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“The Earliest Royko”

August 19, 2010
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“The Earliest Royko”

An article in this week’s edition of the Reader points to a new online collection of articles by Mike Royko. The Reader‘s Michael Miner notes that the articles were recently unearthed by Royko’s son, David Royko, while he was in the process of collecting images for the Press’s latest addition to the Royko canon, Royko in Love: Mike’s Letters to Carol. Though titled “The Earliest Royko” the new articles fall chronologically after the contents of Royko in Love which collects correspondence between Royko and his childhood sweetheart, Carol Duckman, while Royko was stationed at Blaine Air Force Base in Washington state . The new articles pick up after Royko returned to Illinois to serve at O’Hare Field where Royko finagled his way into taking charge of the base newspaper, the O’Hare News. Characteristically Royko, Miner writes: “Was there ever a time when Royko was too young to sound like Royko? He must have been a wisenheimer from day one. If the cold war was good for anything it was absurdity, and here he is at 22, strutting his stuff.” Read the Reader article or browse “The Earliest Royko” on David Royko’s website. Find out more about about Royko in Love . . .

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Bobby Thomson, Leo Durocher, and the “shot heard ’round the world”

August 18, 2010
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Bobby Thomson, Leo Durocher, and the “shot heard ’round the world”

Bobby Thomson who famously hit the ninth-inning homer that handed the Giants the 1951 National League pennant 5-4 against the Dodgers—colloquially known as the “shot heard ’round the world”—passed away Monday at his home in Savannah, Georgia. He was 86. There are many accounts of the fateful moment that rocketed Thomson to baseball stardom, a moment which some would argue was one of the most dramatic in the history of baseball. Thomson’s obituary in the NYT quotes the eminently quotable mid-century sportswriter Red Smith: Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again. But such hyperbolic journalistic accounts aside, first-hand narratives of the action from the players themselves are a bit more rare. In 2009 the press published Leo Durocher’s Nice Guys Finish Last. Durocher is known not only for sharing in the glory of Thomson’s win as the Giants’ manager at the time (only a few years earlier he was given the boot by the Dodger’s GM), but also for an entire career as one of the most loud mouth, cantankerous, and controversial figures . . .

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CMOS 16: Paper vs. pixels

August 17, 2010
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CMOS 16: Paper vs. pixels

It’s unofficially here! Though the official publication date is set for the 31, the new Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition rolled in to our warehouses not long ago, and then began rolling right back out the door and into the waiting hands of wordsmiths across the globe. Meanwhile our IT department officially flips the switch on the updated Chicago Manual of Style Online later on this evening—the first ever simultaneous release of both a physical and digital edition of the CMOS. This is certainly a cause for celebration, but with the increasing popularity of the online experience, one might begin to ponder the future of the CMOS‘s physical incarnation. Will we ever see a day in which most editors opt for mouse clicks and full text searches over thumbing through tables of contents and indexes? Though obviously embracing the digital medium, the New Yorker‘s Book Bench blogger Eileen Reynolds writes: Surely, someone must enjoy having the whole manual available at the click of of the mouse, but I’ll stick with the book. After spending so many hours squinting at a screen, trawling for information on the Internet, any excuse to pull a hefty tome off the shelf is a . . .

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For all those who didn’t know not “grounding your club in a bunker” was even a rule

August 16, 2010
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For all those who didn’t know not “grounding your club in a bunker” was even a rule

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H. Allen Brooks, 1925—2010

August 13, 2010
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H. Allen Brooks, 1925—2010

H. Allen Brooks, architectural historian at the University of Toronto known for coining the name “Prairie School” and authoring a number of important books on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and pioneering architect and designer Le Corbusier, passed away last Monday at the age of 84. In 1997 the Press published: Le Corbusier’s Formative Years: Charles-Edouard Jeanneret at La Chaux-de-Fonds. According to this entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia his comprehensive biographical account of Le Corbusier’s early career—the culmination of over twenty years of research—was applauded for the challenge it posed to existing scholarship, “correcting the mistaken impression that Le Corbusier’s work had begun in Paris,” and “was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in biography and won a first prize from the Association of American Publishers for books in architecture and urban planning.” To find out more Brooks’ fascinating life and groundbreaking studies on the history of modern architecture navigate to the Canadian Encyclopedia or read his obituary at the University of Toronto website. Or follow the link for more on Le Corbusier’s Formative Years. . . .

