Sunday, December 31, 2006

A poem for New Year's Eve

The ground isn't white with snow. (It's 56°F as I type.) But here's a poem for the day, from Ted Berrigan (1934-1983):

Resolution

The ground is white with snow.
It's morning, of New Year's Eve, 1968, & clean
City air is alive with snow, it's quiet
Driving. I am 33. Good Wishes, brothers, everywhere

& Don't You Tread On Me.
[From Many Happy Returns (Corinth Books, 1969). In The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (University of California Press, 2005), it's in line three is changed to its.]
Related posts
Ted Berrigan, "A Final Sonnet"
Happy New Year (dialogue from the 1954 film Marty)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

My son Ben told the rest of our family that we had to watch An Inconvenient Truth. We did. The next morning we went out to buy compact fluorescent bulbs. We're also walking whenever possible. My hope is that people everywhere are making the same sorts of changes.



The above image is from a .pdf available from the film's website. I'd urge everyone within the sound of my voice to watch An Inconvenient Truth.

An Inconvenient Truth (climatecrisis.org)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gilgamesh travesty

Boing Boing, the website that identifies itself as "a directory of wonderful things," has a link today to something to wonder at -- something so misconceived that it bewilders, and then it bewilders some more. It's a short animated movie from 2004, made by the Department of Veterans Affairs, entitled The Epic of Gilgamesh: Clinical Practice Guidelines for Post-Deployment Health Evaluation and Management (hereafter, GVA). This three-part movie recasts the story of Gilgamesh and his comrade Enkidu (the oldest written story, from ancient Mesopotamia) as a story of war and its sorrowful aftermath. I suspect that Jonathan Shay's work linking Homer's epics and the suffering of Vietnam veterans -- Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America -- prompted this rethinking of the Gilgamesh story. It's indeed plausible to find in Gilgamesh an allegory of the experience of a combat veteran. But this adaptation fails in several ways.

In the original story, Gilgamesh (king of the city of Uruk) and Enkidu journey to the mysterious forest to kill the giant Humbaba and bring back cedar. They behead Humbaba (who, like Homer's much-later Cyclops, turns out to be a rather plaintive character) and cut down every tree in sight. The story seems to combine admiration for human daring with the recognition that it's possible for human beings to go too far (the god Enlil, like the God of Genesis 3, a later story, is outraged by what these creatures have done). Gilgamesh's overarching purpose in going to the forest is to make a claim to fame, to do something magnificent, or die trying, and thereby leave a name that will endure, a name stamped on brick. The hero and his sidekick undertake this journey alone.

In GVA, the journey to the cedar forest becomes a "a great military deployment," the work of an army, a war, an adventure in slaying a demon and acquiring loot in the form of cedar trees (we see one such tree turn into a dollar sign). In the original story Gilgamesh is indeed intent on destroying "evil" and bringing back loot. But in a story about treatment options for American veterans of the present war, these motives look unmistakably like an allegory of the American presence in Iraq. And there's more: early on, we see Gilgamesh reading a to-do list that includes the item "Conquer world." What does such a scene say to American veterans, or to American allies and enemies? What were the makers of this film thinking?

A severe irony-deficiency might explain these problems. Other problems in this movie can be explained in terms of an unwillingness to acknowledge the full truth of the Gilgamesh story, a story that is ultimately about death and the human awareness of death. For slaying Humbaba and for another transgression back in Uruk, Gilgamesh and Enkidu are punished by the gods. Enkidu must die, and Gilgamesh's punishment is to live without his friend, with the knowledge that he too will die. Unable to reconcile himself to the loss of his comrade and to his own mortality, Gilgamesh undertakes a second journey in search of a way out of time. He travels to wise old Utnapishtim, the only survivor (along with an unnamed wife) of a catastrophic, divinely-sent flood (again, the story pre-dates Genesis). Utnapishtim, the great witness to universal destruction, tells Gilgamesh that there is no permanence, that he will never find what he is seeking. After some further complications, Gilgamesh returns to his city and dies.

