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The Prayer of Common Books

Pardon me, but...... - Fri, 04/23/2021 - 12:43

At the risk of repeating myself ….

It is I think intriguing that a major reason for public education, at least in the US, being to ensure that everyone, through familiarity with a literary canon, shares at a minimum some basic memes, the public can be so outraged at the very concept.

A literate nation is not about being able to decode words in a third grade reader; it is about being able to comprehend the exchange of ideas among the members of the polity. It means that when I hear the lyric, “Just ask Alice”, a broad range of maps are brought to bear because I have the key to the references. To paraphrase Barth, the key to the treasure is the treasure.

Silly lists are first and foremost silly lists, but they give us pause, at least those of us willing, to stop and reflect on the “canon” and our shared experience.

EJ Dionne argues effective that we have lost all sight of any sense of community, and the lack of shared literary exposure is part and parcel of that loss.

I certainly am not a fan of “mandatory reading”, but I also realize that I wasted much of my educational time in no small part because my teachers were not able to shift my voracious literary appetite beyond a few genres. Decades later I discovered how to manage that and I think it unfortunate we do such a poor job at that…

Today you can read just about anything you want at little or no cost on any smartphone. We have text readers and audiobooks. But we spend our time passively plugged into multi sensory media.

We need to read more.

We need to read what others read.

We need to read that which challenges us.

Categories: Commentary

As partisan as they wanna be - The first in a series of analyses of the upcoming Anchorage Assembly races

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/24/2011 - 14:51
In January, former Anchorage assemblyman Dan Coffey addressed a message to “Friends and Colleagues” in an attempt to raise donations for five city assembly candidates, all endorsed by Mayor Dan Sullivan. Coffey’s letter was posted at the Anchorage Homebuilder’s Association web site. It says both city building codes and land use codes (zoning) are expected to come before the assembly after the April election, and warns industry players the new rules could hamper development.
Categories: Community News

As partisan as they wanna be - The first in a series of analyses of the upcoming Anchorage Assembly races

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/24/2011 - 13:22
In January, former Anchorage assemblyman Dan Coffey addressed a message to “Friends and Colleagues” in an attempt to raise donations for five city assembly candidates, all endorsed by Mayor Dan Sullivan. Coffey’s letter was posted at the Anchorage Homebuilder’s Association web site. It says both city building codes and land use codes (zoning) are expected to come before the assembly after the April election, and warns industry players the new rules could hamper development.
Categories: Community News

Zombies to invade Talkeetna - Low-budget horror flick features undead Alaskans, Corn Bread

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/24/2011 - 13:22
Located two hours north of Anchorage in the shadows of Mount McKinley, Talkeetna's accustomed to being overrun by tourists in the summer, but not quite as familiar with an inundation of the undead.
Categories: Community News

The Moore Report: Drunken sailors

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/24/2011 - 13:22
It’s nice having the Republicans in charge, I tell you. The one thing you can be sure of is that they, above all other things, will look out for our collective pocketbook. Won’t they? They have done in the past, and they do now. Right?
Categories: Community News

Does length matter? A group of lawmakers want to revert to the lengthier 120-day legislative session, but their logic doesn’t equate to the facts

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/24/2011 - 13:22
It didn't take long for state lawmakers to start debating over the voter imposed shorter legislative sessions: two sessions to be exact.
Categories: Community News

