2

A Prairie Home Conundrum: The mysterious appeal of Garrison Keillor.

Keillor’s humor has always been a bit of a puzzle: What is its irony/sincerity ratio? Is he mocking Midwesterners or mocking the rest of us via Midwesterners? In 1985, when Time magazine called Keillor the funniest man in America, Bill Cosby reportedly said, “That’s true if you’re a pilgrim.” A decade later, a cartoon version of Keillor forced Homer Simpson to assault his TV and shout, “Be more funny!” –Sam…

Teachers Adjust Lesson Plans as Web Fuels Plagiarism

“The number of term papers assigned over the years has decreased significantly,” said Herman Clay, director of history and social sciences at Los Angeles Unified School District. Instead, Los Angeles teachers are assigning more in-class written exams, oral reports with visual aids and PowerPoint presentations, said Clay, a former principal of Van Nuys High School. It’s unclear how many teachers nationwide are doing the same, but it’s enough that some…

Summer Thoughts — I

In mid-May, the difference between the student summer and the professor summer seemed vast to me. One approaches the student summer the way Evel Knievel approaches a line of Ford Mustangs — a burst of frenzied acceleration as one heads up the ramp of stress and procrastination, a brief moment of giddy release as one floats tantalizingly close to success in the course of an all-nighter or three, and then…

Mad Lit Professor Puts Finishing Touches On Bloomsday Device

DUBLIN — Professor Hanlon O’Faolin, once called “mad” at the Royal Irish Academy for attempting to reanimate the traditional body of Celtic folktales with the power of elcectic multilingual puns, is readying his apoplectic Bloomsday Device for activation on June 16. “Yes! Yes, they laughed at me yes but now yes I will make them pay and yes!” O’Faolin wrote in a letters to the Irish Times, promising the destruction…

9

Tune in Next Week for Gaming Fun

The whole idea of episodic stories was born in the 19th century when the printing press made cheap magazines possible. Writers like Charles Dickens hit upon the idea of delivering a big story in weekly chunks, each with a cliffhanger to keep the audience in anticipation. (The cliffhanger is essentially a technological invention — a direct result of the movable-type press.) Dickens soon discovered that he could now do innovative…