #1 (October 2011): 127-139.

Brockmann, Stephen. "Gegen die Wand (2004) or Germany Goes Multicultural." A Critical History of German Film Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010: 478-487. [Professor has copy of the book]

Ceuterick, Maud. "Streets: Freedom, Diaspora, and the Erotic in Head-On." Affirmative Aesthetics and Willful Women: Gender, Space and Mobility in Contemporary Cinema. Palgrave MacMillan, 2020: 125 - 162.

Ebert, Roger. "Unlovables love story defies convention in Head-On." Chicago Sun-Times (April 7, 2005)

Egersdoerfer, Alexander. "Turkish-German Cinema: Displacement and Diaspora in Fatih Akin’s Head-On." Strasburg Film (February 16, 2021)

Fay, Hannah. "Love Yourself, Head-On." Turkish Cinema (May 20, 2019)

Hoffgen, Maggie. "Crossing Boundaries: Gegen Die Wand (Head-On, 2004)Studying German Cinema. London: Auteur, 2009: 201-213. [BCTC Library]

Santesso, Esra Mirze. "Problematizing the Hyphen: Disorientation and Doubled Otherness in Fatih Akin’s Head-On." Postcolonial Interventions 2.1 (2016): 83-102

Tobias, Scott. The New Cult Canon: Head-On." The A.V. Club (October 1, 2009)

Friday, May 6, 2022

Student Topics for ENG 102 Argument Essays: Spring 2022

Problem of Islamophobia 
Reduce Gun Laws 
Pro-immigration, reform current laws 
Negative aspects of social media 
Healthcare-Problem of Increasing Rates of Obesity in America 
Argument for good nutritional practices 
Issue of Head Injuries in the NFL 
South Park has used satire and story to effectively make us reflect on our own negative habits, emotions, and behaviors without becoming a biased political mouthpiece for any one party. 
Critique of Sea World
Defense of Assisted-Suicide 
Problem of Obesity in America 
Addressing the Problem of Racism in America
Negative effects of Social Media 
James Loewen's Critique of How History is Taught in Schools 
Keystone Pipeline 
Addressing the Myths about GMOs 
Why College is Important 
Solitary confinement should not be used as a form of punishment. 
The Problems Associated with Social Media 
Supporting Foster Youth in Transition to Independence 
Is Addiction a Disease? 
Against the Death Penalty 
Addiction to Social Media 
Ending Mass Incarceration in America 
I will show through scientific research that when someone chooses a faith-based approach they are less likely to relapse or fall back into the same addictive behaviors. 
In support of the right to end one's life when terminally ill 
Dr Who provides us with examples of how to be better persons and of a possibly better world.

 On Simon Bolivar's Historical Importance 

We should respect the military
Was Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser a democratic leader
Dangers of a Surveillance Society 
Lack of mental health resources in America has been a severe problem for those who are suffering with mental conditions 
Community Gardens are the Solution for Our Rising Food Costs 
Importance of Technology Integration in K-12 Education 
Why Sports Betting should be legal 
Free to Play video games encourage companies to use manipulative and anti-consumer practices. 
Universal Healthcare 
Legalization of Marijuana 
Abuse of Performance Enhancing Drugs 
America's Pornography Problem 
Problem of Fast/Processed Foods 
Unethical Practice of Lootboxes in Video Games (targeted toward minors) 
Universal Healthcare 
Decriminalization of Prostitution 
Big Pharma's role in the opioid crisis 
Social Media 
Federal Legalization of Marijuana
Prison Reform 
Why Humans Need Art? 
Federal Legalization and Decriminalization of Cannabis in the United States 
A Comprehensive Understanding of Addiction 
Haunting or Hoax? Investigating the Paranormal
Healthcare in America 
Importance of Sleep for Cognitive Excellence 
Effectiveness of Economic Sanctions on Russia 
Mental Health Issues 
Fake News/Media Literacy 
Stigma, prejudice, and discrimination creates a hostile and stressful social environment that causes mental health problems throughout the homosexual community 
Problems of Mission/Missionary Programs
Treating Childhood Trauma 
Support of Abortion Rights 
In support of universal healthcare 
Critique of Standardized Testing
Cigarettes should be illegal 
Working to help children of divorce 
Paid Family Leave for both Parents 
Humane and consensual euthanasia should be available to those who are dying and are living in immense amounts of pain 
In contrast to what we’re made to believe, a diet based solely on protein and fats is the true optimal way of eating for cognitive and physiological function
Is Vladimir Putin committing war crimes with his attack on Ukraine?
Amazon's role in the American economy and how such a large corporation could lend a helping or hurting hand to our society. 
There is a rising mental health crisis in men, due to social stigmas, targeted marketing, and lack of support. 
Problems associated with a two-party political system in a democracy. 
Marijuana Legalization 
Critique of Andrew Jackson's policies as President 
Climate Change 
The “Dark Ages” was not an age of ignorance and savagery, on the contrary, it was an age of harmony and beauty, that one can witness today.
Problem of Steroid Abuse
Critique of Florida's "Don't Say Gay" Bill 
Social Media Addiction
The Importance of Sleep to Human Health 
The Corruption of Big Pharma 
Marijuana Legalization 
MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) could be a lot safer and there are a lot of different things that can be done to make the sport better in many ways 
Reform of Foster Care 
Problem of Bullying 
Marijuana Legalization 
Negative Representation of women in the Media 
Apologia for Christianity

John Stuart Mill’s principles about liberty of thought and discussion are still valid, the free interchange of ideas is the best way to learn and find out the truth.  

Importance of Sleep to Good Health 
Concerns About Screen Culture 
Raise Awareness of Scientific Understanding of ADHD 
The Black Panther Party - defense of 
Analysis of Ways to Address Supply Chain Problems 
In Defense of Our National Parks 
Abstain from Social Media 
Stronger Regulation of Big Tech 
Negative aspects of the modeling industry 
Arguing Casey Anthony was guilty of murdering her child 
Required paid leave for new parents 
In Support of Vaccines for Children 
Negative Impact of Social Media in Our Society 
The Importance of Aftercare Planning & Treatment for Addicts 
Problems of Social Media 
We are assigning too much homework for elementary students 
The Case for Universal Income 
Abortion Rights 
Cognitive Development as a Key for Personal Success 

Why Christopher Nolan is a great director. 
The benefits and shortcomings of how digital fighting games (DFG) uniquely satisfy our competitive nature. 
Vietnam War
Climate Change 
Misogyny in the Bible 
Theodore Allen's Invention of the White Race

Clearing up confusion in regards to gene editing 
The effect of automation on labor and the need for a stronger social safety net 
Royalist history of the French Revolution 
Religion and Politics 
Along with common core learning, the introduction of visual, auditory, and three-dimensional arts in elementary education is beneficial to the growth of individuality and self-regulation throughout a person’s lifetime. 
Knowing how our personal information is being used and how to safeguard ourselves in this technological age is a must if we are to gain control over our own privacy. 
The Importance of the Nation of Islam in African-American culture 
Child Abuse 
Adverse effects of digital technologies 
Regulation of Big Tech Data Collection
Regulation of Social Media Among Young Adults
The importance of soccer to Spanish identity
Addressing misinformation about Epilepsy
Need to address alcoholism in America
Causes in the rise of debilitating anxiety in young adults
Christians should be involved in politics, but need to stay true to their core values
Cell Phones are harmful when they are used irresponsibly and carelessly.