blog posts'Formulaic' is a 9-letter word for avoiding what writers need to learnApr 29, 2008 1:00 pm1259 views In an otherwise excellent essay, Cathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff (“In Teaching Composition, ‘Formulaic’ Is Not a 4-Letter Word” [April 4, 2008]) take issue with my comment that the SAT’s “formulaic approach will reverse decades of progress in literacy instruction and ultimately turn students into intellectual automatons” (“The College Board’s New Essay Reverses Decades of Progress Toward Literacy” [May 6, 2005]). To illustrate our dependence on formula, they suggest, “Try writing a sonnet, doing the cha-cha, saying ‘Hi, how are you?’ . . . without relying on established forms that you didn’t invent.”Fair enough, but I stand by my statements.Researchers: IM definitely infectious, but associated linguistic damage short-lived, hahaApr 25, 2008 7:15 pm2619 views James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, recently charged that internet chat and cell phone text messaging were causing “the slow destruction of the basic unit of human thought — the sentence.” Despite the fact that neuroscientists are nowhere near isolating the basic unit of human thought, and linguists can’t agree on a definition of a sentence, Billington wants to place a Librarian General’s warning on all cell phones that texting kills thought.English rocks FranceApr 18, 2008 4:58 pm1181 views The French government spends millions of Euros every year to promote French and discourage English in every corner of French life. And French Prsident Nicolas Sarkozy is one of the French languages biggest fans, when he isn't being distracted by his new bride, the Italian singer/songwriter/model Carla Bruni.