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The World According to Student Bloopers


We're anxiously awaiting the end of "Native American summer" here in South Carolina! I've enjoyed all the 90+ degree weather that I care to for a while. If the meteorologists are to be believed, we should get back to more seasonable temps before the weekend. Phew!

This week is/was Columbus Day. It bothers me a little that Columbus Day is now celebrated on a Monday rather than on October 12th, the day that a sailor on board the Pinta first sighted land in 1492. The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the United States took place on October 12, 1792, the 300th anniversary of that event. For centuries October 12th was Columbus Day here in the USA, but I guess it's more important that an extremely small number of people have a Monday holiday and a day off. Strangely enough, this year that long weekend would still have been possible since the 12th is on a Friday this year.

What bothers me far more than moving holidays is the rewriting of history that's happening fast and furious. It's all too common nowadays to have our nation's heros portrayed as villains or simply totally ignored in history books. And worse yet, villains and nobodies are painted as heros. (It's kind of like the "black and white" theme in my last blog post, only this is calling white black and black white.) It was weird to read that there were actually protests resulting in arrests in connection to Columbus Day festivities this past weekend, like Christopher Columbus was some kind of evil person! I say that if history is to be rewritten, it should be done by people who don't know any better - like history students - rather than by those who call themselves historians!

Today's iv is a compilation by Richard Lederer of bloopers from students in history classes. This compilation is from a published work called Anguished English.

The World According to Student Bloopers
Richard Lederer

"One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following "history" of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eighth grade through college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot." - R. Lederer

History of the World

Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother's birthmark. Jacob was a patriarch who brought up his twelve sons to be patriarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Finkelsteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them, we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns--Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in "The Iliad," by Homer. Homer also wrote the "Oddity," in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athens was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.

Eventually, the Romans conquered the Greeks. History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March killed him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: "Tee hee, Brutus." Nero was a cruel tyranny who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them. Rome came to have too many luxuries and baths. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlics in their hair. They took two baths in two days, and that's the cause of the fall of Rome. Rome was invaded by ballbearings, and is full of fallen arches today.

Then came the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle aged. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery with brave knights and prancing horses and beautiful women. King Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings. Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and cannonized by George Bernard Shaw, and there were many victims of the blue bonnet plague. Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the futile times was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another story was about William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.

The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull.

The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. As a queen, Queen Elizabeth was a success. Her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.

It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. Shakespeare never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived in Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies, and errors, all in Islamic pentameter. In one of Shakespeare's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy. In another, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. The clown in As You Like It is named Touchdown. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet.

Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote "Donkey Hote." The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote "Paradise Lost." Then his wife died and he wrote "Paradise Regained."

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called the Pilgrim's Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by Indians, who came down the hill rolling their hoops before them. The Indian squabs carried porpoises on their back. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps. During the War, Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delicates from the original thirteen states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards and declared "a horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis and in due time became the father of our country. His farewell address was Mount Vernon. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, "In onion there is strength." Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clutz Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a insane supposed actor. This ruined Booth's career.

Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltaire invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy". Gravity was invented by Isaac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the autumn, when the apples are falling off the trees.

Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolution, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorillas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks. Napoleon wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West. Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. Her reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.

The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Samuel Morse invented a code for telepathy. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the "Organ of the Species". Madman Curie discovered radi0. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.

The First World War, caused by assignation of the Arch-Duck by ananahist, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history.

quotation...

In reference to the recent passing of the famous mime Marcel Marceau... "Do you suppose they observed a moment of noise in his honor anywhere in France?" - Barry Ray, Greenville Journal

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Rob

Did Washington just flash a quarter for his ID?

Black and White


When I did a word search in my files in preparation for my last post where I mentioned Sputnik, one of the words I used in the search was "satellite." One of the files that turned up is what I'm posting today. It's something I read and saved years ago and frankly had completely forgotten about. When I reread it, I thought to myself that it would be a nice piece to post on the blog sometime in the future. Well, the following morning I heard on the radio that the program Leave It to Beaver was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. They had a little sound clip from "the Beav'" and from his older brother "Wally." Wally's voice sounded the same, only more mature!

My mind went back to some of the really good, family-friendly shows from my childhood, shows that had valued right and didn't glorify wrong. Not only were the images black and white, but most of the issues were also. Looking back on those programs now as an adult, I realize too that those old shows were laced with "little white lies" and situation ethics. But there were generally always uncomfortable or even unpleasant consequences for the wrong doing and good triumphed in the end. I must admit that I am not a big TV watcher and haven't been for years now. I simply hate to be assailed with profanity, innuendo, violence, immorality, calling wrong right and right wrong, and on and on I could go with the litany of what TV has become.

