Go Ask Daddy About Scholastic Schedules, Commemorative Symbols, and Picking Nits in Our Language


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This week, it’s all academic.

GAD GRAPHICMeaning, there’s some deep philosophical questions here. Well, one at least. And one about cheese, which to me is a sign of higher intelligence. Although, when I was in college, it didn’t really feel like a haven of higher learning.

Was it just me?

I once got an 8 – yes, e-i-g-h-t – on a science test. I stayed after to ask, “is there any mathematical reason I shouldn’t hit drop-add after this?” My prof, he of feathered hair and a beard before beards were cool, simply shook his head.

And there was that one time I was supposed to be on homecoming court.

I got elected to represent Student Media, which qualifies equivalent to Chief Rolly Polly under a rock in the quad. Alas – even during a good semester for me (which meant my GPA had catapulted above 2.0) I fell short of the requisite 2.5 to accept the election.

“You mean to tell me,” my favorite English professor (whose name I can’t remember, but who called himself poor white trash at least once a week) asked, “that you have to have a higher GPA to walk on the basketball court than to play on it?”

Wise words, Maestro. Also? I had really great hair back in college.

college hockey
photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

1. Do you get weekends off in college?

You can get any day off if you want it bad enough in college.

Me, I just took mornings off. And sometimes those mornings lasted until 2 or 3 p.m. See, no one yells at you, or calls your mama, if you do. They do cash your tuition checks, however. And there were days that it felt like Saturday, but probably was only Tuesday.

Also, it kind of sucks when you’re in college, and have a part-time job. Your boss will want you to work every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So you might even try to tell her that you have chem lab on Friday nights, so somebody else will have to close.

2. Why is it better to not freak out if you got your arm chopped off?

Speaking of academics … this isn’t about a cut-off arm, but a leg, you know?

I remember a scene in the movie Cat People (circa 1982, movie No. 239 on the list of Stuff Eli Watched as a Kid That Contributes To His Stagnated Synapses Today) when panther ate a zookeeper’s arm and he went into shock and died right outside the cage.

He appeared so calm, though.

Then I remembered Bethany Hamilton’s ordeal, and I had to defer to the kids on that one. Hayden said, I read the book, dad. They wrapped her up in a thing and took her to the hospital. Camdyn chimed in. And she didn’t freak out.

So, there you go.

3. Why do Alabama’s helmets have a No. 28 sticker?

The Crimson Tide football team wore the stickers to honor former running back Altee Tenpenny. He played two seasons for the team, which released him in January 2015. He died in a one-car accident on a highway in Mississippi. He was just 20.

As is the case with many college athletes, Tenpenny rose to stardom in high school, but didn’t find that same status in the college game. At North Little Rock (Ark.) High, though, he remained a legend, despite struggling to fit in at UNLV and Nicholls State, too.

Tenpenny led all rushers in the state of Arkansas as a senior, and chose Alabama over his home state to play collegiately. His former coach described him as a fun kid with a great smile who steered clear of trouble.

Helmet stickers to honor people or causes aren’t new.

The Dallas Cowboys wore helmet stickers during training camp, 2016. They commemorated an event at which Dallas police chief David Brown, mayor Mike Rawlings, and players took the field arm-in-arm to support the community.

The University of Tennessee football team wore stickers to honor former women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. She died as a result of Alzheimer’s disease at age 64. Few people did more to advance women’s athletics than Coach Summitt.

Nearly the entire NFL wore stickers to honor those killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. The Giants, Jets, and Patriots unveiled stickers the next gameday. The rest of league – except for Washington – followed their lead.

milk
photo credit: Mooaarrrghhhh-.jpg via photopin (license)

4. Doesn’t milk come from cheese?

You’re putting the cheddar ahead of the milk cow.

The lion’s share of cheese comes from cow’s milk. Any mammal can produce milk, however. Buffalo, goat, and sheep are milked for cheese, which isn’t as disturbing as the idea of milking a giraffe, in an upright standing position … on a foot stool.

It starts with quality milk, I’ve learned on EatWisconsinCheese.com. (Good stuff comes out of Wisconsin, I’ve learned also.) It takes 10 pounds of milk to make a pound of cheese, which is roughly the ratio for most college loans, even without class on weekends.

The milk gets pasteurized – to rid it of bad bacteria. Then good bacteria is added. Imagine dodgers fans being escorted out so that Rockies fans could sit. Cheesemakers add coagulants to turn the milk into something that looks like custard.

Remember that rhyme about curds and whey? They’re actually part of the cheesemaking process (even though Little Miss Muffitt made a snack of it in a giffy). Want mascarpone or ricotta? Heat big chunks of curd at low temps.

