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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Obama's grammar stirs controversy

Posted Friday, November 21, 2008, at 3:00 PM

Yes, I know I wasn't going to get involved in any more political blogging, but this is DIFFERENT! This is a GRAMMAR issue, and, as an old English teacher, I absolutely cannot stay out of this one! Sorry. Can't do it. I have to talk about this. It's just too funny!

First, let me say that grammar is a real hot button issue in my family. Always has been. (Yes, I know that's an incomplete sentence, but it's deliberate, you know..). My son Todd, now a 34-year-old environmental engineer in Minnesota, was the most grammar-conscious of all my three children. He thought public mistakes with apostrophes were hilarious. I guess we could classify that as "nerd humor," and he would probably agree. I actually considered giving him a pad of sticky notes labeled "the Grammar Police," so he could issue citations for grammar and punctuation violations that he saw in the grocery store, school bulletin boards, everywhere! We had a lot of fun with it.

This morning my sister sent me this notice from the "Borowitz Report," Nov. 18, 2008:

Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy

Stunning Break with Last Eight Years

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS' "Sixty Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate - we get it, showing off."

The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska:

"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.

Can you see why I can't stay out of this? For a dilapidated old English teacher like me, struggling along in her waning years, trying to eke out a meager existence in the twilight of retirement, this is just too good to pass up. For someone whose younger friends say things like, "Madeline, who uses a word like 'egregious'?" this is a dream come true!

I find myself looking forward to four years of presidential speeches in which the word choice, the sentence structure, and the vocabulary remind me of a poem by Robert Frost!

C'mon, folks - cut me a little slack! In a mere matter of heartbeats, I'll be so wrapped up in dementia that I'll be doing good to remember my own name. Don't begrudge me these last few simple little pleasures, as my feeble mind rides off into the final sunset of life.

Let's all sit back and enjoy four years, listening to English spoken the way it ought to be spoken. This time, it's not "the King's English" - It's "the President's English"!

I, for one, intend to enjoy it!


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I can't agree more whole-heartedly! I was quite worried about the possibility of four years of gonnas and gotchas also, too.

President-elect Obama exudes intelligence with every word he speaks, without talking "down" to his audience. In addition, he respects God, family and country. I, for one, intend to enjoy it along with you! I believe, without a doubt, that Obama will be the best president we have had in the White House since Lincoln.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 3:21 PM

MD, this is gonna be fun, at last I shall learn the things my English teachers in school were always teaching, should be a lot of fun. (finally). I know that last statement is not a very well structured sentence.

-- Posted by changedname on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 3:44 PM

I have noticed that Obama's speeches are very lyrical and interesting to listen to---now, that's a switch!

Do you think he knows how to spell potatoes?

You betcha!

An Old English Teacher, As Well (notice how everybody uses that now instead of TOO?)

-- Posted by lovebooks on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 6:07 PM

Not only does he use good grammar, he also possesses common sense and seems to think before he speaks or acts. I feel comfortable with Obama at the wheel of our nation and I have renewed confidence in the American people for putting him behind this wheel.

-- Posted by Objective Observer on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 6:18 PM

In the 60 Minutes interview, I liked the way Obama would pause ever so briefly to think before he answered some of the questions. I wasn't going to watch the interview, but I'm so glad I did. It's going to be so refreshing to have a literate president. Hooray!

-- Posted by Ducky on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 7:57 PM

It remains to be seen how things will actually turn out. After all, we are facing a multitude of complex issues, but I haven't felt this optimistic about our chances of making significant improvements since JFK!

-- Posted by JillJohnston on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 8:02 PM

JFK's the word, girls! I remember being glued to the television set when he addressed the nation - even back in those primitive days of tiny black & white screens. The humor, the beautiful language, the originality of expression, the lack of cliches - I have great hopes that we can have those days back again. I listened to 60 Minutes in awe! I don't believe I'll ever tire of Obama's speeches or his interviews. You can actually see his thought process. I pray that the weight of this office doesn't destroy him!

I remember W. saying of Alexander Putin that he looked into his eyes and saw all the way to his soul. He was wrong, but I hope we're right about Obama - because that's exactly how I feel.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 9:23 PM

Goat Lady I hope you have your battle armor ready, you realize you're going to be attacked from some posters. I was impressed by the interview and look forward to better days ahead for our country.

-- Posted by changedname on Sat, Nov 22, 2008, at 6:16 AM

Ah, I don't think so, dexterite! It appears that hoonowski is dead. Anyone else's ranting & raving is milk toast compared to his! Of course, I'm well aware that if the Dems can't work an instant miracle on the economy next year, we'll hear a big "I told you so!" from the Right corner of the room!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Nov 22, 2008, at 7:41 AM

Obama is the American dream-anyone can be president. His family stressed education,he took his studies seriously,worked hard and really made something of his life. His grammar and diction show that the American educational system does work,and we are still the land of opportunity.

Mocking him for sounding elitist,is just wrong.What message does that send to the youth,"Try not to sound too educated. No,we prefer you use only slang and curse words,or simply rap for your English teachers,they're down wit it"?

Attacking someone for their beliefs,or lack thereof,is one thing,but to mock Obama for being articulate is preposterous! Very Un-American...

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Sat, Nov 22, 2008, at 10:08 AM

Well, YR, why should this attack be any different than the others we've heard for at least the last two years? I was in a local restaurant about a week ago, and the waitress heard my group talking about Obama. She caught me aside and whispered (quite sincerely), "What is Obama going to do when he's sworn in and has to put his hand on the Bible - since he doesn't believe in the Bible?" That stupid lie is still out there, circulating around the country! How sad that she really believed it. I felt sorry for her, because she was so bewildered.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Nov 22, 2008, at 1:45 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
These words from a former Republican Congressman from Iowa summarize my feelings very well:

"Negativity dispirits the soul of society. Candidates may prevail in elections by tearing down rather than uplifting, but they cannot then unite an angered citizenry.

