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Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest: 2005 Results

The woods were all a-twitter with rumors that the Seven Dwarves were planning a live reunion after their attempted solo careers had dismally sputtered into Z-list oblivion and it was all just a matter of meeting a ten-page list of outlandish demands (including 700-threadcount Egyptian cotton bedsheets, lots of white lilies and a separate trailer for the magic talking mirror) to get the Princess Formerly Known As Snow White on…

I'm, like, totally there!

Don’t get all more-grammatical-than-thou. “Like” and “totally” can help establish ironic distance. Using the present tense to refer to something past or future can lend immediacy and emphasis. A caveat: Use sparingly if you’re over 30 and don’t want to be seen as one of those pathetic old types who chat up teenagers at the mall. I mean, ick. –Jay Heinrichs –I’m, like, totally there! (Figures of Speech — It Figures)…

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Here's why you can't buy the News Journal at Wal-Mart

I might understand it if Wal-Mart said I ought to fire Mark because what he said wasn’t accurate. But that isn’t the case. Mark accurately reported that there are 10,000 children of Wal-Mart employees in a health-care program that is costing Georgia taxpayers nearly $10 million a year. Shouldn’t we talk about that? –Randy Hammer –Here’s why you can’t buy the News Journal at Wal-Mart (Pensacola News Journal)

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The REAL Swastika: The logo of modern evil has a benign ancient face

As a Jew, the swastika is an image that should repel me. But as a decades-long lover of Eastern religions, I understand the history and true intent of this ancient symbol. In the East, the swastika is actually supposed to bring good luck. How did this ancient symbol of cosmic benevolence become a modern logo for evil? According to scholars, the swastika may be as old as 10,000 years. –Eileen…

What Every Game Developer Needs to Know about Story

Now, the notion that story doesn’t matter is worst with the industry old-timers. “Just repeat that 30 seconds of gameplay, and you’ve got it,” I’ve heard. Or worse: “We’ve never had to worry about of that story stuff before.” Maybe that’s okay for a small audience of addicted gamers, but the new charter for platforms like Xbox 360 is to appeal to a mass audience, not necessarily people who have…

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Hillary vs. the Xbox: Game over

Dear Sen. Clinton: I’m writing to commend you for calling for a $90-million study on the effects of video games on children, and in particular the courageous stand you have taken in recent weeks against the notorious “Grand Theft Auto” series. I’d like to draw your attention to another game whose nonstop violence and hostility has captured the attention of millions of kids – a game that instills aggressive thoughts…

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Once a Week is Not Enough

First, students simply cannot absorb and retain information that is given in one-shot. The beauty of classes that meet three times a week is that students have a chance to replay the information in their heads and practice. With the guiding hand of the instructor, they can get even more direction and be assured that they are “getting it.” An exception to this observation seem to be courses that have…

Wading all night through Mumbai

There was not a soul on the road when we held hands in the water and began walking. One of the girls was shorter than us, so we asked her to walk along the road divider holding our hands. People took out boats to negotiate water logged streets The water was deep – I mean if you were 5ft tall, you would easily drown. As we waddled into the eerie,…

Military Making Up Quotes? I'm Shocked, Shocked

If you’re in the news business you see this stuff all the time. I mean, when a corproate CEO is quoted as saying, “I am gratified by the performance of our frabjab-widget business unit during the quarter, when the trajectory of widget sales continued to move in a favorable direction,” you can be fairly sure that this line was written, not uttered, and not by the guy being quoted. Now,…

Violence and the Sacred

For the most part, we are blind to the mediated nature of desire. But the great writers, according to Girard, are more lucid about this. They reveal the inner logic of desire, including its tendency to spread – and, in spreading, to generate conflict. When several hands reach for the same object, some of them are bound to end up making fists. So begins a cycle of terror and retaliation;…