Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Monday, April 23, 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Times are Changin’ Again

It is appropriate and correct that young people are once again in the forefront of a major shift in the politics of America. In 1968, we changed the world with our anti war protests. Today students are once again protesting against violence, gun violence. I also find it serendipitous that the students leading this protest are from a school named after a woman, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who in her day lead protests and eventually helped save the Everglades, with her 1947 masterpiece, The Everglades: River of Grass. Just as the class of 1968 made a difference, I hope the class of 2018 makes a difference in America. I will be supporting them in Washington DC on Saturday, March 24.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Shed the NRA like a bad habit

Shed the NRA like a bad habit. Remember it’s about honor, morality, and common sense. We don’t want all guns just the automatic guns that are meant for killing and nothing else. Citizens shouldn’t have these kinds of military weapons. We now have a Military and have no need of a militia, which isn’t well regulated, BTW. The guns our Founding Fathers knew of weren’t AR-15 type of weapons and they surely would deem them military not civilian weapons. Get your priorities straight and shed the NRA. You’ll sleep better and be able to look kids in the eyes and let them know you do care, instead of lying. The NRA doesn’t care about life, they care about guns, the arch enemy to human life. We need common sense and I’m so proud of these students. As a teacher of forty years, I have been waiting for them to get their cause as we had in the 60’s. We had the draft, now they have guns. It seems like same reason, death at too early an age by violence and guns. We need adults in the room and it seems as if the kids are showing us the way. Find your independence and shed the NRA hold on our politics. Vote the bums out who don’t support common sense about assault rifles, killing tools. Take the bad guns away from Americans since they aren’t well regulated and too many Americans have mental health issues, apparently.  Stop Americans killing Americans with the same energy and vigor with which you are trying to get rid of good Americans via jingoistic Immigration ideas. Apply this hate to guns and we’ll be much better off.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

That's not a Preposition at the end of that sentence.

I’m not worried about ending a sentence with a preposition, because it’s not possible. The word some may think is a preposition at the end of a sentence is actually an adverb. Words can be used as different parts of speech. A word like “ride” can be a noun, a verb, an adjective, depending on use and context. “Google” has become a verb, too. The definition of a preposition is a word that precedes a noun or pronoun to create a phrase that modifies another word in the same sentence. So if a word at the end of a sentence can’t be a preposition by definition, what is it? It is an adverb, because it answers the adverb questions of “when, how, where, in what way, to what extent?” Words aren’t pigeonholed into one part of speech and the preposition has been misused and abused by too many for too long. Stop with the idea that a sentence can or cannot end with a preposition It is not a preposition if it ends a sentence, it is an adverb.

Friday, February 23, 2018


Twitter and/or Face Book. GIGO.
Information must be purged by each individual and not merely accepted. Information must be digested stripped of all its bits of fact, verifiable, before it is passed on. Take time, do research, seek other opinions, and find corroboration, before drawing and espousing a conclusion. Opinions should be constantly shifting and realigning. Before publicly publishing ideas, write a draft and read it, edit it; then rewrite it, polish it. Let it sit like a good wine or leftover food.
I miss the bibliography that helped keep track of all the resources, so I could cite them in my work. When I moved from atoms to digits, the bibliography became hyperlinks.
There is a moral obligation to be responsible with our right of free speech. Creating or perpetuating incorrect information is not responsible. I try to verify what I say, so as not to speak lies. Right now the platforms currently used for us to communicate are out of our control and in the control of bots. There’s too much and it is coming too fast for anyone to intelligently digest and formulate sound conclusions.
Right now we are in trouble because we have lost our intelligence. We need to Make America Smart Again and that means each of us must step back and explore each piece of information we get and follow it as we did when doing those research papers. What we learned in school about research has been lost to this chaos of information.
Rule one: GIGO.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Education of William Shakespeare

Even though scholars, basing their argument on a story told more than a century after the fact, accept that Shakespeare was removed from school around age thirteen because of his father's financial and social difficulties, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that he had not acquired a firm grasp of both English and Latin and that he had continued his studies elsewhere. The famous quotation from Nicholas Rowe's notoriously inaccurate biography of Shakespeare (written in 1709), where he claims that Shakespeare "acquir'd that little Latin he was Master of" and that Shakespeare was prevented by his father's poor fortune from "further Proficiency in that Language", should be read with an extremely critical eye.

