April's Real Blog

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Liz and Grammar

Sumtymez, Liz likes 2 talk abt her classroom experiences--particularly on change-the-subject Sundays. This morning, over brekky, she was all telling us abt a grammar lesson she taught her grade-four students.

She started the lesson w/"This afternoon, we're going 2 go over sum English grammar." And a bunch of her students let out a big "GROANNN!" in response. One of the groaners raised his hand, all "But we dun that last week!" Liz sez she had a gobsmacked look on her face when that boy sed this, but she was also thinking it didn't matter cuz her intro sentence and his response were, like, "throwaways." She sez the real action of the lesson started w/"Fact: No matter how capable, no matter how intelligent U R--poor grammar will make U sound less intelligent and poorly educ8ed. So let's work on it. OK?"

Me: "OK?" If every1 had sed "NO!" wd U have dun sumthing else? Like play outside instead?

Liz: Shut up and let me tell my story!

Me: Mom, Liz told me 2 shut up!

Mom [looking up fr. her paper]: Wha? Work it out yrselves, girls. I'm dun!

NEway, Liz went on 2 tell us that she sed, "One error I hear all the time is 'Her and I went downtown.'" And she wrote that on the board. She continued w/"Here's a way 2 C if this is correct. Take away 'and I.' --Is it 'Her went downtown'?" She also wrote "Me and him went downtown" and sed, 'What abt 'Me and him'? Take away 'Me.'"

Me: But U cd also take out "and him" cuz "Me went downtown" is equally wrong.

Liz: Which one of us is the licenced teacher, April? And whose story is this?

Mike: So far, not one I'd write a column on, but please do go on!

Liz: Shut up ugly brother! No one asked U! Eat yr toast!

Mike: Mommy, did U hear that? Lizzie told me 2 shut up!

Mom [looking up fr. her paper again] : Wha? Stop it, kids! I told U I'm dun, work it out 4 yrselves!

Liz: OK, I'm going back 2 my story. MayB U all can learn sumthing from this, 2.

Then she told us how a coupla her students chimed in w/answers. One was all, "She went downtown! She and I!" Another sed, "He went downtown, I went downtown... He and I went downtown!"

Me: Smart kid, he caught yr lil oversite.

Liz: Don't make me pummel U!

Me: Threats of physical violence, Ma!

Mom: What part of "I'm dun" do U kids not understand?

Liz resumed, w/how she told those kids, "Good work! Now, many languages permit double negatives. In Spanish, 4 xxample..."

Me: W8, Liz, U chose that pt 2 jump over 2 double negatives?

Liz: Not "jump," April, "transition." And yes, Y do U ask?

Me: Well U really shda gone over the "and me"/"and I" stuff 4 when it occurs in the objective part of a sentence. So many ppl get yelled @ 4 saying "Me and Jimmy went downtown" that they start to think that "Jimmy and I" is sumthing set in stone, like manners insteada grammar, and they'll say "Jimmy and I" no matter where it happs in the sentence. So U get sentences like "Mom gave cookies 2 Jimmy and I" or "It was because of Jimmy and I." U shd really go over the fact that U need "me" in those sentences cuz they require objective case. And have them test by taking out the "Jimmy" 2 C if they'd normally say "cookies 2 I" or "because of I." Which they wdn't.

Mom [taking an interest]: She's rite, U know!

Liz [defensive]: I, I-- I knew that! That's sumthing we're going over this wk! Don't question my methods! I'm a licenced teacher! Now, let me finish my story!

Dad [looking up from Trains Weekly Digest magazine]: Were U saying sumthing, honey?

Liz: Yes, but it's not abt trains, Dad!

Dad: Oh, well U shda sed so. [goes back 2 his magazine]

Liz went back 2 her bit abt double negs, how she told the kiddies that in Spanish, it's OK 2 say "I never did nuthing," while in English. . . . And one of her kids raised her hand while piping in, "I never did NEthing!"

Me: U know, when I was in grade 4, we always raised our hands and w8ed 2 B called on B4 we sed our answers. If not, we got yelled @.

Liz: No more interrupting, Martian creature!

Me: Hey!

Liz then went on w/her story. She wrote a bunch of sentences on the board and asked the class which were correct. The sentences weren't abt double negs, tho; they were abt past tenses, like "I had spoke"/"I had spoken"; "It was broke"/"It was broken"; "He done it"/"He did it"/"He has dun it!" But then she, like, went all ADD and returned 2 dbl negs, calling out a sentence and letting a student respond:

Liz: I don't got no doughnuts?

