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How The Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive

In Death of a Salesman, Biff impulsively steals Bill Oliver’s fountain pen. That would be roughly culturally equivalent to a modern Biff swiping a businessman’s custom iPhone case, rather than a modern pen. This history of the ballpoint argues that the new pens cut down on leaks, but in the process made handwriting more physically demanding. The ballpoint’s universal success has changed how most people experience ink. Its thicker ink…

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Thoughtful PopCult Analysis of ‘Peanuts’ Deserves Better than a Clickbaity Headline Hating on Snoopy

On a shelf in the slanty room under the stairs, next to her college textbooks, my mother kept a stash of inexpensive Peanuts paperbacks — dozens of them, which reprinted the newspaper strips, perhaps on a yearly basis, maybe more frequently. I spent many a summer afternoon reading through those books, and I remember sorting the books in chronological order and noticing how the drawing style changed over the years.…

invisible-observer

Updating Journalism Handouts

I’ve spent the afternoon touching up some older journalism handouts, seeing which are still in good shape, which need some work, and which new ones  I’ll need to create from scratch. I realize I’ve never actually written a handout on the inverted pyramid, writing leads, writing headlines, punctuating quotes from sources… of course there are textbook chapters on all those subjects, but when I have the time, I do like…

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Introduction to Twine (Tutorials by Vegetarian Zombie)

I will always love Inform 7, but I chose to develop a journalism training game in Twine (because it will be much easier to teach Twine to my students). To prepare for my game, I spent about 6 hours  (during my son’s last chess tournament) roughing out about 20 lexias. Since then, I’ve spent about 6 more hours turning them into a playable game. Slow going, because every path leads to…