Tag Archives: Anthony Shadid

A few words on my awful handwriting, and critiqueing others. The last days of Anthony Shadid, as told by the journalist who tried to save him. And making great art using just salt

**Today, a few words about handwriting, and irony.

If you know me, or were a classmate of mine at any level of school, you are aware I have the worst handwriting known to man. If I’m not the worst, I’m at least in the photo. I’m a lefty, I write fast, and I write sloppily.

It’s a problem that’s plagued me since second grade, when my teacher Mrs. Broudny had the audacity to tell me I had “the worst handwriting she’d ever seen in all her years of teaching.” (Maybe it was true, but do you really tell that to a 7-year-old?)
I learned to type in the fifth grade, and except for greeting cards, writing checks, and illegible phone messages scrawled out, my awful penmanship hasn’t been that big a problem as an adult (As a journalist it had an added benefit: I knew my fellow writers wouldn’t be able to copy my notes).

Still, it’s something I feel badly about.

So when I got into this whole teaching racket into which I’m now dipping a few toes, I knew there’d come a time when I’d have to criticize another kid’s chicken scratchings. I dreaded that time, but alas, that time has come.
On some essays I was grading the other night I told a student on top of his paper that he “needs to work on handwriting.”

It’s the kind of comment I got ALL the time as a student, and it usually stung a little. I felt bad writing it on this kid’s paper, but maybe there’s hope for him yet. Maybe he’ll take the time to improve, and it won’t be a lifelong problem for him.

Maybe he won’t turn out like me. I half feel like going over to him when we return the essays and showing him my writing, to make him feel better. But no, that might only scare him.

Instead, I just sit here with a twinge of irony crawling across my cranium, as I, possessor of illegibility, have criticized anothers.

**My best friend Clay sent this along and it goes right with that clip I posted last week of the dude who made a drawing of Conan O’Brien using only Cheetos.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, art with salt, done by a guy named Bashir Sultani (see more of his amazing work here.)

This is pretty incredible stuff… though I have to believe dude was on drugs when he first started doing this.

**Finally, I wrote a few weeks ago about the tragic death of the journalist Anthony Shadid, a heroic and brilliant war correspondent who died in Syria of, of all things, an asthma attack.

Tyler Hicks, an outstanding war photographer, was with Shadid when he died, and because he did not want Shadid’s reporting to die with him, he has written this excellent dispatch about what life was like in Syria when Shadid passed (If you read only one part, read Page 4, which has the details of his death. Riveting.)

The whole piece is interesting and tragic and well worth reading.

Celebrating two extraordinary lives that ended Thursday, Gary Carter and Anthony Shadid. And some awesome winter photos

I was going to continue with Good News Friday like usual today, but the tragic deaths of two wonderful human beings Thursday forced me to shelve that idea. Each of them deserves to be thought about and appreciated today.

The first death that saddened me was that of Gary Carter, the Hall of Fame catcher for the Mets and Expos. Carter was 57, and had been suffering from a brain tumor.
There’s no way to picture Gary Carter without thinking of his smile. It was enormous, room-filling, and so genuine. There might not have been a baseball player alive who enjoyed the game and showed it more than “The Kid.” He was the cornerstone of the 1986 Mets, and a catcher who played the game with verve, passion and a whole lot of skill for his whole career.

He was mocked, in the media and by his peers, for his “good-guy” persona, and he seemed too good to be true (he even wanted to take his wife on road trips, which in baseball circles is kinda like worshipping the devil).

But Carter was the genuine article, a decent man who enjoyed life and played the game the right way. He will be immensely missed. Two fabulous tributes to Carter I read Thursday night were this from SI’s superb Tom Verducci and this story from my buddy Pearlman in the Wall Street Journal.

Here’s video of Carter’s last hit in the major leagues, from September, 1992 with the Expos. The outpouring of love can be felt through the screen…

The second death I mourned Thursday night is a man who was legendary in my former profession as a journalist. To say Anthony Shadid was a foreign correspondent is like calling Einstein an inventor, or Michael Jordan an athlete. For three newspapers over 15 years, most recently the New York Times, Shadid saw the horrors of war up close, reported on them, and then wrote some of the most beautiful prose you can imagine.
So many people in journalism are great reporters. Others are great writers. It’s very, very rare for someone to be both. Shadid went into the worst places in the world and survived, putting names, faces and humanity into the stories of Iraqis, Afghans, and recently, Libyans. Only 43 years old, it is cruelly ironic that after surviving battlefields forever, he died of an asthma attack.

His friend Tyler Hicks, a world-class photographer and with whom Shadid had been kidnapped with last year, carried his body from Syria to safety in Turkey.

Shadid was a giant in the field, and his loss is a great one. Here is a story he wrote to win one of this two Pulitzer Prizes, here is his obituary from the N.Y. Times, and here is a link to some of his other “greatest hits.”

Gary Carter and Anthony Shadid. Two very different men, but both leave an immeasurable hole in the hearts of many.

**And now, a few happy thoughts. I’m on vacation for a week starting today, as the junior high I’m working at closes for mid-winter break (thank you, Presidents Lincoln and Washington for this holiday! The exhausted teachers of America salute you!).

College basketball is getting insanely exciting as it usually does in mid-February; Michigan State got a big win Thursday, my Duke boys pulled another David Copperfield act (seriously, this is the most bizarre Duke team of my lifetime as a fan), and Florida State pulled off another miracle, too. Can’t wait for March Madness.

And here’s a lovely gallery of people skating through the winter. These pictures hopefully will bring a smile to your face, as they did mine. They’re courtesy of Boston.com’s The Big Picture, a site I love and tout frequently on here.