Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
“What’s this? A 67%? Isn’t that three points above an F?”
“No.” Here we go again.
“What do you mean, no. When I was in school 64% was an F. And that’s what I see here. You’re barely above being a failure.”
“Yeah but. It’s not three points. It’s seven at my school.”
“Who gives a damn how many points it is.”
You do, apparently.
“I mean F’s are almost better than a D. At least an F shows that you gave up completely. Hey, with an F maybe you could be an Einstein. With an F there’s still a chance that maybe you’re too smart for school, but with a D, you tried, you struggled, you made some attempts to succeed and now its clear you’re a failure.”
Takes one to know one.
“You think all those kids in India and China are pulling D’s? You think there is a chance you’ll ever compete on the world stage? That maybe you’ll make something of yourself, make your mark on the world. Hey I’m talking to you. Don’t roll your eyes at me. I’m serious.”
“Yeah I know.” As usual.
“Why can’t you be serious? Why can’t you just buckle down, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and tow the line?”
Nice string of clichés Dad. “What-ever.”
“Did you just say what I think you just said? Do you just think this is all just a video game. You think you can just screw up and get a new life and start over? Is that how you think the world works? Well you’re wrong. You’ll make your bed and lie in it the rest of your life. Right now you’re pulling out the dirty poor sheets you’re gonna use the rest of your life. Don’t make the same mistakes I made. You’re better than that.
“Come look at these sheets she left us. She was like an expert in sheets and how many threads they have. Feel ‘em. So soft. So strong. This is an A+ sheet for an A+ guy. What I want is for you to sleep in good sheets the rest of your life. I want you to buy ‘em with money from a good job, and put them over a new mattress in a new big house. I want you to be, comfortable. Do you understand me?”
“Yeah Dad. You want it to be better for me.”
“Exactly. A 67% just wont get you there.”
Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
A strange lil’ fellow who lived in a zoo
He had three turtles but gave away two
He gave them away for six bright blue shoes
I once saw a man run pass this seashore
A strange lil’ fellow who slept on my floor
He had six blue shoes but gave away four
He gave them away for nine new screen doors
I once knew a man who wore white tunics
A strange lil’ fellow who juggled toothpicks
He had nine screen doors but gave away six
He gave them away for twelve candle sticks
I once heard a man who was my roommate
A strange lil’ fellow who always sang late
He had twelve candles but gave away eight
He gave them away for fifteen ice skates
I once watched a man who played in pigpens
A strange lil’ fellow who laughed like a hen
He had fifteen skates but gave away ten
He gave them away for eighteen small wrens
I once knew a man from Kalamazoo
A strange lil’ fellow who left one turtle,
Two blue shoes, three screen doors, four candle sticks,
Five ice skates, and eighteen wrens in my room.
Now where this fellow went nobody knows,
But when I find out I’ll bloody his nose.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
"I know it's time to hibernate, but I still think 67% is a little high!"
This hits a little to close to home concerning my own physical state. I don't normally do gouache, but I thought this would be a good forum for experimenting.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I googled "67%".
Okay, so that was a mistake. You see, Google is smarter than me. It knows that I really didn't want that % symbol included in the search, so it ignored the symbol and brought back every reference to the numeral 67. All 778 million of them. (Google, of course, for my convenience, since it knows what I want, eliminates the duplicates, leaving... 42 hits--31 of them Amazon.com and eBay ads.)
So, being the savvy Googler that I am, I searched for "67 percent".
Much better. 1,310,000 hits. All of them actually containing the phrase I asked for.
And then, having paid attention in third-grade math, on a whim, I googled the phrase "two-thirds".
I have a masters degree in English.
I can find meaning in anything. Whether it's really there are not.
The meaning I found in my dabbling with Google and 67%?
First, we don't like symbols. Google knows that. It knows we hate symbols so much that it doesn't even recognize they exist. Just to make sure, I googled the symbol %.
There are apparently no uses of % on the Internet.
Or, for that matter, ~, `, !, @, #, $, ^, or any other symbols on the keyboard, except for...
_ (1.3 billion hits), and
& (7.9 billion hits).
Apparently & has a special arrangement with Google. I won't speculate, but I think it should be looked into. Or maybe we're better off not knowing.
Anyway, apparently nobody cares. Because we don't like symbols.
Second, we like words more than numerals. This statement is not backed up by comparing "67 percent" (1,310,000 hits) with "sixty-seven percent" (871,000 hits). But I will provide conclusive evidence in a minute.
Third, we like simple. 67 percent is roughly equivalent to two-thirds. 67 percent is 67 out of a hundred. 100 is a lot. Some of us can't even count that high. But two-thirds--we could have suffered an unfortunate table saw accident and still have enough fingers on one hand to count two out of three.
Google "two-thirds"--17,500,000 hits.
Okay, I thought, but people have to prefer the numerals, if for no other reason than that they require less writing. Google hits for "2/3rds"?
4,980,000. People would rather take the time to spell out the term than use the number.
And that is why I write picture books for children. Because people hate symbols, aren't fond of numerals,
and they love simple words and concepts.
And so do I.
At least sixty-seven percent of the time.