Werewolves of Laredo

Before her retirement many years ago, my mother was a professor at an institution of higher learning in Laredo, Texas, teaching Spanish Literature and English as a Second Language. I ended up following her career path, though in a different discipline (History).

Anyone who has worked in academia will tell you of some of the strange and bizarre excuses that students come up with for missing class. My mom, however, encountered one that I doubt I’ll ever top. Once, a female student of hers who was pregnant said she couldn’t make it to class one evening because her parents, who were very superstitious, believed that if she went out during a full moon she would end up giving birth to a werewolf.

I wonder what Warren Zevon would’ve thought…

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#6)


The Thought

Scaevola nominor, et reliquis pedibus tribus ipsis

contra hostes Romae nunc etiam supero.

Scaevola Cattus Mucius, et pedibus reliquis his

omnia pelliciam pectora vestra mihi.


The Meaning

Scaevola I am named, and with these very three remaining feet

against the enemies of Rome even now I overcome.

Scaevola Cattus Mucius, and with these remaining feet

I will win over to me all of your hearts.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Sc(āē)vŏlă / nōmĭnŏr, / ēt rĕlĭ/quīs pĕdĭ/būs trĭbŭs / īpsīs
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

cōntra*-hōs/tēs Rō/m(āē) || nūnc ĕtĭ/ām sŭpĕ/rō.
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

Sc(āē)vŏlă / Cāttūs / Mūcĭŭs, / ēt pĕdĭ/būs rĕlĭ/quīs hīs
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

ōmnĭă / pēllĭcĭ/ām || pēctŏră / vēstră mĭ/hī.
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Scaevola = Scaevola (Scaevola, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = The Lefthanded – the name given to Gaius Mucius, legendary hero of ancient Rome.

nominor = nomino (nomino, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, passive, indicative, meaning = I am named.

et = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = and.

reliquis = reliquus (reliquus, -a, -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, plural, masculine, ablative, modifies pedibus, meaning = remaining.

pedibus = pes (pes, pedis), noun, 3rd declension, plural, masculine, ablative, meaning = by means of (my) feet.

tribus = tres (tres, tria), adjective, 3rd declension, plural only, masculine, ablative, modifies pedibus, meaning = three.

ipsis = ipse (ipse, -a, -um), adjective, irregular (1st & 2nd declension-ish), plural, masculine, ablative, meaning = these very (an intensifier).

contra = preposition (with accusative), introduces hostes, meaning = against.

hostes = hostis (hostis, -is), noun, 3rd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, meaning = enemies.

Romae = Roma (Roma, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, genitive, meaning = of Rome.

nunc = adverb, indeclinable, modifies supero, meaning = now.

etiam = adverb, indeclinable, modifies nunc, meaning = even.

supero = supero (supero, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = I overcome.

Cattus = cattus (cattus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = cat. (There’s wordplay here. Scaevola the Roman hero had the first name Gaius. The Romans abbreviated Gaius with the letter “C,” not “G.” So, Cattus here is used as a fictional Roman name, also fictionally abbreviated as “C.”)

Mucius = Mucius (Mucius, -ii), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = the family name of the Roman hero Scaevola.

omnia = omnis (omnis, -e), adjective, 3rd declension, plural, neuter, accusative, modifies vestra, meaning = all.

pelliciam = pellicio (or perlicio) (pellicio, pellicere, pellicui, pellectus), verb, 3rd conjugation, 1st person, singular, future, active, indicative, meaning = I will win over.

pectora = pectus (pectus, -oris), noun, 3rd declension, plural, neuter, accusative, meaning = literally: breasts, figuratively: hearts. In Latin, the seat of emotional love was “pectus,” while the Latin word for “heart” meant the literal organ.

vestra = vester (vester, vestra, -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension plural, neuter, accusative, modifies pectora, meaning = a possessive adjective for the 2nd person plural pronoun – of yours (you = plural).

mihi = ego (ego …), pronoun, irregular, 1st person, singular, dative, meaning = to me.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Spiritual Question 25

Why is academia Atheist ?

