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Category Archives: Humor

No Hablo Español Porque…

Jajaja! Lo siento.

Jajaja! Lo siento.

I took three years of Spanish in high school, and four semesters in college, yet I retained almost nothing, something I now regret as I attempt to relearn the language. But why? ¿Por qué? Realistically, it’s likely because I never found reason to use it earlier in life, and that saying, “Use it or lose it,” truly applies when learning a foreign language. However, there may have been other contributing factors that should fit nicely in the retelling of Drew’s high school experience. After all, she is the fictional version of me (Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl series). Here are some samples:

1- The girl who sat behind me in Spanish the first year, the one who didn’t even know who the current president was during the elections of 1992, sucked it out of me by the vacuum of her empty head. That year I usually made hundreds on all my quizzes, so she attempted to copy my answers.  Once I caught on, I would purposely write the wrong answers, give her plenty of opportunity to copy them down, and then change them quickly before turning in my own work. Maybe playing stupid for so long actually made a more long-term impact of irreversible damage than I was aware.

2-Spanish III could be a whole book on its own.

  • Or teacher was an older woman who had taught elementary school for years and just switched to high school. She talked to us like children. High schoolers do not appreciate that sort of thing, so we began to call her by the wrong name.  To this day I am not certain if she was Ms. Thompson or Johnson. Apparently, she had a much worse class than ours, and after having us answer inappropriate ads from the classifieds of some Spanish language newspapers, it is rumored she had a nervous breakdown and left with no warning after just under two months.
  • We had a substitute for another two months (one who did not know Spanish).
  • My friends and I played card games, such as “Ochos Locos” (Crazy Eights) and listened to Beck’s “Loser” for our Spanish practice during class.
  • During our time with the substitute, we were expected to take a midterm exam. The sub felt sorry for us and left the room during the exam while we all looked up the answers and helped each other cheat.
  • We suddenly had a retired military man as our teacher. He was not sympathetic to our plight.


Oh, high school.  You ruined me…or did you just give me fun material for my writing ventures?




My Banned Book List: an Update on Living with a Four Year Old

I was an English major in college with an emphasis in literature, so I’ve never really been one to support banning books, but I may have found a book no longer welcome in my home.

It seemed innocent enough…

ban this book

Today, Linnea asked me to read this book at naptime, one I had never seen or read before. It even started out with a child and a dog who grew up together.  I have two beloved dogs, so I thought it would be a cute tale (or should I say tail?- sorry, bad pun).  I should have known early on when it was mentioned that the dog grew faster than the child… but I kept going. I will leave out the devastating details, but will just say I had to pause to suck up some tears (and probably some snot) as I drew close to Elfie’s death.  I didn’t think I would be able to continue after that.  Fortunately, Linnea could not see my face as I read to her, but I had trouble getting the quivering out of my voice.

I guess this book was meant to prepare kids for the death of their dear Rover, Fido, or even Whiskers, and to emphasize telling them you love them while you have them, but I am not ready yet to accept that my two wonderful Australian shepherds will ever leave me in any way, let alone prepared to explain this to my grand niece. A warning on the cover of this book is all I would have needed, but NO, I was taken completely and vulnerably off guard!

I tucked in Linnea, went into the living room with my doggies and hugged and loved on them so much even they wanted me to stop after a while (that NEVER happens).

Just be warned, if you see this book, you should be prepared before reading aloud to any child (or even silently to yourself).

Ok, so it really is a nice book in many ways, but seriously, read it yourself first so you know what you’re in for. Yikes!

TBT:The Middle-ish Ages excerpt

Today’s TBT is such for two reasons:  one, I wrote this about five years ago now; and two, this part is fairly close to how it actually happened to me when I was actually in middle school, not just in my fictionalized life as Drew. Here’s an early chapter from my first published book Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages.

School’s Out Forever?

Sixth grade ended with me telling the few people I actually spoke to goodbye. I was going to be in a new school next fall and would never see them again. So long, farewell, good riddance.

Belle and I spent as much time together as possible. We usually ended up at her house, since mine had to look perfect at all times, just in case the realtor called to show it. Every once in a while, the phone would ring, and a few minutes later, my mom became a cyclone, circling the house with a vacuum or worthless, pre-Swifferduster, yelling up the stairs for me to make sure my room was neat, and to hurry up so we could get out of there for a while. This usually meant we would go to a movie, or off to window-shop somewhere. I think my mom even saved certain errands for such occasions. It was easier to just not hang out at home too much, and Belle’s family didn’t mind if I was there. They always welcomed me in with open arms… another daughter almost.

