Friday Fluff: Longfellow Edition

Listen, my children. You already know
Of Paul Revere’s midnight ride, and so
I won’t rehash how, “in Seventy-five…”
For hardly a U.S. child alive
Has escaped being quizzed on the day and year.

But in school or in scouts or in all your youth,
Or in history texts, do you recall learning
Who rode twice as far as Revere – ‘struth! –
To warn her dad’s troops of Danbury’s burning?
For she of a different gender be
From old one-if-by-land-and-two-if-by-sea.
And this “female Revere” business needs be quibbled with.
So by Shapelings all, at their most ribald, with
Regrets to Longfellow: you’re about to get Sybilled with!

alibelle kicked off an interesting conversation here about female historical figures (such as Sybil Ludington, the subject of my verse attempt above) whose contributions are downplayed — or at best allowed to confer on them the status of being “The female [Big Famous Man]” — while male historical figures have their contributions memorized by generations of school children. As I expect every sincere commenter here realizes, this dynamic plays out across all axes of oppression.

No, that’s not the Fluff part. The Fluff part is where we take all the poems and songs we had to memorize in elementary school — the dippier, the better — and recast them to draw attention to historical figures who were removed from the main story and relegated to cutesy sidebars in history textbooks; and/or taught only in “special” units covering rare exotic breeds of humanity like… Women! or, People Who Aren’t White! If they were remembered at all.

(Also fair game: crafts. Anyone other white Shapelings find themselves wearing a construction paper feather headdress in November of third grade?)

Subvert away!

169 thoughts on “Friday Fluff: Longfellow Edition”

  1. So it occurs to me that it’s against the spirit of the thing to call it “Longfellow Edition.” Hm.

  2. A Sarah, that was just awesome.

    I have nothing to contribute except that I’ve always thought that someone, somewhere, has to have used Longfellow as a euphemism for the, ah, liberty stick.

  3. On the topic of construction paper feather headwear, did anyone else’s class have distinctly different ways for the boys and girls to wear the goofy feathers? I think it was that boys wore it with the paper feathers in the front, and girls wore it with the paper feathers in the back. Or it might have been the other way around. And why, you may ask, did we do it this way? DUH — cause that’s how the Indians did it!!

  4. Same tune used by Schoolhouse Rock for the Preamble to the Constitution, which is not dippy at all but is the only thing I can recall using as a mnemonic in elementary school. You have to go all folk music on it to fit the syllables all in, in some places, and it helps to do the optional repeat of the last line Schoolhouse Rock does the second time through as an integral part of the tune.

    Now, in view of
    This entire disfranchisement of one-half the people
    Of this country, their social and religious degradation —
    In view of the unjust laws above mentioned,
    And because women do feel themselves aggrieved,
    Oppressed, and fraudulently deprived
    Of their most sacred rights,
    We insist that they have immediate admission
    To all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens
    Of these United States. [of America]

  5. To afii:

    Yes, Robert Wuhl was great in those history skewerings… If I remember correctly he did Hiawatha and then talked about Paul Revere and Israel Bissel as the other rider..

    And just to reference killedbyllamas – I will refer you to the Rodney Dangerfield movie “Back to School” where he is hitting on a nubile English major and says “maybe you can help me straighten out my Longfellow”… so done in the 80’s – who knew?

  6. i do indeed remember paper sack “indian” gear in elementary. in fact, one of my fondest memories of first grade is when we all got “indian” names for the month of november and i was “little fawn”. don’t ask me why, but that always makes me happy.

    most of the rhymes/songs i remember from school are grammar or states/capitals related. i don’t recall having to memorize stories/speeches aside from antony’s eulogy to caesar and the prologue of the canterbury tales.

    maybe i can work something up in the form of a tv show theme, ala gilligan’s island, or the beverly hillbillies.

  7. I was in this American Indian Culture Club/Dance Troupe that all the Indian kids in my school were semi-required to do, so I just wore my dance gear for Thanksgiving, and my third grade teacher asked me to teach the rest of the class how to do a couple traditional dances, which I loved.

    That dance troupe was great, because we were always dancing at festivals and county fairs and things, and we got paid for it. I didn’t get an allowance or anything, so it was really cool to have money to spend on whatever I wanted.

    I only remember the first line of the song they taught us about the Oklahoma land run:

    It was April 22nd, in the Spring of ’89

    Which is sort of the only important part, except of course that Oklahoma was supposed to be Indian Territory forever and then they opened it up to white people when they figured out there was oil there, which I don’t think was in the song anyway.

  8. I wouldn’t wear the headbands or feathers, because I thought it was disrespectful.

    But then, the only things I bothered to memorize for recitation were Nikki Giovanni poems and Schoolhouse Rock memes.

    Also, my desk was always messy. (School authorities knew nothing of NLVDs , and my mom would have refused to have me so classified; she refused to even have me tested by the speech teacher, which, however is another whole issue set …)

    So I brought home lots of straight Satisfactory-Plus-Pluses in subject matter and Unsatisfactories in conduct. Just like now!

    (Oh dear. And all you asked for was some nice verse.)

  9. NVLDs. *sigh* Caffeine, as well as a professional consensus on an official diagnosis instead of all the arguing between docs, would also be good …

  10. “Which is sort of the only important part, except of course that Oklahoma was supposed to be Indian Territory forever and then they opened it up to white people when they figured out there was oil there, which I don’t think was in the song anyway.”

    It never is.

  11. Aw, Sweet Machine, I was totally going to do that one.

    In fourteen hundred ninety two
    Columbus enslaved the natives and raped them too

    It was the only educational poem I could think of.

  12. Crafts: anyone remember hand turkeys? You’d trace your hand on a piece of paper, then the four fingers were colored in to be the tail feathers, and the thumb was the head?

    No, they never looked much like turkeys to me, either. Even when I was a little kid.

  13. Yes! I was thinking about hand turkeys while reading through the post and comments and wondered if anyone else did those. I grew up in a super liberal-hippie area and the headdress stuff never would have flown at my elementary school. But we will made hand turkeys.

    And SM, I love it :)

    Honestly, I can’t remember any of the ditties I might have learned as a kid.

  14. I had a construction paper Pilgrim hat, I’m glad to say. But we did a unit in 5th grade about Native Americans that was probably totally offensive in retrospect (I don’t remember details).

    Charles Babbage built an engine;
    Ada Lovelace ran it.
    If you think the one could work
    Without the other: can it.

  15. ooo ooo! me and a coworker were already subversifying stuff a couple days ago when we were talking about how he wants to be the straight Neil Patrick Harris.

    All I remember from school crafts (other than the hand turkeys, I mean, who didn’t make those?) was using the glue and markers to make fake scabe instead of doing whatever I was supposed to be doing.

  16. I remember the apples stuck all over with toothpicks that had mini-marshmallows and raisins on them. Supposed to look like turkeys. I just ate mine before the stuff had time to go south.

  17. Yeah, I was thinking about the hand turkey too. I’m trying to figure out what you could make from tracing a hand flipping someone the bird, but the poem took all my cleverness for today. :-)

    “female Longfellow” is funny on so many levels.

