Riddle Me This

7 05 2011

Teaching, I think, could truly be an Olympic event as an exercise in sheer patience. 

My class needed to do ONE thing this week — come up with a Persuasive topic to write a paper on.  That’s it.  Tell me what you’re going to research and persuade a reader about.  About half of them did this, in a couple of sentences or less.  Fine.  Good.  Not complicated.  The other half?  They turned in one-word responses like, “Drugs,” “Marriage,” “Education,” and, sort of creepily, “Guns.” 

I feel like I need to send out a memo reminding the class that we’re not, in fact, playing Balderdash or Apples-to-Apples and are, in fact, engaging in college-level coursework. 

Also, in other strange news: My college’s student body felt the need to TP the Quad in “honor” of Bin Laden’s death.  Now, they usually roll the quad for athletic victories (luckily for our beleagured janitorial staff, we have had a piss poor season).  I can understand how a brutal finals week would be enlivened by celebration, but it struck me as just creepy and odd.  Am I wrong?  Perhaps I should have embraced my inner sociopath and brought some TP myself?





God Save Me from Stupidity

29 04 2011

When one of my devil children finished studying for her final today, I let her watch some of the royal wedding coverage, not leastly because I FUCKING LOVE ME SOME ROYAL WEDDING NONSENSE.  Anyhow.  We tuned in to watch highlights on our laptops and while she was watching the exit from Westminster Abbey and then the processional, she suddenly got a weird puzzled look on her face. 

“Why are they playing ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ at the English wedding?”  She asked, perplexed.

It took me a second. 

“That, devil child, is ‘God Save the Queen.’” 

Oh, America.  What you lack in smarts, you make up for in plagiarized national anthems.





Suggestions?

17 04 2011

Hi there loyal fans. 

So, I just was treated to listening to my own recorded voice which is always a harrowing experience.  I have a low-pitched lady voice and a comes-then-goes Southern accent, so when I’m recorded, I sound like a festival of impairment.  I also talk super fucking fast, which is why my students have to record me to begin with.  Sorry, students.  (Not that any of them read this blog…  It’s like my fortress of solitude… bruhahaha!). 

Anyhow.  I realized that my summaries of Great Literature are pretty fucking funny, at least when played back via a recording device.  One of my educational jobs is to tutor British, American and other literatures, so this involves a lot of quick summation since the kids a) barely read and b) don’t retain anything they *do* read.  What I’d like to know is:  Would you, loyal blog readers, like to hear these insane summations?  They are plenty profane (I work at the college level, so fuck that swear jar noise) and run quite a gamut, genre-wise.  I have an entire 3-ring binder full of notes that I base these little “lectures” on so it would be pretty simple to transcribe them here, on my blog.  I can even take requests, since I’m fairly sure there is not a lot I have not read.  It will still be snarky (I mean, have you MET ME?!) but these will be less reviews, per se, than quick summaries. 

Let me know in the comments, kids, and put down any requests.  I will compile a list of top ten and start doing them next week, if ya’ll think this is a good idea. 

PS  Check out the blog roll!  It’s been updated!  La la la…





Westboro Baptist Church = Asstrees

12 04 2011

If that ain’t a word, it should be. 

The least decent, tasteful and humane organization that brought us all kinds of crazy is making waves in my hometown – the cunt wagons are apparently going to be picketing my former high school in the near future, an action I would normally applaud.  But since they’re not there to picket the sub-par education levels and are instead protesting “violent and caterwauling” students, I just can’t get on board.  Seriously?  “Violent and caterwauling?”  Is that in Leviticus some place?  Deuteronomy?  Somewhere between the shellfish and how much you can sell your surly daughter for in the slave market?  Crazy people:  You’re only going to be moderately successful at your craziness with vague underpinnings like this.  Also, you open yourself up to much more hilarious and effective mockery.  Take note.





Jesus H. Christ (Esquire?)