Summer went on like this, and on and on. No bites on the house. It was a gorgeous, spacious home with more land than most places in the area, but homes weren’t selling. My parents were getting restless and their realtor wasn’t working hard enough for them. When my parents got restless with situations, strange events could happen, and their behavior became suspicious. Usually quiet whispering was the sign of something good to come. If it was a quiet whisper on a Saturday morning, we were about to get the world’s best maple doughnuts for breakfast. If there was a suspicious whispering, mixed with quiet moments of exchanged smiles and glances at us kids after finishing dinner, we were in for a trip to the ice cream parlor.

This morning was not a Saturday. It was a Tuesday. Not just any Tuesday. This Tuesday was the last Tuesday before Labor Day, which meant I was about to go back to school with all the people I had bragged to about moving away. I wasn’t thrilled about that. Once the idea of moving had time to settle, I was all for it, with the only regret being leaving Belle behind. I even had an understanding that I would need to move on from Jason and accept that it was not meant to be. But as I staggered down the stairs and shuffled into the kitchen that Tuesday morning, my parents were plotting something. They had smiles on their lips and stopped whispering as soon as they saw me.

I scratched my head and yawned. Mornings were a particularly hard time for me to focus and make sense of my surroundings, and something was not right here. Why were they looking at me like Cheshire cats? “Whaaat?” I questioned in another drawn out yawn, irritated by the situation. I pulled a glass out of the nearest cabinet and a spoon from the drawer below.

“We were thinking about taking a little vacation this weekend. Do you want to come?” my mom asked.

“A vacation? I start school next Tuesday. Where?” I pulled the milk and Hershey’s chocolate syrup out of the refrigerator.

“We just wanted to go out to Virginia and check it out.”

“Uh-huh?” Their blank looks must have been in response to my confused look. I closed the fridge.

“We just want to look into our options.”

“Options for what? Isn’t Virginia on another planet or something?” Thick chocolate fell in a stream into my milk glass. I actually had a fairly educated knowledge of the geography of our country, and we had traveled quite a bit, but I’d never seen the East coast.

“It’s exactly across the United States from here. Anyway, we thought it would be interesting to see what it’s like there.”

“I’m sure it would be interesting, but why now?”

Their looks said it all.

I hope you don’t think I’m moving there!” As the last of my desired chocolate dangled and dripped into my glass, I stirred my milk with rage and large swirls of chocolate were desperate to mix in and avoid further abuse.

“So, you don’t want to come on the trip?” my mom asked, a somewhat hurt tone in her voice. Greeeeaaat… they wanted to uproot me from all things familiar, and I should feel guilty?

I slowly put the milk and chocolate away, halfway closing, halfway slamming the refrigerator door. “I’ll go,” I huffed. “It’s probably like traveling to a foreign country, which I’ve always wanted to do. But I am not moving there!”

“We’ll take a long weekend. We’ll leave Friday and come back Monday evening, so you make it to school on time.” At my father’s response, I trudged back up the stairs with my nearly black chocolate milk. Large chocolate swirls had already begun to comingle at the bottom of the glass. Virginia? Really?

“You might want to think about having some milk with your chocolate,” came the snotty taunt from Angela as we passed on the steps. I wondered if she knew yet, but I really didn’t feel like asking.

Throw Back Thursday: Research Paper Woes Part IV

I promised one more post of student quotes from the research papers I painstakingly and frustratedly graded during the last few years I taught sophomore advanced level English.

First, I thought you’d enjoy a visual of an unrelated quiz, just as a warm up to get you in the appropriate mind frame.

Wrinkle in Time quiz

Wrinkle in Time quiz

Now for paper quotes and commentary:

