Look Back In Anger – And Nostalgia

The weirdest things formerly taught in schools

Part one:

In another day and age, girls in public school might be separated to learn sewing and cooking in home economics class, while boys went to shop class to learn carpentry and mechanics skills. Dead languages were taught to understand live ones. Learning how to take proper notes, develop neat handwriting, read sweep-hand clocks and how to actually spell words are among the other weird things formerly taught in schools.

Latin

Schools for the most part no longer veni, vidi, vici the classical languages, Latin and Ancient Greek. True, you can’t use them in your day-to-day conversation but their loss is also our loss. Studying Latin helps us better understand the grammar and vocabulary of other languages, such as English. And many professions have vocabulary steeped in Latin, including law and medicine.

Handwriting

In the era of keyboard, cursive writing classes are on the way out or gone at many schools.  But not all educators are happy about this.

There’s a myth that in the era of computers we don’t need handwriting. That’s not what our research is showing,” says a University of Washington professor who has co-authored studies on the topic and followed the same children every year for five years to track their development. “What we found was that children until about grade six were writing more words, writing faster and expressing more ideas if they could use handwriting—printing or cursive—than if they used the keyboard.”

Home economics

In times past, it was common for boys to take shop classes and for girls to do home economics, where they would learn to cook, fold sheets and so on, so they could become proficient homemakers. Well, presumptions about gender roles have changed and home economics is fast becoming a creaky relic of the past. That said, teaching both girls and boys practical life skills, like how to boil an egg or do their own laundry, might be a good thing.

Shop class

No, shop class wasn’t learning how to become a more proficient shopper. It taught, boys mostly, basic carpentry and mechanics skills. Liability issues, using machines that can lop off digits or ruin eyes, may be one reason that shop and the industrial arts are increasingly falling off the school map.

But a school in North Carolina makes the case: “Shop classes offer students with their hands. They let students test their inclinations toward possible careers in engineering, carpentry, or architecture.”

Typing

As with handwriting, typing is being whited out in schools, with the belief that kids today are born with keyboards in their hands and screens before their eyes. So, gone are the days where students have their fingers poised over typewriter keyboards, with the teacher intoning, “D-d-d, space.” However, even though self-taught youngsters may be reasonably proficient, they would have a great work advantage if they learned to keyboard at full speed.

Dewey Decimal System

The Dewey Decimal System, first introduced in the 1800s, is a numerical system used by libraries to classify their book holdings into subjects and subcategories. Kids needed to get lessons from librarians to learn how to use it, thumbing their way through card catalogues, so they could research school papers and other projects. With the internet, Dewey Decimal is now skipping class. Even librarians are questioning the need to teach it.

Dodgeball

Dodgeball used to be a standard gym class activity, with two teams lining up facing each other and then hurling balls at each other in a contest of elimination. Because some kids have better throwing arms—and accuracy—than others, injuries happened and now schools are increasingly banning the game.

Using slide rules

Before using calculators in math class, we had slide rules to make basic calculations, especially multiplication and division. The rulers, with a central sliding slip marked with logarithmic scales date back to the 17th century. They fell out of use in the 1970s when mass-produced pocket calculators became widely available. The last slide rule was manufactured on July 11, 1976.

Reading Analog Clocks

Elementary school students used to be taught that when the small hand was at three and the big hand at six that it was 3:30 and perhaps time to go home. A new generation raised on digital readouts, have trouble dealing with analog time-telling. So much so that some schools have actually removed analog clocks because mystified kids were turning up late for classes and exams.

Etiquette

Etiquette hasn’t been part of school curricula for a long time. However, some experts believe it would do kids good to get lessons in class to supplement what they are learning, or not learning, at home. How to do a proper handshake, tie a tie, and address your elders, are good things to know.

We’ll have some more nostalgia later.

Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Ruler

Canada became metric in 1973….  Or did it??!

So, there was Canada, wedged between England and the United States.  We measured things with the Imperial System – all except where the British 160 ounce gallons, the 40 ounce quarts, and the 20 ounce pints became the wimpy, American Lite 128 oz. gallons, 32 oz. quarts, and 16 oz. pints – and except where you bought a pint of beer, and it was only 12 ounces.

In “Metric” Canada, you can’t buy a pound of butter; you get a 454 gram block.  The wife’s Not-Legally-Pint and Quart glass canning jars are 473ML, and 946ML.  A 12 American ounce can of Pepsi is 355ML in Canada.  At least Canada is not alone in this No-Man’s-Land.  I recently found that the serving ‘Standard’ for beer in Australia is 256ML – or, an 8-ounce cup.  The only time an Aussie bar ever serves just 8 ounces, is to some opal-miner’s 10-year-old daughter.

The weather forecast on the radio doesn’t say that we’ll get an inexact 2 to 3 centimeters of snow, it says that we’ll receive 2 ½ centimeters, because the old guy at Environment Canada still says that it’ll snow an inch.

I thought that all this back and forth might confuse immigrants who are thoroughly embedded in the Metric System, but the Polish women at the EuroFoods store seem to be just as capable of dishing out 300 grams of sliced salami, as they are ¾ of a pound.

We’ve only been at this Metric thing for 45 years now, and with typical Canadian lack of determination, we still haven’t fully committed to it.  This is about the softest conversion that I’ve ever seen.  I wonder if there’s some type of Metric Viagra that could firm things up a bit.  😆

As usual, I hope to see you here again in a couple of days.  Now, let’s see.  In Metric, that’s….  😳  Oh well, come back whenever you like.

Comin’ ‘Round The Mountains

Condom

A 50 year old man walks into a store and asks the
pretty girl behind the counter where the condoms
are. “What size are you?” she asks.

The man replies “I don’t know”. So, she unzips
his pants and whips out his dick and says
“Ooooh, extra large condoms, Aisle 3”

A 30 year old walks in and asks the same thing.
She unzips his pants whips it out and says “Large
condoms – Aisle 3”

A 14 year old is standing outside and sees all
this “I wonder if I go in there and ask if she’ll
do the same for me?”

So, he goes in and asks…She unzips his pants,
whips it out and shouts “Clean-up to the Counter
please!”

***

We have enough youth,
how about a fountain of smart?

***

A physicist, an engineer, and a statistician go on a hunting trip. They are walking through the woods when they spot a deer in a clearing. The physicist calculates the distance of the target, the velocity and drop of the bullet, adjusts his rifle and fires, missing the deer 5 feet to the left.

The engineer rolls his eyes. ‘You forgot to account for wind. Give it here!’ He snatches the rifle, licks his finger and estimates the speed and direction of the wind and fires, missing the deer 5 feet to the right. Suddenly, the statistician claps his hands and yells “We got him!”

***

Doc: Your lab tests show that you’re doing fairly well for a 65-year-old.
Male Patient: “Fairly well”… Do you think I’ll live to be 80?

Do you smoke tobacco or drink beer or wine?
     No. I’m not doing drugs either.

Do you eat rib eye steaks or barbecued ribs?
     No. I think all red meat is very unhealthy.

Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like golfing, sailing, hiking or bicycling?
No, I don’t.

Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?
No, I don’t do any of those things.

Then why the hell do you want to live to be 80?

***

Why Jim Wheeler doesn’t like this joke

A man worked as a Production Engineer, always trying to find ways to do things faster, easier, cheaper. One day a co-worker asked him if he was like this in his entire life. “Oh yes.” He replied. “Just last week I mentioned to the wife that her system of making my breakfast was inefficient, and made several suggestions as to how she might improve things.” “Did it help?” “Oh yes, she used to take a half an hour to make me fried eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. Now, I do it myself in less than 18 minutes.”

😯