Just an old-time professor

For a few years in the mid 2000s, I took a number of courses at the county college (2-year, Associates-granting public institution) taught by this 1 professor, H. I propose to tell some storys about him, that he told me or that we had.

Continue reading Just an old-time professor

Slow, modern Heptameron story six (VI)

(Reminded of this by the comment of Laura on the awfullibrarybooks.net post about “Middle Age / The Prime of Life?”.)

At County College, I took a course on public speaking (rhetoric), which is the practice of standing in front of some people who are giving their attention to you while you talk about something. It is not elocution (making speech sounds). I think I got a B?

The professor was an old dude of some humor and, according to some, an appearance like a board game character. We got along with him well, but here are some memorys:

1. He had a camcorder on a tripod that he used to video us, so we could watch our performances later and see how to improve. I don’t know who else didn’t do this, but I was one who have always had an aversion to my voice and face, so I never did and made sure to destroy the VHS at the end of the semester. I am still glad.

2. He forgot to include the grade composition in the syllabus! This wasn’t brought up until we were preparing for the last speech we would have to give, when he reminded us it would be 40% of the final grade. I remember being the one to ask him the grade breakdown and answering him that it wasn’t in the syllabus. (He was cool about it and immediately told us what it was.)

3. One student gave a very polished speech (I think it was the third of 5 we had to do) and I remember when leaving the classroom after that period had ended the professor striking up what was very clearly a touchy conversation. I didn’t stay, but the next period I remember noticing she was not there. The entire time since I have a fear that she plagiarized it and had to, at minimum, withdraw from the course.

4. Someone who sat next to me gave a couple of speeches I remember, one was on procrastination and he mentioned intentionally procrastinating on preparing or practicing it. I felt it dragged out and had evidence that the professor didn’t like it.

5. The professor had some entertaining storys, like the time he taught somewhere else. It was in a cement block building with a lower cieling, probably a dropped one. The speaker (a student) began by firing a hand gun of some type (with a blank round, or it was a starter/cap gun), calmly saying “Now that I have your attention…”, and then “had the nerve” (prof’s words) to give a speech totally unrelated to that.

6. (Here is what Laura reminded me of) Somewhere along the line the subject of bad drivers came up while he was seated at the front of the class and lecturing in a sort of conversational way. I think it had turned to old people drivers (he had a completely white mustache, so was old/older) and he stated his opinion that “some people must have gotten their license out of a cereal box”. (Awhile ago, breakfast cereals sold in boxes would have some free toy, implying that these bad older drivers could only have gotten a license if there was no testing at all.)

7. I remember some of my fellow students’ speeches, such as “the best advice I ever got was from my father, who said I needed to know how to change a tire” (with examples!), Dagorhir, making something unexpected out of peanut butter, public unawareness of the current Cabinet (this was extemporaneous and a good one), and more I do not remember.

8. I once was loitering outside the building library, reading the New York Times and others’ headlines through the window. He walked by and, being a jokester but not a mean one, said “Ahh there you are.” like he was looking for me. I replied, off guard and vanishingly slightly displeased, “O no, it’s you.”. On seeing me the next class period (I sat near the back by the door), he brought it up to me and I obligingly repeated it, and then again to get the right tone of disgust for him. (This was not done out of anger and I am confident if I refused he would have let it go.)

This course was helpful when I had to give a speech in another class, later on. Particularly the advice and practice in speaking clearly, looking around the room, and not unconsciously moving my hands/arms/body. I wish I kept that professor’s evaluation, I remember his rubric specifically considered eye contact and other things. I got an “Excellent” in that, and I think the other two. More on this course later.

P O L I T I C S again

Short policy idea for all persons: we (the United States, and the people part of it) should not be using the self-titles of the various people who went to work for the Confederate States during the Civil War.

In examples, Jefferson Davis wasn’t a president, Braxton Bragg wasn’t a general, John Reagan wasn’t the postmaster-general, and so on. The entire time of the war, the United States rejected the idea that the Confederacy was a legitimate thing, fought it over that conclusion, and physically defeated it from holding that idea before eventually being proven correct.

