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Key and Peele sportscenter teacher parody: New sketch imagines teachers as athletes (VIDEO).

Oh, how I wish we lived in a world where this was NOT a spoof. A spot-on parody of SportsCenter’s hyperbole-laden talking heads, busy CGI ticker screens, and obsessive play-by-plays, the clip cleverly reimagines athletes as the educators we entrust our children to every day.Unsurprisingly, it’s a biting critique that says a lot about the economic and symbolic power we assign to an industry in which men are considered exceptional…

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Filmmakers fighting “Happy Birthday” copyright find their “smoking gun”

Who owns the copyright to the “Happy Birthday” song? According to Snopes: Summy-Birchard, a subsidiary of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, now claims to be the sole owner of copyright to the song “Happy Birthday to You” and collects an estimated $2 million per year in licensing fees (a portion of which are paid to Association for Childhood Education International) on that basis, and they…

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The Importance of Writing Skills in Tech-Related Fields

Good writing skills are valuable, even in the world of STEM. How is it that students interested in careers in technology don’t understand that writing skills are a crucial part of their future success? What’s more, in my life as a writing coach, I’ve noticed that this aversion sometimes extends well past the undergraduate years and into the master’s and Ph.D. levels. In an effort to underscore the importance of effective…

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2001: A Space Odyssey – Discerning Themes through Score and Imagery

Incredibly detailed close reading of the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. I stopped reading it halfway through because I want to watch the movie again (haven’t seen it in years) so that I can really appreciate what this author is doing. I’m looking forward to coming back to this one! Yet the audience believes HAL because he’s not human. There’s a certain suspension of disbelief in the ability of a computer to coldly…

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The Better Angels of Our Writing

Copy editors are to the world of publishing what the stage manager is to the world of theater. I love copy editors and I love stage managers. When the copy editor for my latest book placed a little check mark over the name of a computer game, Snood, and then wrote in the margin (“snood.en.softonic.com”), I knew that her fact-checking was protecting me, and I felt grateful. When I dashed…

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Close Reading of Sonnet 130: Form, Theme, and Cultural Context (and a Rage Comic)

I’m preparing to teach Shakespeare again this fall. Seton Hill offers the course every other year, so each time it comes around, it feels new.  The course will focus on plays, but I do like starting out with a brief unit on the sonnet in order to help my students get accustomed to the language. It occurred to me that a lecture on the sonnet would be a good place to start…