I Cannot Begin to Tell You How Proficient I Am in Microsoft Word

Is this satire? It doesn’t matter. It gave me feels. For me, though, it was Word Perfect and Broderbund Print Shop that were there for me as a teenager finding my voice. Bold and italics are the oils that grace my palette. Cut and paste the strings upon my lyre. Fonts, bullets, columns, indentations—these stubborn materials are no match for the alchemy with which I extract meaning and impose order.…

The LA Times deletes tweets that used passive voice, as details emerged about police killing a teenage bystander (while they also killed an assault suspect)

Several journalist-involved tweet deletions occurred in connection with the Los Angeles Times.   Doesn’t that statement sound awkward?   Language like “was shot and killed by police” and “police-involved shooting” downplays the moral choices made by LEOs who aim their weapons at fellow human beings and squeeze the trigger.   If a police report states “a bullet from a police officer’s gun struck a suspect,” good journalists should notice and…

‘Tragedy of Macbeth’ Review: The Thane, Insane, Slays Mainly in Dunsinane

What a headline. The poet John Berryman wrote of “Macbeth” that “no other Shakespearean tragedy is so desolate, and this desolation is conveyed to us through the fantastic imagination of its hero.” The universe of the play — a haunted, violent patch of ground called Scotland — is as dark and scary as any place in literature or horror movies. This has less to do with the resident witches than with…

Florida Woman Bites Camel

Identifying her as a “Florida woman,” as I interpret it, suggests that we’re dealing here with what Newfoundlanders would call a come-from-away and New Yorkers would call an out-of-towner. The tantalizing implication is that a local woman would have known that you could give a truck-stop camel an infection requiring antibiotics by biting its genitalia.

While the veterinarian was caring for the camel, was anyone attending to that Florida woman? She had, after all, been sat on by a six-hundred-pound camel, an experience that has to be at least uncomfortable and probably injurious. A reader has to wonder if she had some broken bones or some cracked ribs or at least a nasty taste in her mouth.

And we still have the deaf dog to deal with. –Calvin Trillin, New Yorker

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Schisms (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 5)

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker is having trouble sleeping, except during Data’s poetry recitation. (“O Spot! The complex levels of behavior you display / Connote a fairly well developed cognitive array.”) As the ship faces a labor-intensive task of charting the Space Thing of the Week, LaForge has made some adjustments to the deflector grid. Riker’s dozing is more than a teaser gag; he reports to sickbay, and snaps at Dr. Crusher…

Letter to the editor: Why our English department deserves more respect

I came very close to accepting an offer to Purdue’s Ph.D. program, so it’s heartbreaking to read about the recently announced cuts to the famous and influential writing program. (What English teacher or writing student hasn’t relied on resources from the Purdue OWL?) [A] university that is only good at STEM education is nothing more than a trade school. I came to Purdue to work in a university, and not…

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Time’s Arrow, Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 26) Data’s head in a mine meets Mark Twain back in time, that’s a-cliffhang.

Rewatching ST:TNG An archaeologist who’s not very good at prioritizing natters on to Picard about finding some old glasses, a revolver, and a pocket watch in an old mine. When Picard asks why the Enterprise-D was recalled to Earth to investigate, only then does the archeologist say oh yeah, here in this old mine that’s been sealed under San Francisco for 500 years we also found the severed head of…

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Time’s Arrow, Part 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 1) Data (fate preordained) scrums with skeptical Twain, that’s a-Part-2

Rewatching ST:TNG Some time has passed since Part 1, as Picard and the away team members, presenting themselves as a theatre troupe, are behind in their rent at a boarding house in 19thC San Francisco. (We already know [s5e16 “Ethics“] that LaForge’s visor lets him see through at least some playing cards, and Troi’s access to emotions and sometimes specific thoughts would presumably help her tell when players are bluffing,…

Axios journalism style delivers traditional news content in scannable format

In addition to the fact that it’s good news that a federal judge is responding rationally to science, logic, and our basic human obligation to care for the most vulnerable members of our society, I’m also interested in the way Axios labels each paragraph of this news story and supplies details with bullet points. It’s an interesting blend of journalism and writing scannable text for busy online readers. Copying and…

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The Inner Light (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 25) When a probe-zapped Picard lives lives snuffed by a star, that’s a-plot twist

Rewatching ST:TNG When a space probe zaps Picard unconscious, he wakes up in a civilian house, where a woman calls him “Kamin,” and says he has been feverish for days.  Out exploring, Picard happens upon a tree planting ceremony. The leader is Kamin’s friend Batai, who answers Picard’s questions with concern. When Picard returns to the house, a relieved Eline feeds him and listens, baffled, to his questions. As far…

Time in AP Style: The exact time is rarely important.

Journalism > AP Style If you need to use the exact time in a news story, AP has a specific way to do it. However, according to the AP Stylebook, the exact time of an event is rarely important in a news story. How you use the time in an AP Style story. 8 a.m. (not 8am, eight in the morning, 8 o’clock, 8AM, or 8:00 a.m.) 10:25 p.m. (not…

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Cause and Effect (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 18) time loop. Ka-boom. The Enterprise is trapped in a

Rewatching ST:TNG A smart, character-driven story that follows the crew of the Enterprise-D through a short time loop (about a year before Bill Murray did something similar in “Groundhog Day”). After a chaotic teaser that ends with the Enterprise-D blowing to smithereens, we get a routine Captain’s Log, a relaxed poker game where Crusher impressively calls Riker’s bluff, a dizzy LaForge visiting sickbay, a humming Crusher hearing odd voices at…

“Your resume is not about you:” Insights from a journalism hiring manager on how to succeed in applying for internships and jobs

Your resume is not about you. It’s about ME, the hiring manager. If I move your resume through the stack, I am attaching my reputation to yours. I am being judged in large part by my hires. Don’t ever forget that. When I am looking at a resume, cover letter and portfolio, I am not looking at what you’ve done. Frankly, I don’t care. What I care about is how…

Appreciating the production values and so-stupid-it-might-be-brilliant comedy in Avatar: The Last Airbender

The daughter is showing my wife and me “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” It’s not easy to find a time when we can all sit down together, but we’re managing to watch one a week. (Today we watched two. Not exactly binge-watching, I know.) I’m not particularly a fan of the weird blend of American comics and Japanimation, but I do like the charming hand-drawn feel. I find myself getting a…

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“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans

If 30% love math, and 30% are neutral about math, then the 40% that hate it could be the largest group, hence the majority. If so, then the headline might actually be brilliant. EDIT: Or not. A “majority” means “more than half.” The word I was thinking of is “plurality.” For the record, editors often write their own headlines to fit the available space, or to generate more traffic. Here’s…

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Conundrum (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 14) You Get Amnesia! And YOU Get Amnesia! EVERYONE Gets Amnesia!!!

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise-D crew finds itself the victim of an amnesia scenario devised by desperate, shadowy figures known as “TV script writers,” who actually give Riker a line complaining about the feeble infodump that shows up in the denouement. Plot necessity provides this week’s baddies with the power to erase all the personal memories of everyone on the ship (including the android Data), and also the ability to erase…