Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Johnson Effect

Dear Heather,
I am considering voting third party in the upcoming election. Do you think this is a good idea?

Dear Ashley,
While Gary Johnson might be fun to smoke out and go rock climbing with, he is also unaware of the civil war in Aleppo. And ultimately, because he can't win, a vote for Johnson is a vote for another Johnson--which is really poetic, isn't it?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Chris Brown Song

Dear Heather,
Sometimes I am grooving to the heavy beats of a hip hop song and suddenly I realize the lyrics are degrading to women. For example, in the Chris Brown song, Loyal, he constantly refers to women as "bitches" and "hoes." This presents a serious conflict for me. Even though I'm a middle-aged, Caucasian woman, I still occasionally like to drop it like it's hot. What should I do?

Dear Paula,
I completely hear you about the lyrics, but you can't let anything get in the way of getting your groove on. Some songs will have to be turned off due to the blatantly misogynistic messages. But, you can also seek out some great artists who combine a good beat with excellent songwriting: Beyonce, Common, Pink, and Justin Timberlake, for example. These are a few artists who will inspire you with great beats and great lyrics.
Keep on dancing,

Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump No Bueno

Dear Heather,
Do you think the GOP will revise their nomination requirements after allowing the rise of a Presidential nominee who doesn't understand the Constitution?
Just wondering,
Sam, Binghamton

Dear Sam,
Great question. I would certainly hope so. Perhaps giving a citizenship test to those running would remove the unfortunate situation they are in now. Presenting a candidate that doesn't believe in the democratic values of our nation--freedom of speech, of the press, and of religious expression, for example--is a bit of a problem to say the least.
All the best,

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The NRA & Wilderness Safety

Dear Heather,
I am heading out into the wilderness tomorrow and I was wondering if you have any safety tips you can offer?
Santa Fe

Hello Tim,
Nice to hear from you. Yes-be sure to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, water, and, of course, your handy dandy AR-15 Military Assault Weapon. These are very popular in the good ol' US of A today, and it's really super for everyone to have them. At least that's what the NRA tells me. Enjoy your trip out into the wild!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today is Always Now

Dear Heather,
I'm a professor and sometimes it is hard to maintain enthusiasm in the classroom. Between the piles of grading, students on their cellphones, and threats of gun violence, it's easy to get a little down. How do you continue to inspire?

Dear Bill,
I find that one inspirational quote can change a person's entire day. Don't be afraid to write a good one on the board and share it with your students.

Best of luck,

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sprouts: The Modern-Day Russian Bread Line

Dear Heather,
Why does shopping at Sprouts feel like you're in a Russian bread line?
Alpine, CA

Hi Judy,
Thanks for writing. Many people have asked this question. While there is a tendency to be intoxicated by the rock-bottom produce prices at Sprouts, the experience itself somehow leaves one on the brink of spiritual poverty. This is linked to the human hysteria that comes with getting something for nothing.
All the best,

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Born To Kill

Dear Heather,
I have a student who hasn't been coming to class. I was thinking of withdrawing them, but their Username is BorntoKill. This is causing me to re-consider. What do you think I should do?
Santa Fe

Dear Joann,
This is a tough one. At times, our ethical obligations to the systems we work for are challenged by the threatening presence of potential sociopaths. In these instances, it is always good to consider one's one personal safety and then choose the path that is right for you.
Best of luck in the classroom!