  18. All right, I found the lyrics to the song, and here’s the first verse and a modified chorus:

    It was April 22nd, in the Spring of ’89

    There were settlers by the thousands, they were gathered on the line

    And they came from all directions, there were wagons by the score

    To stake a claim out on the plain, here’s what they waited for

    To steal, steal, steal, steal from the people who were here,

    Who arrived 60 years prior on that trail all soaked with tears

    For land, land, land, land, Oklahoma Land

    Since it hadn’t been exploited yet, it wasn’t being used, my dear

    I guess “steal” isn’t exactly correct, since several tribes received payment (15 cents an acre or so) from the US government for the land, but wev.

  19. (I am usually gillyweed) Does anyone remember the song to remember the order of the 9 planets in our solar system?
    My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizza pies
    (how sexist–just realized it)

    Here’s my new version:

    My Very Educated Mother Just Saved Us from Nuclear Peril

  20. A Sarah: left hand, palm down, thumb also extended, flipping the bird, is a map of West Virginia. :)

  21. We also did the Thanksgiving craft fun-fest–but half the class was assigned Pilgrim status, and half was assigned Indian status. I still remember being in kindergarten or first grade and drawing an Indian card. I was despondent at not getting to wear a Pilgrim bonnet, and tried to trade with another girl in my class.

    A much bigger deal for us (god this is awful and I’m almost ashamed to admit it) was later in the school year, when we also played colonizers and Indians in celebration of our state’s “founder’s day.” We had a parade around the school campus dressed to the nines in early 18th c. colonizer-costumes and faux-Indian outfits. Urrgggg. But what’s sad is that I remember how much fun those parades were as a kid and how much fun we had in art class in the weeks preceding the parade, just doing all the fun crafty things to get ready. Urrggg.

  22. Yes, at my elementary school, we made construction-paper feather headdresses and bonnets … and pilgrims’ hats, turkey wings and waddles. We also had a Thanksgiving Pageant, with psuedohistorical sketches for every grade, and parts for everyone; those for whom there were no characters left would be cast as foods or animals or trees or what-have-you.

    I don’t remember making hand-tracing turkeys, but one year we did make turkeys from inflated rubber gloves and papier-mache. I always liked it when we did papier-mache, it was so delightfully messy.

  23. Yes! I was thinking about hand turkeys while reading through the post and comments and wondered if anyone else did those. I grew up in a super liberal-hippie area and the headdress stuff never would have flown at my elementary school. But we will made hand turkeys.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who went to a hippie school (I don’t think we even got as far as hand turkeys and, oh God, I can’t even imagine being taught that Columbus poem everyone else seems to know.) The problem is I went to hippie schools all the way up through college, and then was kind of baffled when I realized there were still places that celebrated Columbus Day and shit. I still don’t really get it.

  24. My Very Educated Mother Just Saved Us from Nuclear Peril

    Not new enough! You have to leave off the P now, remember?

  25. Thanksgiving was kind of a sore spot at my school, deep deep in the heart of Oklahoma, a couple of miles where the Trail of Tears ended. Needless to say, Columbus Day was NOT celebrated, and was often met with lengthy diatribes.

    My civil rights verse (to “JFK, Boston, Mass.”)
    MLK, in Philly, Penn,
    integrated Girard,
    But Hicks led him in.

  26. I think I either went to a very unimaginative school (uh, duh, kat), or I just completely ADD-ed out during the learning of any and all rhyming devices. I was absent a bunch, having a mother with a firm belief in allowing Mental Health days coupled with my crippling depression (yeah, depressed kids! woo-woo), and I remember being really surprised going to music one day and not knowing how to sing the states in alphabetical order, which apparently everyone else knew.

    No memorizing of presidents, or states, I know that Columbus rhyme because I read it on the back of a honey-nut-cheerios box…we certainly participated in a bunch of really offensive holiday costumes and celebrations, mostly to do with those feather headdresses mentioned above. Though at the time I was way more offended (as six year olds are wont to be) at the mandatory “get your patriotism on” Memorial Day activities because they made us wave flags and sing that godawful “I’m proud to be an American / Where at least I know I’m free” bullshit song, whose proper title and original artist I refuse to learn.

    And turkey hands always make me think of the episode of Strangers with Candy when Mr. Jellinek, the monstrously untalented and enormously-egoed art teacher rips and crumples up a student’s terrific sketch of a realistic turkey after insisting it was much better to trace your hand and draw a beak, because it was faster. God, that was such a great show.

    FA-related tangent: my freaking chem lab manual, in discussing nutritional calories, actually says: “Stored fat in the body is not undesirable unless it is excessive. The right amount is not only esthetically pleasing but has value as insulation and padding.” WTF unnecessary, extraneous, and waaaaaay peripheral to the experiment we actually performed. So peripheral, in fact, to be completely invisible and not at all relevant and the more I think about it the more pissed off I become.

  27. Oh, shit! I come home from one of the worst days ever to discover this? I almost just fainted from happiness. Seriously, I thought I couldn’t love SP anymore and then this. :D

    The only thing I can remember being offensive to me in elementary school was how our teacher tried to teach us the difference between fiction and non-fiction. We read I think a Shel Silverstein poem about how the reason there are no unicorns is because they were late to getting on Noah’s Ark. She said “Ok, Unicorns are fiction, Noah’s Ark is non-fiction.” Even in 5th grade my little jaw dropped.

    I was lucky and was raised by a pretty tolerant family, which I didn’t fully realize until one of my friends forced me to go to church with her (christian church, I’m catholic, they laughed at me for genuflecting before I sat down) and the pastor or whatever said Sodom and Gomorrah was where all the gay people lived. I thought to myself “Oh no, everyone is going to be so pissed!” Nope, everyone was nodding their heads. I almost cried, despite not being gay I was terribly upset that my friends were so hateful.

  28. Killedbyllamas, that’s genius! I went and did it and all, of course, and was like, OMG!

    Also, I want to grant I don’t know, absolution, I guess, to all of us as little kids. It’s one thing to be adults and look back on this stuff and see it, and call it out, as racist (for example) and another entirely to be a child participating in it and having fun. We didn’t know. Or if we did, could we have articulated it at the time? Could we have refused to participate, realistically?

    I’m hearing some guilt here, that’s all (esp Lindy’s comment). Would we hold a child responsible for participating? No, we’d probably say they didn’t know better, or how *could* they know better? Kids know what they’re taught. That includes each of us, ourselves, looking back on what we did as children. That it’s ourselves doesn’t mean it’s fair to judge that child we were more harshly.

  29. My very educated mother, jaw slackened, uttered, “not Pluto?”

    This made my sucky day better. Thank you!

  30. @Thalia – I’m just astounded that the people who were the adults at the time didn’t, you know, get a fucking clue. I mean, I did grow up in Whiteville, but still. Of course it’s not the kids’ fault; that’s what school teaches us to do: listen to and follow instructions from authority figures. Unfortunately, my authority figures were just a big old racist mess.

