Archive for October, 2012

Homework, Then and Now
October 25, 2012

One of life’s most painful moments comes when we must admit that we didn’t do our homework, that we are not prepared. ~ Merlin Olsen

I was a good student back in the olden days of yore. We learned things in class, by way of our teachers using a blackboard and chalk, or an overhead projector for illustrating problems and examples, as we scribbled away in our spiral bound notebooks.

Then we lugged all our textbooks home to do our assigned reading, and hand wrote essays and solved problems on our three ring binder paper to turn in the next day. Research was done in the library using books or periodicals, with notes hand scribbled for reference.

Essential reference books at home included a good dictionary, Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style”, that pearl gray “English Reference Book”, a set of current encyclopedias, “Roget’s Thesaurus” and a Spanish/English or French/English dictionary, depending on which language one studied.

There were no computers, no calculators, and typewriters were seldom used. I never took typing in school, rather I just picked it up in college. We used slide rules instead of calculators.

I remember enjoying biology (but not chemistry), algebra and geometry (but not calculus) and making do with Spanish, history and civics (do they even teach that anymore?). Oh, and we had PE every day!

English? I was so intimidated by my teacher, Mrs. Berndt in room 319 at Lamar HS (I still remember the room number!) that I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I sure learned how to read analytically and write concisely with correct grammar and an extensive vocabulary. She was awesome, and I thank her every day for her tutelage.

However, I dreaded going into that room, for fear of a pop quiz, which was her favorite thing to do to make sure we were reading our assigned topics. Is there such a thing as a pop quiz anymore?

Funny, when she passed away awhile back, I did the math, and discovered that she was in her late 40’s when she taught me (for three years straight). We thought she was ancient… yikes. I must seem REALLY ancient to my young high school friends now!

Speaking of those dear babes, recently two of them posted some homework comments on Facebook:

AL: “It takes one SL Bio notebook, one HL Bio binder, HL moodle, and an IB Bio study guide to study for a test. Remember when we actually knew what would be on tests in SL?”

ME: “I give up. What’s a moodle? Sounds like a cross between a maltese and a poodle!”

AL: “It’s a website that we use. Our teacher has our assessment statements on there, and animations.”

And yet another:

KB: “ALG 2 hw, anyone remember the rules to inequalities for when X has to be equal to and/or greater or less than both pos and neg #’s, it’s involving absolute values, and I’m stumped.”

FB: “okay inequalities such as greater than or less than and or equal to, involving the absolute value of x.”

Say what?

I would be helplessly lost if you threw me back into such an environment, luddite that I am. But I must say I’m impressed at the ease that my young friends have with the latest technology!

But what about their writing skills? This is not a comment on the aforementioned young ladies, but rather an overall observation that many of their generation cannot write or spell worth a darn. Tune in next week for the exposé on this scandalous situation!


October 18, 2012

And now, a word from our sponsors…

I’m on a roll now, with recent posts about being OLD and grumping about technology. Let’s see. What else reminds me that I have crossed over to the AARP demographic? Oh, of course! Facebook ads. Here’s what happened this week:

I’d be lost without my magnifying mirror. Not that I like looking at myself in its high definition reflection, but rather I know I would miss that stray eyebrow hair or that wayward pencil smudge without it. Wait! What was that?

A blemish right on top of a wrinkle! Dang! I wish I hadn’t seen that little detail, because then I wouldn’t know it was there, and wouldn’t dwell upon it.

But I was stumped as to what to do about it. Did my wrinkle cream cause it? Certainly I don’t want to put any drying acne medicine on it.

My quandary made me think about all the ads that appear on my Facebook page. They have a pretty good idea of how old I am and feature a column of ads that they think I might be interested in trying.

The ads are over there on the right side of the page, just beneath birthdays, events, etc. Under the heading “Sponsored”, these ads are how FB makes money (I never click on them, so they aren’t making any money off of me!).

So what does FB think I’ll be interested in? Among other things, how about:

  • Freebies for Seniors
  • 5 Signs of Alzheimer’s
  • Restore Your Hair Now
  • Leaky Bladder?
  • Urinary Incontinence?
  • Lose 7 lbs/week
  • Mom turns 55, Looks 30
  • Don’t Go to a Nursing Home
  • Heart and Gout Problems?
  • Botox Doctors Hate This
  • Limited Mobility?
  • Back Pain Relief

Sheesh! They must think I’m in pretty bad shape! How old are you, and what do your Facebook ads say?

There WAS one ad called “Wrinkle Secrets”, but, alas, there was no skin care combo that solves a blemish on wrinkle problem.

What did I do? Nothing. And it was gone the very next day. There’s a lesson to be learned here, and that is to skip the high priced products and just keep it simple.

Another lesson is to just roll with age and celebrate each and every day as a gift. Beats the alternative…

Enough of this topic! I think I’ll go visit my mom at her retirement community. It’s always so nice to have the folks there greet me with “Hello, young lady!”

Next week, a look at high school homework, then and now…

The Paper Chase
October 4, 2012

Old fashioned reading is still really important, at every age! ~Informed Educational Solutions

Last week’s post mentioned my being old fashioned technologically. To continue on the theme and harrumph a bit, let’s talk about going paperless.

All the latest trends are for paperless info; it’s GREEN! It saves trees! And saves the postage costs, etc.

But it sometimes doesn’t work. Hardly anyone reads e-mail links to the things that senders hope they will read. It’s ephemeral, one of a long line of e-mails that demand attention and are easily forgotten.

What to do? The people at our church are actually considering reversing course and mailing out periodicals with the latest news once again, because they think more folks will actually read something that is sitting on the kitchen counters rather than on their computer screens.

I like paper. I LOVE paper. I figure it’s recyclable, and that makes it a good thing. Yes, I may get my news a day later, but honestly, does that really matter? I enjoy a leisurely reading of the paper, with no intrusions, as opposed to reading the on line version with all the pop ads.

I HATE pop up ads. They are so annoying. Does anyone like them? I hate the “busyness” of it all. I have to wonder if they are effective overall; they certainly aren’t in my book. As a matter of principal, I refuse to do business with companies that use them.

I blame Sesame Street for this generation’s propensity towards “sound bites”, flashing colors and short attention spans. Don’t use too many words or write anything of substance, because they won’t read it!

Their attention is already elsewhere, tweeting about using short language spurts in twitter code. Anything over 140 characters is just too long for them to absorb.

Yes, I know I am exaggerating a bit and lumping an entire generation into a mindless bunch of illiterates. There are wonderful and delightful exceptions to this broadly based observation, and I happen to know some of them very well!

However, there are legions like me (older for the most part) who enjoy reading the morning paper over breakfast, scanning every article and column, no matter how lengthy. And as our church folks are coming to realize, we prefer to read it in a printed format.

If it’s on the kitchen counter, we will read it. If we just receive a link via e-mail, well then it’s just another e-mail amongst many, easily disregarded on a busy day.

On the other hand, I got a 5.2 lb. Restoration Hardware catalogue in the mail the other day. It went straight to the recycling bin. Too many words, too many pictures, too many overwhelming choices.

Wait a minute… what am I saying? Something has too many words? Oh well. Never mind!

(Note: pewperson will return on Oct. 19 along with a word from our sponsor)