“So of course children should come to Boot Camps so their lives can change and not only will yours, but also the family structure change also.” This was about sending troubled kids to intervention style boot camps.
Here’s a good one. In a paper about spaying/neutering pets, this sentence appeared: “Some people still give reasons as to why they should not go through with the procedure, even with all of this evidence to support why they, by all means, should.”
Uhhh…I thought we were talking about the pets, not the people. That does change things! Given the new light shed on the subject, maybe I should reread this paper.
“Lastlly [yes, student used two l’s, and one really should not even add -ly to last anyway], unclean or too clean water could decrease life expectancy in captivated whales.” Are the whales captive or captivated?
A thesis statement: “Think of the endless possibilities for the limitless knowledge possible to learn online school has many benefits for all students’ elementary school, middle school;, high school, and college absolutely should have the capability to attend their academic classes online.” Remember that the thesis statement sets the tone for the entire paper. Yep, the rest was pretty much just as bad and confusing to read.
I don’t even know what to say. “The head of Flagler county school boards along with different branches along the United States for schools online or public must make more acceptations to those who wish to enroll”
“As a catholic, I know it is wrong to believe in capital punishment, but also you are to treat others like you want to be treated, and if that means you are killing someone, then well why should they not be put to death.” Does this mean you should kill people if you want to be killed? I’m a bit confused on the wording.
For any of you out there who are against Welfare, one of my students assures me that, “Welfare also provides jobs for more people because it requires people to feel guilty that they become dependent on it and rely on it.” Apparently when one applies for government assistance there must also be proof of guilt provided.
“In an economy like the one today, a job sustains one’s basic needs.” I want to go back to live in whatever economy it was where people didn’t need jobs, because apparently this need of a job thing is unique to our current economy. I wouldn’t even need to grade these stupid papers if I lived in that fantasy world!
“If a smoker loses an arm of a leg, they might also not be able to live alone, and function on their own without the help of another person.” I don’t know how I would get through my day without my leg arms.
“If a smoker does not find a job, they don’t have money, no money, and they can not get what they need to survive.” Nice emphasis on NO MONEY.
“People who die of cancer, die slowly, and knowing that their day will soon come, but knowing exactly when. They also hope for the end to come soon, but for them, it never does. Smoking may cause death.” This is how I feel about these papers.
“Juveniles do a very adult-like crime…Young adults remain killing people; committing murder. Juveniles will kill their friends, strangers, and even their own family members.” Dang! I’m glad I’m leaving the high school classroom, or I could be next. It seems they’re all doing it these days. Maybe it’s peer pressure. It is so important to limit generalizations with words like “some.” If you have teens around, you are warned.
Research paper quote: “This takes censoring too far because in America we have the right to bare arms.” Tank tops for everyone! Rage! Rage against long sleeves!
The solution to all our gun issues: “The best thing to do would be to raise the prices of firearms so that for criminals to buy weapons, they have to have a lot more money than they can make, being criminals and all.” After all, criminals aren’t in it for the money or anything.
An example of a student trying to add to the lacking word count in a paper: “Criminals already are not following laws. That is what makes them criminals. If criminals did follow laws, they would not be much of criminals now would they? No, they would not. If they were, we would just call them people.”
Research paper quote of confusion: “Should the American government enforce gun control? Would crime in the united states?” Would crime in the United States (let’s capitalize that proper noun bad-boy) do what? That’s all there is about that, and it moves on.
And now we will just let all juveniles off the hook for whatever crimes they may commit because, “Being charged as a juvenile, let alone as an adult will serve no purpose for a minor because they will get nothing out of it,” which is a bad idea according to another recent paper that informed me all juveniles are criminals…violent criminals “with darkness in their hearts.”
Huh? “For example, say a minor, the age of 13, and a teen, the age of 21 [I’m lost already] were both charged with rape. The 19 year old [wait, where’d he come from?] would have to suffer a more severe consequence (an adult sentence), while the 13 year old could get out with simply serving a few years in a correction facility.”
Now, just to show it wasn’t all bad and the students often made me laugh on purpose, not just inadvertently through bad writing,  this was a response on a peer evaluation sheet I had my students fill out after a Julius Caesar project:
List each group member and a brief description of his/her contribution. Rate His/her contribution on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “I wish I had worked alone,” and 10 being “I will name my first child after my awesome group member.”
Sir Lukas: 5+7/2-1×2
Austin: 20/4+18-3/2

Do I miss this?  What do you think?


Throw Back Thursday: Research Paper Woes Part III

I collected more of these horrific research paper quotes while I taught tenth grade English (the advanced kids, mind you) than I realized.  It looks as though I’ll have to create one more post of them after this one.  Enjoy.  Again, students will remain anonymous and I will include my original commentary from when I posted these quotes on Facebook.

