Friday, February 23, 2007

This is How They'll Read Our Minds

I guess I'm a little bit slow, but I just realized that when I am logged into my Blogger account, I am also logged into Google. My Google account name is at the top of the Google search page. Yes, I know that Google owns Blogger, but I just didn't think about the idea that my blog content and my Google searches are now connected in one account.

Does anyone else find this a little bit disturbing?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


This is what I get for allowing my students to write about topics that they feel strongly about:

One of my students is working on her cause/effect paper, and the topic she's chosen is what causes many girls/women to be overly flirtatious to the point of being a tease. Of course, when she told me her topic last week, my suspicions were confirmed that she is a lesbian. I'm fine with that. However, today she informed me that her research on her topic just became more complicated because,

"The straight girl that's been flirting with me told me this morning that she's bi."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Don't Bother Crying Me a River Because I'm Wearing My Hip Waders

This week marks the sixth week of classes here at my university and is nearly the halfway point of the semester. Next week is the last full week before Spring Break. So a professor would think that she is well past the point of having to deal with the student who appeared on the class roll but never bothered to show up to class. This morning at my 8:00 class, however, a student I had never seen before came into my classroom and introduced himself. I always have one student on my roll who for some reason has registered for class but has no intention of ever coming, and this guy was this semester's winner. I never expected him to show at this late date.

Now, this guy was desperate to find a way to begin attending my class and pass it, and he came to class armed with several ill-conceived arguments with which to plead his case. First he tried the "I-really-thought-that-I-had-dropped-the-class" appeal. Since obviously the computer system somehow wanted him to remain in the class even though he thought he'd pushed the right buttons to drop the class, he wanted to know if he could begin attending class and make up the work he had missed. I said absolutely not. There's no way I'm going to allow someone to come in at the middle of the semester and have a chance at passing this course when everyone else has been coming to class from the beginning. He then began to try to break me down. His next tactic was to give me the "but-my-GPA-will-suffer" story, saying that if he dropped now, he would get a grade of W (Withdrawn) which would harm his GPA. Of course, this is not true. A grade of W simply shows that the student dropped the class after the drop deadline. The only way that he would be harmed is financially if he were to drop below full-time status. Upon inquiry, I learned that he is enrolled for 15 credit hours, so dropping my class would render him no harm.

Next, he tried the old "my-mother-will-be-very-disappointed-in-me" trick. He wanted to attend class and do the rest of the work (assuring me that he's really good with writing and grammar). I told him that there's no way that he can pass because he's already missed too much work. He said that he'd rather attend class and do the work and fail giving it an honest try instead of not coming to class at all because his mother would be disappointed in his dropping a class. I told him that as an 18-year-old, he is able to make his own decisions about what classes to take and what classes to drop. Of course, he then applied the "but-my-mom-is-the-one-who's-paying-for-school" appeal, which had no effect on me whatsoever. I shrugged my shoulders.

Who is he trying to kid? I know that once a student gets a foot in the door, he'll do whatever he can to try to change my mind and allow him to pass the course, so I gave him no opportunity. I told him that attending class would do him no good and that he'd be better off just sleeping late in the mornings. He finally realized that no amount of illogical argument would get me to allow him to attend class, and he left.

If these students put as much effort into their academics as they do coming up with excuses and sob stories, I'd have some of the best college students ever. But I wouldn't get to share their antics and laugh about it with you.

Friday, February 16, 2007

R.I.P., O.V.

My grandpa, O.V. Warren, died late Wednesday afternoon. He had been sick for about three weeks, and for the last week, he really didn’t know that he was still alive. He was 97 years old.

His name, O.V., is just that—the letters do not stand for anything. In fact, most of his brothers and sisters had only letters for names: L.V., O.T., U.T., and S.T., I think; there may have been more that I don’t remember. S.T. changed the spelling of her name to Estee—I can’t really blame her. I guess his parents didn’t have much imagination because only one or two of the kids that I know of had actual names.

My brother once asked Grandpa what O.V. stood for, and Grandpa answered, “Old Varmit.” Ever since then, that’s what my immediate family has called him.

It’s sad that he’s gone, but he lived a long, healthy life and still got out and pretty much did for himself to the end, so we really can’t be anything but grateful.

Rest in peace, Old Varmit.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I suspect some bad essays this semester

I've been really busy with school the past week or so, so I haven't really had much time to blog. And to tell the truth, nothing has really pressed my buttons enough to make me want to. However, I did get a great line in an essay this week:

My life has been filled with many unsuspected events.

On another note, I took my research and argument students to the library yesterday. It's amazing how many of them had not been in there before and didn't know where or how to find things. Do school kids not go to the library anymore? I remember when I was in elementary school, every week or so, we went to the school's library where we learned how to find books, and we were expected to check out a book and bring it back on time the next week. Going to the library was always a fun experience because we could browse through the books and find some interesting story to take home for a week.