How did the universities come to be an anti-religion project? What is it about higher education that makes it Secularist?  Continue reading “Spiritual Question 25”

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Segregation Now

You’re white, in your early 30s and you have a 6-year-old child. For ten years you and your wife (you got married four years ago) have been living in a “rehabbing” neighborhood close to the downtown of a large American city. You pioneered this area (along with other couples, singles and homosexuals) when it was heavily inner-city poor and have been a part of the revitalization — bars, boutiques, coffee houses, museums, new residential construction — that turned it into an attractive venue for new migrants and visitors.

But your child is now school age and therein lies a problem. The local elementary school is three blocks away. It is an old building staffed by the typical collection of unionized, mediocre teachers. The school has no academic distinction at all. Test scores are pitiful. It has been labeled a failing school by the State Board of Ed. There have been some “incidents” that your wife has heard about, not in the local newspaper, but at the organic food store and at the farm-to-table restaurant where she sometimes meets friends for lunch. The elementary school student body is overwhelmingly black. 

Up until a few years ago there was a good Catholic elementary school attached to the parish church. But the old parishioners long since moved away and the diocese had to shutter both the church and the school to pay damages related to the pedophile priest horrors. That option is gone.  

Five miles away, close to the formerly WASP neighborhood of spacious homes that you and your wife cannot come close to affording, there is a well-regarded Quaker private primary school. It is extremely expensive. Test scores are high, the building, while old, is well-tended and constantly upgraded, and the parents of the pupils are highly involved in the school, something that is not true of the public elementary school three blocks away. (“We were the only ones at the PTA meetings,” one of your friends told you about their experience there.) Another friend of yours, a Ph.D in English, took a teaching job at the Quaker school for a below-union salary simply to guarantee that her kids would have preferential admission to it. 

You and your wife are still paying off your own student loans. Deciding to become parents was risky enough; now you are being confronted with more tough choices. On the one hand, your values, including your commitment to the neighborhood where you live, mandate that you enroll your child in the local public school. You, your wife, and similarly committed friends could and should work to make that school better, to make a difference. Your wife is happy being a part-time employee and is always home for your child. That means a lot, and it will mean even more if another young one joins the family, as both you and your wife fervently wish.

On the other hand, your kid is only a kid once. You and your wife want the best for your loved one and you’ve often said no sacrifice is too great for family.  If you instead opt for the Quaker school, you are going to have to make a lot more money. It’s virtually assured that your wife will have to go to work full-time as well. The plans you have for a second child will have to be postponed. Plus, it seems somehow patronizing to believe that your child is going to make that big a difference in the local school: as one of your friends said, “Why do people think black kids have to sit next to white kids in order to learn?”

As the time for a decision gets closer the image of the actual physical school building three blocks away fades and that image of your child sitting in a predominantly black classroom dominates your thoughts about the matter. At first you agree with your friend — it is condescending. What are you, the White Savior? But gradually, other questions arising from that image push to the forefront of your mind. 

How is your child going to learn in that environment, in a school with metal detectors and security guards? In a classroom where the teachers sit passively at their desks because they are in mortal fear of the kids who sit cutting up in the back rows? Where “acting white” is a pejorative? Where fights among the kids are commonplace? Where most of the schoolchildren slip further and further behind standard academic competence as they get older? Where, you’ve heard from a former security guard there, 10-year-olds are engaging in intercourse in the school lavatory? How can your one and only child’s potential be developed amidst that kind of dysfunction? 

You and your wife sit down one Saturday morning and decide — you’re going to try home schooling.

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Cubical Era Sayings…..

I found a CD that I made back when I worked for the government. These quotes are from one of the documents from That CD. Enjoy…
Inspirational Sayings For The Cubicle Era

Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos…then you probably haven’t completely understood the seriousness of the situation.

Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG fourteen times gives you job security.

Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity

A person who smiles in the face of adversity…probably has a scapegoat.

Plagiarism saves time.

If at first you don’t succeed, try management.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.

TEAMWORK… means never having to take all the blame yourself.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups.

We waste time, so you don’t have to.

Hang in there, retirement is only thirty years away!

Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.

A snooze button is a poor substitute for no alarm clock at all.

When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee (or Beer) break.

INDECISION is the key to FLEXIBILITY.

Succeed in spite of management.

Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment. Amen!!

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S.P.Q.Ratburger

S.P.Q.Ratburger!

