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Finding Utopia

picture of sign to utopia

What is utopia? According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary the word utopia means 1. an imaginary and indefinitely remote place, 2. often capitalized, a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions, or 3. an impractical scheme for social improvement. Etymology: imaginary and ideal country in Utopia (1516) by Sir Thomas More, from Greek ou not, no + topos place. I think it's safe to say that all people long for a perfect place where all is just and harmonious, but we are continually frustrated. As nice as some places are, no place is perfect. There's no perfect home, no perfect workplace, and even no perfect church. (If you find it, do not join it — you will ruin it!) :-)

Today's instant vacation centers on workplace conditions in the past. The following notice, dated 1852, was supposedly pinned to the door of a cupboard in an office building due to be demolished in London.

• Godliness, cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of a good business.

• On the recommendation of the Governor of this colony, this firm has reduced the hours of work, and the clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7am and 6pm on weekdays. The Sabbath is for worship, but should any man-of-war or other vessel require victualling, the clerical staff will work on the Sabbath.

• Daily prayers will be held each morning in the main office. The clerical staff will be present.

• Clothing must be of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in raiment or bright colours, nor will they wear hose unless in good repair.
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Mother Knows Best

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One of the TV shows I grew up with was Father Knows Best. You may be old enough to remember that series or maybe you've seen reruns. In those days, dads were allowed to be portrayed as something other than idiots, and Robert Young usually gave wise advice. But as we look forward to Mother's Day this weekend, I want to focus on moms who know what's going on and who give out great advice with such finesse that it inflicts almost no pain.

Throughout history, mothers have been known for handing out wisdom, advice, and correction to their children. You could almost hear the moms of these famous individuals say the following:

Paul Revere's mother:
"I don't care where you think you have to go, young man. Midnight is past your curfew!"

Mary, Mary, quite contrary's mother:
"I don't mind you having a garden, Mary, but does it have to be growing under your bed?"

Mona Lisa's mother:
"After all that money your father and I spent on braces, Mona, that's the biggest smile you can give us?"

Humpty Dumpty's mother:
"Humpty, if I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times not to sit on that wall. But would you listen to me? Noooo!"
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Please Excuse…

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The last post dealt with students' excuses for the way things are. Today's will focus on the parents of those young scholars. My first eleven years of teaching were on the high school level where meeting the parents of my students was often quite interesting. It left me thinking one of two things — either "Is that child really from that family?!" or "Well, that explains a lot!" As one of my college teachers used to say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the horse, does it?"

The following are reputed to be real notes written by parents. I have left (mis)spellings and grammatical problems intact. Some of them are funny, but some are just sad.

My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.

Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.

Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.
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picture of sign

In honor of exam week here at BJU beginning this Saturday, following close on the heels of students' course evaluations, I'm posting about a technique that has long been practiced by students — "alibi-ology" — the science of giving alibis. Students come up with some of the most amazing alibis to explain their performance. Some of the things below might also occur on students' course evaluations. You teachers out there may recognize some of these.

What students say when exams roll around...

When they are given an objective test:
"It doesn't let you express yourself."

When they are given an essay test:
"It's so vague. You don't know what's expected."

When they are given many minor tests:
"Why not have a few big ones? This keeps you on edge all the time."

When they are given only a few major tests:
"Too much depends on each one."
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Very Funny Signs

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I don't know what it is about funny signs that I find so amusing. Maybe it's just the highly public nature of a sign that makes a strange or confusing wording or an absurd picture all the more humorous. I'm sure that some signs are intentionally funny, just to grab attention and brighten someone else's day. But the thought that a sign is absurd without intentionality amuses me to no end. I've recently been sent or been pointed to some signs that had me laughing out loud (lol). If they amuse you as much as they did me, you might want to be sure you are reading this in a place where you are free to lol.

Here's a building that used to be located somewhere in Saint Louis. I understand it has since been torn down. Was there a butcher's shop down that side street?

picture of funny sign

Here are several signs that might make you think twice about parking near them.
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