Looking Back – Again

The weirdest things formerly taught in schools

Part Two:

Pluto is a planet

Kids used to be taught that our solar system has nine planets, and that Pluto was the ninth.

They were taught wrong. On August 24, 2006, the icy ball 7.5 billion kilometers away had its status downgraded to “dwarf planet,” courtesy of the International Astronomical Union.

It didn’t have enough gravity to clear its orbit of debris, which is one of the characteristics required to be considered a planet,” says Mary Colson, an eighth-grade teacher.

Darkroom skills

While some schools may for retro reasons offer photography darkroom courses, digital technology has largely killed the need to go into dark rooms and develop film in baths of toxic chemicals. Besides the dangerous chemicals, equipment and supplies for the outdated developing processes are hard to find.

Diagramming sentences

In the days of old, elementary students were taught to diagram sentences, to understand their underlying structure. These parts might include a subject, a verb, an object, adjectives, adverbs and so on. But the system developed by Reed and Kellogg fell out of favor as educators moved away from such regimented methods of analysis to freer forms of expression.

Using blackboards

The old blackboards and chalk first got downgraded by the introduction of computers and now are increasingly replaced by more versatile whiteboards, which can accommodate eye-catching marker colors and even serve as projection screens. Kids no longer have to clap together two chalk erasers to clean them, sending up clouds of particulate.

“Chalk really isn’t good for anything. It gets all over your hands and your clothes,” agrees a fifth-grade teacher in New Haven.

Note-taking

Before there were smartphones to photograph teacher presentations or record their lectures, students had to take notes—that is, on paper with pen. While technology may be more convenient, research shows that students have to pay more attention to what is being said or shown when they take notes, so they learn better.

Civics

Up to the 1960s, it was common to have separate high school civics courses, designed to teach students about community service and the government. But these courses have been slashed with school budgets, leaving the majority of schools civics-free. Some education experts believe that civics courses develop young people’s critical-thinking skills, making them more engaged in public debates and more likely to participate in elections.

Spelling

Apparently some students might have trouble spelling ABC as schools move away from explicit instruction in spelling, perhaps driven by computers and their easy spell-checks.

Writes a literary expert J. Richard Gentry in Psychology Today: “America has moved to a toxic system for delivering spelling instruction in spite of an extensive and evolving body of research showing that direct and explicit spelling instruction is required for students to master the Mechanics of reading and writing.”

Sewing

Teaching sewing skills to girls has become passé, as gender roles have become less strictly defined.  Still, with six in 10 adults unable to sew well or at all, there might be a rationae for both sexes learning to mend tears, and sew on buttons.

“We have shifted away from the anachronistic view that girls should sew as an acquired life skill. Now we would say that boys or girls who want to go into textiles [need to learn certain skills] and we would try not to be gender specific,” says Julie Nugent, chief executive of the Design and Technology Association.

Math drills

Again, calculators, smartphones and personal computers are making serious math drills less common in schools. But many educators push against the idea of always letting machines do the thinking for us, and losing the chance to exercise our mental chops. The benefits of math drills just add up.

Tough gym classes

Chances are, kids’ memories of gym class today are much different than their parents’. In the 1960s there was a push towards high-intensity fitness regimens. Today kids are more likely to be given choices that let them avoid team sports and sweaty workouts. However, with childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyles at an early age becoming an issue, a return to gym-class tough love might be in order.

The Wordless Wonder Of Instrumentals

In my Rise And Fall Of Rock And Roll post, I ignored an important chunk of modern music, because it didn’t fit the Singer/Songwriter motif that I had going.  In the early/mid 1960s, there were a surprising number of songs that did well on the Hit Parade, with no words at all.  It was the tiny little era of the instrumental.

There were the guitar-driven rock-type songs like

Wipeout – The Ventures

Pipeline – The Chantays

Telstar – The Tornadoes

Walk Don’t Run – The Ventures
This was the first record that I ever owned.

