Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Life's truths

I found these on another blog and although I have seen some of them before, I just had to share a few.  Have a chuckle and a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.  I'll be in California for a few days with my number one son's family, but I'll be back.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering "What happened?"  (Particularly timely after my birthday this week.)
42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
Honk if you love peace and quiet.
Remember, half the people you know are below average.
He who laughs last thinks slowest.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.
How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have enough film.
What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
On the other hand, you have different fingers.
A day without sunshine is like... night.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Interesting things on the freeway

On my regular drive a few days ago, I passed some odd-looking cargo.  Traveling the opposite way on the freeway there was a 18-wheel semi truck whose trailer was even longer than normal.  It was long enough that it had needed special permission and a chase car to be on the freeway.  On the trailer was what looked like a single, very big  propeller.  My first thought was that it was for a huge airplane, but I realized that was silly.  The plane would have to be enormous and now we make them jet powered.   In a few miles another went by.  It dawned on me that they were likely heading for a wind farm.  They were pieces of those very tall wind turbines.  Like the Space Shuttle, they look lots bigger when close by!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What a lovely surprise

I had the nicest surprise when I reached hubby's apartment yesterday afternoon.  There was a message on the answering machine for me.  This deep, male voice belonged to one of my former students trying to track down my address so he could send me a graduation announcement. 

This young man is graduating early to attend college and major in English.  He says he gives me credit for his interest in English and literature.  Flattered though I am to hear him say that, I certainly don't deserve much of the credit.  He is one of the most capable students I've ever had and his reading ability was exceptional before I was his teacher.  I tried to help him find high-quality novels at his level (reading and maturity), and I've always stressed the value of an ever-increasing vocabulary and solid understanding of good grammar.  Maybe that was what he needed at 11-years old.

For whatever reason, I was touched that he would go to the trouble to try and find me (we have both moved more than once since he was in my 6th grade).  He was a terrific student and a thoughtful, kind young man.  I have always loved working with really smart kids and he was a true pleasure.  He promised to include a picture and I am looking forward to seeing him again.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More careless spelling

I have run onto a rash of careless spelling lately.  I can't explain why these misspelled words jump at me, yet seem to hide from those who should care.  My mother says I get it from her mother. She used to notice too.  

A lovely, colored wedding invitation spelled cordially wrong.  A man and his son were putting color, professionally printed business cards on cars in a parking lot.  The word specialize was misspelled. A young woman who notarized my signature for me handed me her card. The problem there was representative. 

Now if you're writing a shopping list, a note to self (I do that a lot), a letter to family or friends, it doesn't matter if spelling is a bit lackadaisical. Who cares?  But, if you are printing something to distributed or posted for public viewing, shouldn't you care enough to check it?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thermostat adjustments

Does everyone's thermostat need adjustment as the seasons change, or just mine?  Why is 65 degrees lovely and balmy in January, but cool and uncomfortable in July?  Because of how we are acclimatized?  Doesn't it seem logical that a home temperature would be the same year round?  Logical, yes, realistic, not so much.

My hubby and I do have to make some compromises about temperature because while he is perfectly happy in a t-shirt at 55 degrees, I'm wearing two layers and maybe a jacket.  When it gets above 80, I can finally wear one short sleeved shirt, but he is sweating and overheating.  In our house we try to meet in the middle with fans to move air and throws handy.

Speaking of the middle, why is it that in order to be comfortable in the summer, my home thermostat needs to be set higher than it does to be comfy in the winter?  This conundrum is one I've noticed for years.   I like my house temp set at 77 or 78 in summer, but I'm happy with 73 in the winter.  It seems that blowing cold air is waaay cooler than blowing warm air is toasty--at least to me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We're all simple, slow creatures?

I have mentioned before how advertisers mangle language.  Not only do some of them try to sound more educated than they are (thereby disclosing their shortcomings), but some must think the audience is too distracted or simple to understand something said succinctly.  Maybe they are right.  Perhaps some of us have to be beaten about the head to get the message, because in the past few days I've noticed several unnecessary redundancies in advertisers' messages.  (Did you notice the one I included purposefully?)

Something has become increasingly more polluted.  I guess that's worse than just increasingly polluted or more polluted?

A retail store is having a sale with a savings of 50% off.  Just in case we didn't know that 50% off is a savings?  Or a savings of 50% means a lower price?  Surely we wouldn't understand that we would be buying something for 50% of it's original price?

And finally a case where we both agree about something.  I guess just one of us could agree, but then who would we be agreeing with?

I know, some of you will think I'm being terribly nit-picky and getting annoyed by the most foolish things.  That's okay.  It could be like worse.  I could like insert like useless words like constantly.  Or I could IM ppl 4 what I wanted 2 say.  l8r.  bbfn lol.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Man clues

I was watching the Rachael Ray show on television one morning and she mentioned how her husband didn't turn off lights when he left a room.  I was surprised to find that my hubby is a member of a larger, if unorganized club.  In fact, I can literally track my hubby from place to place.  If he gets something from a drawer, it's still open.  If he opens a cupboard, the door is still ajar.  Lights are left on as he goes from one place to another.  If he needed a screwdriver to tighten a cabinet handle, it's sitting on the counter when he's finished.  The only reason the refrigerator isn't open all the time is that it's weighted to shut itself.  He has multiple pairs of reading glasses because he is always leaving one wherever he was when he last needed to see something up close.

