8512
Imitation and parody
Eudora Welty and Dick Cavett talk about imitation and parody.
parody  writing 
18 hours ago
In room 19
A younger Jorge Luis Borges meets an older Jorge Luis Borges.
Borges 
18 hours ago
“Entirely made-up”
A made-up deadline, or so it seems.
politics  truth 
yesterday
Sunday in The Trivium
“‘When’ is position in relation to the course of extrinsic events which measure the duration of a substance, for example, Sunday afternoon.”
reading 
yesterday
From the Saturday Stumper
Defeated by a Natick, or at least what I regard as a Natick.
crossword 
yesterday
Words for the day
Mike Rawlings, the mayor of Dallas: “I renew my call for Congress and the president to take substantive action on the mass shooting epidemic in our country. History will not look kindly upon those elected officials who failed to act in the face of repeated mass murders of our children. Spare us your thoughts and prayers and do your job.”
culture 
yesterday
Annals of pedagogy
“The teacher who makes lessons most like games.”
fiction  teaching 
3 days ago
The past plead
Pled? Plead? Pleaded?
usage 
3 days ago
Domestic comedy
“No, I said ‘Laurel.’”
domesticcomedy 
3 days ago
Separated at birth
Steven Isserlis, cellist; Pat Metheny, guitarist.
separatedatbirth 
3 days ago
FSRC: annual report
The Four Seasons Reading Club, our household’s two-person adventure in reading, just finished its third year.
books  fambly  reading 
3 days ago
Shakespeare’s and snails’
Memory, Shakespeare’s and snails’.
Borges  memory 
3 days ago
One Borges sentence
Down in the cellar, there’s “a small iridescent sphere,” “two or three centimeters in diameter,” the Aleph. Looking into it, one sees everything.
Borges 
3 days ago
How to improve writing (no. 76)
I didn’t go looking for a sentence to improve this morning: this one, from David Brooks, presented itself as needing immediate help.
howtoimprove  writing 
3 days ago
From my dad’s CDs
And now, composer, pianist, organist, singer, and bandleader Thomas “Fats” Waller.
family  jazz  music  piano 
3 days ago
Fritzi Ritz is back
Nancy’s aunt Fritzi Ritz makes her first appearance in Olivia Jaimes’s Nancy.
comics  Nancy 
3 days ago
Occam’s knife
The owner of a housewares store speaks: “Between you and me,” he said, “most of these things you can do with a knife.”
kitchen 
3 days ago
Who?
Oh, wait, he’s speaking of South Sudan.
NPR  politics 
3 days ago
Advice from my mom
Always be kind. Be thankful for what you have. Don’t go to bed angry. Always say “I love you.”
Mother’sDay 
8 days ago
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
Talia Ivy Raab is seven months old today.
fambly 
8 days ago
From the Saturday Stumper
A clue that I especially liked, 34-Across, eleven letters: “Stand with tangy products.” And a clue that taught me something: 55-Across, six letters: “First Best Actor/Supporting Actor Oscar winner.”
crossword 
8 days ago
A theory
“This account — as bizarre as it may seem at first glance — is actually more plausible than the story leaked to the Journal, the New York Times, and CNN.”
politics  truth 
8 days ago
Wall art
“This crumbling, beer-splotched wall in the back of a sports bar on East 44th Street is one of New York’s more neglected cultural treasures.”
art  comics  NewYorkCity 
8 days ago
A Mark Trail revision
Mark, are you reading cue cards? Or are you just a big hunk of clip art? Look at Cherry when you speak to her.
comics  MarkTrail  revision 
8 days ago
“We never have any sharp pencils”
Beverly Cleary finds a reason not to write. Her husband buys a pencil sharpener.
BeverlyCleary 
8 days ago
A Gmail problem
If you prefer using plain text in Gmail (as I do),
you’ve
probably noticed odd line breaks in sent messages.
Gmail 
8 days ago
Brooks Kerr (1951–2018)
Brooks Kerr, pianist and Duke Ellington scholar, has died at the age of sixty-six.
DukeEllington  jazz  piano 
8 days ago
Robert Johnson, mortgagor
“She got a mortgage on my body now, and a lien on my soul.”
blues  dictionary 
8 days ago
Mortgagee, mortgagor
Ogedi Ogu, a lawyer, is suing Oxford University Press over Oxford definitions of “mortgagee” and “mortgagor.”
dictionary 
8 days ago
“Plato: Teacher and Theorist”
This paper and its footnotes were to become the stuff of a scene in the 1963 Cleary novel Sister of the Bride.
BeverlyCleary 
8 days ago
“Poet voice”
From Atlas Obscura : An Algorithmic Investigation of the Highfalutin “Poet Voice.”
poetry 
8 days ago
Imaginary elevator
Whatever happens in the aftermath of a recent incident of elevator trouble, it is unlikely to take the form that I’ve presented here. My elevator is entirely imaginary.
academia 
8 days ago
Broadening a point
“Best of all, he assigned original compositions but instructed us never to use the expression ‘broaden our horizons‘ because, he said, æthe horizon is the point at which the earth and sky meet, and it is impossible to broaden a point.‘ I never have, even though I am not sure I agree.”
BeverlyCleary 
8 days ago
Proust auction
Coming soon to the Paris Sotheby’s, the Marie-Claude Mante collection of Proustiana.
Proust 
8 days ago
Elevator trouble in academia
Not every social misfire or misjudgment should lead to sanctions.
academia  jokes 
13 days ago
Barnes & Noble & the future
“It’s in the interest of the book business for Barnes & Noble not just to survive but to thrive.”
books  bookstores 
13 days ago
Recently updated
The Washington Post reports on the one-space-or-two research study.
punctuation  typography 
13 days ago
Dowdy finals
Fountain pens, postcards, bells.
