Monday, October 22, 2007

College Degrees for everyone --

Bob Lenz in the San Francisco Chronicle today points out that "No Child Left Behind" looks backward. Instead, we should look forward and rename our efforts "College diploma in every hand" - the article points out that graduating students from high school with at least 8th grade standards does not prepare them for college. Writes Lenz:
Studies show that the lack of self-management, critical thinking and effective communication skills are major reasons why students drop out of college in their first year. Students also don't get far in college without problem-solving and technology skills, as well as the ability to collaborate and be creative. Meaningful college preparation is less about teaching facts than empowering students to think.
Those of us teaching writing - especially first year composition - at state universities know this to be true. Teaching writing is teaching thinking. Even students who arrive with AP credit in English, struggle in an intermediate composition/argumentation class with adequate preparation in thinking deeply.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Western Writers at OSU

Lucky us - today we have western novelist William Kittredge reading tonight at the OSU Valley Library. I loved his memoir Hole in the Sky (1993) when it came out. Kittredge along with Norman Maclean, Ivan Doig, Craig Lesley, Theresa Jordan (Riding the White Horse Home), and others really define the west for me.

And tomorrow we have Craig Lesley at OSU at 4 PM in the Memorial Union (sorry, cannot find a link) and later at the Magic Barrel fundraiser (scroll down or check Magic Barrel directly for a lovely poster) in Corvallis. I loved his Sky Fisherman and just bought Burning Fences.


Irresistible new word of the day - Neogauchesque.

Who knew? I do try to keep up with neologisms - and frequently ask my friend Michael about puzzling technology acronyms - such as DS and ABFT.(probably not American Board of Forensic Technology or Atlantic Bluefin Tuna - see this link but possibly, in the context of "books on tape/iPod"something to do with a new domain name ABFT that is for sale? According to Technorati, " There are no posts in English with some authority tagged ABFT ."

But this bio for (and by?) Marcello Ballve, who reviewed and praised new books by author Tao Lin in "Literature is Inside of Life Just Like a Tree is Inside of Life," caught my eye more than the review:
Marcelo Ballvé was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1975. In 1982 he left with his family to live in Atlanta, Georgia. In the late 1980s he also lived in Caracas, Venezuela and Mexico City. He has a degree in history from Brown University and a journalism degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He worked as a journalist in Brazil and the Caribbean and now lives in Buenos Aires. He devotes himself to neogauchesque literature and metajournalism and occasionally publishes essays on books, music, art, cities and nature. He has a multilingual blog called Sancho’s Panza where he very slowly digests readings and learnings.
A Google search for "neogauchesque" turns up only one other mention in a somewhat confusing blog post about Ecuador, writing, the Episcopal church and other items.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Diego's Wall - "Do you use any blue? Is it Prussian?"

A nice conjunction of interests recently - my friends Gaby and Simon from England writing from San Francisco that they were enjoying murals by Diego Rivera reminded me to search for E. B. White's witty poem "I Paint What I See" from the New Yorker. When Rivera's mural " Man at the Crossroads looking with uncertainty but with hope and high vision to the choosing of a course Leading to a New and Brighter future" was removed in 1993 at the orders of J. D. Rockefeller's grandson Nelson - partly because the painting included a portrait of Lenin, there was much public protest. The clash of integrity and worker's rights and third world aspirations with the center of capitalism in New York and the wealthy elite is probably no surprise.

Of course this immediate public reaction. Michael Hallinan posts "Art Hits the Wall: Property Rights versus Artistic Expression."

More recently, blogger Lyle Daggett in "A Burning Patience" mentions this incident in his post on Proletarian Poetry.

Wall photo credit via Google Images from the American Studies program at the University of Virginia

Monday, October 15, 2007

Do good intentions count?

I wish someone would invent software that would allow me to post to this blog by mental telepathy. While I am commuting, I have many ideas I want to share, yet when I get to my desk, the emails, phone calls, student visits, grading, articles to read (or write) pile up and my poor blog gets pushed back. But good intentions do count, at least as part of ethos, as I tell my students when teaching Aristotelian appeals. The Greek name eunoia for the good intentions part of ethos seems so intuitive - the opposite of "annoy." Wikipedia's stub brings up some interesting tangents. The Online Etymology Dictionary has no entry. Hmm. And posting to the blog takes more than just 5 minutes here or there - as I have to gather my thoughts - need a Border Collie for that task!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lovely Autumn in Scotland

Marieke's Lady Fern blog is a delight - listen to this recent description of Autumn: "Dry leaves overtake me, racing on the wind toward a quiet grave in a soggy gutter or flinging themselves dramatically over the sea wall. Scattered white horses rear in the bay. " Here at OSU, maples are kindled, tossing red torches into the blue or grey sky, shafts of gold leaves pierce the firs.