Michigan Farming High School shutting down

I know that class is basically over, but after doing some final research for my paper I happened to stumble upon this article on Grist, “Amazing urban farm school for teen moms will be shut down.”  Michigan’s Catherine Ferguson Academy is to be shut down by this summer after a new law allows the emergency manager of the schools, Rick Snyder, unilateral authority in the matter. In other words, its his decision and his alone. Does this school sound familiar? Well, that’s because it’s the same school mentioned in Rachel Solnit’s “Detroit Arcadia.”


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WANTED: Good Pastoral Woman

DWM seeks kind, “simple” woman who’s “easy” on the eyes with plenty of “country” charm to share many “nostalgic” moments.

Must enjoy “relaxing” and the “simpler” things life has to offer, and be free of “complex” drama.

A love of rustic, green pastures, clear, cool brooks and gently, rolling hills is a plus.

“Controlling” women need not reply as I enjoy being “free” spirited.

Respond to: 1-888-EASY-GUY

Pastoral Melodies

Any time I get out into the wild, aka the Red River Gorge, I always have to listen to my favorite old country tunes to get myself into the “easy-going, fresh mountain air” mood.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy other types of music, I’m just at a genetic disadvantage being from Kentucky – where the love of country music is inbred into my DNA.  As I listened to the classics of George Jones and the Judds, I couldn’t help but notice, thanks to what I’ve learned from class, that there are many pastoral themes in country music.  Even the genre name, “country” implies to the listener that you might expect to hear about easy going times of a simpler style of living. Continue reading

The three tools of pastoral— Nature, simplicity and complexity

I cannot believe this course is about to wrap up. I have learned a lot from this class that I never would have learnt in many ages. For my final free form article I decided to talk about Blake’s creativeness and its connection to nature, simplicity and complexity; These  contradictions that summarize what pastoral is ultimately about. Blake articulates a series of peoms that represent the fundamental movement from the world of innocence to the reality of experience of every pastoral life. Particularly his peom called the Holy Thursday has both an innocence and experience edge that helps us explore the two unique perspectives of the world we live in. Continue reading

Pastoral…Haunting My Dreams?

Someone recently just posted a free form article titled “Pastoral…IT’S EVERYWHERE”. I couldn’t agree more. I’m beginning to catch myself thinking “How could I relate this to pastoral?” or “Does this relate to pastoral in an way”. I guess it can’t be much of a bad thing seeing as how to get the best grade possible, you have to eat, sleep, and breathe pastoral! I really started to notice my “obsession” (if you could really call it that) with finding pastoral when my marine called me today. He’s currently overseas and naturally, he was saying how much he missed home. He started describing all the thing he missed doing in perfect detail. Even though I was sitting in the house, it was such perfect detail that I could almost see myself doing it right that very second.  Continue reading

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

 The Good, The Bad, and The UglyA Fistful of Dollars. A Few Dollars More. To some people, these may just seem like disjointed, poorly constructed sentences, but to me, they represent one of the best movie trilogies of all time, the saga of The Man With No Name. These iconic Clint Eastwood movies are some of his best work, the rugged hard-mouthed no nonsense cowboy who is in complete control of the Wild Western landscape and society around him. The distinctive music, with the loud whistles and sweeping orchestral instrumentals composed by Ennio Morricone, gets to me every time I hear it, reminding me of the appeal the recently untamed West held for Americans. Even in recent film memory, with hits such as 3:10 to Yuma and the more modern No Country for Old Men, the idea of a man against the wild captivated millions of people, a “modern” day shepherd, seeking his destiny in the rough rural landscape of the Wild West.

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When I went home this past weekend, I thought that I was going to get a break for the weekend.  I thought that by going home to visit my family and friends, I would get to have a relaxing weekend and not have to stress about anything.  I was leaving school and all the stresses I had behind me in Lexington while I got away.   I even thought, no offense Mr. Battista, that I wasn’t going to have to think about the word “Pastoral,” which has been ringing in my head for the past three and a half weeks now.  I was wrong!  Ever since I have entered this class, I can’t escape it.  ITS EVERYWHERE!

