Archive for January 8th, 2010

Prior to the Snap, Wild Card Weekend: The Music’s Changing

There are sundry reasons Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest video game ever. There’s the fact that the Giants are really good in it and Lawrence Taylor is unstoppable. There’s the flex done after every sack and that the computer’s quarterback is always left-handed. There’s how there’s always that chance you’ll block the other team’s extra point and the ridiculous number of safeties. There’s how poorly the other team punts and that flea flicker from Simms to Stephen Baker Touchdown Maker that works practically every time. There’s its most recognizable feature: that zig-zagging down the field on a long play is preferable to running straight, implicitly teaching a generation of children how to escape from alligators.

But maybe my single favorite thing about Tecmo Super Bowl is this: When you get to the playoffs, the background music changes. It shifts from the simple regular-season music, which you zoned out about 10 games ago (if you listened to it at all), to a more intense version that immediately reminds you it isn’t the regular season anymore. It’s playoff time.

This week in the NFL, the music officially changes. It seems an especially significant break this year considering the relative uneventfulness of the last few weekends of the season. The NFC playoff teams were determined by Week 16, and the AFC required the Jets and Ravens to beat the resting Bengals and the abhorrent Raiders, respectively, to get in. I can’t think of a Week 17 with less drama.

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Handwriting Symposium Part II: In Defense of Handwriting

Josh’s opening salvo in the symposium, explaining why the demise of handwriting is “awesome,” can be found here. And I apologize for the “Tim” not coming out too well up top; I’m not used to signing just my first name.

I think I should be clear on my position from the start: I am not a technophobe. I have two iPods and a Blackberry. I own and frequently use a laptop. I do a lot of typing. I typed this whole post. I do not advocate that college students be required to handwrite their theses or even simple 5-7 page papers. I do not think we should spend hours each day in the classroom learning proper Palmer technique or calligraphy so as to make our penmanship more artistic or romantic. I’m even on board with the printing press, which I think is a pretty neat invention.

I want to make a very simple point: Josh, the demise of handwriting is not “awesome.” It is not awesome because handwriting is intimately tied to learning proper composition* in young children, and it is a personal means of communication that cannot be duplicated through the medium of a computer.

*Composition here meaning the ability to structure an argument or a story—more likely a story for this age group.

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