August 2007

Think about it

Finally, a Bachelors degree for women only:

[USA Today]  NASHVILLE — The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers coursework in Greek and Hebrew, in archaeology, in the philosophy of religion and — starting this fall — in how to cook and sew.

Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation’s largest Southern Baptist seminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women.

I’m not making light of knowing how to cook and sew — nor how to home-can green beans without the risk of botulism, how to bake a perfect cherry cobbler from fresh fruit and basic ingredients, to make a quilt strictly by hand from scrap fabrics, nor how to keep a family together for a couple of decades… those are some of the most important things I know.

I didn’t have to pay tuition to get it, though.  My tuition went for the study of computer science, which is much more difficult (though not impossible) to teach one’s self.

Certainly, I grew up watching my mother and grandmothers do most of those things (although I have begun teaching Mom to quilt).  Unfortunately, since my mother was so skilled at the home arts, I didn’t have much opportunity to practice those skills until I was on my own and had to learn out of necessity.

That the Baptists feel a need for a Bachelor’s degree in homemaking seems to me transparently laughable:  it’s not a BA program, but the path to an "Mrs."  Or, perhaps to create a pool of appropriately knowledge-limited women who might make suitable wives for those who aren’t up for a little intellectual challenge now and then.

I love my husband, I respect my husband, but to defer to him intellectually at all times would be doing him such a disservice.  He would be thoroughly bored.   As would most outside the world of the Taliban.

Dog Days

The last few dog days of summer are upon us: it’s hot, there’s not much going on, and no one’s writing much (including myself).

In contrast, I have been reading a great deal. The current fiction favorite is Eclipse, the third in the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. Goofy as it sounds, we bought three copies on Tuesday; none of us wanted to "wait our turn" while someone else read ahead.

This afternoon, I skimmed an interesting article in Psychology Today. There are a number of humorous (and quite possibly accurate) conclusions, but the notion that the reason that Islam produces more suicide bombers because too many of their young men "aren’t getting any" cracked me up.

As good an explanation as anything else I’ve heard, I guess.

Because we’ve had a week of temperatures in the upper 90’s, my air conditioner is barely working (so it’s usually in the mid to upper 80’s in the house), and the dryer’s been broken (fixed for real today, thank you HWTFM), I’ve stayed away from reading much news. I don’t want or need depression. That said, it’s worthy of note that the Perseid meteor shower peaks Sunday night (yeah, it’s a school night, but it’s educational) and should be just brilliant since it coincides with the darkness of a new moon.

Not much controversy here, but maybe September will banish the writer’s block that has settled over the valley these past few weeks.


A new favorite in town…

Firehouse Subs.

We stopped in for lunch today, and had a lively chat with the owner (well, the owner of this franchise) about the several dozen kinds of hot sauce lining the counter.  My kids, ever adventurous, asked which one is the hottest.

Gamma and Delta each proved their culinary bravery by tasting some on a toothpick; I settled for waiting for my sandwich — the Hero Sub — and put a dab in the middle.  It was a bigger dab than I intended, so more than three hours later, I can still feel the burn in my throat.

That said, it was the best sub sandwich I’ve had in ages.  The staff was friendly and efficient, and there’s no doubt we’ll be back there often!

Senior Center Dreams

What should a Senior Center in Oak Ridge be?  Where should it be?  What should it provide?  Those are questions that will doubtless be debated and discussed in an informal meeting with City Council members next Thursday (1 p.m.) at the City Service Center.

The Oak Ridge Senior Center used to be in a building that most of us recognize as "the old Wildcat Den," at the corner of Robertsville Road and the Turnpike (near Grove Center).  When that building was deemed too old, services were moved to rented space in the old Daniel Arthur school.

In a city that truly cares and provides for the needs of elder citizens, wouldn’t it be nice to have a facility where there is appropriate space for group activities or classes, recreational and physical fitness facilities, a kitchen where meals could be prepared, perhaps even a reading area and some networked computers?  For a city that dreams big, it’s quite possible.  There could be rooms for card games, one with billiards and ping pong, maybe even an indoor heated pool.  Dreaming really big, there might even be a park nearby!

A facility like that might be so attractive that younger people would also want to go there, providing healthy social interaction between generations — alleviating the isolation that many seniors encounter (the basis for needing such a center to begin with). 

Done right, it would be centrally located and fully handicap accessible — all on one level, with automatic doors and such. 

But it would be so expensive… or would it?  Can’t you just envision the possibility?

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