I went to a disappointing lecture last night. It was another one of those things I didn’t really have time to do; I should have used the hour and a half in Starbucks reading peer-reviewed papers on the value, or not, of reading aloud to young children: pdfs pulled magically into my little white plastic box through the combined juju of the Starbucks-card free WiFi and the electronic subscriptions of the Mina Rees Library of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. But my pal Dixie had posted (on Facebook, a pattern here?) that she was on her way to hear a neuroscientist talk about God, and (further seductions of that telecom sidestreet) my pal Robin, going as well, found me a ticket.
A few days back, as I have noted, my having no more to do than memorize a list of discredited psychological theories, settle late-payment-charged bills and bone up on media violence, it seemed a good time to upgrade Donkey School’s iGoogle. How happy a boy was I (as you can see below) to discover that avoidance shame in the blogosphere is now as easy as placing a text-box gadget anywhere on your home page and letting it sit there, gaping, disappointed in you.
Rip Van Winkle wakes, comes upon iGoogle gadget, yawns loudly. More to come? Only time will tell.
Dear Mr. President:
A friend who teaches teachers how to teach reading comprehension taught me a terrific expression: “inconsiderate text.” Doesn’t that just nail a particular kind of bad writing? You know, the kind of bad writing in yesterday’s post?
This morning’s Washington Post carries one of those local-news bits that make you wonder why columnists get paid. It’s wry, confident, and breezy in the style that’s dominated feature journalism since Norman Mailer forgot he was a novelist, a style quite naturally embraced by writers whose glasses were frequently snapped by bullies in 5th grade. As so often in matters determined to be of “human interest,” the piece has no discernible news hook. This establishes the writer as a thinker of high order, because who else at the Washington Post has time to address the small corruptions that nibble at the rustproof-undercoat of life as we know it–in this case, the decline of the apostrophe.
The other day, a friend reminded me of a conversation I still can’t remember. My late mother, who as far as I recall never successfully told a joke, once in indirect comment on something I’d said, asked, “Why don’t they send donkeys to school?” Answer: Nobody likes a wiseass.