Apparently, library trips have fallen by the wayside for kids today, because too many of them seem to view going to the library as a chore to be avoided whenever possible, and they have no idea what to do once they do go inside. I think the internet has ruined the library experience for many people. I know that the internet is going to ruin the grades of some of my students who will find out that they can't use the first hit on a google search to write a good research paper.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Terror Tax

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Tuesday that Congress should consider a special tax to pay for the nation's war against terrorism.

Such a tax could help ease the squeeze that military and security spending is putting on "critical domestic programs," said Lieberman, whose support for the Iraq war has come under fire from anti-war Democrats.

Lieberman favors President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq.

"I think we've got to start thinking about a war-on-terrorism tax," Lieberman said during an Armed Services Committee hearing on Bush's defense spending proposals. "I mean, people keep saying that we're not asking sacrifices of anybody but our military in this war, and some civilians who are working on it."

More here.

Do I have to pay the tax if I don't support the war?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Just A Typical Exciting Evening at JMG's House

We did not watch the Super Bowl at my house yesterday. Trixie was busy watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Here she is cheering for the boxer puppy.

Actually, the Puppy Bowl did not interfere with the Super Bowl, but since neither Husband nor I are sports fans, we watched Gunsmoke, Andy Griffith, and M*A*S*H* and were in bed by 9:00. We did manage, however, to see a couple of Super Bowl commercials in between episodes of our favorite TV shows.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dinner and Supper are not Interchangeable Words

Apparently, people all over the country are confused about what name to call the evening meal. I know this because nearly every day, at least one person surfs into this blog having googled the terms "dinner" and "supper." Being the truely Southern country girl that I am, I wish to offer my expert, educated opinion, which should clear up the matter definitively.

Here in my neck of the woods, the meal eaten in the evening is always called supper. If you have moved here from some other area, you should be aware that when someone invites you to supper, you will be eating sometime around 6 p.m. It doesn't matter what type of food you eat in the evening, whether a sandwich, steak, soup, salad, chicken and dumplings, pizza, or tacos; the meal you eat in the evening is always supper. (Sometimes I like to eat breakfast food such as biscuits and gravy and eggs and grits for supper, but I still call it supper.)

So, then, what is dinner? Now here's where it can become confusing, but it really is simple. Dinner is eaten around noontime. Always. However, sometimes we don't eat dinner; instead some days we eat lunch. Here's the difference: Dinner consists of a hot meal that is served on a plate not made of paper. However, if you can hold it in your hand, and/or it comes wrapped in paper or sits on a paper plate it's lunch. A hamburger served hot on a plate is still lunch because you typically pick it up with your hands. Most of what you could eat in a fast food restaurant would qualify as lunch. Dinner is a heavier, more substantial meal than lunch, and it tends to make you sleepier than lunch does. Dinner also tastes better than lunch. It's more satisfiying and more memorable. No one talks about Grandma's Sunday lunches, but they sure do remember her Sunday dinners.

Today's typical adult works outside the home, and usually eats lunch instead of dinner for the noontime meal. However, some working people do eat dinner. How does one know whether he or she is eating dinner or lunch? Some foods could fall into either the lunch or dinner category, for example, say a loaded baked potato. If said potato is served on a plate (and I don't mean a paper plate), then I would call it dinner, but if it comes from a drive-thru barbeque stand, then it's lunch. Soup and salad are some other problematic foods. Usually soup and salad are lunch. However, if the soup is really hearty and is served with some bread, then I'd probably call it dinner. If the salad is just some greenery, then it's lunch, but if it's one of those that's loaded with meat, then I might call that dinner. If the soup and salad are eaten at the same time, then in my book, that qualifies as dinner, but only if both are served in real plates and bowls, not paper.

I don't know what it's like in other parts of the country, but most native Southerners that I know adhere to these definitions without really giving it much thought. These aren't definitions that we were taught, but ones that we just sort of learned through traditional use. However, the line that tends to divide the language of food is being blurred, mainly because of the migration of people from one part of the country to another, and because of television watching. As we are exposed to new and different people with their different ways of speaking, the little things that make us unique, such as our different names for the same thing, are gradually falling by the wayside.

No matter where I go, however, I will never eat dinner after dark.

Snow Day!

This morning I woke up to find that it was snowing outside, and there was about an inch of snow on the ground. This is the most snow I've seen in ages.

Of course, I had a bit of a dillema. My students have a paper due today, but I really don't want anyone getting killed on the highway on my account, so I decided to cancel class today. I doubt anyone will complain.

So I get to enjoy a snow day at home today. But it isn't quite as fun as when I was a kid and school was cancelled. Now I'm the one who has to weigh all the factors and make the decision, and I'm the one who has to rearrange the schedule to keep the class caught up. Being a grownup sort of sucks sometimes, but I still like snow days.