Student: I don't have NE doughnuts!

Then, back 2 past tenses:

Liz: He shd have did it?

Student: He shd have DUN it!

Liz told us that on the way home, she was thinking, "Good grammar is difficult 2 learn, but sumday they'll thank me. What kind of job can they xxpect 2 get if they can't speak the language!"

Then, she clicked on the car radio. And she heard a DJ being all, "It's Brandy @ rock'n central, been talkin' 2 Mizz Candy Rapper--her and I go way back! She's got a real big hit: 'I Seen U Sweatin'! --Comin' up good on the charts, y'all!"

Liz: Then I felt terrible, because look what I'm up against! They hear all this bad grammar in the media!

Mom: Yes, the media! Terrible!

Dad [half-listening]: Terrible information!

Dee [picking up her head from the table; waking]: Yes, I won't let the children B xxposed 2 the media until they're 12, mayB 13!

Mike: What's this abt xxposed?

Dee: Never mind, Michael!

Mike: OK. [picks up Portrait mag so he can complain abt its "new direction"]

Me: U know, yr kids can just learn 2 code switch.

Liz: What the heck does that mean, Martian?

Me: That just means they'll talk diff ways in diff sitches. Ppl do it all the time. MayB they'll use slang an' stuff w/their friends, but in class and @ job interviews, they'll know how they shd speak and write, U know, formal English.

Liz: That's almost blasphemous, April!

Me: It is not! My English teacher taught us all abt it last week. It also applies 2 kids who grow up speaking 2 languages, but it has 2 do w/regional dialects and slang, 2.

Liz: U think U're so smart! I'm the teacher! That's it, I'm going 2 send a txt mssg 2 Warren! My thumbs R almost 100% healed now! [stomps off]

Me: So, Mike, Dee. Jeremy offered 2 help me babysit sumtymes. U know, like a co-babysitter. He's male, but he's also just a friend, and he wdn't bring wine and try 2 make me to roadside. Plus he has that "Converted 2 Good" certificate from Corbeil. Wd that B OK?

Mike: Wha?

Dee: Yeah, sure, whatever.

Merrie: Jeremy! Like Jeremy!

Robin: Germy! Saved Wobbin!

So, Jeremy, looks like it's OK.

Howard, Becky; Connie is wrong. I did NOT break my pinky swear. She's such a suspicious bizzy-body sumtymes!


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  • At 4:25 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, ur sis’ talk ‘bout her teachin’ makes rilly glad i’m not in grade 4 @the glenallen skool. but u have gud news ‘bout sittin’ the kids. thass gr8. i rilly liked doin’ that yesterday w/u. so, if u gotta baby-sittin’ gig comin’ up (& u wunt me 2 help u out, so i’m not buttin’ in, eh?), then lemme know. i’m not gonna say, “i done helped u last week” like i’m lame or nothing’. if i gotta sound gig & i can’t, then i can’t. since vanessa left me 4 that prisoner vaynard vahoney, it’s not like i have nethin’ else 2 do xxcept my internship @the kool haus & skool work. 1 thing i have learned is havin’ a good gf is difficult, but sumday i think i may figger it out. ‘course mosta the tyme i dunno wut 2 say or do & wut kind of gf can i xxpect 2 get if i can’t speak the language, eh?

  • At 4:40 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    jeremy, i thot i was gonna have the nite off 2nite 2 do h'work, but mike just told me that he and dee need sum "us time" and r leaving me in charge of the littlez again this evening, even tho it's a school nite. i can't remember if u have kool haus 2nite, but if not, it'd really help me out if u cd give me an assist w/the babysitting.


  • At 9:37 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, man! merrie is sure good @hide-and-seek, @least the hidin’ part of it. i can totally b-lieve u usedta hafta climb up n2 the duct work 2 find her sumtymes. no wondah u got so stressed ‘bout the baby-sittin’ b4. i hope u got lotsa homework done while i wuz playin’ hide-&-seek w/ur niece & nephew. i hadda gr8 tyme gettin’ them 2 bed.