"It is always appropriate to contrast approaches to government, to suggest an opponent is too big or tightfisted a spender, too heavy a taxer or too undisciplined a tax cutter, to quick to go to war or too slow to respond to a national challenge. But it is never appropriate to lie, to impugn patriotism, or feed or inspire prejudice."

I mentioned JFK earlier, but I didn't realize that today is the 45th anniversary of his assassination! I well remember that day. I was a senior in college, getting ready to begin a teaching career. What a dark, dark day it was! The drums beat all week, as we watched the black, riderless horse, the walking mourners behind the casket...and little "John John," as he was called then, saluting his father's coffin.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Nov 22, 2008, at 2:27 PM

Attacking someone for their beliefs,or lack thereof,is one thing,but to mock someone for being inarticulate is preposterous! Very Un-American...

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sun, Nov 23, 2008, at 6:41 AM

Lincoln,ha! wasn"t he the president in office when the civil war started? His election and call for volunteers to envade the south, propted more states to succeed from the union causing the civil war to be worse then it might have been,inacted the first draft in US histoy? And basicly trampeled the rights of the average US citizen. I hope Mr. Obama can do better. Yes I know my spelling isn"t correct and grammer my not be correct, but at least I paid attention to my social studies teacher Mr. Worely.

-- Posted by us traveler on Sun, Nov 23, 2008, at 7:33 AM

I think most Americans would credit Lincoln with saving the United States of America. To me and most folks that's a great accomplishment.

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, Nov 23, 2008, at 8:52 AM

Well, us traveler, I'm glad you admitted your atrocious spelling mistakes before you ended a post in which you lambasted one of the most highly-respected U.S. presidents in our history.

And, yes, I.B., I catch your turn-around of Yellow Rose's criticism of Obama! So, you think Pres. Bush's critics were unfair in criticizing his IN-articulateness, right? Well, what can I say? Letterman is nothing if not an opportunist! I don't doubt that if Obama does something that Letterman perceives as a perfect opportunity for humor, he'll take advantage of it, despite his liberal leanings. Comedians are mostly a heartless bunch --- like journalists! :)

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Nov 23, 2008, at 8:58 AM

Traveler, You didn't pay attention to your English teachers, nor your elementary teachers, I suspect. I doubt you got the message the history teacher projected either. Did you read the textbook? Did you ever do a research paper on American History? Try reading a book about the man, Abraham Lincoln. He was good through and through. He never claimed to be any different than the average man, however. He even laughed at the wonder of that. I am so proud to be an American, a country that was guided by leaders such as Abe Lincoln.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Sun, Nov 23, 2008, at 3:04 PM

Pretty good ole country boy.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sun, Nov 23, 2008, at 11:58 PM

Barack Obama is the President-elect,and I respect the office and certainly wish the man well. I hope he is able to do a fine job,as we have hoped of all our elected officials. Sorry, Mr. LeTruth,my opinion was about the criticism of his excellent grammar, instead of his political/personal beliefs. I am bewildered that being the product of a good education is sneered at.

I don't quite grasp your reply,unless you are implying I am inarticulate,to which I am inclined to agree...

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Mon, Nov 24, 2008, at 4:46 PM

No, no, yellow rose - He isn't saying that you're inarticulate. He's just bitter about all the mean things we've been saying about Mr. Bush for the last year - and he's turning around your comment to show us how unfair we've been!

Am I anywhere near the target, Mr. LeTruth??

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Nov 24, 2008, at 5:17 PM

And heaven forbid that he should accuse you of inarticulateness (Is there such a word??)! He's read enough of your posts to know differently, I'm sure!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Nov 24, 2008, at 5:20 PM

Well close, but not bitter at all. I just think it is hilarious for someone to disguise their condemnation of President Bush with their appraisal of Obama.

He is not the dunce that he is made out to be just because he speaks with a Southern accent and uses broken or improper english.

Not everyone is an english scholar or even cares to be one. You can always find someone to write for you who can do absolutely nothing else.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Nov 24, 2008, at 9:10 PM

I don't think there's any "disguising" going on here at all, I.B. Bush's critics on these blogs have been pretty open about it.

I personally have no aversion to a Southern accent, and I certainly don't equate it to stupidity. There are other forces at work where Mr. Bush is concerned.

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Nov 24, 2008, at 9:42 PM

Sure it was an attack on Bush and a questioning of his intelligence because of his speaking inabiliities or his lack of a command of the english language.

Believe me I know there are some english professors working in universities that can't tie their shoes, but don't make a mistake in your sentence structure while you are trying to teach them.

Give me a break, this was an unneccessary gig and showed a complete lack of respect and poor taste on the part of the writer. A typical elitist with a complete lack of personal training in manners.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Tue, Nov 25, 2008, at 8:20 AM

I.B.--Where did you meet the English professors who couldn't tie their shoes? I managed to acquire a degree in English without ever coming across one. Not once did I see velcro shoes worn to the university. I've never met one in a high school or middle school either. I have, however, seen the belligerent, nonsensical speeches of a man who was the "leader" of this country. His words have been heard all over the world as he tried to appear to know what he was talking about. My comment has nothing to do with his accent. In fact, many people in SEMO carry a stronger southern accent than GW. When one speaks intelligently, it matters not if he/she has an accent. I will be glad to put him in the books; and I look forward to hearing the words of a man who thinks before he speaks.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Tue, Nov 25, 2008, at 10:15 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
I've always been able to tie my shoes quite well, haven't you, gonenow? Of course, I don't guarantee that they'll STAY tied - but that's the risk you run when you play around with the non-velcro crowd!

I wonder if that let's us off the hook as "elitists"?

Incorrect grammar has always been one of my pet peeves. And, no, IB I am not an English teacher. I used to love it when I would find a grammatical error in a college text book. Now, back to the subject at hand. George Bush is not a speaker. Barrack Obama is. When one is the leader of this great nation he/she should be able to speak proper English. I was not an Obama supporter but have always maintained he is an eloquent speaker. This has nothing to do with a Southern accent, or intelligence. Bush could not speak very well publicly! Period. Now, do I like what comes out of Obama's mouth during these eloquent speeches? I am waiting to pass judgment on that one.....

