Tag Archives: Saturday

New words to live by: “Shill hanging” or “Shanging”

Time, once again, for New words to live by. This is a word or phrase not currently in use in the U.S. English lexicon, but might need to be considered. Other words, such as obsurd, crumpify, subsus, flib, congressed, and others, can be found by clicking on the tags below. Today’s New Word is created by taking two nouns and creating a compound word. Without further waiting, shill hanging or sometimes called a shanging.

OLD WORD
Shill, n. a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.

Hanging, n. 1.) a suspending or temporary attaching. 2.) a form of capital punishment by which someone is suspended by the neck with a gallows, gibbet, tree limb or similar method until dead.

NEW WORD
Shill hanging or Shanging, n. The act of temporarily suspending somebody with obsequious words of praise, flattery, or even falsehoods in order to keep from being suspended, firmed, or hung out dry from his or her position.

Other forms of the word:
Shanger, n. = person who does the shanging.

Shang, v. = the act of shill hanging.

The other day when the president held his first public shanging. Each cabinet member in turn introduced himself or herself, and then proceeded to shang the president with unctuous flattery.

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A thought about writing

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June 10, 2017 · 10:11 pm

Top misspelled word in each state

Bananas or banannas? These are the top misspelled words in each state

Where do you fit in?

 

Mary Bowerman , USA TODAY Network

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/29/scripps-national-spelling-beetop-misspelled-words-state/352919001/

EDITOR’S NOTE:  A previous version of this story stated Wisconsin’s most misspelled word was “tomorrow” based on Google-provided data. A Google update with more current data found that the most misspelled word is actually Wisconsin.

Spelling champions from across the country are preparing to compete this week at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

While we’ve all cringed after misspelling a word in a work email or a text, the National Spelling Bee competitors will be asked to spell words that make the word “chihuahua” look like a walk in the park.

In honor of those who aren’t as gifted as the National Spelling Bee champs, Google pulled the most misspelled words in each state so far this year.

Here’s a look at the most misspelled search words in each state:

Alabama: pneumonia
Alaska: schedule
Arizona: tomorrow
Arkansas: chihuahua
California: beautiful
Colorado: tomorrow
Connecticut: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Delaware: hallelujah
Washington, D.C. : ninety
Florida: receipt
Georgia: gray
Hawaii: people
Idaho: quote
Illinois: pneumonia
Indiana: hallelujah
Iowa: vacuum
Kansas: diamond
Kentucky: beautiful
Louisiana: giraffe
Maine: pneumonia
Maryland: special
Massachusetts: license
Michigan: pneumonia
Minnesota: beautiful
Mississippi: nanny
Missouri: maintenance
Montana: surprise
Nebraska: suspicious
Nevada: available
New Hampshire: difficult
New Jersey: twelve
New Mexico: bananas
New York: beautiful
North Carolina: angel
North Dakota: dilemma
Ohio: beautiful
Oklahoma: patient
Oregon: sense
Pennsylvania: sauerkraut
Rhode Island: liar
South Carolina: chihuahua
South Dakota: college
Tennessee: chaos
Texas: maintenance
Utah: disease
Vermont: Europe
Virginia: delicious
Washington: pneumonia
West Virginia: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Wisconsin: Wisconsin
Wyoming: priority

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The Devil’s Dictionary: “Egotist”

A young Ambrose Bierce

In our continuing quest to revisit a classic, or even a curiosity from the past and see how relevant it is, we continue with The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in newspaper installments from 1881 until 1906. You might be surprised how current many of the entries are.

For example, here is a definition for the word Egotist. The Old definitions are Bierce’s. The New definition is mine. From time to time, just as it was originally published, we will come back to The Devil’s Dictionary, for a look at it then and how it applies today. Click on Devil’s Dictionary in the tags below to bring up the other entries.

OLD DEFINITION
Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.

Megaceph, chosen to serve the State
In the halls of legislative debate,
One day with all his credentials came
To the capitol’s door and announced his name.
The doorkeeper looked, with a comical twist
Of the face, at the eminent egotist,
And said: “Go away, for we settle here
All manner of questions, knotty and queer,
And we cannot have, when the speaker demands
To be told how every member stands,
A man who to all things under the sky
Assents by eternally voting ‘I’.”