  31. Hey while we’re all on this subject, if any of you feel like being less fluffy… the after school program I work at does themes, and (I’m sure you can guess where this is going) the head of the K&1st program was asking me the other day if I thought having the kids dress up like Native Americans would be too not-PC. gulp. I’ve only worked there a month, & I’m a student (& thus part time) so I don’t feel comfortable being like UM NO PLEASE DON’T DO THAT GOD, and she did say she’d have to do research on how real Native Americans dressed (…because they all dressed alike), so I feel like she means well enough that if I came up with some “PC” alternative activities she’d be up for them.

    SO if any clever Shapelings have an idea for fun Thanksgiving related activities for K & 1st graders that aren’t any more ethically questionable than the very practice of celebrating Thanksgiving at all (somehow not a battle I think I’m going to win), I would be very grateful!

  32. I was so painfully naieve as a child. I remember spending *days* being confused about why my mother said I shouldn’t remark in public on that fuzzy, thick frost that coats everything here after a good foggy day. (Hoar frost.)

    Being from the Great White North our Thanskgivings were all about filling up the ‘horn of plenty’ with construction paper pumpkins and making hand turkeys.

  33. Isabel–if someone’s determined to get into the feathers thing on Thanksgiving, then for crying out loud, have the kids dress up as turkeys. You can throw in deer and fish, too! Possibly pumpkins! Cranberries! Hands with olives stuck on the fingers! Whatev!

  34. I was so painfully naieve as a child. I remember spending *days* being confused about why my mother said I shouldn’t remark in public on that fuzzy, thick frost that coats everything here after a good foggy day. (Hoar frost.)

    Wait, I don’t understand this either – am I still naive?

  35. The longfellow bit made me think of this:

    You’re a poet and you didn’t know it
    But your feet show it –
    They’re Longfellow’s!

    The punnishness works a bit better spoken, but the point gets across :P

    I don’t really remember doing the feather headbands, do remember construction apper pilgrim hats, but my memories of elementary school are incredibly fuzzy. More memorable was before Rodeo Break (yes, we had a vacation for the rodeo in my school district, no I do not live in Texas) when we got bandanas to decorate and the teachers made us an awesome pancake and bacon breakfast. Nom.

  36. Sweet Machine: “In fourteen hundred and ninety two
    Columbus screwed Eries, Creeks, and Sioux.”

    Well, more immediately, several groups of people collectively known as the Arawak.

    The first woman to spit on Columbus was Green Rock Woman. Each year on October 12 we celebrate Green Rock Woman Day by assembling in the town square to spit on a bronze effigy of Columbus that has been placed there for that purpose.

  37. Hee, yes, I totally associate Thanksgiving with making cornucopias, too! Maybe all Canadian teachers have a copy of the same classroom-idea book, lol.

    The only time I did the headback and feathers thing was as a project at a non-school-related summer program, and I cringe now remembering it; there were a fair number of First-Nations families in my mostly-white neighbourhood, too. (However, it’s been eclipsed somewhat in my cringeworthiness-memory by the time our junior-high teacher, after we had just finished a novel about the Underground Railroad, had us make mock ‘wanted posters’ for fictional runaway slaves.)

  38. As Pluto was laid off from the planet group… “My Very Educated Mother Just Saved (the) United Nations!”

  39. Biologists represent: Kinky People Can Often Find Good Sex! Though I think I originally learned it as Kind People Can Often Find Good Service, or some shit.

    I too wore paper feathers, along with “war paint”. Yeah, it was called that. With a straight face. And all the girls were called “squaws”. Nice. Fortunately, I’ve seen no sign of all this with my kid in kindergarten, though I do have a couple of hand turkeys on my fridge at this very moment!

  40. One year for Halloween I was an Indian for the Girl Scouts party and a gypsy for trick-or-treating. I found pictures of my costumes the other day and was appalled. I can’t believe what assholes we white people are.

  41. krismcn: I remember that one with “keep parks clean or fires get started.” But I learned that in 6th grade, so yours would not have been appropriate. :)

  42. Had no prep for this post, not a hint or a nibble,
    So you probably won’t see nothing near cool as “fibble”
    And SM already deftly handled, ‘thout quibble,
    Why schoolbooks have “female Revere”, not “male Sybil”.

    I’ve just got a small rant brought on in part by this
    Racist Judge Breaks Law, State Doesn’t Care, so I’m pissed
    (though I’ve always been struck by the plaintiff’s name. See?
    Kind of adds to the sense of prescribed irony).

    See, as said above, I didn’t have lots of luck
    With “reg” teachers. I usually had my nose stuck
    In some book other than all the ones that they gave me
    ‘Cause those seemed more designed to erase me, than save me.

    They’d just blink when I’d ask things like why Cris Colón
    Didn’t just leave the folks in that New Land alone
    And take a fine-detailed report back to Queen Izzy
    Saying, to wit, those indigenous folks seemed quite busy.

    And they’d hate when I’d ask, when Constitutions they’d vet,
    If that three-fifths-of-a-person thing* had been fixed yet,
    And I was a pesky brat who asked why knowledge
    Like this was saved for “advanced” courses in college.

    So you might, as you gather books and docs and tote ’em,
    Ponder gender and race of the authors that wrote ’em,
    And if you see nothing resembling your own parents kissing
    Consider what else might – deliberately? – be missing.

    *The Voting Rights Bill finally was signed into law by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson on Aug. 6, 1965. However, it has amendments that come up for periodic renewal and/or extension. This means that the voting right guarantees for millions are contingent upon the mood of Congress and the mind of the president. Four years into the 21st century, certain amendments to the Voting Rights Bill remain subject to expiration. These amendments are scheduled for renewal in 2007. This could be characterized as temporary enfranchisement. In other words, justice on probation or contingent citizenship protection. The right to vote is guaranteed by the Constitution. The 15th Amendment likely will not be repealed. The Voting Rights Act protects, defends, and enforces constitutional guarantees. Otherwise, we are left to the whims and practices of the states to enforce or deny these guarantees. From 1877-1965, the southern states violently denied these rights.

  43. Seriously littlem, that rocked! Also I didn’t know about the Voting Rights Bill, so WOW! Thank you for that, I’m super impressed with how good at this everyone here is, it would take me days to write the clever little things you guys are writing. Days of crying in fact, so I’m amazed.

    My only consolation for not being gifted in the writing area is that I’m pretty good at throwing on the wheel and drawing naked people. Which we all know are important skills to have in life.

    Something about Native Americans in elementary school classes that I didn’t remember, our teachers allowed us all to continue into high school and college without fixing the misconception that Pocahontas was married to John Smith instead of John Rolfe.

  44. Could we have refused to participate, realistically?

    No. As I learned, in fact; my mum protested the Thanksgiving and Christmas Pageants every year like clockwork, along with a couple of other mums in the PTA, and every year it went nowhere. Though at least by my fourth grade, my observant Jewish friends were allowed to opt out of the Christmas folderol.

    And this was in Berkeley in the 1960s. Yeah. Not so perfect.

