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January 20, 2009
My occasional book the past few weeks has been Basic Writings of Mo Tzu, Hsün Tzu, and Han Fei Tzu (Columbia UP, 1967), translated by the great Burton Watson. The philosophical writing covers from about 400 to 233 BCE.Han Fei is my least favorite; he was of noble birth, and if he were alive today he would have written editorials in support of a Cheney presidency:
January 19, 2009
I’m teaching a new course this semester, and it’s one that requires me to stretch quite a bit beyond my normal boundaries, beyond what Gerald Graff recently called “coursecentrism” on this very site. A couple of years ago, I was part of an ad hoc committee that examined how we introduce students to the English major and decided to change it.
January 19, 2009
When Barack Obama was born, his parents' marriage would have been illegal in Virginia. This Fall, he carried Virginia.I've been accused of being just a little cynical. (TW mentioned that this marks the end of the 8 year long relationship between her butt and President Bush's face. No more annual state-of-the-mooning.) Today, I'm glad to put that aside.We need hope, and we need it now.
January 16, 2009
For those of you who will attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago next month, I hope to see you there. In addition to being Inside Higher Ed’s boots on the ground, I’ll be reading with University of Illinois non-fictionists and serving on a panel with fellow McSweeney’s dispatchers.
January 16, 2009
The poet W.D. Snodgrass has died. Here's a poem of his written in the spring but just as right for the beginning of the year.UD interrupts each stanza with a little interpretation. Go here for the poem unmolested.April Inventory
January 16, 2009
A new correspondent writes:I have a question to ask you and your "wise and worldly readers." :) I'm a PhD candidate in an evergreen social science, and I just taught for the first time last semester. While I loved many things about teaching, the biggest surprise for me was how much I loved teaching writing. I loved marking student papers, trying to teach them about how to structure an argument, working with them on how to craft a better piece of writing and thinking.
January 15, 2009
Once, when I was in high school, I entered a public speaking contest. I think there were four entries, and I came in third, after two people who spoke about the 1969 lunar landing. At one point in my speech, I looked out at the room of teenagers and a few adults and asked a question. In a voice squeaking with stage fright, I posed to the audience “in about thirty years, someone will be sworn in as president of the United States of America. I ask you today; why shouldn’t it be one of us?”
January 15, 2009
(I thought about titling this "Lies, damn lies, and assumptions", or even "Making an ASS of U and ME". So many decisions, so little time. Sigh...)
January 14, 2009
By lucky coincidence one of my closest friends is on sabbatical at the same time as I. Although we joked that we would spend the year together skiing in the Alps and drinking wine, she is spending much of the year with her partner in another state, while my husband’s job keeps me here.



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