By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – This is the day that you’ll find a large number of reflective posts on blogs and “best of” articles in newspapers as we say goodbye to 2018. I think there is some benefit in that and we certainly all need time to reflect.
For my last post of 2018 on this blog, I’d like to just share some bits and pieces I’ve come across this morning that caught my interest.
I’m a sucker for good news so let’s start out with this article from The Dallas Morning News where the animal shelter there has reached a new milestone:
For the first time in its history, Dallas Animal Services — which runs the fourth-largest shelter in the country — is poised to post a live-release rate for cats and dogs of more than 90 percent in December. At the same time, the department took in a record number of loose and unwanted dogs during the month.
They’ve done some terrific work there; as an animal advocate, I like to see this. There’s your feel-good story for the day.
Filed under strange news is this article from the New York Times where a man in tactical clothing was arrested near San Antonio after concerned employees of a restaurant alerted police:
It was still dark outside when Mr. Albert, who was wearing sunglasses, stopped at Las Mañanitas restaurant around 6:30 a.m. A worker there, Brianna Jimenez, 18, went to greet him but he waved her off and he went into the restroom for close to 30 minutes, she said.
Ms. Jimenez forgot the man was in the restroom but when he came out he asked for directions to the nearest Baptist church. He aske her twice for a ride and when she declined, he walked away, gun in hand. Read the whole thing.
It rather makes your hair stand on end to think what might have happened.
Another article that caught my eye, and somewhat appropriate for those making New Year’s Resolutions, is this piece on the merits of reading classic literature. It’s no secret that I’m an avid reader and I’ve worked hard to encourage my students to love reading. This article makes some very valid points:
As we near the end of the second decade of the 21st century we’ve developed widespread awareness that our devices have made us shallow thinkers. We’re less cognizant, however, of the effect of the content itself.
Or the style in which the content is written.
Have you ever wondered why so many of the articles you read, like this one, are organized in numbered lists?
Or why the writing in these articles is so often organized into ultra-short paragraphs, many of them only one sentence long?
We, the content creators of the 21st century, have learned to write in snappy lists with short sentences and one-sentence paragraphs.
We write this way because this is what you, the content consumers of the 21st century, choose to read.
You like content that is clear, concise, simple, and to the point. You’re in a hurry (always), and we writers know, God do we know, that we are competing not just against other essays or other books, but against the endless siren songs of Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter.
It’s an engaging article and the author quite easily proves his point. Read it if you dare. (irony alert – I’m guilty).
On the education front, there is this: no more grading homework in Lafayette parish schools:
The value of homework is suddenly under the microscope, and leaders of the Lafayette Parish school district have decided it should no longer be graded.
School districts around the state also are studying the issue and watching the experience in Lafayette.
Under a policy that took effect this school year, Lafayette students in grades two through 12 can still have after-school assignments. But that work will not be graded, like it was for generations.
“Homework should be practice,” Kathy Aloisio, director of elementary schools for the district, which has about 31,000 students.
So much I could say about this. So much. The pros and cons are endless. Is this the wave of the future?
Y’all have a great, safe New Year’s Eve! Don’t drink and drive. Lay low tomorrow, drink Bloody Marys, eat some traditional New Year’s Day food, watch the Winter Classic.
Peace out, 2018: you were pretty awesome to me!
Pat Austin Becker blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.