 

NEW DEFINITION
Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. See, Donald J. Trump

Donald, chose to run for president
Saying only he could truly represent
The interest of those who had been ignored
Or in some other way had been deplored.
He marched into office, saying hugely
It was and always about yours truly.
What some still fail to understand
Is that “yours truly” is about the man
And not a form of salutation
Meant for the greater good of the nation.
It has always been about him:
The hymn of him, of him the hymn.

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The pot and the kettle

Letting off steam.

 

The pot and the kettle

The pot and the kettle /

made of weak metal /

are less than fundamental: /

They’re not right./

 

They put on displays /

In fundamental ways /

Undermining mainstays /

And creating only blight./

 

“My lies can’t compete /

With falsehoods you repeat./

Put down your tweet /

And tell me what to say.”/

 

But the pot said to the kettle:/

“You’ve got to keep your mettle/

Because I won’t settle/

For nothing less today./

 

“We remain on course/

In all our discourse/

There will be no divorce/

From my lies that are true.”/

 

Said the kettle to the pot:/

“You have said a lot/

Some of which has begot/

Us in a trouble or two.”/

 

“That doesn’t matter.”/

The pot said like a mad hatter./

“All the facts are but chatter/

That will go away./

 

“We must all remember/

The role of a dissembler/

Is not in any way render/

Anything that will stay./

 

“A lie we tell here/

We tell it loud and clear/

But we do not ever steer/

As if those words are right./

 

“We will lie as we must/

As on and on they discuss/

That in us they cannot trust/

And in that is our might.”/

 

“We start at the beginning/

And blame them for our sinning/

Grafting and grinning/

Together all the way./

 

“For the true believer/

Has a different receiver/

And it matters not which lever/

We jerk down today.”/

 

The pot and the kettle /

made of weak metal /

are less than fundamental: /

They’re not right./

 

They put on displays /

In fundamental ways /

Undermining mainstays /

Creating death and blight./

 

–by David E. Booker

 

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The Killer Nashville Jimmy Loftin and Lisa Jackson Scholarships

https://killernashville.com/killer-nashville-scholarships/

Have you wanted to attend Killer Nashville, but like a down-on-his-luck gumshoe finding it hard to crack the case that will save your, client, your reputation, and save you from the bill collectors?

Well, here’s a clue, maybe two that could crack the case wide open. You might just qualify for either the Jimmy Loftin Memorial Scholarship or the Lisa Jackson Scholarship. Both scholarships are aimed at helping those who have a desire to attend, but don’t have the lucre to lay down. Both scholarships are based on financial need.

The Jimmy Loftin Memorial Scholarship is in honor of Jimmy Loftin, who “was murdered in the prime of his youth,” according to the Killer Nashville web site. Jimmy family has several writers and an uncle who has been a long-time supporter of the Killer Nashville. Killer Nashville also accepts donations to this scholarship.

Before she was an internationally known, bestselling author, Lisa Jackson was a single mother struggling to make ends meet. The author of 85 novels, Lisa was also the 2014 Guest of Honor at Killer Nashville. She has been a big supporter of the conference and wanted to help those who are struggling with the bills while struggling with the writing.

Guidelines for the scholarships is as follows:

–write an essay that illustrates your financial need and why you want to attend the Killer Nashville Writer’s Conference.

–Entries should be 500 words long, double spaced, and in 12-point Times New Roman or Courier with at least 1-inch margins.

–Attach entries to the online form found at https://killernashville.com/killer-nashville-scholarships/

–The deadline is July 1, 2017.

 

The Killer Nashville Conference is August 24 – 27, 2017 in Franklin Tennessee. Details at https://killernashville.com/.

