Grammar Police: Acceptable vs. Non-acceptable Ignorance

If I posted a status on Facebook claiming that there were 52 states in the US or that 2+2=7, people would in all likelihood not only correct me, but also lambaste the shit out of me for being so ignorant.

And yet, it’s considered passe, annoying, and even rude to correct improper grammar.  People like myself are often referred to as “grammar nazis,” as if preferring people use correct English, which we were supposed to have learned in school, is something about which to be embarrassed.

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Aside from wanting to grind my teeth into dust when I see people who should know better mix up “your” and “you’re,”  the educational and social double standard that this is somehow acceptable annoys the piss out of me.  These same people who complain about grammar nazis are likely also complaining about the “state of education” in the country.  I’m just sayin’…

grammar-memeIt’s not like these rules are arbitrary.  To me, the fact that “you” and “are” can combine to make “you’re” and that word’s meaning is completely different from “your” does not seem to be an impossible or nonsensical concept.  I’m really not even trying to rag on people who make this mistake (I even do it sometimes if my brain is moving faster than my fingers can type.)  It just annoys me that there seems to be some sort of double standard where, once out of high school, English is regarded as Math/Geography/[fill in blank with subject]’s bastard red-headed stepchild.  I’m not even talking about people needing to know every obscure rule of grammar there is;  I’m talking very basic grammar here.

No one loves a grammar nazi...except another grammar nazi...

No one loves a grammar nazi…except maybe another grammar nazi…

Well, I know all this bitching won’t do anything to change anything.  We grammar nazis are routinely ignored.  But I figured that at the very least, I could get a blog post out of it, and we could all enjoy some grammar memes.   Oh noes.  I’m a… “grammar nerd!”

I was actually THINKING this last night....

I was actually THINKING this last night….

No one is feeling MY nuts!

No one is feeling MY nuts!

You all just better watch your step! Liam is serious.

You all just better watch your step! Liam is serious.

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Update (aka: What Sh*t is Going Down this Friday) (*updated)

The academic portion of my studies in dog training with the Animal Behavior College has nine stages.  Some of them are longer than others, and after each stage, I take an open book test.  I can study online any time, but I requested hard copies of the material.  It’s no extra charge and not only is it easier for me to study that way, with less note-taking, but I’ll also have the materials at hand for any future reference.  But my books haven’t come yet, and I didn’t want to waste time, as my first Stage Exam was due only a week after the projected date of the books’ arrival (April 19th,) so I started studying online.

This was about a week and a half ago.

Today, I got the grade for my Stage 3 exam!  Yes, I have completed three stages (or chapters, as I like to think of them,) and taken three exams.  I’ve gotten 94%, 97%, and 95% respectively.  The second stage exam was on learning theory.  Permit me to brag a moment… Wait! I don’t need your permission; this is my blog!  Anyway, my academic “handler” told me that he was pleasantly surprised by my score, as many students have trouble with that chapter.  I told him I’m sure my background in psychology helped, as this was kind of like a refresher.

Pavlov's Dog (photo: howstuffworks.com)

Pavlov’s Dog
(photo: howstuffworks.com)

Anyway, I’m really pleased with my progress, and have been checking the mail everyday on the off-chance my books come early (I received an email that they had been shipped, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.)  I’d like to have them before starting Stage 4; I don’t want to take notes by hand anymore.  All I need is my trusty highlighter!

On another note, today is pizza day!  On Fridays, hubby and I often have a friend over and order either pizza or Japanese from Yamato.  I just found out Little Caesar’s still has/just got back their square, deep dish pizza.  And considering that I’ve sort of fallen off the strict calorie watching wagon (well, I was only ever hitching a ride on that bad boy to begin with,) I decided I needed to really torch some calories today.   Four pieces of that pizza will cost me about 1350 calories…  And let’s be real; I can easily eat four pieces.   Also, it’s ridiculous how excited I get over the prospect of yummy food.

New Image, courtesy of the AlienRedQueen

New Image, courtesy of the AlienRedQueen

See, you replace the dog food with…well, food food.  And that little dog there represents me– you can tell because of the eyeliner I added and the bad-ass doggie tattoo (there wasn’t enough room to put “Mom” on it.)

Now I’m just killing time, trying to kill calories, and keeping my kid happy until pizza time.

So, anyway, that’s my Friday in a nutshell.  How’s yours?

