Secretary Betsy DeVos may be proving critics wrong, linked from the NewYorkTimes article by Erica L. Green

Here is a link to an interesting article about Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education.

Although I normally pride myself on being open minded and reasonably well-informed, most of what I have heard about Secretary DeVos has not been flattering to her.   So curiosity (and good intentions) led me to read the article, and I’m must say that I’m glad.    The gist of the article is that although she is often thought of as just another Trump Administration appointee, she is herself appointing appropriate people who have excellent backgrounds in educational and civil rights.
 

Deliyah…4-year-old reader of 1,000 books

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/12/meet-daliyah-the-4-year-old-girl-who-has-read-more-than-1000-books/?utm_term=.6403ea387b35&wpisrc=nl_mix&wpmm=1#comments

Now here is an inspiring story out of the Washington Post this morning, a four-year-old who has apparently read one thousand (1,000) books so far. She hangs out at the Library of Congress.

Yes…I hear you in the back there mumbling about the veracity of this story…and I’ll bet you either 1) don’t personally know any of Deliyah’s peers, other pre-schoolers, that is… or 2)are not paying attention. This child is indeed remarkable and a great role-model for other children—and she is not unique. (Meaning one-of-a-kind, not as in the modern fancy of “unique” as a mere synonym for unusual, or great.)

Today’s children all over the world are smarter and more aware than at any time in history.    Peer into the bright, shining eyes of a child…in person or in photographs…to see the intelligence shining through.

They “know” things, information gleaned from television shows, or books, chatting with other children…and, of course, school.   Pre-school kids commonly know the alphabet and basic number figures, understand the details about the hippopotamus, orangatangs, and mocking birds.   They often even know how to spell those words.

 

Rules For Commenters…or Think First!

There should be a rule
on commenting protocol
requiring at least
(if not a working knowledge)
mini-common sense.

Every school age child
with a mite’s  intelligence
should have learned restraint
in matters of opinion…
at least a few facts.

No one should ever
consider as an expert
smart snappy comments…
an internet free-for-all
sans supervision.

Our Rule Number One:
Start out with a set of clues,
a few question marks,
a reasonably open-mind
and process of thought.

For Rule Number Two,
should be needless to expound,
an unspoken rule–
have proof, or at least
citations of information.

Who, what, when, where, why
How the commenter knows,
…at least Who Said So?
citation of source
and last—Who Cares?

© Sometimes, 2016

 

How Did We Live Without our Cell Phones?

I have five great-grandchildren, and they all have tablets and cell phones…albeit the cell phones are under supervision.  They range from 10 to 2 1/2, and the older four are proficient in computer skills (at least on a basic level, two of the kids are seven years old.)     The youngest, for obvious reasons does not have a tablet, or access to cell phone use.

Their parents are my grandchildren, all in their 30s.  I have a photo of the oldest, at five years, sitting at my good old KayPro II (my first computer) typing away.

No, this isn’t me bragging about my grandkids…it is a treatise on Children and Computers in general.   I’m not trying to say that ALL kids everywhere have their own tablets, or even access to them…not even at school.    The point I am trying to make is that although it is still the dawning (or maybe the sunrise) of the digital age– and certainly children in certain world societies and/or economic levels have greater exposure to technological break-throughs than others–kids do have access to computers and methods of learning and teaching have changed drastically since “WE” (whoever we are) were kids.

In fact, if I may state the obvious, there are areas in the world that still do not have running water, inside toilets, or electricity.  I won’t even go into the issues of politics, availability of education, nor launch into a discussion of poverty-vs-wealth.

There is much discussion about the extent to which children who are not exposed to technological gadgets are deprived.

I will be the first person to admit that the internet is…well, GREAT (to lack a more expansive superlative) and agree that everything anyone could ever possibly want to know is available online.   This is excellent.  Research possibilities for students of all ages are phenomenal…just enter a key word, and PRESTO! there is a wealth of information.  The downside to this is that although there are internet bibliographies, endless links to endless sites, one of the negative aspects is that there is no extraneous information to “discover” along the way of the search.

A good example is The Dictionary.  Remember the clunky old book we dragged around, and laboriously searched the pages for a certain vocabulary word.  Sure, the word was there (usually, if we had a clue about how to spell it,) but half the fun…or torture…of searching for our destination word, was the bonus appearance of other words popping up during the search.

