School Daze

“There are some imaginary solutions, but no real solutions.” – Sal Khan   I heard him say that a while back and thought “By George, he’s got it!” It was in a lesson on finding zeros of polynomials, but his conclusion does have a broader validity, no? If you too are stressed about the lack […]

Cleaveland

America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland. – Tennessee Williams   I spent a few days in Cleveland in June. It really liked it, and into the bargain found the ten-hour drive each way positively restorative. That’s quarantine for you. To my additional surprise, I found […]

Fraternité

Now and then my mailbag fills with queries à la “O! Pete! How might I, like you, increase the brotherhood of man?” Three practical steps follow.   Catch Up Get a spare baseball glove. Playing catch is satisfying and socially distant amusement.   Ides Every 15th of the month, meet up with your local friends. […]

Right Said Fred

I don’t know if it’s the quarantine or what, but the above tweet had some resonance. (NB in the Walter Mitty sense; I have neither the interest nor, probably, disposition to be an assassin.) I’ve been working on a short story and remain displeased with the opening sentence. It’s fine and all, but it ain’t […]

Man, Interrupting

“Tell me I’m not your man from Porlock. I’d never forgive myself.”   I read that in David Mitchell’s Utopia Avenue and was like: huh? So I looked it up. Jeepers! Shared it with my friends, and one one of them, Jim, proposed the term be employed à la Good Will Hunting badinage, e.g. “I […]

Lost and Found

When I first started teaching, I received the gift of a plant for my classroom. It joined me from school to school, from Washington State to New York State to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Then, when my dad went into an old folks home, I moved it to his room, where, after a few months, […]

Shows Effort

… [Jean-François] Champollion had been fascinated with the ancient Near East; he had a gift for learning languages and went on to study, among others, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Aramaic, Syriac (a form of Aramaic), and even Chinese. But his passion soon became Coptic, the language still spoken by a religious minority in Egypt. During his […]