Those Who Write, Teach

My provost sent this link to the English faculty, inviting us to share our responses. My father succinctly summarized his feelings about my choice to dedicate my 20s to writing fiction. “You’re not living in the real world,” he said. I reacted with a young man’s defensiveness, but in retrospect his assessment seems less critical than a matter of fact. Which is where teaching comes in. It provides all the…

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Shattering the illusions of texting

An informative review of Crystal’s Txtng: The Gr8 Db8, a book I need to put on my reading list.  I’ve said many times that I’ve *never* encountered a student who absolutely cannot switch between txtspk and standard English.  Thus, to unpack that double-negative, I think students can and do regularly make the shift between social texting and more formal writing  — though I do think I’m seeing more instances of…

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Geek Music for Geeks Who Don't Really Like Music

When I went off to college (late 80s) I bought a handful of very cheap classical music cassette tapes, simply because I needed some music I could listen to on headphones to drown out the noise in the dorms.  I’ve also got a CD of classical marches, but again the reason is practical — I put it on when I have to clean up old papers or my e-mail in-box,…

The Corpus Clock & Chronophage

Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking is going to unveil a remarkable clock that has no hands and shows time with the help of light. Known as the Corpus Clock, the machine has been invented by and designed by Dr John Taylor for Corpus Christi College Cambridge for the exterior of the college’s new library building. The Clock will be unveiled on 19th September by Stephen Hawking, cosmologist and author of the…

Online Writing and Culture

What my students and I are talking about in Writing for the Internet often intersects with current events and ongoing issues. Here are a few such issues and reflections. Palin’s Private E-Mail HackedBloggers have alleged that David Kernell, 20, is the one who has claimed responsibility for breaking into the Alaska governor’s e-mail account. (Background and snarking via- Metafilter) Zounds! New “Dit-Dah” Lingo of Telegraph Operators Threatens Standard English! ;-)I…

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Fitting Network TV for a Toe Tag

We don’t have cable TV in my household. Rather than pay the cable bill every month, we buy a few DVDs when they hit the bargain bins, or we just check them out of the library. My wife also makes regular trips to Blockbuster. I’m not a TV-free purist. I’ve even browsed through websites giving plot summaries of Lost and the new Battlestar Galactica, and I’d probably give Code Monkey…

The End

In many ways, things have never been better for book readers. Amazon puts reviews at your fingertips, we have easy access to out-of-print titles through eBay and efficient inter-library loan services, and tons of out-of-copyright classics are only a click away. But as this NYMag article (“The End“) spells it out, the publishing industry is reeling from the changes. The demise of publishing has been predicted since the days of…

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My Son Knows How To Make Me Proud

Peter (age 10, having just read another book on the Civil War): Daddy, what do you know about William TECK-um-suh Sherman? Me: Te-CUM-suh.  Not much. Other than during the Civil War, he lead a march to the sea that split the Confederacy into north and south sections, which pretty much led to the end of the Civil War. Peter: (disappointed) Daddy, It was more like east and west. Me: Northeast…