Update on the Update:  MY BOOKS ARE HERE!  Thank you, UPS man!

My goody box! Two head collars and a halter, as well as treat samples and a free Kong!  See my sexy polo shirt?

My goody box! Two head collars and a halter, as well as treat samples and a free Kong! See my sexy polo shirt?

Service to Animals, Service to People

So today I took the first concrete step towards my future.  Hubs and I invested in my future, and put a down payment on my continued education.  Only it has little to do with the degrees I already have.  But it is for something I’ve always enjoyed, and that is working with animals.  As soon as the enrollment process is completed, I’ll be starting coursework with the Animal Behavior College to become a certified dog trainer.  But I don’t want to work at the local Pet Smart teaching people’s ill-mannered pets to behave (though no disrespect if that’s your passion!)  I’d eventually like to work with animals that help people– chiefly service dogs or police dogs.

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Service animals are no longer just seeing eye dogs.  Animals of all species are now being utilized for all types of disabilities, both physical and mental.  Cats, dogs, monkeys, ferrets, goats, and even pigs are being used as companions to physically disabled people, people with agoraphobia and other anxiety disorders, and even bipolar disorder.  To me this exemplifies a more holistic and harmonious turn in the treatment of many severe and often debilitating health problems.  Simply put, I love how animals and the bonds they forge with their humans can help surmount even the toughest challenges and just make people happier.  

Then there are the police dogs, the bomb sniffing dogs, the cadaver sniffing dogs, the war dogs…   These dogs truly are service dogs, and they are heroes!

And I definitely want to be a part of this.  I love animals…   People, meh…  I don’t care for people as a whole, although I do generally like being around people on a more individual level.  I have a lot of interests in my life– art, writing, music, forensics, sports, horseback riding, my family…  It’s hard to give time to everything in my life that I enjoy, and even harder– for me– to settle on a career path, but I think this is something that can make me happy…

Which in the end is more important to me at the end of the day than any other considerations like money or prestige.

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i-service-dog-sharif

Tabula Rasa

The written English language is pretty strange, a fact that is never more apparent than when you are teaching a small human to read.  My daughter is only 2 and a half, and even though we read to her a lot, and of course there are plenty of alphabet based books out there, I was still surprised to learn she had mastered the recognition of the entire upper case alphabet.  It happened when my back was turned, so to speak, the same as when I discovered she knew how to match shapes  (flash cards.)  I was trying to teach her how to put like colors together, and the next thing I knew, she was putting the shapes together.  I continue to underestimate her capabilities.

In the past couple of weeks, her speaking has taken off, and she often mimics words we say (much to our embarrassment, sometimes,) as well as echoing the tail end of songs from her favorite kids shows.  The point of this long intro is that it seems as if she will be learning to speak and learning to read simultaneously.

The favorite show of the day/week/month is Super Why!   For you non-parents or non-toddler having parents, Super Why! is a PBS kid’s show featuring characters who read, spell,and solve “super big” problems through the use of books (in this case, usually a spin on a common children’s tale like Humpty Dumpty or Aladdin.)

For now, we’ll just set aside the idea that even the littlest issue (like leaving the water running) is a “super big” problem.  As it goes, Super Why! is a pretty good kid’s show.  And now that J* is proudly recognizing letters everywhere, from Nike sweatshirts to the “input” channel on the TV, she loves this show.  No matter what hubby and I are watching or playing, J* is hovering around, waiting to steal the controller with her lilting request to watch “Boy? Boy? Boy?” (She calls it this because of when I taught her the main character was a little boy.)

As I sat on the couch this morning, cuddling with my sick little snuggle bug and watching her favorite show, I was again reminded of how strange English can be.

We were learning to spell “kick,” to help the little duck in the story learn to swim.

Princess P asked , “What letter makes a keh sound?”  The answer she was looking for was of course “K.”

It was around this point I began to ponder what a useless letter “C” is.

What words start with C?

Cat. Car. Cane. Crown.  They all begin with a “hard” C.  Why don’t we spell them kat,kar,kane,krown?

How about Ceiling, Cease, Cement?  They’re soft C’s that sound the same as an S (esss.)  So why not Seiling (or better yet “seeling,”) sease, sement?

So what function does a C serve that can not either be served by a K or an S?  Why does the alphabet even have a C? I’m sure there’s a reason.  I just don’t understand the logic behind it.