Unfortunately, now that they have the internet dictionary…the paper dictionaries are becoming obsolete in some places.   Please excuse me for being an old-fashion English teacher–which I’m not, exactly….but I maintain that the old dictionaries, and other research tomes, and the endless reference books on the library shelves can’t be replaced with a quickie visit to a dictionary.com site.

But, having said that, I admit to being something of a luddite, (one of those guys that smashed up the new machines because they saw them as taking away jobs) and its quite possible that I don’t know everything about the subject. (Quite likely in fact.)

One more thing…sobering, and widely believed to be impossible, or at least improbable, is that an artificial storage method can fail…power sources can fail.  That’s a worst case scenario, of course, but we all know Murphy’s Law: that anything that can go wrong…will.   I think that it is risky to try to put all of human knowledge online, at the mercy of  cyberspace a la 2001 Space Odyssey.

At the risk of being annoying, I did not know how to spell Odyssey, and didn’t want to leave the post I’m writing and go to a dictionary site…so I used a Latin dictionary.   I’m not sure what the point of this paragraph is, except that it illustrates my insecurities about online-posting…it is too easy to lose a post when I leave to snoop around online.  That wouldn’t happen with a paper dictionary, except that I can’t find mine.

Sigh… the moral here is the old saw: “…don’t do as I do, do as I say.”

What’s in a Title? Is a Hibiscus Flower too much? (posting misadventures)

Experience tells me that once an error is made, it is often better to just let it go. There is an old secretary’s saying that once you mess up on handling an important message for the boss you will keep making it worse with each new contact.

So I’ll try again to explain the title of my blog. Actually the title SOMETIMES is simple enough, and so far it has escaped scrutiny. My tag line is simple enough also except that it got tangled up while it was under construction, and came out wrong.

My tag line (oh gosh, here’s where I mess it up again,) is “Who, What, When, Where, How and Why.” I think that’s in the right order. This phrase has long been a staple of teachers of writing and journalism, an easy catch phrase (there’s a word for it, but I can’t think of it now) to help students of all ages and walks of life to remember to include in their works information such as: “Who did What (to whom,) When was it, Where did it happen, How was it done….and IF the writer knows: WHY did it happen?”

Pardon my simplicity, but this would translate into a news article that would say something like this: — “A man named Joe robbed a bank yesterday, at the corner of 3rd Street and Main, with a toy gun, because he needed money.”

A third grader might write the following in response to a list the teacher wrote on the blackboard– ” A dog named Rusty dug a hole in the backyard last night with his paws, because he wanted to hide a bone.”

For my purposes my title: SOMETIMES is modified by the who-what-when-where-how-why tag. This is something of a cliché, because the whole WWWHW sequence would not necessarily be used in every post.

MUMBLETYMUSE. This nonsense word is in my url, or address, because I liked it at the time when I had to have an address.

Mumblety actually has been used for the game mumblety-peg, which is played with a jack-knife. The players performed certain tricks with the knife, such as having it tumble end over end, go up and come down, stick into the ground at various distances. The object was to have the knife actually stick into the ground without falling over.

I am not a mumblety-peg expert, far from it. My brother did boast a certain prowess in the game, and tried to show me how to do it. Nah…not one of my skills.

Once on another list we were chatting about nursery rhymes. Being English by ancestry, many of the nursery rhymes I heard as a child were of such nature. The specific rhyme…which is not actually any rhyme I ever heard…has a few lines that I think came from some other English rhyme.

mumblety mumblety, jiggity jog
I’ve been to London to buy a fat hog

the London part is a clue, no? It might have been “higgilty piggilty” in the rhyme.

Well…that’s enough nonsense for today.

OK, re the Hibiscus flower in my header. I like the color because I think it goes well with color scheme of my Bold Life theme. However, that flower is but a distant memory anyway, its base at this moment being buried under a few feet of snow. 30

Spinning Yarns, part 2–Me, Myself, and I

Speaking of writing in the first person, I have struggled with this for years. It is really annoying to have to re-write when composing an email to a friend. The I-did-this, and I-did that, gets old and needs to be repaired grammatically. However…that might get pretty boring and contrived.