    @Isabel, if the Powers That Be insist on Native Americans, why not make it a harvest festival with a little lesson on the Three Sisters, maize, beans and squash? And hand-turkeys. Turns out I’ve got family and friends who remember hand-turkeys with great fondness, because anyone could make them.

  45. Last night(? Night before?) on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart was cracking jokes on the new GOP website which has Michael Steele popping out like the MS Word Paperclip to talk about the new “platform for ideas” or whatever. They’ve apparently laid claim to Jackie Robinson as a Republican despite what Mr. Robinson actually felt towards the Republican party (they’ve also latched onto Ayn Rand and conveniently forgotten her status as atheist) and Mr. Stewart made a comment to the effect that one could say that Jackie Robinson is the…Jackie Robinson…of the… and then trailed off because we get where he was going.

  46. I’m trying to figure out what you could make from tracing a hand flipping someone the bird

    Well, there’s always a turtle with its head stretched out to get a strawberry. Which I tried. But turtles are hard.

    Lighthouse went better. (It should be done in saturated colors, but my photoshop is down for the count for awhile, so it’s not. Just imagine it’s all saturated and well-drawn.)

  47. Vidya108: Wanted posters? My jaw slackened.

    littlem: Goodness. Well done.

    In general: I’m trying to think what of this we absorbed in Ireland in the 1980s. A certain distrust and resentment and envy of, and aspiration to be like, the English, I suppose…

    Ireland’s doing really well at racism now they’ve had some immigration though. There’s lots of it. The notion of people going to IRELAND looking for a better life is shocking to the natives.

  48. @mods (& alibelle!)

    “Days of crying in fact, so I’m amazed.”

    This, um, happens where I am. I’m trying to break a block, in fact.

    “I’m pretty good at throwing on the wheel and drawing naked people. Which we all know are important skills to have in life.”

    I submit the latter, at minimum, is profoundly underrated.

    “My very educated mother, jaw slackened, uttered, “not Pluto?””

    I don’t practice, like Lucy does? But I still think those “Not a Planet” astronomers are gonna regret that one.

  49. A Sarah, woo!

    TeleriB, if you ever want to have a revolution with that as your rallying song, I’m there. I want to hear it as performance poetry. (For some reason I’m getting Ani DiFranco in my head reading it, I think in the same way as her “Grand Canyon”).

    Yeah, Laura Secord. God, there are so many amazing women. Why did I not do Women’s Studies so I could hear they existed?

    It’s true, I sacrificed historical accuracy for meter and rhyme.


  50. ‘Cause those seemed more designed to erase me, than save me.

    Wow, littlem. Between you and TeleriB, I’ve got goosebumps.

  51. Isabel — perhaps narrowing the focus to whatever native peoples lived in your area of the country might help with the weird totalizing thing of “What did the Indians do?” like they were all a homogeneous group. It also gives you some kind of useful historical starting point.

  52. I was always kind of hypersensitive to the whole Native American thing because my best friend (since I was six) is Cherokee. She hates Thanksgiving and refuses to celebrate the beginning of the invasion of America. She still eats her mom’s turkey though. :) Hates the term Native American too. Said that she grew up an Indian because one white man gave The People the wrong name, and now they want to change it on her so THEY will feel better? Fuck ’em. She’s an Indian dammit.

    Once someone questioned whether or not she had her papers. Whoa baby was she pissed. The thing is she could have her Native American papers if she wanted them, but her reasoning is why should she register to have pedigree papers like she’s some fucking poodle?

    Anyway, we have anti-thanksgiving at my house. Screw the turkey and the whole being happy that white folks survived to screw over the Natives thing. We have Thankful Day instead. We’re just thankful to have each other and we eat enchiladas and bean dip. Enchiladas was the food we figured was the most opposite of turkey. LOL

  53. “And this “female Revere” business needs be quibbled with.
    So by Shapelings all, at their most ribald, with
    Regrets to Longfellow: you’re about to get Sybilled with!”

    I just feel strongly like there needs to be a


    I mean, it is the weekend.

  54. Cleric at Large, yeah we got “Kings Play Chess On Fuzzy Green Stairs,” so I’m feeling deprived.

    Also, I’m been thinking that there should be a SP college now, where everyone learns how to write amazing poetry, learn about historical women, learn how to throw on the wheel, and learn the tenets of HAES. Also I feel how to ride a horse, for some reason? Or just SP majors at all colleges. And of course the Writing of Mnemonic Devices 101 should be a course that’s offered.

  55. Gail, I generally say “Indian” or “American Indian” as opposed to “Native American,” and it’s only ever gotten me in trouble with white people.

    I have my CDIB card because my mom got it for me when I was a baby. I’ll probably do the same for my kids, but I suppose I can understand the “pedigree” feeling. I needed a CDIB card to get tribal citizenship with my tribe (Chickasaw, although I’m actually more Cherokee than Chickasaw by blood quantum), and I needed tribal citizenship to get access to tribal services and college tuition help. Even with my “papers” in order, though, it was really interesting for me to read stuff like the old Dawes rolls and see family names and transcripts of stuff my great-great-grandparents said.

    Is your friend mixed, just out of curiosity? It’s easy for me to get really defensive about my Indian-ness at least partially because I’m 5/8ths white and I look white (to everyone except my mom). I once got in a drunken shouting match with a Caddo man who called me a white girl playing Indian Princess, a fact of which I’m not really what I’d call proud, but yeah.

    Hope this doesn’t constitute threadjacking, I know it’s not particularly fluffy, sorry.

  56. littlem – I join the chorus of “that was awesome”.

    I don’t remember what my KPCOFGS mnemonic was… which seems ironic or something.

    I am adopting Kinky People Can Often Find Great Sex, though.

    I also am totally stealing Green Rock Woman Day as a celebration.

  57. I generally say “Indian” or “American Indian” as opposed to “Native American,” and it’s only ever gotten me in trouble with white people.

    Yeah, me too. I had my ears pinned back on it from my profs back in uni as well. Umpteenth time’s the charm; these days, in public, I don’t use ‘Indian’ unless I know I’m in a safe place for it.

    The zoology mnemonic I learned was, ‘Keep pond clean or frogs get sick.’

  58. Also, if you look it up there are a bunch of funny mnemonics:
    Kangaroos play cello, orangutans fiddle, gorillas sing
    Keep paying casey off for gun sales (taught in mobster school?)

  59. I don’t know any Indians who call themselves Native Americans, and I always thought the polite thing is to call people what they call themselves. Sure freaks out white people though.

  60. my biology mnemonic was “kings play chess on fine gold sets” which is so…normal and sensical. and without scandal. Boring!

    There was also a song about DNA, to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat:

    I love DNA, made of nucleotides
    Sugar, phosphate, and a base bonded down one side

    Adenine and Thymine make a lovely pair
    Cytosine without Guanine would be very bare.

    The rhythm on that last line is a little awkward, and of course I’d completely forgotten the part that actually tells you which bases go together, but that’s what the internet is for these days.