    & u know i didn’t rilly mean 2c ur sis in her underwear wen robin ran in there. i mean, duz ur sis evah close her door? i swear she wuz gonna press charges against me till she saw robin hidin’ under her bed & i showed her my corbeil certificate of goodness.

    it wuz kinda odd she sed, “i don’t gots no privacy.” all i cud say back is “close ur door.” then she sed, “no. the proper answer is ‘i do not have any privacy.’” i sed, “didn’t u teach that lesson 2 ur class already?” & she sed, “fact: no matter how many tymes i teach a lesson, my students r not intelligent or well-educated enuff 2 get it. so we work on it! ok?” i sed, “ok.” it sounded like a fact 2 me.

    wen i asked ur mom if her grandkids were gonna go 2 glen allen skool where ur sis teaches, she sed 2 me, “wut colour wood do u like best? the oak or the mahogany?” i sed, “mahogany.” she sed, “good. i needed a man’s opinion.” i sed, “about the skool.” ur mom sed, “the grandchildren r enrolled @h.g. davis public school, same az mike wuz wen he wuz in skool.” i sed, “h.g. davis public school? that place is kinda run down.” ur mom sed, “3 piece sectional or love seat?” i sed, “considering the size of the stibbs’ place, love seat.” ur mom sed, “i love havin’ a decisive man in the house, jeremy. it’s like a breath of fresh air.” i sed, “thanx, but i thot u didn’t like me.” ur mom sed, “how ‘bout this rocking chair?” i sed, “i gotta go. i told april i wud leave aftah we got the kids in bed, so nobody wud get upset.” then ur mom sed, “i unnerstand. but 1st, the rocker.” i sed, “rockin’ chairs are bad news on animal tails. i wud say no cuz of ur pets. gotta go.” then i left. ur mom yelled aftah me, “i have a lotta thingz 2 pick out, so make sure u come back.”

    i like ur niece & nephew & u2, of course, but i think next tyme i’ll try 2 get outa the house w/o talkin’ 2 ur mom.

  • At 11:04 PM, Blogger howard said…


    Today, Becky and I took a break from house-hunting to do a little work on Becky’s career, which you may remember took a downturn after the Gym / Jam disaster last October. Becky’s dad had arranged a meeting between Becky and the radio personality Brandy at Rock’n Central radio (actually Canuck Radio) and the rap artist Mizz Candy Rapper. Mizz Candy Rapper has a new hit called, “I Seen You Sweatin’” which has been selling very well. Thorvald hoped that Becky and Mizz Candy Rapper would be able to do a duet together, sort of like the Gwen Stefani/Eve collaborations, where Becky would take the Gwen Stefani singing part. Thorvald hoped that this would boost Becky’s reputation and help her recover from last October.

    We went to Toronto with Becky’s dad, Thorvald McGuire. I waited in the lobby of Canuck Radio, while Becky and Thorvald went up into one of the upper offices for the meeting. Thorvald had been practicing his rapper talk all afternoon in preparation for the meeting. It was about to drive me crazy. He was saying things like, “Yo dawg. Her and I went downtown. Fo shizzle, I don’t got no doughnuts. Wussup! He should have did it.” I feared the worst.

    Becky said she was sorry but fiancés don’t go to business meetings. So I was hanging out downstairs, spending my time reading Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Light Opera Monthly and I was pretty engrossed in an article on a way to interpret Puccini’s Madame Butterfly using the chorus in imitation of actual butterflies with the singers in flying harnesses. Then someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Howard? Howard Kelpfroth?” I said, “I go by Howard Bunt these days.” Then I looked up and saw two of my old compatriots from the Milborough Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Light Opera company, Randy Smith and Sandi Jones. I was quite excited, because you may recollect that thanks to the legal entanglements involving your sister, I was separated from performing with the Milborough Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Light Opera.

    I jumped up and yelled, “Randy and Sandi. It’s been a long time.” Then there was a lot of hugging and kissing. They said, “So, Howard. What’s been happening in your life?” I said, “I had a really long trial for sexual assault and I was found guilty in Milborough. But then I was acquitted in Toronto.” Randy said, “I heard about the guilty part, but not about the acquittal. Congratulations.” I added, “And I am engaged to get married.” Sandi said, “Who’s the lucky guy?” I said, “Well, actually, it’s a girl, which may seem a little odd, but you know how it is with me. Love is genderless.” Randy said to Sandi, “That’s $50 you owe me.” Sandi said, “I know.” I said, “What?” Randy said, “Sandi told me you were pure homosexual, but I said you were really a bisexual in a homosexual’s body.” Sandi said, “You only said that because you had a crush on him.” Randy said, “Well, yes. But still. I was right.”