GVA gives us a war story that shies away from acknowledging loss and grief. In this recasting, Enkidu is inexplicably paralyzed (a vague metaphor for paraplegia? quadriplegia? Gulf War syndrome?) and suffers another unexplained illness before dying. Gilgamesh, wandering, depressed, sleepless, experiencing intrusive thoughts of Humbaba's beheading and his friend's death, suffers from what unmistakably seems to be post-traumatic stress disorder. The profound loss without consolation that we see in the original story (and which, of course, marks the human condition that we share with ancient Sumerians and Babylonians) here becomes the occasion for a grotesquely comic encounter between Gilgamesh and "Dr. Utnapishtim," aka "Dr. U.," a vaguely Einstein-like figure whose name generates lame jokes about me and you. Dr. U. offers no explanation of Gilgamesh's problems, saying only that the diagnosis remains "in doubt," "unexplained," and "unresolved." The acronym PTSD appears on Dr. U's computer screen but is never spoken in the movie. The following image suggests some of the ways in which Gilgamesh can help himself recover:



Or as Dr. U. says while snatching a donut from Gilgamesh's hand, "A few less lattes in the morning." This is the suggestion of a doctor whose patient is tormented by memories of a beheading?

In the final scene, Gilgamesh, now dressed in a track suit and sneakers, goes for a run. The narrator then states that in the original story, Gilgamesh never recovered from his "war-related illnesses," adding that "Perhaps the outcome would have been better if his health-care providers had had access to the new VA/DoD Post-Deployment Health Clinical Practice Guidelines." Perhaps the outcome would be even better if those whose work is to help heal were willing to acknowledge loss and grief as directly as the Sumerians and Babylonians whose story has been turned (with our tax dollars) into a travesty.

Department of Defense remakes Gilgamesh online (Boing Boing)

The Epic of Gilgamesh: Clinical Practice Guidelines for Post-Deployment Health Evaluation and Management (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
Update, January 19, 2007: The three-part animation and an accompanying transcript have been taken offline. They are still available (at least for now) from the Internet Archive:
The Epic of Gilgamesh: 1, 2, 3
The Epic of Gilgamesh: Transcript

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown (1933-2006)



Butane James
The Funky President
The Godfather of Soul
The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business
The Man Who Never Left
Minister of the New, New, Super-Heavy Funk
Mr. Dynamite
Mr. Please, Please, Please
Soul Brother Number One
Universal James

"Where I grew up there was no way out, no avenue of escape, so you had to make a way. Mine was to create JAMES BROWN."

James Brown
May 3, 1933 - December 25, 2006

[Photographs by Howard Bingham, 1965]

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ralph Kramden on Christmas

We now join The Honeymooners, already in progress:

"You know something, sweetheart? Christmas is -- well, it's about the best time of the whole year. You walk down the streets, even for weeks before Christmas comes, and there's lights hanging up, green ones and red ones. Sometimes there's snow. And everybody's hustling some place. But they don't hustle around Christmastime like they usually do. You know, they're a little more friendly -- if they bump into you, they laugh, and they say 'Pardon me' and 'Merry Christmas.' Especially when it gets real close to Christmas night. Everybody's walking home; you can hardly hear a sound. Bells are ringing; kids are singing; snow is coming down. And boy, what a pleasure it is to think that you've got someplace to go to. And the place that you're going to has somebody in it that you really love. Someone you're nuts about. Merry Christmas."
From "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," written by Marvin Marx and Walter Stone, broadcast December 24, 1955

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy holidays



My dad again. Thanks, Dad. (Note the spelling, as in John Deere.)

[Ink, watercolor, and colored paper, by James Leddy.]

More by James Leddy
Boo!
Hardy mums

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The "new" Blogger

I switched to the "new" Blogger (no longer in beta) this afternoon. Alas, the tools that Blogger touts as making blog design easier aren't available to me without a new template, something I have no interest in creating right now. But there's one feature of the new Blogger that's surprising and useful: the search box in the upper-left-hand corner, which in the past offered hit-and-miss results, now seems to turn up all posts containing the searched-for text. And the search returns not headers, but the posts themselves, arranged into a blog page. It's exciting to see posts that have been separated by lengthy (or not so lengthy) gaps in time reappear as parts of a rambling chronology. (Type, for instance, brooklyn, and see what you find here.)

