Off the Record, Vol. 12-538

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“Am I the only one enjoying the quadrennial pestilence known as presidential politics? Unlike past election cycles during which I have immersed myself in the primary season as early as Jan. 4, this year I thankfully warded off my usual obsessive behavior until the middle of August. Now U.S. the presidential election is little over a week away. It frustrates me that I can’t figure out who is going to win; I like to know those kinds of things. I loathe uncertainty.”

The original article was published October 28, 2012. Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 12-529

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“Because I’m on the subject of Amnesty International, I want to highlight some significant developments this summer in the plight of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, which I have had a deep interest in ever since the song “The Mothers of the Disappeared” was released. In June, financial scandal shocked the group when its former legal adviser, Sergio Schoklender, his brother and more than a dozen others were charged with fraud, money laundering and siphoning public money into personal businesses. This has sent shockwaves through the halls of the highest political powers in Argentina and, most unfortunately, victimized these grieving women once again.”

The original article was published by atU2.com on August 12, 2012. Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 12-518

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“What has stayed with me most about the exhibition, however, is that I found myself inside every frame, literally. Most of the pieces are hung at eye level and are behind such highly reflective glass that I was able to find my own travel-weary face staring back at myself among the pudgy faces of four Irish teens. I still feel as young as U2 looks in those photos, as if no time or distance separates me from those early days of anticipation and promise. For the few moments I stood in front of those frames and saw our faces connect in that fragile pane of glass, our lives were entirely and irrefutably parallel. I can’t stop thinking about that irony.”

The original article was published by atU2.com on June 10, 2012. Read the full version here.

Writing Complex Sentences in the Twitter Age

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Last semester, my freshman composition students were having more trouble than usual writing multipart college-level thesis statements.

After repeatedly lecturing on the importance of drafting papers before revising for concise diction and syntax, I noticed the majority of my students switched on cell phones as soon as I dismissed class.

Then, it hit me; many emerging college writers have difficulty crafting long, complex sentences as a result of the overexposure to social media tools like text messaging and Twitter.

The original article was published by USA Today on April 16, 2012. Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 12-507

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“Last week was a vacation for me. Although it was spring break, a time when students abandon their books and follow their appetites to Panama City or Miami Beach for the sun, surf and certain other amenities, I stuffed midterm papers and portfolios into my suitcase and made my way to Sounds of the City: The 2012 EMP Pop Conference, held jointly with New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-US).”

The original article was published by atU2.com on March 25, 2012. Read the full version here.

Greece is the Word

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I have just returned from two weeks touring the Greek islands with my mother and sister celebrating my mother’s seventieth birthday. Admittedly, I had very little interest in going to Greece on my own. Yes, somewhere deep inside I held a Homeric fascination with sailing “the winedark sea,” but I neither speak Greek nor is anyone in my family Greek, so I had very low expectations of easy communication or paradigm-shifting culinary surprises. I was wrong.

The original article was published by Connotation Press in July 2011. Read it in full here.

Behold, the Microwave

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Until fall 2005, I was a regular visitor at Wendy’s. My usual order: a single with cheese, fries, and a Coke. When my local window operator knew my face so well that she once said to me, “See you tomorrow,” I knew I was in serious nutritional trouble. Within weeks, I saw Morgan Spurlock’s visionary experiment Supersize Me and have avoided fast food, and meat, ever since. I hate fast food.

However, that didn’t keep me away from the drive-thru. Several years earlier, Bruegger’s Bagels had moved into our abandoned Arthur Treacher’s restaurant filling orders through the fast food window as well as at the counter. If I didn’t have time to pack my lunch, I stopped on my way to work so I could have an Herby Turkey for lunch. When I became a vegetarian, I discovered the glories of the Leonardo da Veggie: “light herb garlic cream cheese, roasted red peppers, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato & red onion.” A combination of flavors so yummy, I can taste them even now. I love fast food.

The original article was published by Connotation Press in February 2011. Read it in full here.