18 01 2011

Good God.  Literally.  I just got the following from a student.  Now, it’s not a terrible essay.  It’s actually quite sweet.  But the weird thing is, the assignment was to take two seemingly opposite things and do a thorough pro/con list for both.  I have no idea how she got from point A (assignment on syllabus) to point B (essay on Jesus).

“REDACTED.”

Also, “he will not waste any affliction”?  Am I the only one who thinks that sounds rather like he has some extra plagues lying around and will just pour them on us whenever, so as not to “waste” them?!

UPDATE:  The student from the crazy affirmative action essay (from “Back”) has gone to the dean about the offensiveness of white people writing about affirmative action (nevermind that the author is hispanic), so I am striking some of my materials from the record until I feel it’s ok to post them again.  Like I mentioned, I feel bad for her ire, and I’m genuinely sorry she’s angsty about this, so it’s not right for me to post these right now.  Sorry, sports fans.





The Science of Superheroes

3 06 2010

 Recently, a prompt at Jezebel.com (What Was Your Most Ridiculous College Class?) really reminded me of my days at *sigh* University of Central Florida.  I know, I know, it’s not like I should have really expected any better from a school located in the dead center of Flori-duh, but what can I say?  It was cheap. 

So, the class that first came to mind as “absurd” was my credit for Physics, though it was entitled: “The Science of SUPERHEROES.”  Yes, the caps are original.  I was an English major, and I just wanted to get the damn thing over with, so much so that I literally didn’t see a problem with signing up for a course that was seemingly designed by a 40-year-old Warcrafter living in his mom’s basement.  Actually, the professor, bless his heart, was from Greece, and his accent was a tad heavy, especially on words like “syllabus,” which he pronounced “Silly-BOOS.”  He had created the course from scratch, clearly in a masturbatory fantasy involving Wonder Woman posters, and was hoping the department would let him expand it in the coming years.  I don’t think this happened. 

We spent an entire semester reading comic books, taking field trips to the new Spiderman and X-Men movies, and discussing AT LENGTH all the reasons that Superman couldn’t fly but Batman probably could.  In retrospect, it was a nerd-girl’s dream class, and I had a great deal of fun writing essays entitled, “Spidy’s Web Throwing:  Fact or Fiction?” and “Where Will You Be When the Earth Starts Turning Backwards?” and “How to Prepare for the Mutant Take-Over: 10 Easy Steps.”  Yes, I got grades for these papers.  Yes, I got A’s (English majors, it should be noted, are nothing if not long-winded).  But each class was like going to some secret enclave at Comic-Con (read: like the elevator) where comic books and super-powers were picked apart with the same fervor and detail as an academic conference on James Joyce’s Ulysses.  No question was too ridiculous to warrant a 3-hour discussion about, including but not limited to: how one might construct Batman’s accoutrements in one’s gardage; the temperature difference between Earth and Krypton; whether or not the Mutants were the “real” zombie apocalypse (which was equally inevitable); if Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler, had ever tried psychadelic drugs (one class member posited that the whole Batman series was a fantasy of Alfred’s, ala Walter Mitty, St. Elsewhere or similar).  The powerpoint presentations alone were hilarious if baffling, featuring clip-art in lieu of trademarked superheros, which only served to confuse us further. 

Pictured: SCIENCE

 

What about you, loyal readers?  What was your biggest waste of time from your college daze?





Students Gone Wild

17 04 2010

Pictured: The End Result of my Teaching Career

 

It’s not that teachers are bad people, it’s just that we’ve made terrible life choices.

I guess it’s an ambiguous honor when you’re beloved enough by your students that they call you at 2 PM on a Saturday, frantically wanting to know where to find a large rubber dildo.

Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention 2 things: 1) the message was texted, and I mentally gave the student mental points for correctly spelling both “rubber” and “dildo” and 2) the student is a boy, who followed up text #1 with text #2: “Don’t judge me. I’ll explain later.”