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Gina A. Ulysse on Human Rights, Haiti, and Wyclef

August 12, 2010
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Gina A. Ulysse on Human Rights, Haiti, and Wyclef

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Whaddya mean ugly?

August 11, 2010
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Whaddya mean ugly?

While academic studies on the nature of beauty abound, this article in the New York Times takes note of some recent efforts by academics to uncover the nature of ugly. The NYT‘s Natalie Angier writes: Let’s not pussyfoot. They are, by our standards, ugly animals—maybe cute ugly, more often just ugly ugly. And though the science of ugliness lags behind investigations into the evolution of beauty and the metrics of a supermodel’s face, a few researchers are taking a crack at understanding why we find certain animals unsightly even when they don’t threaten us with venom or compete for our food. Citing researchers like neuroscientist Nancy Kanwishwer, and evolutionary biologist Geoffery Miller, Angier shows how most of our ideas about the aesthetic appeal of animals are based on how closely their physical appearance conforms to, or deviates from, the physical appearance of healthy, attractive, human beings—an idea which cultural critic Wendy Steiner (also quoted in the NYT article) both draws from and complicates with her account of changing perceptions of beauty in her books, Venus in Exile: The Rejection of Beauty in Twentieth-Century Art, and The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art, the latter of which . . .

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Tony Judt, 1948—2010

August 9, 2010
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Tony Judt, 1948—2010

Tony Judt, world renowned scholar of European history, passed away last Friday at his home in Manhattan. The author of many books and a trenchant political columnist known for his outspoken views on Israeli policy, as an article published earlier this year in New York Magazine notes, Prof. Judt made a reputation for himslef in academic and non-academic circles alike as “one of the most admired and denounced thinkers living in New York City”. In 2008, Judt was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but until his passing, maintained a constant stream of output, producing articles for the NYRB, lecturing, and working on a new book—a follow up to his most famous work Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945. In 1998 the University of Chicago Press published Judt’s The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century, a book that looks at the lives of three French philosophers—Leon Blum, Albert Camus, and Raymond Aron—to demonstrate their heroic commitment to personal integrity and moral responsibility unfettered by the difficult political exigencies of their time. Many major news outlets have published articles and obituaries to mark the scholar’s passing. Find out more about Prof. Judt’s fascinating life . . .

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Interview with Robert K. Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed

August 5, 2010
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Interview with Robert K. Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed

Earlier today the New Yorker‘s Book Bench blog posted an interview with Robert K. Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed. In the interview Elder discusses how he came across the idea for his book and some of the fascinating historical and cultural insights it offers, including an interesting, albeit morbid, discussion of how various methods of execution—from the firing squad, to the gas chamber, to the electric chair, “a.k.a. Old Sparky”—influenced the final expressions of the prisoners. Read it online at the Book Bench blog. Read excerpts from the book. . . .

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Doing honest work in the digital age

August 3, 2010
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Doing honest work in the digital age

For those educated in a less digitized world, what constitutes plagiarism, and what does not, might seem fairly clear cut. But an article in yesterday’s New York Times notes that in an age where copyrighted intellectual property is available for the taking with the click of a button, and citing an original source can often mean digging through layer upon layer of tweets, re-tweets, blog posts, or RSS feeds, many students simply may not grasp the concept. From the Times: The Internet may… be redefining how students—who came of age with music file-sharing, Wikipedia and Web-linking—understand the concept of authorship and the singularity of any text or image. “Now we have a whole generation of students who’ve grown up with information that just seems to be hanging out there in cyberspace and doesn’t seem to have an author,” said Teresa Fishman, director of the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University. “It’s possible to believe this information is just out there for anyone to take.” So how does one go about avoiding the ignominious fate of the plagiarist? We recommend picking up a copy of Doing Honest Work in College: How to Prepare Citations, Avoid Plagiarism, and Achieve Real Academic . . .

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