A salute lost to history

History is complex and baffling and fascinating. Reading this (an explanation that the stiff-arm salute that we now identify with the Nazis was a general gesture that was common in America before WWII) made my head spin almost as much as reading about the myth of 8 unbroken hours of sleep. A group of about 50 children is raising and saluting the American flag. It is not the customary military…


Ursula K. Le Guin: A Personal Take on Go Set a Watchman

  Before Watchman was published, I was skeptical and unhappy — all the publicity made it sound like nothing but a clever lawyer and a greedy publisher in cahoots to exploit an old woman. Now, having read the book, I glimpse a different tragedy. Lee was a young writer on a roll, with several novels in mind to write after this one. She wrote none of them. Silence, lifelong. I…

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Here’s What Happens in the Hour After You Drink a Can of Coke (and What Happened to Me When I Tried It)

As a kid, I remember liking the famous “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” commercial. As a teenager, I remember seeing a series of Coke ads in the summer, with the theme of “It’s too hot, look at these pictures of happy people in the snow, buy a Coke,” and then 6 months later I remember seeing commercials with the theme “It’s too cold, look at these happy…


Filmmakers fighting “Happy Birthday” copyright find their “smoking gun”

Who owns the copyright to the “Happy Birthday” song? According to Snopes: Summy-Birchard, a subsidiary of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, now claims to be the sole owner of copyright to the song “Happy Birthday to You” and collects an estimated $2 million per year in licensing fees (a portion of which are paid to Association for Childhood Education International) on that basis, and they…

Oh No You Didn't

Misleading Publisher Email Promises Paid Stipend, Delivers Lottery

An email from a reputable higher education publisher just landed in my inbox. “Paid Invitation to Review Digital, Print Products.” But the actually messages says “If you complete the survey by July 21st, 2015, your name will be entered into a drawing to receive one of three $50 Visa Gift Cards.” Hm… how would Reputable Academic Publisher like it if I “paid” for their products by taking dozens of titles from their…

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Two Cheers for the Middle Ages! by Eric Christiansen

I love good writing. “Even those who doubt that hot air is the best way of defeating hot air will be impressed by the main body of the work…” Prejudice against the medieval runs deep…. Remember those angels dancing on a pinpoint? They still dance for those who believe that the medieval schools were engaged in a wasted intellectual effort. | Unfair! the medievalists have shouted, from the days when…