My favorite little book on English usage is Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style.” I’ve used it a lot through the years in my teaching. There is a lot in there about misspelled homophones and multiple meaning words. In my graduate program I used to work at the Cerritos Community College writing center where I was hired to help entering language students correct basic usage and composition errors on their papers. They were required to spend a given amount of time in the writing center and I would sign them off when they’d seen me a few times. It was a great job for a 26 year old thinking about becoming a college teacher. I got to see what a lot of the job would consist of. Working with people so closely was nice too. After correcting some of the same mistakes over and over by the hundreds, I had developed little doodles and vocabulary to help them see the correct way to spell homophones like to/too/two. I don’t have a way o doodle here “stream of consciousness” but I’ll try and remember some of the ways I used to teach these. I still use some of these little ideas to teach these homophones to my 4th graders.
to is a preposition. It announces where you are going. “I am going to the store.” It has one “o” unlike the other two spellings. too is a modifier of degree. I taught this one by saying when it’s explaining there are “too many” you don’t use just one “o” you use “too many o’s” or “2” o’s as opposed to one. Get it? It’s simple and cheesy but when you are starting out in college or anything you do as a serious writer, these little tips are golden and they were always appreciated. I made handouts and I copied a LOT of them. The final word that sounds the same but is spelled different is the number. two, the number, is spelled with a “w.” I would coach them to memorize the spelling of the number first and then use the trick of “degree” being too many “o’s.” And that’s how I would teach the homophones of to/too/two.
This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “indescribable.” Use the actual word in your post or just base your post on something that defies description.
If you’ve ever kept a diary you’ve probably experienced looking back at something you wrote in the past that has changed in meaning. Perhaps you were nervously anticipating an upcoming challenge that turned out being no big deal at all. Or maybe you were sounding your trumpet about an event that now, later in time, seems to have lost it’s sheen.
At 46, I could never explain this and I don’t know why I’m trying to do so to people younger than me. It’s less important to define everything and more important to define those universal themes that have stood the test of time for ones life. Like the photo above I found on Tumblr, we can’t see the track ahead clearly. The forest/city/town that we’ll see down the tracks will likely defy all current description. The best advice I can give as you travel through life is to take it easy and believe all things do change.
A lot of musicians want to be like the Beatles. They are ready to say yes to success. I don’t think the Beatles ever said that though. As I watch the recent documentary on them, I see some young men who are highly skilled in their craft and who simply go with it. The rest is history. Don’t aim at success, say yes to the work that gets you there.
Below is an In-N-Out lunch one of my students’ parents brought me on my lunch break. Totally surprise. Considering the many times I mess up in life, I still get rewards like that! This family rocks! Makes me want to say yes to all the right things.
John said yes to sitting and writing songs/singing. When he finally met Paul, Paul said “(He) had never met anybody who wrote songs before.” Paul of course wrote songs and together they made history. George played the lead guitar. He said yes to learning his scales, for years before he ever got into the Beatles. Ringo: drums. My takeaway from this is to say yes to the right things. Say no to the wrong things. Then go man go.
Your prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “yes.” Use it as a word, use it in a word, extra points if you start and finish your post with it. Enjoy!After you’ve written your Saturday post tomorrow, please link it here.
If a car is traveling at an extremely high speed and you see the video in slow motion, you will clearly see that a brake at the last minute will not stop the car. It will continue with the wheels screeching which can easily cause a break in someone’s car. This is starting to sound like a “Saw” sequel. Imagine that god-awful voice saying: “Someone in your car will receive a break.” Well if it were me, I definitely would want it to happen to me and not anyone in my family. That doesn’t make me a hero by any stretch, just a daddy bear. Incidentally, I have never in my life broken a bone. Pretty lucky huh? Well yeah, on that front, I am quite a lucky guy. I’ve heard broken bones hurt bad.
