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Happy memories of PC games I played with my son (now 19) sitting on my lap.

While doing some spring cleaning around my computer desk at home, I noticed that there are scores of old PC games that are still stacked up within arm’s reach, even though I no longer even use a computer with an optical drive at that workstation. But these are games that have sentimental value for my son, and though we haven’t played most of them for a decade, they are staying…

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The Language of Gender Violence

Oppressors deny their own agency and dehumanize their victims by using the passive voice. I want my students to recognize this deliberate strategy, and to look for hidden actors and dehumanized recpients of injustice. (I try to teach about active and passive verbs in a more lighthearted way, but I only bothered to photograph and caption sillly Lego scenes becuase I wanted more of my students to pay attention to…

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Peter Sallis: Wallace and Gromit actor dies aged 96 

The voice of Wallace has died. The silly, plummy, character-driven steampunk/sitcom hybrid Wallace & Gromit films were a big influence on the tone of the “Captain Gearhart and the Magnificent Blimpship” steampunk bedtime stories I used to tell the kids.   Peter Sallis has died at the age of 96, his agents have announced.The actor was best known for appearing in Last of the Summer Wine and was also famous…

Shakespeare’s Genius Is Nonsense

Just as comedians generally don’t laugh at their own jokes, Shakespeare doesn’t call too much attention to his own linguistic cleverness, which is one reason his work rewards close scrutiny. It’s not that he was being deliberately obscure or flowery — though some of his obsequious characters definitely exhibit such speech patterns. One line of inquiry into Shakespeare’s language explores how the brain processes sequences of images. As a playwright…