ivman's blague rotating header image loading ... please wait....

A Saturday not like All the Rest

(This will also be a blog post not like all the rest....) A couple of Saturdays ago, before my teacherly duties began, Becka and I planned to go to the mountains for the day. But alas, I woke up during the night with a bug and instead spent the day in bed sleeping (and losing 3 pounds). :-( Yesterday we were finally able to get away, but not before doing several jobs we really wanted to do — washing the car and cleaning the garage. Becka has a post about our day also, called A day in the mountains. Reading both posts will give you a more complete picture of our day.

picture of crossing sign

When I first went out yesterday morning to go to Krispy Kreme to pick up and bring home "hot ones" for our breakfast, I discovered that we ought to find, buy, and put up a sign similar to the one on the right. Apparently when we pulled in or out of the driveway on Friday, one of us ran over a toad. Although I took a picture of it, I'll spare you having to see its flat little body.

After breakfast, while Becka vacuumed out the car and washed it, I attacked the garage. Even though we don't have a sign warning about toads crossing our driveway, we do have a sign in the garage, beside the door into our kitchen, warning guests about something they'll find in our house.

picture of cat sign

Our cat Adelaide is crazy, but she's not at all dangerous. It was just a fun sign we found many years ago at the Mast General Store, and guests have gotten a laugh from the sign through the years.

picture of black widow spider

I frequently spray the perimeter of the garage because a number of bugs and spiders make their way in from outdoors. Therefore, as I cleaned, I found quite a few dead beetles and other less identifiable, dried-up, dead insects and spiders. As I swept out the garage, I had to kill two black widow spiders and I destroyed their egg sacks! This is not the first time we have found and killed black widow spiders in our garage. I've put a picture on the right of a black widow spider. They (and also the toads) live in the stone drainage ditch that runs the length of the back of our lot. Here a couple of pictures of the ditch whose maintenance seems to be my part-time job.

picture of ditch

picture of ditch

In the bushes on the right in the second picture above, I found a writing spider (also known as an Orb Web Spinner — thanks, Joe). Here's a picture I snapped of it. It's just huge — from tip to tip of its legs is about two inches!

picture of writing spider

After our cleaning tasks were over, we left for lunch in Travelers Rest. Right across the street from the café where we had lunch sits Leopard Forest Coffee, a place I've been wanting to visit. So we checked it out while we were that close. Here's a picture of Leopard Forest Coffee.

picture of Leopard Forest

After lunch and a stop to buy apples near Hendersonville, NC, we headed up to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville. Becka shared a few pictures of what we saw, but here a several others. Everywhere you look, it's gorgeous. A few fall colors were already visible.

picture of Blue Ridge Parkway

picture of Blue Ridge Parkway

We saw what we think are mountain laurels with berries. Maybe one of you botanists can confirm if that's what this is. (Added March 29, 2010 — A plant-loving young man told me that the tree is probably mountain ash, not mountain laurel.)

picture of mountain laurel berries

We got off the Parkway at Highway 276 to head down the mountains towards Brevard, NC. We stopped to visit the Cradle of Forestry. Becka has some description and pictures of what we saw there in her post, but I'm going to show you the cool car we saw in the parking lot.

picture of MG

picture of MG

We hadn't planned enough time to do everything available at the Cradle of Forestry. We did the 1 mile hike and saw the buildings that had been part of the Biltmore Forest School — first official school for forestry in America. However, we didn't have time to take the 1.3 mile hike to see the other interesting stuff, including this steam locomotive.

picture of steam locomotive

We'll just have to do it all when we go there next with a grandchild or two in tow.

If you missed my post last year about our trip to that area, it tells some of the other great things to see and do there.

Have any of you tried out any of the places we love in Western North Carolina? I'd enjoy hearing about your impressions of them. Happy Labor Day! In honor of the holiday, we'll be laboring.


"In an age that idolizes novelty, we must not despise history." - Eric Newton

=^..^= =^..^=

Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?

Mangled English

picture of exit sign

Yesterday was the first day of classes on campus. I enjoyed seeing my old students as well as meeting my new students. For some first-time language students, the thought of learning a new language is quite daunting. It's not always easy to express yourself well in another language, and opportunities for embarrassment from saying something wrong abound, like the EXIT sign on the right seen in a Hispanic country.

To encourage my students fairly early on, I tell them about the first time I went to France in the summer of 1972, between my junior and senior year of college. I wanted to visit some of my relatives there with whom I had corresponded often, but whom I had never met. In those days we were limited to writing letters — air mail would get a letter across the ocean in less than a week! For students used to texting and e-mail, that part of my story makes history come alive — they could show off their teacher on Antiques Roadshow! Anyway, I wrote to my cousins, trying to find out if I was invited to stay in their home without making them feel obligated. I told them that I could stay in an inexpensive hotel nearby or that I would be willing to sleep on the floor. They wrote back and offered me a place to stay. Phew!

