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My Tween Loves the “Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go” Series

I’m reading the “Heck: Where Bad Kids Go” books to my 10yo at bedtime. The author envisions prepubescent hell as a kind of eternal middle school, with popular kids and bullies and pointless rules and no hope. Plenty of literary references — the eleven-year-old hero is Milton Fauster, and he has a friend in the underworld named Virgil. Some clever wordplay — not up to the verbal dexterity of the…

Roger Ebert on how the press reports mass killings – Boing Boing

I have no patience for TV news, and feel my blood pressure rise when I see the fear-mongering (“What was the chemical spilled on Route 66 that 10,000 motorists drove over on their way home from work? Will it cause you and your family to die a horrible death? Janice will have that story after this commercial for life insurance!”) I have watched no TV coverage of the Newtown killings,…

Why no new Christmas carols?

Historically it’s been nearly impossible for a new Christmas song to break the impenetrable monopoly of “Away in a Manger” (1885); “The First Noel” (1823); “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” (1743); “Silent Night” (1818); “Deck the Halls” (1862); “Jingle Bells” (1857); “We Three Kings” (1857); “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (17th century); “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (words 1739, music 1840) – all still caroling favorites. Of course, to be…

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A Message from Hester Prynne (Student Video)

Have I mentioned lately that I have awesome students? For a “Creative Critical Presentation” in my online American Literature survey, English major Tyler Carter created A Message from Hester Prynne,  a 9-minute video that explores Hester’s psychology and spirituality, through music, dance, poetry, and cinematography. All the technology Seton Hill offers to its students would be worthless, in my opinion, if we could not point to projects like this one,…

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Let there be light

The Irish have a weakness for puns, and this is as evident in the Book of Kells as it is in Finnegans Wake, although in the former the puns are for the most part visual, for no monk would think to tamper with the Gospel texts…. Thus on the recto of folio 180, a line of text referring to Peter’s denial of Christ incorporates the figure of a hare, an animal…

Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

I love the Onion. “I do not understand,” reads an ancient line of pictographs depicting the sun, the moon, water, and a Sumerian who appears to be scratching his head. “A booming voice is saying, ‘Let there be light,’ but there is already light. It is saying, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass,’ but I am already standing on grass.” “Everything is here already,” the pictograph continues. “We do not…