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Rehearsing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is like trying to herd cats onto a grid and make them walk it perfectly.

I’m really enjoying the experience. I’ve made a playlist of all the numbers I’m in, and as I drive or do laundry I’m mentally practicing the choreography. What do we do again after the sunburst? Am I supposed to cut in front of or behind Travis when we zip our two separate lines into a single ring around the ghostly, curse-shrieking, ladder-mounted Fruma Sara? Rehearsing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is…

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The Sentence That Knocked Down the Berlin Wall (But Almost Didn’t)

Words that defined Ronald Reagan’s presidency, as remembered by the White House speechwriter. As a speechwriter you spent your working life watching Reagan, talking about Reagan, reading about Reagan, attempting to inhabit the very mind of Reagan. When you joined him in the Oval Office, you didn’t want to hear him say simply that he liked your work. You wanted to get him talking, revealing himself. So you’d go into…

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Homeownership in America Has Collapsed—Dont Blame Millennials

Yes, the article is interesting, but I’m blogging it for the Jane Austen reference. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a journalist in possession of a negative statistic must find a way to blame Millennials for it. In 2012, Jordan Weissmann and I observed that young people were turning away from homes and cars, the twin engines of the economy. Two years later, the homeownership rate is still declining…

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The joy of text – the fall and rise of interactive fiction

Although the IF community first formed around Inform, a tool for creating parser-based games of the popular sort released by Infocom (Zork, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game, and A Mind Forever Voyaging), tools today are numerous, and many of them bypass the compelling but fricative parser language entirely. For example, in recent years, a free text tool called Twine has exploded onto the creative scene, offering entry-level designers…

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National Day on Writing

NCTE, the National Writing Project, and The New York Times Learning Network invite you to celebrate writing in all its forms: through photos, film, and graphics; with pens, pencils, and computers; in graphs, etchings, and murals; on sidewalks, screens, and paper. This year we encourage you to focus your writing on your community in any way you see fit. Post your writing during the National Day on Writing Tweet-Up on October 20 with the…

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Harvard University says it can’t afford journal publishers’ prices

Robert Darnton, director of Harvard Library told the Guardian: “I hope that other universities will take similar action. We all face the same paradox. We faculty do the research, write the papers, referee papers by other researchers, serve on editorial boards, all of it for free … and then we buy back the results of our labour at outrageous prices. “The system is absurd, and it is inflicting terrible damage…

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Writing a Cutline (Caption): Three Examples

In journalism, the “cutline” is the text below a picture, explaining what the reader is looking at. It’s what most people call a caption, but to a journalist, a “caption” is more like a title, while the “cutline” first describes what is happening in the picture, and then explains the significance of the event depicted. Here, we see a dry, pointless cutline offers nothing at all that the reader can’t gather…