Sunday, March 31, 2013


Why in a card like the one above do we right "may all your wishes come true"? We want someones wish to make them happy, but what if a wish causes an actual disaster. In the article "The Quest for Permanent Novelty" by Michael W. Clune she makes a point about a wish. She uses the example of sitting in the sun, holding your partners hand, thinking how wonderful it is and wishing "I wish this would last forever," but what if it did? What if that wish magically came true you would be stuck in this spot you would be able to move or change what your were doing. It would now be a death trap. A moment like this isn't supposed to be your whole life. It is better to have felt or experienced many great thing and maybe even some bad moments rather than being stuck in what you think is a really good one for the rest of your life. We wish for a reason, but what truly is the reason? The article "Why Do We Wish?" explains how it is what we want deep down in are heart and it is this want of getting to what we feel we need. We may feel like we need to stay in a happy moment or we need some kind of money or fancy object to make us happy, bu really all we need is our own ambitions. Our ambitions are the ones that make us happy to see someone or happy to win a prize. A wish is a waste if we waste our life wishing on something we will really be stuck in that wish and our life will not be what we really wanted. Instead of wishing live life and live life to the fullest and everyday remember to enjoy that memory because it may only happen once in a lifetime.


In the article titled "Glories of Classicism" by Stephen Greenblatt the author writes about the word "tradition". He attempts not to define the word, but instead refers to the etymology of what is suggested when he looks it up and that it says " something handed down from generation to generation." This etymology seems to be right when he looks at the works of literature by authors like Plato and Aristotle that have literally been handed down. But is the handing down from one generation to another is not seen to be all of what tradition means. Some feel a tradition can be a tradition of winning a championship. One group of graduating hockey players at Newington High School in an article titled "Graduating hockey players hope underclassmen keep up tradition of wining ... and yellow hair" discusses the example of wanting their underclassmen to be able to keep up their winning tradition of being the Class III Champion for a third time in a row. Although it may seem like a tradition after winning two year in a row it is possible for this tradition to change, but they have high hopes. Another thing about a tradition is others may wan to change it. For example a tradition known as 'The Running with the Bulls' is a tradition that is celebrated in Spain every year. It may not be a smart tradition though because many people get seriously hurt from this tradition, but people are still stupid enough to continue to do it. This tradition may need to be altered and the picture at the bottom helps to explain that just because something is a tradition doesn't always means it should be continued. The word 'Tradition' actually has a lot to say depending on how you use it.


In the world we tend to keep ourselves occupied with activities. These activities keep us going, but sometimes we don't get to all of them. For example, in the essay titled "The Unedited Man" by John Simon he talks about his attentions when he bought some books to read and never got around to reading them. He later never read the books and instead sold them with some of his other books. These books that were just sitting on his book shelf didn't seem like much, but when they were gone he missed them. The picture below of a bunny is a great example of what we see, but later may also miss.

This picture is of a cute little bunny that someone can go to a store and buy for a pet. Pets fill are lives up with activities we can plan with them like playing with them, feeding them, cleaning them, and other things are all activities we chose to do with our life to fill our extra time. See we remember these times with are pet and enjoy it very much, but what happens when they are gone? Pets don't love forever eventually they have to die just like us. We now miss our little cute furry friend the bunny and have to find something else to do with are time.
A lot of people tend to feel grief after the death of their pet and many don't know what to do with this grief they are feeling. This link is to an article titled "Coping With Pet Loss" and is all about somethings you can do with this grief. It talks about how you and others may feel and how everyone can feel differently. You have a new found kind of emptiness now and although you may have never thought that this one little part of your life could change it, it very well does. Remember to just appreciate life everyday because you may never know when your life is going to change. You can't expect it and you will feel the effect it will have on you as an individual. Everyone is therefore different and it will show you. It may not be a death of a pet, but whatever event happens it can change your life if it is a great part of your life.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Perception is Key