Cook the smaller pieces on high to get parmesan and romano. The cheeses are heated and drained, handled and salted, pressed and cured, before they’re packaged up in small bricks or slices to represent a portal to heaven, melted on a cheeseburger.

5. Why can goodnight be one word, but good morning can’t?

I tossed this one at blogger and friend Corey, who writes in a terrific place called The Nostalgia Diaries. She’s kind of a super rookie. Anyway, I wish I could use her answer. Instead, I’ll try and forget it in its brilliance, and look into this linguistic American phenomenon.

Goodnight, it turns out, is an adjective. As in, goodnight kiss, goodnight wishes, goodnight pizza slices snuck under a pillow. Good night is what you say to someone before you sneak into the kitchen to procure those goodnight snacks.

We don’t say goodmorning pizza (although, should we?), but rather, good morning. As in, good morning, is there any pizza left over? Its semantics, but to those of us who treat words like, well, havarti cheese, it’s a big deal.

It’s like the misused and abused words every day and everyday. The misuse is nothing like getting your arm chopped off, but I wish we all knew the difference. It’s tough to endure the everyday mistakes every day.

Maybe if I went to college on Saturdays, I could have dealt with this better.

Corey – you really should copy and paste your response in a comment. It’s stellar.

mclean quote goodnight

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36 Replies to “Go Ask Daddy About Scholastic Schedules, Commemorative Symbols, and Picking Nits in Our Language”

  1. I actually liked taking college classes on weekends because the campus was pretty much empty. I got all the best reading spots to myself. I hated night classes, though. I’m incapable of discussing British literature after 7PM.

    1. Did you sit in the front or the back of class, Aj? The best reading spots usually became my (unintentional?) nap spots.

      Night classes made me sleepy to start, then wired and hungry after. Wait, that was day classes, too. Never mind.

      British Lit is best discussed at tea time, I’d venture to say.

  2. I loved that video re: cutting off your leg and feeling pain. Sounds like the late-night debates we used to have in college 🙂

    Mmmm…cheese. Wisconsin does make some wonderful cheeses and curds, as it turns out.

    Interesting re: good morning vs goodnight. I want goodmorning pizza 🙂

    1. See, it’s that kind of philosophizing that will help us advance our species, Charlotte. Dude – deep.

      Mmm cheese ought to become the official name of cheese, just like *sigh* January Jones should be her official name.

      Or wait, is that just me?

      Goodmorning pizza could make Mondays feel like Fridays.

  3. Mmm cheese. I love cheese. And I was a crazy lady who took college classes in the summer to try to get my degree finished faster, so I don’t remember what weekends looked like because well, I didn’t even give myself a summer break!

    1. Cheese is good even on cheese, Beth. I’ve written about that before. You probably (definitely) studied harder during one summer than I did in all my semesters combined.

  4. Does college ever really feel like a haven of higher learning, or is that something people in the admissions office came up with? Yes, getting your arm chopped off is never a fun thing. I sometimes wonder why one person will rise to an occasion and another will fall, but more and more my head just ends up in a big argument over it. Thanks for the grammar info – I actually appreciate nits like that.

    1. So true, Sue. The smart stuff was going on in labs or seminars, while I wiled away in the student media offices with kids who ate too much pizza and whose main consumed vegetation was the devil’s lettuce.

      Getting an arm chopped off would suck because you’d have to tell the story over and over, and your shirts, you know?

      I am glad the girls help dream up the nits that make this post necessary.

      1. I guess I did have some fun in chemistry – like the time we had to determine the copper content of a dime, and the first thing we did was completely dissolve it in acid. The funny part was the end of that lab when a classmate (this was freshman or sophomore year) asked what about getting his dime back.

  5. Eight, schmeight. Don’t let numbers define you! Besides, this blog (and this post) are perfect 10’s, so you showed that featherhaired fool who’s really the boss…er, Coach.

    And, okay, Eli, I’ll take the bait…

    Although you’ve shown us the real reason why goodnight can be one word and good morning can’t, my answer wasn’t based on any kind of grammatical reasoning. My answer was based on feelings, which as I’m sure you know by now, drives pretty much everything I say and do.

    Here it is: I think goodnight can be one word because you can say it fast because you’re trying to get to sleep. Whereas good morning you have to say slow, kind of like how you wake up. But alternatively, say you’re having a really good night, with someone you love, or you’re talking on the phone to them before going to sleep, and you don’t want to hang up… so then you want to say good night slowly, so the conversation can go on for as long as possible… And perhaps you woke up in the morning and were so excited to go about your day that you said goodmorning really fast. So therefore, they both should be able to be two words and one word.