-- Posted by BootheelRedHead on Tue, Nov 25, 2008, at 1:52 PM

Fair enough, Bootheel! That's a judgment that I can accept.

I.B., my dear, I'm so disappointed in your comments about a "typical elitist"! And just WHO are you calling a "typical elitist"? The author of this blog, the author of the quoted material IN the blog, or all of the English teachers who have posted on the blog?

Careful now......Think it over before you speak!!! You may be placing yourself in serious jeopardy...!!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Nov 25, 2008, at 2:43 PM

I didn't realize that tying my shoes held so much importance in the eyes of others. I think I might start buying slippers, just in case someone gets the wrong idea... Being intelligent and educated does not mean that an individual has an elitist self-concept, IB. It just means we think before we speak or act.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Tue, Nov 25, 2008, at 3:30 PM

For the record, I don't think the George Bush "accent" is Southern at all,considering the Connecticut born "W" hails from an elitist East Coast Phillips Academy (private all boys school) and of course, a grad of Yale and has an MBA from Harvard-impeccable breeding!

His accent is "Texan",from where he lived,when not in school in Massachusetts.

Interestingly,he is the only one of his siblings that has that accent, the rest have the more of an Eastern accent. I am not implying that it is "affected",as others have. He was lucky to have been born with every advantage wealth and power have to offer, he certainly went far in life. His folks must be proud!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Tue, Nov 25, 2008, at 8:37 PM

Well it appears that the general thought here is that if you can't correctly speak the english language you are of a lower class. By the same token, maybe you should think about what you say about another person before you speak. To degrade the intelligence or make fun of a person because of the way they speak says a lot about the person making the comments.

Sometimes what comes from one who speaks with a forked tongue does taste like honey but it could be a poison elixir as we have learned from many who were eloquent with their deliveries.

I am not saying it is bad because it is eloquent, but that is not a reason for me to believe it is right or good either.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Tue, Nov 25, 2008, at 8:46 PM

IB, noone said that if you can't speak correctly you are of a lower class. However, if you are standing in front of the nation you should be able to speak correctly! If I am speaking to someone on an everyday basis my speech (and theirs) will not be filled with correct grammar and eloquent comments. It's called adjusting for the situation at hand. And, if you will read my last statement I said I was waiting to pass judgment on Obama's eloquent comments. Nothing was said about them being right or good just because of their eloquence.

-- Posted by BootheelRedHead on Wed, Nov 26, 2008, at 9:33 AM

Please, if none of that is being said then why mention it.

Be yourself, don't put on your perfect grammar to tell me sweet little lies. That will not make me like it any better or believe it any more.

I don't give a dang about your public or private grammar or that of anyone else.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Wed, Nov 26, 2008, at 5:42 PM

I mentioned it because that's what YOU said in a previous post. You didn't have to hurt my feelings that way saying you don't give a dang about me.............): I did not "degrade the intelligence or make fun of a person because of the way they speak". I was talking about PUBLIC speaking as opposed to everyday conversation. Go take your chill pill, IB.

-- Posted by BootheelRedHead on Wed, Nov 26, 2008, at 7:32 PM

I think it's safe to say that I.B. is not hooked on Obamics.

-- Posted by robbincrosby on Wed, Nov 26, 2008, at 9:33 PM

Obama's speaches are great, but we are scratching the surface. Bush stumbles over words a lot, but remember that he flew jets in the Guard and has a MBA from Harvard. Can anyone on the blog match that? Now, I'm sure somebody is going to give credit to daddy Busch (see amybr77) for his successes and that may be true to a point.

Obama has to keep it real on the talk and the walk. I'm hoping this is the case, but w/ the Billary move I'm a bit skeptical.

However, I'm looking forward as well to more smarty talk.

-- Posted by layne staley on Thu, Nov 27, 2008, at 12:45 AM

Now you know I wasn't talking about you. I said I don't give a dang about your grammar or that of anyone else. It's the grammar, not you that I don't care about and I am chilled. I think it is hilarious that anyone would equate grammar or the way a person speaks with intelligence or social status or wealth or anything else.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Thu, Nov 27, 2008, at 8:49 AM

Exactly who equated grammar or the way a person speaks wtih intelligence or social status or wealth or anything else? I guess I missed that post. And I am glad you care about me. I know you do because you said it wasn't me you didn't care about but my grammer. Happy Thanksgiving. Right now I gots to go in that there kitchen and cook that there ham.................

-- Posted by BootheelRedHead on Thu, Nov 27, 2008, at 10:03 AM

IB, You are 100% correct that GWB flew jets in the Air National Guard. If you were alive at that time, you'll remember that guys who didn't want to end up in Vietnam rushed to get in the guards. Even though GW had the minimum score for acceptance, he got in ahead of hundreds who scored much higher than he did. Prestige was to his advantage, not abilities. Although he swore to serve for 6 years, somehow his records magically disappeared and he served barely five, none of which were anywhere but the safe USA. That is truly impressive, isn't it? It really impresses those whose loved ones died on a battlefield in a jungle faraway. Meanwhile, GW lived the American Dream of a college frat boy. So, you see, the resentment many of us have for Bush started long before we knew he talked like a Texan, and it has more to do with patriotism and honor than wealth or word usage.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Thu, Nov 27, 2008, at 2:44 PM

MD, I love your blogs on grammar and usage. I love the eloquent conversations amongst so many educators, retired and current. It is refreshing,enlightening,and I hope there will be more in the future.

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Thu, Nov 27, 2008, at 7:19 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Thanks, Yellow Rose. It's good to have you back on the blogs. We missed you immensely while you were incognito!

I didn't say anything about what Bush flew or wherther he went to Vietnam or not. Some people went to Vietnam, some people went to the National Guard, some people went to Canada, some people stayed home and protested by bombing buildings and spitting on GI's and calling them baby killers when they came home.

