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Posts from ‘April, 2008’

A Bit of a Rant


A recent news item caught my attention. Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski, one of Barack Hussein Obama's elected delegates from the Chicago area to the Democratic National Convention was given a $75 ticket for "disorderly conduct," which is defined as, "when a person does something that alarms or disturbs another."

What did she do to deserve this ticket? She told some neighbor children who were climbing in a tree to quit playing in the tree like monkeys. She is reported to have said she "saw the kids playing in the tree and didn't want them falling out of the tree and getting hurt." She said she calls her own grandchildren "monkeys" and didn't understand why anyone would object to her calling the children monkeys. The mother of one of the children did not see it that way, noting she and Ramirez-Sliwinski have clashed before. The mother called the police who gave Ramirez-Sliwinski the $75 fine.

There were reports that she was considering stepping down as a delegate, possibly at the request of Obama's campaign. In fact the campaign announced yesterday that she was stepping down, but the latest articles I've read indicate that she still plans to be a delegate and still has an Obama sign in her front yard.

To me this story is yet another example of political correctness gone crazy. I think there are people out there who get up every morning and perch a chip perilously on their shoulder, in hopes that someone will knock it off as early in the day as possible so that they can be angry/upset/offended for as much of the day as possible.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that we should always be careful in our word choices. No one should go out of his way to offend people - and some do just that, being as abrasive and controversial as possible. But people need to lighten up too and not seek to find cause for offense in stupid things. Of all things, being upset for calling kids monkeys! Will we have to rename "monkey bars" for fear of some nitwit taking offense?! Good grief!

But to be ticketed for it is beyond the pale! Do we still have freedom of speech in this nation? The thought of government fining someone for something like this would be unbelievable if it weren't true. But it *is* true! Our people had better wake up to what political correctness (or political cleansing) is doing to our freedoms, before it's too late!

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In true, politically incorrect ivman fashion, I will try to relieve any tension caused by the preceding by gently lampooning it. In an increasingly politically correct world, we have new, more sensitive names and ways of saying just about everything. Here are some student-related PC expressions you may not have heard of:

No one fails a class anymore. He's merely "passing impaired."

You don't have detention. You're just one of the "exit delayed."

Your room isn't cluttered. It's just "passage restrictive."

A student isn't lazy. She's "energetically declined" or "motivationally dispossessed."

A student isn't hyperactive. He's "serenity impaired."

Your locker isn't overflowing with junk, it's just "closure prohibitive."

Kids don't get grounded anymore. They merely hit "social speed bumps."

Your homework isn't missing. It's just having an "out-of-notebook experience."

You're not sleeping in class. You're "rationing consciousness."

You're not late. You just have a "rescheduled arrival time."

You're not having a bad hair day. You're suffering from "rebellious follicle syndrome."

Your teacher isn't bald. He's "follicularly challenged and comb-free."

A girl doesn't have big hair. She is "overly aerosoled."

You're not doing poorly in class. You are "on a detour off the information highway" or are "cerebrally underactive."

You don't have smelly gym socks. You have "odor-retentive athletic footwear."

A student is not obnoxious. He is "charismatically impeded."

No one's tall or short anymore. He's "vertically enhanced" or vertically challenged."

You're not shy. You're "conversationally selective."

You don't talk a lot. You're just "abundantly verbal."

You're not able to carry a tune. You're a "tonal underachiever."

You're not conceited. You're "extremely aware of your best qualities."

Your teacher is not old. He is "geriatrically advanced" or "chronologically gifted." (I like that one!) 😀

You weren't passing notes in class. You were "participating in the discreet exchange of penned meditations."

It's not called gossip anymore. It's "the speedy transmission of near-factual information."

You're not being sent to the dean's office. You're "going on a mandatory field trip to the administrative building."

One is no longer a class clown. He is either "a buffoonery overachiever" or is simply "humor appreciative."

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In a comment to the previous blog post about buzzwords, J.D. left a hilarious comment with a link to a site where you can download "buzzword bingo" for fun at that next meeting where buzzwords will be flying around.

quotation...

