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{ Monthly Archives } May 2010

Have I told you about the “internet”?

There follows an amusing email exchange between a friend and myself.  He and I regularly exchange recommendations for music, movies, games, and so on.  We share a love of JoCo. Him: Did I tell you about the game Portal, which is currently a free download and is awesome? More reason to love it, in addition […]

This week’s tweets

From my twitter feed: What if Ian McKellan had beat out Will Smith for the Fresh Prince? (via boing boing) -23 May I hate the word “nowadays” – 24 May Darwin, the movie: – 24 May A student writes about Shirley Temple: “In all reality she’s dead and thus would probably be unforthcoming.” […]

A Haiku Review of Zombie Haiku

by Ryan Mecum a book of haiku tragedy, death and pathos blood and cool artwork artfully designed journal with poems and sketches photos of the dead two men write the book one crafts haiku as he dies and more after that the other man scrawls plaintive plea to his lost wife before he dies too […]

Raising Happiness

Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for more Joyful Kids and Happier Parents by Christine Carter This book got some nice mentions on BoingBoing and I’ll agree that it’s a good read.  Carter does a nice job of distilling a lot of science that’s been done about the effect of various parenting techniques into ten lessons […]

Garden City

So the summer’s upon us and our garden is waking up. Our plan is well under way, with the lettuce already yielding food (one salad eaten). The peas and potatoes are sprouting nicely. Lettuce and Peas The rhubarb and asparagus seem to have taken root (though the asparagus is being pretty darned lethargic). Asparagus Rhubarb […]

The Eternal Smile

by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim The Eternal Smile collects three lovely short comics.  Each one has a kind of moral or message without being preachy, and each has a strikingly different art style.  The first is a story about a medieval page boy who goes on a quest but discovers something sinister […]

Dealing with student disconnect

Two anecdotes: 1. When I was in high school, I took four years of French.  I started out of interest and a little impetus toward college prep.  I continued because I liked it, somewhat.  Then, my senior year, I took French 4 just to hang out with one of my friends.  At some point, during […]

In which I answer some questions about zombies

A student working on a paper sent me these questions: 1. Where and how did the legend, or belief in zombies begin? People around the world have spoken about undead creatures for centuries — in Europe they were often called _revenants_. But these legends often didn’t make clear distinctions between ghosts, vampires, zombies, and ghouls. […]

Chasing the Devil’s Tail

by David Fullmer Chasing the Devil’s Tail is an historical mystery set in the Storyville era of New Orleans, when prostitution was legal in a specific section of the city and seedy stuff was happening in it.  The story revolves around Valentin St. Cyr, a creole detective who can pass as white, thus giving him […]

The Semester is dead, long live the (summer) semester

At Columbia College Chicago, faculty instructors get a nice break if they don’t teach over the summer.  If they DO teach over the summer, they get a week.  This is the end of that week.  Grading is done, my new classes are ready to go, so I thought I’d take a moment to glance back […]

I told you so…

Jeff’s recent post about Facebook. Here’s one apt paragraph, though the whole thing’s worth reading: The bizarre response to Facebook and issues of privacy baffles. A sense of privilege has taken over the application’s users who believe, because they log in and tell their friends that they “like” something, they are outside of the company’s […]

Columbo, that’s an Italian name, isn’t it?

I finished the second, third, and some of the fourth seasons of Columbo available for streaming and discovered that I’d seen a number of the episodes before.  A couple thoughts about these new ones: In the first season, Columbo pretty much always solves the crime by noticing a few niggling details that unravel the murderer’s […]

End of the World Blues

by Jon Courtenay Grimwood We read this book for my speculative fiction book club and it was an interesting trip, not as thoroughly enjoyed by some members of the club as other books, but interesting nonetheless.  The novel tells two stories, one of Lady Neku, a thirteen year old girl from the far future (maybe) […]


Dreams keep turning up in my reading and watching: Andrew‘s novel, The Dream Thief, has someone mucking around in other peoples’ dreams right in the title. Jedediah Berry’s surreal Kafkaesque murder mystery, The Manual of Detection features a secret corps of dream detectives who follow and spy on people in their dreams. The 4/29 episode […]

Comics round up: Chew and the Boys

Chew, Vol 2: International Flavor by John Layman and Rob Guillory (issues 7-10) Tony Chu, the ‘cibopathic’ detective who gets psychic clues by tasting bits of suspects and victims, wields his tastebuds once again.  You’ll remember from Volume 1 that the comic takes place in the near future, when the F.D.A. has attained authoritarian status […]