This unencumbered, stream of consciousness portion of my brain has been sliced as part of the blog challenge:
It really bothers me when people fail to respect my feelings. Doesn’t everybody get bothered by this? I see this at work when people correct my students at public events such as assemblies. These people don’t even seem to think they are being rude. I know my kids are hurt by it. Why don’t they go through me? I dream of something better, a more considerate world
It leads to thoughts that are quite daunting. Has the world changed or have I? I see rude people everywhere. It seems to be the norm that people ignore me. The number of people that listen appears to be dwindling. I can live with it but there truly seems to a surplus of caring people that I encounter who are sad.
Without appearing like a whiny brat asking for more stuff, I want to tell you some things of which I am dreaming about.
The time to call parents for good things as much as for bad behavior.
Continued effectiveness with my students next year: 2016-2017
Nurturing a love for all people.
A state of mind I was in a few weeks ago when I finally healed from my cold and cough. I could see all the tasks that I needed to do for others.
Let the amazement of so many good ones boost my spirits, don’t dwell on the dishonest ones,
Remember what Debbie Harry said:
When I saw you in the restaurant.
You could tell I was no debutante.
You ask me what’s my pleasure, a movie or a measure …
I’ll have a cup of tea and tell you of my “Dreaming.” Dreaming is free…
I try every day to be a good parent to my kids. My oldest, 11, is always making videos with her phone. They used to be LPS now they are musical in nature. I’ll tell you this: My daughter is already a better podcaster than me. ;) This is hysterical.
I studied a little ebonics while at Cal State Fullerton. I learned so many cool characteristics of the language, one of those was the habitual be. You’ve probably heard it spoken but not heard “of” it.
In the field of linguistics, we have observed a “habitual be” in ebonics. This is not simply a grammatical error. It is actually an identifiable, quantifiable language rule that is present in some African American dialects. Whether or not you accept ebonics as a standard language doesn’t matter, we see the habitual be many many places on the globe.
What does it sound like? Basically this: “She be working at that shop for years.” It precedes the verb (working) to mean that she has been there a long time. There are other uses of the habitual be. I found it quite remarkable in grad school studies. Since graduating with my MA, I notice it all the time in movies, tv, books, and in my every day work as a teacher at an inner city school.
Linda Hill’s prompt for this week’s SoCS entry is: “this and that.”
I have a love relationship with the Spanish language. The way the words conjugate and are ordered in a sentence is like art to me. We say “this and that,” Spanish says “esto y eso.” That’s remarkable. Language is something that requires hundreds of years at least to develop and work effectively in a community. You can say a people are advanced if they have their own language. I did a quick search on Google Translate to see how you say “this and that” in a few other languages.
Ahmaric: ይህን እና
Arabic: هذا و ذاك
Armenian: yev ayd
Bengali: এটা এবং ওটা
This is close, that is over there.
When I think of how much these meanings have evolved to be what they are today, it is mind blowing. I liked language so much, I studied it at Cal State University Fullerton. I earned my BA and an MA in language. I graduated in 1998 and I don’t think a day goes by now all these years later that I don’t think “this and that” about language. The photo is of me in 1996 at age 26 with my Spanish Conversation teachers in Guadalajara Mexico. I was there that Summer as a foreign exchange student.
There are two ways to fix flat tires that I have used in my time: 1) a donut spare and 2) a Fix-a-Flat chemical can. Before I got married and had a family, in other words as a single man, I would always drive on these temporary solutions for months, even a year in one case. Since then, I have learned they are not reliable for long and once you get the vehicle going, you should report directly to the tire place.
We have a great tire place here in Victorville, it’s called “America’s Tire.” They will repair your tire for free if they can, and they are usually able to. If they are not able to they will give you several quotes to get you in a safe tire that day. I seriously love the place. They are one of the last honest businesses out there. Tires are not always the most exciting way to spend ones money. When you have to, it’s helpful to have a place you can trust.
I once knew a guy who whenever I asked him how it was gong he would say: “Same car different tires.” I think everyone chuckled at that because everyone with a car can relate. They are like shoes but for your vehicle. There comes a time when they are worn out and you have to go shopping! At the same time, who can deny the relaxed feeling, the peace you get when you have new black tires on your car!
This week’s #SoCS prompt is: “finger.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!