Then when you consider “long and short vowels” and words with silent letters like head, kick, read (which can be either “reed” or “red”,) kneel, and basically any word that ends in a silent “e,” it’s a wonder anyone ever learns to read.

Really, it seems that learning to read English is only 2 parts phonetics, and the other third is simply rote memorization of the rules of linguistics and grammar.

Apparently, at her school, one of my nieces is being taught to read without phonics.  I’m assuming she is being taught the whole language method.  If I had to guess, I would say the way most of my peers learned to read was probably a combination of both, taught at age appropriate levels.

In any case, my child is a blank slate, eager to be filled with new words and experiences, and I think she is already on an early path to reading.  However she learns to read, I hope takes her everywhere she wants to go, and that she enjoys reading as much as her father and I.

photo credit: quickmeme.com

photo credit: quickmeme.com

DP: Helpless? I Don’t Think So!

The DP Challenge for today is sort of ironic:

Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?

It’s irony is two-fold in that I have felt sort of helpless about my life for a while.  Please understand, I am not unhappy with my life.  I have a wonderful, hard-working, good-looking hubby and a beautiful, intelligent, and sweet two year old girl.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything…  and yet, other aspects of my life have been suffering for a while, for many reasons.

I’d say the root of this is probably the unpleasant shock that came when I graduated from college in 2005 with a double degree… and could not get a job.   Getting a job was like getting credit in a way.  If you don’t have credit, you can’t get credit.  Similarly, there are so many people in the job market today that even in specialized positions, employers feel they have a wide sea of eager fish to choose from.  We eagerly await their return calls, while they have their choice of prospect after prospect in a revolving door of interviews.  Also, they want education.  They want that little piece of paper that says you went to school for at least for years and your education is specialized in this or that.  But…

They also want job experience.  I worked my way full time and went to school part-time, and I worked part time and to school full-time, and I’m sure variations of the two.  But my job was at a mortgage company– read: not my desired career field.  So when exactly, after working in the day and then going off to school in the evening, or visa versa, was I supposed to have time to intern for job experience.  I had my own apartment, no roommates, bills to pay.

Also, turns out my majors were not well thought out.  Turns out, to get a decent job in Psychology, you pretty much need a Master’s degree, and to work in a specialized field in Criminal Justice, it’s usually advised that you walk a beat.

Maybe my counselor in the Student Aid office should have mentioned some of this stuff when she was suggesting I declare a double major.  Just saying.

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Maybe you should have planned better and got a job in your career field, you may say.

To which I would answer either 1) How, with no education?  or

2) Hindsight is 20/20.  Should I continue to pay for making ill-informed or uninformed choices forever?

But alas, I digress…  The point is, suffice it to say, I only had a general idea of what I might want to do.  It’s moot now anyway, because I don’t think I could stomach the job I initially dreamed of having, a criminal profiling job.  I’ve become too sensitive.

And despite having a fulfilling home life, my “career” has fallen by the wayside.

I also have long had aspirations of writing novels as well, but have never been able to complete a novel length manuscript (see my post on writer’s block.)

I have also long wanted to work with animals.

I have a lot of interests and a little experience with a lot of things.  In other words, I know a little about a lot.

Do you see my problem here?  My goals are many and thus I have not given 100% to any of them.  There’s also the money problem.  I haven’t held another full time, career type position since my three and a half year stint at the mortgage company.  Not for lack of trying.  Just a no-go.  So we don’t really have extra money now, even for me to invest in myself.  Similarly, hubby has some ideas of his own he  may or may not decide to pursue.

Well, this brings me to the second reason the DP Challenge for today is sort of ironic.  I have been entertaining the idea for a while that I would love to work either in animal control or with police and service dogs.

Yesterday, I found out my sister is going to school to work with dogs.  I talked to her on the phone today and she offered to send the info about her program.  I am excited, but I am already thinking of all the reasons this won’t work out for me.

I won’t have the money for the program; I won’t have the time; There’s no one to watch the baby if I have to go to classes while hubby is at work; Will hubby be upset if I want to go to school and he still hasn’t gotten to?

But this could be the first step in me “taking the reins back” on my professional life, so to speak.  I also tend to vacillate between being hopeful and being pessimistic about my career situation, and so maybe I need to put a cork in the negativity and, you know… like Nike says, Just do it! Swish!