BeverlyCleary  dowdyworld  exams 
13 days ago
“You got this”
Yeah, I got this, says every victim of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
academia  exams 
13 days ago
Imaginary Derby
I watched the Kentucky Derby and began to think about assembling a field of twenty horses. Those horses are now approaching the starting gate.
comedy 
13 days ago
From the Saturday Stumper
2-Down, six letters: “Genericized totwear trademark.”
crossword 
13 days ago
ICYMI
The latest xkcd, “IMHO.” With the two-space, one-space debate.
comics  punctuation  typography 
13 days ago
“God Only Knows”
The BBC Radio 4 show Soul Music now has an episode devoted to Brian Wilson and Tony Asher’s “God Only Knows.” There will be tears.
BeachBoys  BrianWilson  music 
13 days ago
The Jazz Ambassadors
On PBS tonight, a new documentary about a U.S. State Department experiment in Cold War cultural diplomacy: The Jazz Ambassadors.
jazz  music 
13 days ago
Donald Trump is not a jazz musician
Such comparisons are an insult to improvising musicians, who know what they’re doing. They may be working from a set list (of “tunes”). Or they may be engaged in collective free improvisation. Either way, they’re always working with a high degree of sympathetic understanding, attentive to and responsive to fellow players.
jazz  music  politics 
13 days ago
Current TV
As Elaine observed at lunch, “This is the sixth season of The Wire.”
domesticcomedy 
13 days ago
Handwriting on display
Coming in June to the Morgan Library and Museum, The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection.
handwriting 
13 days ago
No, chalk
I was listening to a colleague telling stories of his life. I left to go to a stationery store. Those black-and-white-and-yellow boxes: did they hold Eberhard Faber pencils? No, chalk, the owner said.
dreams 
13 days ago
One space, two spaces
Matthew Butterick of Practical Typography looks at a research study’s claim that the use of two spaces after a period makes text more readable.
punctuation  typography 
19 days ago
Domestic comedy
“We’re all like race-car drivers.”
clothing  domesticcomedy 
19 days ago
Common misspellings
From Oxford Dictionaries, a list derived from the Oxford English Corpus: the hundred most commonly misspelled words.
misspelling  spelling 
19 days ago
Review: To Fight Against This Age
An alternative to this book that might lead to a better fight: Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2017). Where Rob Riemen dispenses platitudes (we must “live in truth,” “create beauty,” “do what is right”), Snyder offers pragmatic advice grounded in recent history: “do not obey in advance”; “defend institutions.” That kind of advice may prove more useful than platitudes.
culture 
19 days ago
Before and after
Before: “The Wikipedia article says . . . .” After: “After some research, I unearthed . . . .”
Wikipedia 
19 days ago
On Duke Ellington’s birthday, a random possible discovery
It may be coincidence, but a phrase that Bubber Miley plays and repeats in a 1927 recording sure sounds like the germ of Johnny Hodges’s “Good Queen Bess.”
DukeEllington  jazz  music 
19 days ago
On Duke Ellington’s birthday
“I am a musician who is a member of the American Federation of Labor, and who hopes one day to amount to something artistically.”
DukeEllington  jazz  music 
19 days ago
From the Saturday Stumper
30-Across, six letters: “Travel channel.” 33-Across, thirteen letters: “Centers for drawing classes.”
crossword 
19 days ago
Today’s Nancy
Today’s Nancy features a chorus of voices praising Nancy’s simplicity. Words, words, words.
comics  Nancy 
19 days ago
How to improve writing (no. 75)
Every time I look at Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo, I end up rewriting one or more sentences.
howtoimprove  writing 
19 days ago
“I suspicioned you weren’t.”
Beverly Cleary and a friend find The Century Handbook of Writing a source of hilarity.
BeverlyCleary  usage 
19 days ago
“Thin it out”
Everything that needs to be conveyed to the President must be boiled down, the former staffer said, to “two or three points, with the syntactical complexity of ‘See Jane run.’”
politics  reading 
19 days ago
Mushrooming
And I thought the allegations were limited to alcohol, Ambien, and Percocet.
politics 
25 days ago
“Say telephone.”
Claudine and I, who were inclined to giggle at almost anything, found The Century Handbook entertaining. We often quoted examples. If I said, “Phone me this evening,” she replied, “‘Phone. A contraction not employed in formal writing. Say telephone.’”
BeverlyCleary  usage 
25 days ago
“Volunteer adjuncts”
Says one professor, “It looks like an attempt to outsource work to unpaid labor.” I agree.
academia  college  work 
25 days ago
“What would I have done without the library?”
Sixth-grade, and Beverly Cleary (then Bunn) has moved from fairy tales to the Myths and Legends shelves of the Rose City Branch Library.
BeverlyCleary  libraries 
25 days ago
“Deaccessioning”
“Worse than a travesty, it’s a tragedy”: Bryan Garner writes about the trend of “deaccessioning” books from university libraries.
books  libraries 
27 days ago
LY 1–7116
An exchange name on the back of a photograph.
photography  telephone 
27 days ago
Learning styles
A study of 426 undergraduate anatomy students finds no correlation between preferred “learning style” and learning.
education  learning  teaching 
27 days ago
Sean Hannity’s “property empire”
And here I was, thinking that Hannity was asking Michael Cohen for advice about buying that cute little split-level ranch in the new subdivision.
politics 
27 days ago
VDP on TCM
Fans of Van Dyke Parks should know that Turner Classic Movies is airing The Swan.
film  VanDykeParks 
27 days ago
From the Saturday Stumper
A neat clue from today’s Newsday Saturday Stumper: 17-Across, ten letters: “Battery side?”
crossword 
27 days ago
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