I direct a duplicate bridge game once a week. To make me sound important, I am an American Contract Bridge League certified director. That fancy name doesn't mean much. Last week, however, the other directors were out of town, and I had to direct three games.
I got a call from my sister last week. She lives on a farm southwest of Atlanta. She has to obey a burn ban until Oct. 1 (for which she blames me because all of Atlanta's pollution comes to Newton County) and gathers limbs and other such debris all summer into what she calls her burn pile.
My sister called me the other day. You remember her. She is the one who wrote the orange juice company about less calories. She had been watching television and saw an advertisement for a car. I am paraphrasing, but the car had more power, more electronics and less doors.
I've had fun writing for this column, and the one that received the most responses was the one about English teachers running around correcting the world's grammar. Everyone who responded shared his or her pet peeves. So here is a test. Correct these sentences:
My slow cooker died recently. I went to buy a new one, a task I thought would be relatively simple. But, no. Slow cookers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, apparently one size does not fit all. Once I had sorted out size and shape, I then had to choose from a variety of bulbous protuberances on the sides of the cookers which would allow me to program the amounts of time and start times.
We used to begin the teaching of composition in the ninth grade with paragraphs. It could sometimes be an agonizing experience. Freshmen want to impress their teachers with big words and circuitous language. Why use a perfectly good word like "beauty" when you can impress your teacher with the fancy word "beautifulness"? And why say a simple thing simply when you can use passive voice and get your sentences so entangled that no one can follow what you are trying to say? Freshmen think being confusing makes them appear smarter.
I know students don't like tests. But sometimes teachers don't either. First you have to make them up, that means deciding what content you want to cover and what format you want to use. Essay - hard to grade but easy to create. Short answer or multiple choice - easy to grade but hard to create. Though it's a lot easier now with computers. We had to type them on a stencil and run them off on the mimeograph machine. And as soon as you handed them out, the students would smell them. Apparently, the fumes are somewhat toxic.