fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Sunday, April 27, 2014

English Proves Difficult to Learn

While I am currently in a waiting mode with my first-graders as far as National Poetry Month goes, I have spent considerable time pondering the English language. Maybe too much.

When was the last time you thought about it? Exactly how much ice is in your ice cream? There are certainly no grapes in my grape jelly. All ladybugs are not ladies. If you drown in quicksand, as I understand, it's really a slow process. Fireflies aren't made of fire and butterflies aren't made of butter.

Take the word wet, for example. If you fall in a creek, out of a boat or into a pool, you will get wet, plain and simple. But if you're a newbie at, say, anything, then you're wet behind the ears. I had a friend once who liked to whet his appetite with a glass of wine. Spelled different, pronounced the same.

Earlier today, I spent a short amount of time sharpening my knife. I used my whetstone, of course. No worries, though, since my whetstone wasn't wet.

Here's something frightening. Sweetmeat, it turns out, is the culinary name for testicles. Sorry, but that's true. Sweetmeat, however, is not sweet. Nor is it considered to be meat. Hmm... Go figure.

I share my home with my wife, my son and three fuzzy, black dogs. I fixed hot dogs for dinner several days back. One dropped, and was eaten by dog. Lucky dog, or cannibal? Of course, the three dogs dogged me the entire time I was in the kitchen cooking. By the end of that day, I was dead dog tired.

It's no wonder the English language is one of the hardest languages to learn. An exchange student at my high school once told me that English is crazy and makes no sense!

Nonsense! His statement incensed me. Since then, I have had the good sense to use the English language to try and make some cents of my own.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Late Start to National Poetry Month

I've gotten a bit of a late start this year, but better late than never, as I'm fond of saying.

"What is this month," I asked my kids, knowing full well that it's April, and April is National Poetry Month. Judging by their answers, they remain blissfully unaware of this fact.

Spring, autumn, April, March, May, "a new month" and "a month of the year," were the answers I received. My responses to crazy answers have improved. I now raise one eyebrow, and sometimes say, "really," with just a slight inflection of incredulity.

Regardless, we started out with a bang. We cranked out acrostics about spring. Here's the best.

Pretty rainbow colors
Really fun
Ideas grow like flowers
Naturally fresh air
Good to be outside with friends

We immediately jumped into some cinquains. While some kind of get it, others don't. That's okay since we pulled out a couple of nice ones and managed to have fun in the process.

Fast, dangerous
Hunting down prey
Providing food for babies

I only have three cinquains posted on the wall, currently. I particularly liked this one.

Hopefully, I'll be posting more poems, literally, at Mr. Haworth's poetry corner at school, as well here for your reading pleasure.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Car Shopping Turns Tedious

This is how it all started.

My wife, K, was busy test driving a Toyota Corolla when the above text came through. It was my sis-in-law, Kat, commenting on the choice of car that my wife was trying out.

Allow me to interpret. It means Granny Panties. She was referring to the car, of course.

Apparently, the two of them have created a system for labeling and categorizing vehicles of all makes and models. I will get to as many cars on this post as room permits, so enjoy!

Granny Panties cars include the Toyota Camry and Corolla. These are the cars that are comfortable and sensible. They may not be the prettiest to look at, but, darn it, they sure are sensible and reliable!

Commando, as in the general term one uses for going without underwear beneath one's britches, refers to Jeeps, but not just any Jeep. It mostly pertains to the older Jeeps you see with no doors, no top, mud covered with everything blowing in the breeze. There are a few older, larger trucks that fit into this category as well.

Full Size Bloomers would be cars like the Buick Century, a large majority of Cadillacs and Ford Crown Victorias, to name a few. You know. Land yachts. Need I say more?

The Mini Cooper fits firmly in the category labelled Control Top Thongs. Never heard of these? Me neither until recently. Why? Well, it's economical and good on gas, but sporty and fun all at the same time.

Tighty-whiteys are the nerdy cars. C'mon! You know what I mean. Think Volvo sedans. These are the "safe" cars. Something your accountant would probably be seen driving.

Boxers, loose and relaxed, let things fall where they may. Non-Wrangler Jeeps can be placed into this category, as can Toyota Highlanders.

