Cabin Envy Monday, Dec 31 2018 

Outside in the Rocky Mountains on New Years Eve,  it’s snowing. The temperature is sinking into the frosty teens, abetted by a bone-numbing wind chill.  It’s miserable?

No!  For vacationing South Louisianians, this day provides a rare episode of cabin envy (Not cabin fever with its pejorative connotation).

Soon gumbo will simmer on the stove, we’ll toss a few logs on the fire, and we’ll go outside to frolic in the powderpuff stuff.  An envious state, truly!

So ends a memorable New Years Eve in snowy Colorado!6A7B4CC1-4817-4DB7-91B8-350CCF51F294.jpeg

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Signs and Wonders? Friday, Dec 28 2018 

IMG_0213Interesting sign.  It’s a little short on clarity, although I believe what the author meant is obvious; nonetheless, it’s entertaining to wonder about how the message could be taken if I decide to be altogether literal.  I see three reasonable (and amusing) wonders raised with this sign:

  1. What is the employment rate among apple pies these days?
  2. Or, is the restaurant owner looking for apple pie cooks?
  3. As for the student discount, who’s the sole LSUE student lucky enough to get 10% off?

Sign-makers should never forget: Words have meaning!

T’is the Night Before Christmas . . . Really? Monday, Dec 24 2018 

IMG_0212This is the first Christmas Eve in 36 years that Sarah and I find ourselves alone on Christmas Eve, save for the company of Marley the Dog (and the  anti-social Sadie the Dog who’s slinking about off-camera).

The emptiness and quiet of the evening is nigh deafening.

Over the years, our Christmas Eves were attended noisily with enthusiasm by parents and kids/grandkids, noncs and tantes, nephews and nieces, coo-zans and friends.  Christmas Eve feasts  and gift-exchange parties flourished into the late hours.

But the crowds diminished gradually over the years, owing some to aging, some to maturing, and some unfortunately to death;  sadly, tonight is the first time that no one is here to share the season with us except for two silly dogs.

Sigh.  Alas.

Thank God for two silly dogs?

Why not.  T’is the season to be jolly!  Thank God for the eternal hope of the Messiah and the eternal joy of doggies.

The Dog Daze of Winter? Friday, Dec 21 2018 

47689100_10217680928996395_4301864519556136960_nToday is the winter solstice, shortest day of the year.  Shadows in this season begin to lengthen by mid-afternoon.

Dogs care not that days are short.  In fact, they seem to thrive (if sleeping is an indication of thriving).

Sadie and Marley come in shortly after dark each night and doze for hours on end. In their view, the shorter the daze, the longer the sleep.

We speak so familiarly of the dog days of summer.  Perhaps the true dog daze occur in winter?

 

 

Nostalgia for a Tired Genre: Those Corny Westerns Friday, Dec 14 2018 

When I was growing up, westerns were in vogue.  I loved watching shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Roy Rogers, Wagon Train, Rawhide . . . and on and on.  Those shows were

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Gun violence is nothing new!  Gun fights provide the climax for every episode.

everywhere and every time–from Saturday morning to weeknights prime time.

I watch the weary re-runs today and I wonder, “Why did we ever look at such garbage?”  The acting is stilted, the plots are bathetic, the endings are predictable, and the violence is gratuitous!

And furthermore, who would have heard a cowboy in the wild west in the late nineteenth century talking with a Brooklyn accent?  Totally unrealistic, totally Hollywood!

When our kids see those shows, I wonder what they think of our generation for falling for such tawdry entertainment?

But then I stop and remember some of the tawdry entertainment their generation fancied.  I don’t feel so badly about our corny westerns.  It seems that each generation finds its own new and different ways to waste time in the pursuit of meaninglessness.  Ours were the westerns!

Humble Rewards of the Profession: Deja Vu? Here we go again! Tuesday, Dec 11 2018 

img_0188Humble joys of the profession.

The adorable kids in this 2015 photo were freshmen when I taught them at St. Eds the year after I retired from LSUE. Today I met them for Spring 2019 orientation– they’re seniors, all grown up.

I get to teach them and their classmates again in college
English 1002 and English 2020 next semester. Their freshman year, high school; their senior year, college–The beginning and the end.

Also, this group will be the only student cohort I will have taught at two different levels (high school and college) and, furthermore, at three different grade levels–9, 10, and 12.

Can’t wait for next semester!

Grader Alert: Done! Saturday, Dec 8 2018 

finalsOne of the finest feelings at the end of any semester is grading the last set of final essays.  Mission accomplished this afternoon.

The teaching/grading routine will resume next year when the spring semester starts in about five weeks, but for now, here comes the stress-free season.

No classes to teach, no papers to grade.

It’s time for some bowl games and unbridled holiday cheer!

Rare Fall Colors Wednesday, Dec 5 2018 

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The local jogging trail provides an example of this fall’s unusually colorful array of foliage.

Few species of trees in our region of the Gulf coastal Deep South put on sensational  displays of fiery fall foliage.  Most of our native trees’ leaves change from green to brown in lack-luster fashion.

This fall season, though, for some unaccountable reason, the autumn foliage has been unusually colorful.  No one will confuse our November/December foliage with Rocky Mountain Aspens in their full fall glory,  but at least the change this year is noticeable.

Poopy Pronoun Reference? Sunday, Dec 2 2018 

Composition students over the years know It Poopof my peevish disdain for the two-letter word it.  That horrid little word, either as a pronoun or as an empty grammatical expletive, is responsible for more vague reference, wordiness, and lack of clarity in writing than any single word in the English language.

So I was delighted Sarah came across this outlandish poke at faulty (or “poopy”) it usage.

The point is so clear from the photo that neither a teacher  nor a caption is necessary to explain the grammatical implications.