Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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How to improve writing (no. 115) Now with “with Joe and me.”


I drove my friend Aldo to the bus station and drove back to a large room filled with pews — not a church but a meeting room of some sort. I walked to the row in which I had been seated and found the evaluation packet for a newbie professor’s Intro to Film Studies class. The evaluation questions were meant for someone in the class: what percentage of the final grade was allotted to writing, what percentage to participation, and so on. Having no idea what to write, I just wrote OK in the margin next to each question. I also wrote the words retired prof somewhere on one of the pages.

A question about movies asked me to rate two: the Larry David movie Spite and a comedy about three nurses. I gave LD a 10, the other a 4. There were also questions about yogurt and juice, with samples. I skipped the yogurt but tried one juice, which was bland and mealy.

One of the authority figures presiding over the evaluations came and stood over me and asked why I was holding everyone else up. I replied that I had taken a friend to the bus station and was working as quickly as I could. I also pointed out that all the hectoring was just making my work take longer. I said “Yes, I took my friend to the bus station, and now I am planning a great train robbery. Just watch.” I started to write exactly that on my evaluation before realizing that doing so would identify the evaluation as mine. So I started erasing.

Possible waking-life sources: thinking of my friend Aldo Carrasco, watching some of Rosalynn Carter’s memorial service, watching a bit of Hanukkah on Rye, a Hallmark movie about rival delis that made me think of the spite store from Curb Your Enthusiasm, buying a variety of Greek yogurts, admiring a four-year-old’s erasing skills, giving out evaluation forms at the end of every semester but my last.

This is the twenty-seventh teaching dream I’ve had since retiring in 2015. In all but one, something has goes wrong. But at least in this dream I got to see a friend.

Related reading
All OCA teaching dream posts (Pinboard)

[“Only fools and children talk about their dreams”: Dr. Edward Jeffreys (Robert Douglas), in Thunder on the Hill (dir. Douglas Sirk, 1951).]

At another rest stop


They weren’t kidding. But there wasn’t a mop in sight.

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Welcome to Illinois

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Words of the year Now with cozzie livs.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

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A. Leddy The mystery of the name on the nameplate, solved.

Pence, comma

ABC News reports on what Mike Pence told special counsel Jack Smith’s investigators:

Sources said that investigators’ questioning became so granular at times that they pressed Pence over the placement of a comma in his book: When recounting a phone call with Trump on Christmas Day 2020, Pence wrote in his book that he told Trump, “You know, I don’t think I have the authority to change the outcome” of the election on Jan. 6.

But Pence allegedly told Smith’s investigators that the comma should have never been placed there. According to sources, Pence told Smith’s investigators that he actually meant to write in his book that he admonished Trump, “You know I don’t think I have the authority to change the outcome,” suggesting Trump was well aware of the limitations of Pence’s authority days before Jan. 6 — a line Smith includes in his indictment.
“You know I don’t think I have the authority to change the outcome”: and the absence of a comma has the authority to change everything.

Related reading
All OCA punctuation posts (Pinboard)

The doctor is in

[From Mad Love (dir. Karl Freund, 1935). Click for a larger view.]

Peter Lorre makes his American debut as Dr. Gogol.

A pocket notebook sighting

[From Mad Love (dir. Karl Freund, 1935). Click for a larger view.]

Peter Lorre as the skilled but mad surgeon Dr. Gogol. It’s not the notebook he’s after.

More notebook sightings
All the King’s Men : Angels with Dirty Faces : The Bad and the Beautiful : Ball of Fire : The Big Clock : Bombshell : The Brasher Doubloon : The Case of the Howling Dog : Cat People : Caught : City Girl : Crossing Delancey : Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne : Dead End : Deep Valley : The Devil and Miss Jones : Dragnet : Extras : Eyes in the Night : The Face Behind the Mask : The Fearmakers : The Flight That Disappeared : A Foreign Affair : Foreign Correspondent : Four in a Jeep : Fury : The Girl in Black Stockings : Homicide : The Honeymooners : The House on 92nd Street : I See a Dark Stranger : If I Had a Million : L’Innocent : Ivy : Journal d’un curé de campagne : Kid Glove Killer : The Last Laugh : Le Million : The Lodger : Lost Horizon : M : Ministry of Fear : Mr. Holmes : Mr. Klein : Murder at the Vanities : Murder by Contract : Murder, Inc. : The Mystery of the Wax Museum : Naked City : The Naked Edge : Now, Voyager : The Palm Beach Story : Perry Mason : Pickpocket : Pickup on South Street : Portland Exposé : Pushover : Quai des Orfèvres : The Racket : Railroaded! : Red-Headed Woman : Rififi : La roue : Route 66The Scarlet Claw : Sleeping Car to Trieste : The Small Back Room : The Sopranos : Spellbound : Stage Fright : State Fair : A Stranger in Town : Stranger Things : Sweet Smell of Success : Time Table : T-Men : To the Ends of the Earth : 20th Century Women : Union Station : Vice Squad : Walk East on Beacon! : What Happened Was . . . : Where the Sidewalk Ends : The Woman in the Window : You Only Live Once : Young and Innocent

[Deflating balloon sounds]

In Olivia Jaimes’s Nancy , a speech balloon breathes its last.

Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)

Typography of the young

In today’s Family Circus : “Italics make it look like the wind’s blowing.”