I tease him about being able to trace his steps, but he just laughs that he might need to go into that room again, or get something else from the cupboard.  Why bother to turn off the light to just turn in on again?  Or close the door and reopen it a little later?  Ironically, he can be very organized and his personal "stuff" is packed and boxed with precision.  He just has to decide to do it first.

I doubt that I could follow him traipsing along the mountain trails he loves, but I do know what he does and where he goes as he moves about the house.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Perspective is everything

 It is so fascinating how different people see things--how the same television program, speech, or written work can be viewed from completely opposite perspectives and perceived in entirely different ways.  I ran into this a little when working with students and novels.  Occasionally, a parent would object to the novel I was reading with students.  The two that come to mind are The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor.  I love both books and so did most of my students, but a couple of parents did not.  

Susan Cooper's fantasy battles between good and evil disturbed the sensibilities of one mother, so her child was given an alternate (parent-approved) fantasy for study.  This same parent refused to allow her children to read the Harry Potter books as well.  

Mildred Taylor's story of life in Mississippi in the 1930's upset a parent because--as near as I could tell--people were prejudiced and unkind to each other.  Uncomfortable I guess, even if true.  Another good historical fiction novel (with less conflict) was provided.

My point is that the same material is colored with very personal viewpoints, and I'm guessing that writers know this better than anyone else.  Robert Kirby, the entertaining columnist I posted about a couple of days ago, today printed some of his feedback from previous columns.  I've just excerpted the part about the advice to the President column.  It seems to be an excellent example of differing personal perspectives.

"When I wrote a completely bipartisan and open letter to the new president (without knowing who it was yet), some people only saw their own agenda in it.
'That letter to President-elect Obama was shameful and retarded.  He is a great man.  Your [sic] nothing.  Who pays you to be a bigot?'
'That pointless crap is exactly what kept John McCain from being elected and helped put a Muslim in the White House.  Thanks for nothing you [deleted].'
'I wrote in Nader and your letter wouldn't have applied to him but I still think you're a [deleted].' "

I rest my case.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Presidential Advice

Although the election didn't turn out the way I had hoped it would, I am glad it is over.   One of my favorite columnists in a local paper had some good advice for President-elect Obama.  It is along the same common-sense lines as when author Robert Fulghum said that all he needed to know he learned in Kindergarten.  

I didn't want to try and put the column here, but I will give you the link and if you want, you can pop over and read it yourself.  The author is Robert Kirby and I would love to be as prolific and entertaining a writer as he is.  His self-deprecating humor always makes me smile--even this snowy, post-election morning.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weird facts about me?

Caryn tagged me to list seven weird/unusual facts about myself.  I think I can get up to seven, although those who know me could probably list way more.  I was tagged a couple of days ago to make several lists of eight, but I wasn't sure I could think of enough stuff.  Maybe I'll follow through on that one later when I'm feeling more prolific.  But here goes.

1.  My favorite diet cola is TAB.  It was the first and I think it is still the best.  Can't get it in a fountain or gas station stores any more, but grocery stores usually still sell the 12 packs.

2.  I always sleep in socks, even in the summer.  I really dislike cold feet.

3.  I'm a sucker for science fiction programs on television (Star Gates, all Star Trek inventions, X-File, whatever).  I never watch reality programs.   I prefer escapism I guess. 

4.  I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon although I don't.  I like knowing that I could if I wanted, and I figured it is better to know how guns work than not.

5.  I can't eat an entire candy bar anymore.  I seem to overdose on sweet easily......salt however, is another story entirely.

6.  I click every time my heart beats.  

7.  If left to my own biological rhythms I'd probably sleep from midnight to 8 a.m. (although not straight through, not at my age you know).  

Okay.  I don't think I'll tag others, but anyone who wants feel free to respond.  It would be fun to read what you think is unusual about yourself.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Strange words and phrases

I think, before too long, American English will no longer have the rules scholars and teachers thought it had.  It is played with so often that people will forget what is (or was) technically correct.  

For two days an ad in the Salt Lake Tribune claimed an automobile dealership headline had all their "Suburu's on sale."  

On the radio, a jewelry store is having a "pre-anniversary event."  Does that mean they will have a real anniversary sale later?  Could there be a post anniversary sale?  They can't have a sale without a reason?

A store has several "lighting professionals."  Exactly what is that?  I guess professionals get paid for performance skills, so these people must have lighting skills.  That's different from being proficient or knowledgeable sales people?  Do I need a professional to buy a lamp?

Then there are the clever ways we play with words.  Another dealership was celebrating "Trucktober,"  and a retail store was advertising a "shopportunity."  People just think up these things, but I wonder if youngsters find it at all confusing.  

In a later post, I'll likely carry on about redundancies and--again--the misuse of adjectives as adverbs and nouns as verbs.  I guess I am definitely old school.   I kind of liked the order of the way it used to be.