Archive for ‘Big Questions’

January 6, 2016

Do you ever wonder?

by Janie Jones

So I have a class this spring where I have to read some historical fiction novels about epidemics. To hopefully ease into the spring semester, I read one of the books already. It is “Nemesis” by Philip Roth.

As literature goes, it was okay. Not great, but okay. I liked the first half pretty well, but then the author does something with the main character I did not particularly like. Whatever. It was a short book and read quickly.

What did stand out though was that throughout the novel, which is set in during WWII, the characters refer to Frigidaires. Not refrigerators, but Frigidaires. Now, where I come from we pronounce Frigidaire as fridge-id-air. However, though I am familiar with the brand, I don’t recall ever actually seeing a Frigidaire brand refrigerator in anyone’s home before. Weird? Yeah, probably.

I have often wondered why where I grew up people called refrigerators “fridges” despite the fact that it’s not really short for refrigerator. For as long as I can remember I would try to phonetically spell refrigerator as refridgerator even though there’s no “d” in refrigerator. Although I know this now, I still sometimes try to spell it that way. But, since reading this book I wonder if the slang “fridge” didn’t come from a bastardization of Frigidaire instead of refrigerator.

So, are you all wondering why the H-E double hockey sticks I am babbling on about this?

Good question.

I have no good answer. I’ve just been thinking about it.

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September 2, 2015

And you make the big bucks?

by Janie Jones

We all know the professorial realm of academia is full of hacks.  We all know that students ultimately pay the price for their professor’s laziness/ineptness.  Every semester I have at least one textbook example (no impending pun intended).

So, my Virology class meets the first time today at 11 am.  Yesterday the professor sends us an email that says, essentially, you will need this virology textbook (included a link to Amazon).  And, by the way, you can’t get it at the campus bookstore even if you want to pay the outrageous prices they charge, so you will have to find a copy online, either at this link or elsewhere.

Now, riddle me this:  How is it that my biochem teacher could notify her students back in JUNE to say this is the textbook, it is expensive if you buy it from the campus bookstore, if you want to shop around and order it from a cheaper online bookstore do it early so it can be shipped to you before class starts, why can’t my virology teacher have his act together earlier than the day before class starts?

Not off to an inspiring start, if you ask me.

August 27, 2015

Spudisims #21: Some people are different

by Janie Jones

The spud’s dad was telling me this story last night.

He’s a history buff, and collects figurines of the American Presidents.  He apparently has them all. The spud was looking at them the other day and apparently picked up Obama and said, “Daddy, you know, this President is different from the others.”

He apparently replied, “Yes, yes he is.”

“Daddy, why is he sooooo skinny?”

August 19, 2015

Pride, Responsibility and Integrity

by Janie Jones

I’m feeling a little unsettled today.

I got an email from someone at Stickittoyou U yesterday.  Apparently they want to interview me about my scholarships and grants.

This year I’m getting in excess of $14,000 of “free” money, meaning I don’t have to pay it back, for tuition and school related expenses.  Most are need-based, but some are merit based and have minimum GPA requirements.  These funds will cover about 90% of my tuition, books and fees.

Yes, it rocks.  Yes, I’m extremely grateful.  Yes, I do feel honored and lucky.  And yes, I’ve worked very hard to get the best grades I can to be worthy and have applied for up to 50 some scholarships for this year.  But, there is a part of me that is also very embarrassed and ashamed to not be able to support myself and my daughter without all this need based funding.

It feels very much like being interviewed and having my story pasted all over the school homepage and “other uses” is trying to make me seem like someone of distinction to be honored and looked up to when I have done nothing but find myself too poor to make my own way in the world and too under-educated to get the good paying jobs (ie, more than minimum wage) that would allow me to live an average middle class life I was accustomed to before “life” happened.

Sure, everyone needs a hand up once and a while and people and organizations who give out scholarship and grant money are trying to acknowledge and help us who are less fortunate better ourselves.  But, it seems to me if you have a proper sense of pride, self respect and integrity you should be celebrating the donors, not the people who have done nothing but accept their generosity.

While many people fail to see my side of this issue, awards ceremonies and interviews just drive home my shame in being unable to provide for myself.  It feels like celebrating my failure.  I have done nothing to deserve to be celebrated, yet.  Everyone, in my opinion should strive to better themselves, what I’m doing is not special, or unique.  It should be normal, average, and expected.

So, I do thank the donors.  It allows me to do what I have to in order to be a better person and one day again be able to provide for myself and my family.  But I’m not there yet.  Currently I’m a hot mess of stress, frustration, panic, fear, longing, exhaustion, and insecurity.  It’s too soon to see beyond the struggle.  I am grateful for the help but it’s way too soon to see anything in my situation for praise or admiration and I don’t want to be an object of pity either.

I just want to say a heartfelt thank you and go about my business.  Why is that so weird to the world?

July 28, 2015

Tuesday Titters: Why you should *ALWAYS* put the toilet lid down, and guys I mean you too

by Janie Jones

flushing the toilet

April 2, 2015

Thursday Quote Du Jour: Pucker up, Buttercup

by Janie Jones

Kiss me if I’m wrong, but dinosaurs still exist, right?

miscellaneous quote from Google

I’m a scientist.  Dinosaurs as such are extinct.  According to the geologic record they vanished about 65 million years ago.

What happened, then, to the dinosaurs?

I’m a scientist Jim, not a paleontologist.

But that kinda depends on how you classify dinosaur.  Some evidence suggests dinosaurs evolved into birds, so one could arguably say, “Dinosaurs still exist but in the form of birds.”

But then, you could also stretch that argument and say, I had Kentucky fried T-Rex last night or an Allosaurus omelet this morning.

funny-dinosaur-evolution to chicken dinner

And in which case, I see a flock of dinosaurs every time I visit Leif on the farm.

Reality check, if you can call a Gallup poll reality:

According to a 1993 Gallup poll, 3% of 18-29 year olds and 2% of responders who never went to college believe that dinosaurs still exist.  On the other hand, apparently 16% of 65+ year olds believe dinosaurs are a myth.

I have no idea what this post means.  It started with a funny quote and it will end with pet burial and aliens.

Dinosaur Cartoon buy pets

 

 *images from Google funny images of dinosaurs search

 

 

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February 12, 2015

Hippo Birdie Two Ewe, Chuck!

by Janie Jones

 

hippo birdie two ewe

*Cartoon by Sandra Boynton

 

Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin.

In honor of the man, it has also been designated Charles Darwin Day.

In honor of the day, here’s some Darwin Quotes I particularly like:

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follows from the advance of science.

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.

I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.

There are some who try to dispute the value of his work.  I will not attempt to support or denounce these voices, I can only say that I truly believe there must be value in asking questions which stretch our minds and understanding.  Charles Darwin dared to ask, he dared to postulate and he dared to pay the price.

If only we could all be so wise and brave.

 

Happy birthday, to you Charles Darwin.

 

Darwin photo
Charles Darwin, 1809-1882
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