Sunday, November 12, 2006

Books Almost Organized; Teaching Chinese in Chicago; SA WWII Book; Beatles + Luda; Say It With a Slap

OK, I know it's been a while, but I think I finally have all my books all the way squared away. Here's the breakdown: 900s (history and geography) in the living room and hallway; Early 400s (general language/linguistics and English language) and 800s (literature) in my office, fiction and the balance of the non-fiction in The G's office. I still have to figure out what to do with a bunch of magazines I have that I want to go through/file/pitch.

  • Via Language Hat, here, here, and here are some other comments on home-library organization.
  • The cover story of yesterday's Chicago Tribune Magazine was quite interesting -- It was all about the Chicago School System's Chinese-language instruction program. Main story by Monica Eng, side pieces by Evan Osnos and Desiree Chen. Teaching Chinese (and Urdu, and Arabic, and Korean) to public school students, elementary and up, is only a good idea if we want America to be competitive in the 21st Century. Otherwise, we should just skip it. Excerpt: In a kindergarten class at McCormick, Mexican-American children cheerfully recited a poem about ducks and geese flying over a river. For many adults, the pronunciation of the word for geese (sort of like "ewwuhhhrr") would have been both daunting and somewhat embarrassing. But the 5-year olds kids nailed it, unfazed by how much it sounded like a mix between gargling and honking. The rapid growth of Chicago's Chinese language program has attracted a flood of media attention that has placed Davis into a discomfiting spotlight. He faces constant questions about whether Chinese is too difficult. He is keenly aware that Spanish is a far more useful language at the moment. His avid support from Mayor Daley--the mayor accompanied him to China last summer for the second time and has made the Chinese program a pet project--attracts a mixed bag of admiration and resentment from other educators, who requested anonymity for this article. Davis' appointment as director of the new Confucius Institute, which got $70,000 in partial funding from China, is a concern to those who eye Beijing's motives with suspicion. (In cities it partners with in a teaching program, the Chinese government establishes a Confucius Institute to promote the study of Chinese language and culture.)
  • My Tank Is Fight! looks like a fun book from Something Awful about not-so-good ideas for weapons in WWII.
  • As commentary on Heather's recent alimonization of Sir Paul, here's a "Love Me Do"/"Paperback Writer" mashup with "Move Bitch" by Ludacris.
  • We watched a great French crime film this weekend: Touchez Pas au Grisbi. It was great! They kept slapping everybody! Roger Ebert excerpt: The world of French crime films is a particular place, informed by the French love for Hollywood film noir, a genre they identified and named. But the great French noirs of the 1950s are not copies of Hollywood; instead, they have a particularly French flavor; in "Touchez Pas au Grisbi," the critic Terence Rafferty writes, "real men eat pate," and this is "among the very few French movies about the criminal class in which neither the characters nor the filmmakers are afflicted by the delusion that they are Americans." A few years later, in Godard's "Breathless" (1960), Belmondo would be deliberately channeling Bogart, but here Gabin is channeling only himself. He is the original, so there is no need to look for inspiration.

Props to Bombippy for the slapshots.

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Blogger getalife said...

I too read the China article with great interest. America has always lagged far behind other nations in teaching multiple languages to youngsters best adept at absorbing it. Yes, we need more multi-lingual citizens - BUT I too am very skeptical of the motives of China in encouraging/funding such activity. It's something we as a nation should be doing on our own. I am very mistrustful of China and its motives. I'm sick of our government's attitude towards the nation and disgusted with Chinese spies who are undetected or worse, unpunished.

8:44 PM  

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