Apache – The Shadows

While there were guitars in back-up, this was a percussion tour de force.
Let There be Drums – Sandy Nelson

A sort of cross between folk, and surf-rock.
Miserlou – Dick Dale

Let’s Go Tripping – Dick Dale

Something more in a Country flavor
Rebel Rouser – Duane Eddy

Country/Pop with steel guitars
Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny

Teardrop – Santo & Johnny

A Country/Rock version of an old folk song
Beatnik Fly – Johnny & the Hurricanes

There were more orchestral, and less-Rock songs
Classical Gas – Mason Williams

Rinky-Dink – Dave baby Cortez

Last Date – Floyd Cramer

Soulful Strut – Young-Holt Unlimited

Stranger on the Shore – Aker Bilk

Peter Gunn Theme – Henry Mancini

Grazing in the Grass – Hugh Masekela

The Lonely Bull – Herb Alpert

Soul Twist – King Curtis

A Taste of Honey – Herb Alpert

Tracey’s Theme – Billy Vaughan

Click on any of the titles for individual YouTube concerts.  These are perhaps most of the good ones.  If you’d like to take a stroll back through the ‘Good Old Days’ of music, click below.

1960’s Instrumental Hits – https://www.google.ca/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNR2ivX8mPkk94pXbkt6B8GG-PAfNg%3A1581038839884&source=hp&ei=97w8Xr_YM8Gk_QbPtIOgCw&q=1960s+instrumental+hits&oq=1960s+instrumen&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0l7j0i22i30l3.13150.26396..32723…5.0..0.1241.3882.11j3j5-1j1j1……0….1..gws-wiz…..10..35i362i39j0i131j0i13j0i13i30.BOxbDJax408

’20 A To Z Challenge – E

A To Z ChallengeLetter E

 

EEK and EGAD!! 24 hours before my self-imposed scheduled time to publish this E-post for the A To Z Challenge – I’m simultaneously composing three posts – and not one of them is this one. 😛 Unless I talked the son into mowing the lawn Sunday afternoon, you discovered a non-specific post on Monday morning, and this one moved to Wednesday.

I guess that I’ll make it about a mnemonic.
‘What’s a mnemonic, Johnny?’
A 1995, Keanu Reeves movie.

Actually, a mnemonic is something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula. One of the dumbest and most useless mnemonics that I’ve ever found, is

EUOUAE

Euouae definition

A type of cadence in medieval music. Origin: Taken from the vowels in the hymn Gloria Patri doxology: “seculorum Amen“. Euouae is a mnemonic which was used in medieval music to denote the sequence of tones in the “seculorum Amen” passage of the lesser doxology, Gloria Patri, which ends with the phrase In saecula saeculorum, Amen.

If you could/can write the Latin phrase, seculorum Amen, why would you need a reminder of the sequence of the vowels? Both the phrase, and the mnemonic, have been in use for over 500years. Only in the last 50/60 years has anyone felt the need to make it a word, and learn to pronounce it. It is the longest word in the English language with no consonants, an honor similar to being the greatest dogcatcher in Enid, Oklahoma.

Sadly, it is not an only child. Its bigger brother is

QUOMODOCUNQUIZE

A psalm or hymn cadence.

Is there something about Catholic Christianity, or religious music, which requires such ridiculous reminders??

The word is almost never used today, and definitely not outside the sphere of Church music. Somehow over the years, it acquired a secondary meaning of, to make money any way you can. The OED has no entry for quomodocunquize – to make money any way you can – but it does have one for quomodocunquizing, with a citation from Sir Thomas Urquhart in 1652: “Those quomodocunquizing clusterfists and rapacious varlets.” — The Orthoepist. September 16, 2010 – which is a book about the pronunciation of words.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that the original hymns and psalms were mendicant – concerning begging, alms, financial support and donations – ergo; making money any way they could. Folks in ‘The Good Old Days’ sure had a lot more time, to say a whole lot less. I can not imagine expending the time and energy to even remember this word, much less enunciate it.

All hail technology!  My favorite mnemonics are manufactured by Acer, Dell, or even Apple.  😀

***

Yes!! I did it. I added the last words to this post, just as the sun was rising. That means that I’ll have to leap out of bed at the crack of noon, and mow that lawn myself. I’ll see you here tomorrow…. or is that today already?? 😕

Flash Fiction #222

Vindication

PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

PRIDE OF PLACE

His fifty years of work history – half in factories, half in offices – was proudly productive, but not boastworthy. Finally, here in this little park, in his retirement, he was vindicated.

It began innocently. A young mother watching a child, wondered what ladies were like in the last century. Another day, a young boy asked if he’d driven any cars like the ones in the Cruise Night parade.

He waxed eloquent, weaving tales of similarities and differences. Soon, he had a small audience whenever he came here to sit – stories of this, remembrances of that. He had become the tribal elder.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

It takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes it takes the village idiot to entertain one. 😉 😆

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One

Love English

Words! Words! Words!

Round and round and round they goes. Where they comes from, nobody knows.