Several days after my arrival, once we all knew each other better and discovered that we shared the same sense of humor, they pulled out my letter and asked me something they had been dying to ask, but hadn't, for fear of offending me. They said (in French, of course), "We know that you Americans are really special, but how did you intend to sleep up there?" (looking and pointing up) At first I thought they meant in their upstairs. But then they showed me my letter. I had written in French that I would be willing to sleep on the plafond (ceiling). I should have written plancher (floor). My being able to laugh at myself served only to endear me to my family there.

Today's iv is a list of some items found on menus and of some products available around the world, all of which have unfortunate names or descriptions that may not be so endearing.

Bizarre Menu Items

The following are actual menu items in which people have made incorrect use of English words and created some rather bizarre dishes:

Beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion (Poland)

Boiled frogfish (Europe)

Buttered saucepans and fried hormones (Japan)

Cold shredded children and sea blubber in spicy sauce (China)

Dreaded veal cutlet with potatoes in cream (China)

French Creeps (L.A., where I'll bet they meant crêpes)

French fried ships (Cairo)

Fried fishermen (Japan)

Fried friendship (Nepal)

Garlic Coffee (Europe)

Goose Barnacles (Spain)

Indonesian Nazi Goreng (Hong Kong)

Muscles Of Marines/Lobster Thermos (Cairo)

Pork with fresh garbage (Vietnam)

Rainbow Trout, Fillet Streak, Popotoes, Chocolate Mouse (Hong Kong)

Roasted duck let loose (Poland)

Sôle Bonne Femme (Fish Landlady style) (Europe)

Sweat from the trolley (Europe)

Teppan Yaki, Before Your Cooked Right Eyes (Japan)

Toes with butter and jam (Bali)

picture of divider

The sign below has an interesting list of the rules in one Asian restaurant.

picture of restaurant sign

Strange Product Names

Sometimes words that are innocent enough in one language can mean something quite different in another language. Would you English speakers like to buy the detergent pictured below?

picture of detergent box

Barf is the Farsi word for "snow." Somehow it's hard to imagine having snow-white, sweet-smelling clothes after you wash them in a detergent with that name!

Here are the unfortunate names of some other products from around the world.

Cat Wetty - Japanese moistened hand towels

Clean Finger Nail - Chinese tissues

Colon Plus - Spanish detergent

Crundy - Japanese gourmet candy

I'm Dripper - Japanese instant coffee

Kolic - Japanese mineral water

My Fanny - Japanese toilet paper

Pipi - Yugoslavian orangeade

Polio - Czechoslovakian laundry detergent

Shocking - Japanese chewing gum

Swine - Chinese chocolates

Zit - Greek soft drink

picture of divider

Are you eager to try any of those items? Do you have a personal experience of miscommunicating in another language?


"The wise teacher knows that fifty-five minutes of work plus five minutes of laughter are worth twice as much as sixty minutes of unvaried work." - paraphrased from Gilbert Highet

=^..^= =^..^=

If you can't laugh at yourself, you may be missing some of the best comedy available.

Define Friendship

picture of wall writing

I've been thinking a lot lately about friends and friendship. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this past summer was the 40th reunion of my high school graduation class. Due to the timing of some things going on in life, I was not able to attend. I've been able to "reconnect" with some of my classmates on Facebook and writing on each other's wall. (That's FB lingo for saying things to each other that many others can see.) And it's been great to see their pictures and hear about their lives — even IM'ing several of them. (Pretty good for a bunch "geezers," huh?! 😀

Actually the whole Facebook thing has also got me thinking about friendship. Earlier this month, my number of friends on FB passed the 1,000 mark! I tell people that I am probably the world's worst FB friend — I simply don't have time to "keep up" with that many people! Many/most of my FB friends are actually former students, going all the way back to my first year of teaching in the 1973-74 school year. Some, I think may just be people I have passed on the sidewalk on campus, but I recognized them from their picture, so I accepted their friend request.

In my MLF101 French classes we have a lesson on friendship that describes friendship in France and asks the students to compare and contrast that with friendship where they are from. Having students from all over the USA and all over the world in my classes leads to interesting insights and discussions. The textbook maintains the contention of the French that American friendships are shallow and superficial. At first my students react to that and strenuously disagree. But as the discussion goes on, they start to see what the French are talking about and usually agree that maybe their stereotype of us is justified.

Here are some sayings I've accumulated over the years about friends and friendship.


Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.

If you can buy a person's friendship, it is not worth it.

True friends have hearts that beat as one.

You can bank on any friendship where interest is paid.

