Friday, May 04, 2012
My father used to say that unique was a special, but not unique, word. Why? because you cannot modify it with any adverb except not (as I did above). Unique means one of a kind. As such, something cannot be more unique, very unique, or one of the most unique. It can be not unique. "Nearly unique" would seem a good match, but why not just say unusual.
I had a historical geography professor who was a stickler about proper English in our papers. Grammar, spelling, punctuation all had to be perfect to get a perfect score from him. He required us to work from Strunk & White's Elements of Style. Among the tips he gave us was that if the author used improper English in a quote, we should use the quote as is and note it with (sic).
One paper I wrote, I quoted a source telling me that a particular house type was "a very unique feature of New England colonial architecture." I wrote "a very unique (sic) feature ...." He called me out on that. Why did I use (sic)? So I explained. He glared at me. "You were quoting my dissertation."
Why, yes! Yes I was.
I think he docked me 10 smartass points.
I met a woman whose name was Unique. She corrected the pronunciation "It's OO-NEE-QUAY. My parents wanted to give me a unique name."
Do people with names like that grow up hating their parents? I wonder.
A human being is a single being. Unique and unrepeatable.
A human being is so irreplaceable. So valuable and so unique.
Don't let anyone tell you that you have to be a certain way. Be unique. Be what you feel.
Cherish the Earth. Regardless of how you feel about the global warming debate, understand we live in a unique place. Our Moon keeps our rotation stable and gave us the tides that moved life from the seas to the land. And while I have no way of knowing if our Moon is unique to a planet our size at our distance from star, it is certainly unusual. Earth is unique in the universe in that we know for certain that there is liquid water here, that there is life here, and that there is intelligent life here.
Earth is unique.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
I don't get it!!
What is the big deal with tattoos? Why are so many people getting them? When did they become mainstream?
When I was young, the only people who got tattoos were sailors, pirates and outlaw bikers. Now just about everyone is inked. And kids as young as middle school have tattoos. That says more about their parents, than it does about them, but I mean come on! The technology of tattooing has not changed enough to keep a 10, 20, 40 year old tattoo from fading and sagging. That little rosebud she got on her breast at age 19 is now a long stem rose at age 50.
I have had otherwise sober people tell me that after you get your first tattoo, you will want more. Almost an addiction. Once the fad fades, it won't be like body piercing, where you can just take out the pins. No, you are stuck with it for life.
I must admit. I have thought about getting a little "26.2" on my leg. Then I thought better of it.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Mom has had a series of strokes during the past year. It hasn't stopped her mind, just her ability to communicate clearly. It's a shame too, because Mom is a storyteller. Stories about when she was a child, when she and Dad were first married, about each and every one of her thirteen children.
I think, if you look at my past blogs, you see that I may have gotten some of her gift of gab. She(WMBO) will tell me to "cool it, Jane" when I start to get into a storytelling mode.
Stories don't have ot be true to be told. (Mine are ALLLLL true.) Aesop told tales to teach lessons. Jesus used the parable form, but a story nonetheless. PLato used the allegory form to tell the story of Atlantis.
"When a storyteller interweaves description with emotion, a study suggests his or her brain activity becomes synchronized with the audience. This synchronization suggests storytellers are imparting both ideas and emotions onto their listeners. "
Mark Twain was apparently a master of this technique. In more modern times, Garrison Keilor follows that tradition. John McCutcheon is a folk/family singer in the tradition of Pete Seeger, and like seeger is an accomplished storyteller.
It's why we laugh and cry and become emotionally invested with the characters in a movie or tv show. I always wondered about that. But the storyteller is working his magic on me if it's done right.
Here are a couple of interesting articles, stories really, about the power of stroytelling:
New York Times 2/10/11: When Patients Share Their Stories, Health May Improve
Barry McWilliams: Effective Storytelling: A manual for beginners
Huffinton Post 4/4/11: Connecting Meaning and Learning Through Storytelling by Laura Fleming
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Some of my fondest memories of school was recess. We would get outside and play softball in the fall and the spring. If the fields weren;t too muddy, we would play some form of football. Or dodgeball! I loved dodgeball.
I went to Catholic school. Between the school and the church was the parish cemetery. Once I was going for the football and it was out of bounds. I almost caught it, but I tripped and went headlong into one of the tombstones. Got me 4 stitches in my head and a scar that has steadily crept from the top of my head to my forehead. Ok, ok, ok. My forehead has been creeping up to the top of my head.
Back to recess. I have been seeing about recess going away in schools. The first thing I heard was when the started to banish dodgeball.
"Under pressure from parents and the state to raise test scores, some schools are casting aside recess as a waste of precious time. Benjamin O. Canada, superintendent of schools in Atlanta, told The New York Times, "We are intent on improving academic performance. You don't do that by having kids hanging on the monkey bars."
"Other schools have banished recess because they're concerned about the injuries and lawsuits that can arise from outdoor play. Administrators also cite the threat of strangers to children outside of school walls, and a shortage of teachers and volunteers to supervise recess as reasons to eliminate it." school.familyeducation.com/education
SO at a time when kids are planting themselves in front of the TV with a video game, our schools are robbing Peter to pay Paul for good test grades and covering their butts. It has gotten so bad that we now ave to advertise to our children to "Play 60" as in play 60 minutes outside everyday.
You got kids. Throw them out! Make them play.
Monday, April 30, 2012
I must admit, I was once a not too adventurous eater. Meat and potatoes. And lots of both. Then I embarked on my Weight Watchers adventure and I need to keep my meals interesting. I started to explore.
Probably the most pleasant discovery I made was quinoa. It is a South American "grain" that is high in protein. Better, it is high in complete protein. Notice how I put grain in scare quotes above? That's because quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard.
It is so versatile. It is a starch like rice, high in protein like meat and has a nutty flavor like nuts. It has all nine essential amino acids.
It cooks up just like rice. But it has so much more flavor.
Breakfast is my favorite meal. So why not a little quinoa for breakfast?
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