“..Permanently arrest perception at the moment of the first encounter.” said Michael W. Clune in his article, The Quest for Permanent Novelty, Clune in his article discusses the want that many people, especially writers have in terms of, making a moment last forever. Maintaining that perception that made it perfect, but Clune goes on to describe the negatives of forever, suddenly our perceptions change because that one moment that seemed so perfect is slowly becoming less perfect. The article,Your Perception IS Your Reality , by Tony D. Clark, the author shows readers the impact they can have on their own perception,  he describes it has changing your perception. Whereas in Clunes article there was more focus on making moments last forever, Clarks article discusses adjusting your perception to the reality, rather then adjusting the moment to your perception. Clark states, “Think about the story you’re living right now. Who wrote it? Did you consciously decide to create the reality you’re living.” This is similar to what Clune was saying about creating moments that last forever because ultimately you are trying to create a perception that would satisfy the moment. This image, Perception Pyramid , depicts perception phenomenally because: What we say, do, and think all demonstrate how we will be perceived by others. This images is more geared toward outside perceptions ,where you are now adjusting moments, in order to get the right perception. Mainly, because although we may not like it, we will be perceived by a majority of our actions.
Lastly, perception is the thing that makes our moments forever worthy and basically what others use in order to think about us.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Writers at Harvard

This article is about all of the brilliant people who have come from Harvard.  People go to Harvard University for many different reasons.  Some go to be doctors, lawyers, or professors.  Others are recruited to play tennis, baseball,or lacrosse.  They could be writers or artists.  But one thing is for sure-- people that go to Harvard are great.  They could be great at any of these things; studies, sports,or art. but they're great.

(There was a picture of the Harvard shield here.)  This is the symbol for Harvard.  The word Veritas is from Roman mythology meaning trust.  This shows that in order t get into Harvard, you need to be trustworthy.  You also need to trust others.

Harvard Cheating Scandal
This is an article about a cheating scandal at Harvard.  Harvard students cheated and many were expelled.  Those students were admitted into Harvard before they were found to be cheaters and once they were caught they were kicked out.

These sources all show Harvard in a different way.  The first article shows Harvard as a place that is very difficult to get into.  It shows that you have to be great at something to get in.  The second is the picture of the shield which shows the trust of Harvard.  This compares to the first source because in most cases you trust people that you think are great.  The third source goes against those two by showing that people at Harvard may not be trustworthy because sometimes they cheat.  But by Harvard kicking those students out, it shows that even if at one time you are thought to be great or show trust, once you lose it you will no longer be able to go to Harvard.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dickens, Auston and Twain, Through a Digital Lens

The essay, "Dickens, Auston and Twain, Through a Digital Lens," by Steve Lohr talks about five different writers who are all very famous, even though their writings go back to the 19th century. Lohr goes on to describe how these others may have not been the most influential of their time, but they each bring forth different pieces that has helped shape English today. Mr. Jockers, a man mentioned in Lohr's essay, did research on many different authors and found all of the information using a computer. This is where the "Digital Lens" part of the title comes from.

Famous Authors states that there are many authors that have influenced the modern age. Some of those authors are Anne Frank. "The famous authors have gained acclaim for their ability to express themselves in prose in such a way that stirs and evokes strong emotions in the reader be it sadness, happiness, amusement or just something that provokes your thought process, so on and so forth." This means that all of the famous authors who we knew today have all had this kind of response from readers. This is the reason why these particular stories are memorable and contribute to modern society and literature. Famous Authors also states, "The contribution that Famous Authors have made to literature is incalculable." Which can mean that authors will forever be contributing to literature; it is already incaluable.

Los Angeles Times also agrees with the idea that certain authors has helped shape literature today. It states, "The Library of Congress has selected 88 books that shaped America, all by American authors. The first was published in 1751, and the most recent in 2002. Each author is represented only once.." This is a huge deal because between the span of 250 years there has been tons of authors who have contributed to literture. All of them have been recognized by the Library of Congress.
Over the last 250 years in America, at least 88 books, each with their own author's, has shaped literature today. This is how Twain and the others are now seens "through a digital lens."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"The Quest for Permanent Novelty" Synthesis

     "Art is there we experiment with technologies for stopping time that we know...will never work" says Michael W Clune, author of the article "The Quest for Permanent Novelty". Art is definitely the best way to preserve a moment forever, instead of relying on the creation of a time machine to relive moments. A blogger on agrees, saying that an artist "uses his art as an expression of time and preserving it in the physical world". An artist by the name of Nancy Lee Moran does just that. By painting people's portraits, "she hopes to both preserve families' history and tell a story about her subjects' lives". So, by creating art, you can "stop time" and preserve a moment in history for centuries to come.

