Archive for the ‘television’ Category

Worthwhile to watch on PBS – TV

February 7, 2007

February is Black History Month.

Worth watching is “Forgotten Genius”, part of the science series, “Nova”, a dramatization of the life of black research chemist Percy L. Julian.

There is a wonderful article in the February 6, 2007 edition of The New York Times – “Reclaiming a Black Research Scientist’s Forgotten Legacy”, by Felicia R. Lee.

For any of us who have benefitted from use of cortisone for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions (including Psoriasis), some knowledge of individuals engaged in the development of such drugs is useful in celebrating the gifts our predecessors have bestowed on us to ease our lives.

As a past and current user of cortisone medication, I salute the memory of this remarkable individual, Mr. Percy L. Julian.

Product development brainstorming…. ” The Spiffer”…

January 20, 2007

Pedagogical training, during the late ’60s-early ’70s, included information disseminated about then current research in Creativity. I immersed myself, along with many other teaching aspirants, into that hot-bed of theory, experimentation, learned opinion, analysis and practice. Those were heady times! (Of course, at that time,  there was not enough credit given to numerous anonymous educators who toiled unheralded for many prior years in the trenches, successfully and gracefully encouraging creative habits in thousands of students).  With missionary zeal, our generation of newly hatched teachers dispersed to school districts, armed with many techniques with which to stimulate CREATIVITY.

A most enjoyable method for stimulating fluid generation of ideas was BRAINSTORMING. One could drop all pretences of earnestness and “seriousness” and be permitted all kinds of leeway, which had systematically been  ground out of one, by years of doing, thinking, saying and making things in the “correct” or approved ways. In short, we could act in a way we had only dared when our parents or supervisors were not watching, or when we had lapses in good judgement. This sand-lot approach was to ensure that all ideas were validated, by being carefully listed on a blackboard. Potential notions were to be considered and evaluated by individuals to weed out flaky, impractical (and presumably anti-social) qualities.

One exercise that was posed for a brainstorming session :  List at least 20 uses for a brick.  Boy, does that open up some interesting possibilities to entertain!

So, a situation that stimulated my well-entrenched brainstorming habit –  My friend, M, who is the most practical and sane woman, phoned to tell me that she had gone out and bought herself a Swiffer duster kit for x dollars. On arriving home she eagerly assembled the components and whipped around like that demented woman in the TV commercials, flicking, dancing and mugging her way through her dusting chores.  She actually giggled as she admitted this! Rather sternly, I mentioned Global Warming, Throwaway Society, Conservation, Ecological Footprint, Recycling, Thrift and Frugality, blah, blah…and so forth.  My cautions fell on deaf ears. Pshaw, said she.

Being mindful of M’s good sense of humour, and her tolerance of my goofy silliness, and knowing that this evening we have an arrangement to watch a “chick-flick” together, (sans “Rumpole”, who hates movies of a feminish persuasion!) I have been madly brainstorming to come up with a replacement product for “Swiffer”, which I have decided to label as “the Spiffer” (heh, heh – to rope in impressionable consumer).

I have decided on the following parameters for the “Spiffer”.  It must be inexpensive, plentiful, readily available, self-cleaning, low-tech to both produce and use, use a natural energy source and be ecological. After making lists, considering options I have decided to use the “domestic cat” as the impetus for brainstorming for developing “the Spiffer”.

So,  I am posing the following question, which M, and any other comers may wish to adress to provide  an exhaustive list to be evaluated, later, individually, by all who wish to take part in developing the “Spiffer” product.

 List a series of reasons why a “domestic cat” is ideal to be used as a “Spiffer”.  You may wish to mention specific characteristics of cat,  the science of dust collection, positioning of the cat for optimal performence of dusting, methods of recharging the cat, resources for long-term maintenance of the cat “Spiffer”, precautions that you must follow in using your product, and ecological reasons which you may wish to list to sell this product. You may wish to include instructions for how to use the Spiffer. Doing this point-by- point helps all of us appreciate your innovativE thinking. Please share freely.

Note -” the Spiffer” is not to be copyrighted, but is to be available to all and sundry.  I promise you a Revolution in Dusting.

M – no watching “chick-flick” until you have satisfactorily completed this assignment!!!


Vivaldi, with vegetables on the side…

January 17, 2007

Last night while I was flipping through TV channels casually a fragment of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” accompanying as sound-track a fleeting image of a plateful of dinner arrested my attention. Incredulous, with open mouth, I took in the advertisement. In choreographed movements perfectly keeping time with the music, a man methodically polished off ALL of the vegetables on his plate.  The woman, with whom he was dining, archly questioned whether he was going to make any attempts to eat his steak.  Presumably, the vegetables were so delectable as to completely fulfill his appetite.  Sort of an inverse of the male’s real preference for meat. Clever advertising, except for one thing, the juxtaposition of Vivaldi with vegetables surprised me so much that the brand of what was being advertised didn’t register.

Somehow, what is shown on television is not compelling enough for me to immerse myself in  watching TV often enough to try to come upon this advertisement again. At least, PBS doesn’t conflate Vivaldi and vegetables.