Thursday, May 31, 2012

Penis Party

I feel so betrayed. I thought you were visiting my blog because of your passion for punctuation, spelling and sentence structure. I thought you came here to quench your thirst for comma knowledge. I believed that your hunger for differentiating between commonly confused words drove you to my posts. But I was wrong. You’re just like all the others. You only come here for the SEX.

Thanks to Blogger’s new format, I can easily see which posts have received the most traffic, and the posts with sexy names have overwhelmingly received the most visits (e.g., "Crazy Sexy Men"; "Sluts and Twats and C!#ts, Oh My"; and "Best Sext Ever" ).

So the truth is there will be no penis party here today. I just used a sexy (and delightfully alliterative) title as a ploy to lure you perverts to my page. 

Hi, everyone!

However, since I am writing this blog for your reading pleasure, I will give you what you want. I’ll give you a little grammar porn: 

Why don’t you come over here and dangle that participle? 

Let’s conjugate all night long.

I love how you insert your punctuation.

Are you satisfied?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm Bad

A couple of years ago, one of my students was eating a burrito. The student looked like she was enjoying the burrito, but then she exclaimed, “This burrito is dank!”

I was kind of confused. Why did this student look so content if her burrito was unpleasantly moist?
Upon further inquiry, I learned that dank was the new bad. Remember back in the ‘80s when bad meant both “bad” and “good”? Dank, too, can mean both. 

(I also learned that nothing makes you feel older than not knowing what “kids these days” are talking about and realizing that the slang you’re familiar with is circa "gag me with a spoon.") 

I was reminded of my "dank" experience when I read the hilarious blog post from my critique partner and fellow English instructor, Holly Vance. Her post was about her confusion regarding her students’ use of the word smashed. She didn’t know if her students were talking about getting drunk, laid, or owned. 

All I can say is thank god we have i.e.

I.e. is an abbreviation of a Latin phrase that basically translates to “in other words.” It’s used for clarification.
Therefore, this is what my student SHOULD HAVE said to achieve maximum clarity: 

This burrito is dank (i.e., awesome)!

Sometimes we confuse i.e. and e.g. However, don’t confuse them. That would be totally dank. And I don’t mean in a good way. I.e. means “in other words,” and e.g. means “for example.”  

This weekend, I am going to get smashed (i.e., drunk).
*I am clarifying what I mean by smashed.

I’ve been known to have quite an eclectic palate for alcohol (i.e., I’ll drink anything).
*I am clarifying what I mean by “eclectic pallet.”

I am going to go to the liquor store after work to get some of my favorites (e.g., Zima, Boone’s Strawberry Hill, and Manischewitz).
*I am providing examples of a few of my faves (but I’ll drink anything).

Because I am sophisticated, I like to add a garnish to my Zima (e.g., a lime wedge or a tiny umbrella).
*I am providing examples of garnishes.

I hope you have a dank weekend! I hope it’s really bad!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Settling for Good Enough

If you’ve ever spent time inside a college faculty lounge, you know that the number one thing teachers do in there is bitch about their students. We bitch about them texting during class when they should be hanging onto every bit of brilliance we espouse. We bitch about them spending more time on Facebook than on their homework. We bitch about how they don’t realize how lucky they are to have the Internet because when we were in college we had to swim uphill in quicksand to the library and read BOOKS.

Early in my career, I promised myself that if I ever became too embittered it was going to be time for me to find a new job. 

Well, after the batch of papers I just graded, I’m seriously considering updating my résumé. Please allow me this rant:

For my Critical Thinking class, my students were supposed to read articles and identify strong and weak points. (Of course, I provided them with criteria and a rubric and all that good stuff.) One of my students identified a point made by a Kardashian as a strong point. And this wasn’t just any old point either. It was really Kontroversial. Are you ready? One of the Kardashians claimed that it was a good idea to wear socks on an airplane because it can get cold. 

That, my friends, is what I am dealing with. 

On the one hand, I was expecting something a little more meaningful. On the other hand, it is a good idea to bring a pair of socks on a plane because it can get cold. 

Despite my frustration, I don’t think I’m embittered yet. I still do love my students. I have, however, lowered my expectations. My experience reminds me of what Bridget Fonda’s character said about dating in the movie Singles:  

 Janet: Well, when I first moved out here from Tucson, I wanted a guy with…looks, security, caring. Someone with their own place. Someone who said "bless you" or "gesundheit" when I sneezed. Someone who liked the same things as me, but not exactly. And someone who loves me.

Steve: Tall order.

Janet: Yeah, I scaled it down a little.

Steve: What is it now?

Janet: Someone who says "gesundheit," although I prefer "bless you.” It's nicer.

When I first started teaching, I wanted my students to discover their writing potential. I wanted them to relish in language and ideas. I wanted them to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. I wanted them to master punctuation and realize how it not only provides clarity but can add nuance. Now, I would be happy if someone correctly used the apostrophe 75 percent of the time. Maybe even 50 percent.

The apostrophe is my “bless you.”

Have you ever lowered your standards? What’s your “bless you”?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rock Me Editor

Remember that scene in the beginning of Amadeus when Salieri proudly presented a "March of Welcome" in Mozart's honor and Mozart immediately improved upon it? Salieri was mortified.

That's how I felt this week when I received my manuscript back from the copy editor and saw all the grammar corrections she made--on my GRAMMAR guide.

 Don't worry; I am not going to plot the downfall of my copy editor.

In fact, in a way, it felt like a bit of  luxury to have someone read my work for errors since that's what I am constantly doing for my students.

Still, it was a little rough on the old self-esteem.

You know what would really help? If you would leave comments riddled with grammar errors.

Misery does love company.