"Glories of Classicism" Synthesis

     According to Stephan Greenblatt and Joseph Leo Koerner, authors of the essay "Glories of Classicism", the meaning of the word "classic" has changed drastically over time. They claim that "the term 'classical'...has so wide a range of to make it almost useless as an analytical term". states the first meaning of the word "classic" to be "of the first or highest quality, class, or rank". The fact the it could simply mean the first of something demeans its value. Another dictionary site called says that the meaning of "classical" is "of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Greek and Roman antiquity". This definition makes "classical" a much higher quality word. Overall, the definitions of the word "classic" has many different meanings which demeans the quality of it.

Visual Perceptions

     We have all had those times in our lives when we want something to last forever, whether it be a vacation,a song or a big bowl of chocolate ice cream. After awhile that wish for something to last forever does not seem very appealing anymore. This may be because the brain has realized that the initial experience was not as good as you thought at first. In the article The Quest for Permanent Novelty by Michael W. Clune, David Eagleman describes how the first time we see an image our view is vivid and times seem to move more slowly but then the brain decodes the image and the experience is just average. Once the brain has recognized the image the intense sensory image goes away. On the website Visual Perception , it shows how the brain interpret images as whole in stead of as in sections. Our eyes allow us to see images and our brains allow us to interpret them. The picture shows how our brains interpret
the images we see. Without our eye and brains working together we would not be able to have that first time slowing experience.

"The Unedited Man" Synthesis

     "Jacques Barzun was one of America's greatest public intellectuals" says John Simon, author of the article "The Unedited Man". He is not the only one to hold Barzun so high. Joseph Epstein claims, in an article he wrote, that "no intellectual reputation seemed quite so strong, so impeccable, so splendid, as Jacque Barzun's". One of his great achievements it seems, is his accomplishments at Columbia University where he was a professor. He helped to change the "approach to general education there" according to Joe Holley, a writer for The Washington Post. He had "established himself in the national consciousness by 1959" and was therefore put on the cover of Time magazine for his role in American intellectual life according to Holley. overall, this man was a huge part of American intellectualism and made a lasting impression on many people.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Glories of Classicism"- Stephen Greenblatt

Classicism is the ancient Greek or Roman principles and style in art and literature. There are many glories to classicism and many reasons why people adore it so much. But now classicism has a whole new meaning. It evolved over time into something that has no relation to the Greco-Roman world. "classical, the editors acknowledge, can refer to spheres, such as "classical music" and "coke classic..." (Glories of Classicism) But no matter what the old meaning and the new meaning relates to the same thing.

Although the meaning of classicism has changed with time, people seem to be very fond of it either meaning. Another meaning of classicism "means clearness, elegance, symmetry, and repose produced by attention to traditional forms." (Classicism) Some people believe it now has no connection to the Greek and Roman principles and some believe that the "principles of classicism were derived from the rules and practices of the ancients, the term came to mean the adherence to specific academic canons." (Classicism)

The first thing that comes to mind when I see this picture is ancient Greek or Rome. I think of this because of the clothing, the weapons, and the armor on their heads. This portrays classicism because of the Roman/Greek aspect. There is true beauty behind this painting. It took a lot of talent and hard work from whoever painted it. Classicism brings joy and life to people, as this picture does the same.

"Proust is important for everyone" Synthesis

     The education system around the world is not up to par. As put by Letras Libres in the article "Proust is important for everyone", "there's not a single country in the world whose education system doesn't reflect a deep crisis". Countries are aware of this fact, too. In an article by Mihaylo Milovanovitch, he says that a study conducted in 2011 showed that "35% of the world population considered education in their respective countries to be extremely corrupt". Many consider now to be the time for changing the education systems around the world, but why? "If the school system cannot be trusted," says Stephan Heyneman, "it may detract from a nation's sense of social cohesion".

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Dickens, Austen, and Twain, Through a Digital Lens" by Steve Lohr

"The new tools of discovery provide a fresh look at culture,  much as the microscope gave us a closer look at the subtleties of life and the telescope opened the way to faraway galaxies." (Dickens, Austen, and Twain, Through a Digital Lens) Because of this discovery you can see the bigger picture and how a writer really worked. Its like something you've never seen before. Data comes from many sources such as books scanned into a digital form, web sites, blog posts like this, and also social networking sites.
If this technology is booming then, imagine what it will be like in 2020. The amount of big data technology is going to increase by so much more and more every day. This picture shows the increase in technology based on the looks of it today. It can only get better from here on out.
This website shows that big data technology is everywhere and its only increasing from now on. Technology helps you explore and expand on what you are unaware of. Technology is helpful and important to many people around the world and it will only get better and better.

