Over the past few weeks one of my weekly rituals has become checking the American Scholar blog every Friday to read the latest installment from William Zinsser. Born in 1922, Zinsser is a lifelong New Yorker who began writing for the Herald Tribune after a stint in the Army during World War II. He went on to freelance for most of the leading magazines of the mid-twentieth century, teach at Yale, edit the Book-of-the-Month Club, and publish eighteen books of his own. Now, approaching his ninetieth year, he has thankfully taken to the blogosphere with “Zinsser on Friday.” And oh yes, he moonlights playing a little jazz piano in the local clubs as well. For over half a century he has shared his mantra with students, fellow journalists, and the public-at-large: simplify your language and thereby find your humanity. Recently he turned his attention to Appomattox, the 146th anniversary of which is today.