I only talked about the grammar and I just don't care about that at all. I know some very intelligent and great people with very poor gramatical and speaking skill and some really bad and nasty people who can hipnotize you.

Red, you need to read the initial entry to see what it says. That article is a slam against Bush because of his grammar and speaking skill.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Thu, Nov 27, 2008, at 11:15 PM

Will Rogers and H.L. Mencken were two of the most popular social commentators during the 1920s through the mid-1930s. Mencken was a master of "correct" English and wrote magazine articles and many books, including "The American Language." Rogers had the drawl and vocal mannerisms of a country bumpkin as he wove his shrewd observations about modern life into down home stories and corn pone phrases in the tradition of Mark Twain. They are both remembered, not for their delivery -- but for their insightfullness.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Fri, Nov 28, 2008, at 5:37 PM

Well, I.B., I guess Bush's inarticulate speaking style is just another nail in the coffin for those who disagree with his policies, isn't it? I think we all know that Saturday Night Live writers cut and paste those "Great Moments in Presidential History" pieces together to exaggerate the effect.

All's fair in love, war, and humor. Satire isn't always fair, but it's always biting.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Nov 29, 2008, at 7:13 AM

It doesn't seem to be widely understood that virtually everything Obama says is scripted, and not written by him. None of his public speeches are off the cuff, they are either read off of a teleprompter or a written script, or recited from memory. Events such as the debates and interviews involve little more than the recitation of memorized talking points and phrases. When Obama isn't being given soft ball questions that he has pre-prepared answers for he exhibits a very ordinary mind and is anything but an elegant speaker as he fumbles around for words punctuated with "ah", "um" and "uh". In other words, Obama is for all intents and purposes is a very good actor filling the role he and others have decided "works" for him in garnering votes -- which is to project the image that he is an intelligent, well-spoken and respectful (non-threatening) black man. If it had been believed that for Obama to be successful he would need to talk like Jesse Jackson, then that manner of speech is what he would have adopted before running for the Senate, and that is what we would now be listening to.

The same thing is largely true of Bush. After he lost his first campaign for the US Congress to a "good ole' boy", Bush is credited with saying he would never be out-Bubbaed again in a campaign. That is when he created the public persona of being a simple down home kind of guy. He changed his style of talking and his style of dress, etc., to fit his new image that he and others decided would work for him to get votes.

There is amble reason to think that Bush is at least as intelligent, and perhaps more intelligent than Obama. The people that dismiss that possibility mistakenly believe a person's carefully crafted public persona that they see on television is reality. It isn't. For example, I love old Doris Day movies, but her public image of being more pure than Ivory Snow was an illusion designed to get people to vote for her as an actress by buying tickets at the movie theater box office. As Milton Berle is reputed to have said, "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin." The same manufacturing of a fake public persona is true of Bush, Obama, and other national and even state politicians.

For example, it has been commented that Obama sounds at times Kennedyesque. That isn't surprising because some of Obama's speeches were written by Ted Sorensen, who was also Kennedy's speechwriter. Kennedy was also effective at playing his public roles, such as that he was a devoted husband, which we now know was a complete sham designed only to fool the public that thinks what it sees on television is real. Sorensen, who is now 80, also ghost wrote "Profiles in Courage," that Kennedy took sole credit for and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. There is now forensic evidence that Obama didn't author either of his two books, so he is also mimicking Kennedy by falsely claiming credit as an author. As with Kennedy, claiming to have written books helps support Obama's public image of possessing superior intelligence -- when there is evidence he was a sub-standard student at Columbia, that he was admitted to Harvard as an affirmative action student, and that when there he was only selected for the law review because of affirmative action considerations. I have looked into Harvard's policy of awarding the degree magna *** laude, and its actual significance is somewhat murky because it is based on a vote by faculty members, which means it is in part a student popularity contest ... which is the sort of thing that Obama has shown he is adept at.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Sat, Nov 29, 2008, at 3:12 PM

FJ, you are an adept writer. Your information is simply opinion though, and would not withstand the scrutiny of investigation. You have a right to your opinion, whether it is right or wrong. As for me and my family, we're just counting down until January 20th finally arrives. What a refreshing day that will be! It will take a long time to right the wrongs, but it will happen.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Sat, Nov 29, 2008, at 5:06 PM

I have nothing negative to say about Obama's oratory skills or his use of the english language. I don't care if he is Kenneydyesque or or has a habitual stutter, other than I don't want to go to the brink of nuclear war again. I would prefer to look for the substance in his speeches rather than the style. We shall see what his policies are when he enters office. So far it has only been election rhetoric.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sun, Nov 30, 2008, at 10:16 AM

Kind of off-topic, but I wish each of you would go to this link and read the eulogy written about Dr. Peter Hilty, an English professor at SEMO.

I remember his classes very well as an English major, and his passing last week was so well-noted by Jeff Long, pastor of the Centenary Methodist Church in Cape.

I especially enjoyed Jeff's writing because Dr. Hilty so loved the English language, and because Jeff was his friend and minister, he captured that love in his well-written eulogy.

The way we all get a kick out of poking fun at our crazy language, you'll especially enjoy this, just as I enjoyed his classes, his wit, and humor. Rest in peace, Dr. Hilty.

http://www.semissourian.com/article/2008...

-- Posted by lovebooks on Sun, Nov 30, 2008, at 1:17 PM

I think we need to start a petition to impeach Obama, he hasn't made anyone happy yet.

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, Nov 30, 2008, at 4:34 PM

Oh, no! Dr. Hilty passed away?? What a wonderful, sweet man and gifted teacher he was! I will certainly check out your link, lovebooks! Thank you for posting this. It's not completely off the subject, since Dr. Welty loved the English language, too.

I disagree, dexterite - I am quite happy!

Gonenow, you are an astute observer and an independent thinker! I appreciate your opinion more than I can say!

FJGuy - you see a Communist behind every tree!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Nov 30, 2008, at 5:35 PM

Just teasing gl,,,,wondered if anyone was listening, I'm pleased also. Some folks complain when it's sun shining and raining at once.