    I’m sure there’s a way to turn that into something about Watson, Crick, and Rosalind Franklin, but my brain is mush by Friday nights, so it will have to be up to someone else.

    littlem, I looked up “NVLD” because I had no idea what it stood for, and now I am amazed. I had no idea my clumsiness, utter lack of spatial reasoning/”mental imaging” and trouble with social cues were related! Or that they’re also related to my early reading development and strong verbal skills. I’d say my symptoms are firmly subclinical, except maybe for the part where I am forever spatially disoriented and get lost all the time, so I’m not surprised no one ever thought about trying to diagnose me with a learning disorder, and I’ve basically learned to manage well enough on my own, but it’s so interesting to me to know that it’s part of a pattern.

    And now I do feel less bad about how often I cause minor injury to myself out of a sheer lack of awareness of the things that are near me and their position relative to my body.

  61. @interfacings
    “littlem, I looked up “NVLD” because I had no idea what it stood for, and now I am amazed. I had no idea my clumsiness, utter lack of spatial reasoning/”mental imaging” and trouble with social cues were related! Or that they’re also related to my early reading development and strong verbal skills.”
    The more you know…
    I think about the general acumen of our guidance and speech department and realize there was no way they would have caught something like that at my elementary or high school. (To complicate it further, I’ve been reading maps practically since I’ve been able to read; I’m just aberrant.) There are 2 rather prominent docs still arguing about whether or not I officially have ADHD so I basically left them to it and nagged for a coach referral with a clue to get on with the compensatory skills thing.

    “I’d say my symptoms are firmly subclinical”
    *throws DSMV across the room – again*

    *beams around @ lightcastle, ailbhe, caitlin*
    It is such a rush to air one’s allusions among the erudite and not be thought totally weird.
    I really missed an opportunity for alliteration, 2nd line, last stanza, though.
    It really should be “ponder gender and race of the writers who wrote ’em”, yes?
    *longs poignantly for edit button*
    And there are other things … *sigh*

    *scrambles to sign up for Ogden Meter seminar at SPU*

  62. @interfacings
    P.S. If you didn’t get my note on your site, congratulations on your design award!

    That’ll show the guidance department. :-)

  63. Our biology mnemonic was King Phillip Came Over to Geneva Switzerland, and since I got this in more than one school in the Portland area I’m wondering if we can chart these biology mnemonics on a map like you can soda vs. pop.

    Also, I’m feeling really cheated that other people got sex ones.

  64. I don’t remember most of my childhood (large parts were blocked out, especially middle school), but my elementary school was a private Quaker school, so it was extremely PC. We not only celebrated Christmas, we celebrated Chanukah (I know I’m misspelling that) and Kwanzaa (which I credit for my early love of pomegranates). We also called our teachers by their first names (I remember that Tom and Kathy were my favorites). There was a lot of talk about how badly the Indians were treated, as well as a lot of talk about slavery and how bad it was. Any non-white student was encouraged to educate us (not just the students, but the teachers as well) about their culture, I distinctly remember a Korean girl bringing in a traditional Korean dress (it was lovely and I coveted it) as well as a Japanese girl teaching us how to do origami.

    It was a horrendous culture shock for me when I moved (between 3rd and 4th grades) from that wonderful environment to a public school in Springfield, MO. The things that the other students didn’t know were appalling to me, and the lack of any cultural sensitivity or non-white historical figures made me confused. Most of the kids there had never even heard of Kwanzaa, and didn’t care about any of the awesome cultures I’d learned so much about. There were maybe two or three non-white students in the whole school, in fact. It was horrible.

    I am too exhausted to come up with anything witty. Just that I wish we hadn’t had to move, so I could’ve stayed in that private school. *Sigh*

  65. ChelseaWantsOut: There is a little mix bus she’s mostly Indian and she has the black hair/eyes. She’s not against getting her papers so much as she is against the idea that people think she should have them. Her aunt has hers and she thinks that it’s great, she just resists because she hates anyone to tell her what she should or shouldn’t do.

    I once got in a drunken shouting match with a Caddo man who called me a white girl playing Indian Princess, a fact of which I’m not really what I’d call proud, but yeah.

    He shouldn’t have said that to you. I wish me and T (BF) had been there, we’d have helped you shout him down. We’d have been just as drunk too, and proud of it dammit. Some of her family has just as much Indian blood as she does and they don’t look like it. Like her son has the black eyes and hair, but her daughter has blonde hair and light eyes. Doesn’t matter, blood is blood.

    I don’t use ‘Indian’ unless I know I’m in a safe place for it.

    I’m careful to say Native American unless I’m with my BFF, then I’m careful to say Indian. That’s what she prefers so I honor that.

  66. lightcastle: “I also am totally stealing Green Rock Woman Day as a celebration.”

    Not stealing to do that. Green Rock Woman was a real woman who really did that. But the best part of the holiday is trying to convince small children that the statue of Columbus really was erected for people to spit on.

  67. King Philip Came Over For Grape Soda.

    For the planets now – My Very Energetic Mother Just Served Us Nachos.

    Or, My Very Evil Mother Just Served Us Nothing.

    The only poem I remember having to memorize for a class was Thanatopsis – talk about a downer. We had to do the entire first and last stanzas.
    “To him, who in the love of nature holds communion with her visible forms, she speaks a various language. In his gayer hours, she has a voice of gladness, and a smile, and eloquence of beauty , and in his darker hours (blah blah blah) and a sharpness that steals away their sharpness ‘ere he is aware. etc. and so forth.

    I remember most memorizing it with my dad helping me – it was so long, and at the time didn’t really flow for me, so we used visuals. I sat in the living room and went from one corner to the next, making up scenes for each part, leading into the next. It’s a really good technique for things like that, but I had to catch myself before I wrote about Gladys and her elephants of beauty on the test, since that was how I had pegged it to remember. :D

  68. Hey, thanks Gail. I think the main reason I feel bad about that, and this is really stupid, is that he apologized for it afterward. I yelled at him, and he backed down and apologized, which made me think I shouldn’t have been yelling at him in the first place. What the hell?

    But yeah, you’re right, he shouldn’t have said that. Especially since I was just having a basic getting to know you conversation with him and happened to mention that I’m a quarter Cherokee and an eighth Chickasaw. How that is “playing at Indian Princess” is beyond me.

    I have black hair and blue eyes, and I’ve always wished I could have dark eyes like my mom’s.

    Hidden Tohru, my public elementary school paid lip service to Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, but most of the kids there didn’t actually know what they were.

  69. As a humourless history grad student, I insist that historical accuracy does too count. I propose another variation of the 1492 rhyme.

    In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
    You couldn’t remain a Castilian Jew
    You had to get out or become a converso
    The Inquisition ensured there’d be no reversal
    So why not sign up to sail the high seas,
    And work on a ship for a mad Genoese?
    It seemed like a plan; what harm could it do?
    In fourteen hundred and ninety-two.

  70. @henchminion
    I respectfully request a second stanza.
    Con fuerza, pronto.
    Yes, I’m sure you just put the first one up.
    *sits, waits*

  71. Love the planet variations. I grew up in Colorado. We had Day on the Prairie, and the whole grade (4th?) was divided into American Indian tribes. We had teepees and everything. I was in the Kiowa tribe. It was so cool.

