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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Alternative Education

Frank Zappa once said, "Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you've got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute." (liner notes for Freak Out).

Well, in tribute to this great man's highly esteemable advice, I have prepared a list of websites and places the true rennaisance (wo)man, a real erudite, will want to hit up in pursuit of auspicious education.


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Wikipedia ~ What? You don't trust an encylopedia that anyone can edit? Okay, maybe this is an obvious one, but this site is great for general source information; a way to familiarize yourself with a subject before digging deeper in. Make use of the random page button for even more betterness! Browse random topics in your stumbling search for knowledge that can lead to surprising results. Their sister projects, like Wikiquote and Wiktionary, are also great sources that I've used to get most of my quotes and definitions.


Urban Dictionary ~ A great website that'll make any contemporary etymologist's mouth salivate in wordological glory. Heard some new pop-culture slang today and can't figure out what it means, but don't want to ask and look like an idiot? This is the place for you. Not to mention that anyone can submit a contribution. Make this site your priority if you need language that's "fresh".





Sophie's World ~ Best introduction to western philosophy I've ever read. This teaches as well as entertains! The lessons are cleverly hidden in each chapter and provide some really beautiful metaphors that'll give you some real insight into each philosophy depicted in the novel. From ancient Greece to modern Europe, this one hits every school of thought you'd want to know about.



Uncle John's Bathroom Reader ~ I know, I know! Am I serious? Yes. I. Fucking. Are...am...whatever. This is a great book that gives you a survey of all kinds of wonderful random information, compiled together for your bathroom reading pleasure. I mean, seriously! Education while taking a shit! You can't get much more awesome than that. These guys cover everything from pop culture, famous mysteries, science and technology, even holiday histories. Check it out.

Other than these sources, check out your local library, college, school, whatever. Get at those public institutions - they're for you! Instead of going out drinking on a Friday or Saturday night go to a museum or art gallery. (My favorite place so far is a cartoon art museum on 655 Mission St. which has a great selection of early and experimental American cartoons-slash-comics.)

Don't be afraid to break the bank on any of these little trips, either. Most museums and galleries will give discounts for students (bring your ID). Instead, be afraid not to make use of all the cheap and easy opportunities to REALLY get some learning in you, outside of requirement oriented high schools or universities.

Cheers

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