Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, March 26, 2024

  • If you think my writing style has changed or looks dramatically better, it’s only because of some new AI writing tools I’ve been playing with. Maybe this is an example of working smarter and not harder. Hopefully, I’m learning something as I see why the AI tool is modifying my writing to be clearer and grammatically correct. But at the same time, I want to keep my voice or writing style unique.
    • Well, that last sentence makes me want to share a few writing-related stories. I hate saying I was a poor test taker because I’m afraid it comes across as an excuse, but my SAT scores were low. When I registered for classes at HSU (they will accept anyone, I tell ya), the advisor boldly told me I had to enroll in an uncredited English course before I could take any credited English classes. My new friend Daniel, who also had to take the class, would call it Dumb English. “Hey Keith, I also have to take Dumb English.” That gave me a good laugh and a fun memory.
    • I walked into Dumb English and was given a writing assignment that had to be turned in at the end of class. If we finished early, we were asked to stay so the instructor could provide feedback. I sat down, watched the instructor read my paper, and saw the occasional brow go up. She had this puzzled look on her face. I didn’t curse back then, so my internal monologue said, “Oh crap!” She called me to her desk and asked why did I enroll in the class because, with what I just turned in, I shouldn’t be in there. I explained what happened when I registered for courses with the advisor, and she said, “Tell you what. If you write one more paper like this, you’re out of this class. You can go ahead and leave, but complete this new writing assignment and drop it off at my office before noon tomorrow.” I left class, looked for potential girlfriends on my way back to my dorm, and completed the writing assignment. The paper was put on her desk before the end of the workday. The next morning, I received a phone call asking me to go to the registrar’s office. They told me I was no longer in Dumb English (my words, not theirs), and I had to select a credited English course to attend. Only the dreaded 8:00 AM classes were available for me, who has never been a morning person. Hmmm. I just realized something as I wrote that. I often focus on the little things, maybe even make a mountain out of a molehill, that go wrong instead of all that goes well.
    • The following morning, at the ungodly hour of 8:00 AM, I’m in Mrs. Pepper’s class. No matter how hard I tried all semester, I could never get an A on any paper I wrote for her class. It didn’t matter how many times I had friends look over it or take it by the folks in the English Lab. The best I could do, and I’m serious, was a B++. She said that paper wasn’t written well enough to be an A-, but it was better than a B+, and it was the first time she ever gave a paper a B++. I think that translated to an 89.48 grade-wise. She also labeled my writing as “too folksy.” That’s one reason I hated and still hate English: it’s too subjective. Let me correct that; it’s subjective. Give me math where there is a very specific answer, one that I can work backward or use an alternative means to verify it’s correct. Wasn’t Mark Twain “folksy” yet considered one of the greatest writers?
    • You’d think I’d be done with Mrs. Pepper, but those who really know me can totally see this coming. I was so determined to prove to her I could write a paper worthy of an A that I chose to take one of her classes for my final English credit. I feared that woman would retire before I could claim victory. And did I ever get that A? You bet I didn’t. It was a hard and expensive lesson I learned. I don’t always have to prove myself to others.
    • One other story about Mrs. Pepper. She started class by reading from the newspaper. Recently, there was a terrible plane crash, and she read the transcript of the pilot and co-pilot’s last words before their peril*.

      She followed that up, saying, “One man’s last words was a curse word.  The other man’s last words were, ‘Oh, God.’ Would you rather your family and the entire world know your last words were a cry to God or an expletive? Live a life so pure that won’t be an option.” Hey, I chose to school at a small Baptist university. I knew what I was getting myself into, and that’s what I wanted back then. Along with an A.
  • I’ve never seen the movie – Kevin Bacon says he’ll attend ‘Footloose’ high school’s final prom
    • Bacon announced this week to a gym full of students from Utah’s Payson High School, where his iconic movie “Footloose” was filmed that he will be making an appearance at the school’s final prom.
  • Maybe I’m wrong, but I think a majority of Republicans dislike MTJ. She wants the new Speaker to be ousted. If that happens, I say they nominate her for the position. Of course, she’ll accept. Then, after several weeks of poor performance, they can oust her. But I doubt any of that would happen due to her party’s small majority in the House. But hey, sometimes it’s fun to think about certain scenarios.
  • I don’t have much sympathy for billionaires. But sometimes people attack them for not building more wealth. I say, compare that to your own life. Is your goal in life to increase wealth or feel fulfilled? I’d say most of us, especially those who have been through major life events, will choose the latter. True or not, some folks attack Trump by claiming he hasn’t increased his wealth when you compare what he received from his father to today’s dollar. As much as I don’t like the man, he didn’t just stay home and play video games. He had fun in real estate and other ventures and was able to employ people who were able to provide for their families. When he takes his last breath, I bet he will feel he lived a fulfilled life. Isn’t that what we all want? Now, if you want to brag about something you are great at and evidence proves otherwise, the attacks are warranted. But in the end, it doesn’t matter what others think.
  • Here’s something else from 1994.

*Yes, I specifically used “peril” because I thought it sounded folksy. Fuck you, Mrs. Pepper! And, of course, that’s not her real name. Don’t be offended; lighten up.

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