In this morning’s Arlo and Janis (AMS), Arlo salutes the earlier sunrise on this first day back in Standard time. It all makes me no never mind, since I get up before anybody’s notion of daylight kicks in, though it felt good to roll over for another hour this morning.
Arlo has always seemed to track my place in life and I’m wondering now if he’s also retired, since we haven’t seen him go off to work recently and he and Janis are considering selling their house and moving to the coast.
Back when I had a job with regular hours, I had to walk the dogs in the dark at both ends of the day, and I also remember my kids’ varsity soccer when the last game of the season was played in near darkness.
These days, clocks don’t have much of a grip on me anymore and the shorter daylight hours happen anyway. We’ll have lost two hours of daylight by the Winter Solstice, at which point it becomes a little harder to brighten the corner where you are, even for me and Arlo.
It’s not a competition, but it does mean I have to look for my gains more carefully.
Frazz (AMS) is also a master of personal reality: Even Caulfield, bright lad that he is, can get tossed around once in a while, and so can we. Frazz readers have to adjust to the fact that, while Mrs. Olson is rigid and maybe a little burned out, she’s still a compassionate teacher with a few tricks up her sleeve.
Most characters in comic strips are one-dimensional. It makes them easier to write and it gives strips a comfortable, soporific ease of reading, because they will always do today what they did yesterday and then they’ll do it again tomorrow.
You don’t get that guarantee with Frazz, where the characters are internally consistent, but not in the sense of being predictable.
It’s not the only strip that carries that distinction, but it’s one of a small handful.
Sticking with teachers but shifting to political cartoons for a moment, I’m going to assume this Pat Bagley cartoon is a reaction to reading scores, because reading scores have gone down in 30 states, of which his home state of Utah is one.
But tying it into book bans is dubious, because the people most likely to call for bans have long advocated teaching phonics and places that have gone back to that basic method are showing some improvements, despite pushback from those who find it mechanical and joyless.
The topic could be a whole book, and often has been, but it can be condensed into this: There is no single method that works for every student, and good teaching needs to include flexibility. Effective teaching means meeting a child where they can learn, not expecting them to fit an approved pigeonhole.
It’s appropriate for Cornered (AMS) to use a dog here because usage issues are only aggravated by the fact that English is a mongrel language, while pedants and grammar nazis insist on trying to apply rigid “rules” that don’t reflect that.
Still, there are conventions, starting with a difference between spoken and more formal written language. Within the latter, adverbs and adjectives seem a small issue, compared to an apparently growing inability to use prepositions.
It’s not helped, in this global world, by people importing British usages that are common there but nails-on-chalkboard here, at least for those of us old enough to remember chalkboards.
I tried to coach my young writers into using “based on” rather than “based off,” but without much luck. Here’s Grammerly with more than you wanted to know about that.
A bit of history from Mother Goose and Grimm (AMS), noting that rats (and house mice) are invasive species.
When I first ran into the Blackfeet story about why they never kill mice, I was puzzled, but realized they meant native meadow mice, who are relatively benign compared to house mice that get into everything and that came over on the same ships from Europe that brought in rats.
Some readers may spot a metaphor not hiding very well in there about imported pests that multiplied rapidly and became impossible to get rid of.
At least the introduction of rats and mice was unintentional. Importing cats to control them hasn’t turned out so well for our songbirds, while bringing rabbits and foxes into Australia was also done on purpose and turned into an ecological disaster.
I don’t know if the Mayflower itself brought in any rodents, but, then again, if everyone who claims to have had ancestors on that boat really did, it would have had to be the size of an oil tanker. Geometric progressions don’t begin to cover the claims.
Speaking of dubious claims, the Barn (Creators) has Rory exploring the conflicting world of ecological good intentions.
Note that it’s his insistence on speedy delivery that negates things.
It’s tricky, because, while it’s not as if Jeff Bezos would charter a jet just for that order, he is apparently willing to dispatch trucks and drones for delivery, rather than having packages hitch a ride on a mail van that would have been going that way anyway.
Though Amazon offers some options on delivery based on time which I’d bet could avoid individual vehicles.
Do your best. Which means, Rory, that if you put that recyclable cardboard in the no-sort bin for the truck to pick up, you’re pretty well guaranteeing it will be contaminated and sent to the landfill. One bonehead putting out a half-empty beer bottle can destroy several people’s attempt to recycle cardboard.
In fact, there’s a whole category of futile efforts known as wish-cycling, which, alas, is what most of us practice.