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  1. Vignettes from the Classroom: The Question of Value

    I once asked a class of about 25 students:

    "You're all here to learn something of value, right?"

    "Yes" they replied with vigorous and skeptical head-nodding.

    "Nice", I said. "That's good."

    Then I went around the room and asked each student to respond to this request: "Please tell me one valuable thing to know?"

    I added that expressions such as "stuff that will get me ...

    Updated 02-21-2011 at 09:56 AM by The Comedian

  2. Canoeing in Winter

    There are few who attempt it. There are even fewer who actually enjoy it. But those latter are a lucky, lucky few. Canoeing in winter. The other day I finally got to go. . . .

    The Conditions Have to Be Right
    It's obvious, but to canoe in winter, you need to have an open stretch of water. This basic requirement is often the biggest obstacle to winter canoeing here in the north. Winters are harsh, cold, and long.

    Luckily, we had a brief thaw that that opened a ...

    Updated 01-16-2011 at 03:33 PM by The Comedian

  3. Two Aphorisms from Moby-Dick with Associated Personal Reflections

    I'm a sucker for well-turned prose -- for aphorisms, one-liners, and sage advice. So I thought I'd compile some from my current book, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.

    In addition to the Moby-Dick material, I'll briefly reflect on those ideas.

    On Religion and Faith
    "I say, we good Presbyterian Christians should be charitable in these things [unfamiliar religious practices], and not fancy ourselves so vastly superior to other mortals, pagans and what not. . ...

    Updated 11-17-2010 at 09:48 AM by The Comedian

  4. A Weekend of Washing Windows

    Last weekend I washed the all the windows in our house -- both inside and out.

    It was a typical fall day in the North -- crisp-cold with bright sun and a pine-scented air.

    I took off all the screens and "dusted" them outside by giving them the twice-over with my high-powered leaf-blower. Then I took my spray bottle of glass cleaner, a roll or two of paper towels, and small step ladder. . . .and went to work.

    This project is the sort that ...

    Updated 11-03-2010 at 07:19 PM by The Comedian

  5. Cigarettes & Moby-Dick - OR - The Epistemology of Re-Reading

    The other day I pick up my copy of Moby-Dick and leafed through its pages. They were heavily annotated in #2 pencil and smelled of old cigarette smoke. The binding was broken in many places. Pockmarks dot one page, the victim of stray ash from a cigarette that I was smoking at the time.

    For about three years, I smoked cigarettes. Not many -- about 2-4 per day. Make that 2-4 per night. Why did I start? So that I could stay awake to read Moby-Dick at night. No, I didn't think it was ...

    Updated 10-20-2010 at 09:26 PM by The Comedian

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