Update, December 22: Things will look strange for a while, and many links are now gone while I figure out a new template.

*

Later that night . . .

I've gone back to my previous template (which, to my surprise, came back with all its links and tweaks). My limited experience suggests that the "new" Blogger, while making some changes very easy, gives the user less freedom in designing the page. I could not, for instance, devise a way to put my name above my photograph without having it also appear below (as part of the text of my "profile").

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Paramus blues

“Rule No. 1 is to avoid Route 17 in either direction.”
A taste of what it's like to live in Paramus, New Jersey, a town of 27,000 with four malls and 2,700 stores.

(Sam Goody's at Garden State Plaza, the largest of these malls, was one of the great culture spots of my teenaged life.)
In This Town, Even a Mall Rat Can Get Rattled (New York Times)

Related post
Record stores

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Richard Rorty on the value of literature

The inspirational value Rorty claims for literature lies in its capacity to "make people think there is more to this life than they ever imagined." He's writing in opposition to what he calls "knowingness," "a state of soul which prevents shudders of awe," that substitutes "theorization for awe."

The following excerpt echoes a passage, quoted earlier in the essay, from Frederic Jameson, who dismissively refers to "prophets, Great Writers, and demiurges," "the distinctive individual brush stroke," and "quaint romantic values such as that of the 'genius'":

Inspirational value is typically not produced by the operations of a method, a science, a discipline, or a profession. It is produced by the individual brush strokes of unprofessional prophets and demiurges. You cannot, for example, find inspirational value in a text at the same time that you are viewing it as the product of a mechanism of cultural production. To view a work in this way gives understanding but not hope, knowledge but not self-transformation. For knowledge is a matter of putting a work in a familiar context -- relating it to things already known.

If it is to have inspirational value, a work must be allowed to recontextualize much of what you previously thought you knew; it cannot, at least at first, be itself recontextualized by what you already believe. Just as you cannot be swept off your feet by another human being at the same time that you recognize him or her as a good specimen of a certain type, so you cannot be simultaneously inspired by a work and be knowing about it. Later on -- when first love has been replaced by marriage -- you may acquire the ability to be both at once. But the really good marriages, the inspired marriages, are those which began in wild, unreflective infatuation.
Richard Rorty, "The Inspirational Value of Great Works," in Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America (Harvard University Press, 1998)
Related posts
George Steiner on reading
Mark Edmundson tells it like it is
Rorty on Proust
Words, mere words
Zadie Smith on reading

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pens, quills, and great big typewriters

In the 1944 film Laura, Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) is trying to persuade writer and radio personality Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) to endorse a fountain pen. But Lydecker is keeping it old school:

LH: Here's what I wanted to show you. It's for the Wallace Flow-Rite pen. I know my company would be glad to pay you $5000 if you'll endorse the ad.

WL: I don't use a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.
In fact, when we first see Waldo Lydecker, he's working at a typewriter, which sits on a swing-away platform over his bathtub.

The opening scene in Laura, in which detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) first talks to Lydecker, is a hilarious clash of masculine styles. Lydecker sits in the tub, with his glasses, his scrawny chest, and his big typewriter. McPherson stands in jacket and fedora, with a cigarette and a small black notebook. The next time you watch Laura, watch for the trace of a smirk on McPherson's face as Lydecker gets up from the tub. Would an audience in 1944 have caught it and understood? I think so.

Update, December 23: I watched Laura again last night, and it's a small portable typewriter, which seems more appropriate anyway.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ballyhoo

I was watching an episode of Ralph J. Gleason's television series Jazz Casual (1962) featuring the singer and pianist Jimmy Rushing, who was remembering his first encounter with Count Basie:

Rushing: Basie was an actor on the stage when I first saw him. And they used to ballyhoo. You know what that is? That's about fifteen minutes prior to the show, they would take a band -- the band would go out from the show. They'd play a number. And a fella singing. People would gather round. He would explain the show.

Gleason: Oh, out on the street?

