I just discovered a friend I haven’t talked to in years wrote a book Her name is June Casagrande and her book is called Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies. I can just hear her voice saying that. She’s so expressive. Anyway, in an interview for Powells.com, she said something about why she writes that struck me: Because I feel an impulse to write. There is no other reason to. Writers spend a lot of time asking each other, “How do you discipline yourself to write? How do you force ourself to sit down and just do it?” And my answer to them is aRead More →

My colleague, Amy (shoutout to Amy), lent me her Al Franken book and I’m reading it slowly in the office during office hours. I’m still in the early pages. One thing he wrote about that I identified with was dreaming that his teeth disintegrated. I have that dream frequently myself. Someone once told me that it was a sign of stress and feeling defenseless and vulnerable, because your teeth are the last measure of protection that you have in a very primal sort of way. So, Al Franken really is running for U.S. Senate, I think (see Al Franken For U.S. Senate). In his YoutubeRead More →

To order Baudrillard’s Ecstasy of Communication for next semester, I went to Amazon to get the facts of publication and ISBN number. Amazon does not have a picture of the book’s cover. Unlike most cases where there is no picture of the book’s cover, there is not even a picture saying the picture itself is unavailable. Indeed, if you click on the blank space where a picture usually sits, you are taken to a blank page (not an error message, just a blank page). How Baudrillard is that?!!!!Read More →

Into the Blogosphere is Laura Gurak’s new edited collection on Blogs. The subtitle is Rhetoric, Culture, and the Community of Weblogs. When blogging first started there was little written about it except to point to it as a new phenomenon. Now, there’s volumes. Check out Scholars Who Blog in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Blogs are supposed to provide a space for free speech. The faculty in this article defend issues of personal tone, free range of topic, etc. My own blogging experience as an academic has been dismal, and I don’t know that I will ever feel free to say what I want, althoughRead More →

On June 28, my husband and I bought our first home. Yes, we are a little late in the game, but we don’t want to grow up. Buying a first house was a stressful and time-consuming experience, just as everyone warned. I didn’t believe them. Then we were in the thick of it. Then we learned. Folks told us we would collect a number of stories about house-buying. They were right about that as well.

For instance, the alarm company ripped us off while

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I must have wanted simple abundance in my life, otherwise why buy this book, Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ben Breathnach. The Oprah Book Club sticker on the cover was not a selling point. Simple Abundance is a “daybook” diary/journal that teaches readers to “simplify” their lives through consumption. The message is so ironic. On one page, Breathnach tells readers to discard all their glossy women’s magazines because they make us feel bad about ourselves and then on the next, in the very idiom of those glossies, she tells us to go shopping in order to discover our “authentic” selves. For instance, here is a representative

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My church has a Mother (or guardian)/Daughter Book Club that meets once a month to read books of interest to middle school girls. Last month, the kid and I attended the potluck that gets the book club off the ground. Everyone got to suggest one book, and since there were twelve of us (six mother/daughter pairs) we each got to recommend a selection.

The selections were quite amazing. Nearly all of them shared a common theme of

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This week Entertainment Weekly featured Natalie Portman and an article on Star Wars. The picture looks so much like the cover of L. Frank Baum’s Ozma of Oz that I am beginning to wonder if Oz was influential to the production designers.

Interestingly enough, an article in the Chicago Reader points out that “the underwater city of Otoh Gunga could probably be traced back to John R. Neill’s illustrations in one of the Oz books,” so others have noticed this similarity too.

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I yearn for Brigit Books in Tampa, where the scent of incense reigns, and where I felt a sense of community. So now I am reduced to web shopping or supporting Barnes&Noble. There are two B&Ns here, one the aptly named Corporate Drive and the other in the LSU Union, which some people call Barnes&Fogle after the provost who sealed the deal to close the independent bookstore and replace it with the corporatized B&N despite widespread campus outcry. Lately I have been avoiding Amazon, choosing instead to support small bookstores or presses on line. I’ve had a couple of interesting finds. Seal Press, which publishesRead More →

What is the difference is between a blog and a journal? Mimi Nguyen’s Slander page has a section of blogs. Surfing from her page onto her friends’ pages shows they also have blogs. It took me a while to figure out what a blog was exactly, probably because I was caffeine deprived. But ‘blog, which is short for weblog, is basically a surfing journal. Blogs have become pretty popular, it seems, especially since there are whole webrings devoted to blogging. Blogs have become an integral part of web culture just like zines. Now, Mimi’s Slander page has an interesting journal entry that talks about whetherRead More →