Author Archives: Mark Charney

Joke’s on Me

I make up jokes and tell them to dead people, immigrant Galicians who once lived in the Western Pennsylvania coal mining town where I spent many formative weekends and summers. Here’s one:   Me: What is responsible for the lack … Continue reading

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Prescription for Ethics: An Antidote to the Worship of Scientific Learning

The university where I teach states its mission as “foster[ing] intellectual inquiry and critical thinking, preparing graduates who will serve as effective, ethical leaders and engaged citizens.” It’s a tall order, and I have read this statement to myself many … Continue reading

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Teaching Composition Courses to Non-English Majors: A Multipronged Approach

As one who teaches English composition to undergraduates who are non-English majors, my first task is to convince the students that being able to write well is important, that being able to persuade others is important, and that the approach … Continue reading

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A Hackney Cab Ride through The Corporation of The City of Baltimore: 1834

With free blacks and slaves sharing the streets alongside merchant bankers, shopkeepers, artisans, seaman, and an influx of immigrant labor, antebellum Baltimore City in the early 1830s was growing fast. Irish and German emigrants often booked passage with Baltimore as … Continue reading

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An Appalachian almost in Paris

My wife tells me she has booked a flight for four to visit Paris, France, not Texas, although I understand that France is Texas-sized. She’s looking to make family memories before our two girls go off to college, and she … Continue reading

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Tipping Towards a Living Wage

I phone an order into my favorite neighborhood pizza joint and stop on my way home to pick up the pies. At the counter where I pay, I’m greeted by a chipper young woman, high voice, curly hair, and a smile … Continue reading

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Of Straight Men and Comics

“Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much,” John Wayne famously said, eliminating the “big stick” that Teddy Roosevelt so fondly carried, although Wayne implicitly replaces the stick with a rifle. As a youth I was a Wayne fan, … Continue reading

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