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The ideas expressed in this letter are mine. While many colleagues and friends have publicly voiced these same concerns as well as private support for this letter, the views herein are not necessarily shared by all of the faculty on campus, by my department or my college, by the university’s administration, or by any of the unions on campus.

Late last month, Bloomsburg University administration published their “Back to Bloom” reopening guide for Fall 2020. After reviewing this plan, 78% of faculty who responded to a campus survey indicated that, instead of following this plan, they would instead prefer to adopt an online model of instruction similar to what most other PASSHE campuses in the state have developed. 72% of respondents felt that the current plan for face-to-face instruction on campus compromises the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and the community in general. These results echo a state-wide PASSHE faculty poll conducted earlier this summer about the state system’s preparedness for Fall 2020. Additionally, many faculty and staff on campus have since raised pressing concerns about planned changes to sanitation routines and custodial schedules, about the lack of specific policies regarding best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 on campus (or about enforcing those policies), and about the anticipated shortages of proper PPE or testing/tracing kits available on campus and in the community. Local law enforcement has also publicly expressed reservations about not having a role in developing the University’s plan, a plan which furthermore leaves out guidance for students who live in off-campus housing. …


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For many American film aficionados, Akira Kurosawa belongs to a select cadre of foreign directors, along with names like Bergman, Tarkovsky, and Hitchcock, that has been canonized by cinephiles and written about by film critics for so long that it often seems that there is not much more to say about them or their work. Their oeuvres were each forged from their respective nation’s geopolitical history and from their own larger-than-life biographies.Their continued influence on American cinema (and especially genre cinema) is arguably greater than that of most American filmmakers. …


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Big Mountain Trail, Natalie Trail, Ponds Trail, etc.

Wesier State Forest is one of Pennsylvania’s noncontiguous forest lands. The Wesier system as a whole covers eight counties, and each location has its own interesting unique attractions and trail systems. The Roaring Creek Tract, located in parts of Columbia, Northumberland, and Schuykill counties, has become one of my favorite places to hike because of its variety of trails, each with their own interesting features.


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Jerry Lawson’s Fairchild Channel F (System II), the first microprocessor-based game console.

A List In Progress

Video games are a medium that have always had a very unusual relationship with the topic of race and racism. On the one hand, for some players, video games are a medium that introduce them to perspectives on the world that are held by people with skin color that is different than their own. For example, for many white children who play titles developed by Sony and Nintendo, video games can serve as an early introduction to many elements of Japanese history and culture. On the other hand, Japanese video games have often been some of the worst offenders in terms of how race is utilized or depicted in video games (e.g. the racialized caricatures that fill the Street Fighter series’ rosters, the colonial imagery of Resident Evil 5, etc.). …


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Chilisuagi Trail and Ridgefield Point Loop Trail

Sometimes, you want a hike to be something that is easy, familiar, close by, and gets you out for a few hours of exercise without too much hassle. The kind of trail you can take anyone to, enjoy some of nature’s beauty, and have a picnic lunch afterwards. A place that is sneaker friendly, kid friendly, and “I don’t really hike often” friendly. The place that I have hiked the most on these kind of days is the Chilisuagi Trail at the Montour Preserve in Washingtonville, PA.

The Montour Area Recreation Commission maintains eight trails around its visitor center and Lake Chillisquaque, a lake that was built in 1972 to help cool the nearby Montour Power Plant. It has a history that is similar to that of the Susquehanna Riverlands, but features trails that offer far fewer signs of human development and activity. The Chilisuagi Trail, when combined with the short Ridgefield Point Loop, offers a 4.5 mile hike that can easily be completed in about two hours. …


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Deems Taylor introduces Walt Disney’s Fantasia by explaining that the film will offer “three kinds of music” — the kind that tells a story, the kind that paints a series of definite pictures, and a third kind that is considered “absolute music” or “music for its own sake.” In that spirit, I want to take my authorial cue for this essay from Fantasia’s treatment of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, perhaps the most abstract and impressionistic piece of the film (a segment about which the companion essay to this one, by Sam Scott, offers a great take).

So, instead of writing a more standard film critique, I want to discuss how, over time, the film has worked to, as Taylor put it, suggest things to my imagination. In Toccata and Fugue in D Minor those suggested things might be, Taylor tells us, “colors or geometric objects floating in space.” In this essay I want to show how, for me, Fantasia is a film that has continued to suggest things about how intersections of art and public culture can function to create new, sedimented meanings over time. Thus, this essay is very much a personal one, but it is also one that I hope resonates with others’ experiences with any film they’ve chosen to revisit over time. …


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As I have started hiking more regularly over the past few months, the location that I’ve visited more frequently than others is a series of trails known as the Geisinger Stewardship Forest behind the Geisinger Medical Center complex in Danville, PA.

Why have I returned here time and again? First and foremost, there are some practical reasons for this: it is the series of trails that is probably closest to my home, it features a wide range of trails of varying difficulty and terrain, it offers both well-marked paths and more exploratory sections, and — especially in the time of a global pandemic — it is typically possible to hike there for a few hours without seeing anyone at all. …


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Grand View Trail and Old Beaver Dam Rd. Trail

Ricketts Glen is a park that I’ve been to many times over the years, but always to spend time at its best known attractions: the Falls Trail, which offers some stunning views of a couple of dozen waterfalls including the 94 foot high Ganoga Falls (this trail is absolutely some of the best hiking at any PA state park), and Lake Jean, which offers options for plenty of warm-weather water activities. I hadn’t, until this trip, ventured into many other areas of the park.

The realtively short 1.9 mile Grand View Trail and the linked 4 mile Old Beaver Dam Rd. Trail can be easily combined to create a longer hike that brings you up and down the side of Red Rock Mountain, passing by streams, some large rocks, some nicely forested areas, and — if you are lucky — some glimpses of wildlife such as the pheasant hen at the top of this essay, which greeted me near the place where the trails link. …


Canyon Vista Trail > Loyalsock Trail

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A late January trip to Worlds End State Park turned out to be a much more memorable hike than I thought it might be, due in large part to an unexpected detour I was obligated to take down an untrodden trail on a snow-covered mountain.

About

David S. Heineman

Bloomsburg University Comm Studies professor. Writes about video games, new media, & politics. Author of books *Thinking About Video Games* & *Rhetoric Online.*

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