April 23: Shakespeare Day, But What About Cervantes?

The Bard expired 400 years ago today on April 23, 1616, but what about Miguel de Cervantes, the first modern novelist? Spain evidently used a different calendar than England, but factoring in differences in the approaches of the two calendars (Gregorian v. Julian), William Shakespeare and Cervantes could well have died on the same day.

There is even some speculation that Shakespeare adopted at least one character from Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote in a lost co-authored play, “The History of Cardenio.”

Let’s make a movie, “The Secret Rendezvous of Shakespeare and Cervantes,” taking mysterious place during Shakespeare’s lost years of 1585 to 1592.

Has to be better than “Shakespeare in Love.” But so are most cartoons.

PC Death Knell Tolls for ‘Me’ (Usage, That Is)

Ever notice that no one on TV, radio or in public can utter the word me anymore?

It’s now “Just between you and I” or “Between you and myself.”

The accusative form of the first person singular has been banished from the English language in favor of political correctness.

Me is rough-edged, Trumpian, no doubt a vast right wing conspiracy to boot.

I could wail on and on about how prepositions require the accusative form or remind people that myself is a reflexive pronoun that can be used only to complement either I or me, never by itself.

Wouldn’t matter. I might as well hoist a rifle a la Charleton Heston and proclaim the sanctity of the Second Amendment. I’d be castigated as that great a threat to our country.

As for me, I’ll continue to be un-PC, Trumpian, NRA-ish and part of the vast right wing conspiracy that believes correct English is a beautiful thing and shouldn’t be politicized.

Luddites, Unite! Handwriting Beats Laptop Note-Taking for Comprehension, Retention

Recent studies, according to a story in today’s Wall Street Journal, reveal that students who take handwritten notes in class comprehend more and retain more than those who take notes on laptops or other devices.

This despite the fact that hand note-takers can, on average, write 22 words a minute, compared to 33 words a minute for lap-takers. Even with more notes, then, those who rely on technology generally fare a bit worse in comprehension and retention of information.

“The very feature that makes laptop note-taking so appealing — the ability to take note more quickly — was what undermined learning,” observed educational psychologist Kenneth Kiewra of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

To be honest, though, the laptop note-takers had better install recall when quizzed right after taking their notes, according to a Washington University (St. Louis) study in 2012, but after 24 hours and more, the hand note-takers excelled.

The key seems to be that taking notes by hand also forces the note-taker to think about what he or she is scribbling down. Laptop noting is more like rote work.

At any rate, the article — “The Power of Handwriting” — is well worth a read.

Problem is, though I hyperlinked the article, WSJ often truncates direct links. But here’s a trick: type the title of the article into a Google search and you’ll be granted access to the full article.

(I just checked, and the online WSJ edition uses a different headline, so you’ll need to search for that: “Can Handwriting Make You Smarter.”