A paper on why the legal drinking age should be lowered: “They would not need to drink a lot for fear they won’t drink again for a reasonable length of time, they can drink every night if they wanted so they don’t need to get unreasonably wasted.” If these people under 21 feel they “need to drink,” I think we really NEED to send them to AA now. And how long is the reasonable amount of time one should expect to go without a drink? A few sentences down: “Similarly, the younger you start, the better you learn.” I should have started drinking when I was younger. I’d be an expert by now and these papers would be so much more bearable.
What all this makes me picture

What all this makes me picture

“In addition to drinking in high school another reason the legal drinking age should be eight teen [this statement after the entire paper has said it should remain at 21] is that alcohol can cause much damage not only to the brain but the brain too, physically and mentally.” Too late for this one? Seems the author has some damage already.
“After all many consider the main reason that the alcohol consumption age should be twenty one.” So, is she missing naming the main reason, or are people just considering it in a sort of broad way? “In the event that alcohol is consumed at an early age many problems can occur. The brain does not fully develop until the early twenties.” Now I feel like she’s just making excuses for this paper.
I have a rule that I will not grade a research paper if the kids do not prove their work to me as we go through the process. One kid decided to turn in a paper anyway, though he had shown me nothing the whole time. Out of curiosity, I checked the word count and it was 393 words out of the 1500-2250 required. Really? Why bother at all when I told you I wasn’t going to grade it anyway? You could have spent that 10 minutes playing video games or something.
“True facts state…” Uhhh… what other types of facts are there?
Confusing research paper quote of the evening: “On the other hand, those not capable of working at the time being soon cannot leave that lifestyle, and somewhat ‘forget’ how to function without assistance.” Anyone? I need some assistance.
“Multiple statistics show that the earlier age one starts drinking alcohol at the more apt they are to become alcoholic later in life.” A simple placement of “an” in front of alcoholic would completely change this sentence for me, but now I have to assume if one starts drinking early in life, he/she will eventually become alcoholic in composition. You are what you drink?
“To stop these illegal stays in the border security should be more difficult to slip past.” Yeah, I don’t know what it means either, nor do I believe the student who wrote it knew what he was saying.
From a paper written on why the U.S. should be stricter on immigration and make it harder for people to achieve it legally as well: “Maybe a example of the laws being too lenient is that were US citizens that can not speak english. We allow people who don’t speak our native language into the US…” Uh, Dude, I think you make a good case for checking to see if our native born citizens can speak (or write) our native language. Maybe if we could kick out those, we could make room for legalized citizens because, sadly, they usually know a heck of a lot more about our country than many naturally born here.
“With this law, a majority of African Americans, Hispanics, Mexican, and etcetera will face consequences because of their color and ethnicity.” Written about the immigration law in Arizona and the fact that illegal immigrants can be sent home.
“Many Americans don’t holey agree with stem cell research and they have seem to have a reasonable argument that supports their thinking.” I wholly have seem to have become confused.
The conclusion of a paper all about dress code: “It is stated by 65% of drug addicts that are still alive and or have not gotten over their addiction that they wish they would have known what they know now and one person in their life would have told them not to do it and kept pushing them away from it.”
“This also means that if the person was going to die in fourteen years anyway, he or she may die before executions, and then he or she can kill without the worry of execution, even if they were not going to escape in the appeals courts anyway.”
“…in one year 6.2 million students drop out between the ages of 16 and 24.” So it would appear that 24 year-olds are high risk high school students, I guess.
The following three quotes all came from different parts of the same paper, so you’ll notice a theme:
‎”It already troubles lawyers trying to satisfy the practice in court as normally only the defendant and the dead person knows exactly what happened, and this takes away from any chance of a miracle recovery.” Indeed, that recovery would be QUITE a miracle!
“The patients who become killed feel better and the family members and friends get over the death more quickly.”
My personal favorite: “Many people want to give up their lives because in doing so they also give up organs that came straight from a living person instead of a person who not to long ago was dead.” Kids these days are just too obsessed with zombies.
Quote of the day: “But teenager always ten to surprise people when it comes to getting activities done, so it can get seceded.” By the way, in the context of the paper, “seceded” was meant to be “succeeded.” I know both are bad, but I thought I’d throw that out there in some sort of defense. However, I wish this paper has seceded from the rest.
“In the modern age, some subjects receive more scrutiny and debate than others. This includes the salaries of sports stars possibly being too great, the ethics of cloning animals or even people, and the toleration of animals and, mostly, people. This last topic in particular often draws purely black-and-white statements and general discretion, as many opinions and points of view exist on the subject.” Down with the toleration of people!
Geography has been sadly neglected in education these days. “As a basic example, one of the main issues in countries such as Asia, Africa, and other countries, states how conventional food production will feed the expanding population.”
“Drugs and sex make for a very healthy responsible adult!” Fortunately, a rough draft.
“Overall, students need a health class within their years of high school, so that they could learn to prevent themselves giving into temptations involving sex, drugs, and other factors that guide a student into developing into a healthy, responsible adult.” Again, happy it was a rough draft.
Oh boy! Looks like I’m going out in style today: “Umbilical cord stem cells may have have have to wait for new technology before equality to embryonic stem cell, but technology has already advanced other types of stem cells.” Have have have you proofread your work lately?