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, Nov 30, 2008, at 7:19 PM

Thanks, I'm glad someone appreciates me. I'm trying for a face for Dr. Hildy, but I must have missed his classes somehow. Maybe I should drag out a Sagamore. The tribute to a fine professor was beautifully written.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Sun, Nov 30, 2008, at 7:37 PM

Yes, it was. The only class I had him for was a graduate course in 18th Century English literature. It wasn't supposed to be a writing course, but he taught us more than most writing teachers ever did.

He was a rather round man, short, with dark, thinning hair when I knew him. Later on, I'm sure he lost what little hair he had. In more recent years, I sometimes saw him at the Rose Theatre with friends, when I took my classes to see plays.

I'm sure you'll find him in an old Sagamore. When did they stop publishing those yearbooks, anyway?

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Nov 30, 2008, at 8:52 PM

Dr. Hilty always reminded me of a little Irish man from a movie. Short, rotund, always smiling. You can also look up his picture on the Southeast Missourian on his obituary. (www.semissourian.com) What a neat person he was.

Also, they're still publishing The Sagamore as far as I know.

I got a kick out of Obama's news conference this morning. On Fox News the commentator said, "You see here the site for the news conference this morning. We're waiting on Senator Clinton and others."

And OTHERS? As in, the PRESIDENT ELECT???!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Mon, Dec 1, 2008, at 3:14 PM

Ah, they're just jealous!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Dec 1, 2008, at 5:27 PM

After checking the picture on the web, I do remember Dr. Hilty's smiling presence. I was never fortunate enough to have had his classes though. I'd venture to say he got a kick out of the election banter this year. I hope so.

Words, where would we be without them? Obama continues to select folks who know LOTS of words to join his cabinet. That is how this blog started, isn't it?

-- Posted by GONENOW on Mon, Dec 1, 2008, at 7:48 PM

Yes, and I continue to believe that Obama has a way with words, despite FJ's comments to the contrary. It isn't plausible that a 60 Minutes interview would be "scripted," so that all an interviewee had to do was read the cue cards!

And I can hear the answer to that statement - the critics will say that CBS is so liberal that they would do anything to make Obama look good. I disagree. They would never do something so unprofessional. It would be indefensible!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Dec 1, 2008, at 8:44 PM

GL, your "communist" comment came from waaay beyond left field. I have simply found no evidence to support the media perpetuated myth that Obama possesses above average intelligence. Remember, it was Palin who injected philosophy into her campaign speeches by discussing the negative effects of wealth redistribution, while Obama was giving mindless pep rallies interspersed with promises to give away money to every interest group under the sun. Also, if you recall, when Obama said during the campaign that there are 57 states everyone pooh-poohed it as a momentary memory lapse, but maybe he actually didn't know there are 50 states. After all, Obama couldn't have won the election without the support of 18 to 24 year-olds, and a National Geograpic survey two years ago found that half the people in that age group can't find New York on a map, 2/3rds can't find Louisiana, and 70% can't find China. They weren't asked how many states there are, but like Obama, some undoubtedly would have said 57. Survey at, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/roper2...

-- Posted by FJGuy on Mon, Dec 1, 2008, at 8:52 PM

FJ--Though I know you don't want the "media perpetuated myth" to be proven--here goes! A person of "average intelligence" does not pass the entrance exam to get into Harvard, never mind graduate magna *** laude! He does not pass the bar exam either. Obama was also president of Harvard Law Review. Is this affirmative action? How would this person of average intelligence, even though he had "fooled everyone so far", manage the position of Professor of Law at the University of Chicago? It would be pretty hard to convince law students that you know what you're talking about--if you don't. If any of the remarks you made were remotely true, Obama would deserve much more than an Oscar. Sit back and watch, you'll see the intelligence of this man you've called average or below prove his truth. We will ALL benefit from what he can do.

Since Palin is now Palin-Past, I won't even bother addressing further remarks about her intelligence of the world. (and its continents)

It's time to get over it. We are Americans, and we all have the same president, whether we like it or not. Some of us have waited for our turn for a long, long time.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Mon, Dec 1, 2008, at 9:34 PM

HA! Met your match, haven't ya, FJGuy!! Hahahahahahahahaahahaha Hahaha!

Now watch, gonenow: He'll start posting links by the gazillions!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 7:11 AM

Gonenow, I really appreciate your post, many Americans (regrettfully) will never accept our new president. I agree with you, GET OVER IT for awhile, or never, that's your choice.

-- Posted by changedname on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 7:13 AM

Whew! I'm out of breath from laughing so hard!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 7:13 AM

OH, MY GOSH! Dexterite, look what we DID! Posted at PRECISELY the same time!! I think I shall laugh again!!

Hahahahaha! Hahahahaha! Hahahaha!

The sun's coming up and it's a BEAUTIFUL morning!! (I sound like Mr. Rogers! "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...a beautiful day in the neighborhood... Won't you be my neighbor???) Hahahaha!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 7:16 AM

It's nice to see positive posts like 'gonenow's'---so refreshing and well thought.

-- Posted by changedname on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 9:56 AM

Hey, it only takes a person of average intelligence to do those things. There are a lot of dummies that graduate from Harvard and Yale. (BUSH) I am not saying that Obama is a dummy, but saying that he was a graduate of Harvard isn't any indication of his intelligence. They use the same books to learn from as the University I went to, (CMSU) Call Me Stupid University and don't say the Professor are better because they aren't. Not attempting to slight all you Harvard and Yale graduates, just saying you are no more intelligent than a SEMO graduate.

Do you realize that Palin didn't answer the question about the countries? That was from a made up skit. You can't find the interview where that was a question posed to her.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 10:25 AM

Finding information is all too easy. Palin-Past admits that the statement was "taken outta context." Check it out for yourself. As far as I'm concerned, she is just that--past. I think she needs-ta stay there, too, yeah.