Don't worry about knowing people; just make yourself worth knowing.

No one has so big a house that he does not need a good neighbor.

If you were another person, would you like to be a friend of yours?

Friends are those who speak to you after others don't.

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail and not his tongue.

Pick your friends, but not to pieces.

A friend is one who puts his finger on a fault without rubbing it in.

The way to have friends is to be willing to lose some arguments.

If a friend makes a mistake, don't rub it in ... rub it out.

A friend is someone who adds up all your traits but brings up only the good ones.

picture of friendship

A friend is one who helps you bridge the gaps between loneliness and fellowship, frustration and confidence, despair and hope, setbacks and success.

Make friends before you need them.

A good friend is one who neither looks down on you nor keeps up with you.

Friendship is a responsibility, not an opportunity.

Friendship is the cement that holds the world together.

You cannot see eye to eye with the person you look down upon.

People are judged by the company they keep and the company they keep away from.

Deal with others' faults as gently as if they were your own.

Be friendly with the folks you know — if it weren't for them you would be a total stranger.

If you cannot think of any nice things to say about your friends, then you have the wrong friends.

To be without a friend is a serious form of poverty.

The best mirror is an old friend.

The best possession one may have is a true friend.

Friendship is the art of overlooking the shortcomings of others.

Make friendship a habit and you will always have friends.

The more arguments you win, the fewer friends you will have.

A friend is someone who knows all our faults but still loves us.

You will never have a friend if you must have one without faults.

Real friends are those who, when you feel you've made a fool of yourself, don't feel you've done a permanent job.

The real proof of friendship is to have the same ailment your friend is describing and not mention it.

Doing nothing for your friends results in having no friends to do for.

Friends knock before they enter, not after they leave.

picture of interlocking hands

Being square creates a circle of friends.

It is just as difficult to get along in this world without a friend as it is to get along without food to eat.

A friend is a person who can step on your toes without messing your shine.

Anyone can give advice, but a real friend will lend a helping hand.

The quickest way to wipe out a friend is to sponge off him.

You can make more friends by being interested in them than trying to have them be interested in you.

A real friend is a person who, when you've made a fool of yourself, lets you forget it.

A friend is a person who listens attentively while you say nothing.

You can buy friendship with friendship, but never with dollars.

The most miserable person on earth is the one who has money and no friends.

A friend is someone who thinks you're a good egg even though you're slightly cracked.

True friends are like diamonds, precious but rare; false friends are like autumn leaves, found everywhere.


Are there any of those sayings that you strongly agree or disagree with? Do you have any secrets on friendship to share? I look forward to your comments on friends and friendship.


"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 ESV

=^..^= =^..^=

Your secrets are safe with me and all my Facebook friends.

Rednecks in the Summer

picture of famous woman

Do you recognize the woman in this picture? Some of you may know right away who she is; but for those who don't, here are a few clues. The picture was taken when she served as Grand Marshall in a parade in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, in 2007, though her home state is Louisiana. She starred in one of the all-time longest-running TV series from 1962 to 1971, a series that made her one of the most popular television stars of the 1960s. Her name on the show is much better known than her real name. Her love for "critters" is not just a part she played in the series.

I'm sharing this because my wife saw in the paper recently that this woman will turn 76 (!) next month. If you haven't figured out yet who she is, I'll tell you — she's Donna Douglas, a.k.a. Elly May Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies. Here's a picture of her when she starred in the series.

picture of Donna Douglas - Elly May Clampett

Why, oh why, don't they make good, clean shows like The Beverly Hillbillies any more?! I loved that show, and even though some of the humor was a little corny, I LOL'd so many times watching that show ... and reruns!

Recently several people have sent me redneck pictures that came to mind as I thought about The Beverly Hillbillies. Two of them are pictures readers took with their cell phones.

Here's the first of those "cell phone camera moments." The car proclaims the owner to be a redneck, not only because of the letter decals on the back window, but also the repair job on the bumper.

picture of a redneck car

One of the great things about rednecks is their ability to "make do" with what they have, showing great ingenuity. During the summer months, especially here in the South, air conditioning in a vehicle is a blessing that is considered by some the only viable option. Here's a picture of one redneck's way of having much-needed AC in his car.

picture of redneck AC

That picture with the window air conditioner and generator may seem far-fetched, but my son Mark was at a grocery store near his home recently and captured the following picture on his cell phone. Notice the placement of the AC unit and the heavy use of various materials, held together with duct tape and rope.

picture of a redneck van with AC

Who needs to spend big bucks to protect the car when you can have a car alarm system like the one below?

picture of a redneck car alarm

Summer is a great time to cook out. If you can't afford an expensive grill, just improvise. Here are several styles of redneck grills. Speaking of grocery stores....

picture of a redneck grill

I guess this grill wasn't needed as a decorative flower planter in the yard.

picture of a redneck grill

This redneck is planning to grill and serve "possum in the half shell."

picture of a redneck grill

Look carefully at that last picture — it looks as if it may "smoked" armadillo. (What's that in the critter's mouth?)

