CatDecenzo’s Weblog

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February 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where Art Thou Pretty, Pretty Prose?

shakespeare

I was signing my credit card slip at ol’ Sherwin Williams today buying a quart of  touch-up paint, when the young cashier commented, “Wow, you have nice handwriting.”

Oh my God. I got tingly. As I turned to walk away, I politely said, “Well, thank you.” Before I made it to the door, I stopped in my tracks, turned back towards him and said, “You can thank the nuns for that.” (Mmmm, deer-in-the-headlights look…he was probably thinking…what’s a nun?)

nun_gunsPenmanship. I like that term much more than “cursive.” Cursive gives it a scary connotation, sort of like the nuns themselves, who used to scare the holy ba-jesus out of me. But the word “penmanship” is nicer.  It’s flowery, almost Shakespearean sounding – an art in itself.

penmanshipIt is not required by schools anymore, and that makes me sad. Shoving memorization and facts down students’ throats prepares them to “not be left behind” in today’s schools, and the art of penmanship has sadly gone by the wayside. No more perfecting the “loop the loop” of the f, or the curly pig tail on top of the o. Technology has evolved to the point where people simply hammer away on a computer keyboard, text on a cell phone, or twitter on their Blackberry. And although some would say it really doesn’t matter if anybody learns handwriting, it’s a beautiful, lost skill that is interesting and historic and basic.

I can’t imagine a world without old civil war papers to discover, journals from grandparents to dig out of moldy attic trunks, artifacts or love letters found tucked away in old walls and dug up from dusty, creaky floor boards.

I admit that  – as I blog away on my keyboard – even I can type much faster than I would be able to write this post. I can create, compose, cut, paste and re-arrange ideas with the click of my mouse and the swipe of a cursor. But I always have a pencil sharpened and my handy pen nearby in case of the untimely demise of my Mac, because I was once forced to sit at a desk and concentrate on the repetition of swirls and loops.

It was actually the most relaxing part of the school day, after a mundane morning of memorizing useless, boring historical dates and the complexities of math problems. The pencils smelled good. The paper was a blank canvas. The eraser was your best friend.  I believe it was the only time the class was completely quiet. We were still. We were in the zone.

Handwriting developed our fine motor skills, and was an important component of physical and neurological skills as we grew up – the lack of which now has produced a generation of students – and even teachers – who are content with poor grammar, fractured sentences and the inability to think and communicate logically.

Another disadvantage of this disappearing art is that many people actually have a hard time reading somebody’s writing when they do come across it. I once worked for an attorney who scribbled his work on napkins, scraps of paper taped together – even toilet paper – and would plop it on my desk for me to translate into a well executed, readable document. Many of my younger co-workers would roll their eyes saying, “How can you read that!?” I just could.

And you can thank the nuns for that…

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Random | , , , , | 1 Comment

Got Milk?

milkman

A British milkman has been given a suspended sentence for providing a little extra lift during his version of Meals on Wheels to his elderly customers.  God bless his little soul. Apparently, the 72-year old gramps graced his customers with a little stash-o-hash to go along with their cookies during his milk runs, sympathetic to their aches and pains that their Geritol couldn’t quite fix. 

grannysmokinFirst of all, do people REALLY still get milk delivered!? Apparently, about 1.5 million British still have home delivery by a milkman. Wow, that must mean that 1.5 million Britains don’t work outside the home.  If the milkman delivered here in the U.S., we’d have clots of curdling cream crawling through the crevices on our front porches, next to our delivery of Girl Scout cookies, while we sit in the hot sun in the hour-long commute from our offices.

So that got me to thinking that these British Blue Hairs are either on unemployment, retired, or they’re supposed to be at work but are too stoned to give a crap about the economy.

ladysmokin

 Which prompts the question: So why buy the cow when you can get your dope for free..

…in a bottle

…complete with calcium

…delivered to your rocker??

 

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Random | , , , , | 2 Comments

He Who Smelt It, Dealt It….

Was that you, Blondi??? Bad dog....

Was that you, Blondi??? Bad dog....

I was watching a special last night about the many failed attempts that were made to assassinate Hitler – I think there were a total of 45. Of course, when you saw the fortress of troops and security he employed (wonder if they all had 401(k) plans?) to protect his every movement, and the impenetrable walls built up around him wherever he wandered, it wasn’t surprising that many of them, unfortunately, failed. The man was brilliant at the art of remaining unpredictable in his travels, thus thwarting even the most strategic of plots against him.

But the most intriguing part of the special was the fact that, since it was difficult to physically get near him, some attempts were made to poison either his food or water supply. But it seems he even employed a “taster” to pre-munch on that peanut butter to ensure its quality before it even got near his half-a-mustached lips. This taster was also responsible for ensuring that his food was not too spicy or strong because, apparently, it seems Hitler was cursed with extreme flatulence. Mmmmm, the close meetings down in those bunkers musta been some kind of appetizing.

Some doctors say very nervous people sometimes swallow a lot of air and it moves through the system rapidly, and their bodies don’t have time to absorb the oxygen – which make them, well, gassier than most people. Hey, I’d be nervous, too, if I couldn’t even drop my load without wondering if the toilet paper roll was ticking. The paranoia alone must have sent enough hydrogen sulfide gas through his system to plan his own explosive demise. If he had just waited long enough, he may have never even had to use that pistol. Could have just handed old Eva Braun a pack of sturdy matches.

goatWow, what an embarrassment for the ruthless leader of the Third Reich. But for being such a brilliant strategist, he was actually pretty stupid. Seems he was a strict vegetarian – eating things like oatmeal with linseed oil, cauliflower and boiled apples. Well, duh, Adolph…guess your guests at the private chalet up in the Bavarian Alps must have endured something a little more than healthful mountain air. Was that one of the mountain goats….?

hitlerbaby1

Now if old Claus Von Staffenberg (played by Tom Cruise in Valkyrie…no, don’t go see it. He was about as believable being a German colonel as I would be playing Aretha Franklin…) had just sat quietly at the meeting, it would have taken merely someone lighting up a cigarette to light that fart and send Adolph and those Gestapo gagging, and blow that Wolf’s Lair sky  high.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Random | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments