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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Writer's Life 12/20 - Here, There, Everywhere

It's one of those days when you pick up the newspaper and despair. From the terrorist carnage in Berlin to the assassination of a Russian diplomat by a Turkish Muslim cop to the vileness of the leftists who threatened Electoral College voters to the death of a young model at the hands of a chiropractor who severed an artery while administering back adjustments, the dark side on humanity threatens to block out the sun we are privileged to share.

Just when it seems college administrators cannot possibly descend any lower into politically correct nonsense, they do. Here's the gist of an article from, edited by yours truly: University of Kentucky officials have punished journalism professor Buck Ryan, alleging sexual misconduct for singing a modified version of The Beach Boys’ hit California Girls while teaching a storytelling class in China. UK has a partnership program with Jilin University. According to Ryan, no victims have been identified and he was never given an opportunity to defend himself against the charges. He sang the song during the program’s closing ceremonies. It was found to be “of major concern and embarrassment” to other faculty members on the trip, according to a redacted letter that cited the allegations. He has also been accused of “inappropriate touching” of students and use of sexual language. He is not suspected of having a sexual relationship with a student. What, specifically, he’s
accused of doing is unclear, as several details have been redacted from the letter, which was recently made public. A three-month investigation revealed no student complaints. In more than 30 years of college teaching, Ryan has never faced a complaint of sexual misconduct. The University has forbidden him from receiving any international travel funds, and a prestigious award he won has been rescinded. When he inquired about his due process rights, he was told he didn't have any. He was convicted, without trial, of inappropriate behavior with two female students who were never interviewed by university officials. Is there more to the story or is this another example of gross over-reach?

"Surreal," meaning “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream,” was looked up so much by online users that Merriam-Webster on Monday dubbed it the word of the year. It joins the Oxford English Dictionary’s “post-truth” and’s “xenophobia” as top words of 2016.

Adam West, 88, as baby-boomers know, portrayed Batman in the 1960s TV series. He is selling paintings he has done of the show's villains at an art gallery in Ketchum, Idaho, near where he lives. He is scheduled to attend the opening night of the exhibit, dubbed Criminals on Canvas. He says the works capture the humor, zaniness and depth of the villains, as well as the Freudian motivations of Batman. Here's one he did of the Caped Crusader:

NFL: After the Chiefs stumble at home vs. the Titans, the Patriots seem like an even bigger lock to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The NFC remains wide open. Kudos to Dak Prescott, whose stellar performance silenced all those who suggested he be replaced by Tony Romo after last week's disappointment vs. the Giants. As for the Matt Barkley watch, the results were checkered on Sunday: more than 300 yards passing, two touchdowns but three interceptions in a one point loss to the Packers.

One of the main reasons I opened the floating book shop despite the cold was the anticipated appearance of a young beauty who has been stocking up on Tuesdays. I learned a little bit about Mariann today. I thought she was 20. She's 28, married, a mom, and living in Connecticut. She has writing ambitions and asked about self-publishing. Given her age, I suggested she try the traditional avenues first, and told her to feel free to ask me any questions once she's ready to roll. Among her selections today, she chose Close to the Edge, my most serious novel, which is almost totally devoid of humor. It is so surprising to me that such a vivacious beauty, who seems untouched by life's sorrows, prefers the most serious works. My thanks, and also to Marie, who bought crossword puzzle book on the movies.
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