"If I were the devil, ... I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct." - Paul Harvey

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

When at loss for the right word to say, why not try silence?


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Buzzwords


This past weekend a colleague and I went to a conference for foreign language teachers - the SCOLT/SCFLTA Conference - in Myrtle Beach, SC. We were able to be there only for the Saturday morning sessions. After experiencing the quality of those sessions, we wished we had attended all three days of the conference. It was far better than the national ACTFL Conference we had attended the fall of 2006!

I'm fluent in French, can hold my own in German, and can handle some situations in Spanish and Chinese. However, one of the things I found difficult at the conference was trying to understand a language that I'm not very good at - educational buzzwords. This is the impetus for today's iv....

Buzzwords

Buzzwords, expressions like scenario, 24/7, soft money, proactive, venue, wiki, hit the ground running, win-win, affluenza, dotcom, fatcat, gridlock, etc., both amuse me and drive me crazy (crazier?)! People in management, geeks, politicians, the media, and even educators love to use buzzwords.

According to Wikipedia, "a buzzword (also known as a fashion word or vogue word) is an idiom, often a neologism, commonly used in managerial, technical, administrative, and sometimes political environments. Though apparently ubiquitous in these environments, the words often have unclear meanings."

Some would readily point out that the word buzzword itself is a buzzword, so named because of the desire to employ the words that create a special effect, or buzz, in another's mind.

In the business world, it seems to be important that reports contain lots of buzzwords. What the reports actually say isn't nearly as important as the ability to show that you are on the cutting edge in the use of the current buzzwords.

In 1968, Newsweek magazine published a short, but humorous article, How to Win at Wordsmanship. After years of hacking through etymological thickets at the U.S. Public Health Service, a (then) 63-year-old official named Philip Broughton had hit upon a sure-fire method for converting frustration into fulfillment, at least jargonwise. Euphemistically called the Systematic Buzz Phrase Projector, Broughton's system employs a lexicon of 30 carefully chosen "buzzwords."

The procedure is simple: Think of any three-digit number. Then select the corresponding buzzword from each column.

For instance, number 257 produces "systematized logistical projection," a phrase that can be dropped into virtually any report with a sincere ring of decisive, knowledgeable authority. No one will have the remotest idea of what you're talking about, but the important thing is that they are not about to admit it!

BUZZWORDS FOR MANAGERS (or wannabe managers)

COLUMN I COLUMN II COLUMN III
1. heuristic 1. organizational 1. flexibility
2. systematized 2. monitored 2. capability
3. parallel 3. reciprocal 3. mobility
4. functional 4. digital 4. programming
5. responsive 5. logistical 5. scenarios
6. optional 6. transitional 6. time-phase
7. synchronized 7. incremental 7. projection
8. compatible 8. third-generation 8. hardware
9. futuristic 9. policy 9. contingency
0. integrated 0. management 0. options

After my experience at the teachers' conference this past weekend, I wondered if the same could be done for educational jargon, which borders on buzzwords. Educators are often guilty of using "edspeak" - a language spoken by those inside the education profession that is often not comprehensible to people outside the profession. The term is modeled on George Orwell's "newspeak" from his novel 1984. This professional jargon is also known as educationese, eduspeak, edubabble, and pedagogese. The following could also be helpful to anyone writing a grant proposal.

The table below enables you to create most of a sentence, giving you a verb, and adjective, and a noun. You just have to flesh it out. For instance, 239 would yield "benchmark cross-curricular methodologies". You could then craft that into a powerfully cryptic sentence such as, "This assessment tool would allow us to benchmark our present cross-curricular methodologies." Scary, huh?!