“Freddy Got Fingered” is a stupid movie but I laugh every time. The girls from the finger lakes also crack me up on Saturday Night Live. When Darren McGavin’s character on “A Christmas Story” is frustrated with his wife for breaking his leg lamp, a major award, he says, “You use all the glue on purpose!” then he says, “Not a finger!” Kids that steal from the drug store on their way home from school call it a “five finger discount.” People say when they have picked the right suspect from a lineup, he got “fingered.”
The middle finger, while fun, is generally considered rude.
Is the thumb a finger? If it is, the primates share an opposable one in common with us that sets us apart from the entire animal kingdom. Guys ordering whiskey in bars sometimes say “three fingers” to describe to the bartender how much they want in the glass. Josh Brolin’s character in “Everest” lost some of his fingers due to frostbite, and that was a true story. Of course we type on keyboards like the one in front of me with our fingers.
I studied Spanish at 2 universities and also in Guadalajara, Mexico in the Summer of 1996. I have an MA in English with a certificate to teach English as a second language (TESOL). I’m here to tell you people from Mexico have a lot of mysterious unwritten language rules I have observed through the years. Whether it was in school sitting next to a couple Mexicans, working in a restaurant with a gang of them, or teaching them as I have as a large component of my yearly student list every one of the last 14 years, I recognize a lot. One thing is they call each other “way.” I’ not sure how it would be spelled, maybe Weigh? Wey? It’s used as a term of brotherhood and friendship.
“Que onda wey?” This means something akin to, “What’s up animal?” I asked an 18 year old once what it meant and he told me it was short for “huevos” which means both “eggs” and a cow’s balls. I enjoy language very much. I may never take another class but I use my experiences in college and ordinary life to watch it ebb and flow around me, and and any observation usually comes around another way, through time.
Six on one half dozen the other is such a cool American idiom. Odds and evens remind me of that. This is free association SoCS right? Do I have to make sense of why? I discovered the idiom in an REM song in 80’s. Michael Stipe sings,
Six and one, half dozen the other
Tell that to the captain’s mother
–Swan Swan Hummingbird, REM
I listened to their music so closely growing up. Lucky for me, Stipe was a literary guy like myself so I had a lot of stuff to look up through the years. I think part of my impetus to study English at the university was because I liked lyrics so much, especially his. ODD/EVEN has another connotation for me. Sarah’s dad when he first really hung out with me at the lake came up to me reaching for my nearly hairless chest, I’m not a hairy guy, and pulled some out saying “odd or even.” My wife was so embarrassed but I thought it was funny. For the life of me I still don’t know why he thought it was funny. A final one: computers work on a system of zeroes and ones. I think of that pattern as odd/even. Blogging works on a giant mountain of odd/even symbols.
#SoCS rocks! Try it yourself, read the directions at Linda Hill‘s post.
“The Lobster” is the title of a movie where it seems the characters have a month in a posh hotel (this is the future mind you) looking for a mate. This is NOT a review of the movie, nor a synopsis. If they find a mate in the movie, their stay continues with double occupancy and if they fail, they remain single and are turned into an animal of their choosing.
I reiterate, I do nor understand this movie but I will when it’s done and then I will write about it in my #moviereviews category. It looks red hot as most lobsters do so please stay tuned to hear a real synopsis one I finish it in about an hour. It is a comedy methinks.
I once read a book about psychology that described some defensive traits as like lobster claws: the soft fleshiness is on the inside while the world only sees a hard exoskeleton. Who would want to shake hands with a lobster? I’d be getting some before letting then turn me into a lobster.
I would much rather have a cat give me pause than have a lion give me claws. Some cats in houses in the world run away from me. Other ones purr and press up against my ankle. Cats are actually proven stress relievers. I read a book about stress in college and it said one of the best things you can do for stress is pet a cat.
So, I guess it’s a good thing that we have a cat in our house. We have NOT declawed her. It’s usually not an issue we notice unless my 8 year old is trying to hold her down. She loves that cat too much. You didn’t see it and you can’t read it but I just took a 2 minute pause to think how to make this thing longer then decided against it. Happy #SoCS out there and a special thank you to Linda Hill for hosting it!
The “pause/paws” prompt is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday.Click here to join in today!