"Proust is important for everyone" by Letras Libres

The word culture has had the same definition forever: the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. But its meaning has changed over the course of many years. Today, culture is the different "aspects of human activity-social, political, religious, sexual and so on-given that culture is something that impregnates all we do in life." ("Proust is important for everyone") Culture also has a great affect on people's lives. 

When looking at this picture, one thing comes to mind and that is the word culture. People of all different races have their own culture whether you are African, American, Asian, etc. Everybody has a different culture but we all live on the same planet, in the same world. It's amazing how different people's beliefs and views on politics, religion, etc. can be so different from one another even though we live in the same place. 

But back to how culture has so many different meanings. Culture is defined as one thing but can mean something different for everyone else. "For some it refers to an appreciation of good literature, music, art, and food.  For a biologist, it is likely to be a colony of bacteria or other microorganisms growing in a nutrient medium in a laboratory Petri dish. " (What is culture) Culture can bring different people together and I think that is why it is so important to people.

Architectures Classicism

       Art has been around for as long as people can remember,  in many forms. Visual arts for example are masterpieces like Roman building which have revolutionized art/architecture in the world. In Stephen Blatts, Glories Of Classicism, Greenblatt dedicates a few pages to classical art, he focuses on visual arts ,for instance, architecture. Greenblatt states: “ Architecture’s classicism is a special case among the visual arts.” By this Greenblatt is demonstrating the ‘classicism’ of architecture and how it has changed the way many view art today. Similarly, “The artistic classicism is marked by its taste for the order, the rules, and by a will to join again with the laws of the ancient beauty in order to lead to an ideal of clearness” stated in the article, Classic Art, by Hachette Multim├ędia/Hachette Livre, the article mentions the ‘classicism’ of art and how esthetic plays a large role in art and how many may view art, whether it be architecture or any other art there is. Comparable to Greenblatt this article understand the ‘classicism’ that comes with art. Next, Roman Architecture and Monuments, by N.S. Gill, in this article centers around Roman Architecture,  she describes Rome's ‘renowned’ architecture and fro instance the  image above (Colosseum) a prime example of  the phenomenal visual arts of Rome.
      Finally, everything comes from a main source, thanks to classic arts like the architecture in Rome, arts like architecture continue to flourish.

Traditional Culture vs. Modern Culture

Traditional culture and modern culture are continually compared to each other. In the article, Proust is important to everyone , by Gilles Lipovetsky and Mario Vargas Llosa, the article states: “For example, the democratizing effect of a culture that extends to everyone, a culture that, unlike traditional culture, doesn't make distinctions, is not monopolized by an elite.” Vargas and Lipovetsky are saying that culture has changed drastically and it has an affect on everyone in some shape or form. Traditional Culture and Modern Culture: Man's Fall from Grace, by Stanley Knick, Ph.D, Knick discusses the the relationship between modern and traditional culture and how it  is sent down through generations,  and how in modern culture there seems to be a separation between personal life and everything else. This article is similar to Vargas and Lipovetsky’s article because both articles talk about the idea of traditional culture vs. modern culture. With culture comes controversy and the image above  (Clash of Culture) is an example of that, those who try to “reenact”-- for a lack of better words, a culture bring up the question on whether traditional culture is being mimicked by modern culture.
At last, modern and traditional culture can be seen going hand in hand  or can be seen negatively because both have an impact on each other.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Why 2012 was the year of the fairytale" Synthesis

     Fairy tales are, and have always been, a very prevalent part of society and culture. This is no surprise - fairy tales are fun to read/watch, and have very "powerful symbolism", according to Andrzej Krauze the author of the article "Why 2012 was the year of the fairytale". This symbolism is important because it helps people to understand society as a whole. The author of the article "Why Do Fairy Tales Matter?" backs this statement up by saying that "we need fairy tales...because we need to understand...society". The morals and lessons in fairy tales are directly related to everyday situations and outcomes. Therefore, by reading them, people can better understand culture and society. The fact that fairy tales are entertaining helps them to spread their message to many people. Some people even go as far as to make fairy tales real by recreating castles, as shown in the picture above, as a way of expressing love for them. So even though fairy tales are fictional, the truth in them is essential to society.

