The secret life of a public library security guard

This made me think of a college friend who regularly Facebooks anecdotes about his job as a librarian, and a former student who produces a radio drama about a hard-boiled, square-jawed time-traveling librarian. Enter the library intoxicated and you’ll get a talking to — the warning — and be asked to leave for the day. Petrovich understands that “everybody gonna have booze and come in library.” But if drunkards try…


Reflections on Flannery O’Connor’s “The River”

I’m teaching “The River” today in an “Introduction to Literary Study” course. Demonstrating that we know what to do if we ever encounter such a little boy in real life won’t help us to understand O’Connor’s literary accomplishment. From a Catholic perspective, the mysteries of God are beyond anyone’s understanding. Anyone who prays for God to help them win the ball game (“listen to my prayers, not the prayers of…


We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.

A chemist celebrates the liberal arts. Our culture has drawn an artificial line between art and science, one that did not exist for innovators like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs. Leonardo’s curiosity and passion for painting, writing, engineering and biology helped him triumph in both art and science; his study of anatomy and dissections of corpses enabled his incredible drawings of the human figure. When introducing the iPad 2,…

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Be Kind, for Everyone You Meet Is Misattributing This Quote in a Meme

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. The original, “’Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle,’ was the tender Christmas message sent by Ian Maclaren to the readers of The British Weekly” (1898) uses an unfamiliar definition of “pitiful” and uses the gender-specific “man,” so the modernized version is understandably more popular.

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Forgive and Remember: How a Good Boss Responds to Mistakes

I’m thinking about risk. When my tween decided to try out for a local professional production of Annie, she told me she’d feel less nervous if I auditioned along with her. I found myself muddling through a dance routine, alongside teenagers who have been taking ballet and tap since they were 4. It’s humbling to find myself standing on the wrong foot, or singing the wrong note. I’m a better…