Nice email on a Tuesday

After a slow summer, it was so nice to get a request for the full manuscript for LAST WORDS from an agent who “enjoyed” the first two chapters. On such one-word reviews I dine for a week.

The art of fiction

With a manuscript done and in the midst of deciding what to write next, I determined to spend the summer rereading all the best books on writing I’d ever read, and reading the ones I hadn’t. Summers being summer—or maybe me being me—I got through one and a half by the time school started. No […]

New new new math

Tom Lehrer, brilliant satirical songwriter and very smart mathematician, penned these words: It won’t do you a bit of good to review math. It’s so simple, So very simple, That only a child can do it! Pelham parents struggling to help their elementary kids with the Math Investigations textbooks would be forgiven if they thought […]

Geo catching

This is a good little news item: Goecaching—21st Century treasure hunting using GPS—caused a scare in Peekskill because  the cache, a plastic pipe, looked like, guess what, a pipe bomb. In the game, GPS-using hunters find the chaches and add something to them to show they were there, then hide the thing again. The Peekskill […]

Troubled homework

When I wrote about homework in the Pelham Patch in June, I mainly focused on the meaningless minimums set by some school districts, including ours in Pelham. This piece from the Sunday New York Times, by a writer expert in the science of learning, points out how important quality is over quantity. The techniques, developed […]

Riding bikes

My front yard: Six bikes, six kids. They stopped for a snack. This all happened without recourse to phones, email, iCal or that linguistic abomination, “playdate.” I’m time traveling.

The shoulders of giants

Back to school is a fresh start, that clean slate with the promise of new lessons and approaches. I wish we could get that clean slate—or smart board these days, I guess—in the great American debate over education reform. We’re heading in the wrong direction, according to one critical report I read recently. It shows […]

Sorkin does CNN for HBO

Here’s another one I’ll watch. He did sports news (“Sports Night”) and succeeded with national politics (“West Wing”) and now Aaron Sorkin will provide his special POV for a series on cable news for HBO. The untitled hour-long drama doesn’t have an air date yet, according to Broadcasting & Cable. The series will portray staffers at a fictional […]

MA in Tolkien

The Mythgard Institute opened this fall as an online academic outpost for the study of all things Tolkien. You can earn an MA in English on J.R.R., with the first diplomas handed out spring of 2014. “Most of all, we hope to provide students with new opportunities to study Tolkien and related works seriously and […]

The first day of school

I wrote about the last day of school in one of my early Pelham Patch columns back in June. I would never attempt one on the first day of school after reading the piece by the late Mike Levine linked below. The editor and writer got it so right that his column was re-posted by his paper, The […]