Writers and Artists at Harvard Synthesis

     "Writers and Artists at Harvard" describes the issue of whether colleges should admit students based on creativity as well as academics. The author, Helen Vendler, argues that creative people "are indispensable contributors to our nation's history and reputation." Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a highly regarded and selective school, agrees that imagination is important stating that one factor it holds "higher than all else when it comes to college admissions is creativity." Larry Gordon, a writer for the Los Angeles Times says that colleges are starting to ask essay questions that require a more creative answer than traditional essay topics. He claims that this will help colleges better understand whether a student belongs at a college or not. Clearly, most people agree that inventiveness should be a big factor in college admissions.

Glories of Classicism

     This article, "The Glories of Classicism," by Stephen Greenblatt and Joseph Leo Koerner is about classicism.  It is about The Classical Tradition, a book with about five hundred articles.  It has more than one thousand pages.  All of the articles are about classical things like French cartoon characters and asterisks.  Each of the articles is unique.

     Another source with another view on classicism is Classical New England WGBH.  This source thinks that classicism means classical music.  It has famous pianists that play nice soft music.  Most of the musicians are old either in age or because they are from past generations.  One of these artists is Bach.  These classical artists come from all over the world.  Some are from America and many are from Europe.

When I googled "Classic," many pictures of cars cam up.  Some are pictured below.  When people think of classic they think of old but still in style.  Many old cars are still in style and that makes them classics.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Mystery of Words

Have you even been talking and just thought , where do words come from? Why do we call certain objects such a name? Who invented them and why? The article Glories of Classicism by Stephen Greenblatt and Joseph Leo Koerner gives some insight to the questions that are pondered about words. The word parasite comes from the Greek for fellow diner. One of the most commonly used words " the"  implies that there is a single ancient source from which Western or all world culture comes from. English words can be broken into three different time periods, Old English, Middle English and Modern English. Some words from Old English that we still use today include he, of  and for. Some words that have changed since then are axode which is asked and hu which is now how. The image above is an example of Old English language.  Language has changed from when it was first invented or introduced and will continue to change as the human race evolves. Words may always hold a mystery in them and maybe that is what makes languages so interesting and diverse.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why 2012 was the year of the fairytale

     "Why 2012 was the year of the fairytale" is an essay.  It says that "2012, in Britain and beyond, [has] been the year if the fairytale."  In this year, many original Disney stories have been made into movies.  And some Disney movies have been made into new movies.

      This is a map showing the political side of 2012.  Some may say that it was the year of democracy.  With a close election and much concern about Healthcare and other policies, it was a very big year for the government.

     Before 2012, when people spoke the words "Two-thousand twelve," they thought of the end of the world.  This is a cartoon with a joke about that because the world did not end.  Many people will remember 2012 as the year the world didn't end.

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The Unedited Man

     "The Unedited Man" is an article praising a critic for his bluntness.  This article shows the importance of a critic's job by showing how this critic in particular could do his job so well and have such a large impact.

     This is a picture mocking critics.  It says "Everyone's a Critic."  Anyone can be a critic, they just have to criticize someone for something.  It lowers the importance of a critic's job.  This compares to the first source because the first one makes a critic's job sound important and valuable.

     The third source is an article, "Do We Need Professional Critics?".  It says that critics may not be necessary.  Maybe people shouldn't be paid to critique the work of others.  People, by nature, will read an essay and think of things wrong with it.  They will consider all the flaws and think of how to make it better.  If everyone does this then why to some people get paid to do it.  Is their opinion worth paying for when others' are not?  According to the first source, this critic was so good that his opinions were worth more than others' opinions.  The two sources are in disagreement.

     While the first source sees critics as necessary, the second and third do not.  And while the first and third sources acknowledge critics as professionals, the second does not see them as necessary.  Both the second and third sources think that anyone can be a critic.  If anyone can do their job, they are not in demand.  The first source says it takes a special talent to be a critic and the second and third sources say that only certain people can be critics.
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     This essay is by Steve Lohr.  The essay lists some top authors.  Then it says that a computer said they were not top authors.  Other authors were better and farther ahead of their time.

