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Posts from ‘January, 2011’

Is Cursive Dying?

picture of practice writing

I have noticed in recent years that fewer of my college students turn in work written in cursive. This past week I did an survey in my classes and discovered that only 15% of my students write mostly in cursive. In fact, one student said that the only thing she knows how to write in cursive is her signature.

At the time my wife and I were growing up in northwestern Ohio, we were taught the Zaner-Bloser method of writing cursive, beginning in second grade. I remember hardly being able to wait to learn it so that I could write like the older kids and grown ups.

Here's what the Zaner-Bloser letters and numbers that we were supposed to emulate looked like:

picture of Zaner-Bloser cursive

I worked hard to perfect that skill and have been told through the years that I had neat handwriting, for a guy. A few years ago some of my students were having a hard time reading what I'd written on the board and the overhead. I attributed it to my handwriting, rather than to the fact that I'd written in cursive. I think now, though, that it was actually the cursive that was throwing some of my students. Here's what my writing looks like — I'll let you decide whether it's legible.

picture of my handwriting

I do understand the frustration of some students, though. The semester I took Chinese, our teacher was out for part of the semester on maternity leave. The substitute teacher wrote on the board one day in Chinese cursive. I was having a hard enough time reading Chinese characters as it was, let alone throwing cursive into the mix!

Our children went to Bob Jones Elementary School where they were taught precursive then later cursive using the handwriting curriculum from the BJU Press.

Here's a sample of what PreCursive looks like:
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What’s in a Name?

picture of name tag

Back in 2001 before I had my blog and was doing everything through e-mail, my readers and I did an "interactive iv" on one particular theme. I had heard several puns along the line, "So I said to the librarian, "Paige, ...." and "So I said to the accountant, "Bill, ...." Giving a couple of those as fodder, I opened it up to my readers to send me similar puns where a person's job and name were closely related. They could be real or imaginary people. Well, my readers came through big time and by e-mail I accumulated a list of about 170 different puns!

I shared them with my ivman mailing list at that time, and now, 10 years later, I'm posting them to my blog. As I added the puns to the list, I tried to be judicious in my selection. I received far more submissions than the ones I included. I chose only those that are actual jobs (and not just hobbies) and those where the name is either what the worker actually does or the name has a very strong (or fairly obvious) connection to the actual job. But even then, I've probably left some on the list that are still a bit of a "stretch." Enjoy! (or not....) 🙂

So I said to the nun, "Abby, ...."
So I said to the stunt pilot, "Ariel, ...."
So I said to the museum curator, "Art, ...."
So I said to the chimney sweep, "Ash, ...."
So I said to the grave-digger, "Barry, ...."
So I said to the archer, "Beau, ...."
So I said to the carillon player, "Belle, ...."
So I said to the fireman, "Bernie, ...."
So I said to the accountant, "Bill, ...."
So I said to the goat herder, "Billy, ...."
So I said to the audio technician, "Blair, ...."
So I said to the canning factory worker, "Blanche, ...."
So I said to the cowhand, "Brandon, ...."
So I said to the lifeguard, "Bob, ...."
So I said to the horse trainer, "Buck, ...."
So I said to the horticulturist, "Bud, ...."
So I said to the demolitionist, "Buster, ...."
So I said to the barber, "Butch, ...."
So I said to the beekeeper, "Buzz, ...." Click here to continue reading this post ⇒

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Zoo Warning Signs

Did you see the news story recently about the zoo worker in Knoxville, Tennessee who was accidentally killed by an African elephant? Apparently the elephant had not been aggressive and is not considered dangerous to other workers. It's just one of the risks zoo workers take working closely with animals that weigh tons, although the zoo has made some changes since the accident. This zoo is just down the street from one of our favorite places in Knoxville — Pizza Palace. My wife told on her blog about how we discovered it.

This story got me thinking not only about the potential dangers in the zoos of the world, but also about the pictures of some zoo signs that have been sitting patiently in a folder on my computer.

Zoos really do try to warn people of potential dangers and of uncomfortable situations. Some zoo signs sugar coat their warnings with a touch of humor.

picture of funny zoo sign

I don't know what is written in the Asian language on this next sign, but the English seems to indicate that it may have something to do with reincarnation.
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Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

picture of glass of water

Probably all but my very youngest readers have heard the question "Is the glass half full or half empty?" used as a sort of litmus test to determine the general outlook of a person. It is normally assumed that an optimist would say a glass is half full, while a pessimist would say it is half empty.

Gary Larson of the Far Side would say that that little test actually determines four basic personality types.

picture of glass test

I've compiled a list of the ways that people of different professions or walks of life might answer the question "Is the glass half full or half empty?"

The government would say that the glass is fuller than it would be if the opposition party were in power.

The opposition would say that it is irrelevant because the present administration has changed the way such volume statistics are collected.

The cynic wonders who drank the other half.

The worrier frets that the remaining half will evaporate by next morning.
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Snow and Snowmen

picture of snowflake

With snow in 49 of the 50 states this past week, I thought everyone might enjoy having something to laugh about in connection with snow. Here in our part of South Carolina we got a good half-foot of snow, capped off with a quarter-inch of freezing rain. Since there are many winters with little or no snow, Greenville County doesn't have many snow plows. About the only roads that they plow here are interstate highways. Most of the week even main roads were hazardous and side streets were like ice skating rinks! The beginning of classes at BJU was delayed from Thursday to today.

Speaking of snowplows, I'm always amused by this fun animated picture depicting how snow plowing would be carried out if enacted by Congress.

picture of snow humor

Children seem to anticipate snow with greater excitement than adults do. I guess children haven't had to deal with it as much. This next cartoon always makes me smile.

picture of snow humor

Once the snow comes, you can have some fun with it, without leaving home. This next man did some creative snow sculptures.
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