We know William Shakespeare was a high school dropout. He never went further in school like his peers: Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Francis Beaumont, and John Fletcher, all of whom had a more formal education and in some cases went to Oxford or Cambridge. How does his successful emergence on the London stage in 1590 happen without a more formal education?
From the year 1577 until 1590, exactly how did William Shakespeare become William Shakespeare? If he lacked a proper education, how did he get access to the works of literature he used to create William Shakespeare? There weren’t public libraries, bookstores, and the like in his day. The wealthy, the gentry, and the nobility owned books. We know Shakespeare’s works are based on existing texts, exactly how did he get access? Somehow this intelligent lad figured it out.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets were original, but his plays were not, with the two exceptions of Merry Wives of Windsor and The Tempest. All the others are appropriated from others sources.  Nothing is known of Shakespeare from 1577 to 1590, except from random crumbs here and there, these thirteen years are considered the Lost Years.
William had to leave school because of a town scandal involving his dad. The bottom line was that William was out. But not down. He secured a tutoring job from a younger schoolmate’s family. And then another and another. Soon he was juggling the entire school in an orchestrated dramatic production. The sins of the father were not visited upon he son. After he graduated from his Stratford grammar school, by proxy, he moved on to the Halls. These Halls were away from Stratford and populated by the wealthy. Suddenly, he had access to the tomes that would let Shakespeare create beautiful masterpieces of literature. These rich men educated in the finest schools and owners of fat libraries; were able to provide Shakespeare with access as he educated their children. Drama had to be a major vehicle for Shakespeare the schoolmaster. With his family growing, Shakespeare was finding it hard to make ends meet. He prostituted himself as a writer of sonnets for n’er-do-wells, the love lorn, and the gentry.
Then the plagues hit London and the acting companies fled to the hinterlands and Shakespeare. These traveling minstrels gave him ideas about how to present to his charges in the guise of educating them. Many of his rhetorical tricks and inventions came from these teaching moments in Shakespeare’s own education. Since he didn’t seem to learn too much in school, it became his duty to educate himself, which is exactly what he did. During this thirteen-year period, Shakespeare grew a family and began a writing career second to none. How did this happen without access to his sources and the avenues to pursue this rabbit down the rabbit hole.
Shakespeare must have been a teacher. Consider the presence of teachers in his plays.  Love's Labor's Lost, Anthony and Cleopatra, Taming of the Shrew, and Two Noble Kinsmen, have a schoolmaster or a tutor. In other plays there are references to schoolmasters, most notably in King Lear: "Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thy fool to lie." (I,iv,170). Needless to say the presence of a schoolmaster is not a good one until we get to The Tempest and Prospero. Prospero owns the book, the staff, and the mantle as symbols of his scholarly authority. He teaches Caliban many things and things he wishes he hadn’t. Prospero and Shakespeare are one, as his own plans to retire. Art imitates Life as we watch Shakespeare pass on the book, the staff, and the mantle just as Prospero does in The Tempest.
Finally, consider his gift to us of language, words, and phrases.  Shakespeare changed our language like no other either before or after him. A true man of letters could do this, not just anyone, so how did he acquire this skill and art? He learned as a teacher and used playwriting as the vehicle. How did this man stay invisible for so long and then suddenly burst onto the scene? Where and how did he get his education? He was a teacher.  That is how he learned his future craft. He must have taught in manors and villages wherever he could find work until he was ready to bring it all to us.  William Shakespeare’s time in the wilderness was

