El Communicado Non Comprehendo, Part I

In a country with diverse nationalities and languages, it is hardly surprising that some difficulties arise in communications. However, listening to and understanding others often happens between people who speak the “universal” English language as well. For two examples about misunderstandings that can happen even when an American native knows another language well, retired RHS Spanish teacher Marietta Lipps knows how confusion can arise. She wonders sometimes about what happened when the Chevy Nova automobile was named because “no va” in Spanish means “It doesn’t run.” One can only hope…

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Observations: Burger Flipper for the World

Causing drivers to make sudden unsafe exits from freeways, eliciting excited screeches from children, making the family dog whine and yelp in anticipation, yanking old men with canes and walkers into snowstorms to meet their cohorts for coffee and other tempting things: Ah! It’s McDonald’s Golden Arches at work. The power this nearly universal trademark has on hungry people makes it seem as if the “M” of the arches should stand for “Magnet.” Possibly the most recognizable trademark in the world, it has been pulling humanity in for enough decades…

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To Pea Or Not To Pea; To Bean Or Not To Bean

Are dogs able to spit? Can they puff up their jowls and force air out like as human’s “p-tui” in response to something disliked? Our coonhound Brutus made me imagine strange possibilities one morning when I picked up his food bowl several months ago. Brutus has always had a hearty appetite, no doubt enhanced by my habit of adding something tasty to my dogs’ kibble meals: a scoop of canned dog food, some chicken skins, some gravy. The previous evening, I had part of a chicken pot pie left over…

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Gremlins

Very few people avoid being plagued with gremlins, whether the creatures’ presence is obvious or not.  Gremlins avoid super-organized, compulsively neat folks and wisely keep their distance but still wait for the pouncing moment. Gremlins’ only good quality is their loyalty; they never leave their assigned people. Their qualities range from the mildly contentious to the averagely malevolent, to the downright destructive, hateful S.O.B./Bitch types. Gremlins are always of the same sex as the host person as they emerge right there on the birthing table of about 80 percent of…

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The Short and Winding Route to School

When a person’s drive to work and back home involves only a few miles, it may not create many lasting memories. However, for a variety of reasons, my 30 years of trips to two high schools during my teaching days included several unusual events. My first two years as a teacher were at Mentor High School on Rt. 615. During 1965 – ’66, I lived with my widowed father just within the eastern border of Mentor, so the drive to the school was only about ten miles. The route included…

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Underground Humor and Pranks, Part 2

Even though the RHS staff during the years I taught there seemed populated with many people who had finely-tuned appreciation for pranks and humor, students were hardly exempt from such “creativity.” In addition, almost all school personnel, functioning in an environment demanding much communication, are likely to fall prey to occasional bloopers or laughable moments themselves. One such person who has always been mindful of her own naivety is Elaine Uonelli, long-time speech and hearing therapist for the school district. Her schedule was arranged to allow visits to all the…

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Underground Humor and Pranks Part I

Considering the public’s expectation that schools are supposed to be serious centers of learning designed to develop students’ knowledge and intellectual skills, sometimes high schools can have a collection of “characters” who create an underground of humor and lighthearted fun. Especially as I think of RHS during my years there, from 1967 – ‘95, the staff and students generated many pleasant recollections that I look back on fondly because they still amuse me. Since I had experience teaching at only one other school before RHS, I don’t have much to…

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Never Underestimate What a Teenager Might Say or Do, Part II

Any parent or teacher of teenagers tends to learn early on that the emotional responses teens exhibit are usually outsized and often extreme, especially if events involve startling/scary happenings. In addition, when confronted with unexpected situations, teens are prone to needing much time to expound with their peers about them afterward. Most teenagers are similar in size to the adults around them. Meanwhile, older people can be taken aback by the extent of junior and senior high schoolers’ reactions to unusual things; it is easy to forget that teens haven’t…

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The Punning Music Teacher Explains Some Country Songs

Country music has enjoyed explosive success for many decades, and no music class would be complete without recognizing some of country’s greatest stars. The category covers such a wide variety of human emotions and experiences that today, Class, we will concentrate on only a few singers who kept their topics in light, funny or off-beat modes. One of the most prolific writers and singers of country music is also one of the oldest; Willie Nelson, age 87, is still one of the most recognizable talents because of his versatility in…

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Never Underestimate What a Teenager Might Say or Do, Part 1

Being well into a teaching career and/or being a parent to a teenager can amount to a whole new learning experience for those who think they know a great deal about young people.  After all, we were their ages once, correct? We tend to forget much about how the teenage mind operates, plus we underestimate how much life has changed from one generation to the next. Volumes have been written by teachers or others who work with young people. There are nostalgic, heart-warming and surprising insights that teachers can recount…

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