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And So It Goes

Another year comes to a close just like last December and the Decembers prior and the Decembers yet to come...well at least until 2012 I'm told. I think we at least need to get to 2015 so we can see if we really do end up with hover boards and flying cars like in Back to the Future: Part II. Great Scott, I digress.

Normally this is the time when people decide to turn over a new leaf, to reinvent themselves, to make plans for the next year because it's going to be different. They're finally going to do all those things they've been meaning to do for the past 12 months (and probably 12 years). As cynical as this is beginning to sound, I don't think making resolutions is bad, it's just that we reflect on our failures and vow not to repeat them and then we do just that: repeat them.

I guess it comes down to etymology.

1 intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, plan; commitment, pledge, promise.
2 motion, proposal, proposition, resolve.
3 determination, purpose, purposefulness, resolve, resoluteness, single-mindedness, firmness, firmness of purpose; steadfastness, staunchness, perseverance, persistence, indefatigability, tenacity, tenaciousness, staying power, dedication, commitment; stubbornness, doggedness, obstinacy, obduracy; boldness, spiritedness, braveness, bravery, courage, pluck, grit, courageousness; informal guts, spunk; formal pertinacity.

So, what, we try to do something or not do something this time around? "Oh, well, at least I tried." Or we are resolved, determined, we are pledging in spirited, spunky boldness to stay true to our commitment to do or not do x, y, and z. But what of our failures and why at this time? New year. New you. But every Monday marks a new work week; every Friday marks a new weekend; and every dawn marks a new day. Sure, make a resolution, or ten. Give it a good shot. Make some improvements for the better, there's honor in that. But in March when the commitment fizzles, remember that you could just try again the next week, the next month, the next day. There's no need to leave all of our resolving for this one 24 hour span.

Do I have resolutions? I suppose I do. They're the same things that have come up at various times throughout the year, throughout the past years. Those "I really oughtta..." things. Are there new ones? I don't know yet. Let's see what comes up in March.


Just to Clarify...

Write a blog post in response to "The Inner Ring" (see previous blog post) before noon on Saturday (or sometime this weekend).

Read and annotate George W. Bush's 9/11 speech (linked on my website)

Read EAA Chapter 19 on Logical Fallacies (I recommend taking notes, but have no specific requirement for you to do so).

We'll be working with both the Bush speech and Ch 19 on Monday and into Tuesday.

You also have a vocab quiz on Monday (students responsible for the definitions and quiz questions really need to get on it, I've only received a few...) and  next week I'll ask to see your "Research Log" for your Blog Study Project. I'm not looking to see that you've invested hours and hours and pages and pages, I am looking to see that you have invested some hours and some pages and that you're pretty well acquainted with your blog of choice at this point. 


The Inner Ring

Please write a response to "The Inner Ring" on your blog by Saturday, let's just go with noon. You may write a response to what Lewis is saying, examples of how it applies to high school, general sentiments on this concept of Inner Rings and/or our motivation for belonging, etc. It need to be obviously connected to and relevant to the speech, but otherwise you have some freedom. You could get a little creative and write from the perspective of a King's College grad who heard the speech.


How do I post a video to my blog from YouTube?

How do I post a video to my blog from YouTube?

Embedding a Video

See previous post for instructions on embedding a video from You Tube.

Another place to find great speeches is American Rhetoric. To embed a video from this site might be more complicated, but many of the speeches are also found on You Tube, so you could start at and find a speech you like then go to You Tube to embed it.

Or you can link to the video, just make it an active link. You must use the link feature (along the tool bar with font choices and formatting options when composing a post). It's right next to the buttons for inserting pictures and video, which you should also experiment with.

If you choose to, you could download a video from You Tube using KeepVid and then embed it in a post using the insert video feature (it's the little black directors "cut" symbol).

In short, you have many options, so please don't just paste the long URL in your post and leave it at that. find a way to actively connect your audience to the speech you found, and say a word or two about the speech please.