    P.S. Thank goodness I’m using Everyday appropriately in my Sunday posts. The grammar police might have problems with my goodmorning, but they’ve got nothing on my Everyday Nostalgia!

    P.P.S. I love that you ended with a Backstreet Boy. Definitely a high note.

    1. Thanks, Corey. If I let that number especially define me, I’d be under a bridge somewhere, probably not writing this blog. Another prof told me, after a particularly challenging semester, “maybe college isn’t your thing.”

      That goodnight/good morning answer was stellar. And the best answers come from the heart, not a grammar guide! It’s the kind of answer that gives our kids the room to challenge and understand and grow in the questions they ask.

      And isn’t that the best answer of all?

      I think the grammar police, upon reading your words, would loosen their ties and hair buns anyway.

  6. I always learn so much when reading your posts. Great questions that I would have never thought to ask. I have made cheese though, I made ricotta. I had to buy a gallon of milk and add something to it while heating it. I didn’t end up with a lot of cheese after it separated-much easier to buy it.

    1. Glad you do, Ellen. I look into things I wouldn’t ever have, and I also try to think of ways the questions relate to our lives, and if there’s a story I can remember.

      Ricotta is delicious. How’d it turn out? Ricotta and cottage cheese together create a spoonful of Nirvana, when matched up with lasagna noodles, spaghetti sauce and just a little Italian sausage. So basically, lasagna!

  7. This whole post just made me happy! I really think we need to see a picture of your hair in college… cheese is my favorite thing in the world but I only allow myself to have good cheese (like the kind that comes from Wisconsin). It’s now close to my bedtime so I suppose I should say goodnight! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sheryl! I will look for a pic of me in my college days. I had long hair in high school! I, unlike you, am not above cheap cheese, and there’s probably a blog post in there somewhere.

      It’s now mid-afternoon, and I’m probably as far from good morning as I am good night!

    1. That first sentence, Deborah? Not sure there’s been a better, truer sentence ever uttered. I’ve known cheese good enough to warrant the sacrifice of limbs.

      Not my own, mind you …

  8. So here I am, at almost midnight, thinking a glass of milk and a cheeseburger sound kinda good! But I had dried crickets for dessert, so I probably should pass. LOL Milking a giraffe sounds like to much work and # 5 is a great question! My brain is working over time now 🙂

    1. Almost midnight, 10:05 a.m., 12:05 p.m. … it’s always a good time for a glass of milk and a cheeseburger, Kim. I’d even have that after dried crickets – especially after dried crickets!

      I’m realizing how much extra this post had now. Woah. Milking a giraffe? I think there was something slipped into my ginger snaps.

  9. Can’t say I knew that about goodnight/good night. More proof that if they take away my spell check I will no longer be able to write.

    1. I didn’t know these things were questions until they were questions, Joey. I’m going without Grammarly right now and I feel like I’m living like a bandito.

  10. 1. When I was in college🎓, I took weekends and mornings 🕖off also. I took some afternoons 🕜 as well. I HATED morning classes. Hec, I hated going to almost all of my classes . Hence the reason I returned to school as an adult. I have an entirely different view of school now! 😉
    2, I knew a guy once who lost his arm 💪. No kidding.. it happened when he was skiing. The guy driving the boat 🚤 was going WAY too fast and the guy skiing couldn’t see 👀. The driver got too close to another boat and yelled at the skier. Unfortunately, he didn’t hear 👂what the driver said and stuck out his arm just as they were passing a sail boat. One of the sail cables cleanly severed it all the way up at the elbow. He was only 17 years old 😲
    3. There are a lot of teams ⚾🏈⚽who commemorate different people and events on their helmets. Baseball players wear arm bands. I have a great deal of respect for those players.. the ones who kneel in protest?? Not so much 😒
    4. OMG! I LOVE 💓💕💖💘💜cheese!!!! All kinds of cheese. But not the stinky 😜kind. My favorite is probably fresh mozzarella, but I love Havarti, provolone, cheddar, soft cow’s milk, Monterrey Jack, feta, Muenster.. well you get the idea!! 😋
    5. Symantecs in words and LIFE drive me crazy! 😵 I don’t understand a lot of things like that. One of my greatest pet peeves is when people use symantecs to split hairs! 🐇 LOL! 😃😅
    That is all…

    1. I like your messages, because they remind me of when C-3PO was telling the tale of the Rebel Alliance to the Ewoks, and R2-D2 provided sound effects!

      I loved when New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz honored a child killed in the Newtown shooting who was a fan of his, by writing his name on his shoes. I remember Victor despondent on the sideline the game after it happened, because he wanted to score a touchdown for this young fan, and could not. That’s heart, and I know he really felt it.

      Havarti is an art form. That’s all I have to say about that.

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