screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-12-32-44-am

Astaire Unwound (Ceiling Dance from “Royal Wedding”)

My high school physics teacher, Admiral Peebles, showed us episodes of this nerdy, awesome science video, which demonstrated what various common motions (a falling ball, a rolling ball) look like from fixed and moving frames of reference. The 1969 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey featured a huge rotating set, a realistic representation of artificial gravity in the interior of a space ship. I pored over stills from this scene a few years…

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-12-02-10-pm

Readers Are Liars: The 1928 Study That Predicted the Future of News

The invention of the telegraph and the syndication of news brought national and even international news to local readers. This didn’t just change how newspapers worked. It changed what newspapers meant. | In the late-1800s, there were papers for every “class, sect, and political group,” Gallup said. Local journalism in that time was easy to do. When each writer was a member of his own audience, he could trust that anything…

William Shakespeare (Portrait)

Imagine, if you will, a Shakespeare course / Propos’d in blank verse like the Bard would write

Verses Proposing a New Course: “Shakespeare in Context” You’ll pick a modest count of Shakespeare plays– Say, five. Three weeks to each you’ll dedicate. One context week, one week on text, and next One week to multi-modally create A research paper, podcast, monologue, Or supercut of twenty diff’rent Lears Who curse their sixty daughters’ cruel hearts. Professional and student actors we will hear, In stagings mounted locally. What’s more, We’ll screen some films that Shakespeare’s paths re-tread: “Shakespeare in Love,” “Forbidden Planet,” “Ran,” And “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are…

img_4683

Scientists Trace Society’s Myths to Primordial Origins

Ancient cultures from Africa to Asia to the Mediterranean share core myths such as the animal pursued by a hunter who is transformed into a constellation, or a sculptor falling in love with a statute that comes to life, or a clever hunter outwitting a monster who keeps animals in a cave. This Scientific American article describes a method to trace the origin of stories through waves of human migration…

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-5-52-49-pm
4

The Rhetoric of Anthems and the Drama of Kneeling

I don’t follow sports, so I don’t feel fully equipped to comment on the issue, but when a friend raised it via an email I thought I’d share my thoughts about the rhetorical and dramatic nature of patriotism and protest. I have often wished I could attend a concert/literary discussion where singers performed the national anthems of countries from trouble spots around the world, and then people from those countries…

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-11-24-21-am

World Trade Center Literary and Cultural Reflections (first posted September 11, 2001)

Not knowing what else to do, in the numb hours after the towers fell, I made a web page that explored the World Trade Center in literature and culture, as well as urban technology in general. I updated it a bit over the next few weeks or months, but have mostly left it as an historical record.    As journalists improvised to meet the public’s demand for online updates (in…