 Look for more quotes in a few weeks.

Author-Friend Etiquette

What the heck is the proper etiquette between authors and their friends (or family)?

friend support

When I first wrote my book and put it out there for reading, I was asking everybody if they’d read it because I was excited. It turns out, most friends are not nearly as excited about the book as the author is. Some don’t even have the desire to read the book, much to the author’s chagrin. But hey, not everybody likes to read books at all. It’s a sad truth I cannot fathom, but have learned to accept (though I grieve for these people and I say a prayer for their souls).

Putting people on the spot was getting awkward.  I even had one friend who confessed she could not read my book because she couldn’t get past my female protagonist having a boy’s name. At least this friend was honest, and I respect that. Instead of getting my feelings hurt and taking the lack of interest personally, I figured if my friends read the book they would tell me about their experiences after the fact, so I would no longer pester them (well, that’s how part of me made peace, while the other part still feels true friends should be supportive and read it even if they aren’t book lovers). I did get some great responses and support this way.

Then there are the ones who I think read the book, but I’ve heard nothing from them about it. This is the other awkward part.  At first, I figured this meant they did not like the book and just didn’t want to have to tell me. I guess I relate to this because I hate hurting people’s feelings and would personally probably avoid the discussion if I were in that situation.  It’s like when people have babies.  Most people will fawn all over a baby because it’s what’s expected, but I cannot be the only one who thinks they don’t usually get cute for at least a few months…maybe (and some never do). I’m not going to sell out and tell a mother her baby is cute if it’s a blatant lie and I think they all look a bit like big-headed aliens.  Instead, I will find a positive aspect and focus on that, leaving out the rest. I know- I’m awful.  Whatever. At least I won’t lie.

But then I found that some of these people had not finished reading the book.  Sure, I like to finish a book as quickly as possible, but especially for the non-aggressive readers, or the seldom ever readers, this is acceptable.  At least they have let me know their intentions.  I appreciate that. At least one of these turned out to be excited to read the sequel and get back into reading.

I also found that some are reading and enjoying the book, but just haven’t bothered to tell me.  I know this because I overheard a friend telling someone else what a good book I had written, but she never mentioned her thoughts to my face. Could be she forgot.  Could be it’s awkward for the friend as well. Could be my friends don’t know if it will make me feel awkward, or a gazillion other weird possibilities. Mostly, I think it’s just unclear what the proper etiquette should be between an author and her friends. I know I’ve supported other writer friends because I understand the need, but maybe some are just shy about it.  Whatever it is, I’ll keep on plugging and hope I don’t have to hold any babies.

Throw Back Thursday: Research Paper Woes Part II

Last week I promised more research paper quotes from my high school teaching days.  Again, I am including my commentary from my original sharing on Facebook. Again, the identities of the students will remain anonymous.

Let me start with a little something from another homework assignment just to get you in the right frame for mind for the actual research paper quotes.

