Friday, October 31, 2008

Spelling Reform

A prof from Portland State visited the Scripps National Spelling Bee and covered the passionate spelling reform advocates who tried to draw attention to their cause. Fascinating piece. Paul Collins, Buzzkill, The Believer, Sept. 2008. (Scott Simon intervieweds Collin on Weekend Edition Sept. 6.)

I'm a member of the elite -- the highly educated people who can read English fluently and spell nearly everything easily. I wince when I see misplaced apostrophes ("Breakfast special: pancake's and egg's") and misspellings. But I really understand how nutty our language is, and I'm reminded each week when I tutor kids at YTP. Wouldn't it be great if we could make it easier for children and immigrants to learn English and experience all the rewards of literacy?

But in the meantime, I want to have the kids learn every fussy rule so that people who read what they write will see that they are intelligent and their work is worth reading.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Education? What sort of thing is that?

Nice opinion piece by the president of Seattle Prep: Kent Hickey, Education? What sort of thing is that? | Seattle Times Newspaper, Sept. 16, 2008:
Increasingly, we are ignoring the miracle of learning deep reading, thoughtful writing, analysis and reflection, and focusing our attention only on its trappings: inclusion on some lists (best of), exclusion from others (failing schools), and using technology as window dressing instead of as a tool to help learners.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Marching Band! Right Here!

One day (it was June 7), the Roosevelt High School Marching Band marched right up our street!

Mary got out the camera.

I was just driving home from someplace, so I missed the band on our street, but I was thrilled to see it on 15th.

(My band never marches, of course, but it is exciting to see a band that does.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Aging Brains Take In More Information, Studies Show - Health -

Aging Brains Take In More Information, Studies Show -, May 20, 2008:
When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong.

Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit.
For years I've waged a small personal campaign to have people stop saying "senior moment" only when they forget a word because it should also include times when they make a good judgment or feel compassion because of their experience.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Beagle Protects Publisher

A few words about Bill Cohen [cofounder of The Haworth Press, the publisher of Legal Reference Services Quarterly] are in order. Bill is a creative fellow with a fine sense of humor. He often drove me crazy and we had epic battles about publication delays, pricing, double issues, and typos. Once Bill sent me a picture of his dog, a very sweet beagle, and told me to look at it before I called him. He wanted me to ponder whether I should yell at the man who fed such a sweet dog. I actually used this method and it did help.
Bob Berring, Guest Editorial, Legal Reference Services Q., v. 25 no. 4, 2006, at 1, 2-3.

See how much good a dog can do?

In honor of Bill Cohen's dog, here's a portrait of the late Bradwell in repose (as she spent a good part of the time during her later years) (she had the cutest little snore!):

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Five Local Cops Read

The Seattle Times has a charming feature interviewing five local cops about the books they read. (The last question also asks what they write -- besides crime reports, one has written novels and one just finished a dissertation.) Jennifer Sullivan, By-the-Book Cops - and Their Lit Picks, Seattle Times, March 23, 2008.

Monday, March 17, 2008

King County Equity and Social Justice Initiative

Jerry Large's column this morning was about King County's Equity and Social Justice Initiative. From the initiative's website:
The King County Equity and Social Justice Initiative takes aim at long-standing and persistent local inequities and injustices. Government and local communities are better prepared than ever before to address these challenges.

"It is unacceptable that the color of your skin or your home address are good predictors of whether you will have a low birth weight baby, die from diabetes or your children will graduate from high school or end up in jail," says King County Executive Ron Sims.

The King County Equity and Social Justice Initiative aims to end persistent local inequities and injustices that result in, among other things, higher rates of disease among low-income populations and disproportionate rates of young black men in jail.

Examples of actions of the new Initiative include

* Developing and testing an equity impact assessment and review tool and incorporating the tool into decision-making.
* Collecting and publishing measures to highlight inequities and to mark progress in correcting them.
* Beginning a community dialogue process, using a new PBS series “Unnatural Causes,” to increase awareness among community members of equity and social determinants of health and to spur action, especially around policies.

Bad Conditions at King County Animal Shelter

In September a citizens advisory committee issued a report strongly critical of the King County animal shelter. Now the Times gives an update. Goal is getting critters out of shelters — alive, Seattle Times, March 17, 2008. The advisory committee's website (including the report) is here.