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Poet: Why I would never tell a student what a poem means – The Washington Post

Poet: Why I would never tell a student what a poem means

Source: Poet: Why I would never tell a student what a poem means – The Washington Post

Sara Holbrook, the author of books of poetry for children, teens and adults, as well as professional books for teachers, wrote a piece on this blog earlier this year that was, to say the least, jarring, if not entirely unexpected by those who have been paying attention to how poorly many standardized tests are constructed. That post, “Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems,” started this way:

When I realized I couldn’t answer the questions posed about two of my own poems on the Texas state assessment tests (STAAR Test), I had a flash of panic — oh, no! Not smart enough. Such a dunce. My eyes glazed over. I checked to see if anyone was looking. The questions began to swim on the page. Waves of insecurity. My brain in full spin.

[Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems]

Now Holbrook is back with a piece about why she never tells a student what a poem means. Why is that a big deal? It is in direct contrast to a good deal of literature instruction today, which is designed to ensure that students take away not their own meaning but what a standardized test would consider correct.

Holbrook also visits schools and speaks at educator conferences worldwide, with her partner Michael Salinger, providing teacher and classroom workshops on writing and oral presentation skills. Her first novel, “The Enemy: Detroit 1954,” was just released.

By Sara Holbrook

Seems fitting that April is poetry month, a season brimming with blossoming possibilities and longer days. Like jolly jonquils, in April poets are released from our winter hibernation, we shed our black attire and start popping up at readings, sprouting bright colors and (presumably) speaking in stanzas. Not sure how April came to be poetry month. Maybe because at the time of its designation, April didn’t already belong to women’s history, colon cancer awareness, or toenail fungus.

Of course as most of the educated world knows, April mostly belongs to taxes and school testing. Still, poets who chew pencils and chase cursors every day all year wait for this month for a little acknowledgment. It’s not too bad of a deal, really. The five-paragraph-essay is still waiting in the wings for its month.

The poem below was not written as a poetry month challenge. I wrote it while sitting in the back of a summer poetry-writing workshop. Mostly, I was biding my time for my turn to present. The instructor began by asking us to write the words, “I remember” and write for five minutes, not letting our pen leave the page (actually a writing exercise conceived by Natalie Goldberg, I later found out). If we got stuck, we were to write, “I remember” again and keep writing.

But I’ve always been a little ornery. I began with “I don’t remember,” and went from there. The image that came to mind was of my mother and the big family secret the entire neighborhood knew. Mom drank too much and took too many pills. I don’t think she would mind my telling this story now since she was sober for the last seven years of her life, and she was really proud of that. But believe me, we had our moments over the years.

A poem is a snapshot in time. Not an entire movie. A focused moment. I do remember the time she brought me brownies as an apology, but I can’t for the life of me remember what she was apologizing for. Memory is a pegboard punched with holes. The older I get, the bigger the holes become.

Still, I remember the brownies, the hug, my forced smile.

 

Remember

 

I don’t remember the first time,

how it started

or when.

But I remember

the night you brought me brownies

and said

it would never happen again.

 

I remember,

your hair was longer then

and how your eyes swam over to mine.

I remember,

my smile stuck to my teeth.

I knew it wasn’t the last time.

 

My eyes were sealed with tears

and it was hard for them to wake,

but that didn’t seem to matter.

We hugged.

And the brownies tasted great.

©1997 sara holbrook “I Never Said I Wasn’t Difficult,” Boyds Mills Press

 

Forty years after the brownies were delivered to my bedside, four or five years after the writing and publication of the poem, I was visiting a school in the rural Midwest. It was April, and in preparation for the poet/author visit, kids had been asked to respond to one of my poems with: one their own poems, a hand-drawn picture, or a paragraph. What a display!

Hundreds of responses were posted in the hallways. There was an entire wall in the foyer devoted to my poem, “The Dog Ate My Homework.” Middle-school kids love to laugh and the student poems told tall tales of dogs, goats, and chickens munching on math problems and swallowing spelling words. One, as I remember, involved no eating but did reference cat pee.

But down the hall, around the corner, out of the florescent glare of the reception area, on the tiled wall by the room where (before inclusion) they used to keep “those kids,” I found Paul’s interpretation of my poem, “Remember.” While his classmates were having fun with poetry, he was evidencing his understanding that all of life is not a sit-com.

