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Weekend in Cincinnati


This past weekend Becka and I drove up to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the wedding of our nephew Matt, the son of Becka's sister Pam and brother-in-law Jim. We left right after my last class on Friday and arrived in Cinti six and a half hours later. The travel conditions were basically perfect, much to our delight. Megan, Jim, and Drew drove down from Detroit on Saturday. While waiting for them to arrive in time for the wedding at 1:00 p.m., Becka and I had Saturday morning to explore a little.

We decided that the hotel where we stayed could be where we'd like to retire to some day. It reminded us of the something in my files that I will have to post some time called "No Nursing Home for Me" where you learn that it would be cheaper to live in a hotel than to go to a nursing home. That was the case with our hotel, a Comfort Inn very close to Kings Island amusement park. With our discount with the BJU Alumni Association, our room was under $50 a night. This included free cable TV (which we don't even have at home!), free high speed internet, and a nice continental breakfast. A one-minute walk from the front door is a White Castle hamburger joint. (no thanks!) But also within easy walking distance are McDonald's, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans, and many, many more.

We had long heard of Cincinnati chili, but we got to experience it for lunch on Saturday at Skyline Chili. We each got a 5-way chili on spaghetti, and WOW! What a treat! The young people working in there told us two of the secret ingredients that they knew of in the chili sauce - cinnamon and chocolate. It sounds potentially ghastly, but it was really good! Becka had actually guessed cinnamon when she tasted it, but the chocolate was a surprise.

We had hoped to try Graeter's ice cream, another Cincinnati legend and supposedly the best ice cream in the world, while in town, but we didn't get a chance. Next time....

We really enjoyed getting to be at the wedding and seeing Pam, Jim, and their family. Here's a shot of all of our nephew Matthew's side of the family who were at the wedding...

And of course, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to see Jim, Meg, and Drew and get another "grandparent fix." Though the wedding reception was lively and fun, Drew found it tiring...

Saturday evening the parents of our new niece Katy, Matt's bride, invited all family members to come to their house for dinner. It was good to get to know some of Katy's family and to spend some time with our own family too.

Here's a picture of Becka and her sister Pam with their grandsons...

Here's a picture of our niece Shannon, our daughter Megan and their sons...

That evening back at the hotel, Becka and I enjoyed giving Drew a bath in our sink. Here's our little bathing beauty...

After spending Sunday morning together, we had to go our separate ways. Alas! Becka and I drove back to Greenville, and Megan, Jim, and Drew took in Drew's first baseball game. Here's a picture of them before rain ended their fun in the 5th inning and sent them on their drive back to Detroit...

Since Cincinnati is on the Ohio River, there are several bridges joining the Ohio and Kentucky parts of the city. This weekend I received an e-mail about a bridge incident that seemed like the perfect thing to share in this blog post about our weekend in Cincinnati.

Engineering Question of the Day

Q: How much does a house weigh?

A: Just a tad more than a rural two-lane bridge can hold, apparently.

So would this be accident be covered by house insurance, car insurance, or would it fall under roadside assistance?

And how in the world would you get the house picked up without ruining it?

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Carolina chickadee update...

Here's a picture of the babies this afternoon, five days after the last picture I posted...

quotation...

"Be a good commercial for God with your body." - Dr. Daniel Borkert

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

If all those psychics know the winning lottery numbers, why are they all still working?

Puny Things


chickadee update...

All six of the eggs have hatched. Below is a picture I took late Tuesday afternoon. You can see at least two heads sticking out from under the mama.

Wednesday afternoon I got a glimpse of all six babies without the mama.

The chickadee's eggs are really tiny. They measure 14.8 mm X 11.5 mm (about the size of a jelly bean). Since the mother sits tightly on the nest, I was never able to get a picture of the babies when they first started hatching. I found this picture of some on line.

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After thinking about such puny things as these baby birds, I received the following comic strip by e-mail today.

And that's exactly what you are in for!

Anyway, my thoughts went from puny things to punny things. What can I say? I'm an incorrigible punster! And as my wife would say, "Do NOT incorrige!"

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Migration: A headache birds get when they fly to their winter home.

They are a perfect match - she's a real estate broker, and he has a lot to offer.

The dynamite salesman became an underground operative, but he blew his cover.

Q: What do you get when you cross a werewolf with a ceramicist?
A: A hairy potter.

New invention - a pencil with erasers at both ends! It sounds pointless to me.

I am reading the most interesting book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.

I knew a girl who went to beauty college and flunked cosmetics. Fortunately they let her take a make up exam.

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The boss placed the following sign above the sink in the men's room:

THINK!

The next day when he went to the men's room, he saw that someone had posted a sign beside the soap dispenser:

THOAP!

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quotation...

"Ungodliness is the failure to worship God as God." - Dr. Drew Conley

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

Did you hear that NASA recently put a bunch of Holsteins into low earth orbit? They called it "the herd that was shot around the world."

7,000 Words


Two weeks of classes, then exam week. We're all in need of prayer right now, students and teachers alike.

I have received or spotted several funny pictures or comic strips lately that I thought I'd put together as a blog post with few words. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this post is worth 7,000 words.

For some of you old-timers who remember the old black and white TV series with Jackie Gleason called "The Honeymooners"....

(For the sake of you "young things"... Ralph Kramden always said to his wife Alice, "One of these days ... one of these days ... POW, right in the kisser! Bang, zoom, straight to the moon!")

In case you cannot read the note above, it says, "Please clear any unused time off the microwave when you are finished. Some of us have O.C.D. and leftover time drives us crazy. Thanks!"

Here's a comic strip in honor of April 15 - the Ides of April....

How can fellow employees ever compete with the "Employee of the Month" pictured below?

Here's a clever ad....

Is it a bug or a feature?

Someone spotted a scene too good not to capture on camera....

quotation...

"Discontent is the penalty we must pay for being ungrateful for what we have." - unknown

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

Hunt for the good points in other people. Remember, they have to do the same in your case.

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!) :-D

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?

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.