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Showing posts from March, 2013

Postman on reading (with annotations)

I’m re-reading Neil Postman’s classic jeremiad Amusing Ourselves to Death, subtitled Print discourse in the age of show business, in which this fantastic writer and philosopher explains why he thinks television, as an entertainment-oriented medium, is unfit for conveying serious thought (like political discourse, for example). In the second chapter he gets into how different cultures’ concepts of truth are influenced by the media that predominates, and through the course of the exploration he makes the following observations on what really is required of a reader:You are required, first of all, to remain more or less immobile for a fairly long time. [RS: Of which I’m incapable. Thus fidgeting.] If you cannot do this (with this or any other book), our culture may label you as anything from hyperkinetic to undisciplined [i.e. ADHD]; in any case, as suffering from some sort of intellectual deficiency. The printing press makes rather stringent demands on our bodies as well as our minds. C…

What I learned #7: About chuckholes

I opened my lovely newspaper Friday morning and was immediately perplexed by the op-ed page. On it, an editorial cartoon poked fun at all the egregious potholes drivers get slammed by on Indiana roads.The cartoon pictured a little fairy tossing potholes onto the roads in front of a driver. The fairy was named – ready?The “chuckhole” fairy.I asked around at work for someone who’s grown up in Indiana and upon finding one such coworker, asked her if chuckhole was a normal word for potholes. She looked at me a little funny and said yeah.I’ve since learned, via Facebook, that the term is strange to some others living around here, yet recognized by a smattering of Ohio friends, too.My own mother said she recognized the term from her hometown.Am I the only one left that didn’t know what a chuckhole was?(And a note: I keep posting these “What I learned” pieces late, so I snipped off the “today” in the series title. Get over it. )

Snowed in

I'm a good driver. Snow doesn't scare me.

Snow that drifts across the road in depths higher than the front grill of my car, however, causes me to think twice about driving.

I met my cousins and some friends for lunch today after church, then headed over to their place after a couple hours of shopping (during which I found four fun belts at Goodwill, yippee!). A few episodes of Doctor Who and Sherlock later--not to mention a lot of browsing Pinterest for pictures of Michelle Obama's and Kate Middleton's styles--my cousin and I decided it was time for me to head home.

So it was 11 p.m. or so and I stepped outside--still wearing my church shoes (a cute pair of heels)--into several inches of snow.

There was definitely no snow on the ground when we came back from town around 5 p.m.

It can't be that bad, I thought, so I backed my car into a slightly shallower portion of snow so I could walk around the car, brushing the snow off the windshield and headlights without getti…

I bought eight books this past weekend.

And here they are:It was a mix of the library booksale and a Half Price Books store where I met an old college buddy; and it was a mix of books I’ve read and books I haven’t but am curious about. I spent about $16 all told, I think.I just have to finish the books I’m currently reading now… but I do so want to start some of these today!(I suppose I should also go through my existing shelves of books and find about eight other books to get rid of. Easier said than done.)

Things you find in a truck bed…

A friend came over to hang out over coffee this morning. (The joys of having Mondays off and friends still in college.) We decided to go out on a walk after finishing the coffee since this weekend is the first really decent weather we’ve had this year.We started down the sidewalk and noticed that Upstairs Dweller’s truck had its lights on. (This is that ancient, two-tone Ford.) Upstairs Dweller was nowhere in sight, so we checked to see if we could turn the lights off ourselves (or he’d be stuck this afternoon with a dead battery).As my friend leaned into the truck to check for the headlights switch, she noticed something odd laying in the truck bed and jumped back, hanging onto me for dear life:A dead coyote.At least we’re pretty sure that’s what it was.Why in the world Upstairs Dweller has a dead coyote laying in the back of his truck…. I haven’t a clue.

Compendium of Links #40

Daylight Saving Time went into effect this morning. Thus, I overslept a bit (despite my alarm) and nearly missed praise band practice. I should go sleep soon. But I have several extra tabs open.38 maps you never knew you needed – including how Google autocomplete describes all 50 U.S. states:Yes, it’s hilarious. The rest of the maps are worthwhile too. Or, shall I say, entertaining. (Via the roomie.)Speculative Faith gathers Christian sci-fi and fantasy writers together, supplying writing tips, thoughts and encouragement. (Via a Facebook group.)Why Facebook might be losing teens. Apparently Tumblr is the next new thing. I so called it years ago. (Well, not the Tumblr thing, but the fact that Facebook’s monopoly wouldn’t last forever.) Via Challies:Ultimately, the day of the overshare may have passed, and bragging online isn't as fun as it used to be. "I think that kids just don’t care anymore," Bois wrote. "They have gotten over the idea of knowing everybody’s life …

What I learned today #6: About space

If you ever watched The Magic School Bus when you were a kid, maybe you remember this bit about Arnold turning to ice: Don’t worry, he thaws out. I always kinda believed that that’s essentially what would happen to an astronaut if one really did remove the helmet out in space.Apparently that’s not the case!A nuclear physicist and wannabe-astronaut I know informed me today that somebody who takes his helmet off in space is probably going to survive for a minute or so (and would thus have enough time to get back into the safety of a ship – maybe).No air, you say? People can hold their breath for at least a minute. Nothing about that changes by being out in space.It’s cold, you say? Yes – around 3 degrees Kelvin apparently (almost as cold as it gets anywhere in the universe) – but it takes quite a lot of time to cool you down when there’s no air hitting you to transfer your body heat to. Not exactly a snap freeze.No air pressure, you say? So you depressurize fast – on earth, it’s called th…

Movie-fast February in hindsight

It’s March 4, and the last day I saw a movie was Feb. 1.Not that I’ve noticed much.The first week or so, I felt like watching a movie almost every night, and had to restrain myself. After that, I kind of forgot that I was purposely abstaining from movies.I had books to read. (I’m currently working on two, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Martyn Lloyd-Jones and The Complete Father Brown collection of G.K. Chesterton short stories. I’m aiming to read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman as soon as I finish one of those two books.)I had an apartment to clean. (It’s clean. Even most of the dishes are done. I vacuumed today, thinking the whole time about things that don’t like bowties.)I had friends to hang out with. (At a friend’s inaugural jewelry party, at a living history fair, at church, at my cousins’ houses, and so on.)I had a church missions conference to attend.I had taxes to do. (Done, but not filed. Yet.)I had a new phone to order, activate and play with.I even had a …