BUZZWORDS FOR EDUCATORS

Verb Adjective Noun
1. assess 1. child-centered 1. articulation
2. benchmark 2. competency-based 2. competencies
3. disintermediate 3. cross-curricular 3. curriculum integration
4. enable 4. developmentally appropriate 4. decision-making
5. facilitate 5. global 5. experiences
6. implement 6. hands-on 6. higher-order thinking
7. integrate 7. holistic 7. initiatives
8. morph 8. metacognitive 8. learning styles
9. optimize 9. performance-driven 9. methodologies
0. strategize 0. standards-based 0. outcomes

I got the words used above by picking my favorites from a long list of edspeak words at http://www.sciencegeek.net/lingo.html It's a fun site to visit - there's a button at the top that you can keep hitting to generate random phrases from their long lists.

If you'd like to see a long list of other buzzwords, each one linked to its definition, go to http://www.investopedia.com/categories/buzzwords.asp

You can have more fun with a random buzzword generator at http://www.1728.com/buzzword.htm

quotation...

"I think we educators are unusually prone to use jargon, and of all people we ought to be the clearest in our language." - Dr. Ruth Steele, at the time she made this statement, director of the state Education Department and a former English teacher

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Remember: Today's buzzword could very well be tomorrow's drivel.


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Pun-ishment?


It's been a while since I posted some puns (perhaps not long enough for some people). Anyway, for those who enjoy puns, these ought to bring forth some satisfying groans.

In the early 1700s, the captain of a Spanish pirate ship was very proud of his mongrel pet for its ability to bark once for "Si," and twice for "No."

After being captured by a British commander, the dog was taught the same trick in English. He thereby became ... the world's first "Si" and "Aye" dog!

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A supportive friend brought a woman into the hospital. This poor woman was so cross-eyed that her tears ran down her back. After some time, the doctor came back out to the woman's friend who immediately asked him, "You couldn't do anything for her, could you?"

The doctor replied, "Yes, indeed. We treated her for bacteria."

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A man is dining in a fancy restaurant, and there is a gorgeous redhead sitting at the next table. He has been checking her out since he sat down, but he lacks the nerve to talk with her.

Suddenly she sneezes and her glass eye comes flying out of its socket towards the man. With quick reflexes, he reaches out, grabs it out of the air, and hands it back.

"Oh my, I am sooo sorry," the woman says as she pops her eye back in place. "Please, let me buy your dinner to make it up to you." He accepts her offer, and they enjoy a wonderful dinner together.

Afterwards the guy is amazed! "You know," he says, "you are the perfect woman. Are you this nice to every guy you meet?"

"No," she replies, "you just happened to catch my eye."

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Quasimodo goes to a doctor for an annual checkup. "I think something is wrong with your back," the doctor says.

"What makes you say that?" asks Quasimodo.

"I don't know," the doctor replies. "It's just a hunch."

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speaking of Quasimodo...

A Tale of Two Campanologists

After Quasimodo's death, the bishop of the cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bell ringer was needed. The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process.

After observing several applicants demonstrate their skills, he decided to call it a day when a lone, armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell ringers job. The bishop was incredulous. "You have no arms!" "No matter," said the man, "observe!" He then began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon. The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced that he had finally found a suitable replacement for Quasimodo.

Suddenly, rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped, and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below. The stunned bishop rushed to his side.

When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before. As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, "Bishop, who was this man?"

"I don't know his name," the bishop sadly replied, "but his face sure rings a bell."

{Stop groaning, there's more....}

The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart due to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop continued his interviews for the bell ringer of Notre Dame. The first man to approach him said, "Your excellency, I am the brother of the poor, armless wretch that fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you honor his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty."

The bishop agreed to give the man an audition. As the armless man's brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest and died on the spot. Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief at this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side. "What has happened?" the first breathlessly asked, "Who is this man?"

"I don't know his name," sighed the distraught bishop, "but he's a dead ringer for his brother."

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chickadee update...

Last evening I was able to peek into the bird house while the mama was gone - six little eggs....

quotation...

"Live as if today were the day Jesus will return, yet make long-range plans." - Dr. Myron Houghton

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

As she hears the wedding march, three items in the ceremony are foremost in a bride's mind -- aisle, altar, hymn.


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