I wish I was better at explaining things…
I found this at Amazing Posts and found it interesting. I hope you do too:
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university Professor.
Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the Prof. went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the Prof. said “If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. That all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other’s cups.”
“Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn’t change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it.”
So friend, don’t let the cups drive you…enjoy the coffee instead.
We’re all back to school today (after nearly three weeks away due to snow, then vacation), so this seems appropriate.
My kids and I love School of Rock and really like watching Jack Black in movies. This altered trailer is funny – in a creepy way:
Does the English language sometimes drive you nuts? We have done some fascinating things with this language. You really must be almost a native speaker to understand all the nuances of the language. For example, I had a friend of mine from Chile who had trouble understanding the concept of “breaking wind.”
The examples below might be even more subtle that that. You can find the original here:
1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
2. The farm was used to produce produce.
3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10. I did not object to the object.
11. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
12. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
13. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
14. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
15. They were too close to the door to close it.
16. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
17. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
18. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
19. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
20. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
21. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
Writing seems to be a minor theme this week. I found these wicked good rules at the Union College site. They were posted by the Biology Department. I hope they will help:
I had a professor during my teacher education days who loved to use many obscure words (I really do mean many) in very long sentences, then summarize what he just said by saying “…in other words,” and then use about five or six (simple) words to summarize. Now, I realize that he was likely trying to increase our vocabulary by adding context to unfamiliar words, but I couldn’t help but think, “couldn’t you just use the other words?”
Although I believe the vast majority of professors really do have the best interest of their students in mind, I do believe there are some academic bullies out there as well.
The cartoon below seems to capture my thinking:
The book is entitled, Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom and weighs 133 pounds and is more than 5 x 7 feet. It is the largest published book in the world – and can be yours. Each copy is printed on demand, uses a roll of paper longer than a football field, over a gallon of ink and takes 24 hours to print. The 114 pages of photos feature life-sized (or bigger) people.
More information here.