September 21, 2004

"Such proper ideas of doughnuts."

Every week during the semester here at the law school, we have an early session with students and faculty that is officially called "Coffee and Donuts." It's always spelled the "Dunkin' Donuts" way, not the "Krispy Kreme Doughnuts" way. Neither of those companies looks to be oriented toward spelling things properly. Google has "donuts" almost three times as often as "doughnuts," but that may just reflect the prevalence of Dunkin' Donuts. I think the faculty should set a good example about the importance of good spelling. Lawyers must take great pains to avoid misspellings in briefs. Think what a gaffe it is to write "Marberry v. Madison." So I think we ought to spell donuts/doughnuts correctly for official law school purposes. Let's check the literary authorities. Robert Frost (who probably ate frosted doughnuts):
It took my mind off doughnuts and soda biscuit
To step outdoors and take the water dazzle
A sunny morning, or take the rising wind
About my face and body and through my wrapper,
When a storm threatened from the Dragon’s Den,
And a cold chill shivered across the lake.
Willa Cather:
The household slept late on Sunday morning; even Mahailey did not get up until seven. The general signal for breakfast was the smell of doughnuts frying. This morning Ralph rolled out of bed at the last minute and callously put on his clean underwear without taking a bath.
That's a yummy juxtaposition.

Sarah Orne Jewett:
We stopped, and seeing a party of pleasure-seekers in holiday attire, the thin, anxious mistress of the farmhouse came out with wistful sympathy to hear what news we might have to give. Mrs. Blackett first spied her at the half-closed door, and asked with such cheerful directness if we were trespassing that, after a few words, she went back to her kitchen and reappeared with a plateful of doughnuts.

"Entertainment for man and beast," announced Mrs. Todd with satisfaction. "Why, we 've perceived there was new doughnuts all along the road, but you 're the first that has treated us."

Our new acquaintance flushed with pleasure, but said nothing.

"They're very nice; you 've had good luck with 'em," pronounced Mrs. Todd. "Yes, we've observed there was doughnuts all the way along; if one house is frying all the rest is; 't is so with a great many things."


"I wonder who she was before she was married?" said Mrs. Todd, who was usually unerring in matters of genealogy. "She must have been one of that remote branch that lived down beyond Thomaston. We can find out this afternoon. I expect that the families'll march together, or be sorted out some way. I'm willing to own a relation that has such proper ideas of doughnuts."
So "doughnuts" it is!

I've been tapped to lead today's session, which begins at 8:30. I meant to set my alarm clock an hour earlier, but somehow I set it two hours earlier. No wonder it was so dark and I felt so bleary. The subject of the session--worked out not by me but by the people who organize the program--is blogging. There are lots of fliers pinned up around the law school that say "BLOGGING" and include my name. Email has been sent to all the students that refers to me as Professor (and prolific blogger) Ann Althouse.

These sessions are casual conversations so I've resisted planning anything to say. It will be interesting to see where the discussion goes. Maybe it will turn to the subject of bloggers versus mainstream media as exemplified by Rathergate. Maybe the subject will be more intra-law school: should students blog? Maybe they'll focus on this blog. We'll see. I'll update.

UPDATE: We had a lively discussion. There was a little what is a blog and why do you blog, but the favorite topic turned out to be law student blogs. There was suprisingly little about politics and the impact of blogs on mainstream media. People were more concerned with questions about starting and maintaining their own blogs. A lot of the students who attended already had blogs. Gordon is also blogging about the session this morning, and Gordon has a set of links to the student blogs he likes best and a set of links to Wisconsin Law School blogs which includes student blogs. He added a few new ones today.

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