Rushing: Yes. . . . See, in those days, Ralph, they did a lot of ballyhoo. Whatever place you worked for, you had to advertise it yourself.
I've always thought of ballyhoo as a close relation of such nouns as hoopla and hype. But Rushing was using the word as both noun and verb, and the word seemed, in his use, to denote the act of performance itself, not mere promotion. I was curious enough to look up the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The OED's definitions certainly suggest hoopla and hype. For ballyhoo the noun: "A barker's touting speech; hence, blarney, bombastic nonsense; extravagant advertisement of any kind." And for ballyhoo the verb: "To cajole by extravagant advertisement or praise (after the manner of a barker); to advertise or praise extravagantly." But the OED's first recorded use of the word (from World's Work, 1901) jibes with Rushing's use: "First there is the ballyhoo -- any sort of a performance outside the show." (I've omitted the rest of the citation, which uses the racist terms of the time to describe performances by singers and dancers.) By 1914, Jackson and Hellyer's Vocabulary of Criminal Slang marks the word's move toward its still-current associations: "Current amongst exhibition and ‘flat-joint’ grafters. A free entertainment used for a decoy to attract customers." And by 1927, a Mr. Weiner of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission is calling "Dempsey's letter" "mere ballyhoo." (It seems likely that the reference is to the fighter Jack Dempsey, who fought and lost to Gene Tunney in Philadelphia in 1926.)

Neither the OED nor Merriam-Webster offers an etymology for ballyhoo. The Online Etymology Dictionary notes a village named Ballyhooly in County Cork, Ireland and the nautical word ballahou or ballahoo, meaning "an ungainly vessel" (from the Spanish balahú, schooner), but this site too offers no explanation of the word's origin. The American Heritage Dictionary adds a reference to an 1880 Harper's article describing the two-headed, four-winged "ballyhoo bird," which could whistle through one bill while singing through the other. That'd draw a crowd. The scholarly online archive JSTOR holds five articles spanning three decades (1935-1965), covering (with much greater detail) the possibilities I've sketched here. But still, the origin is unknown.

The use of ballyhoo among performers helps to explain what must be its most famous appearance -- in Harry Warren and Al Dubin's song "Lullaby of Broadway":
Come on along and listen to
The lullaby of Broadway,
The hip hooray and ballyhoo,
The lullaby of Broadway.
Jimmy Rushing (remember him, a few paragraphs ago?) recorded that song in 1956 for The Jazz Odyssey of James Rushing Esq., a great LP now available on CD.
Ralph J. Gleason's Jazz Casual (All About Jazz)
The Jazz Odyssey of James Rushing Esq. (Amazon.com)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"I'll take the soup"

The New York Times gets the punchline right:

Because of an editing error, an obituary on Sunday about Sid Raymond, a comic actor, rendered one of his jokes incorrectly. It was about a son who sends a prostitute to his widowed father, still a self-proclaimed ladies' man in his 90s. The prostitute tells the father that she is his birthday present and promises to give him "super sex" (not that she promises to give him whatever he'd like). The father replies, "I'll take the soup."
I'm glad that the Times made this correction, in what it calls one of Sid Raymond's last jokes.
Sid Raymond, 97, Actor With a Familiar Face, Dies (New York Times)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Eleven pieces for students

Lifehack.org recently put together a post with links to ten pieces that I've written for students (and one by my daughter).

Lifehack also has a brief interview, with my answers by e-mail to Leon Ho's questions.

And now I must get back to work at the Continental Paper Grading Company.

Roundup: 11 Important Student Tips
Productive Interview Series: Michael Leddy

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Overheard

From a conversation in motion, heard through an open window:

"In Europe, a bird landed on my head, by the collar, and I was like . . . ."
Previous "Overheard" posts (via del.icio.us)

Reality trumps satire

Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite? The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said in a recent interview with Congressional Quarterly, a periodical that covers political and legislative issues in Congress.

Unfortunately for Reyes, the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation. In fact, U.S. officials blame al Qaeda's former leader in Iraq, the late Abu Musab al Zarqawi, for the surge in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites.