When I called back with the answer (I mean, in all fairness, they totally picked the right person to tell them where to go sex toy shopping in my conservative one-horse/whore/dildo-shop town), my opener was, “Rubber or latex?” And then, later, the sign off from my own personal peanut gallery was, “I TOLD you guys she would know! Thanks! See you Monday for school!”

So either the entire baseball team is roaming my town on a misguidedly homoerotic shopping spree, or college is simply keeping young men too fucking busy to go boondoggin’ after chicks (as should be their wont).

I gotta just say: the image of burly young college dudes roaring around town in a Honda Civic (or similar), waving brightly colored plastic dildoes out the car windows really brings a smile to my face. Truly, this was why I got into teaching.





A Lesson on Gender

28 02 2010

So, I was out getting my drink on last night (as is, usually, my wont, though lately I’ve been too fucking tired after working on this Neverending House to rock out with my Martini out — where’s that goddamn Luck Dragon, Falcor, when you need him?!  Probably busy terrorizing school children… As is his wont.) and, in typical Sorcia fashion, managed to turn the conversation to an obscure medical tradition exploited in literature. 

Mommy drinks because you cry, children. 

And it struck me that you, dear loyal readers, might also be hankering for yet another little history lesson, since the last few have been so informative.  Here’s what I learned as an English MA degree holder about vaginas and penises as perceived in the Renaissance:

Galen’s One-Sex Theory

Galen was a charming motherfucker, so let’s get that out of the way first and foremost.  Left a fucking billionaire (or hunder-aire or whatever they had back then) at his prime boning years, he decided to philosophize about medicine.  And also about pussy.  Of course.  He’s the asshole we have to thank for bloodletting becoming popular, so thanks a lot for the bloody charade that medicine became for centuries, douche-bag.

He had, in his infinite wisdom, noticed that ladies have lady parts (“DOWN THERE” as my mother furtively hisses) and gents carry around some more external fishing gear.  Clever guy.  He ALSO noticed that penises, generally, tended to fit neatly into a willing vagina, leading us to consider that he had the most hilariously fun “research” grant ever.   

So he comes to the conclusion that, naturally, women just have an inverted penis that we are mistakenly calling by another name, er, names (fill in the blank, here).  He actually compares your lady business with the EYES OF A MOLE.  Cause that’s how he rolls.  The comparison was that mole eyes and vaginas don’t open, they’re both just fine examples of how God likes to make mistakes.  That’s right.  Vaginas = FAIL.  From a book on gender, cited below: Pussies are, for all intents and purposes, failed cocks, or, “an imperfect version of what they would be were they thrust out” (28).  Cocks = WIN!

So there was just ONE sex, male (the “perfect” one, remember), and so girls were just infuriatingly imperfect specimens of that single gender.  Of course, these were people who mixed up semen and breast milk, figuring that, eh, what can you do?  It probably all comes from the same place.  In Galen’s defense, he did suggest, probably as a goddamn footnote, that it helped conception if women could be brought to orgasm (we had sperm too, you see, that was required to mix with Man Juice to make a baby). 

Pictured: Vagina

These are ALSO the same assholes who believed in the humours.  You know, we’re all made up of invisible elements that we can never risk washing off by taking a fucking BATH.  Along with the humours, there was also the idea that women were, by nature, colder than men.  So it was proposed that girl babies just didn’t get warm enough while buns in the proverbial ovens, and along with innate feminine laziness, was why they didn’t sprout a penis.  This fantastic theory lead folks to think that, perhaps, if women TRIED hard enough, or got overheated, that they might, at long last, turn into perfect males.  You get fucked-up apocryphal stories about sheep-herding lassies who become men after too-vigorous runs after the sheepies.   

To re-cap, then:  Essentially, bitches be too lazy to oblige their desperate male-heir wanting parents by popping a penis out.  Also, it’s mom’s fault, too, because her bun warmer is clearly defunct. 

