What I Would've Blogged This Week
This week's big discovery regarding the nature of college teaching is that it's probably one of the worst jobs in the world to try to do when you have a really nasty cold. Doing two lectures a day with a really bad sore throat is not pleasant. Throw in a couple of evening obligations that made Monday and Tuesday long days, and a Maryland game one of those nights, and, well, I haven't really been at my best. A phrase which hear means "I've been too dazed to type, let alone write blog posts."
Some recent things that I would've blogged about at length if I'd had time:
- Teresa Nielsen Hayden and the commenters at Making Light on Elmore Leonard's rules for writers. These are, to a large degree, rules that will help one to write like Elmore Leonard, which may or may not be a Good Thing. Pamela Dean, for example, has some qualms. There definitely seem to be more bad writers than good breaking these rules, though, so they're worth a look.
- William Tozier at the recently discovered Notional Slurry has some good posts on the idea of a Singularity, that Ken MacLeod memorably termed "the Rapture for nerds." (Follow-up here.) Drawing a parallel between extropian thinking and Intelligent Design may be hitting below the belt, but his comments fit well with my own feelings on the subject. It's a nice device in a Vinge novel, but as an actual extrapolation of the future? Not so much.
- Slacktivist has a nice post about Bush's dog (unlike that commie Yglesias), which in some ways could be read as a companion to this Izzle Pfaff post on his dog, who was the Best Dog Ever (to him). I whole-heartedly agree with both of them-- Kate is somewhat bemused that I reserve the title of "Best... Dog... Ever" for the dog I had while growing up, who died when I was in grad school. Emmy is pretty darn cute, but she's got a long way to go to catch up. Thus, all praise of her is qualified: "Best dog in the capital region," or "Best Emmy ever."
- I sort of feel like I ought to say something about the gay marriage situation, so here's a link to a post where PZ Myers compares Bush unfavorably to Prince Humperdinck, with links to other smart people saying smart things. But really, the selling point is the Princess Bride reference.
After He Resigns in Disgrace, Commenter tim Can Have the Job
Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige yesterday told the nation's governors that the largest teachers union in the United States is a "terrorist organization" -- a remark that prompted a torrent of criticism and an apology by the end of the day.
Well, at least he apologized. With all the grace that we've come to expect from our high officials, since George W. Bush came along to restore honor and dignity to the White House:
By late afternoon, such pounding had produced a written apology from Paige, although not a more conciliatory tone toward the union. "It was an inappropriate choice of words to describe the obstructionist scare tactics the NEA's Washington lobbyists have employed against No Child Left Behind's historic education reforms," Paige said.
Paige went on to note that he's sorry that the head of the NEA is ugly, and is dressed in comical clothes by his mother. Can we please find some adults to run things in this country?
As always, there's more on Making Light.
The Short Road from Frivolous to Essential
Somehow, I managed to make it through the first nineteen years of my life without an email address. I was twenty-one before I discovered Usenet, and 25 before the Web became a regular feature of my life.
Now, the Internet connection at work has been well and truly hosed for three days, and it's crippling. I can't access my work email (one of three accounts that I maintain) from home, and it feels like I'm one-third deaf and dumb (the cold that has me talking like Tom Waits doesn't help). I can't access off-campus websites from my office, and it feels like I'm half blind (to say nothing of the pain of actually having to, like, do actual work for lack of my usual time-wasters...).
It's amazing how quickly these things happen.