Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Devil’s Dictionary: Absolute

“Absolute, adj. [1.] Independent, irresponsible. An absolute monarchy is one in which the sovereign does as he pleases so long as he pleases the assassins. Not many absolute monarchies are left, most of them having been replaced by limited monarchies, where the sovereign’s power for evil (and for good) is greatly curtailed, and by republics, which are governed by chance. [2.] In Philosophy existing without reference to anything, and for a purely selfish purpose. Absolute certainty is one of the possible degrees of probability. Absolute monarchy is a form of government in which the chief power is vested in a gentleman who is near his end.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000.

The Weekly Text, December 15, 2017: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Hammurabi’s Code of Laws

For some reason, I thought I’d posted this reading on Hammurabi’s Code of Laws and the comprehension worksheet which complements it. This material, I would think, is a cornerstone of an introductory global studies class.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Xenophon’s 10,000 Mercenaries

Xenophon’s Anabasis tells the story of 10,000 elite Greek mercenaries who are left isolated on the losing side of a Persian civil war and fight their way across the mountain tribes of Anatolia to reach the safety of the Black Sea coast. The history of this march in 401 BC was the original story of swashbuckling adventure against the odds and was said to have inspired Philip of Macedon to take on the Persians. T.E. Lawrence had the book in his camel bag during the Arab revolt of 1916. And more recently, transplanted to the gangs of New York, it became the Warriors video game.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Cultural Literacy: Social Class

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on social class, so when politicians whine about “class war,” your students will have some context for understanding that concept.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Rotten Reviews: Tom Wolfe

I: The Kandy-Kolored, Tangerine-Flake, Streamlined Baby

“One wants to say to Mr. Wolfe; you’re so clever, you can write so well, tell us something interesting.”

Saturday Review

II: The Painted Word

“There is plenty of hot air in this particular balloon, but I don’t see it going anywhere.”

John Russell, New York Times Book Review

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Debt (n), Debtor (n)

Because I work in an economics and finance themed high school (which means, I have realized over time, next to nothing in terms of curriculum development in this institution), I’m not sure why it took me this long to develop these two context clues on the nouns debt and debtor. Anyway, here they are.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Realia: A Cool Word I Hadn’t Heretofore Known

“re·a·lia \rē-ˈa-lē-ə, -ˈā-\ n pl [LL, neut. pl. of realis real] (1937)  : objects or activities used to relate classroom teaching to the real life esp. of peoples studied.”

Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition (Kindle Locations 297566-297568). Merriam-Webster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Cultural Literacy: Alexander Hamilton

Since he has become au courant by way of the Broadway musical, now seems like a good time to post this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Alexander Hamilton.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Memorandum to “Tax Cutters” from Mary McCarthy

“Congress—these, for the most part, illiterate hacks whose fancy vests are spotted with gravy, and whose speeches , hypocritical, unctuous, and slovenly, are spotted also with the gravy of political patronage.”

Mary McCarthy

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Portable Curmudgeon. New York: Plume, 1992.

Indoctrinate (vt)

It’s a propitious moment, I think, to post a context clues worksheet on the transitive verb indoctrinate.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.