People believed this shit (along with the horrifyingly erroneous assumption that slitting your veins was a good cure for the common cold) until the 1800′s.  That means we had TRAINS before we figured out that women were not innately lazier and more cold-blooded than men (though modern science has yet to explain Ann Coulter, so there’s that.  Well played, Galen).   

TRAINS. 

If you love this kind of stuff like I do (and who doesn’t?!), check out Thomas Laqueur’s book, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud.  It’s magical.





Who Would Jesus Abort?

24 01 2010

I mean, if I were a minor deity, I think I would really have spent more of my mortal years coming up with lengthy lists of people that would be, you know, disposed of early on.  Like Hitler, Dick Cheney, the assholes who invented the SATs, and Stephanie Meyer. 

Meanwhile, I’m not insensitive to the fact that abortion is a controversial topic.  For reasons that clearly suggest heavy drug-use of my immediate superiors, I am forced to ask my online classes (in their interweb chat forums that they are graded on, for “participation”), what Buddhists would think about abortion.  This is GOOD, in that it forces my narrow-minded “students” [read: home-schooling helicopter moms, 40-year-old Jesus freaks and twitchy post-Iraq soldiers] to read up about an Eastern religion and supposedly illustrate their knowledge in class.  This is BAD, in that it arouses contempt from this already volatile group whose nuanced world-view tends to contain the phrase, “Let’s just nuke all them brown folks over there in the Middle East!”    Needless to say, I’m treading as lightly as I can.  And ya’ll know my version of “treading lightly,” on a good day, would rarely get me surviving past a littered field of land mines. 

Here’s a delightful smattering of responses from the Buddhism/Abortion topic:  [in advance, please note this giant SIC, right up front.  Thanks.]

“it doesnt matter WHAT they do in tibet or Tahiti or wherever.  This is the USA and Im pretty sure the founding fathers left jesus in charge.”

“Abortion is murder.  how would you liek it if your mother had aborted you?”

“I like how when we do stuff to animals its fine but as soon as you start doing stuff to people we start calling it ABORTION and EUTHANIASIA.”

[in response to one relatively erudite young lady stating that she was sure most major world religions condemned murder, at least theoretically and theologically]:  “Yeah?  You have never been out of this country i am sure.  You would see all the crazy people then who hate us, Americans, and blow everyone up around them just trying to kill a US solider or too.” 

So good news, everyone!  In a few years, every right-wing nut will have an online degree in Business Management and then won’t our corporations be in good hands?  Let’s all take a moments of silence to imagine the bright future ahead.

I DO mean bright.  ‘Cause that shit will likely be an Apocalyptic nuclear blast, designed to kill them pesky brown people. 

And the Tahitians.





General Sherman was a Nazi

8 12 2009

It’s true!  Clearly, dear readers, you have been neglecting your charity work this holiday season.  Why not take some time out of your leisurely, Recession-era shopping (“That’ll be one value meal an, uh, 14 Hardee’s Coupons — whoops!  I mean FIFTEEN.  Almost forgot Aunt Gladys.”) and volunteer to help idiots at your local university study for finals?  It’s what the baby Jesus, surely, would want you to do.  Or the Hanukkah Troll.  Either way, soon, you too can be having conversations like this:

“Ok, so the Final is going to cover both World Wars, through the Cold War and into Modern politics?”  I ask guilelessly. 

“Yer.”  I am no longer to be rewarded with actual words, my students just mumble unintelligible things one might hear from a hobo camp after Thunderbird has made a few generous rounds. 

“Alright.  Give me the dates of World War II.”  I sighed, wishing I was allowed to make my kids write my Christmas cards for me as penance. 

“Whut?”  *THWACK*  “Hey!  My ipod!”

“Suck it, doucher.  Dates.  World War II*.”  The ipod is surreptitiously placed under my pile of Christmas cards because, yes, I bring them to work with me, so that the guilt never ends. 

