Sunday, March 4, 2012

Occasionally Handy--Grammar Day!

Dear family, friends, and fodder,
I decided to mainly write today so that I could share a glorious joke with you. (Those of you who follow me on Google +, or on Twitter, have probably already seen this. Margaret and Christine, I’m so sorry. (They follow me on both.))
March 4th, National Grammar Day, is also my grandmother’s birthday. There’s an excellent pun in there somewhere.
OK, so it wasn’t that great of a joke, but it made me giggle.
Several of you are now saying “I didn’t know there was a National Grammar day.” (The rest are saying, “You’re kidding. There’s a National Grammar Day? What next, a National Root Canal Day? National Scrape Your Fingernails On A Chalkboard Day?” (For the younger generation—a “Chalkboard” is an antique technology that we once used to didactically write, often to larger groups. When you scratch your fingernails on it there issues forth a torturous sound. I think it was a malfunctioning app.))
But yes, March Forth is National Grammar Day. Why did grammarians and other such language-loving nerds choose this particular day, out of all in the calendar?
Because it’s a sentence.
Aha! Now you all gasp with recognition as your brain forces you to quickly recognize the brilliance of the assignment of that day. (Also a pun.) You may also connect that many other nerd holidays fall in March: World Book Day (1), π day (14), the Ides of March (beware the 15), the spring equinox (dates vary—I think it depends on the Iowa Caucuses that year), and let’s not forget Theodor Geisel’s birthday (2). (Don’t recognize the name? His middle name was Seuss.)
So in honor of National Grammar Day, I have decided to cannily split all the infinitives in this letter. (Did I just go back to merrily put in more infinitives, only to mischievously split them? You will have to dazedly wonder.)
News of the actual family goes as follows: Pretty just registered for Kindergarten, Mighty moved up to the beginner class in Tae Kwon Do, and Charity and I tutor a lot of local teenagers.
Thursday of this week (World Book Day) we went to the elementary school to thoughtfully register Pretty for next year’s kindergarten class. She (and most of her friends—Angels and ministers of grace defend those two teachers) got to giddily try some activities with one kindergarten teacher while the parents sat to attentively listen to the other explain what their child should know before the first day. The list is fairly simple—write her name, recognize the letters in her name, and know the numbers 1-10. It was reminiscent of Mighty’s kindergarten roundup: I thought to myself then, too, “So, what if he was ready for that eight months ago?” She is ready, too, though I think she’ll be a different challenge for the teachers than her brother was. (She does, however, have one moment in her past reminiscent of the Hamlet-Point the Leaf controversy. Charity has one hairstyle that they call “Juliet hair” because it resembles the style worn by Amanda Seyfried in Letters to Juliet. The first time she did it in Pretty’s hair, she declared, “I’m the Princess of Shakespeare!” I need to carefully do less to literarily corrupt my children.) Anyway, this is an exciting time for her as she gets ready for school.
Don’t worry, though. She’s still our Pretty. Right now as she is sleeping (read “singing and pretending to quietly be asleep”) a line of riderless cavalry, largest to smallest, crosses her dresser.
Mighty has moved up in his Tae Kwon Do class, as I mentioned. I think I have mentioned before that he has been taking that class since September. He has enjoyed some remarkable success with it, including breaking his first board a couple of weeks back. (The board is on display at the house, if you want to bodily see it. So, Uncle Brian, just hop that plane from Guam so you can visually inspect an object whose picture I could just as easily post on my blog and let you see at your inconvenience.) He likes to diligently practice his form in the mornings (it’s a series of movements that he needs to exactly master in order to proudly earn his yellow belt), and he enjoys the workout of participating in class. Now that he is beyond the super-little-kids class, he goes twice a week. I can easily see now where the burnout of soccer moms can creep in; imagine having three or four kids who are actively involved in three or four different activities. (That’s right, Mark, and you too, teeny—imagine that very carefully.)
Don’t worry, though. He’s still our Mighty. Yesterday when his Lego Club magazine arrived he found the contest page and commenced immediately to creatively build a model of a garbage truck with an extremely long crane arm, though he tells us it’s for separating recyclables.
(I should invent a National Parallelism Day. We would spend it reading King Lear, Isaiah, and Nothing but the Truth.)
Charity and I, as I mentioned, have found ourselves tutoring a lot of teenagers in the neighborhood. (OK, “a lot” is deceptive. No more than seven have ever come, one of those is actually twenty, and two others have only come once. But I might also point out the number of teenagers currently in our posterity: 0.) Most of them come for math, though several come (or call in, readers of this letter) about chemistry, and two of them have Charity help them with history. Only rarely am I called upon to deftly employ my actual job-related skills and help students with essays. (If we expand the pool to our adult friends who are taking college classes, that frequency rises dramatically, from “once per dynasty” to “once per essay.”) Don’t get us wrong—we like helping these kids (and adults, for that matter). It gives Charity someone to shepherdessly feed after our kids’ friends all have to lamentably go home for the afternoon. It gives me a fresh sarcasm vent. (I understand summers are very hard on my family, because I have to inadvertently let out all that snark on the ones I love. Maybe I should just write more family letters in the summer to skillfully solve that.)
So, as you see, life at the Handy house continues to moss-ungatheringly roll along.
Mike, Charity, Mighty, and Pretty
P. S. Did I just work to CTRL-F-ly proofread this letter to ratifyingly certify that I had split each infinitive? You will have to continually wonder. Or, alternatively, to wonderingly count.

Super Tuesday

I was planning to write a post with my own musings about the upcoming primaries on Super Tuesday, but the fivethirtyeight post about it pretty much stole what thunder I don't have.
Summary: Mitt Romney is probably going to top 400 delegates after Tuesday. Not only does he survive the onslaught of the "anybody-but-Romney" candidates, but he gains on them further still.