Today I'm posting the words to a song about the "good, ol' days" of black and white TV.

(If you're under the age of 50, you probably won't fully understand or appreciate this poem about a period of time when, even though it took five minutes for the TV warm up, there would be something actually worth watching...)

Black and White
by Steve Vaus

You could hardly see for all the snow,
Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go,
Pull a chair up to the TV set,
"Good night David, Good night Chet!"
Depending on the channel you tuned
You got Rob and Laura, or Ward and June.
It felt so good, it felt so right.
Life looked better in black and white.

I Love Lucy, the Real McCoys,
Dennis the Menace, the Cleaver boys,
Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train,
Superman and Lois Lane,
Father Knows Best,
Rin Tin Tin and Lassie too,
Donna Reed on Thursday night.
Life looked better in black and white.

I wanna go back to black and white.
Everything always turned out right.
Simple people, simple lives,
Good guys always won the fights.
Now nothing's the way it seems
In living color or on the screen.
I wanna go back to black and white.

In God they trusted, in bed they slept.
A promise made was a promise kept.
They never cussed or broke a vow.
They'd never make the network now.
But if I could I'd rather be
In a TV town in '63
It felt so good, it felt so right.
Life looked better in black and white.

I'd trade all the channels on the satellite
If I could just turn back the clock tonight
To when everybody knew wrong from right.
Life was better in black and white.

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Here are pictures of a dozen shows to evoke good memories for some...

The Little Rascals (a.k.a. Our Gang)

Spanky and Our Gang

Sky King (and his niece Penny)

Out of the blue of the western skies comes Sky King!

Howdy Doody (and Buffalo Bob)

It's Howdy Doody Time!

Rin Tin Tin

the troops at Fort Apache adopted the orphan Rusty and his German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin

The Lone Ranger (and his faithful companion Tonto)

Hi-Ho-Silver and away!

I Love Lucy (our favorite episode - in the candy factory)

Lucy in the Candy Factory

Captain Kangaroo

Captain Kangaroo

Leave It to Beaver (the Cleaver family)

the Cleavers - Wally, June, Ward, and Theodore (Beaver)

Lassie

Lassie and Timmy the boy who loved her

Father Knows Best

the Andersons - Bud, Kitten, Jim, Margaret, and Princess

The Andy Griffith Show

Barney, Andy, Opie, and Aunt Bea

The Beverly Hillbillies

Granny and Jed

quotation...

"Make every decision based on doctrine. Doctrine is not peripheral - it is foundational." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Rob

Have you ever noticed that nostalgia isn't what is used to be?

Pop Science Theories


Since this is the fiftieth anniversary of the launching of Sputnik 1, I thought I'd post something scientific ... well, maybe at least as scientific as some of what calls itself science.

A magazine held a competition, inviting its readers to submit new scientific theories on any subject. Below are the top five winners:

5th place (Subject: Probability Theory) If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, they will eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare in Braille.

4th place (Subject: Bio-Mechanics) Why Yawning Is Contagious: You yawn to equalize the pressure on your eardrums. This pressure change outside your head unbalances other people's ear pressures, so they then yawn to even it out.

3rd place (Subject: Symbolic Logic) The Chinese are technologically underdeveloped because each of their writing characters represents a whole word or phrase, rather than a single letter. Thus they cannot use acronyms to communicate technical ideas at a faster rate.

2nd place (Subject: Newtonian Mechanics) Deforestation will eventually cause earthquakes, tidal waves or even the total destruction of our planet. Just as a figure-skater's rate of spin increases when the arms are brought in close to the body, the cutting down of tall trees may cause the earth to spin dangerously fast on its axis with disastrous results.

Winner (Subject: Perpetual Motion) When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet and when toast is dropped, it always lands buttered side down. Therefore, if a slice of toast is strapped to a cat's back, buttered side up and the animal is then dropped, the two opposing forces will cause it to hover, spinning inches above the ground. If enough toast-laden felines were used, they could form the basis of a high-speed monorail system.

A reader mentioned to me that there's an article on Wikipedia similar to the winning theory. Below is the picture from that article.

Several (dis?)honorable mentions...

Honorable Mention (Subject: Earth Science) Birds take off at sunrise. On the opposite side of the world, they are landing at sunset. This causes the earth to spin on its axis.

Honorable Mention (Auto Mechanics) The reason hot-rod owners raise the backs of their cars is that it's easier to go faster when you're always going downhill. Besides, they get better gas mileage that way.

