In Defense of the Humanities Ph.D.: It’s No Crazier Than Becoming a Journalist

As my own tenure decision loomed, in my darkest moments I consoled myself by noting that, even if I had been denied tenure, I would have spent most of my 20s studying what I love and most of my 30s drawing a steady salary teaching and researching what I loved, along the way managing, by frugal living and entrepreneurial application of my technical skills, to pay off most of a…


Star Wars, Star Trek And V Author Ann Crispin Passes Away

As a high school student, I wrote a fan letter to AC Crispin, in which I critiqued her capitalization. (She gave me the address of her editor, Ann O’Malley, who agreed to critique a few sample chapters of my in-progress novel.) Crispin wrote several early Star Trek novels, as well as the novelization of the 80s miniseries V, and some early Star Wars novels. I confess I did not read…


Date a girl who reads.

I earned a +8 or +9 spousal bonus when I told my wife this little essay, by Rosemarie Urquico, made me think of her. It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand…


Self-Regulation: American Schools Are Failing Nonconformist Kids

For a while, we were part of a homeschool co-op, where the organizer — a parent to two darling girls who happily sat through lessons — would discipline fidgety boys like my Peter by withholding their recess breaks. During a group activity, I overheard another parent say “Peter, don’t work ahead.” We didn’t sign up for that co-op the next year. “We’ve been around for a couple hundred thousand years,…