When I write a comment on Facebook or Twitter, I often start with one thing in mind but end up coming up with a different take half-way through. Either one would be nice and punchy, but I like them both. So I mash them up in a way that doesn’t effectively make either point.Continue reading “Bifurcated musing”
Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual sponsored content links!
DEADLIEST SPECIES YOU NEVER WANT TO MEET
9 WAYS YOUR DOG WILL LOVE VISITING NEW YORK CITY WITH YOU
I read an interview recently with a Buddhist priest who was (in 2007) living in New York City. I was taken with this bit:
I think the best appeal of New York is that you can experience many kinds of cultures and meet with many kinds of people from all over the world.
I’m totally Japanese and came from Japan so I stick to being a “100% pure Japanese” here in New York. I believe that is a real New Yorker. New Yorker and “Wannabe American” are totally different. I want to be a New Yorker.
I haven’t lived in NYC, but this general idea appeals to me deeply— not just as a conception of New York, but as a conception of America. Any national pride I feel is for that America, the country that allows people from all over to meet, to contribute, to make something new and wonderful without demanding that they check their differences on the way in.
I have a book called Values and the Future on my shelf which I take down and read short passages from occasionally. In one article, Theodore J. Gordon offers “Forecasts of certain technological developments and their potential social consequences” from his vantage point in 1969. The prospect of wide-band communication systems suggests these possible consequences for education:1
Ready and cheap availability of excellent curricula… might make education a respected and common pastime.
Canned lectures by eminent professors may make TV teaching superior to that in resident institutions.
University degrees will be extended to viewers who complete their courses solely on TV. Residency requirements may disappear.
Back in the halcyon days of three weeks ago, I made this glib but sincere post to social media—
I wish fewer of my friends would make posts advancing some conspiracy theory about the election that they dreamed up over breakfast.
In the meantime, the world has gotten very strange. Election speculation is gone, replaced to a large extent by commiseration, solidarity, and plain kvetching. Yet there have been definite in-roads among my friends toward posting broad conclusions about covid-19.1
I have opinions about elections and diseases, but these are times of great uncertainty. It’s a sign that I’m getting old, I guess, but I have less of a taste for the rhetorical mode of laying down facts under conditions of ignorance than I used to do.
The Introductory Philosophy Quiz has been on my website pretty much since the beginning, and it was a transcription of a quiz that Ryan and I had on the office wall. The following question occurred to me while I was proctoring an exam today, and I couldn’t resist adding it.
Select the best answer.
- A. B is the best answer.
- B. A is the best answer.
- C. There is an instability between A and B; although it is not entirely satisfactory, the best answer is to select one of them randomly or arbitrarily.
I honestly have no idea what ordinary people intend when they use quotation marks.Continue reading ““Proper” punctuation”
One of the regulars at a local game night takes lots of candid photos and posts them to the group’s Facebook page. I idly click through them when he uploads a new batch, looking to see what other people were playing. When I saw one recent photo, I looked at the group of players and didn’t recognize one of them. Who’s that, I thought, before realizing it was me.1Continue reading “An uncanny visage”
This week of posting my favorite holiday songs concludes with one that’s only tenuously a holiday song.
“Greensleeves” has an alternate set of lyrics which are about baby Jesus, making it a Christmas song. But the original lyrics are just more fun to sing, so let’s sing those instead. It has a million verses, but everyone can sing the chorus.
“Good King Wenceslas” (YouTube) is a song I learned in elementary school. The narrative is actually pretty weird. A king’s magical powers are downplayed in favor of extolling charity and sharing.
What sells it for me is the extra verse, which I saw years later in an episode of Phineas&Ferb (Wiki). Buford Von Stomm, in order to establish that he knows the whole story, gives us this:
The words were by an English guy.
The music, Scandinavian.
Wenceslas was five-foot-six.
He kept his face unshaven.
Though just a duke throughout his life,
He always ruled so justly
His kingly title was conferred
Upon him posthumously.