Friday, February 16, 2018

Common Sense and the 2nd Amendment

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

We must explore this controversial Amendment as it applies to the 21st Century and not the 18th Century. We must use common sense and societal changes to interpret this amendment, just as we have the 1st Amendment in 1992.
Context is always helpful. We should look at the Amendment from the point of view of Jefferson, the author. The British Army was living in people’s homes, weapons were confiscated, and searches could happen whenever and so on and so forth; thus the Amendments.
The first four words of the 2nd Amendment, “A well regulated Militia,” introduces the idea of a ‘Militia’, a band of men forming a fighting unit, which is ‘well regulated’. ‘Well regulated’ is a powerful pair of words as it conveys regulation, which has to be outside regulation, not internal. We now have a large Military, so we are not in need of a militia. “Being necessary to the security of a free State,” continues the concept of creating an Army out of its citizens for defensive purposes. Again, we now have a large Military, so the idea of the citizens doing this has become moot. The citizens do not need Arms to protect themselves from foreign powers; we have a Military to do this.
“The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This often quoted part of the Amendment is predicated on the beginning of the sentence. Since that first part has become obsolete and replaced by a far better Militia, the US Military, citizens don’t need Arms as they did in the days when this document was created. Having them for hunting and farming is obviously acceptable, but in congested communities? We don’t hunt for food; we go to a store to buy our food. Hunters represent about 20% of all gun owners. When the Founders drafted this document, “Arms” were single shot manually loaded guns, muskets; NOT an automatic weapon designed for the Military, the AR-15 specifically and all other automatic rapid fire killing machines that were designed for war, not peace.  It is irresponsible for us to allow these kinds of weapons in our society. I believe the Founders would agree, especially if they saw them used by children to kill other children.
Other countries such as Switzerland have a lot of guns in its society, but they do not have the kind of misuse we have in this country. Russia is going through a similar kind of student violence but no one is dying because they don’t have guns, just knives and fists. Australia got rid of them altogether. We need to examine the proliferation of guns, especially automatic, war-killing machines in our society that end up killing children in our schools. This is not what the Founders envisioned, Americans killing Americans because they have the right to own a gun as defended by the 2nd Amendment.  It’s like the car and Nader, so now we have seat belts, it’s the law ands “well regulated,” as well as with alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Once rogue industries, whose products were proven to be deadly, were eventually “well regulated.” Guns are not “well regulated.”
We need to have common sense applied to our gun laws. We need “well regulated” laws and a consideration of just what “Arms” means today.
Our Founding Fathers could never have envisioned what has become of the country they created when children kill children in schools with military style guns. I believe Jefferson would have reworded the 2nd Amendment accordingly. Now it is our turn 227 years later to use common sense to interpret the Amendment as it applies today, 2018.
Why not keep all military style and automatic weapons locked up in gun clubs, shooting ranges and the like. The problem is children are getting ahold of these weapons too easily, because the weapons in adult hands are not “well regulated.” Just as we have licenses for so many things and inspections and tests to determine proficiency of user, we should have such oversight when it comes to gun and gun ownership. Owning a gun demands responsibility, too.  America prides itself on states rights and yet in the gun discussion, I am now hearing how the NRA wants to have federal laws of open and conceal carry, which is acceptable in some states allow owners to take their guns into states that have different laws. In other words, federal laws override states’ laws when it comes to guns. This is outrageous. America is in trouble. We have become morally bankrupt over such certain issues like guns, race, and women. The time to grow up is long past. Why is it that we have such violence in a country considered the greatest in the world? We are adrift.  We lack a moral and coherent leader. He is just a bully and a name caller, in short a fifth grader.  35% of the WH staff has left for any number of reasons and this includes cabinet members. The turmoil in the WH continues. Chaos is the order of the day. Congress is floundering and toothless because the NRA money trumps common sense. America is becoming a shithole country because of our poor leadership, our racism, bigotry, misogyny, and love of guns; a harbinger signaling the fall of this American Dream. I fear our next iteration will be of ignorance, greed, and deprivation if current trends continue. Sadly, expect more of this, because like always it will continue. I wonder when the bookies will start laying odds.  Enough is enough, fix it adults or get out of the way so someone else can do it.
Perhaps the children, the victims, in all of the school shootings, will grow up and become better leaders and stewards of the American Dream because they have been the recipients of the bad results of their elders’ misguided ways. Maybe the guns will be a common umbrella for this generation just as nuclear threat was our common umbrella. Imagine Peace!

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason

The sin of the father is the theme of Arnaldur Indridason’s newest novel, The Shadow District. This is a new series for Indridason. Will we ever know about Erlander’s fate as he seeks the truth of the disappearance of his brother in the East Fjords of Iceland? Or is he lost forever in Iceland, too?
The new series involves Iceland during WWII and the occupation of the island by Allied troops. Two girls in different areas of Iceland are raped and murdered. What links them is the singularly unique fact that both girls were told to blame in on the elf people, especially the huldufolk. Iceland lore is filled with such folklore. This rich tradition was one way to get through those long dark winters. The other part to the story takes place today as the unsolved murders reemerge and involves the some of the characters from the past. The past crimes are solved in the present by one of the original investigators, Stepan Thorson who alerts the present police with his untimely death. He was suffocated in his sleep. He was in his nineties. He survived Normandy. Why was he killed?
Indridason provides a great cast of characters. Our new hero, Konrad, a retired police officer, comes back to help in this case. Oddly enough he, too, is connected to this case because his father, a debunked medium at the time had suggested there was a second girl next to the other murdered girl in question. Konrad’s father was embarrassed and ruined. But he was right, although his methods are what is called into question about his character.
Not only are the sin of the father visited upon Konrad, it is also visited upon a family of three generations who are influential, wealthy politicians. The entire adventure of this case is fun and rewarding. Another masterpiece from Arnaldur Indridason.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Terrorist by John Updike

