Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Book Learnin'

Today was the weekly trip to the library. They were having a sale! Who knew? We were just there last Wednesday, and there was no sign of a sale. And TODAY was the last day. That's good news and bad news, the good news being that prices were reduced; the bad news being that some of the good books had already been boughten. Anyhoo...I picked up 7 paperbacks for $1. Not bad, huh? It's almost as good as Ye Olde Expired Food Shoppe, where my mom does her grocery shopping. I could have gotten 7 hardbacks for $5, but, well...I have enough hardbacks taking up space at home without bringing in mongrels. I suppose I could donate my books to the library. Nawww! They don't deserve my cast-offs. And I refuse to put anything into their tip jar, either. I figure my $5 out-of-town family fee is all they're get out of me every year. Plus that $1 per card that they charged me for not giving us our cards last year, even though we paid for them.

I was hoping my #1 son would check out some books. I am concerned that his brain has atrophied since 5th grade. He acts like a big ol' puddin' head. And you won't believe some of the things he says he learned last year. I am hoping that he is just horribly confused. Here are some of the 'facts' he has enlightened me with. (Now if I could only get him to end his sentences with prepostions...)

Exibit A: The Viceroy Butterfly mimics the Monarch Butterfly in color, which is a good adaptation, because the Monarch is poisonous. OK. I don't have a beef with his butterfly facts. I have a beef with the boy's pronunciation of 'Viceroy'. He says it like 'viss er oy'. Which is not right, by cracky! That word is 'vice roy'. Everybody knows that. (Everybody who speaks American.) But he swears that his teacher taught him that it is 'viss er oy'.

Exhibit B: Again with the pronunciation thingy, but from a different teacher. The body has a major artery that hooks onto the heart called the vena cava. Which I tell him is pronounced just like it is spelled. But noooo! The teacher told the class it was spelled that way, but pronounced 'vena cavy'. I. Don't. Think so.

Exhibit C: The piece de resistance brings us to systems of measurement. And yes, it is yet a different teacher than the other two. We had a discussion in the Large SUV one day about how when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom herself was but a pup, her 8th grade math teacher bet the entire class a soda that by the time Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's class graduated from high school, the United States would be using the metric system. As in all road signs in kilometers, measuring gasoline in liters, etc. My boy said, "I guess he had to buy a lot of sodas, because even NOW, we're still using the Customary System." WTF? I turned to stare at my little shotgun-riding protege, driving blind momentarily to give him the stink-eye. "You mean the 'English System', right?" The boy frowned. "What's that? I mean the Customary System. The other system of measurement than the metric system. The one with pounds and ounces and feet and inches.That's what our teacher told us. She even read it right out of the book. Only two countries use the Customary System: the United States, and some other country she couldn't pronounce. Why would she make that up, Mom? You are the one who doesn't know what you're talking about."
* See Below

Sweet Gummi Mary! How has education gone so horribly wrong?

I am hoping that my boy just had a confusing year, what with being so busy growing up and all. Surely these incidents did not really happen as he recounts them. Surely.

* OK, I don't know when this happened, but apparently, the Customary System is real!!! Never mind that every teacher I asked (all four of them) only knew about the metric and English systems. I suppose we all need a good spanking, and enrollment in a graduate course called New Tricks. Who knew that while I was having a Rip van Winkle snooze, somebody would change the measurement system right underneath my arthritic old bones? I call shenanigans!

Excuse me. I am off to track down my old math teacher. I need a soda.


Redneck. Diva. said...

Hopefully your old math teacher lives near a Sonic.

I think the viss-er-oy/vice-roy debate is based on where ya live. Rednecks and hillbillies would probably lean more toward the vice-roy version, but them high-falootin' city folk would say it differ'nt.

Vena cavy?? She was smokin' dope.

Mean Teacher said...

When I was in 3rd grade, a student teacher came to observe our class. I specifically remember my teacher asking her if you're still supposed to use a comma after the last word in a series. She said she thought it might have changed. The student teacher said it hadn't. But nowadays, I never see anyone use a comma after the last word in a series of words before the conjunction. For example...

The old way =
We had chicken, beans, rice, and gravy.

The new or possibly just screwed up way =
We had chicken, beans, rice and gravy.

I'm not sure if the rule changed or if everyone is just united in their efforts to screw it up, kinda like they're united in their wrongness by using the non-word "irregardless," or putting the apostrophe after the A in y'all, even though it's a contraction for "you all" and the apostrophe belongs after the Y.

Lemme know when you enroll in New Tricks. I'll join ya.

Hillbilly Mom said...

My math teacher has dropped out of sight. I was never very fond of him. In fact, I wouldn't touch him with an approximately 3-meter pole.

I learned the new trick that nowadays, people can choose the series comma rule that they prefer, as long as they are consistent in a piece of writing.

I'll polish up my saddle shoes and tell you when the New Tricks course is scheduled.

Stewed Hamm said...

Aaah, the Oxford Comma.
I've always been taught that you were supposed to use it, and I'm not *that* old. (I mean really, my SSN has at least 7 digits) Considering how "well" most kids write these days, I think you're lucky not to be worrying about UR Kdz LOL'ing @ U. OMFGWTFBBQ!!1!!onehundredandeleven!!

Hillbilly Mom said...

I always use it. I just don't call it by name.