Live and Learn

​The other shoe

July 6th, 2016

By Elizabeth Nawrot

nawrot@mnstate.edu

I look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite painting. It bursts with vibrant orange-red and bold strokes of black accented with blue geometrics, a study in contrast to my sad little plate of pale eggs and limp sausage. Even the toast just sits there, baffled by the juxtaposition of the mundane and the…

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Write This Way

December 10th, 2015

I’m seeing red. It’s no coincidence this is the color of ink generations of teachers have used when correcting papers. I may not be an English teacher, but the slow, torturous suffering of the written word is enough to make me bristle. My note in the margin, “which is used for dependent clauses and does not begin a new sentence,” written in jaunty purple ink just doesn’t express the necessary gravitas.

Perhaps I’m being nitpicky. If lyrics from the preset channels on my…

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​You don’t know Jacques

June 10th, 2015

By Lisa Nawrot

Tell me if you’ve heard this one: Benjamin Franklin, Antoine Lavoisier, and the inventor of the guillotine walk into a room together … no, this is not a joke (the Dalai Lama says to a hot dog vendor “Make me one with everything,” That’s a joke). This meeting took place in Paris, 1784 where a Royal Commission was tasked with debunking a new pseudoscientific practice named for its inventor, Franz Anton Mesmer. Mesmer claimed to use magnetic forces to induce a…

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​The Song Remains the Same

March 9th, 2015

I’m trying to think “intervallically.” No, it’s not the new math or a metaphysical dimension in the space-time continuum. I’m just learning to play the piano. I never took piano lessons growing up, and when I tried it for the first time as an adult, it didn't take. I memorized the individual notes in every piece, but each additional song I learned replaced the one before it. After nearly two years, a handful of music books and dozens of pieces of music, I could perform a grand…

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Staging Area

November 5th, 2014

My daughter was once bitten so hard by a playmate that a forensic lab could have matched the bite mark to dental records in order to identify the puny perpetrator. While this pretty much undermines the daycare’s policy of keeping the offending child’s identity confidential, the fact that kids of this age bite is not all that surprising. Between the ages of about two and five, children often bite one another for a variety of reasons including expressing emotion and language. Biting…

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Impulse control

October 23rd, 2014

In a small museum in Florence, Italy there is a jar containing the bony remains of the index and middle fingers of the great 16th century scientist Galileo Galilei. The rest of his body is buried a few miles away in a cathedral in the piazza Santa Croce, the final resting place for other Renaissance masters including Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Dante (their whole bodies I assume, though I can’t say with certainty. A contemporary of Galileo, Rene Descartes’ head was separated from…

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