“I don’t fucking know.”  Sulks. 

“Well, then fucking guess, please.”  I begin tapping a pen rather viciously on the pile under which his ipod rests.  *WHAPATA-WHAPATA-WHAPATA* 

Eyeing my pen nervously, finally, the Mayor of Corky town speaks:  “Maybe, I don’t know, 1864?”  Pen ceases. 

Pictured: The Battle of Gettysburg

“What?  That’s… towards the end of the CIVIL War.  No, ok.  Tell you what.  Let’s go back to the 1st World War.  When was the Arch-duke Ferdinand assassinated?”  I would have been alarmed a year ago, now I’m just TIRED.  Teaching is like wandering into a swamp of despair these days, sans map, torch or extra dog to eat when the going gets rough.  Jack London would have loved this shit. 

“Man, I don’t know.  Weren’t we in the middle of the Great Depression?” 

“In 1914?”  I ask, just trying to measure the depth of his stupidity by rubbing my eyelids until they feel ready to flake right the fuck off.  “No, though arguably, the subsequent Prohibition of the 20′s was probably damn near the most depressing shit we’ve ever done as a nation.”  I bark out a laugh, wishing I was allowed to drink on the job, something those Prohibition assholes are probably responsible for me NOT doing. 

“The … whut?”  He asked, finally taking notes and mangling the spelling of “prohibition”: “pro-homission.”

“The… Prohibition.  You know, when no one was allowed to buy alcohol for like 10 years?”  I mean, surely college students, at least, are still shocked into memorizing this terrible time in American history.  He squints at me, like maybe it’s poor vision that is forcing him to LEARN THINGS. 

“You lying.”  He stated simply, kicking back in his chair.  “Where would all the alcohol go?”  A fair point, even from an idiot who confuses Grant’s Wilderness Tour for a Nazi Death March. 

“Well, I mean, some people could still get it.  That was when we had the birth of the Mob.  And moon-shiners.”  I said, trying to back-pedal and figure out where to begin. 

“So, see?  It wasn’t really gone.  You’re just making shit up.”  He determined, smugly satisfied. 

“What?!  Why would I make up the Prohibition?  What possible motivation would I have in teaching you about a fake historical — you know what?  Nevermind.  What are you writing your paper on for this class?”  The last words come up muffled from where my head has descended into the pile of Christmas cards as I try to eat my way through the table and into a safe place of clear insanity, where I might be allowed to live in a clean hospital with no students, puttering about the grounds harmlessly unaware of the Prohibition. 

“Oh, man.  My paper is gonna be LEGIT.”  [Kids are saying 'legit' again?  I feel like I'm in the 6th grade, dancing to "Too Legit to Quit."  It's disconcerting.]  Also, this particular child is a white kid, and from a less-than-credible Southern state’s public school system, so maybe he’s just retarded. 

“Well, good!”  I say, doubtful. 

“Imma comparing the Lindbergh baby with that move, Taken.  Hey, where you goin??  We need to talk about fucking World War I and the space race, man.” 

Too late.  If I can’t drink on the job, maybe I can start drinking in my car. 

Happy Holidays, troops.  Just remember, even in line to buy BP gas cards as gift in the midst of this Recession, at least the Hanukkah Troll hasn’t cursed you with teenagers in the throes of finals week.             

*  Seriously, I had this conversation on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  It makes me wish my husband’s high school janitor was around.**

**  In high school, Husband got a petition signed for everyone to observe a moment of silence in memory of John Lennon.  Later, he was accosted, roughed up and threatened by the head Janitor, a mild man named Marcus whom Husband insisted on calling “Tony,” for reasons best left to the high school boy idea of humor.  “Tony” shook my lanky punk husband around for a minute, telling him that he had some nerve, getting a moment of silence for that dirty hippy when his brother had died in WWII and no one had a moment of silence for Pearl Harbor.  I know.  Neither one of us have shit for luck with janitors.








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