But Reyes' problems in the interview didn't end with al Qaeda. Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Congressional Quarterly said Reyes responded: "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah," and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"

Reyes' office issued a statement on Monday noting that the Congressional Quarterly interview covered a wide range of topics.
That's from Reuters, not The Onion.
House intelligence chair calls al Qaeda Shi'ite (Reuters)
Update: Here's an interesting article by a Congressional Quarterly editor, first published in the New York Times. The responses therein of FBI officials and members of Congress won't inspire confidence.
Can you tell a Sunni from a Shiite? (International Herald Tribune)

Friday, December 8, 2006

On December 8

On December 8, 1957, CBS aired The Sound of Jazz, whose highlight is Billie Holiday's performance of "Fine and Mellow." I'm happy to say that this performance can be found on YouTube. The version I've linked to below is the one with the best sound- and image-quality.

If you're not a jazz head, here is the sequence of soloists: Ben Webster (tenor), Lester Young (tenor), Vic Dickenson (trombone), Gerry Mulligan (baritone), Coleman Hawkins (tenor), and Roy Eldridge (trumpet). There's also a brief shot of Doc Cheatham playing a muted trumpet obbligato. The other musicians are Mal Waldron (piano), Danny Barker (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass), and Osie Johnson (drums).

Whoever supervised the camera work understood the irrepressible interest we have in looking (no, make that staring) at faces. Watch Ben Webster's quick nod at 1:31 (he seems to be saying "Mmm, that note tasted good"). Watch Holiday's face as she listens to Lester Young, the great friend with whom she'd had a falling out (he had named "Lady Day" years earlier; she had named him "Pres"). And watch Gerry Mulligan's face as Coleman Hawkins solos.

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered. Paul Simon wrote of that December 8 (and of the December 24, 1954 death of singer Johnny Ace) in "The Late Great Johnny Ace":

On a cold December evening
I was walking through the Christmastide
When a stranger came up and asked me
If I'd heard John Lennon had died
And the two of us went to this bar
And we stayed to close the place
And every song we played was for
The late great Johnny Ace, yeah, yeah, yeah
And that's what I know about December 8.
Billie Holiday, "Fine and Mellow" (YouTube, mislabeled as 1944)
John Lennon (official website)
Johnny Ace (Wikipedia)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Ambrosia and the deathless ones

From Anu Garg's A.Word.A.Day:

ambrosia (am-BROE-zhuhuh) noun

1. In classical mythology, the food of the gods.
2. Something very pleasing to taste or smell.
3. A dessert made of oranges and shredded coconut.

[From Latin, from Greek ambrotos, from a- (not) + mbrotos (mortal). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mer- (to rub away or to harm) that is also the source of morse, mordant, amaranth, morbid, mortal, mortgage, and nightmare.]
The Greek gods of course, subsisting on their not-mortal food, are athanatoi, deathless or, literally, not-dead.

I cannot hear the word ambrosia without remembering a weird bit of dialogue from the old television series Hazel. It's been stuck in my head since childhood, "Mister B." speaking to Hazel (his maid): "Hazel, your sweet potato pie is sheer ambrosia!" Pies made from potatoes? Ambrosia? Maids? I remember as a kid thinking that here was a world I would never be part of.

Hazel and Mister B., available on DVD (and still perhaps in re-runs somewhere), are now among the deathless ones themselves.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Robert Schneider sees things clearly

Professor Robert Schneider sees things clearly:

Podcasts of university courses are not "every student's dream"; they're totally bogus, a thin surrogate for real instruction, a fig leaf for disengagement, an excuse for lack of commitment from professors and students alike. People who believe in the transformative value of higher education will resist podcastification with a passion.
I hope that he's right.

Professor Schneider is writing in response to a student-journalist's commentary on said "dream." He quotes from her description:
Wake up for school, stumble over to the computer, and download the day's class lectures . . . then crawl back into bed -- iPod in one hand, notebook in the other.
This scene reminds me in some way of the picture of intellectual and emotional isolation near the end of The Waste Land:
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison
I remember being presented some years ago with the argument that a college course consisting of videotaped lectures was a good "alternative" for students, particularly students who did not seek much contact with professors. "Professor in a can," some of us were calling it (or was it "in a box"?). What would the person "administering" the class (who would not be the professor on tape) do? Give and grade exams two or three times a semester.

As I've written in a previous blog post (about wireless classrooms), technology makes it possible to do things, not necessary to do them. It's possible to be a professor in a can. It's possible to stay in bed and take notes on a voice coming to you through headphones. But there are better ways to teach and learn.