  • Only a few more weeks of research papers and homework answers like this: “I think that the statement applies to [Antigone’s] situation because density is fate and her future is still unknown.” Handwritten- no spell check.
FB friend: “The real question is: does Antigone float? Or is her density going to change her fate to drowning?”
FB me:  “You bring up an interesting point. Perhaps she is a witch, in which case we will also need a duck.”
  • “Like the saying, people really do only have one life to live, and no one would want to add more death causers to the world than there already occurs.”
  • “Also, man parents go crazy just because two of their kids argue fight over a toy.”
  • Usually when a student wants to write his paper on euthanasia it is about whether the terminally ill should be able to resort to this or not. I have a student with a new take on it, and it scares me: “First of all, euthanasia of humans would be conducive to a more healthier society of humans because the terminally sick would be taken care of, the mentally ill would be dealt with before they become a problem, and people with certain disabilities will also be eliminated from the community.” Hitler had a similar system beyond just what he had done to the Jews. Do I sign this kid up for counseling or try to talk to him myself?
  • More from the above paper: “After wheels start rolling [I hope this is metaphorical and not a tank or something] for euthanasian becoming legal and American becoming a healthier nation; the costs of certain things will go down and there will be more money in the country’s pocket.” I’m usually fairly objective when I read these papers, but I don’t think I can ethically do that this time. Yikes!
  • A quote out of one of the better introductions I’ve graded so far: “Technology, since then, evolved over many years giving people the ability to achieve feets unimaginable.” For the record, kid, I don’t like feet, so I can imagine all kinds of scary stuff, but I think you meant feat and want to rearrange your punctuation a bit.
  • “Smoking causes limitless amounts of death than all other forms of dieing combined,” said a student.
  • “As a result of alcohol being a depressant, it is more likely to become aggressive when intoxicated, than to become a “happy drunk.” I cannot stress enough the importance of clarity in pronouns.
  • “Death is not something people, as human beings, want to neither experience nor be responsible for.” First of all, what else would people be if not human beings? Next, if death is not something they want to neither experience nor do, then they do want to experience and do it, right? It’s so cryptic.
  • “I have seen too many runaways that were not fixed and liters of puppies/kittens that end up sick or in shelters.” So, we are measuring animals via the metric system now? Aren’t liters for liquid measurement though?

kitten in a glass

  • More student stuff I am confused about: “Antagonists roar that drones are against the back bone [elsewhere in paper written as the one word it should be] of the society of the United States and breaking that would be crumbling the country… The debate of drones could be in the sky over the United States or stored for only emergency use.” I guess you never know when you may need to pull the debate out of the sky and use it.
  • No words for this: “This negatively effects the students because students look up to and rely their teachers, especially when the students find the teacher “cool,” but then losing the teacher and getting another one after only about 3 months…One that just started teaching and feels too scared of the kids to do anything with them and they end up doing book work the rest of the year, or the teacher does not feel scared of them but acts mean, rude, and has negative attitudes towards them, and then ends up ignorantly giving the nicest kids referral for something ridiculous and not even wrong or their fault and getting the hard-headed, but still good, kids suspended for expressing their feelings about the situation.”
  • “Even though society makes valid points, the matter at hand, should never create an issue today, tomorrow, or in the future.” Isn’t tomorrow part of the future?
  • “Opposing views claims that Censorship may not seem as terrible as it seems.”
  • In honor of the whole “May the 4th be with you” stuff, I am sharing a student quote apparently inspired by Yoda: “Great pride and joy parents experience from their children.” This is the opening sentence. Much promise this paper shows!
  • More paper logic: “Using other organisms could save many animal lives and also find cures for humans. However, killing animals and saving humans has the same results as saving an animal and killing a human, both have one creature killed.”
  • “Getting caught with drugs will stay with a person forever, because they will always be labeled as having a wrap sheet.” After all, no one uses wrapping paper anymore- just buy a gift bag!
  • “If the world could get over the African American being slaves and except them into society then why not people of homosexual play. They are just like everyone else they just like the same sex.”
  • Oh, children, learn your documents before you start quoting them in your papers. “The pursuit of happiness, one of the inalienable rights written in the US Constitution,” (yes, it’s also a fragment) was actually written in the Declaration of Independence.
  • “Due to smoking, smokers tend to die five to ten years earlier than those who do not. This can be especially harmful if smokers had previous problems in the area that smoking can cause to begin with.” The last part confused the snot out of me, but probably mostly because I was thinking about how especially harmful dying can be. Also, I suppose smokers who smoke would likely die before the smokers who do not smoke… but again, I am confused.
  • Sure, it’s a great idea to begin a paragraph in the middle of your paper with, “To conclude with…” Why not?

FB friend:  “Could be an extra long conclusion?”

FB me:  “No, but two separate paragraphs falsely promised to be conclusions, unfairly giving me hope it would end soon, and then I found a random paragraph tacked onto the end that should have been somewhere in the middle. I’m so confused right now.”

To conclude, that’s my genuine conclusion of these quotes… until next Thursday.



