Friday

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A poem I love.  One word: hips.

Donate those sentimental-but-frankly-hard-to-look-at items to the Museum of Broken Relationships.  I would send a Beanie Baby, an Oscar Meyer Wienermobile Whistle, and stacks of mixed CDs.

Interloping owls invited to stay in a museum’s rafters … only at the Smithsonian.

Using stories to teach history is more effective than making students memorize a series of facts.  You don’t say?

Moss tells me he has observed the results of story-based teaching in his classroom. “People remember cases incredibly well—and often at a level of detail that’s almost shocking. Stories stick in the mind, and when you learn history with a focus on particular stories it’s much easier to remember the pieces around them.”

A Spanish Civil War veteran and all-around credit to humanity passes away at 100 years old:

Asked in 2013 what his proudest moments had been since Spain, he told the weekly Anderson Valley Advertiser in Mendocino County: “When I was elected vice president of the local N.A.A.C.P. and when one of my grandsons was valedictorian at his Oregon high school graduation and said in a newspaper interview, ‘My grandfather is my inspiration. He’s a Communist!’”

A fascinating article about the life and times of 19th-century author E.D.E.N. Southworth. I read Southworth’s novel The Hidden Hand, or Capitola the Madcap (1859) in a college Survey of American Literature course.  I remember clearly our rollicking discussions about Black Donald, Capitola, and the utterly wonderful ridiculousness of the plot. Despite catty remarks about Southworth’s “lowbrow” stories from the likes of Louisa May Alcott (Louisa!), she became one of the most famous writers in America.  And her writing gave her a rare kind of independence:

One sleety afternoon, Southworth sat dejected in her classroom. “The school funds were exhausted, my salary was unpaid, and there seemed no hope for the future; winter was coming on, and I had no resources,” she wrote. Suddenly, a carriage pulled up and Gamaliel Bailey, editor of the abolitionist weekly the National Era, jumped out. He handed her a paycheck for her story “The Wife’s Victory,” the first money she had earned from writing. That was the beginning of her literary career; soon, she would not need to teach. She had been “born as it were into a new life,” she wrote, finding “independence, sympathy, friendship, and honour, and an occupation in which I could delight.”

Excuse me while I go request The Hidden Hand from the library …

Sometimes it’s hard to not live in New York City.  Washington has outstanding theaters, but not, currently, featuring Saoirse Ronan and Ben Whishaw in The Crucible. Or Hamilton, but that’s another injustice entirely.

What are you up to this weekend?  I’m going to try to get myself out of bed at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow so I can catch the Spotlight matinée.  We’ll see how that goes.

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