A person who hates his parents: A German-speaking friend offers Elternhasser. It’s not in my Cassell’s German dictionary, but German’s easy-going about assembling words from other words, so I’ll take it.
Obama’s autobiography: A reader: “(a) Why will you have to read it? (b) How do you know it’s no good if you haven’t read it?” Well: (a) I write about public affairs. To do so without having read the president’s autobiography would be remiss. (Isn’t it remiss to do so without having read a leading candidate’s autobiography? Yes, but so far I’ve gotten away with it. Prob. could not do so for four years.) (b) For goodness’ sake. I have looked into it. What’s the proposition here: That you can’t have an opinion about a book unless you’re read every last word? That would put book reviewers out of business. Math teaching: Many, many recommendations for Kumon, who use an Ikea-type method. My impression of our K-12 education system is that it relies far too much on teacher quality. Hence all the vapid noises about “hiring the best teachers.” My guess is, we’ve already hired them. Teaching’s a pretty neat job: excellent pay, super vacations & benefits, wellnigh-total job security, union armed with thermonuclear weapons, their very own Department in the feddle gummint. I doubt there is some big pool of better teachers out there to be fished. The teachers we’ve got are as good as we’re going to get. What we need is better systems. Management 101: Any fool can get brilliant results from brilliant employees. The art of management is to get brilliant results from not-particularly-brilliant employees. Plenty of firms do this. Too few of our public schools do.
Vile bezonians: Widespread agreement on the public-execution thing. That’s going to be some picnic! One heartbreaking e-mail from Austin, MN, from someone who actually knew Beau Zabel and his family. When can I start packing that picnic basket?
The party line on Leprechauns: From a reader who seems to know all about it, though his e-mail reads like Gaelic to me:
The party line on Leprechauns is that after an 8-4 season Notre Dame looks to rebound this fall to a 7 or 8 win season. The offensive line is more seasoned, the receiving corp has more speed and at Quarterback Jimmy Clausen’s health is improved. The defensive line is still a question mark.
King Dork: NR’s own Fred Schwartz tells me that the author has a real-life band, the Mr. T Experience (now known as MTX). Fred has some remarks about KD here. I would just add that the ending was not very satisfactory. I never did figure out what happened to the guy’s Dad.
Paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde: Shoulda googled that, apparently I’m not the only person who remembers the Asimov story.