     100 Greatest Writers Of All Time is an article about what classifies someone as a great writer.  They say that their is a big difference between being an important writer and being a great writer.  Unlike the first source, it does not mention being ahead of their time as a main criteria.

     Tips for Authors gives some things that people should do to be great authors.  This source agrees with the others two that there is a difference in being important and being great.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Classics of Modern Times

Often times, people are inspired by the world around them. Writers, artists, and musicians all draw elements from their world and put it into their craft. Although our modern world is full of inspiration, other people turn to the past to be influenced. In an essay, "Glories of Classicism" the author, Stephen Greenblatt explains how "painting, sculpture, and literature of the twentieth century drew upon the classics to escape from shopworn conventions and to return to elemental truths. This article discusses the many modern musical artists that have been influenced by classical music. Artists like Muse have elements of classic music in their edgy modern songs. The fact that modern artists can still be influenced by classical music shows that work from the past has traveled through generations. Some authors have been so inspired by the past, that they have set their own stories in classical times. An example of this would be the novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevallier. The issues brought up in the novel could have happened in any time period, but the author chose to have it be in classical times. This is because of the unique attention classical times attract. It is easy to see how and why so many of today's artists have chosen to be inspired by the elements of classical times.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Editing of Originality

Many may have viewed Barzun has  being insane seeing that he refused to edit , or have anyone edit his work. With editing sometimes there seems to be a loss originality to ones work. Jacques Barzun was clear indication of what originality was and required as in, accepting your work for what it is and not trying to make it ‘perfect’ -- if there is such thing.
In the article, The Unedited Man, by John Simon, John Simon says, “Barzun, however, one was not allowed to edit.” This demonstrates how Barzun refused any editing to his work , “even down to the last comma” as Simon put it. I may be wrong but I think it was a matter of keeping the authenticity of his work and having that,  thing that was strictly his and not fixed to the likings of anyone else. Which essentially made him and his work stand out from the others. Which brings me to the question of: What exactly is originality? There are so many interpretations of what originality is and one in particular is the article (which includes a video), 'Has Hollywood Developed an Allergy to Originality?' by  Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, in her article she speaks about the loss of originality in Hollywood. Baldeggs article agrees with the idea in John Simon’s article which implies the importance of originality and Jacques Barzun was the essence of originality. Although, both blogs are prime examples of originality, David Michaelangelo Silva believes originality is dead and as always been. In his blog, Originality is Dead, But It's Okay, he challenges the concept  or idea of originality ever existing, he also uses a couple quotes to defend his opinion.
Finally, originality will remain controversial because in society we all have a point of inspiration which influences us to believe we are original, whether or not we truly are, may never be know.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why 2012 was the year of the fairytale

In the essay, "Why 2012 was the year of the fairytale," by Andrzej Krauze, there is a point mentioned that turns out to be very true. On page 3 it states, "It is inevitable that retellings adapt to reflect the sensibilities of the time." This is very much true.

According to Cambridge Companies Online, "Throughout the world, literature for children originates with retelling and adapting the familiar stories of a culture - folktales, legends and stories about historical and fictional individuals memorialised for their heroism or holiness, adventurousness or mischief." This means that it really is inevitable that stories will be adapted to familiar times and situations. This could be especially common in children's tales.

Philip Pullman also agrees with the statement. In his article, "Fairy Tales From the Brother's Grimm," he states, "  “When it’s time to change, then it’s time to change,” they warbled in syllogistic harmony. And right now, culture-makers seem to feel that it’s time to change the classic fairy tale."This statement shows that fairy tales will change with the culture, they will also change whenever they are ready.

Overall, it is inevitable that fairy tales will change and be recreated over time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Building and Rebuilding

In the painting builders are building. This year we have been trying to build on the things that were done last year and to rebuild a few things that did not work entirely as was wished. There were problems with Edmodo and its iPad app last year so I placed the exercises into Blackboard's COURSEsites platform. There is no app to use with this, so we access it through the web browser (as we did with Edmodo last year). In this way it works much the same way as Edmodo but it is easier to differentiate between the different books we work with without the space becoming too clutterered. Edmodo is, I think, easier to set up and as long as student's use the web browser is as easy to use. I have had some trouble getting COURSEsites set up to work the way I want it to, but I think it is now working as desired. We have also had to abandon the Posterous blog site (it might be more accurate to say Posterous abandoned us as the platform, upon being acquired by Twitter, has been shut down). We have moved the class blog to Google's Blogger platform. The students now attach their blog sites (some hitchhike on my site) to Apologia Pro iPad Sua, the site I set up to replace the Posterus site. It seems to be working pretty well. For other things not much has changed.

