Saturday, May 31, 2014

Good Grammar Part Two

Last year in my March third and my September thirtieth posts I wrote about how I believe good grammar is going the way of the dinosaur. I mentioned several examples of how people who should know better are using poor grammar. I still believe that is wrong. I strongly believe we are dumbing down not only our youth in schools, but the adult population as well. In my September 30, 2013 post, I stated, "Those are just two suggestions. I have many more. I will save those for another post." 

Well, this is that post. You may reach those sites by clicking on these URLs:

A few days ago, I posted this graphic on my Facebook page in the form of a test, and asked people if they had passed it. I received several comments agreeing with me and giving me examples. I would like to share both the graphic and some of the comments made in response to it:

My comments started out with one from Laurie in Maine with this, "… I see them all spelled wrong every single day but I have learned to let it go! I realized it was making me crazy to see it … now it just doesn't. All I have to care about is if I spell it right!  Makes for much less stress inside me!

Amy from Worthington wrote, "I also notice it a lot. My Mom was a stickler for good grammar, and now, so am I. I still cringe when I hear it spoken!"

Then I stated, "I have learned to pick my battles." What I meant by that was there are certain times I will correct someone because they have told me they want to change and they appreciate my teaching them. Other times, I just consider the source and have given up on trying to change someone's bad speech patterns. I figure they will learn in due time; and it may sink in sooner or later.

Another situation will happen when I do not know the individual and figure I am not going to change his or her behavior by correcting her or his grammar. Like I said, "I have learned to pick my battles."

Amy then followed with, "I never say anything to the offender, but I mentally thank my Mom."

Jeanne commented, "An advantage of working at school, I passed easily! However, I agree with you about picking your battles!"

Angela from Ireland, then stated, "Thank you Mike! Please send this to everyone everywhere; these are all errors that make me unreasonably upset on a daily basis. Becoming pedantic in my old age."

Eric, is now teaching in Egypt for two years along with his wife, Donna, wrote this, "Don't you guys get it ... Mike will NEVER stop picking this battle. And he shouldn't! …" He followed that with,  "Us old farts have to keep the language alive if we possibly can."

Eric also said, "Teaching in the Minneapolis public schools for 30 years has caused me to take a hit being able to speak proper English … but keep on fighting the good fight my friend!"

There were a couple more, longer quotes from Eric and other teachers; and I started talking about other grammar mistakes that bothered me until I got a quote from Di in New Zealand who stated she passed my little grammar test with flying colors!

My last post was this, "Another grammatical faux pas that really bothers me is when people split their infinitives! I get especially annoyed when professionals on the TV news or sports broadcasts say something like, "They play that way, still." That is just wrong! One would think professional journalists never took English Composition 101."

The thing I found remarkable about my Facebook post was how I had received Comments from three different continents and Likes from approximately fifteen states. I love the fact the Internet can teach all over the world! I have Facebook friends from five continents and I do not know how many countries are represented by people that read this blog either on Blogger, Google+ or other means of Internet transmission. I do know my website has been visited by people from well over one hundred countries!

I also do not know how many people have bought my book that live outside of the United States. I believe that is kind of cool, and incredible to think someone halfway around the world is reading this post right now!

I look forward to your comments and any grammar related issues that cause you pain to hear!



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day

What does Memorial Day mean to you? To many people it means the unofficial start of summer, opening the cabin, spending the weekend getting away from the grind, fighting traffic, making last-minute plans for the weekend by getting the boat ready and making sure the campsite is reserved.

Of course, there are variations to that stereotype of the modern suburban family today. Memorial Day means something completely different to me. Coming from families both maternal and paternal who have served extensively for generations in all branches of our military, Memorial Day takes on special meaning.

I am almost certain you have seen the famous statue or likeness of raising the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima in the South Pacific. If you have not, this is what it looks like:

Click on the image to make it larger:

This is not the actual flag raising. It was a depiction of the actual flag raising taken by Associated Press photographer, Joe Rosenthal. There are five Marines and one sailor in this photograph. 

The actual flag raising had the infamous Pima Indian, Ira Hayes and my great uncle, Claire Smith. They were two of the Marines that actually raised the stars and stripes on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. This photograph taken on March 23, 1945 won a Pulitzer Prize for Mr. Rosenthal.

The irony for me, in this photograph and the memory it has engendered for millions of people all over the country is it is not the actual raising of the stars and stripes. Ira Hayes and Claire Smith both ended up unrecognized, poor and alcoholics. That is the reality of war.

Another reality of World War II is we are losing a veteran of World War II every two minutes! That is not to mention the veterans we lose every day from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, exposure to Depleted Uranium in Iraq I and II and in Afghanistan.

You can see the numbers for yourself at the National World War II Museum website by clicking here. If that does not work, click on this website:

On the other side of my family, my great uncle Harry Wytock, recently passed away at age 94. He served thirty-two years in both the Army Air Corps and retired as a colonel from the Air Force in 1974. he enlisted in the Army Corps in 1941. After the war, uncle Harry was discharged to go to college. After he finished his degree, he went into the Air Force. Because of his rank, he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery sometime in September or October. His wife, Florence (Patrick), is there waiting for him.

It is hard for me to believe it will take that long to arrange a funeral and burial. I understand because of the number of men and women who are being laid to rest in Arlington every day; it just shows us how big of an issue we are dealing with.