MOST SEMO grads are highly intelligent. Who would dare say otherwise? (Some participate on this blog...ahem) However, there are not folks of average intelligence who pass the bar exam, or who become esteemed professors at major universities. I am quite proud of my education from SEMO University, and I'm sure the others who persevered at SEMO are, as well. We became better people for it, and isn't that the real reason for education? We also learned how to recognize intelligence, or the lack of, when we see it in others. There is no shame in being average! Average should not, nonetheless, run a country...or a state.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 11:43 AM

He he!

Let me say that again!

He he!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 1:31 PM

Are you less than intelligent? Most of these people are of average intelligence and I can recognize that as you said. Money and affirmative action will get you into Harvard and Yale and most Professors at most Universities are of average intelligence and have you met some of these lawyers that have passed the Bar Exam? Give me a break. I have even met some of these so called Professors who are nothing but average intelligence and have problems with too much weed utilization.

I don't care what University someone graduated from. That has absolutely nothing to do with your intellect.

I checked it out and she said she never answered the question that way and it wasn't asked in that context. Of course it was on Saturday Night Live in that context. I did recognize that wasn't her though.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 2:13 PM

Well, I.B., if you checked it out with Sarah and she said she didn't say that, then I'm sure she didn't. However, I DID hear her say that she could see Russia from her house! (I think!)

Hehe, still funny conversation, you betcha!

And, yes, sometimes (many times, in fact!) I think I'm "less than intelligent"! So most of the time, I just concentrate on having FUN!

Wow, with both you AND FJGuy defending dear darling Sarah, she's bound to run for president in the next election! Think how many other guys out there are supporting her!! Plus all the Barbie doll crowd! That has to be BIG!

Hehe! Are we still having fun?? I know I am!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 3:31 PM

Well I don't think she needs me to defend her since she is the Governor of a State, but since she is a mother of five children like my wife and is not a Harvard graduate like my wife I am quite partial to her.

If I am defending her then I asssume someone of much more accomplishment and of much higher intelligence than her must be degrading her for some reason that I don't understand or approve of.

I wouldn't vote for her for President because her stated views are not compatible with some of mine, but it sure wouldn't have anything to do with her intellect or oratory skills.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 5:26 PM

There are certain careers where high intelligence is not an option, but a requirement. The presidency is one of those. The "mess" he has inherited will require a plethora of high IQ's to pull us out of the muck,but I believe it will happen.

I could comment on Palin's ability to personally increase the population of Alaska, but that would be futile. Anyone can go to "you-tube" to hear her make the famous blunders...and most of us do know the difference between SNL's Tina Fey and the real deal. We are SO Past-Palin. Let's leave her alone, and maybe she'll leave us alone.

Girls, I've laughed a lot today, too. Thanks!

-- Posted by GONENOW on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 7:11 PM

You betcha, I'm finished with this conversation.

-- Posted by changedname on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 8:04 PM

I certainly have laughed a lot myself and do understand that blunders were made by the other supposedly intelligent person also and I am sorry that you seem to think that the Governor having children is some type of joke that should receive disapproval.

You can see a lot of things on "you tube", maybe even pics of yourself.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Tue, Dec 2, 2008, at 9:39 PM

Why are all you people from the Dexter, Missouri area SO HATEFUL???

-- Posted by D.W.B. on Wed, Dec 3, 2008, at 1:19 PM

D.W.B. Where are you coming from on this?

People are just expressing their opinions.

-- Posted by mythought on Wed, Dec 3, 2008, at 2:16 PM

D.W.B.! We haven't seen you on the blogs in FOREVER!! Let's see...here we go again: What does "D.W.B." stand for?? "Dippy White Boy"? "Daring Windowdresser Bucket"??

Whatever the case, girl or boy - You must not have been on the blogs in awhile; this stuff is MILD, compared to what it's been in the not-so-distant past! Go to the archives and check out "Did the New Yorker Go too Far," or (believe it or not) "Tomato Tragedy" (not about tomatoes, at all!).

And - hey - we're not all from Dexter, either!

Anyway - good to see you blogging again! Put on your tough skin and dive right in! We really do love each other! Really!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Dec 3, 2008, at 9:33 PM

I am not orginally from Dexter, I have been here for about 18 years. I worked out of town up until 6 years ago, so I didn't really start getting to know people here until then. I love it here in Dexter and the surrounding towns. To me it is peaceful in this area and the people are friendly and are willing to help out when you need them.

No place is perfect, I look for what is good about where I live and I find it. If I were to look only for the bad I would find it. D.W.B. don't let the negative thoughts override the positive.

-- Posted by mythought on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 7:23 AM

I just think we need to start a new thread! Seems like it is human nature that when a thread goes on for too long, it takes on a negative tone.

Madeline, help us!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 11:31 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Oh, my! Are we up to 76 postings, already??? Well, goodness sake! No wonder they're getting a tad vitriolic!! (I love that word, don'tcha know!!)

Never fear, dear readers, I am working on a new blog as we speak! If it turns out as I hope, it'll knock your socks off!! Well....if you like HISTORY, it'll be a sock-knocker-offer, at least!

HAAAAANG OOOOOOON!!!! (And try to avoid duct-taping each other to the wall, okay????)

Darn, now I'll have a lot of unused duct tape.

-- Posted by changedname on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 1:28 PM

If it doesn't move and you want it to: WD40

If it moves and you don't want it to: DUCT TAPE!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 2:22 PM

Now we are talking, duct tape and lubricants. We can go places with this.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 5:21 PM

Oh, boy, have we hit the mother lode of blog topics????

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 5:37 PM

GoneNow, I'm happy that you have made GL and others giddy, but reality calls. Obama's admission and academic documents from the three college/universities he attended are more closely guarded from public disclosure than the nuclear launch codes. However, the information that has surfaced from his time at Columbia suggests he was a sub-standard student. How did he get into Columbia? A clue is Obama's admission in a November 16, 1990 letter to the Harvard Law Record written while he was the President of the Harvard Law Review, which is an elective position that amounts to a popularity contest. In the letter he defends affirmative action and notes that no seemed to hold it against him that he benefited from AA in being selected for the law review and in being admitted to Harvard. Affirmative action allows people of sub-standard qualifications and questionable intellect to be admitted to Harvard Law School -- remember that Alberto Gonzales graduated from HLS after being admitted because of AA. I looked at Harvard's website and it awards magna *** laude based on a vote of the faculty. Obama has demonstrated a talent for winning anything involving a vote.