The rest is about "sowing seeds" so to speak, that is, getting some students to feel comfortable with the technology. Some students embrace it easily and others are a bit frightened by it. Familiarity, it is hoped, will breed some comfort. It has, almost from the beginning, offered a useful alternative to the computer lab, which is often over booked or made unavailable due to testing and the like. There are some things the computer lab, or the desktop computers in the lab, does better than the iPad, especially for doing some of the initial formatting on wikispaces projects. But this is a good thing as an important lesson in this project is to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each technological tool in relationship to the other technological tools. Knowing when to use "this" instead of "that" is a useful piece of knowledge to have. The fear of some students persists through the year, but most are becoming adept at using the iPad and the other tools. The apps and online platforms we are using have worked well in enabling students to continue working on projects after class ends and I get a steady stream of completed assignments drifting in in the course of the day and night, revealing that students are carrying on after the bell has rung ending class.

A Girl Who Demanded School
Kakenya Ntaiy

In this TED Talk a young woman, Kakenya Ntaiya, speaks about her quest for an education and the work to which she put that education. This speaks to the power of education to change not only ourselves but our communities and our world. Often today when education is spoken of it is spoken of in terms of its power to change individuals, to open up opportunities for employment and a comfortable income. This is of course true, but if we are truly and fully changed by our education we do not focus solely on ourselves, we do not become more selfish or more self centered. We also are made aware of the potential our education has to help us change our communities, to work towards building the better world we want, or ought to want, to leave for our children. An education that is truly transformational does not just change our own lives for the better, but opens our eyes to our responsibility to work towards building better communities and a better world for all and not just for ourselves.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Remebering Jacques Barzun

Barzun was a Colombian professor and was the head of the Mid- Century Book Society. The article The Unedited Man by John Simon explains how Barzun always presented himself in the most diplomatic way.  Barzun was a man of upper class who's output on history, society, culture and education was always highest of quality. According to the Boston Globe Barzun was a panel member of the new American Heritage Dictionary, he was the oldest surviving member. Barzun had a strong dislike for the misuse of English and non proper words. Barzun wrote numerous books in his life on word use and his strong beliefs. The picture above is a picture of Barzun working in his study.


It is a known fact that editing your work is crucial to producing a finished piece. Teachers often have students rewrite and revise papers before they are turned in, and bosses encourage their employees to double check their work. Despite this, some people choose not to edit their work at all, because they feel it is perfect just the way it is. For example, Jaques Barzun, a famous writer, did not allow his work to be edited at all. An author spoke of this in an essay entitled "The Unedited Man". Here, he stated that "Everything, down to the last comma, had to be left as it was, even where...improvement was possible". Even though Barzun did not want his work edited, he probably should have considered it. This site explains the importance of editing, and outlines the proper way of doing so. It also explains how sometimes, writers should omit dazzling sentences if they are not completely necessary to the work. Some people find editing so important that they are willing to hire others to proofread their work. This article explains how some people can expect to pay 2,000$ for editing services. Clearly, if someone is willing to pay that much for an edit, it must be important.     

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Electronics and Literature

The technology of our era has changed the way we do many things. It has altered the way we communicate, receive information, and recreate. Recently, technology has allowed people to view literature in a new way. For instance, in this video, college students were able to analyze literature and determine the authors of some of the works. The technology they used essentially allowed them to view passages of text as DNA, and fit the passage to an author's known style. Technology is also changing the way people enjoy literature. Nowadays, many people have began reading their favorite books on devices like a Kindle or an I-Pad. Paper books are becoming less and less popular. This phenomenon is described on this blog. Here, the blogger explains how last holiday season, 42 out of the 50 bestselling books were sold more online than they were in paper format. Another article, Dickens, Austen, and Twain Through a Digital Lens basically sums up this change in technology and literature. The author wrote that "What this technology does is let you see the big picture-the context in which a writer worked-on a scale we've never seen before". Clearly, there are changes occurring in the way we view literature.