Blotter: Stopped for being conspicuous edition

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/24/2011 - 13:22
Last week the Alaska Court of Appeals threw out a drunk driver’s appeal, ruling that it was okay for an Alaska State Trooper to stop a Kenai man who was about to cross a road driving an all-terrain vehicle with a dog tethered to it. The trooper thought the practice might endanger the dog, or put other people using the road in danger should the dog suddenly act out while tethered to a ten-foot leash. In other words, the man got pulled over for looking stupid, or at least looking as if he was about to do something stupid or dangerous. The court had to decide if the stop was legit because evidence discovered after the stop—open beer cans inside the ATV and a driver who later blew a .226 on a breathalyzer—was fair game for prosecution. The courts call this sort of traffic stop a “community caretaker” stop, because when a cop stops someone who looks as if they’re about to do something stupid (and/or dangerous) the cop is acting in their role as protector of the community. But the fun thing about the Alaska decision is the footnoted list of stupid and/or conspicuous things drivers have done that led to similar arrests. Here’s a few: persistent honking during a traffic-jam at an accident (a cop believed it might cause another accident); driving with a bouncing rear wheel, causing weaving; driving in an incorrect lane (who appealed that?); driving with a load of furniture “that appeared inadequately secured” and could fall on the highway (in New Hampshire, not Wasilla). One Washington State case deserves special recognition because the officer was only trying to help the motorist who ended up being arrested. The Washington cop stopped a pickup truck “for the purpose of informing the driver that his hat was in jeopardy of blowing out of the bed of the vehicle.” Alaska State Troopers told Blotter the DUI suspect, initially popped in 2008, was also driving with a restricted license. A friend of the suspect came by to pick up the dog and the ATV.
Categories: Community News

Statehood recalled - A new film documents Alaska’s emergence as a state

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/17/2011 - 12:13
Depending on who tells the story, statehood may have saved Alaska from a salmon-run apocalypse, a weak Territorial justice system, a corrupted political system or a perpetual shortage of jobs and uncertainty over Native land claims. The truth is more complex than any singular point of view, but telling a story from multiple perspectives has its own pitfalls. Mainly, it can result in a disorganized mess.
Categories: Community News

The Moore Report: Shattered cynicism

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/17/2011 - 12:13
Oftentimes, politics is not what it seems. Oftentimes, we see practiced politicians, smiling for the cameras, handing out glib soundbites like candy on Halloween. While underneath is hidden corruption, backstabbing and backroom deals. Politics is often not what it seems.
Categories: Community News

A bridge too far? Legislators should think twice before throwing more money at the Knik Arm Crossing

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/17/2011 - 12:13
This week in the Senate Transportation Committee, lawmakers heard a proposal from State Senator Linda Menard (R-Wasilla) for the state to financially backstop the much-debated Knik Arm Crossing.
Categories: Community News

Out of the closet - The University of Alaska is setting an example the state should follow regarding the rights of LGBT employees

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/17/2011 - 12:13
For years the University of Alaska System (UA) staff and faculty did their best to keep secret a little known fact about their health care plan: university employees enjoyed same-sex partner health care benefits while all other state employees did not. The university non-discrimination policy, however, did not protect groups such as homosexual, bisexual and transgender folks. The different governance groups on campus generally had a silent gentleman’s agreement not to push the issue for fear that the more conservative members of the State Legislature might move to take away those benefits.
Categories: Community News

Feedback from the issue of 2.17.2011

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/17/2011 - 12:13
This guy loves the film incentives
Categories: Community News

Blotter: Sloppy gangsta edition

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/17/2011 - 12:13
Blotter thought everyone knew Anchorage has cops in schools, and that meant local high schools were closer to their idyllic goal of drug and violence-free zones where bullying is shunned and students never have to be afraid to show up. “We have police officers in all the schools, and so we suggest that bad guys don’t go in the schools,” Anchorage Police spokesman Lieutenant David Parker said this week. Not that police broadcast this cops-in-schools thing. It’s just something that’s well known, particularly among teenagers, the people society tries to build a drug-free/hate-free/violence-free zone for. This is why both Lieutenant Parker and Blotter were surprised by the story of two 19-year-old thugs, barely older than high school-aged themselves, who pulled a gunpoint heist in the parking lot of Jewel Lake Bowl and then sped directly toward Dimond High School in their getaway car. It’s a bit like robbing someone and fleeing toward the police station. The victim was a woman who told APD a man hopped in her car (she rummaging in her purse at the time) and pulled a gun on her. Yikes! He demanded her keys and her cell phone, and left in a gray Saturn with tinted windows. Two school resource officers, Cyndi Addington and Mark Wells, heard a description of the robbery in their neighborhood and hit the streets. “The SROs hop in their car and pull out on the street, and the vehicle passes right by them,” Parker says. “Yeah, they do work in schools, and they do a lot of wonderful work with the school population. But they are cops. They still like to get bad guys.”
Categories: Community News

Film schooled - The state’s subsidizing film productions, but can Alaskans compete with Hollywood pros for paychecks?

