Friday, February 27, 2009

Kass is an unfortunate last name...

John Kass is probably my least favorite reporter. But that's okay because I am most likely his least favorite reader!

At any rate, he wrote this column today that spurred me to write the following DD:

Higgledy Piggledy
Eddie Vrdolyak
Harshly is judged by re-
Porter John Kass

Kass says the alderman's
(Bet the word's meaning's not
Known by this ass!)

With that last name, how could I resist?!

I've had fun with DDs and limericks in the last few days. I started a talk about continuing education contact hours, which I award. The participants had fun with it, I think:

For CEs I'm your content inspector,
For flaws the official detector:
Objectives should measure
The content you treasure
Or surely you'll hear from N. Spector!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We're Number Six!

For what it's worth (nothing!), we are now number six on Google for "epicaricacy." Not bad for a little girl, as my mother used to say. Now I have to figure a way to elbow out, Wordie, Wiktionary, Urban Dictionary, and the Great and Powerful Wizard of Wikis. I think I need to convince Obama to use it in a speech. Perfect! Especially since I was the first Blogger to talk about political epicaricacy with Obama (Too bad, Arieh Smith on Counterblasted. You conservatives alway were a dollar short and a day late!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two Blogs Using Epicaricacy!

Imagine my surprise when I found two (see October 20th post) Blogs had used the word epicaricacy! The first site, Epicurean, had some interesting points. First, he said that, "Humor is just Schadenfreude with a clear conscience." Now isn't that true, at least sometimes. He also had these Japanese words, which I am not sure about. I don't know if they are real words or not: "幸災樂禍 enjoying (other's) calamity (and) laughing at (others') misfortune 他人の不幸は蜜の味 (tanin no fukō wa mitsu no aji?), translates literally as 'others' misfortunes are the taste of honey.'" If, indeed, the translation is that others' misfortunes are the taste of honey...isn't that eloquent?

The other site, though, is all political and not the politics of my choice. His comment not only was second-rate, but I had the idea way before he did! (See my post on February 11th.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book chapters

Once again I am surrounded by articles and books, and I am in the middle of writing a chapter for a book. This will be the 4th this year. The problem with book chapters is that they take so much time, and you never really get much credit. The credit goes to the editors. Professional books are normally old news by the time they get published anyway. I hope I finish this blasted chapter! I have just asked for an extension. I am tired and crabby since I have been working on the thing all weekend.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I looked hard and long for some fun poems that were printed in the Chicago Tribune, but I just can't find them. So this Valentine's Day post will have to be poem-less because I am no good at writing poetry (with the exception of limericks or DDs).

A special friend of ours is in the hospital now after falling on the ice. Life does have a way of throwing us a curve from time to time, doesn't it? I think the successful (and that is not defined by salary or size of house!) roll with the punches, laugh when things get tough, and just hang in there. So, no matter what's going on in your life, I hope you were able to have a great Valentine's Day! It really isn't a "silly" day; it's filled with love and good feelings. What could be better?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Abe and Charles!

Imagine, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin being born on exactly the same day 200 years ago. Amazing. Lincoln changed the face of the U.S. and Darwin changed the face of science. They were 2 amazing men.

Lincoln, of course, is closer to my heart, being from Illinois and all. The Chicago Tribune today published some of their columns from Lincoln's day. They are so interesting, and it's fun to see how newspaper articles were written quite differently in those days. See this. I especially liked the "Lincoln as He is" one. This quote is hilarious:

"He never drinks intoxicating liquors of any sort, not even a glass of wine. He is not addicted to tobacco, in any of its shapes. He never was accused of a licentious act in all his life. He never uses profane language. A friend says that once, when in a towering rage in consequence of the efforts of certain parties to perpetrate a fraud on the State, he was heard to say 'They shan't do it, d-n'em!' but beyond an expression of that kind, his bitterest feelings never carry him."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Politics of Epicaricacy

Not many like Rush Limbaugh. Oh they may listen to him, but that's just to see what he's up to. Therefore, his recent comment about hoping Obama fails really didn't mean anything because he doesn't mean anything.