    We didn’t have the whole Indians vs Pilgrims thing. We did have Japan Day, though. And the choir sang both Chanukah songs. I’m realizing that I got a pretty good elementary education, but nothing like the Quaker school. That place sounds awesome.

    I sometimes get confused with the Native American vs Indian thing because I have several good friends from India. But, now that I think about it, they go by Asian a lot of the time. I guess I could say American Indian and India Indian. Help!

  72. I meant, “both Chanuka and Christmas songs.” Methinks my fingers are too fat for my IPhone.

  73. Henchminion, that’s *awesome*.
    I can’t say I had any of the mnemonic stuff in school. You just had to suck it up and deal. On the other hand, I can’t say my science education was awesome – there were a lot of WTF moments. Which is probably why I still can’t put the planets in order.

  74. @littlem: Yeah, go with the alliteration

    @Grafton: Would you have a link about her? (And convincing kids that the reason the statue is there is to be spit on sounds like part of the fun.)

    @Henchminion: Fantastic

    (I think it is obvious I need to go to SP school, since I can think of nothing as awesome as y’all have been coming up with.)

    Just to add to the Indian/Native American thing, as a dual-citizen Canadian/American I picked up First Nations. Of course, many of my friends who are First Nations will use Mohawk or Cree, specifically, and like most here I tend to use whatever they prefer.

  75. Hmm. Sorry to say this in the fluff thread, but I still get mad every time I think of Sybil Ludington. Not because of her personally (she is super awesome), but because of an assholic 8th grade history teacher. We were talking about Paul Revere, and I thought it would be relevant to mention Sybil Ludington. The other kids enjoyed her story, but the teacher stared at me for a minute and said “Farnik, if you know this kind of crap, you really need to get out more. Why don’t you get a life?” I had never been so hurt or shocked by something a teacher said. I gathered all my dignity and told him “I do have a life, and unlike yours, it involves knowing something about American history.” Then I got up and ran out of the room so I could cry in private. Asshole. Because of him, I still get mad whenever I think of poor Sybil Ludington. Sigh.

  76. Corrections in the Matter of The Battle At Little Bighorn
    (or, Friday Night Pizza and Bad Poetry)

    School children think General George Armstrong Custer
    With his arrogant stance, and his yellow-haired bluster
    Ignored rational orders from US Army Command
    While out on the high plains, traversing the land
    If he’d followed directions, his men would have been safe
    From the awful results of that massacre date.

    But to get to the truth, (and I doubt you’re surprised),
    The Little Big Horn narration must needs be revised
    To gain understanding of the Great Leader’s acts
    Let us add to the mix some additional facts.

    The Lakota warriors on the river that morning
    Had nothing to fear, they had plenty of warning
    Sitting Bull had a vision at a Sundance one summer
    Of upsidedown whitemen in his camp (such a bummer)
    A voice from the Sun proclaimed “these have have no ears”
    The 7th cavalry’s mission would all end in tears.

    Gold in the Black Hills had made miners greedy
    And prompted the Feds to dismiss extant treaties
    They ignored obligations to the Sioux and Cheyenne
    And refused to listen as they grabbed Western land.

    The fight on the Big Horn is neither surprise, nor a myst’ry
    If you listen with care to Northen Plains tribal hist’ry
    The Battle, you see, was direct consequence
    Of betrayed promises made, at the Native’s expense
    The lesson to learn is that Grant’s flawed Indian policy
    Couldn’t conquer the power of the Lakota chief’s prophecy*

    (And let me just add to this colonial refrain,
    It took ’til 2000 AD to give back Ishi’s brain
    I do love my work, but I also admit,
    Anthropologists when otherizing can really be shit)

    *That time, anyway. Unfortunately for the Cheyenne and Lakota, the success of that battle did not mean they were going to win the war. Within five years, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull had been killed. Wounded Knee would happen, and by 1890, most Native peoples in America were forced onto Reservation land. Many battles over rights would be moved to the courts in the 20th c., with mixed

    **With thanks to my housemate for historical fact checking.

  77. Okay, people brought up Pluto, so here’s Jonathan Coulton singing his song “I’m Your Moon” — which is a love song from Charon to Pluto. Lyrics and a free download are here.

  78. My Indians in American History professor has volunteered to go into his sons Kindergarten class on Thanksgiving and explain a short and age appropriate version of the real story, without the feathered headbands. I love it
    -A Lurker

  79. I was trying to think of good Canadian examples (of history songs, not women — those abound: Laura Secord, the Famous Five, Agnes MacPhail, Thérèse Casgrain, Emily Carr, etc…) and I unconsciously started analogizing American history songs with that uniquely Canadian phenomenon, the Heritage Minute.

    And of course there are already a bunch of those. Not enough, but they do include my personal favourite: Agnes MacPhail! http://www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?id=10212

    “Is THIS… NORMAL?!” YES. She should be called Agnes MacWIN.

  80. HAH! The “white girl in a feathered headdress” happened to me in kindergarten. I was just talking with this with my friend in B.C. (when it was Thanksgiving there). They split the class into two groups: Indians and Pilgrims. Me with my bright blond hair… was an Indian. I think the dress (that was supposed to be like buckskin) was made of brown paper grocery sacks. This would have been in 1980 in WA state.

    You’d like to think this sort of thing would certainly not happen anymore, however a few years ago my place of employment had a costume contest for Halloween. The winner? Yep, you guessed it… one of the women dressed as an “Indian.” Mmmm-hmmm. I was pretty shocked, but everyone who voted for her was like, “It’s so CUTE!!!” Ugh.

  81. King Philip came over for good sandwiches.

    This Philip guy seems to be quite popular in junior high science classes.

  82. In fourteen hundred, ninety-two
    Columbus sailed the ocean. True.
    He brought a cargo of death and disease
    As he bobbed along upon the seas
    He wasn’t the first to find these lands
    But he claimed it all with greedy hands
    Europe’s glory would not be denied
    How many would die for his sin of pride
    Tears, agony, suffering and pain
    He caused it all for Europe’s gain
    Rape, murder, slavery for all
    Why do we celebrate him each fall?

  83. Thanks SM.

    I certainly went through a stage of “agh! the whiteman stole the land and destroyed a way of life and killed the Indians” when I was realizing how shady that Colon fellow was.

    But that narrative pushes right past how hard people fought for their lives and communities. It also ignores that successful strategizing in a losing war assured protections for native peoples that are still in place today. Euro-Americans didn’t kill all the Indians, and they didn’t eradicate everything about their ways of life. Listening to native accounts of this battle remind me that it wasn’t about Custer’s insubordinate grandstanding to them, and shouldn’t really be to the rest of us, either.

    It’s nice to hear the story in a way that represents LBH as an exercise of Cheyenne and Lakota peoples’ agency.

