Archive for March, 2007

Peyton Manning as a Role Model

March 27th, 2007 at 12:37 pm by Mark
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     I snorted coffee through my nose watching Knoxville’s Number One Son…

Tip: Thanks, Laura!

Can’t Spell?

March 27th, 2007 at 12:10 pm by Mark
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     Over the past year, we’ve been inundated with media reports that our spelling and grammatical skills are becoming worse and worse here in the U.S., thanks, in no small part, to Internet E-Mail and Messaging Services.
     Just to show that we still have a long way to go before calling this a Code Red Spelling Emergency, I’d like to share this e-mail that I quite mistakenly received from someone I don’t know in New Zealand:

From: shirley coromandel
Sent: Sunday

Hei sarp steven hows things goin aye???? yeahhh long tym no ea ehehhe and dat thing b4 sori bout dat ehehhe me aint been a snobb just bus.e hows kura yeiiiiiii finished finalli but dumb exams i got one tommorow,wed and thurs and im goin to d pools today eheheh and study so wats ur cell numb??? sum dik whuk stole ma fone hes in 7th but its alguds got anufa one n better but it dont have bluetooth but it has infered….. well enough bout dat wats ur plans for d holies aye???? im off up norf and prob go karapiro wif marz i myt dunno and stay in auks hows was d ball??? well hala wen eva if u dont alguds wish d best for ur exams frum one n onli shurlee


     This just screams “Translate me!” doesn’t it?

     Americans are regularly ridiculed or criticized for using Slang and Abbreviations in every day language, most often by chiding English who like to remind us, “We invented the language!”  Unfortunately, this argument is easily shot down by anyone who’s actually been to London and heard the mish-mash of Anglo; some accents are so strong that people from borough to borough cannot understand one another.

     A few years ago, Phonics were apparently dropped from New Zealand school curriculums.  Though I am unable to find any links to substantiate the fact, I’ve spoken to many teachers from New Zealand who are happy to corroborate.  Others who were from New Zealand have spoken about a news story which aired some time between 2001 and 2003, “Are we causing our children brain-damage by teaching whole word learning?”
     Universities worldwide have published papers about Whole Word Learning, some for it, and some against.  It is a commonly held belief that those who can already read have powerful, parallel processors which, under certain conditions, can read words regardless of the order the letters are in. Beliefs like these were what fueled the following 2003 fad (quite possibly inspired by Graham Rawlinson’s 1999 letter to New Scientist):

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.

     But is this any reason at all to cave to the idea that “Spelling is too hard,” and lower our standards?

     According to some people, yes, it is!

     Founded in 1908, the U.K.-based group, The Simplified Spelling Society, believes that English spelling is far too difficult for both English and non-English speakers to learn.  Their website only tells of their more recent history (since 1992), most notably where the Society’s Constitution was bureaucracized and its Ten Axioms of English Spelling were reduced to a mere Six in Committee.  Regardless, their Spelling Reform in Context does make for some rather uninteresting reading.

     More interesting is Samuel Clemens’ (aka Mark Twain) “A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling.”

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter ‘c’ would be dropped to be replased either by ‘k’ or ‘s’, and likewise ‘x’ would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which ‘c’ would be retained would be the ‘ch’ formation, which will be dealt with later.

Year 2 might reform ‘w’ spelling, so that ‘which’ and ‘one’ would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish ‘y’ replasing it with ‘i’ and Iear 4 might fiks the ‘g/j’ anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.

Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez ‘c’, ‘y’ and ‘x’ — bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez — tu riplais ‘ch’, ‘sh’, and ‘th’ rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

     How can you argue with one of the greatest American authors of all time?

     On with the translation:

From: shirley coromandel
Sent: Sunday

Hello, Steven.

How are things going with you? It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken. I want to apologize for the way we left things, and let you know that I wasn’t being a snob in not contacting you. It’s just that I’ve been very busy.

Are you enjoying yourself in Kaikoura?

I’ve finished school, but still have exams tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. But today, I’m going to relax in the hot pools.

What’s your cell number? I’m asking because some [expletive] Senior stole my phone. I’m not so worried about it, though, as I managed to get a replacement. Unfortunately, this one only has Infrared where my other one had Bluetooth.

This weekend, I may go to Lake Karapiro with Meredith, but those plans aren’t definite. I’ll definitely go and stay in Auckland for a while.

How was your party?

Well, again, I apologize for the way we left things. I hope you write back, but I understand if you don’t.

Good luck on your exams!

Your One and Only, Shirley

     Now wasn’t that better?  Why couldn’t this girl have done that before?  Certainly, she should purchase “Morrison’s Sound-It-Out Speller: A Phonic Key to English” ASAP.

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Which Squirrel is Cuter?

March 26th, 2007 at 2:29 pm by Mark
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     Take a look at this real squirrel, and this plastic squirrel.  Which one is cuter?