Then they impinge on my consciousness, sometimes from what I read, sometimes just from the depths of my own mind.

Looking for a word or two to spice up a novel, an essay, a report, or just a blog-post?? Here are a few that have run across in front of my attention span, like startled squirrels.

Battledore – noun

Also called battledore and shuttlecock. a game from which badminton was developed, played since ancient times in India and other Asian countries.
a light racket for striking the shuttlecock in this game.
a 17th- and 18th-century hornbook of wood or cardboard, used as a child’s primer.
verb (used with or without object), bat·tle·dored, bat·tle·dor·ing.
to toss or fly back and forth:

Bivouac – a military encampment made with tents or improvised shelters, usually without shelter or protection from enemy fire.
The place used for such an encampment.
To rest or assemble in such an area; encamp.

Broch (brock)- a circular stone tower built around the beginning of the Christian era, having an inner and an outer wall, found on the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, the Hebrides, and the mainland of Scotland.
A variant spelling of burgh, or borough – German-influenced Scottish for “independent town”

Calumet – a long-stemmed, ornamented tobacco pipe used by North American Indians on ceremonial occasions, especially in token of peace. – A peace pipe

There used to be a Calumet baking powder, but another of my childhood memories has disappeared under an avalanche of corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Chary – cautious or careful; wary, shy, timid, fastidious, choosy, sparing (often followed by of):
cognate with Old Saxon karag, Old High German karag (German karg scanty, paltry)

Coxcomb – a conceited, foolish dandy; pretentious fop. – the cap, resembling a cockscomb, formerly worn by professional fools.

Dragoon – Noun – (especially formerly) a European cavalryman of a heavily armed troop.
Verb – to force by oppressive measures; coerce

Dumbledore – (for the Harry Potter fans) a bumblebee

Grok – to understand thoroughly and intuitively, to communicate sympathetically. Coined by Robert A. Heinlein in the science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

Plagal – (of a cadence) progressing from the subdominant to the tonic chord, as in the Amen of a hymn
(of a mode) commencing upon the dominant of an authentic mode, but sharing the same final as the authentic mode. Plagal modes are designated by the prefix Hypo- before the name of their authentic counterparts the Hypodorian mode

Pseud (sood) – A person of fatuously earnest intellectual, artistic, or social pretensions

Scalawag, (scallawag,scallywag )– a scamp, a rascal, a minor rogue

Stolid – not easily stirred or moved mentally; unemotional; impassive.

Thewless – weak, meek, timid (first recorded 1300-50)– from thews, muscle, sinew, physical strength
He was a quiet, thewless, conforming man, who caused no-one any trouble.

Tommyrot – nonsense, utter foolishness

Truculent – fierce; cruel; savagely brutal.
brutally harsh; vitriolic; scathing:
aggressively hostile; belligerent.

 

Offerings To Propitiate The Gods

Gods Our genial host, just back from an anger management class

Not that the lovely couple who we went to visit were actual Gods, but they had long since achieved that status with me.  Hell, anyone who doesn’t complain about my presence is nice.  Those who have the occasional kind word for or about me are saints.  And those who invite me into their home for an extended visit, are surely Gods.  Since we had to drive 500 miles of paved highways to meet them, they truly are The Gods Of Asphalt.

SDC10018A FEW of the son’s collection of skulls

3-D printers have become affordable for the average geek.  A son-in-law of the daughter’s friend acquired one, and started fooling around learning its secrets.  First, my son was given the larger, softball-sized skull.  It’s thermo-optic.  If sufficiently warmed, it changes from grey to white.  Later, the golf ball-sized, darker grey one was added.  They are all low-density plastic, and float like corks.

SDC10015

SDC10014

The son’s two skulls at the back – the two Voodoo, “Impeach Trump” skulls, going to DC, in front

My limited etiquette knowledge only told me that a Hostess gift was good manners – and one for the host might also be a good idea.  Our handsome host instructed me not to spend much money, and assured me that it was our presence that they valued, not presents.  Still…. a few gewgaws to demonstrate Canadian my twisted culture.

One of the pair collects skulls, like my son does.  I obtained another couple of the smaller ones.  I leave it to you to guess which one is the blood-thirsty spouse.

SDC10010

SDC10011Amethyst is supposed to foster peace and tranquility.  After adding skulls to the home of a skull-collector, and an ex-tank-driver, I felt that we needed all the tranquility we could get.  Since our host is Plus-sized, and his diminutive bride has trouble seeing over a garden hose, I brought a large chunk, and a smaller piece.