Follow the link for the rest of Schneider's passionate rebuttal of what he calls "dystopian nonsense."
The Attack of the Pod People (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Curiosity and its discontents

My son Ben just came in with some interesting news: he wants to write an article for the high-school page in our local newspaper comparing high-school life in 1956 and 2006. To write this piece, he proposes to study the 1956-57 yearbook (available in the school office).

His teacher told him that "No one would be interested" in reading such an article. He's going to write it anyway, and fight the power that be.

Go Ben!

Another word from the Greek

It's Merriam-Webster's word of the day:

symposium \sim-POH-zee-um\ noun
*1 : a social gathering at which there is free interchange of ideas
2 a : a formal meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics b : a collection of opinions on a subject; especially : one published by a periodical
3 : discussion

Example sentence: The symposium gave Eduardo and other writers the chance to listen to and share new ideas about literature.

Did you know? It was drinking more than thinking that drew people to the original symposia and that gave us the word "symposium." The ancient Greeks would often follow a banquet with a drinking party they called a "symposion." That name came from "sympinein," a verb that combines "pinein," meaning "to drink," with the prefix "syn-," meaning "together." Originally, English speakers only used "symposium" to refer to such an ancient Greek party, but in the 18th century British gentlemen's clubs started using the word for gatherings in which intellectual conversation was fueled by drinking. By the 19th century, "symposium" had gained the more sober sense we know today, describing meetings in which the focus is more on the exchange of ideas and less on imbibing.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
I can remember as a (naïve) college freshman being baffled by the drinking in Plato's Symposium. This was philosophy? Huh?
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

Monday, December 4, 2006

"Analog geezer"

From the New York Times:

Variety recently published an obituary for the VHS format: "VHS, 30, dies of loneliness." If there's a format heaven, you'd expect VHS to be joining audiocassettes there. At age 42, cassettes predate VHS and have been pummeled by CDs and digital downloads.

But the cassette just won't seem to die.
The article goes on to explain why.
The Analog Geezer That Keeps Working (New York Times)
And a related link, with photographs showing "the amazing beauty and (sometimes) weirdness found in the designs of the common audio tape cassette":
tapedeck.org

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Readers and writers

L. Lee Lowe went exploring in the NCSA glossary and came back with treasures: ghost icon, passive gateway, shadow widget.

Most interesting of all, Lee says, is the explanation of readers and writers. See what she found by following the link.

Ghost icon and the love of dictionaries (from lowebrow)

Britney Spears and Sophocles



Christie's auction house explains:

A page taken from Britney Spears' junior high school notebook containing her handwritten review of Rex Warner's translation of Sophocles' story Antigone, written in black ballpoint pen on either side of the page, Britney's review annotated by her teacher with corrections to her spelling and comments including Nice cover Organized Watch your spelling and Write more neatly and her grade: 88; and a corresponding piece of yellow card decorated with the book's title Antigone in black felt pen -- 12x9in. (30.5x20.8cm.)
This item was offered in an on-line auction to raise money for the Britney Spears Foundation.

I especially like "He get's scared to he lets her go. NO" "To where" is the horrendous idiom the writer is in search of. Note though that in addition to letting the apostrophe go, the teacher has no offered no suggestion as to how one might reconstruct this sentence. Perhaps the teacher was so tired of grading to where they just couldn't bother. (I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.)

And was it Britney or her teacher who appears to have added Rex Warner's name (not Sophocles') at the top? The ink seems to match the teacher's corrections, and the capital R looks pretty old-fashioned. We'll just have to wonder: the bidding is closed.
Britney Spears' Antigone (Christie's, via Gawker)

Tables for studying

Just in time for final examinations: Anastasia at Lawsagna took the idea of granularity and created tables with which students can plan out their studying by subject and by time available. These tables are quite nifty if you feel at home doing such planning on the computer. You can download the Excel file by following the link to her post.

Strategies and tools to plan your exam preparation (Lawsagna)

Friday, December 1, 2006

Hello, Boing Boing readers

Welcome to my blog. Enjoy your stay, and as the signs say, Please Come Again!

(If you're wondering what this post is about, I've been Boing Boinged.)