Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Life's Little Victories


Electronic note-taking is common in college classrooms

Even though I'm no longer in the classroom, I always enjoy coming across news stories that validate opinions I used to champion back in those halcyon days when I was a classroom teacher.

While I was meandering around the 'net yesterday I came across a link to a story run by NPR back in April. It was about a recent study which provided support for the idea that taking notes on electronic gadgets leads to poorer educational outcomes than taking notes by hand.

That is an argument I made to my peers for many, many years, but to little avail. Some of those colleagues accused me of being a Luddite, which is preposterous. I love tech gadgets, and I support incorporating those technologies in the classroom. I'm just not convinced they should take the place of note-taking and other forms of writing by hand.

Author and editor Anne Trubek has a book coming out next week on the subject, which
I look forward to reading. In the meantime, it's always nice to be proven right, even if
I no longer get to do my victory dance in faculty lounges.

"Do you ever get tired of being right all the time?"

Sometimes it can be a burden, it's true...

Roller Coaster

My beloved Kansas City Royals were back at Kauffman Stadium last night to begin
a six-game homestand. In the first of three games with the New York Yankees, we got
a game with more than its share of ups and downs. The Royals took a 3-0 lead before making the third out in the 1st inning, then went down in order the next five innings. And that was just the beginning of the roller coaster ride that ended with the Royals taking an 8-5 victory.

Now 6-7, 4.37 ERA

Royals starter Dillon Gee pitched six strong innings, holding the Yankees to a single run on just four hits.
LHP Brian Flynn came on to pitch
a scoreless top of the 7th. Then the bullpen made things...interesting.

RHP Chris Young began the 8th inning by allowing the first three hitters to reach base without even putting a ball in play, then giving up a two-run double. RHP Peter Moylan allowed two more runs across on a sac fly and a single. All-Star Kelvin Herrera, who should have had the night off, came in to face the tying run and got out of the jam.

In the 9th inning, Herrera gave up two singles to bring the tying run to the plate a second time, but struck that batter out to preserve the win for Gee.

After going down in order for five straight innings after their three-run outburst in the 1st, the Royals staged one of their patented late-game rallies in the 7th, scoring five runs on five singles, a walk, and a home run.

The three-run home run came off the bat of SS Alcides Escobar, not noted for power hitting, and seemed to blow the game open. It turned out to the game's winning margin.

Every Royals starter had at least one hit, and five players besides Escobar had an RBI.

"Quite a game, especially against another Wild Ca--"

Zip it, ant-breath...

Feast Day

Today is the feast day of St. Jeanne Jugan, also known as Sister Mary of the Cross, founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Jeanne grew up during the harsh persecution
of Catholics during the French Revolution,
and at age 26 she became a member of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary. At 34 she founded her own prayer community with two other women, and dedicated her life to teaching the catechism and caring for the elderly.

Jeanne was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1982, and was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

St. Jeanne Jugan is the patron saint of the destitute elderly.

If the Floppy Shoe Fits

From the indispensable comic strip Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, which you should read every day, as I do (even though Wiley is a squishy liberal).

Until Next Time...

One of the things that makes writing the blog fun for me is coincidences and connections between so many of the topics I write about, many of which I wasn't even aware of until revisiting them for a blog entry.

Yesterday, for instance, was the birthday of film director William Friedkin, director of several of my all-time favorite films. Writing a brief mention of him in yesterday's blog brought to mind his 1977 film Sorcerer, which featured one of my favorite soundtracks, and when I began poking around that part of the memory closet I discovered a neat coincidence of which I was previously unaware...

Original 1977 "one sheet" poster
I went to see Sorcerer back in '77 in part because it was Friedkin, and in part because I was intrigued by the trailer for the film. It was the first film I saw in a theatre following my first wife's death.

It turned out to be nothing like what
I had expected based on the trailer,
but it became one of my favorite movies nevertheless. For a variety of reasons,
it was not available on DVD in true widescreen format until 2014.

Part of what made the film so effective was the haunting score by the German electronic music group Tangerine Dream. As it happens, this week's Music Recommendation is a TV soundtrack by
Paul Haslinger, who spent five years as a member of Tangerine Dream in the 1980s.

Small world, ain't it?

Today's send-off is "Grind," one of my favorite tracks from the Sorcerer soundtrack. Still gives me chills even after nearly four decades. Enjoy...

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