However, I am worried about the day-to-day Republicans. They are refusing to cooperate in any way to bring about a turnabout in the economy. What are they thinking? They actually could cause a worldwide crash. After all, didn't the Democrats support Bush in his stimulus package? And didn't Bush's 8 years create this in the first place? So what's the deal?

I think it's epicaricacy. They are so mad that they are out of power, both in congress and in the presidency, that they are supporting a failure. They'll take great joy in Obama's failure. Yet, can't they see that they will fail too? And their family? And their friends? And the rest of the world?

Perhaps there is a word for taking joy in someone else's misfortune...which ends up to be wrongheaded because it's your misfortune too! What do you think?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Has Education in the U.S. Deteriorated?

There is an interesting thread on Wordcraft about the deterioration of the education in the UK, particularly related to the English language (writing a sentence, spelling, and the like). It got me thinking about education in the U.S. I posted that I don't think our education has deteriorated, but has it? I think students rely too much on spellchecks and the Web for their research for papers. I don't think phonics and grammar are a focus anymore, though perhaps it was too much of one in the past. Where I think U.S. education is falling down the most is in mathematics and science. It's an interesting question, though.

One problem with American education is tenure. In most school districts, teachers can get tenure by just going to work and not getting into trouble for 2 years. Bingo. You're there for life. That's not the case for higher education, of course. There you have to show real production with great student evaluations, articles published in peer-reviewed and well-respected journals (books don't even count because they aren't peer-reviewed) and research grants, as well as evidence that you're nationally or internationally respected (i.e., letters from national and international experts in your field). It gets harder and harder every year to receive tenure in higher education. Why is it so easy in K-12? Professors who are tenured (and many don't get it; if you don't, you're gone) in higher education most likely follow through with their research programs because they're productive, driven and the best (theoretically). None of that's true for teachers in K-12. They didn't have to do much to get tenure, so they just keep going with how they started. Some are ambitious and work on self development. Others don't, and that seems to be okay. In a sense, tenure is very different in the U.S. in higher education versus K-12.

I know there are those who will disagree violently with this, and that's why I didn't post it on Wordcraft. However, in my opinion, we in the U.S. do well with higher education, but our K-12 education could improve. After all, how many international parents send their kids to our public grade schools or high schools, versus our public colleges? While not a perfect example because of the age differences, it is an example; many parents send their younger kids abroad to school.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Epicaricacian

Normally I like Mary Schmich. I don't always agree with her columns, but her columns are fun to read.

But I'm irritated by today's column. She characterized all the different reactions to our current recession, such as the Masochist or the Scrooge. However, with all her influence, couldn't she have called it The Epicaricacian, instead of the Schadenfreudian? That might have been the trigger for getting it used more and then into the OED. That's what we need...a simple trigger. One person reads it, and says, "What does that word mean?" Then another. And another. Heck, someone might even come to my Blog to read about it! We'd start a rush on the word. Suddenly we'd see columns about it, and people would stop using the German word, preferring our own English word. The AHD and MW would be forced to define it because it was all over the place. Then...then...maybe John Simpson and Erin McKean and Jessie Scheidlower would listen and put it in the OED.

We'd be home free, and I could put this Blog to bed!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I might have a little epicaricacy

I like basketball, but I don't like (or know) football. So the Superbowl meant nothing to me. However, I have family who live in Phoenix, and they are huge Cardinals' fans. Really huge. In my niece's Christmas card, they were dressed in Cardinals' uniforms.

I know I should have been rooting for the Cardinals. But secretly, I wasn't. Why should my family in Phoenix have a team that wins when Chicago teams never win?! So...when Phoenix lost in those last minutes, I felt a wave of epicaricacy.

I just hope my family doesn't read my Blog!