Month: August 2017

The Fight for English

It seems that I have to write about David Crystal once a year or so. This expert popularizer of linguistics always provides well-informed but accessible antidotes to common myths about language, such as the one alluded to in the subtitle… Read More ›

The War Room

How I miss Bill Clinton! Yes, he certainly wasn’t a perfect president — and yes, he wasn’t Obama — but… [You can finish the rest of the sentence yourself.] The War Room is a documentary about Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign… Read More ›

Hillbilly Elegy

What an irritating book! Even if you haven’t read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, you’ve probably at least heard of it, as it made quite a splash when it came out last year and stayed on the best-seller list for weeks… Read More ›

Unseen World

Unseen World, a fascinating and complicated novel, will capture and maintain your attention — if you’re the right sort of reader. Right for this book, I mean of course. You probably are if you’re interested in computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, online virtual worlds (as… Read More ›

Todd Graff’s Camp

“A flawed movie about flawed characters,” as one reviewer put it. But that’s OK; even flawed movies can be worth watching, if you’re willing to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. This film from 2003 is definitely one… Read More ›

Turning problems into solutions

Constraints are good. Sometimes. They certainly made Houdini more creative. Actually, we impose constraints on ourselves and our students all the time, paradoxically increasing creativity by doing so. Often, for instance, we give a two-part test, one part of which… Read More ›