An educator is the hero in John Updike’s Terrorist.  This is a complicated book as it should be. The topic is terror started in New Jersey and heading to New York City. All religions are represented as the usual suspects clash over ideology, which is good when no one dies. When people die, then it’s gone too far. The key to not going too far is education.  Education is always the answer as long as it is open and public. The types of education, religious and civil, are depicted craftily and metaphorically. Updike artfully uses the “Six Degrees of Separation” axiom to weave an intricate, suspenseful, and plot twisting marvel dealing with such a delicate topic: Terrorism. I’m sorry I came to this book so late.
Blind following is the result of the lack of education the lack of questioning, the laziness of the follower. Chauvinism is not a good quality and yet our leaders demand it and name call or bully others who are not following blindly. It is our right and duty to question authority otherwise terrorism wins. We have a terrorist in the WH right now and he proves what a lack of education can do. An educated person reviews all sides of an issue and does the right thing even if it isn’t what was expected or wanted.
Will education help us here in America? We need to Make America Smart Again.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

SOTU 2018, Make America Smart Again

The president spoke of opening vocational schools, and used the word “education” twice. First in referring to a man’s plan to use the new money for his daughter’s education and secondly when referring to one of the acceptable pillars and standards for immigrants. The president didn’t lay down any education policy for the country, except we need to train workers. He isn’t interested in the advanced use of technology since we now have clean coal and soon more rigs drilling for oil off our coasts, except Florida. The climate is not on the table for discussion. He mentions “school” three times, two of them in the same stories as above, but the third one referred to two young girls killed by members of the immigrant gang on Long Island, MS-13. The young ladies weren’t killed in school, but the killers apparently went to the same school. This would have been a perfect segue into the recent gun shootings in schools as a call for a war on the misuse of guns in the committing of a crime. He did however discuss our resolve after the Las Vegas massacre and our spirit, but not our irresponsible laws or lack thereof for correct gun usage and ownership.  If only he put the same fervor into our gun problem as he has for our immigration and opiate problems. The president’s educational policy is more vocational schools, nothing about safe schools along with his tough talk on better immigration laws. Please concentrate on America and the fact that schools aren’t safe and more Americans kill Americans with guns than non-Americans who kill Americans and not always with guns, they use trucks and vehicles. The sole example of a vehicle being used in a crime by an American instead of a gun, recently, was in Charlottesville, VA. Oh and what is the education policy of America? Here is Secretary DeVos’ response to SOTU: “Washington — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released the following statement at the conclusion of President Donald J. Trump's first State of the Union address:
"America must do better to prepare our students for success in the 21st century economy. I join the President in calling on Congress to act in the best interest of students and expand access to more education pathways.
I’m glad she cleared things up. More Vocational schools it is, then. I’d prefer we Make America Smart Again with a clear policy and people to implement it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

It’s about the gun, stupid!

The question isn’t why did a fifteen year old boy use a gun to solve a problem? The question is how did he get that gun? From where? If from his home, why aren’t the parents under arrest too, for negligence and manslaughter?
Why did he kill with a gun? He is a fifteen-year-old boy in angst. Remember what it was like when you were fifteen. The last thing in the world we needed was access to a gun. This incident isn’t isolated even in time and location. This is not the first school shooting in the area. It isn’t the only school shooting in the week. This is January and already we have had more than a dozen school shootings this year.
Why aren’t we talking about guns yet? How many school shooting do we need before we begin holding gun owners responsible for this carnage? The child doesn’t buy these guns, adults do.  The child hasn’t learned better problem solving skills other than get a gun and solve the problem. When we were young we had fights, but no one died because of our angst. Today, because of the proliferation of guns more children have access to guns than ever before. So, in addition to charging the child with a crime, we must also charge the parents for these crimes in addition to negligence and make negligence a huge fine and penalty. We can’t solve teenage angst but we can solve the gun problem in this country. Yet we don’t because we follow a business model, not a humanist model.