    Sandi said, “So, who’s the girl? Do you have pictures?” I said, “But of course.” And I fished out my pictures of Becky and me together. Randy and Sandi looked a little pale after I showed them the pictures. I said, “I know she’s a little young, I always said love is ageless. She is 16 and her parents have given us permission to marry in September. You’ll get wedding invitations, of course. So, what are you two doing? Are you still in the Milborough Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Light Opera?”

    Randy said, “Well actually I have a job as a disc jockey or what they call a radio personality.” I said, “Fantastic! I always thought you would be good in whatever performance venue you chose. How about you, Sandi?” Sandi said, “You won’t believe this Howard, but I am actually a gangsta rapper.” I said, “A gangsta rapper? You? I guess you aren’t telling anyone how you and Randy met each other way back when you were both getting your MBAs at Queen’s University School of Business.” Randy said, “That’s for sure.” Sandi said, “You should hear her, Howard. She’s great.” I said, “I’ll definitely buy 10 copies of whatever you have out. What are you called? M.C. Sandi?” Randy said, “Actually, she goes by the name of Mizz Candy Rapper.” I said, “Really? That name sounds very familiar to me for some reason.”

    Then I heard an elevator “ping” and the voices of Becky and Thorvald arguing. Thorvald was saying, “How was I supposed to know they didn’t speak rap all the time? When I was growing up, I was taught the fact that no matter how capable, no matter how intelligent you are ---poor grammar will make you sound less intelligent and poorly educated.” Becky said, “The people who taught you about the relationship of grammar to intelligence were idiots. And you do not call potential business partners ‘nappy-headed hos’”.

    I said, “Look, there’s my fiancée now. I can introduce you.” Randy said, “We’ve already met.” I said, “You have?” Randy said, “Howard, what do you think of your fiancée’s musical talent? Honestly.” I said, “Becky is a fine singer and a terrific songwriter. She’s a mezzo and young and her voice sounds young, which makes sense considering she’s 16. But most mezzos reach their vocal maturity in their late 20s, and when she gets to that age Becky has the potential to hold her own with anyone in the pop music scene, including that awful warbler Celine Dion. But she had a bad break with some poor publicity over a performance at her high school last October. So, she’s trying recover from that. From the way she and her dad are arguing, I guess her meeting didn’t go well. Unfortunately her dad is managing her, and sometimes he is an idiot.” Sandi said, “That’s fo shizzle.” Then Randy giggled.

    Becky and Thorvald looked stunned to see me with Randy and Sandi. Randy said, “Ms. McGuire I think we got off on the wrong foot upstairs. Mr. Howard Kel…um.” I said, “Bunt. I found out I was adopted.” Sandi interrupted and said, “Howard told us you’re great, Becky, and I know from personal experience, he can be painfully honest when it comes to music.” I said, “Oh that again. You are not a Carlotta. That’s all there is to that. Get over it.” Sandi said, “Yes, Mr. Critique. I know. Anyway, I think I can ignore the things your dad said upstairs and I would more than happy to do a duet with you.” Thorvald looked like he was about to say something when Sandi interrupted and said, “On the condition your father never tries to speak like a rapper again.” Thorvald looked crushed.

    Becky said, “I think I can definitely agree to that.” Randy said, “And I can guarantee some air time on Rock’n Central radio.” Sandi and Becky shook hands. Sandi said, “Well, it was nice to meet you, Becky. It’s late and we can hammer out the details later, unless…” Randy said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Sandi said, “I believe so. Unless Howard would be willing to cook Randy and me dinner tonight. I haven’t eaten his cooking in months, and I remember I used to get actual orgasms from one of his desserts.” I said, “It was the soufflé. It’s a school night Becky. Are you going to be up for staying up late?” Becky said, “Are you kidding, Howie?”

    So, we gave Sandi and Randy directions to Becky’s house. I picked up the ingredients for my orgasm-giving soufflé, in spite of Becky’s enthusiastic desire to be physically affectionate and tell me I was wonderful all the way through the grocery store. And Becky and Thorvald are currently entertaining Brandy and Mizz Candy Rapper. Who would have thought they would be two, intelligent women, I knew from my light opera days. Certainly not your sister.

    Howard Bunt


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