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Learning Beyond Words

I work so closely with words that I sometimes have to force myself to remember that there are other ways to learn. I saw a DVD of Annie Get Your Gun for the first time, and was sort of struck by the lines sung by the backwoods sharpshooter, “Folks are dumb, where I come from, they don’t have any learnin’.” The show (famous for “There’s No Business Like Show Business”…

Oh my, that is a wide screen, Warner Brothers #TheMusicMan.

#BuckRodgers was fun. Looks like The Music Man is next. Shirley Jones, Robert Preston, Buddy Hackett.#TheMusicMan Cash for the merchandise, cash for the button hooks… Love the traveling salesman opening number. #TheMusicMan It’s like rap, but it’s white guys rhyming about credit and sales territories. #TheMusicMan Hats! Hats and bow ties. Go ahead, surprised and angry salesmen, throw your hats! That’ll show Harold Hill! #TheMusicMan “I’m a stranger in these parts, what do…

Soon I’ll start live-tweeting part 2 of #BuckRodgers , “The Plot to Kill a City”

Soon I’ll start live-tweeting part 2 of #BuckRodgers, “The Plot to Kill a City” Opening chase in a cubicle farm without cubicles.#BuckRodgers #BuckRodgers , my kids warned you guys not to split up. @devolved Arrgh, I can’t un-see that now! Oh, thank you Wilma, for pointing out to the flunky bragging about destroying Chicago that he is currently *in* Chicago. #BuckRodgers Convenient that Huer and Wilma had that particular exposition-full conversation the…

Oh, by the way… I just installed WordPress on this site.

It wasn’t quite the five-minute installation process that WordPress promises, but within a couple hours I had created a new database in MySQL, linked it to WordPress, twiddled my thumbs while uploading a lot of files, and before long, it was working. It took another hour to convert my installation of WordPress from a single-blog site to a networked site (so that I can host several class blogs on my…

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In Which My Son Shares A Dream

I was working from home this morning, when my late-sleeping son woke up and came into the study, wanting to tell me about a dream he had. I was only half-listening, and when after a few minutes he was still talking, I grumped at him and sent him away.  A little later, I came into the kitchen and hugged my boy. “Some day,” I told him, “I’m going to look…

Do Humanities Scholars Need To Know How to Code?

What does it mean to look at the code not just from the perspective of what it “does” computationally, but how it works as a semiotic system, a cultural object, as medium for communication? How does it organize itself, understand itself, think about its own representations, its own capacities and workarounds? Critical Code Studies is the practice of looking at the code that produces and imagines those digital realities, from…

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Amy Chua Is a Wimp

Is Amy Chua a tiger mother, for forcing her daughters to practice music four hours a day, and denying them sleepovers?  David Brooks thinks not: “Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls.” Chua is applying to her own kids the lessons she learned from her parents, and she is preparing her kids to…

Thoreau's Cellphone Experiment

When I teach “Intro to Literary Study,” I ask students to review their media consumption, and propose their own “media fast.” It’s not as simple as simply asking them to sign off of Facebook. For instance, I pointed out that I spend far more time on email than Facebook, so giving up Facebook would be trivial and not really all that challenging for me — especially because it’s possible to…

Space Invaders

Type professionals can get amusingly–if justifiably–overworked about spaces. “Forget about tolerating differences of opinion: typographically speaking, typing two spaces before the start of a new sentence is absolutely, unequivocally wrong,” Ilene Strizver, who runs a typographic consulting firm The Type Studio, once wrote. “When I see two spaces I shake my head and I go, Aye yay yay,” she told me. “I talk about ‘type crimes’ often, and in terms…