With all the news we hear lately about how far back the Veterans Administration is, is it any wonder it is taking so long to bury all of these veterans that served their country seventy years ago?

 As always, I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, May 17, 2014

I Upgraded To An iPhone

Several days ago, I received a notice from Verizon telling me I was eligible to upgrade to a free iPhone. I was skeptical at first because I have tried using them at other times with no success. My manual dexterity just is not good enough to touch the buttons with my fingertips, and I did not think I could use one.

I know they have voice recognition, email, a camera, the Internet, and several other useful apps. It also has hundreds if not thousands of apps I will never use; but, the offer was too good to turn down so I decided to go for it. Does anyone use their level app on a construction site or to hang a picture? When I got it home and looked for the operating instructions, there were none! How am I supposed to know how to run my new iPhone if I do not have any directions? Everything comes with directions. I even got directions with my new toaster! A toaster is much easier to use than an iPhone!

You know how men never ask for directions when driving and never need instructions on how to do anything, which is why there are always a couple nuts and bolts left over after you have put your child's new bicycle together at Christmas! Well, I am not one of those men. I thought I could at least get some things right on my own; but it was not to be. So far, I did get a cover because I could hook my lanyard in to make it easier for me to hold and pick up if I drop it.

There was already a phone call on it when I managed to turn it on; however, I cannot figure out how to answer that voicemail. I will get it; it is just going to take some time. I have not had a chance yet to go to the Apple site and see if they have directions on how to operate an iPhone with voice recognition. That is coming right after I post this blog. Wish me luck!

I liked the flip phone I had just fine until it stopped working last week and I was unable to take part in a weekly conference call I usually do from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Fridays. I found my phone was not working on Thursday and decided I may as well take the plunge and get with the newest technology.

Besides, I think a $750 phone for free is a pretty good deal, even if I cannot use it. I could not use my old phone anymore either. What do I have to lose? If nothing else, I will ask some teenagers to help me figure it out and have them show me how to use my newest toy.

At least now I will look cool carrying around my new iPhone! I just hope no one asked me to make a call for them!

I always talk about lifelong learning, change, growth and development, critical thinking and all the skills I am going to need to figure out how this thing works. If anyone has any suggestions, or helpful  tutoring sites, please leave a comment at the end of this post. I would appreciate it.

I look forward to your comments.



P.S. If you have not read my last post and the very moving comments, you really should take a few minutes and read it by clicking here:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WITNESSED: The Killings at Kent State

I know I do not always get my post in on the correct day, but the story remains the same. I just watched this CNN special "WITNESSED: The Killings at Kent State" and it brought back a lot of memories. I am certain if you were anywhere near your teenage years or above in 1970 you remember the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s with the events at Kent State on May 4, 1970.

It is hard to believe it has already been more than forty-four years since the Ohio National Guard killed four Kent State students on Blanket Hill on the campus of Kent State University. It all started five days earlier when President Nixon announced his invasion of Cambodia and the ramping up of the Vietnam War.

Many people felt let down because Nixon had said he was going to de-escalate in Vietnam and Cambodia. Instead, he makes the announcement how he is going to escalate the war and bring in more American troops to advance on areas along the Vietnam and Cambodia borders. I like this chart he showed on a nationally televised presentation. It shows just how far we have come in forty-four years of television graphics and technology:

What happened when Nixon made that statement about advancing instead of de-escalating it made the divide we all ready had between the Vietnam supporters and the antiwar movement.

The students at Kent State University were just the tip of the iceberg of students all over the country who were outraged when Nixon called them "Bums" in an article in the New York Times shortly before the end of April. Students and antiwar supporters all over the country were outraged and incensed at that event. It was starting to throw fuel on the fire of the divide it was happening in the country.

There is always been a debate about whether or not an order was given to the Ohio National Guard to fire upon the students. According to the special, a recently enhanced recording shows the Guards were ordered to open fire on unarmed, innocent, fleeing students. Four students like dead and nine more were injured. One of those students was shot in the back and remains paralyzed to this day. O will get back to them later.

In an interesting epilogue on the video this statement occurs:

The 28 national guardsmen who fired their weapons signed a declaration of regret for the incidents of May 4th, 1970 …  but have never apologized for their actions.

I find it interesting how only sixty-seven rounds were fired and it has caused a debate to this day about how the event should have unfolded peacefully.

At no time in history has a branch of the United States military fired on innocent civilians with live ammunition.

The four students killed were Allison Krause, William Schroeder, was shot in the back; Sandy Schreuer, had been walking to class, and Michael Miller shown in this iconic, Pulitzer prize-winning photograph as Mary Ann Vecchio screamed for help over his dead body:

Click on the image to make it larger:

I remember watching Walter Cronkite tell us on the news that night about the terrible massacre on the Kent State campus in Kent, Ohio. I had never even heard of Kent, Ohio before. That shows you how naïve I was to my world outside of Worthington, Minnesota.

The thing that was so disturbing to me about Nixon ramping up the war and sending more troops in was he won election in 1968 telling us he was going to end the Vietnam War. He was lying to us way back then. He had no intention of stopping the war and withdrawing our troops.

As always, I look forward to your comments. I specially look forward to your comments if you will remember that time and how it affected your friends and family and especially you.