Wordplay = Nerdplay. Enjoy!

My quick Saturday jaunt to Schotts Vocab contest on the New York Times online led to my chuckling over the reader contest submissions…one of which linked to this brilliant piece of vocabularic wit. Located in the July 1994 issue of the New Yorker, this short piece by Jack Winter is entitled “How I Met My Wife” .  Winter masterfully switched our common usages of negatives and positive statements to match the neologisms (Oxford English Dictionary- Neologism: The coining or use of new words or phrases). In this case, the author changes the prefixes and suffixes of words we commonly use to imply the opposite of accepted meanings. It is fun in itself to figure out the original word that he has re-formed.

Had author Jack Winter written this is in a normal fashion, it would be a yawner, however, neologisms cause us, the readers to twist our brains around the  reconfigured words and their definitions and inherently make us question why some words are the way they are and why their true linguistic  opposites don’t exist in the English language.  If you enjoy laughing, and think wordplay is one of the entertaining forms of “nerdplay”, just click and ENJOY!


“Womanifesta” for the Future of Environmental Psychology and Geography

My thanks to Adeola Enigbokan for the color highlighting idea, which I have imitated in this post. As they say, “imitation is the greatest form of flattery”. Therein lay the entirety of what is not my own original inspiration within this post.  This was written originally for a workshop in which we are re-envisioning the fields of Environmental Psychology and Geography, or Psychogeography..hold the jokes, please.  I’ve edited this to be a standalone post for this blog, as it is removed from its original context, a larger, ongoing conversation with my colleagues. Onward!      

My overarching research interests involve interrogating “American” popular culture for perpetuation and sometimes creation of otherwise hidden social and systemic norms. From gender roles and associated /expected life-choice trajectories to cultural ideas, ideals, images and understandings and methods of producing nature and our relation to / with  it.  My current research uses visual analysis techniques to discern the underlying myths of nature portrayed in post–WWII car ads in National Geographic Magazine. Here is a link to a more detailed project description.     

 The Visual and The Creative 

My research , and conversations and collaborations with fellow researchers aims to expand our current bevy of methods by which we engage with the visual (analysis and methodology), and to encourage acceptance of the creative. To add the visual, is to create, assemble or find  an information base for the fields of Environmental Psychology and [Cultural] Geography (Imagined Geographies or Visual Geography) to accomplish two things:           

  1. Supports and encourages the exploration and use of visual analysis techniques to interrogate images and other material cultural artifacts for their contextual and storied content, rather than solely categorizing and counting their elements a la content analysis or adapted quantitative survey measures
  2. Allows for the dynamic presentation and sharing of said information so as to be maximally interesting, sensorially engaging and technologically relevant beyond the academy, or at least beyond one specific discipline.

3…2…1…CARE!!! OR Emoting can increase readability and interest

My second goal for the field is to advocate for storytelling techniques and/or interpretive methods that allow exploration of the sensorial aspects of our physical, cultural and social environments. This is to say that students and PhD’s alike need some exposure to publications of interest wherein language is used expressively, with all attendant emotion and individual personality. This can only serve to enrich the texture of the analysis, discussion and presentation. It is time for us to release the imposed rational objectivity of the physical sciences which often stifles the potential for brilliant insights and inspired research inquiries in our interdisciplinary and subjective fields of Environmental Psychology and Geography.            

Technology is our friend

Lastly, I sense an opportunity for Environmental Psychology and Geography to seize the opportunity to step ahead of the curve and make our fields relevant and popularly appealing again by encouraging the use of current technology in data collection, analysis, presentation and distribution. There is but a small window of time in which we can be “the first” and still have the luxury of our lead time to become “the best” at producing researchers whose methods and mediums reflect the current array of possible information flows, storage, presentation and technological advancements. The [written] word is no longer enough in a world where people read few books and “learn” from TV and the Internet.           

Signed, Shawndel N. Fraser
Static [written] Dissertations behind Dynamic PhD Student

Signed, Shawndel

Kitchen Garden Slated for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

From envisioning a more inclusive White House to embracing fearless fashion, Michelle Obama is poised to become the most transformative First Lady in history.

From envisioning a more inclusive White House to embracing fearless fashion, Michelle Obama is poised to become the most transformative First Lady in history.

Dear Growers:

An article on commondreams.org discusses the history of kitchen gardens at the white house, specifically those of Presidents past who grew some of their own produce (and grazed / raised their own sheep as well!). What a fantastic idea this would be in America, what in this time of recession and alienation from fellow persons and our life sustaining earth.


I try to think broadly  about what might foster change in cultural attitudes toward nature, and I think that it would be revolutionary for the most prominent American family to consciously choose to grow their own produce; that is, to eat low cost, local, organic home grown food. Really, how hard could it be for them? Plus, planting time is almost upon us in the Northeast region, so I hope that someone in their social circle makes the good case to them soon. The article does mention the First Lady’s high esteem for the visual and healthful benefits of community gardening, which to me shows her pro-local foods stance.