Anchorage Press - News - Fri, 02/11/2011 - 13:56
Alaska’s $100 million film incentive program won’t expire until July 2013 and the money isn’t nearly spent, so why is there legislation in Juneau to extend the program another decade and dole out $200 million in state subsidies? The answer mirrors an argument Alaskans often hear from oil companies, who are afraid of a fickle tax structure changing twice a decade. Hollywood wants stable subsidies, and says those subsidies will lead to stable jobs.
Categories: Community News

Film schooled - The state’s subsidizing film productions, but can Alaskans compete with Hollywood pros for paychecks?

Anchorage Press - News - Fri, 02/11/2011 - 12:13
Alaska’s $100 million film incentive program won’t expire until July 2013 and the money isn’t nearly spent, so why is there legislation in Juneau to extend the program another decade and dole out $200 million in state subsidies? The answer mirrors an argument Alaskans often hear from oil companies, who are afraid of a fickle tax structure changing twice a decade. Hollywood wants stable subsidies, and says those subsidies will lead to stable jobs.
Categories: Community News

Film schooled - The state’s subsidizing film productions, but can Alaskans compete with Hollywood pros for paychecks?

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/10/2011 - 11:48
Alaska’s $100 million film incentive program won’t expire until July 2013 and the money isn’t nearly spent, so why is there legislation in Juneau to extend the program another decade and dole out $200 million in state subsidies? The answer mirrors an argument Alaskans often hear from oil companies, who are afraid of a fickle tax structure changing twice a decade. Hollywood wants stable subsidies, and says those subsidies will lead to stable jobs.
Categories: Community News

The Moore Report: On strophes

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/10/2011 - 11:48
I might be a mathboy (“The Moore Report: Magic numbers,” December 2, 2010), but I’m also a wordboy. There’s nothing about the two that is necessarily mutually exclusive, but they don’t go together often, it’s true. So, I like to write. I like doing this. I like words and their origins and meanings.
Categories: Community News

Self-sustainability - Is it time for Alaska to grow up?

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/10/2011 - 11:48
This has not been a good week for Alaska in Washington D.C. Our congressional delegation has been on defense more than the Alaska Aces trying to kill a penalty.
Categories: Community News

Coffee with Rose - During Black History Month, remembering that African-American heroes don’t need to be public figures

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/10/2011 - 11:48
We talk a lot about people who have done extraordinary things. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks and others are astounding African-American heroes whose groundbreaking actions made them public figures. Unfortunately, we often forget to discuss those who do extraordinary things and do not receive such public accolades. This brand of hero is far more prevalent than, and just as important as, the public one. Thinking about Black History Month this year made me think of one important hero that had an impact in my life.
Categories: Community News

Blotter: Scary robbers edition

Anchorage Press - News - Thu, 02/10/2011 - 11:48
After a frightening home invasion off Knik-Goose Bay Road, it took Alaska State Troopers less than 48 hours to arrest two men at a home where troopers found stolen goods, some of which came from the Knik-Goose Bay robbery. The robbery took place January 30. According to troopers the victim is a woman who says two men, wearing masks and bandanas, were in her home armed with a handgun. The men ordered her to lie down on the floor, troopers say, then bound her with rope and duct tape, then put her inside a closet. Troopers say the house was ransacked, and “several guns, two televisions, an X-Box, miscellaneous jewelry and approximately $200 in cash” was taken. Troopers had a warrant by the time they got to the alleged bandit’s hideout, in the Willawaw subdivision right outside Wasilla. A 19-year-old man and a 28-year-old man, both of Wasilla, were taken to jail. They were charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and kidnapping.
Categories: Community News

This communication was paid for by Marc Grober, 5610 Radcliff Dr. Anchorage, AK 99504
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