Also, Obama was not a professor at the University of Chicago, he was a "lecturer," which at some institutions is known as an "instructor." There is a huge difference in the academic hierarchy and accomplishments between a professor and an assistant professor, and a lecturer. The U of C reports that Obama declined to even attempt to become a professor. Actually, it was easier for him to run for President than to attempt to become a law professor -- which he may have failed to do.

As for Obama's intellect, you are confusing his ability to effectively read a teleprompter or script or memorize lines with intelligence. This happens all the time today: confusing the appearance of something for the real thing is epidemic. Actors who can effectively memorize and deliver their lines and play a scientist or professor are regularly asked for their opinion about social and scientific issues such as climate change or resource depletion, and their answers are treated as if they actually mean something. Heck, if delivering a good line is a sign of intellect, then genuine masters like Richard Burton, Sir Laurence Oliver and Charles Laughton must have been Einstein like geniuses! Obama has not demonstrated that he is more intelligent than Ronald Reagan (who WAS an actor), and he is decidely less intelligent than (peanut farmer) Jimmy Carter who has written books without needing the ghost writers that Obama has relied on.

As for Palin, the other night during an interview she made a far more profound statement than I think we can expect Obama to ever make at any time in his lifetime: 'Too much debt created the situation the US is now in, and more debt won't get us out of it.' During the entire impromptu interview she didn't say "um", "uh", or "ah" a single time, which was a refreshing change from Uhbama.

Whatever constraints that still exist on presidential power may prevent Obama from doing what he really wants. What he wants to do is summed up in the adage "you are known by who you associate with."

-- Posted by FJGuy on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 6:15 PM

FJ: Hang onto your hat. WE agree on something. My greatest hero, other than my dad, is Jimmy Carter. He is the most respectable and humanitarian person to have held an office--anywhere. (I hope to meet him before one of us is under the sod.) Have you read Always a Reckoning? Carter's poetry has a depth of emotion that brings tears to my eyes every single time I read it--and I read it a lot.

You seem to think you have proof of what you say, and I KNOW I do. Check the University of Chicago records. Obama was a professor from 1992-2004. When he became a congressman, he taught only three courses per year, so his title was "lecturer." I've also verified his status as a magna *** laude graduate--professors don't award the title to students because they're cute or popular. Come on! Would you detract from all graduates who graduate magna *** laude, or just Obama? Were you present to say it was an acting job? I guaran-darn-tee you--magna *** laude degrees are determined by GPA--not popularity.

I think I decided I was finished with this debate when you deflated yourself by saying that "you know who", from the Palin-past, was higher in intelligence than Obama! I'll laugh over that one for a long time--and so will multitudes of others. That is why she campus-hopped until she snagged that 4-year degree, not quite as demanding as a magna *** laude in LAW, is it?

Finale. I learned a long time ago that if one continues to argue with a fence-post, he/she must have time to waste. I don't. I have papers to grade, wouldn't you know it? Thanks for requiring me to validate what I knew was true. I feel better now. Too bad I didn't know that being a good actress would have gotten me a degree--and magna *** laude recognition, as well, long ago. College would have been a lot easier! I guess I worked so hard for nothing! Live and learn--hear?

-- Posted by GONENOW on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 8:18 PM

Oooohhhhh, I feel GIDDY!!! FJ, your towering intellect has finally failed you! I fear that you lack the objectivity to be a judge in this situation, as evidenced by your fixations on the subject of Obama's education and motives.

I have a brother who would argue with a fence post, so I understand gonenow's reference quite well!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 9:47 PM

I don't have the same opinion of Jimmy Carter as others have. Maybe he was a good poet, I don't know, but I was in the military during his term and believe me, we suffered.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Fri, Dec 5, 2008, at 8:39 AM

Can military suffering be blamed on one man? I rather doubt it, but thanks to all who have given of their lives to serve our country. My dad, grandad, brother, and husband all served when their time came. Thank you for doing the same. I'd bet that no matter what you suffered during your time, Jimmy Carter was praying for you all the while. How many presidents could be "accused" of that?

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Dec 5, 2008, at 3:13 PM

Oh, G-Lady, My first and toughest fence-post was also my brother. He is still just as stubborn--and I fear that he would jump right in there with some others who are on the OTHER side of my fence. We stopped talking about anything regarding politics, religion, trash pick-up, toothpaste, shoe-laces or VELCRO. We do still say, "I love you." That is the only time there isn't a post between us, probably. Ha! Could we make an analogy for brothers? Brother is to fence-post as ? is to barn. Help me with that one.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Fri, Dec 5, 2008, at 4:23 PM

Brother is to fence-post as tractor is to barn! Can't have one without the other. And, oh MY, our two brothers could be TWINS! I could swear that you're describing mine! We've sworn off talking about (among other things): Politics, EDUCATION, microwave ovens, cigarettes as a nightshade, our mother, second-hand smoke - you name it!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 6, 2008, at 7:29 AM

I, too, admire the great O's intellect, but I cringe at the number of uhs coming out of him as he tries to formulate an answer to a question. It was embarrassing at times during the election. Surely he will work on this and overcome. It's distracting to hear a speaker struggle with uh, uh, uh, uh before answering a question. He's SOOO much better with a prepared text, but who isn't?

-- Posted by Nell on Sat, Dec 6, 2008, at 8:08 AM

Analogy for brothers--tractor is a good choice. The other word for donkey keeps coming to my mind, for some reason.Oh yeah, we don't talk about our mom either. Maybe they are twins--maybe they at least know each other. (or used to)

To those who are concerned with the "ahh or mm" of Obama--I appreciate that he takes time to think before blurting out answers and threats, like someone else we know is prone to do. People die from that! I must admit--I've never noticed it as a problem. This new task must be overwhelming. I think most of us would feel like "ahhhh-ing". Most of us would be stuck on "Duh..." (Myself included, of course!)