Sorry to be the grammar police, but that is my nature. It has always pained me to find a glaring error in a serious piece of work–NOT to say a typo, although too many typing mistakes (i.e. hitting the wrong key) questions one’s ability) –but a word that is misused or misspelled out of ignorance. A painful misuse of the language is not necessarily due to ignorance…I myself spelled “receive” with the i and e reversed, until a copywriter sent me a kind reminder (“hey-dummy, it’s I before E except after C…) and yes, I was there the day the teacher taught the rule. So now I always pause in my typing (keyboarding) and recite the rule in my brain…. I before E except after C. I before E except after C….

I was well along in grad school when someone corrected my pronounciation of “amphitheater” and my son and daughter-in-law informed me of how to say “Pythagoras” the right way. Well, in my defense, those old Greeks had a lot of names that defied pronounciation in English.

Another thing, althought I once aspired to be a linguist, I became a Historian instead. Linguistics has always fascinated me, though. Back in my freshman year of high school I studied Latin, and that one-semester course has proven to be one of the most valuable sources of background knowledge for me in my future (actually, past) endeavors of life. To this day I can recite from the text: “Britain est insula.” Pretty good, huh?

Using the right word at the right time is part of fluency in any language. English is a bad example, to me, because it is nearly impossible to master without a lot of memorization. Spanish has been relatively easy for me although it is very hard for an advanced adult to learn a second language. I can read fairly well, but speaking is another sotry. Now French–yikes! I needed a second foreign language credit, so chose French For Reading Proficiency. My Spanish helped greatly, as did the semester of basic Latin long ago. But when it came to the final exam, I was lucky to eke out a C. The instructor told me that my translations were beautiful, but I was too slow and did not do enough in the allotted time. I can explain that: French is packed with nuances and specific meanings, and I admit to taking an inordinate amount of test time to browse the dictionary (which was allowed.) So my translation was good, but I wasn’t fast enough…or to put it another way, the goal was a rough translation, not necessarily accuracy.

The only other C on my transcript was in Geology. They tricked me on identifying the rocks. (Another story.)

So anyway, it would have been cumbersome and awkward to try to write the foregoing piece without resorting to the first person…. me, myself, and I.

I did edit this yarn…and there were some really dumb mistakes. Not in the typing, but in using the wrong word, being vague, and getting carried away with aside comments. The grammar police really need to be careful of how they word things!

It did give me some blog ideas for another time though… 🙂

What is my blog about?

The title of this blog is: SOMETIMES. It is my current choice of what to call the blog…but also leads to all sorts of great topics to follow and to write about. Searching for other blogs, written by other people that is, opens an entire new field of topics dealing with the universe and the backyard.

To begin with, I have already lived a long time. Not as long as some of my relatives…or ANY of my late husband’s female relatives…but still a long time. In fact planning for the future is one of my favorite hobbies, although I have already come to the realization that age really does limit activity.

Oh not these people who are “old” even when they are kids. Yep–we all know them. Or those who just can’t wait to retire so they can watch all the TV they want (geez…endless football!) and not have to DO anything.

Three things I always wanted to do: be an airplane pilot, climb mountains, and sail endlessly on a boat. All of the above have draw-backs, of course, starting with my fear of heights and fear of water. On second thought, those are good reasons for not fulfilling those particular dreams.

As a kid my goals were to become a Police Officer, a Lawyer, and a Psychiatrist. Those were all possible–but I didn’t realize it at the time since I never dreamed of going to college. Another aspiration was to become a Dancer. But sigh, that was out because I have two left feet as they say, and drove my dance instructor to drink when I took dancing lessons.

Having a vivid imagination all of my life has contributed wonderful dreams and ideas about all sorts of things. One thing I have always been is a Writer. That actually came to pass as a newspaper reporter and writer. When turning 50 I decided to go to college. At last.

So all of the above is brain-storming for my blogging101 assignment today. The goal was three topics… I jotted down 13 off the top of my head. So I’ll research the blogs to find kindred souls and topics of interest. That narrows down to more than I can count.

Writing is its own reward, of course, and I can certainly marvel at my own deathless prose and clever turns of expression…but writing for a field of potential bloggers who might be interested in what I have to say is priceless.