  84. The craft that offended me most as a kid was coloring Christmas trees for Christmas. I was raised half-Jewish/ half-Catholic but the emphasis was most definitely on the Jewish side. I went to Hebrew school and it was intended that I would Bat-Mitvah. So, when a friend who was Jewish was told he was allowed to just color his tree in green and not draw ornaments on I asked to do the same. My teacher told me, “Oh I’m sure you’re Mom’s going to have a Christmas tree so you’d better draw those ornaments.” Yeah, sure my Mom had a Christmas tree, but I was so mad that I wasn’t allowed to choose my own identity. And that class was full of kids from Muslim and Hindu culture as well. I wonder what they got to do with their “trees”.

  85. sugarsick: Oh pleeze, like Christmas trees even started out as having anything to do with Christ. I love Christ and Christmas and everything to do with it, but that doesn’t mean I have the right to shove it down anybody’s throat. I wish as kids we’d all had enough bravery to tell these people where they could stick their condescending crafts.

    Speaking of bravery…

    Jamie: Bravo on your courage to tell that pompous ass what you thought of him.

    – – – – – – – – –
    AnthroK8: I just wanted to say that I was blown away by your poem. I absolutely loved it. Would you mind if I sent it to a couple of friends?

  86. littlem, thanks! for the congrats and for the new perspective on my brain.

    I’ll second the throwing of the DSM? when I was studying psychology, everything I learned about abnormal psych basically made me terrified of the whole field because we don’t know a damn thing about anything. All the DSM seems to do is give people the illusion that we’ve got shit figured out, because LOOK, IT’S IN THE BOOK. And the book can’t be wrong, can it?

  87. Was really busy yesterday and most of today, so haven’t even read this post yet, but I’m sure it’s hilarious! I did just finish reading the rest of the comments from last week’s Friday Fluff and I am so thrilled that someone (Annie Mcfly) made the roast too! If you go to my website Hope Is Real (http://hopeisreal.blogspot.com)there’s pictures of its delisciousness. BTW, I got the recipe from a cookbook that has never failed me – Fix-It and Forget It Lightly by Phyllis Pellman Good. The roast recipe is called “Dawn’s Harvest Pork Roast.” Another great recipe is the “brown sugar chilli.”

  88. Most of my Wiccan, neopagan and First Nations-faith friends have Christmas trees.

    I, who actually identify as Christian … ? Well, I have a Nativity set. But I don’t bother with a tree.

    (Yes, they’re lovely, but I don’t like them enough to LIVE with one.)

  89. That said the teacher SHOULD HAVE let you choose your own identity. If you saw Christmas tress as Christian and wanted to do a menorah then that should’ve been FINE.

  90. I think Christmas trees are largely about nostalgia for many people. I miss decorating a tree with my family, because that was what we always did (the lights were ALWAYS my mom’s job, of course). I would love to light a menorah because I think they’re beautiful and I love the symbolism behind them (as well as the story of the origins of Chanukkah), but I don’t think it would be respectful, since I’m not Jewish. I doubt any non-Christian has an ideas about having a Christmas tree not being respectful, though, because the tree is so much divorced from the Christian roots of the holiday (and may even pre-date them).

  91. {{{Jamie}}}

    As for arts and crafts, in second grade I did a book report on the “Just So Stories.” This was in the late 1980s and rap was still considered sorta new, so I did a rap on the Just So Stories and I had to show the author and illustrator, so I made cardboard antlers with them written on it. In front of the whole class, I started dancing around, trying to make beat box sounds, but I really just sounded like I was asthmatic and was gasping for air. The words went something like this:

    They’re Just So Stories for you and me
    They ran on land and swim in the sea
    They’re Just So Stories for you and me
    Like how the leopard got his spots
    And the elephant got his trunk!

    I got an A+, because the teacher laughed so hard, she cried.

  92. I don’t know that it would be disrespectful to have a menorah if the reason behind it was remembered.

    I carry a little silver Star of David right along with my Cross. I see it as giving respect where it’s due. Jesus was Jewish after all, and he was from the line of David. I would never want to offend anyone who was Jewish though, it would bother me a great deal if someone thought I was being disrespectful.

  93. @ Gail – Yeah, but as a completely non-religious person, I think it’s different. A Christian respecting Judaism because of their shared history is one thing, but someone who was raised vaguely atheist in a Christian setting and has no real belief system can’t be claiming to celebrate Chanukkah for any reason other than thinking it’s interesting/fun (i.e. I’m not doing it to aid in my worship of God, since I don’t). I could totally see where a Jewish person would see that as disrespectful, and I’d rather go without that small amount of cool in my life if it would hurt others.

    That having been said, although I have no real belief system, I do believe in the power of symbols and that traditions hold weight, which is more where my interest in Judaism (as well as many other religions) comes from than a simple “oh hey menorahs are cool!” idea. n.n;;; I didn’t mean to paint myself in such an unflattering light.

  94. Well I’m a Pagan and I always have a ‘Christmas’ tree, since, it, you know, is one of those Pagan traditions co-opted into Christianity and all. (Kinda like Easter with the bunnies and the flowers.) I mean, come on, does it GET any more Pagan than bringing a tree in the house?

    On the subject of this post: not knowing who Rosalind Franklin was, I went and googled her; and now I have “Rosalind Franklin (BA) Elementary School” as a little snippet of song in my head.

  95. *scatters confetti on Gail and AnthroK8*

    (P.S. AnthroK8, I took the liberty of creeping over to your LJ and I just wanted to say I love it very much.)

  96. Jamie, you really said that? To a teacher? I don’t mean to downplay the pain of the memory, but I have to say how much I admire your guts. I wish I’d had that kind of nerve as a kid.

  97. Gail

    I don’t know that it would be disrespectful to have a menorah if the reason behind it was remembered.

    I carry a little silver Star of David right along with my Cross. I see it as giving respect where it’s due. Jesus was Jewish after all, and he was from the line of David. I would never want to offend anyone who was Jewish though, it would bother me a great deal if someone thought I was being disrespectful.

    Nope, you’re cool. What bothers us (me) is Christians who treat Judaism as nothing but an incomplete proto-Christianity that any damn fool should see has been super-ceded as planned by the shiny new 1.0. For example, the phrase “Judeo-Christian Values” to mean “Christian Values”, the appropriation of Jewish heroes as Christian (a recent GOP Senate aid called David a Christian), and the assumption that Christian reinterpretations and retrofits of Jewish scripture (Isaiah’s speech to “Lucifer, son of the Dawn”, the fourth man in the fire), etc. are how Jews should interpret them as well. Oh yes and Pope Benedict XVI a few years back that Christianity was the true victim of the Holocaust.

    You are showing respect for the Jewish origins of Christianity, and that’s entirely nice to hear.