-- Posted by GONENOW on Sat, Dec 6, 2008, at 8:52 AM

Carter was the President and Commander In-Chief. It's funny how everything is George Bush's fault alone, but let something negative be said about the other side and it's always you can't blame that one one man.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sat, Dec 6, 2008, at 3:49 PM

I haven't heard the "uh's" yet either, but I've heard plenty of people who can screw up a prepared text, when it's right in front of them.

I have sympathy for someone who is dyslexic, but I still don't want to hear them read out loud. Sorry. It's painful.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 6, 2008, at 3:58 PM

Who said it was Bush alone? HE has plenty of cronies who are just as incapable as he is. Check out Cheney--just don't go hunting with him.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Sat, Dec 6, 2008, at 4:48 PM

Yes he had Barney Frank and Dodd to help.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sat, Dec 6, 2008, at 6:46 PM

I think Bush's speeches--Bring em on--and Axis of Evil was a big part of his undoing. What a way to start a presidency.

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, Dec 7, 2008, at 5:50 AM

The "Bring it on" comment was such unbelievable arrogance! I could hardly believe it when I heard it! I think he's finally admitted that it was a mistake. I could hardly believe THAT, either!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Dec 7, 2008, at 9:19 AM

Thousands of young men and women paid the ultimate price. Remembering Pearl Harbor today. Thanks to all military personnel, I was proud to serve.

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, Dec 7, 2008, at 10:54 AM

Thanks for reminding us, dexterite!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Dec 7, 2008, at 8:00 PM

You have to remember that his Presidency started with an attack on our soil that killed 3000 people. That is one thing that I am sure that Osama Bin Laden is regretful of because if he is alive he now lives in a cave and he has lost many thousands with the U.S. living in his back yard. It didn't turn out to be a good move on his part. At this point he is on the defensive and must stay there.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sun, Dec 7, 2008, at 8:15 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Thanks to all of you bloggers who made this one of the best blogs I've had! I enjoyed it immensely, and I felt that the topic showcased the fine quality of bloggers we get on this Dexter website!

I'm actually laughing at Madeline Dejournett and her "attempt" to laugh at this "situation" she brought to surface. Laugh it up on your sleigh ride to hell with Obama. Keep in mind that he is taking orders from a higher power (Bill Ayers)...that was even brought up on the radio today...among others.

Make your moves in the stock market before it's too late. Buying property in Belize wouldn't hurt.

-- Posted by Jim Morrison on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 12:52 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
So, how much have you lost in the stock market, Morrison? I doubt that I'll have ANY left by the time Obama takes office.

Party pooper! We were talking about GRAMMAR, for Pete's sake!

MD, you never cease to amaze me, great response, politics always rears it's ugly head.

-- Posted by changedname on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 5:33 PM

Well, well...Just when you think a blog is dead and buried, it resurfaces and takes a new, ugly form!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 6:28 PM

Speaking of which -- on the grammar issue, Morrison is in over HIS head...

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 6:30 PM

GL, I must admit, English was tough for me, I can't even remember how to diagram a sentence, or why we needed to know!!??

-- Posted by changedname on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 6:49 PM

Diagramming sentences became out of fashion in the latter part of my career, so we didn't teach it. The reason for it was to give a specific picture of what it took to make a complete sentence. I really hammered on it when I first started teaching. I can't remember when we quit doing diagramming...

For one thing, we noticed that the kids who could diagram couldn't necessarily write well. We had spent too much time on mechanics and not enough on real creative expression.

Your writing doesn't grate on my nerves, so it must not be too bad!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 7:49 PM

WOW, I didn't know I was that old. Of course grandkids don't ask me to help with homework, that was a task my dear late wife enjoyed.

-- Posted by changedname on Sat, Dec 20, 2008, at 7:57 PM

GL, The first time I subbed in a real English class, I was assigned to Bud Jenkins' classroom. The kids asked if I knew anything about English, so I answered that I had a degree in the subject. They were so excited; they could hardly wait to get my HELP with a problem they had been assigned. He had a 48 word sentence on the board, taken from a college textbook. They had been challenged to correctly diagram the sentence. I didn't even understand it when I read the words--tough one! I thought I must be a total fool, so at a break I searched for another English teacher to help me. Other teachers hooted! None of them could do it either! At first, I thought it was ridiculous. Since then, I've figured it out. It wasn't about diagramming the sentence, but about getting kids to THINK! They had to play with those words for a long time in the attempt. Word order and purpose had to be contemplated, as well as parts of speech. Was it a silly assignment? I wonder if he could have done it? Probably so, but I still couldn't. I haven't taught diagramming since the old-school days of my internship.

I'm SO glad that I don't have to teach diagramming, yet I have many students who come to high school without knowing how to write a complete sentence. Some can't even recognize one.

Stay warm!

-- Posted by GONENOW on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 7:10 AM

Haha! GN, that assignment sounds like one of those torture exercises that I used to hand out when the kids got a little too smug, self-satisfied and over-confident. One of my favorites was to assign Chaucer-style short stories -- written in iambic pentameter!!! Hahaha!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Dec 26, 2008, at 5:19 PM

FJ sorry I make this comment way after the post you made but " Who is the author" is it the one who's ideas and heart is put into a writing or the machine that typed it?

I had an art instructor who asked the class one evening" What is art? Is it the idea portrayed or the paint that we see? Art , whether be in the form of a painting , a novel,or a beautiful melody, is completed before one stroke, one strike of the hammer or one single note can be made. The rest is mechanics, anyone can learn to paint, to write, to sing but to do it first it need be felt.

" off my high horse now"

-- Posted by Big Papa on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 1:52 PM

I do hope FJ tunes in to see your comment, BP. I think he'll find it most interesting.

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jan 14, 2009, at 9:51 AM


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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net or by phone at 573-722-5322.
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