Approximately 99 percent of all minivans fit squarely into the Maternity Panties category. As my sis-in-law says, face it, at some point they're simply inevitable, whether you admit it or not.

Underoos are the cars that scream "I don't wanna grow up!" I know you've seen the old man in the red convertible Camaro.

So, I leave this blog entry still "carless." What will we end up with? K won't let me embarrass myself with Underoos. I pray we're not Maternity Panties! Needless to say, we have yet to find our new car.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reach Out and Touch Someone

I ran into an old friend of mine recently. I gave him one of my Fuzzy, Black Dogs cards and told him he could find me on Facebook.

"I actually don't do Facebook," he said. I detected a note of pride in his voice.
"I'm on Twitter, too," I ventured.
"Nope," he responded. I did detect some pride. "I'm not on any social media."

Not on any social media? Good gosh! Is he crazy? What is he thinking?!

I've recently joined both Pinterest and Tumblr. I'm not sure what I'm doing on Pinterest, quite honestly. 

And Tumblr? I don't do much there, either. I do follow my son, though, and that hasn't made me any wiser. I also follow some guy who posts the most beautiful outdoor photos. I'm happy with that. I enjoy the photos.

I've actually looked into a few other forums, like Instagram, Vine and Edmoto. None of them, however, make any sense to me. Don't look. You won't find me there.

I pondered on his choice for the rest of that evening. Good gosh! He may as well be off the grid, so to speak!

Think about that a moment. How will he see the 2,149th picture of little Tommy riding his trike? How will he know where his family is going for Easter? How will he even know when I've created a new post on Fuzzy, Black Dogs? Gasp!

And what does he do with his time? Read books and newspapers? Work around the house? Spend quality time with his family, sans digital devices? Talk about extreme...

I mean, how will people find him or even get in touch with him to let him know when his 30th high school reunion will be?

He must not realize the stress he's put on everyone else. In order to reach him, we'd have to dial a number or actually (shudder) go to his house. Or else we would have to... Have to...

Well, yeah. Put pen to paper! There! I said it! Please, dude! Don't make us do something so 20th Century!

P.S. I tried to contact him to warn him about this blog post, but he wasn't on Facebook!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Potentially the Greatest Book Ever Written

I've always wanted to join the ranks of the greatest of the greats. You know. People like Johannes Balbus, John of Garland, Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, Noah Webster and George and Charles Merriam. Now THOSE are some of the great men in history!

Of course everybody knows who these men are. They're all men who were instrumental in shaping the greatest book ever written -- the Dictionary!

Now I'm no psychic and don't pretend to know what others think, but what could be better than millions of kids and adults the world over being told to get my 'book' and look it up? The glory of all those hands having to crack open my book just to figure out how to spell "saywhahunh." It will also include phrases such as "what the what."

My initial list and sampling below, however, may be skewed somewhat since I'm well versed in first-grader terminology. The first edition of Phillip's Finest (the tentative name of my first dictionary) will include adult words and phrases, also.

Here is a brief list of the words you may learn about in Phillip's Finest.

axe - ask. A question, as in, "I wanna axe you a question, Mr. Haworth."
"As long as it doesn't hurt," is my usual response.

chillax - chill out, relax. While this word may have fallen out of usage somewhat, one can still hear it from time to time.

cray-cray - crazy. Usually used to describe people and, in particular, certain male teacher assistants.

flictarded - really stupid. A combination word which combines afflicted and retarded into one word in which the general badness of the person/situation transcends the horribleness of the individual words.

old - really old. A general, vague, generic term used by first-graders to describe everyone except themselves and their classmates. Ex. "Wow! You must be old (with strong emphasis on the word 'old'), Mr. Haworth!"

real - copacetic. A slang term. It seems that real is the new cool.

saywhahunh - what? Must be said quickly in order to convey the correct amount of amazement/incredulity.

uzza - what's that? roughly translated. It's a questioning phrase I hear a lot in my classrooms.

what the what - what. A general question of noncomprehension, as in "what?" However, I suspect the second "what" represents a watered down version of a potential curse word.