For those who prefer an open fire, here's a great idea for cooking hotdogs!

picture of a redneck hotdog cooker

Summertime is when lots of baby "critters" make their appearance. Here are two little redneck girls excited about their new "kittens."

picture of redneck kittens

A lot of people can only dream of having a riding lawn mower. Here's one made by a creative redneck.

picture of a redneck lawn mower

If the summer heat makes that one undesirable, here's a riding mower that would be a lot less work.

picture of a redneck riding lawn mower

Summer is the best time to enjoy the races. Guess which driver this redneck fan is pulling for....

picture of a redneck race fan

I'll bet other fans can't wait for cooler weather when that guy might put his shirt back on!

I have plans for sharing more redneck pictures in other thematic ways in future posts. If any of you would like to be my "reporters," keep your cell phone or digital camera handy, snap some pix, and send them my way!

Did you immediately recognize Elly May in that first picture? What are your favorite memories from The Beverly Hillbillies? Any comments on today's redneck pix?


"Don't go for flashy excellence; just be competent." - Dr. Ted Miller, paraphrasing O. B. Hardison

=^..^= =^..^=

Some people are wise, and some are otherwise.

Teachers’ Rules

picture of whatever

This past week we had our annual Teachers' In-Service meetings on campus. It was a great week and I heard many things that I want to put into use in my classes. One of the speakers read a list of rules for teachers in the late 1800s that he received by e-mail from someone who had visited a historical site this summer. I was able to find the list online. According to snopes.com it may not be authentic, but it certainly seems plausible and is still a fun contrast to life nowadays. As tough as we may think we have it today, I'm sure that some aspects of life were much tougher in the "good old days."

Rules for Teachers in the Late 1800s

1. Teachers each day will fill lamps and clean chimneys.

2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.

3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly

5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society

8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barbershop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty

9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.


In my files I found a list of Murphy's Laws of Teaching that might be a little less dated than the list above.

Murphy's Laws of Teaching

The clock in the classroom will be wrong.

Disasters will occur when visitors are in the room.

A subject interesting to the teacher will be boring to the students.

The time a teacher takes in explaining is inversely proportional to the information retained by students.

The length of a meeting will be directly proportional to the boredom the speaker produces.

The more important the occasion or the larger the audience, the greater the chance that the bulb in whatever machine you are using will burn out.

Students who are doing better are credited with working harder. If children start to do poorly, the teacher will be blamed.

The problem child will be a school board member's son.

Students with behavior problems are never absent — not one day — all year.

After 27.5 hours of intense creative work, your bulletin boards — the best ever — are finally complete. Ten minutes later you will be notified that you are assigned to another classroom in which the bulletin boards are not the same size as those you had just prepared.

The day the cafeteria serves mini-missiles — raisins, corn, peas, etc. — is the day the superintendent will have lunch at your school and will decide to eat with your students.

Once your notebook is full of good ideas, tests, sample lessons, films and a list of 500 library books for supplemental reading, and all of this is correlated to the textbook you are using, you will get the message that they're adopting new textbooks next year or that your current textbook is out of print.

Your first experience with a vomiting student will take place with a guest speaker in the room.

When the instructor is late, he will meet the principal in the hall. If the instructor is late and does not meet the principal in the hall, the instructor is late to the faculty meeting where the principal is waiting.

Good students move away.

New students come from schools that do not teach anything.

When the teacher says "weird" rather than "emotionally disturbed," he learns that the person to whom he is speaking is the school counselor.

The instructor's study hall will be the largest in several years.

The administration will view the study hall as the teacher's preparation time.

News of what you failed to do travels at 1,000 times the speed of news of what you did well.

The week after you have completed your lesson plans that will keep you on schedule with the curriculum and allow you to teach all you need to before the school year ends, you will lose four days of school because of snow.

Parent-Teacher Open House will be held on the night of part two of the best three-part TV series of the year.

On a test day, at least 15% of the class will be absent.

If the instructor teaches art, the principal will be an ex-coach and will dislike art. If the instructor is a coach, the principal will be an ex-coach who took a winning team to the state.

Clocks will run more quickly during free time.

Murphy's Law will go into effect at the beginning of an evaluation.


I'd love to hear the comments of fellow teachers to the lists above. I'm sure some of you could add your own Murphy's Laws of Teaching!


"Contentious people are not right with God." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Time is the best teacher; unfortunately it kills all its students.