Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tool of the trade

This is an L.C. Smith and Corona Company Standard Typewriter in the collection of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.  It is a training model for children:  instead of letters printed on the keys, illustrations of animals correspond with … Continue reading

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Belief from the inside out

The Pulitzer Prize awarded last month to Carla Power’s If the Oceans Were Ink, an outsider’s meditation on The Holy Qur’an with the help of a learned Islamic scholar, signals a subtle but seismic shift in our intellectual world.  It joins other … Continue reading

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Why I Love Comic Strips

This comic strip, a Sunday installment of Peanuts by Charles Schulz, ranks as my favorite above all others.  I can’t explain why.  Maybe it’s the incredibly loaded conversations that don’t seem to go anywhere or resolve themselves.  Maybe it’s the … Continue reading

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Joan Didion, Californian

Joan Didion seized my attention early, before I wrote for myself.  Assigned “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” in high school, I read with amazement her cool, detached descriptions of things I recognized growing up in California.  I graduated quickly to “The White … Continue reading

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The Power of Babel

For most of the last nine months I have had the extraordinary benefit of intensive foreign language training.  I had resources, faculty, structure and time all to my benefit: online and computer resources, a diverse faculty from many countries to learn different … Continue reading

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To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth

Not far outside Paris stands one of the many monuments to the almost innumerable dead of World War I. This one is not unusual marking the graves of the many Americans who fought and died on European soil during that conflict. … Continue reading

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What I Learned Studying the Qur’an (I)

This winter, during a period of unemployment, I studied the Qur’an at the Howard University School of Divinity. I have the course instructor, Dr. Zainab Alwani, to thank first, followed by her students and Howard University, for this extraordinary opportunity.  … Continue reading

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