The best, darkest, amethyst now comes from Brazil, because most of the good stuff has been removed from mines just north of Lake Superior, in Ontario.  The daughter visited an online friend up there, a couple of winters ago.  She had just returned from a saved-for summer trip before we set out.  It is possible to walk the shores and occasionally find a good piece that a retreating glacier dug up, so these pieces were from both us, and from her.

SDC10007In return for throwing me a fabulous online birthday party, I once promised our hostess a 55-gallon drum of fresh, pure, Canadian maple syrup.  Of course, like most promises that men make to women, I wasn’t able to delivery anything that big.  Still, since our hosts had been so sweet to us, I felt compelled to bring along 2 liters (half a gallon for the non-metric Americans) of freshly-squeezed, Mennonite Maple Juice for them.  If you hear of an IHOP or Denny’s in the DC area going bankrupt, it’s because they aren’t going out for Sunday brunch till this is gone.

Actually, years of residence in New Hampshire has made her a bit of a syrup snob.  Like Florida has laws that translate, “Don’t f**k with the citrus, especially oranges.” Vermont also has strict rules against messing with the maples.  She would have requested some Maple syrup; but felt that it might be illegal to export.  Nobody asked me about maple syrup at the border, and she was thrilled to get the real stuff, cooking everyone blueberry pancakes the first morning.

SDC10650I told this little old guy that it was really important to me, and go out and squeeze his Maplest tree for my kind hosts.  He said that he would be happy to….  or maybe it was, ‘crazy English’…. something like that.  Coming up soon, a post about all the great stuff we brought back – aside from treasured memories, and happy hearts.

spacehounds-of-ipc

Since I have re-read them all over the last two years, and because our host is a great classic Sci-Fi fan, I offered him copies of every E.E. (Doc) Smith book that I possess, 24 out of the 25 that he wrote. Always a fan of Robert A. Heinlein’s works, I felt that he might appreciate obtaining copies of the seminal Space-Opera novels written by Heinlein’s mentor.

While I regard them as inexpensive paperbacks, many printed before he was born, he recognised their rarity, difficulty of obtaining, and the fact that they were collector’s items.  I usually don’t mind being kissed, just not by him.  Their value to me is that someone who really appreciates them, now possesses them. He said that he didn’t even know what order to read them in….and then found that I had obsessively boxed them up in chronological order.

Our deepest, sincere thanks to BrainRants and H E Ellis, two of the Titans of the blogosphere.

Flash Fiction #165

Nostalgia

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Perhaps the loss and blurring of memories from old age isn’t entirely a bad thing.  We can look back on our lives through the filter of contentment for a life well lived.

We can remember the happy birthdays, the important anniversaries, the great grandkids, and forget the nosy, incompetent co-workers, the uncaring, slave-driver bosses, the crazy neighbors, and the arrogant politicians.

They say that ignorance is bliss, and it can be – in a way.  Just remember that living well is the best revenge.  Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative.  Don’t worry.  Be happy!

***

Click above to hear the great Ella Fitzgerald tell you how to do it.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

Eating And Drinking Well

Leftovers

There was a guy who just got out of a really bad
divorce with his wife. One day, he found a
genie’s lamp. The genie came out and said, “Hello
master. I will grant you three wishes but,
whatever you wish for your wife gets double.”

The guy didn’t like that part but he made a wish
anyway. For his first wish, he said, “Genie, I
want a house in Hawaii.” POOF!!! He got one
house, his wife got two. This didn’t make him
happy but, he made his second wish. “Genie, I want
2 billion dollars.” POOF! He got two billion, his
wife four billion. By now, this guy isn’t very
happy. The genie says, “You have one wish left. I
have to remind you, whatever you wish for your
wife gets double.”

The guy says, “Yeah, yeah. I know.”

So the guy thinks real hard and says “I’ve got it!
Genie, beat me half to death!!”

***

Into the neighborhood bar one evening, stomps a strange character. He faces the crowd and yells out, “I’m Big Bill Johnson. I’m new to the area.” He then pounds on the bar, and says, “Barkeep, a Jack and Coke for me, and set up a round for the house. WHEN BIG BILL DRINKS, EVERYBODY DRINKS!”

Well, people are ordering brandy and cognac and champagne. When the fuss dies down, Big Bill knocks back the rest of his glass. He slaps a $5-dollar bill on the bar and shouts, “That there is for my drink. WHEN BIG BILL PAYS, EVERYBODY PAYS.”

