Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Picture du Jour
Working on a PowerPoint for the Writing with Style class - to integrate the reading-writng connection with visual reading, Berger's "Ways of Seeing" and found this lovely picture from this website. Perfect! by Jac Martin-Ferrieres, "Paris - Pont Marie" 1932. Apparently for sale?
Paris Boat Scene
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Summer is flying by - - -
What struck me was the EB White connection. Somehow I was never much of a fan of EB White's children's books. Charlotte's Web made me angry. Why was the girl Fern so unconcerned? Much better - more poignant and poetic, I thought, was White's essay "Death of a Pig." It turns out to be easy to find references to this essay online. Here's an excerpt:
I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig and I feel driven to account for this stretch of time, more particularly since the pig died at last, and I lived, and things might easily have gone the other way round and none left to do the accounting. Even now, so close to the event, I cannot recall the hours sharply and am not ready to say whether death came on the third night or the fourth night. This uncertainty afflicts me with a sense of personal deterioration; if I were in decent health I would know how many nights I had sat up with a pig.This excerpt was helpfully posted for English 5730, a class taught by Dr. Richard Nordquist at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. Nordquist also provides short passages with attention to diction and metaphors.
In addition, there's some nice biographical material "Not Bad" on Nordquist's Grammar Blog.
And here, interestingly, is Nick Bergus's blog called "Death of a Pig" named for the essay - and a post on the 60th anniversary of the essay. Bergus provides a full-text link to White's essay that happens to go to The Atlantic magazine and its recent issue on ideas, which our class in "Writing with Style" just happens to be discussing today. So - small world and 6 degrees of separation.
And that reminds me of one of my favorite White pieces, his poem "I paint what I see" from The New Yorker, which I think I must have blogged on in the past at some point. Which again brings me full circle.
So, apologies for a skimpy post, but now, on my way home!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Red Leather Diary
Labels: Reading; Books; Diaries
Friday, July 11, 2008
Getting back to a great thought on Wikipedia
Wikipedia devotes more pages to video gmaes than it does to history. For example, " Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare beats "modern warfare"... 5,858 [pages] to 2,873." This is due, they say, to the fact that while
everybody has power [because] Information is interactive, knowledge is collaborative and history is open source. [Therefore] The nerdy kid next door has just as much influence as a high school teacher; the dorky dude at the comic book shop has just as much voice as a college professor.
Problem is, the nerds and dorks tend to have a lot more free time - and passion - than the teachers and professors. The end result? A hilariously skewed, terrifyingly twisted view of the world in which all the wrong things are deemed "important" and worthy of serious academic discussion.
The conclusion from this might be that this is one more reason why college teachers are right to ban the use of Wikipedia. However I would argue first that quantity of pages does not mean quality of information. Also, this might be one more tool we can use when teaching students what Wikipedia is. Consider that the TV news devotes lots of time to Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears - more time than they do to more substantive issues - but no one seriously suggests that therefore we should not use TV news - well, this is why PBS is more reliable. I have yet to see Paris Hilton featured on PBS.
Somewhere recently I read about an alleged attempt by one or more groups in the Middle East to make a concerted effort to become 'administrators" on Wikipedia in order to lobby for information and entries slanted to their perspective. If I can find this again, I will add it.Meanwhile, the WPA conference in Denver is going very well, with lots of useful and interesting information. Outside right now thunder over the Rockies, though I haven't yet noticed any lightning (maybe the ambient street lights outside the hotel are obscuring the flashes) and I haven't seen any rain (which Colorado desperately needs).
Labels: Wikipedia; Denver; WPA