Paul was 11 years old when he wrote this. I know. I asked. When students are 11, the topic of sex doesn’t come up in the classroom. Teachers and parents make sure of it. What Paul brought to the text of my poem is background knowledge he had acquired somewhere other than school. We can only speculate.

Paul and I are both more than 25 years older now. Still, that spring day is sealed in my memory. I visited two schools, Paul’s in the morning and then I moved on at lunch break. But I took time to make a big deal out of Paul’s response, taking it to the office to have it photocopied (era before cellphone cameras). The secretary read it and wearily sighed, “Yeah, there’s a lot of that ’round here.” I took it to the guidance office. I took it to the vice principal. I don’t know if Paul, age 11, ever got the help he needed. It haunts me.

But one thing I do know, I am not the one to tell Paul what the poem “Remember” is about. Paul knew and probably still knows what this poem means. In my mind, this is not even my poem anymore. It belongs to Paul, age 11.

Famed educator, guru, and overall smart person Louise Rosenblatt wisely distinguishes between interpreting expository writing (journalism, nonfiction) and aesthetic writing. “A novel or a poem or a play remains merely inkspots on paper until a reader transforms them into a set of meaningful symbols.” The reader creates meaning, I heard her explain in a talk she gave at the National Council of Teachers of English in November 2004 at the no-nonsense age of 100. She was peeking over the podium giving a roomful of academics what-for, explaining that the meaning of a poem floats somewhere between the page and the reader’s mind because each reader brings a unique experience to the piece.

A few months ago I wrote an essay, “I Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems,” in which I questioned those of unknown academic distinction who anonymously compose proficiency test questions. Many teachers wrote to tell me that they too are unable to answer these vaguely written test questions being used to evaluate their students. One teacher reported that her kids had to endure 17 days of testing this year. Considering there are only about 20 days of school in a month and that every test requires preparation on the devices and manner of testing, that’s a lot of lost instructional time.

Parents wrote. I did a few television interviews and radio programs. It was my 15 minutes. Additionally, I took some heat from a (very) few academics who jumped to inform me that authors do not own the meaning of a poem, it is up to literary critics to make this determination. Good grief.

It was not my intent to kick off an argument on of the relative merit of learned literary analysis. I’ll leave that to those with letters after their names. But friends, parents, educators, learned folks, please remember, middle-schoolers are not just short college sophomores. They are not lit majors. These are kids like Paul. Kids who are often grappling with a world of unseen and sometimes unspeakable challenges.

As teachers and parents, our main goal is to get them to love learning, to be curious, and grow to understand the difference between fact and fiction. Writing poetry can help with this by the way, poets are into facts, and not just in April. But how can testing help with this? Geez, Louise! Proficiency test questions don’t even have to be fact-based!

One industrious Advanced Placement student wrote to walk me through two of my poems and each STAAR standardized test question, dutifully explaining how to determine which of the right answers on a multiple choice test is the most right. Clearly he has mastered the game of analyzing minutia. A smart, articulate kid; I found his dedication to compliance, well, disconcerting.

“Big can’t get you if small’s got you,” civil rights leader Rep. Elijah Cummings said recently, quoting the wisdom of his sharecropper father.

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I worry we are raising a generation of students who view success as the ability to focus on marginal minutia while (too often) missing the big ideas in a piece of writing. Worse, children are learning to disregard their own instincts, their histories, their cultural references by devoting themselves to predetermined interpretations. When we tell students what to think, we short sheet their own thought processes.

What if, in that long ago April, some test had told Paul his interpretation was wrong?

I stick to my contention that if a child reads a poem or a story about a red house, it is fair to test the kid’s reading mastery by asking, what color was that house? Once we ask, why did the author paint the house red, we’ve slid off the pedagogical sidewalk. It may be a good question to stimulate rich discussion, but the answer, particularly when it comes to poetry, is not a right or wrong equation. Deciding why the house is red is where we meet, reader and writer as the reader brings a unique experience to the interpretation. This is how we nurture thinking in students.

Besides, if the author hasn’t told us why the house is red, we just can’t know. In fact, the author’s perception of her intent in writing, of the very meaning of her own poem, may in fact change over time.

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