  98. HiddenTohru
    – Yeah, but as a completely non-religious person, I think it’s different. A Christian respecting Judaism because of their shared history is one thing, but someone who was raised vaguely atheist in a Christian setting and has no real belief system can’t be claiming to celebrate Chanukkah for any reason other than thinking it’s interesting/fun (i.e. I’m not doing it to aid in my worship of God, since I don’t). I could totally see where a Jewish person would see that as disrespectful, and I’d rather go without that small amount of cool in my life if it would hurt others.

    interesting/fun? Not scary/stupid/weird? Bless that ambiguous atheist’s heart! (I don’t generally say nice things so forgive me if I’m doing it wrong). I don’t think any reasonable Jew (Jews who see things the way I do) would be offended by this, partly because of good intentions and partly because Hannuka is a fun, silly, not-especially-religious and pretty unimportant holiday. Obviously the ideal situation would be to have true blue Jews with Jewish mothers who make latkas invite you over to participate (how far are you from Minneapolis?) But it’s more like an Ancient Israeli Fourth of July then something with deep religious meaning like Passover or Yom Kippur (and I have my goynik friends over for the meal portion of those as well).

    Phrases never to utter:
    Jewish Christmas
    Hannuka stocking

  99. @ aleks – I would kill for a nice Jewish mother to invite me over for homemade latkas. XD I grew up in NC and currently live in OH, so it’s not like there’s a high concentration of Jews (they’re around, naturally, but I haven’t made more than two friends since I moved, so it isn’t surprising that I have yet to meet any). I expect that when I finally move to NYC, the problem will naturally resolve itself. That, however, is quite a few years away.

    Also, see my post upthread about my awesome Quaker elementary school. We celebrated Chanukkah and Kwanzaa, so my first intro to both of them was as awesome things that some people did instead of Christmas (and we did have one kid bring in latkas and I loved them), so yeah. Since I studied Old Testament Literature in college, my respect for and interest in Judaism has only increased. And yeah, it is kind of insanely annoying how Christians basically co-opt the Hebrew Bible and shove in any interpretation they like about how all those old guys were really just proto-Christians. XP I even had people in my classes who tried to do that (not many, but a few). I can only imagine how annoying it is for someone who’s actually invested in the subject.

  100. @kcjones
    I had to learn Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.

    (It was the only way I could figure out how to transcribe the Bootsy Collins solos when I was supposed to be learning Mozart.)

    And I was peeved, too. I was like “Well, the boys get fudge — what do the girls get?”
    Some really weird modern compositions came out of that …

  101. @HiddenTohru-

    I didn’t mean to paint myself in such an unflattering light

    Oh no! I didn’t take it that way at all. LOL I’m one of those who think menorahs are totally cool and really beautiful. I love the story too. As far as the religious thing? Soooo not me. I love religious symbols and the meanings behind the traditions, but I think “religion” (sound the trumpets) divides people more than it brings them together. I have my faith and my beliefs and I don’t need a special building or some guy/woman in a special robe standing over me to tell me I’m doing it wrong. I know when I get it right and I sure feel it when I mess it up.


    Nope, you’re cool. What bothers us (me) is Christians who treat Judaism as nothing but an incomplete proto-Christianity that any damn fool should see has been super-ceded as planned by the shiny new 1.0

    Thank you aleks. And that really bothers me too. Like Judaism wasn’t a completely developed practice of worship, rich in tradition and filled with amazing ideals on its own. My granny was a hard-core Christian but she always hammered it into us that the Jews were God’s chosen people and we had better have mad respect. Okay, Gran didn’t put it exactly that way but still.

    Bottom line for me is, I’m under the command to love my neighbor as I love myself. I like, really really love me and I would be completely pissed off if somebody didn’t respect my rights to believe (or not believe) what I want.

  102. Thanks, ASarah. I did actually say it to a teacher, which, in hindsight, wan’t very respectful, but DAMN the guy was an asshole. This was the same teacher who yelled at me one time for drawing instead of reading when I was done with my work and told me I needed to stop volunteering answers so much in class because “I was making other kids feel bad.” He also was a complete misogynist and wouldn’t call on any girls if any boys had their hands raised- it was so bad that the boys started refusing to raise their hands so he would have to call on girls if he wanted an answer. Middle school social studies is not one of my best memories, to say the least. It helps a lot, though, that someone as awesome as you thinks it means I had guts- I’ve always looked at it more as me having a bad temper! I think the only reason he didn’t try and get me in trouble for it was because he knew he would get in trouble too for behaving in such an unprofessional manner. The only good effect douchenozzles like him have had on me is that they have made me a more committed feminist, to make sure no male teacher will ever be able to treat my hypothetical daughter (or anyone else’s hypothetical daughter, for that matter) like that and get away with it.

  103. @kcjones:

    Every Good Boy Does Fine and FACE for the treble clef,

    All Cows Eat Grass and Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always for the bass clef.

  104. Jamie:

    Wow… good for you for sticking up for yourself. And also, way to go to the boys in your class for being allies.

    As a side question, how was this abusive man still employed? Boo hiss to your school district.

  105. I can’t find a simple way to e-mail you stuff, so I’m dropping this link here. (This is, after all, described as a fluff thread.)

    It may be, according to the BBC, time to get tougher on obesity.

    “We all need an annual weight check and firmer treatment from our doctors to control our weight.”

    ” The current policies just seem too soft.”



  106. littlem – I thought about that too yesterday! I think the girls should get latkes! And if the boys are still fine, then I’m sure they’ll share their fudge and we’ll share our latkes and we’ll have a happy musical staff!

  107. aleks, pretty damn far, unfortunately. And here you had just been added to my list of Shapelings I want to be friends with IRL. Everyone, please move to Philly asap, thanks.

  108. I’m going to be in Minneapolis at the end of November! But I don’t really care for latkes. I’m a terrible Jew, gastronomically speaking. (I do like kugel and tsimmis.)

  109. I’m a Minneapolitan! In my considered opinion, there should be a latke delivery service around here. With people on bicycles turning up with warm crispy potato pancakes and apple sauce and sour cream in little containers. It would be better than baby donuts on demand. (Well, I’m a St. Paulista, but it could work.)

  110. To add to the music mnemonic options: my 3rd/4th grade teacher taught the treble clef lines as “Elephants Go Belly Dancing Fridays” I was at an English-language school in Sao Paolo, Brasil, if anyone’s trying to do the regional dialect mapping thing….

  111. speaking as a descendant of exiled Castillian Jews in 1492, I give big props to that new rhyme. also I learned taxonomy as Kings Play Chess On Fine Green Silk. Also i memorized the equation for heat transfer as Q=MCAT but the A was really a delta.

  112. Hi AnthroK8,
    I go to school in St Paul (and I’m actually a St Louis Parker). I don’t think I’ve ever heard of commercially produced latkas.

  113. Aleks:

    I knew Minnesota was a state of blue-ribbon quality producing gold-standard citizens.

    I was envisioning kindly grannies/ grandads in kitchens industriously yet gently making latkes (or potato pancakes if your kindly granny was Polish like mine). Then the bike deliverers would ride old-fashioned black sit-up-and-beg style bikes with baskets. Kind of like I imagine the kid who delievered your groceries would have been back when there were corner grocery shops.

    Which is all probably Paul-not-Cybil style nostalgia, but a girl can dream.

  114. AK8,
    Jews are generally progressive folks, but we do uphold certain roles from antiquity, and a zaide who tried to make latkas would be driven from the kitchen with a rolling pin.
    We do have bike deliveries of Peace Coffee beans year round though.

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