     For me, it’s definitely the first one …

     The first one is real, and evokes an emotional response.  The second one is a piece of molded plastic, and evokes absolutely nothing.

     This same logic can be applied to Banana Nicole Smith.

Great Napkin Shortage of 2007

March 26th, 2007 at 1:24 pm by Mark
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     It’s no small surprise that I eat a lot of fast food.  I wake up at 5AM, start working and pretty well don’t quit until some time in the evening.  McDonald’s for breakfast, maybe Wendy’s for lunch and anywhere for dinner.  But in all of that, I don’t get napkins unless I ask for them, the usual reply being a sulky, eye-rolling, “Here!”  Most of the time, I don’t notice until I’m already back on the Interstate.

     It’s seriously impossible to eat a Wendy’s triple with cheese without napkins, unless you’re one of those weirdos who enjoys being covered in grease.  It takes at least four napkins.  McChicken?  One napkin.  Double Whopper?  Two napkins.  Arby’s Beef & Cheddar?  One.  Add barbecue and Horsey Sauce?  Three.
     But do they put any in the damn bag?  Not in 2007.

     It changed fast, too.  Right on up to New Years Eve, there was no shortage of Napkins.  I’d have thirty or forty in every bag.  But sharply on January first, that sort of excess stopped.

     The Napkin Shortage has been stressful not only for food-covered consumers, but for the drive-up workers themselves.  One incident of a worker’s traumatic stress, at Wendy’s on Emory Road, particularly stands out.
     “Can I get some napkins, please?” I asked.
     The girl rolled her eyes, huffed and slammed the window shut.
     Eventually the Manager came to the window.  “Is there a problem with your order, sir?”
     “I’d just like some napkins, please.”
     “Can you please pull up, sir?”
     “Why?  I’d just like some napkins, please.”
     “Ok, well, if you’ll pull up, someone will bring you some.”
     Pull up … For napkins?
     It apparently took several minutes to locate a napkin.  When the girl finally came out — nearly ten minutes later — she brought one napkin.
     “Uhhhh, sorry, but I need at least two, please,” I said.
     She huffed, rolled her eyes, and stormed back inside, never to return.

     The most common Moonbat Conspiracy Theory dictates that this Napkin shortage was caused due to McDonald’s bringing back the McRib, causing a tenfold increase in the use of fast food napkins.  They claim that this move was a way to crush the competition by consuming all of the napkins meant for use at other fast food chains, so that McDonald’s would be the only place to have any.  However, this Theory is easily discredited due to the facts that other fast food chains have different colored napkins, and McDonald’s themselves are affected by this blight as well.
     Other conspiracies abound, some more radical than others.  Typically, President George W. Bush gets blamed for this shortage by liberals.  The Knights of Ku Klux Klan blame illegal immigrants.  And, of course, the Neo-Nazi Skinheads blame the Jews.

     As consumers, however, the best thing that we can do is remain vigilant in the face of this adversity, and hope that shortage will end soon.

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Emergency Codes

March 22nd, 2007 at 1:06 pm by Zacque
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Now it is quite simple to figure out what is going on in case of emergency by knowing a series of little codes. I remembered this while I was at one of my contracts as a “Code Blue”, warning was issued over the public address system. A code blue is a BOMB threat. I lost about two and half, if not three, hours of my day where I could have been doing something useful. Unfortunately, I had to wait anyway; I couldn’t leave without my equipment. 

To my surprise, the bomb was really just a hoax and did not go off and reduce my equipment and the building to mere rubble. Instead, the Chattanooga Bomb Squad destroyed the “object.”

I am glad I remembered the meaning since the a majority of the staff did not, though the codes are mentioned in the required the Universal Precautions Safety Course for school staff. Going back through the materials of the course myself, I feel the need to mention some of the other codes: White = Accident, Red = Fire, Black = Inclement Weather, Green = Hostage, Orange = Chemical Spill, ADAM = Missing Child, Brown = Shooting.

Looking at these codes I can’t help but think that for the most part these codes where put together to keep the general public from going into a panic. I can’t help but to think that a few of these are a little redundant. Couldn’t a shooting, fire, chemical spill also be an accident? I realize that the other modifier might weigh a little more, but wouldn’t it also be nice to know that Bob the hunter shot the clerk because the clerk was too stupid to realize a shell was in the shotgun Bob was “testing out,” or the building was about to burn down because little Johnny Pyro lit the trash on fire emptying the ashtray in the smokers lounge?

Hmm, fire, that brings up another good point: what do you call over the public address if there is a multiple chemical spill which combusts? Better yet what code do you call if someone doesn’t pay attention and throws empty chemical containers in a trash compactor and the containers combust? What then, why even bother with the codes since the meaning should be common knowledge. Why hide the truth? After all, with a little research you can find just about anything.