George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair), 1903-1950
Every semester, staff and instructors at FTCC are allowed to take one class free of charge, and I almost always try to take advantage of that wonderful opportunity. This semester I am taking a class in critical thinking offered by the humanities department. Since learning to think critically is essential to the process of persuasive writing, I chose this class as part of my annual professional development to assist me in improving my English composition classes.
I wrote the material below in response to one a homework assignment in that class. After completing an assessment of our individual learning styles (no surprise: mine was verbal/linguistic, with musical as a close second), we had to answer questions in which we discussed and analyzed our specific results. The final question for the assignment read as follows: List no less [sic] than five reasons why a hot dog in a bun is not a sandwich. Explain your answers. This is my response:
This is a game I won’t play. Continue reading
Posted in critical thinking, education, freedom, language, literature, politics, totalitarianism, word, writing
Tagged definition, language, literature, mot juste, Orwell, politics, word, writing
“Thanksgiving lessons jettison pilgrim hats, welcome truth”
This headline from the Associated Press exploded inside my skull when I saw it three days ago, and in the dust that settled, I read an important lesson about what has been lost as the enemies of American culture have whittled away at the stories that once united us in the effort to make us hate ourselves and apologize for our glorious history. Please have patience, and follow me as I trace the path by which I reached some fresh but troubling insights into our current moment. Continue reading
Posted in culture, current events, divisiveness, education, freedom, history, language, literature, narrative, politics, story
Tagged culture, education, history, identity, language, literature, narrative, story
The day was Friday, November 13. The time was 1:15 p.m. The occasion was my online-scheduled, social-distanced, not-so-express pickupped iPhone 12 Pro Max. With the alternating frenzy and lethargy of the last two weeks, I was uncharacteristically and unapologetically eager to let myself go and have a real treat. And so it was. Below, I am sharing a few carefully curated photos from an afternoon of fun with my new phone–and with Pavel’s version of fun, a few brewskis.
Click on the photos below to witness some of the features of this new marvel of technology and art all in one:
Waiting at the Apple Store, Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh
Hmmm . . . What does “Do I Do” mean?
NOW I understand! Pavel and I have to stand one dumbbell apart.
I certainly understand this one.
Apple employees awaiting the call for the next order.
Yes, I finally got my phone. Those people in the winding queue behind me may still be waiting!
Despite the glorious, almost too-warm temperatures for a day six weeks into autumn, I took off for my late-morning walk with a heavy heart. I was depressed, outraged, and frightened over lost hopes for a return to American values, a stolen election, and Soviet-style intrusions into the lives of patriots only one day after the election has been called. I remain so after my return. However, the catharsis of a brisk walk, the dark tale of The Idiot that I listened to on my AirPods, and unique sights of autumn on Old Beulah Road gave me a needed reminder of my own smallness in this magnificent universe. I realized–nay, I experienced–that there are still moments of startling beauty on the Earth, that there are minute ideas to be examined closely, and voluminous philosophies to be pondered endlessly.
I am posting this photo gallery, largely unedited–the day presented raw–to remind myself and to reassure my readers of the important lessons in our tempestuous times. Continue reading
Altarpiece at St. Mary’s Church in Wittenberg (Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1547)
This post has been germinating almost as long as we–human beings, Americans, North Carolinians, Christians, Episcopalians–have been altering the patterns of our lives and our relationships with one another and with God in response to the novel coronavirus. Other preoccupations, however, pushed it aside. Preparing online instruction for six classes and then conducting office hours and presenting lectures in cyberspace took up most of my time. When I came up (down?) for air long enough to make a post on my blog about the effects of COVID-19, the concern for lost freedom momentarily overtook the more pressing concern for lost faith, and I wrote instead about arbitrary lockdowns, malleable truths, and an eroding Constitution. Continue reading
Posted in church, current events, Easter, faith, Lent, religion
Tagged Book of Common Prayer, COVID-19, Episcopal Church, faith, First Amendment, Kairos, religion, Thomas Cranmer
Below is a translation from French into English of my May 8 post:
Like other writers of the 19th century (e.g. Charles Dickens in England and Alexandre Dumas in France), Guy de Maupassant first published his story “A Vendetta” in a newspaper, Le Gaulois, on October 14, 1883. The story takes place in Corsica in the lives of four characters: the widow Saverini, her son Antoine, her dog Semillante, and the murderer Nicolas Ravolati. Continue reading
Posted in books, education, French, geography, language, literature, review, writing
Tagged education, French, Guy de Maupassant, language, literature, word, writing