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April 18, 2009

'Total Effect and the Eighth Grade' — 'No single document shaped my thinking as much'

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Flannery O'Connor's 1963 essay is the document Caitlin Flanagan was referring to in her piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.

Above, O'Connor as a child.

From O'Connor's essay:

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In other ages the attention of children was held by Homer and Virgil, among others, but, by the reverse evolutionary process, that is no longer possible; our children are too stupid now to enter the past imaginatively. No one asks the student if algebra pleases him or if he finds it satisfactory that some French verbs are irregular, but if he prefers Hersey to Hawthorne, his taste must prevail.

No child needs to be assigned Hersey or Steinbeck until he is familiar with a certain amount of the best work of Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, the early James, and Crane [we can quibble with the names; I certainly quibble with Cooper’s inclusion], and he does not need to be assigned these until he has been introduced to some of the better English novelists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The fact that these works do not present him with the realities of his own time is all to the good. He is surrounded by the realities of his own time, and he has no perspective whatever from which to view them. Like the college student who wrote in her paper on Lincoln that he went to the movies and got shot, many students go to college unaware that the world was not made yesterday; their studies began with the present and dipped backward occasionally when it seemed necessary or unavoidable.

The high-school English teacher will be fulfilling his responsibility if he furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present. He will teach literature, not social studies or little lessons in democracy or the customs of many lands.

And if the student finds that this is not to his taste? Well, that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.

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The essay appears in O'Connor's 1969 collection entitled "Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose."

April 18, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MagritteBook

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Laser-etched

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by Dan (below).

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After

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Magritte.

[via laryn.kragtbakker, Robert L. Peters, REVGOOMBA, Pocket-lintincidentist's flickr and Milena]

April 18, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ryan Trecartin is WianTreetin

Took me a while to figure it out but no one ever said I was the brightest bulb on the tree.

April 18, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Pessimist's Mug

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$9.95.

[via Milena]

April 18, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why a dog is better than a wife

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A nice variation on something someone said to me a few years ago, to wit: Why is a dog better than a wife?

Three reasons:

1. When you go out, a dog never asks where you're going.

2. When you return, a dog never asks where you've been.

3. The longer you've been gone, the happier the dog is to see you.

[photo and trunk experiment via Delaney M.]

April 18, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

World's most technical putter — 'The iPhone of putters'

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That's what one reviewer called the Adams Dixx Blu Putter (above).

Long story short: "The detachable computer measures the path, impact position, and face angle of your putts, while other sensors monitor details like hand vibrations. And it will track the progress of your swing as you improve. The putter, available in mallet and blade styles, is USGA approved for course play when the computer is removed."

Bill Pennington reviewed it as follows in the April 13, 2009 New York Times Sports section.

•••••••••••••••••••••

A Putter That Provides Digital Instruction

So you’ve had a few months indoors this winter to practice your putting, but who knows if you’ve been striking the ball squarely, or on the right swing path? Even when the ball rolls straight, most players tend to manipulate the putter club face in all kinds of zany ways to make that happen, which ultimately leads to an inconsistent stroke. If only there were a device that could measure the putter head’s path, impact position and face angle, and then instantly let us know how we’re doing? And wouldn’t it be great if it also doubled as a U.S.G.A.-approved putter for use on the golf course?

Don’t be silly, you say, there would have to be a little computer terminal in the putter for training, and then the high-definition, computerized technology would have to be removable so the club could be used in regular play.

Behold the Adams DiXX Blu Putter, which for about $250 can do all of those things. After a putting stroke, the digital terminal in the club will quickly measure and inform you all about your putting stroke (if you can take the bad news). It also catalogs your personal data and highlight patterns. Try it on practice greens, and if you want to take the putter on the golf course and abide by the rules, you can swap the digital module for a plain module without the technological advice.

The Adams DiXX Blu putter eliminates a lot of guesswork about your stroke. Of course, this being golf, it does not automatically hit the ball in the hole for you.

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$199.88.

April 18, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

forvo.com — 'All the words in the world, pronounced by native speakers'

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Doh.

[via Milena]

April 18, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Coffee Cup Cookie Cutters

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Sweet.

Make cookies to hang on the rim of your cup.

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Set of 4 in stainless steel (one each heart, star, flower and tree): $5.99.

[via noquedanblogs and Milena]

April 18, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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