For histories, scholarly or popular, it makes sense to retain them so it is clear who outranked who else and so could give (or have given) this or that order. Elsewhere they just give a dishonest dignity.

Slow, modern Heptameron story four (IIII)

When I was in 6th grade, because it was an election year, we had subjects and teaching about the federal (United States) election, which included an “election” that I think the entire enrollment of the school voted in. I was irritated because we had to form a line and go to vote, like it was a mandatory vote. I think this was irritating because I knew the real polls weren’t enforced, and also this exercise was a dead end ballot, that the results would not do anything.

The conference room had ugly bright pea green angular utilitarian chairs, I think ugly drapes on the windows, a fireplace that might have been real, and an incongruous clock. They had PTA meetings in there I know, and it was part of a 2 story … carbuncle? … attached to a late 1800s brick thing that was outrageously badly retrofit. I need to tell the story of the buildings at this school some time, they were a hoot and not.

Fortunately it was really a secret ballot, and I confirmed that I could vote for “whoever I wanted” by asking my teacher, so I wrote on my paper the name of someone who was running for president, but was a total loser and probably didn’t even have ballot access in my State. I didn’t know there were such things as protest votes, but that is what it was. When our teacher reported the results at lunch the next day, I cast one of two 3rd party votes. I don’t know who the other was, and I told one staff at the place, since retired and maybe died, that I voted for this other person.

Slow, modern Heptameron, story three (III)

Back in 6th grade, I attended on instruction at a perennially, nearly terminally underfunded private school and read young adult books assigned in the class.

One of them, that I honestly lost and never found, was a historical fiction. The plot was split between a historic past and a present day. A character in the present learns about her family as we read it ourselves.

At one point in the “present” part of the plot, the principal character is describing a friend rehearsing (I accidentally typed “prehearsing” – I think that should be a word.) to sing for a solo song in I think a school play. She describes what the actress is doing in a way that made it sound so silly and stupid that for maybe 2 or 3 minutes I could not stop giggling to myself. This in a classroom where ~20 of us were supposed to be silently reading this chapter.

I did try my hardest to not laugh and I think the teacher saw that and didn’t say anything. I am glad that she took that route because it worked out the best. She was a good teacher. Not perfect, but … that’s hard when you are teaching. She had students that year, one in particular, that made her work much harder than was right. The “one” I am thinking of was a very malicious girl who nearly got the State Police called for a physical assault against a student she sat next to.

Trying to find a story, found some others

In a response to a long ago post about ephemera, someone asked for a particular story. Now, nothing is so hard to get as spent old textbooks that aren’t unquestionably out of copyright, but I found two of them for loan via the Internet Archive:

Lavender Skywriters and Adventures to Remember. The first one is, I think, a combination of 3 grade levels, but I’m not sure now where I read that.


Continue reading Trying to find a story, found some others

Slow, modern, Heptameron and its first story

I ran across on Patreon, a project I am not a subscriber to now, called “Decameron Project” after the most famous Italian original. That reminded me of my more preferred Heptameron, that is a collection of evidently true stories from France in the 1400s or so.

Along that line, I have determined to write down these little true stories as I remember to and have the energy and time. Here is the first one:

Continue reading Slow, modern, Heptameron and its first story

The Midget of Sines and Wright

A much less insulting transcription than the teenily notorious “Pranque” of “the Beta“, here is a really small newspaper put out by Sines and Wright, two Dayton, Ohio, schoolboys in 1886. The second of them went on, with his brother, to “emulate the great Santos-Dumont” and eventually eclipse him in this part of the world.

Here, though, he and a friend are fussing around with the latter’s little printing press and having some fun.1

Continue reading The Midget of Sines and Wright

Suppression of Moss in old Buildings

So Lois posted something involving moss, so I had to post this and get it out of my web browser.

6 years before the infamous pranque, a different scandal happened at “the Indiana College”. This time the students were clearly on the right side in my opinion.

Continue reading Suppression of Moss in old Buildings