"I would we were all of one mind, and one mind good." --Cymbeline, V.iv.209-210. An English teacher's log. Slow down: Check it once in a while.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Tetrameter Sonnet to an Alma Mater

When heads don't roll on faddish tides
And honesty no longer hides,
When English teachers English teach
And kids again for classics reach,
When history lights up the past
As more than pre-utopian waste,
When not just skins but minds diverse
Can once more civilly converse,
And learning and the love of truth,
Not edubabble, spur the youth--
On that day, should it ever dawn,
Shall you see my donation.
   Meantime the words you fund-raise in
   Are filed in my recycle bin.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


I have been encouraged by the "Walk Away" and "Blexit" movements--gay people, black people, and others coming to realize that the left is not their friend but their enemy and walking away from it by ceasing to be knee-jerk Democratic voters.

These two movements make me think that we need to have a movement called "Jexit" for all the Jewish citizens of America who have been knee-jerk voters for the Democratic Party since FDR.

Leftism has supplanted Judaism as the religion of far too many Jews, often without their realizing it. The result is Jews supporting and voting for anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and anti-liberal politicians who pretend to be for the common man and for equality and liberality and so on but who in fact have become tyrants of leftism, socialism, identity politics, and political correctness.

The latest form of this poison has been to blame President Trump instead of the anti-Semitic shooter for the recent massacre of Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. This viciously false narrative is evidence of a complete collapse of reason, honesty, Jewish values, and common sense in the name of a mystically irrational hatred of Trump, who has, in fact, been the most Israel-friendly president in our history.

So let's invite those Jews who still are in possession of their faculty of reason and common sense to walk away from the left. Let's have JEXIT!

Monday, July 17, 2017

On Milo's Dangerous

            I have just finished reading Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos. 

            Whether you identify as right, left, center, apolitical, or none of the above, I highly recommend this book if you want to understand any of the following:

               The polarization of America
The threats to traditional American liberal values
Fake news
The culture war
Who was, is, and is not the “alt-right”
The reason for the election of Donald Trump and what George Will doesn’t get about him
What is and isn’t happening on college campuses
Why some gays are not allowed to march in Gay Pride parades
What video gamers have to do with freedom of speech
Who does and doesn’t care about Black lives
Where American values and Sharia conflict
Why feminism became unpopular
Why a Harvard-educated reader of my blog would (wrongly) accuse me of being a bigot-sympathizer
and lots more.

            This book is flamboyant and risqué.  However, Milo is not a racist, sexist, white-supremacist, bigot, or liar, as he has been called. (Many have had to retract under threat of legal action.) The book is filled with facts and sources and analysis and courage, and reading it will have the following effects:

If you’re conservative, it will give you some hope for the younger generation and challenge you not to be boring.
If you’re liberal, it will reinforce your classical liberal values.
If you’re libertarian, it will give you a shot in the arm.
If you’re apolitical, it will wake you to your own self-interest.
If you’re in college, it will show you that you are not alone.
If you’re a parent or an alum or rich, it will help you to decide which colleges you’re willing to pay for or donate to and which not.
If you’re a consumer of NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox, Facebook, or Twitter, it will shiver your timbers.
And if you’re a leftist who believes in social justice rather than justice, it will invite you to make arguments instead of calling names.

            I don’t say you will or should agree with everything in this book.  But I do say you should read it and know what it really says. Besides, it’s fun.  (And no, I’m not getting paid to write this.)

             Finally, if this blog post makes you want to call me names, you really need to read the book.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

May we all learn to live in peace and harmony under the ideals and principles of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution so that the American experiment in morally responsible self-government will endure.

May we resist the tide of statist Marxist utopianism and identity-politics racism that, through the media, agenda-driven federal judges, the humanities and social science departments of schools at all levels, many labor unions, and forces within the various arms of government, threaten the nation with the tyranny of neo-Puritanical self-righteousness fueled by destructive ideas clothed in wishful thinking.

May we educate our children and youth in the philosophical, religious, moral, and civic traditions that remain the best guides to virtuous life in society.

And may we express our gratitude for the voices of patriots who, at their best, contribute to these good ends, including (in alphabetical order) Larry Arnn, Ann Coulter, Carl DeMaio, Alan Dershowitz, Larry Elder, Jerry Fleischhacker, Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, David Horowitz, Laura Ingraham, Andrew Klavan, Charles Krauthammer, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Camille Paglia, Dennis Prager, Jay Seculo, Ben Shapiro, Thomas Sowell, Mark Steyn, Donald Trump, and Milo Yiannopoulos.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

End of the World lectures on Shakespeare

Three of my four "End of the World" series of lecture/readings on Shakespeare were recorded and are now up on YouTube as follows:

Lecture 1 on Julius Caesar was not recorded.
Lecture 2 on Troilus and Cressida is here.
Lecture 3 on Macbeth is here.
Lecture 4 on Pericles and a summation of the series are here.

I recommend having read each of the plays first and having a copy of the play open in front of you during the lecture. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Student Bloopers

Going through old files, I found one in which I had preserved some student bloopers:

A cry that was bone-chilling to the ears.

The phrase “ignorance is blitz” is manifested in this novel.

We talked about everything from previous relationships to future relationships.

[Use the word in a sentence that indicates its meaning:] 
You will be prevailed before your wedding.
She wore a prevail before the wedding.

Their consummation of water surpassed that of any of their neighbors.
He made a pot of chicken consummation.
Witches oftentimes belong to a consummation.

            The monks lived a life of depravity with no luxuries.

Here Virgil is explaining to Dante the punishment chosen for the lustrous people such as Paolo and Francesca.

To have money meant power and importance in society and this was the dream of every pheasant.

Chaucer’s Wife of Bath is such a manipulating character with so many extremities.

Gremio, the pantaloon, is convinced that he is a suitor to Bianca; however, his age and insufficient dowager leave him behind in the race for her hand.

This man has all of the feminine characteristics that were appealing on men in Shakespeare’s time; however, the young man does not have the short comings of a woman.

The promotion of sexual conduct that the Duke [in Measure for Measure] does is done ultimately to promote monotonous relationships in the marriages that he creates at the end of the play.

Rafew our lives how we will there is a divinity that smooths them out.

Lady Macbeth convinces him by playing with his manlyhood.

The author of this poem [“A Hymn to God the Father”] is speaking to God asking if he will forgive all of his own sins in iambic pentameter.

She portrays a heroine who sometimes resembles a goddess but is yet human with faults and prejudisms.

“The Second Coming” is about the end of the world and the birth of the anarchist.

James Joyce:  the cult leader that influenced a few hundred people to “start again” building a so-called ideal Christian society in South America.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lecture at UCSC on April 7, 2016

I recently gave a lecture at UCSC for a Cowell College course taught by renown balloon twister Addi Somekh.  The course is called "Paradox, Meaning, and Love:  Mary Holmes and Beyond," devoted to sharing the ideas and teachings of my greatest teacher, who was also Addi's teacher.  She taught at UCSC from 1965 until her retirement and well beyond that.   

I did not dare to pretend that I could channel Mary.  But I did my best to convey at least some of the ideas that were basic to her teaching.  My ostensible topic, set by Addi, was Mary's own title for one of her most remarkable courses:  "Art and the Inner Life."  I would not have titled my talk so pretentiously.  But I did try to convey some of the teachings of Mary Holmes that have formed the backbone of my own teaching.  The lecture is in three parts, and you can access it on YouTube here

For further exposure to Mary Holmes, go to the site describing the book Addi wrote (and I edited) of interviews with Mary in the last years of her life.  You can find it here:  MaryHolmesBook.com.