Scallywag | skalē- wag | also scalawag | skaləˌwag|  
a person who behaves badly but in an amusingly mischievous rather than harmful way; a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel; a rascal.

a white Southerner who collaborated with northern Republicans during Reconstruction, often for personal profit. The term was used derisively by white Southern Democrats who opposed Reconstruction legislation.

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: of unknown origin.

As useful and interesting as the historical definition is, the informal will be my focus.

 Some synonyms that come to mind for this delightful word are the ones that show up in the definition: scoundrel and rascal. But why end there? Knave, rapscallion, rogue, varlet, villain, scamp, imp, hellion, and monkey all can serve as names for someone who is acting a scoundrel. Of these, varlet was less-than-familiar but has since been initiated into my working vocabulary (I accused my cat of varletry).The other familiar synonyms put a smile on my lips because, hey, I love a good moniker, you villainous, impish knave!

What I wasn't expecting when conducting my official etymological research of scallywag was the list of terms used to refer to children. Evidently my sentiments toward wee tots are echoed throughout the world (or at least the English-speaking world). Kid, nipper, tiddler, youngster, tike, tyke, shaver, small fry, nestling, brat, terror, holy terror, young 'un, lad, rug-rat, urchin, ankle-biter, and, guttersnipe all surfaced as possible synonyms for child. An interesting study in diction, perhaps. 

But back to scallywag. It sounds funny. The -lly reminds me of the word silly and the cadence of the word itself makes me think of polliwogs -- a word which I have always found amusing. The original source I consulted maintains that the origins are unknown, but I have seen others that argue the term scallywag, meaning "disreputable fellow," is an alteration of a Scottish term scallag meaning "a rustic and habitual joker" while yet another insists that its origin is Irish or from some province in Northern England but doesn't offer much beyond that. Of course these sources are all of questionable integrity, but they do seem to agree that scallywag is a term used to describe those with a penchant for mischief.


Hi My Name Is...

Just wanted to extend to you a friendly reminder that it actually is possible to change your name to anything you want. This guy in Oregon sure did, and countless celebrities do it (Madonna, Cher, Chaka Khan, Bono, Alicia Keys, Moby, Meat Loaf, Snoop Dogg, Sting, and Vanilla Ice) and some of them multiple times. Enter Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy, Puffy, Puff, Sean "Puffy" Combs, recently known as P. Diddy, just Diddy, and according to some Diddy Dirty Money, and Sean John are on the table as options for a new identity. To be fair, some of these are variations of the same name, and others are only rumored (evidently he did not change his name to Diddy Dirty Money, though I wouldn't put it past him, and it's only a rumor that he wants to be known as Sean John, the name of his clothing line) but still. I've been to the DMV, I've been to the social security agency, I've waited in those lines and filled out that paperwork. It's unpleasant and tedious, why do it more than once? Oh, right, he has a team of employees grunts to do that for him.

In any case, making multiple name changes is absurd. What is perhaps more absurd though is adopting a ludicrous name like Meat Loaf, or Moby. Celebrities have the alibi of needing something memorable and unique, and they graciously bestow this on their children (like poor little Bronx Mowgli or Sage Moonblood). Then there's Captain Awesome. When any "normal" person adopts a bizarre name it's just that: bizarre. It reminds me of the episode of Friends when Phoebe and Mike change their names. Maybe I should change my name. I mean, I did it once, I could do it again. I'll be taking suggestions...

College Board to the Rescue!

The College Board has just recently announced that they are no longer deducting points for incorrect responses on the multiple choice portion of the AP exam. That's good news. Previously on top of just not getting the point for a question, you also lost a fraction of a point for each incorrect response resulting in a lower-than-you-actually-got score. Now, it's fair and square. Huzzah.

In case you haven't yet taken advantage of my links to College Board online, here are a few helpful reminders that they offer about this course and about the exam.

How to Read

How to Write

Last year's exam has been released and you'll be able to find it on their website along with answers and scoring guides. I have others as well. Also remember than the Princeton Review and Kaplan make great study books that have explanations, terms, vocabulary, practice tests with answer keys and explanations. These are worth their weight in gold. Go get one. If you cannot afford one, let me know and I'll hook you up.