Throw Back Thursday: Research Paper Woes

Every spring for the last five years before this one, thankfully, I had to grade sophomore research papers. For the first couple years, I suffered in silence, crying within. Then, I started posting the absurd quotes from these papers on Facebook, with full anonymity to the authors, of course. I only disclosed that these were research paper quotes from the advanced English students.  These quotes became popular, and Facebook friends began asking early on how long it would be before I would grade these papers.  I would even let the anticipation grow by giving updates to when the papers were due. I wish I had kept more of my students’ work earlier on, but this will have to do.

cant eat homeowrk

Whether through errors in grammar or mechanics, fault in logic, odd word choice, or lack of common sense, here are some of my student-induced research paper woes.  Enjoy.  You might want to pee first. I have also included some of my FB commentary of how I introduced the quotes and such.

  • From a paper on why juveniles should not be tried as adults: “Alan Simpson’s rehabilitation [for destroying federal property as a child] demonstrates how the juvenile system works and how a child committing criminal activities can be changed. That child can then contribute greatly to society like becoming a senator.” Let that one sink in a bit… But how are senators different from criminals?
  • “With the only open space existing on top of their home, some homeowners attempt to install wind turbines on their roof, but the danger and impracticality of this unrecommended installment far outway the reward.” Oh, come on! Correctly spelling/using outweigh would have added to the humor as a pun, yet you failed to take advantage to fail in style. FAIL.
  • “Deep space is not a priority in the American nation recently…” Can we just say the United States, please? So awkward! Besides, there are other ‘American nations.’
  • “Think about it, the thought of sitting next to adult criminals in a jail cell that done murder, to a teenager can be terrifying.” That murdering jail cell!
  •  “When people think of the most prevalent cause of death, they may think of a serial killer, but that is not the case.” Really? Are there a lot of people out there paranoid enough to think serial killers take more lives than anything else?
  • I have never claimed to be a math genius; however, I sense a math error in this quote: “Lowering the legal drinking age from eighteen to twenty-one will reduce accidents.” Too late.
  • I get the sentiment and all, but this seems a bit extreme: “In addition to this, smoking can kill anyone at any given time.” Anyone! Any time! Scary! More than serial killers?
  • A paper against the use of animal experimentation: “Other organisms will have more benefits then using animals. For example, scientists can use microorganisms, vertebrates, and invertebrates.” Yes, use those pesky vertebrates instead of animals. ??? Elementary school science class anyone?
  • “You say, ‘Well how do violent video games relate to the real life?’ Violent games can affect a normal person to even a mental person.” I would appreciate a definition of a “mental person,” because I’m wondering if my beating my head on the table when I read these papers counts.
  • I found out what the student meant by “mental person.” “The person may begin to yell or raise their voices [it’s never good when it’s one person with multiple voices] towards another person…also, the person may start to verbally hurt themselves [again, one person verbally assaulting their plural selves is never a good sign], because the guilt gets to them.”
  • Closing argument, same paper yet again: “Therefore, people should be careful with choosing the games they play, or if they can, stop buying them at all, because most likely if people stop playing these violent games our world would have one less stressor on their heads, and our community would be a little safer with the murdering and killing ideas that these games put into our brain.” So, we can have a safer world with the killing ideas in our collective brain. Probably why serial killers are so common.
  • Anti-pageant paper quote: “When the girls act is if they are older with actions such as blowing kisses and walking proactively, these pedophiles and stalkers feel as of the girls are actually doing this to them and are interested in these people.” A good point, but along with the mechanics issues of the sentence, I was thrown off by the proactive walking. Perhaps they should be proactively running.
  • “For instance, the United States banned Henry Miller’s Topic of Cancer (1934) until 1961…By banning a book such as this, or something similar, prevents the knowledge of cancer and what to expect.” Haha! I’ve never read Miller’s TRopic of Cancer (not Topic), but I know it has nothing to do with cancer and more to do with prostitutes and sex. Research your examples students, and spell book titles correctly.   Oh, wait. It gets better. The next sentence: “…if the movement to censor harmless books for children start it will change adult’s lives…”
  • Yikes!  Is this a scene from Alien? “Parents need to distinguish the difference from right and wrong the minute their child comes out wound of the mother.”
  • “Fellow legislatures this is a call to action and something needs to be done now.” Who knew I had politicians in my class?
  • “Every child is different though, so that means not everyone would be as long or as short at Boot Camps.”
  •  “Boot Camps were not made for well-behaved kids or kids that get along with everything, they were made for kids who need the help and who do have Problems in their life.” You know they have bad problems getting along with everything when you capitalize the P.
  • “The people in Egypt struggle to live in poverty for the last three decades…”
  • “Does the material offensive to community standards as defined by state law, regarding depictions of sexual conduct?” My response on paper: Please read this sentence alone. Does is make sense to you? If so, please explain it to me.
  • “Joe Flacco (quarterback for the Ravens) recently restructured his contract; the result made him the most paid player in NFL history.” So…he gets paid more often? A few times a week maybe? How often do the rest get paid? Nobody has been paid more times than this man!