 Imagine if a broad swath of the American people, urban, suburban and rural alike began to think about where their food comes from and where they can purchase healthful, plant based foods locally and inexpensively. Everyone would win. Local farmers would see increased income (no need for subsidies Republicans!), the demand for diverse local crops would mean decreased threat of lost biodiversity (environmentalists rejoice!), local and organic foods typically cost less when more people buy them (penny pinchers can exhale!), and farmers markets are a great place to make easy new friends (Marxist theories of alienation be damned!)

As a nation, we’ve already passed the major hurdle of electing a brown-skinned President. Why not continue to encourage the American people toward better diets, just by example? First Lady Michelle Obama, who is featured on the March 2009 cover of vogue magazine has apparently become the new style muse for her generation. If her style of dress can command level of coverage on a magazine not inclined to feature Black American cover models, then the Obama Family’s choice of food sourcing would similarly blanket the pages of many a newspaper and magazine!

I hope that the Obama’s and their Chef (the first Female Filipina White House chef ever!) who cooks organic meals for the First Family think long and hard about what positive implications would result from the simple choice to reinstate a White House produce garden, and that they just go on and do it! And for those afraid to do-it-themselves, a new job market would open up for the agriculturally inclined to plow share suburban lawns in favor of veggies! maybe a few sheep grazing on lawns to reduce fertilizer and lawnmower usage is not too far behind!



Blogging Mindfulness on Valentines Day 2009

My Feeling Friends,

I apologize for being away for so long. After the Hudson River incident here in NYC on January 15, 2009, see post below, I took some time to reevaluate:

  • exactly what it is that I am trying to accomplish
  • identify who I am hoping to enter into discourse with
  • suss out who would be interested in reading my opinions about this nature/ culture ‘thing’

So, the resolution that I have come to, in the way of the best spiritual teachers, is if I build it, then you all will come.

The hit count shows me that en absentia, there have been many many visits to Think. Feel. Grow! which really gladdens my heart! I hope that one day soon, some of you will share your thoughts on any of these topics and leave a comment, your stamp to show that you too Think. Feel. and desire to Grow.

Discourse is what changes the world, sharing ideas, merging and enlarging thoughts, this is what will lay the foundation for our world to look, feel and be different tomorrow, in those ways that we  can only dream of today. I look forward to the day when you feel compelled to introduce some of your own ideas about or responses to the topics mentioned herein.

Well, friends, that’s all for now, I’d like to get started on an exciting new post that somewhat balances the karma of the Hudson River Canada Geese / Jetliner incident last month.

Onward and upward!

Greenwashed Canaries are Expensive!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Calling all Thinkers!

I found this ad on ThisIsReality.org , it speaks for itself. It does however raise a pet topic of mine, “GreenWashing“.

Greenwashing is insidious, it has infiltrated the advertising of every industry from automotive manufacture (i.e. Chevy and BMW : at what point did 30mpg highway become good?), to chemical companies like DOW (who presumtively offer to guide the Government in drafting a comprehensive energy plan), to your exclusively priced consumer goods like you find at Gaiam.

Greenwashing is seductive; the advertising pulls on your emotions and amplifies concerns you may have, however they bank on your passive acceptance of their imagery rather than critical analysis.  The next time you see an ad that:

  • has copious amount of the color or the use of the word green 
  • showcases incongruous amounts of plants, mountains and sea birds surrounding a green MACK truck
  • on a perfectly sunny day, makes you want to cry or hug your neighbor’s dog.

Before allowing your senses to be completely seduced, you should ask yourself…

  • Where do those products come from?
  • What is the health of the trees, water, animals, insects and local people as compared to before the factories?
  • Who made those products? and who actually uses them?  Are they the same people?
  • Why do I feel like crying right now? Where’s my puppy Shay Shay, I need a hug!

So, my dear detective friends, you may say, oh, I can look for that information. I challenge you to do so! These real impacts are purposely kept hidden because the truth, well, the truth might not set you free, but it would certainly wake you up! 

So you may ask me “Just what are you trying to say?” I am saying:

  •  If the ad does not answer those questions, then you’ve been greenwashed.
  • If you cannot find those answers on the packaging or the company website, then you have been greenwashed.

The production of truly ‘Organic’, ‘Environmentally Friendly’ or ‘Sustainable’ is completely transparent from cradle to cradle. Think of a farmers market: you can meet the people who grow, bake or processes your food, wine, yarn etc,  you can visit the farm, and you can talk to the farmers, workers and ask them questions about the entire process (and actually receive an answer, and maybe an invitation to experience it firsthand!). I dare you to try that with any mass producer of so-called ‘green’ goods.

So, to wrap up, if any part of the production process is hidden from you, not easily accessible on wikipedia, their website or the ad itself,

Don’t Believe the Hype! Green is just a Marketing Type!