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Crisis Mapping

 Could the smart phone be a survival tool? Christopher Van Tilburg, author of Smart Phone: Survival Tool says it’s possible. A smart phone can do lots of cool things, but is it needed for us to survive? We are talking surviving in the wilderness like on a backpacking trip. Going on a trip where you are completely surrounded by trees and beautiful nature is when the use of a smart phone could come in handy. Let’s say someone goes on a hike, most people might take a backpack filled with things that might come in handy on the trail. The essentials might include a canteen with water, snack bars, pocket knife, compass, map, first aid kit, sunscreen, handkerchief, and an extra pair of socks. Is the smart phone now an essential when you go out in to the wilderness? Continue reading

The New Rage- Chicken Hair

Living in a college city and spending my days on campus, it is easy to spot the latest trends. Sperry’s, Wayfarers, Tom’s, yoga pants… the list goes on, but a new trend that borrows its style from the animal world is hair feathers.

One of my sorority sisters in from Colorado, where the fashion trends typically reach before they do in Lexington, walked in one day and I noticed feathers in her hair. After I saw that she had feathers, I began to see them everywhere. My roommate now has three feathers and I work with three girls at a restaurant who all have them too. Three. One girl literally went to the salon next day to buy them. Women, men, children, and yes even dogs can buy these feather accessories, but at what cost ultimately? Continue reading

Where has the American Dream gone?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Declaration of Independence

The above quote from the Declaration of Independence is the most well-known line in this early American document.  The purpose of this document was for the colonists to proclaim and state the reasons why a separation from Great Britain was necessary.  It was written by the Founding Fathers who are said to have been of the Christian faith and followers of God.  In this quote, the Founding Fathers inferred that everyone was created equally by their “Creator,” or God, and with this equality comes the rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

I believe that these three “unalienable rights” are key points to what we call the “American Dream.”  The American Dream is the dream of a better life with an even more promising future.  It’s what every American wants and what every family strives to achieve.  In the book “Epic of America” written by James Adams, he states that the American Dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement…” (p. 214).  When Adams wrote this, the American Dream was just that.  It was the dream of a better life filled with opportunity.  But is this still what the American Dream stands for today?  Is there still such a thing as the “American Dream?”  Or have we destroyed that image indefinitely? Continue reading

Daddy’s Girl

I’m not going to lie, I got a little teary-eyed when I read the part in American Pastoral where Merry spotted the Swede and when “she raced across the street, this frightful creature, and like the carefree child he used to enjoy envisioning back when he was himself a carefree child – the girl running from her swing outside the stone house – she threw herself upon his chest, her arms encircling his neck.” (Roth, 230) I am definitely a daddy’s girl. My dad and I are very much alike, both very stubborn, so we’ve had our share of arguments and at times, we’ve really disliked each other. But, I love my dad, and now more than ever since I am older and in college away from him. Continue reading

Live And Let Live

“No!” he shouted. The Jainism, the legalism, the egregious innocence, all of it desperation, all of it to distance herself from the four who are dead. “This will not do! You are not an Algerian woman! You are not from Algeria and you are not from India! You are an American girl from Old Rimrock, New Jersey! A very, very screwed-up American girl!” (Roth, 264)

This dialogue comes from the latest book we have read in class, American Pastoral by Philip Roth. I’m not much of a history person, but I liked the use of real historical events in this fiction novel. Something that really stood out to me was Merry’s new practice of life that she introduced to her father in Chapter 6 when he finally finds her and visits with her. Her new religion is what is called Jainism. I knew nothing about this way of life, and didn’t even know if it was real when I first read the novel. I looked it up and decided I would look further into it since we didn’t cover much of it in class and because I found it quite interesting. Continue reading