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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday potpourri

I'm about to go into lockdown for a big writing assignment, so I'm reading a bunch of stuff before I have to close myself off for a spell. Here's a little of what I'm thinking about today.

Baltimore Sun reporter John Woestendiek had me dreaming of ivy-covered buildings and sprawling greens in his Real Life column, "It's time to take this job and shelve it: True tales from everyday living."
"I had, for the first time in my life, an office, with a view of the mountains around Missoula. I could ride my bike to work. I could walk over to the University Center and get my choice of gourmet coffees for 50 cents a cup. I could root for the Grizzlies, climb up mountain trails just minutes away, amble along rivers through which, get this, clear water flowed. I could walk my dog without a leash - and relate to his joy of being unchained."
Can you see it? I can.

While at Cleveland Heights High School last week, the principal I'm writing about loaned me his copy of, "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong," by James W. Loewen. Interesting reading, especially since I've spent the past week quizzing my high school freshmen on world and American history for his final exam tomorrow.
From the introduction:
"History professors in college routinely put down high school history courses. A colleague of mine calls his survey of American history "Iconoclasm I and II," because he sees his job as disabusing his charges of what they learned in high school. In no other field does this happen. Mathematics professors, for instance, know that non-Euclidean geometry is rarely taught in high school, but they don't assume that Euclidean geometry was mistaught. Professors of English literature don't presume that Romeo and Juliet was misunderstood in high school. Indeed, history is the only field in which the more courses students take, the stupider they become."
The January/February issue of Columbia Journalism Review arrived in the mail today. I'm looking forward to reading Barry Yeoman's profile, "The Redemption of Chris Rose." Rose, for those of you who don't know, is the New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist who wrote publicly, painfully and poignantly about his battle with depression in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Took a little break today and went to Bay Library. I was looking for a book for Mikey, but on a whim I picked up Barack Obama's "Dreams From My Father." Stopped at Java Bay and read through the first chapter. He's a great writer.

Was helping out at Mikey's school library today and the librarian read the book "When Marion Copied" to the class of third-graders. It was and interesting look at plagiarism in a way that young children can understand.

Finally, I've made thousands of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my day and I think it's high time some industrial designer came up with a new type of peanut butter jar that doesn't get peanut butter all over the handle of the knife when you're scraping the bottom of the jar.


Jill said...

OMG - totally on the PB knife thing!!!!

Michelle O'Neil said... Wendy thinking of becoming a college professor?

I can see that!

And yes. A squatty tub of peanut butter is needed.