As some of you may have read in a post yesterday, I have decided to cancel my subscription at another site and spend a lot more time here. As part of that decision, I have given a group that I used to run there a domum novam (new home) here on Ratburger.

The group S.P.Q.Ratburger, a Latin language group, is now open to all diners. So, if you can read, write, or even speak Latin, then stop on by.

And if you’re a total novice and just want to learn, then submit a saying or phrase, comic or serious. Once a week I will choose one, translate it, and explain the mechanics of the translation.

Hey, it’s not like you have to lead your armies across a river and spark a civil war. Stop by.

Valete!

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Full House is a Stacked Deck

The title has to do with an actress on the TV series Full House, Lori Loughlin, being in a get your kid into college scheme.  Some of the methods that were allegedly used were having someone else take the SAT for the child and bribing coaches to inflate athletic ability. The goal was the cherish spot at an elite university.

This falls under short term gain for long term pain for me. Sure you can get someone into a college but if they can’t survive the course work it will hurt them in the end. It also destroy a part of their soul to know they have cheated to get ahead.

The parents who wanted their children to have a great resume have put a huge blot on it. They hurt more than helped.

Any thoughts?

How is this different than legacy admissions? Is it okay to straight out pay for a slot?

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This Week’s Book Review – Class Dismissed: Why College Isn’t the Answer

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday.

Book Review

‘Class Dismissed’ argues college isn’t the only answer

By MARK LARDAS

Feb 19, 2019

“Class Dismissed: Why College Isn’t the Answer,” by Nick Adams, Post Hill Press, 2019, 192 pages, $25

Is a four-year college degree the minimum requirement for a successful life? It comes with a price tag in excess of $50,000.

“Class Dismissed: Why College Isn’t the Answer,” by Nick Adams argues college may not be the best road to success. Instead, for many it may prove a four-year detour to a successful career.

Adams doesn’t argue college is never the answer. He argues it’s not the only answer. For many, skipping college and getting on with life may be a better solution. Sometimes going straight to a four-year college out of high school sets up someone for a lifetime of failure.

Adams opens the book explaining why he believes college is a poor choice for many, using his own life and the lives of his childhood friends as examples. He grew up in Australia, which is more status-conscious than the United States, and was from a station where a four-year degree is expected.

Adams has a four-year degree. He enjoyed college, but found it a four-year coast. College didn’t contribute to his becoming the youngest city councilman in Sydney, Australia. He was in college when elected. By contrasts, his childhood friend Alan bucked expectations and became a plumber instead of going to college. By the time Adams graduated Alan was running 10 plumbing trucks and earning over $100,000 annually.

Additionally, college today is extremely expensive. It shelters students from reality (for fear of “triggering” them). It is also increasingly about politically-correct indoctrination rather than education.

Adams argues more people could follow Alan’s path. He has a chapter listing extremely successful people who never attended or finished college. The list includes Paul Allen, James Cameron, Michael Dell, Ted Turner, and Anna Wintour.

He discusses paths to career success that avoid college. He devotes nearly half the book listing careers attainable though trade schools or community college certifications. Each entry outlines the career, the preparation, and salary expectations.

“Class Dismissed” is short; only 40,000 words. It provides a cogent argument, and offers solid advice. Anyone unsure whether college is for them should read it.

 Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.

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“Tele-Monster” update. (the saga continues….)

It almost make me want to terminate my land line.

There is one persistent “tele-monster” that had called 15 times in the past 2 weeks. Last night I had enough. Granted NoMoRobo does detect these scam calls and terminates them as soon as they can get the caller ID. Unfortunately the caller ID is transmitted after the first ring, so I must endure many single rings from my land line phones. Tired of this, I set up my phone system through my provider so that when another call would come in and I knew it would, it would forward that call and only that call back to the point of origin.

(Click Continue reading below to see the screen capture.) Continue reading ““Tele-Monster” update. (the saga continues….)”

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The Theory of Dark Suckers

10 Cents and I were discussing light bulbs on the late night phone call. And it brought to mind an old piece of text explaining why we should not call them light bulbs, but rather “dark suckers”. I have not the time to convert this old text to incorporate the newer LED type of dark suckers, but here it is in the older format.

Enjoy. Continue reading “The Theory of Dark Suckers”

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