English Garden – Well, Maybe Not

There is nothing like Facebook to provide a forum for arguing with someone on the other side of the country or the world whom you will never meet in person.

My interests are varied: history, writing, music, and gardening. I’m a member of a number of Facebook discussion groups corresponding to my interests. In these groups, we have cordial and sometimes spirited discussions. But akin to those whom Stravinsky referred to as “arbiters of cultural taste,” there are some group members who believe it their job to correct the manners, politics, or in this case spelling, of absolute strangers. Normally I keep scrolling. Today my better angels did not prevail. I knew my response would be deleted by the administrator of the gardening group, as it eventually was, yet I could not resist the temptation for a tête-à-tête. (Yes, I know that technically a public post is not a tête-à-tête. But doesn’t it sound cool… and pompous.)

Let the snark begin!

The following is my sardonic critique for the group member who felt a need, in her words, to provide “this week’s lesson in English,” as she explained how to spell tomato and potato. (It’s not like Dan Quail is in the group.)

i no sum people dont no grammer as good as other’s. Butt i wood jest ruther leaf things along then other’s think im been a no it awl. 

Indubitably, the essential quality and nature of the English language is ne’er strained by one’s use of dialect, non-standard spelling, grammatical faux pas, or the garden-variety typo. 

I have a freaking PhD, but my great grandmother could garden circles around me. So there’s also that.

And that, gentle reader, is your life lesson for the day. You’re welcome.

Y’all come back now, ya hear.

Cole Veggies

When I get in bed late, I always wake up early for some unknown, perverted reason. When this happens I begin to ponder – or maybe it is a sleep-deprived delirium. Anyway, this morning I happened to be contemplating the recent events in the Catholic Church, and my mind slipped toward my music students. In discussions of Western music history of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, much of which involves music of the Catholic Church, I rattle off the Ordinary of the Mass or translate a Latin sequence (the same ones every semester). Because I know these things, my students immediately assume I’m Catholic. I’m not. But that has me thinking. If I were teaching botany or agri-science and listed the Cole veggies, would my students think I am cabbage?

That time I considered putting my kids on e-Bay

This is a memory from 2009, but worth sharing.

I’m considering putting my kids on e-Bay. A picture is worth a thousand words and should explain my rationale. (See the picture at the top of the blog.)

No, it hasn’t snowed in my son’s room. The white fluffy stuff covering the floor some six to eight inches deep is Styrofoam beanbag pellets. Before I discovered the Styrofoam blizzard, I knew the bag had a leak and would have to be discarded and a small mess cleaned up. I had to leave it as it was for a while and knew I’d get back to it. Then, I found little pellets scattered in the hallway. I was scolding the kids for having scattered them into the hallway, all the while thinking they had simply walked through the small spill and allowed static electricity to do its magic. So, I began vacuuming and calmly explaining – more or less calmly – how making a small mess worse created more work than necessary and took time away from other things, from more enjoyable things. Then, I turned the corner and saw their room. I had been calm up that point. I wasn’t calm any longer. I was loud.

In life, I really do try to make it a philosophy to laugh instead of cry. I’m trying to laugh. See for yourself and decide what you would do. In the meantime, I’m setting up my e-Bay account.