I have more where these came from, so check back with me soon.






You’re Not the Boss of Me! Banning Bossy

Yes, the idea of blaming the word is this ridiculous.

Yes, the idea of blaming the word is this ridiculous. (not sure where meme came from to give credit)

I’ve been hearing and reading a bit about this idea of banning the word bossy because it is most used against women in authoritative positions and it sends a bad message to little girls who are more often called bossy than their male counterparts. Now the solution to the problem is to ban the word bossy. Why don’t we, instead, try to educate a bit more on why it is women may be seen that way when they are in positions of power?  A history of the struggle for women’s equality might be insightful as to why women may feel more of a need to prove themselves. Or the idea that women are more often seen as the caregivers and may then be seen as bossy since they are the ones who oftentimes make decisions. I’m not ranting about wanting the freedom to call little girls and powerful women bossy (I’m sure I have been called the word once or twice in my life, but it was obviously insignificant enough for me to not even really remember).  I’m just saying that banning a word is not a solution to the problem.

In fact, that’s just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard or read.  Oh, wait…is it ok to use the word stupid?  Lackluster individuals may feel offended.  Seriously, unless you never use words, you are bound to offend or upset someone sometime.  I like to call that life.  Welcome to it.

To be honest, I’ve never really given much thought to the word bossy, but if we all start banning words we don’t like, eventually we may have no words at all, and thus, no way to express ourselves and our feelings.  I can think of several words that are offensive and should not be used in front of children, yet the liberality in which they are used these days now seems to suggest it’s ok.  Bossy is not the B word that should concern us. Where are our morals? I find the lack of those to be offensive.

Do we allow people to use synonyms of the word instead or will we also ban domineering, pushy, overbearing, controlling and officious?

Then there is the whole idea of physically banning a word.  Has it ever been done?  How do we do it exactly?  We would have to take it out of the dictionary and then search out and remove it from any piece of literature ever written.  I suppose we could have book burning festivals.  We would also have to come up with a punishment to use against offenders.  Community service? Jail time? Or maybe we could just stone them or lock them away in camps? If we heard somebody say it, how should we react?  Responding would show we recognized the word.  Perhaps staring blankly at the perpetrator, indicating the use of an unknown word, would be the best reaction, and then specialized, trained professionals would be signaled that the word had been uttered and they could come take the individual away.

Look, if people want to call me bossy or whatever else, so what?  You cannot ban opinions…or can you?

Sequel Excerpt of the Talent Show

A little sample of Drew’s progress in her freshman year, an excerpt of the sequel to Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages.

Florntayor’s Got Talent…Sort of

If nothing else, working as part of the backstage crew at the school’s talent show gave me something to do on a Friday night, and though there were no judges or winners, I was feeling quite judgmental, and I really questioned a few of the acts and outfits that strutted across the stage.  Make-out girl from my neighboring locker did some sort of gymnastics meets dance routine while wearing nothing more than a flesh colored body suit and a smile.  Little was left to the imagination, and a flashback montage of all her tonsil-tickler partners and Valentine hearts played in my head, which I shook quietly to myself in the dark behind the stage.

Lance, the mouth breather, performed a magic routine, but everything he attempted failed, and he shuffled off the stage with his left wrist handcuffed to his right ankle and feathers coming out of his pants.  A brother and sister combination played “Dueling Banjos,” and that disturbed me but seemed fitting for Florntayor. Mona performed a baton routine that I guess she used for her beauty pageants.  I secretly hoped she’d hit herself in the head, but she only dropped the baton once, albeit, it landed at the feet of a couple in the front row, which made me smile a little. For the rest of the night some poetry was recited by a mousy junior girl and Bryan Adam’s “Everything I Do” was sung a cappella, and badly, by a senior who was using it as a means to ask a girl to prom.  She said yes and with tears in her eyes, which were obviously there for different reasons than the tears I had in my eyes after the performance.

And then Vile Contagion took the stage and took it with force.

Terri Klaes Harper 2014