freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
I reproduce my subject line, unedited, from the closing sentence of the latest Harper's Weekly. The juxtaposition of the horrible punning sentence with a cetologist called Thomas Jefferson completely cracked me up. Also, I recommend Harper's Weekly as an injection of global happenings, great and small, into your inbox in a pleasingly punchy format rife, on the macro level, with weird juxtapositions. Also, "juxtaposition" is a lovely word.

I seem to be turning into the kind of blogger who blogs about her cats, which is alarming: I shall attempt to stem the tide by blogging about other people's cats. I have developed a sad addiction to the detective fiction of Lilian Jackson Braun, whose books are rife with eccentric life in American country towns. Her middle-aged sleuth attains the truth with supernatural aids, namely his cats, who are charming brats, and psychically sussed in spades. (I have also been attending Flanders and Swann revues, can you tell? I thoroughly recommend Hats Off! at the Theatre on the Bay. Their performance of "Madeira, m'Dear" is pitch-perfect).

Abandoning spontaneous doggerel, I shall simply say that the slow pace, whimsical detail and slightly wry tone of Braun's writing really works for me in my current state of fatigue, which has been particularly bad this week. It seems to be the case that I'm OK as long as I only try one activity per day that isn't noodling around on the internet or lying on the sofa reading slim "The Cat Who..." vols. I've given four hours of seminar this week, catching up after The Great Migraine Debacle, and am consequently somewhat deader than usual. I discover, however, that it's perfectly possible to keep absolutely on top of my work email if I'm at home unbothered by students. There's a tragic irony in there somewhere. Sigh.

Tonight, tapas! Salty Cracker hits Fork. In preparation, I have been lying on the sofa all day, so hopefully I won't actually slump gracefully into the marinated sardines.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
The discipline of English lit
is open to the meanest wit:
hardly rocket science, its creed
demands you simply learn to read.
Yet there they sit! my brightest class!
Mute, because they can't be arsed
to read the nifty books I set.
I push the button marked "Eject"
to launch them skywards through the roof,
and register my sharp reproof.
Heaped on the lawn, all bruised and bleeding,
bet they wish they'd done the reading.

Still no epiglotti. I'm too annoyed to think of rhymes.

(Edited after the fact to a slightly snappier version. The Eject button was in one of my earlier scribbled bits of paper, and I subsequently forgot about it.)
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Essay waffle off the topic
bootless is, and catastrophic.
Toiling late, you must refrain
from making comments ungermane
or soon you'll rue this fatal flaw
when They come knocking at your door
and make you answer for your lack
to sinister, suited Men In Black
who vanish you to secret cells
and, disregarding tears and yells
condition you with this suggestion:
focus on the bloody question!

Alas, no epiglotti, despite all useful suggestions. (For a given value of "useful". You loons). Maybe next time.

Still catching up after the marking/invigilation marathon. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a brain, and a body composed of something other than a mass of ache.

* Yes, I know my numbering is out of order. I left out V (for no adequately defined reason other than that I'm an English academic and can't count), so I'm slotting it in.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
A tragic trend in modern youth
resides in this disgusting truth:
their writing skills are somewhat vile,
devoid of substance, form or style.

But worthier still of deep repentance
their offenses to the sentence!
With blind indifference quite superb
They brutally excise the verb.

Faced with grammar thusly maimed
- mutilated, bleeding, lamed -
I swear I will, by all the gods,
chastise the perpetrating sods
with metaphor that's rather neat
by sawing off their hands and feet.

What tells you I was marking essays all yesterday? Actually, this lot on vampires weren't half bad. Someone wrote an amazing, insightful, focused, intelligent response to From Dusk Till Dawn, which I would have thought was a feat completely outside the bounds of human capacity.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Of student crimes unsavoury
The worst is to the apostrophe.

You'd think the wretched little twits
Could learn to tell their its from it's;
Or not, with doltishness excessive
Confuse the plural and possessive.

But since they do, I find it droll
To have them clubbed to death by trolls.

This one courtesy of the last two weeks of marking, and of Stace, who wanted to see students clubbed to death by trolls. Dedicated to anyone who feels that the author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a soul sister. I have for years had exactly the fantasy she describes, of guerilla signage activies with a small can of spray paint.

Happy June, everyone!
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
The tut room's video up and dies!
Ignoring plaintive student cries,
with hammer, club and guillotine
I pulverise the damned machine,
ensuring hatred, fear and dread
by making them read books instead.

Teaching was a far, far simpler thing in the days when we didn't have to teach film. That's all I have to say.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
You're handing in your essay late?
A trap-door drops you to your fate.
In noisome water, in the dark,
while gnawed by leeches, eel and shark
please spend your time in contemplation:
you should have done the preparation.

I suppose I should hasten to add, in the interests of political correctness, and in the unlikely event that any of my students actually stumble on this page, that in fact I quite like students, and have taught them for over thirteen years now because I enjoy it and them, not out of some strange masochism. It's certainly not because of the salary. I am firmly against the idea of corporal or capital punishment in our institutions of higher learning, and identify myself fully with a mode of gentle and supportive instruction. No students, bears or sharks were, or will be, harmed in the making of these Ruthless Rhymes, and any resemblance to actual malefactors past or present is purely coincidental.

This latest one, incidentally, sparked by the joyous combination of a headache and horrible heartburn, the latter of which I take personally given that I've hardly eaten anything today. Had to give up a wineroute with Jo&Stv as a result of the headache, since the painkillers tend to make me carsick. Sigh. I want a new body, this one is skkkkraaatched.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
My efforts fail to grip, 'tis true:
dolts leave the lecture halfway through.
Good preparation checks my tears:
outside the door, they're munched by bears.

This is fun! I feel better already.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
As a result of manifest student iniquities in lectures, I have a new hobby. First installment:

A cellphone's plangent beep, by God!
Machine-gun turrets waste the sod.
I thus, with shame and satisfaction
Plug his social interaction.


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