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

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Speaking and Writing like Shakespeare


picture of Shakespeare

Shakespeare has been on my mind this week. My students in Survey of French Literature had a test Monday on the 17th century over such literary greats as Blaise Pascal, Descartes, and the playwright Molière. Shakespeare was still alive and writing in England at the beginning of the 17th century. This week we are having Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors on campus. I'm eager to see it!

I thought I'd see what I had in my files about the Bard and ran across something that I sent as an e-mail iv back in 2003 — what The Hokey Pokey would be like if Shakespeare had written it. As I researched that piece, I found several pages with common expressions and words that were either coined by Shakespeare or at least popularized by his using them in his writing. I'm posting some of my favorites. Now on to The Hokey Pokey....

The following is from the Washington Post Style Invitational contest that asked readers to submit "instructions" for something (anything), but written in the style of a famous person. The winning entry was "The Hokey Pokey" (as written by William Shakespeare), but actually written by a man named Jeff Brechlin.

The Hokey Pokey, in Shakespearean Style

Here are the original lyrics, just in case you've forgotten them. This is the verse with the left foot, since that's the one done in Shakespearean style.

You put your left foot in,
You put your left foot out,
You put your left foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey
And you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about.

Now, à la Shakespeare...

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heaven's yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke — banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

divider

Here's a list of well-known expressions from the works of William Shakespeare. Many of these were probably coined by the Bard himself, but it's been said that he wasn't averse to stealing a good line occasionally and putting them in his plays, thereby popularizing them. Some of these will be familiar to you and part of your active vocabulary. Some of them you might use, not knowing where they originated.

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.

abstemious

addiction

All's well that ends well.

All that glitters is not gold.

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
Click here to continue reading this post ⇒


Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

Letter Writing


picture of letter writing

Do you write many letters? Back in my lower-tech days, I wrote lots of letters ... long letters! It seems that the easier and cheaper communication became, the less I communicated with handwritten letters. I'm in touch with many of the same people I used to write to, but I'm also definitely in touch with many more than before. Most of my written communication now is by e-mail, texts, and instant messages. I rarely ever receive handwritten personal letters, maybe because I seldom send them myself.

In my files I found some very short letters, all of which actually say quite a bit. I've accumulated others along the way, and post them today for your enjoyment.

Dear Americans,
You'd have cool accents too if you hadn't thrown all that tea in the water.
Sincerely,
The British

Dear Internet,
Please stop with the talking ads that start on their own.
Sincerely,
Just had a heart attack

Dear Internet Explorer,
Thank you for being the #1 browser that people use to download a better browser.
Sincerely,
Safari, Firefox and Chrome

Dear Silence,
You may be golden, but I'm silver
Sincerely,
Duct Tape
Click here to continue reading this post ⇒


Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

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:
Click here to continue reading this post ⇒


Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

How to Write Good


picture of Grammar Nazi logo

It's so easy to say or write things that are downright weird, simply because of poor wording. Among the most common causes of unclear and sometimes outrageously funny statements are dangling participles, misplaced modifiers, and pronouns with unclear antecedents. As a teacher of language I correct errors to help my students improve their speaking and writing. I hope I don't seem to them to be a grammar Nazi. It's a fine line I have to walk! The goal is clear communication, not stifled communication. Today's iv is a list of examples of poor writing and speaking that I've accumulated, but not from my students. 🙂

Warning: Read this only if you are in a place where you're free to LOL.

Riding along on my bicycle, a dog knocked me over.

Mrs. Shirley Baxter, who went deer hunting with her husband, is very proud that she was able to shoot a fine buck as well as her husband.

Sizzling in the pan, my wife has some okra.

If properly secured, you shouldn't be able to remove the lid.

I saw the man before he died two or three times.

The body was found in an alley by a passer-by with a bullet in his head.

The suspect is about 30 years old, white, 5' 10", with wavy hair weighing about 150 pounds.
Click here to continue reading this post ⇒


Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

Dog and Cat Haiku


picture of dog and fan

Do you enjoy the "dog days" of summer? Dogs have been on our minds for reasons other than the dog days of summer. We dog-sat for our daughter Nora while she visited our daughter Megan and her family in Detroit last week. Becka and I have been "cat people" for so long that we'd forgotten how much more work dogs are than cats. And puppies (like Nora's Kingston) require lots of attention and have boundless energy!

Since the new school year is on the verge of beginning, I decided to post something a tad more literary than usual. I'm far from being an expert on the Japanese poetry called haiku. I'm sure the haiku I'm posting today (not my own composition) is probably not the finest ever written, but at least the number of syllables per line follows the standard formula of 5-7-5.

Here's some dog haiku for your amusement:

Dog Haiku

I love my master;
Thus I perfume myself with
This long-rotten squirrel.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be.

I sound the alarm!
Paperboy — come to kill all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Mailman Fiend — come to kill all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man — come to kill all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Neighbor's cat — come to kill all —
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I hate my choke chain —
Look, world, they strangle me! Ack!
Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack!!

Dig under fence — why?
Because it's there. Because it's
There. Because it's there.

You may call them fleas,
But they are far more — I call
Them a vocation.

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic I
Have made a puddle

How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.

Look in my eyes and
Deny it. No human could
Love you as much.

I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating.

My wife commented recently that I hadn't posted any cat humor lately. So to balance out the dog haiku, here's some cat haiku.

Cat Haiku

Grace personified,
I leap into the window.
I meant to do that.

Small brave carnivores
Kill pine cones and mosquitoes
Fear vacuum cleaner.

You never feed me.
Perhaps I'll sleep on your face.
That will sure show you.

The rule for today:
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

Blur of motion, then —
Silence, me, a paper bag.
What is so funny?

You're always typing.
Well, let's see you ignore my
Sitting on your hands.

My small cardboard box.
You cannot see me if I
Can just hide my head.

Terrible battle.
I fought for hours. Come and see!
What's a "term paper"?

I want to be close
To you. Can I fit my head
Inside your armpit?

Wanna go outside.
Oh no! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!

Oh no! The Big One
has been trapped by newspaper!
Cat to the rescue!

Humans are so strange.
Mine lies still in bed, then screams.
Claws are not that sharp.

Cats meow out of angst
"Thumbs! If only we had thumbs!
We could break so much!"

The Big Ones snore now.
Every room is dark and cold.
Time for "Cup Hockey."

Several people have asked about what the symbols =^..^= =^..^= at the beginning of my signature line in each blog post stand for. It's our two cats — Adelaide and Clementine — each pictured by whiskers, ear, two eyes, ear, and whiskers.

This evening I downloaded a piano CD from mincymedia.com called A Place of Quiet Rest. Dave Mincy is offering all 11 tracks of the CD for free at least till the end of this week. I'm listening to it on my iPod, even as I type, and its quiet beauty is ministering to my heart.

Do you enjoy the dog days of summer? Any thoughts on the superiority of dogs or cats? 🙂

quotation...

"We're all going to be sifted, and Satan would love to discourage us." - Dr. Chris Barney

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

A dog will come when you call, but a cat will take a message and never get back to you.


Print This Post Print This Post
E-mail this post to a friend
Share this post on Facebook

Page 2 of 5123...Last »