***

A cannibal invited a cannibal friend over for
supper one evening. While enjoying the soup, the
friend said, “Your wife sure makes a great soup!”.
The host replied, “Yes, and I’m really going
to miss her.”

***

Two cannibals capture and boil a missionary. After he’s cooked, they pull him out of the big pot and try to decide how to share him. One cannibal says, “Why don’t you start at the bottom, and I’ll start at the top.”

Some time later the ‘head’ cannibal looks down at his friend and asks, “How ya doing?”

His friend replies, “Oh I’m havin’ a ball.”

“You’re eating too fast! Slow down.”

***

With all the new technology regarding fertility recently, a 65-year-old friend of mine was able to give birth. When she was discharged from the hospital and went home, I went to visit.

‘May I see the new baby?’ I asked.
‘Not yet,’ she said. ‘I’ll make coffee and we can talk for a while first.’
Thirty minutes had passed, and I asked, ‘May I see the new baby now?’
‘No, not yet,’ she said.
After another few minutes had elapsed, I asked again, ‘May I see the baby now?’
‘No, not yet,’ replied my friend.
Growing very impatient, I asked, ‘Well, when can I see the baby?’
WHEN HE CRIES!’ she told me.  ‘
When he Cries??’ I demanded. ‘Why do I have to wait until he CRIES?’
BECAUSE I FORGOT WHERE I PUT HIM, OK?!

***

TEENAGERS

Tired of being harassed by your parents?
Act Now!
________________________

Move out! Get a job!
Pay your own damned bills!

Do it soon, while you still know everything.

 

A To Z Challenge – R

april-challenge

U R here.  U R lost, but U R here.  U R outstanding in your field, and that’s where you should be – out standing in a field.  In case you hadn’t guessed, in this post, I’m gonna talk about Pirates – aRRRgh….no I’m not, just about the letter

letter-r

REMEMBRANCE, REFLECTION, REMINISCING

During my work career, there were several times when I was not employed. Because of my learning disabilities and restricted education, when I was employed, it often could not be charitably described as ‘gainfully.’

With careful financial planning and saving however, we have been able to see and do some interesting and enjoyable things. Did you know that you can spend an entire week at a Red Roof Inn, or Microtel mini-suite for the cost of one day at a posh hotel, if you don’t need to be fawned over?

We can’t afford to fly, and rent a car when we arrive. All trips have been by car, including three Le Mans trips to Florida with my brother.  2400 kilometers (1500 miles) in 24 hours.  I have swum in, and enjoyed the magnificence of the Atlantic Ocean, and the beauty of the beaches, at Clearwater Florida, just after a storm, down at the tip, at Key West, on a warm, sunny day, Daytona Beach, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., where I found some singing sand.

When the wife and I were stronger and more mobile, we walked much of historically preserved Old Charleston, and visited Fort Sumter, seeing frolicking dolphins and fishing pelicans. We have driven the Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachians, and the Shenandoahs, where we took a hundred-mile trip along the Top Of The World on the Skyline Drive, seeing Stony Man Mountain.

We’ve gone down into the Skyline Caverns, and later, the Luray Caverns.  We stopped to tour the awesome Lewis Ginter Gardens.  We even trekked into the Middle Of Nowhere, Ohio, to find the only slightly lost John Erickson, and we did it all on a shoestring budget.

Of course we took photos, at first, the old, printed type. Later we used a digital camera, and ignored the pix on the computer.  Lately, as both the bodies and the wallet grow weaker, we have the memories of better days to keep us warm and happy, with our REMEMBRANCE, REFLECTION, REMINISCING.   😀

A to Z Challenge – M

april-challenge

IN THE MOOD

I’m in the mood to write about things that relate to

letter-m

I may be in the mood, but I’m mired in uncertainty.  I’m like a method actor. What is my motivation?  I should play some inspirational music.  What shall I play?

one-half

Jethro Tull can be quite minstrel.  AC/DC is mayhem and chaos.  I know; I’ll put on some Moody Blues.  They bring back some nice memories.  Their tunes are just a creative metaphor.

one-half

I think I’m often influenced by the moon.  I know I’ve been called a lunatic more than once.  I’m in a miasma of misgivings here.  This will be the least meaty of my A to Z compositions.  (I desperately hope.)

one-half-decimal

If you’ve been muddling along, trying to figure the meaning of the images I’ve inserted, it’s easy. M is the 13th of the 26 letters.  The end of this post is the middle.  Ain’t that marvelous?  See you next month.  😀