Honorable Mention (Subject: Linguistics) The quantity of consonants in the English language is constant. If omitted in one place, they turn up in another. When a Bostonian "pahks his cah," the lost R's migrate southwest, causing a Texan to "warsh" his car and invest in "erl" wells.

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In my last post I promised to include a few pictures. Here's one of Uncle Mark and Drew...

Saturday afternoon some of us went up to North Carolina to get some apples at our favorite place - Lyda. They had some fall decor sitting around, just begging for photo ops. Here's a nice picture of Meg and Drew...

Then here's one of our little punkin all by himself...

quotation...

"Courage is not needed if all things are easy and smooth." - Dr. Drew Conley

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Rob

Why are aliens from outer space always portrayed as evil? How do we know that there's not some alien out there who's just waiting to share the recipe for "The Universe's Best Waffle Mix?"

Weights and Colors


We had such nice family times while our daughter Megan and grandson Drew were here. Our only regret was that our son-in-law Jim wasn't able to be here too. I know he's happy to have them back home with him now, and I have thanked him for the nice birthday present he gave me of a few days with Meg and Drew. I'll post some pictures later this week. My birthday this year was one of my nicest in my recollection. It was wonderful to spend two evenings together with all three of our kids! That's one of those things you just take for granted when your kids are all living at home as they grow up. You younger couples reading this, enjoy all those family times with your children. The day gets here all too quickly that they're grown up and schedules and distances prevent frequent get-togethers.

Well, the first month of the Wellness Challenge is histoire. It will be interesting to see the results of the various teams' collective efforts. I've received a couple of e-mails lately about the challenge that I thought would make a good iv. One e-mail had pictures of Celebrity Scales that got me to doing a web search. In the process, I found something that I thought was even funnier - animal scales. A second e-mail from the captain of the team my wife and I are on was too good not to pass on to my readers.

No weigh!

We'd probably get a bit miffed if people told us we weighed as much as a pig. But they might actually be correct if we were using the "Animal Scales" pictured below. Step onto the animal scales and compare your weight to that of animals such as a goat, bison, duck, etc. I'm a panda hoping to get down to a Thompson's gazelle.

Here's a picture of the scales...

Here's a close-up of the "weight window"...

Color in your diet is GOOD!

Maxine's story...

"Yesterday I went to the doctor for my yearly physical. My blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was high, I'd gained some weight, and I didn't feel so hot. My doctor said eating right doesn't have to be complicated and it would solve my physical problems. He said just think in colors. Fill your plate with bright colors... greens, yellows, reds, etc. I went right home and ate an entire bowl of those colors and more..."

"And sure enough, I felt better immediately."

"I never knew eating right could be so easy."

quotation...

"The day that you get saved, you're in the ministry. ... God is always preparing and developing you to serve Him." - Dr. Matt Olson

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Rob

Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but he can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate.

Joys of Aging


One of the true joys of aging is seeing your children become responsible adults. Another joy is grandchildren. Our daughter Megan and grandson Drew arrived at 2:30 this morning. It was sheer bliss to see Drew's face light up when he saw Grandma and Grandpa. Our first guess as to why was that he remembered us from all our bonding this summer. Our second guess was that we looked pretty funny at that time of the night. Our third guess was that he is simply a gregarious little guy who smiles at just about anyone. Megan confirmed that our third guess was correct. Sigh! We're doing our best to make ourselves memorable during this all-too-short three day visit. We've learned that having grandkids is one of the true joys of aging!

Here are a few pictures from the day today.

Here's a picture of Megan and Drew...

We got to see first hand how much Drew is enjoying baby food - here rice cereal and sweet potatoes...

Grandma loves holding her little guy again...

And Grandma and Grandpa can't give our little guy enough hugs and kisses...

Aunt Nora is really good at getting Drew to laugh...

Grandpa does his fair share of causing smiles and laughter...

This afternoon Drew and I enjoyed a little nap after our short night's sleep and our busy day...

This weekend my odometer flips another number. As my family plans a little birthday celebration for me, I get to choose from some games appropriate for folks my age.

Game choices for my birthday bash this weekend:

1. Sag - You're It!
2. Hide and Go Sleep
3. Hide and Go Seek Your Own Easter Eggs (a variation on the previous game)
4. 20 Questions Shouted into Your Good Ear
5. Kick the Bucket
6. Red Rover, Red Rover, the Nurse says Bend Over
7. Spin the Bottle of Liniment
8. Musical Recliners
9. Simon Says Something Incoherent
10. Pin the Toupee on the Bald Guy

quotation...

"God does not view being 'laid back' in the Christian life as a virtue." - Dr. Ken Casillas

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Rob

My dream: to die young at a very old age.