Before I get started: a big shout out to the spinning top, which — after more than 2,000 years —has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. I think the dreidel was a close runner-up. I don’t know if “spinning tops” include gyroscopes. If not, I want them to get in next year.
Meanwhile, a gruyere from Switzerland won Best Cheese of 2022. Good thing it didn’t have to wait 2,000 years.
I’ve been reminiscing lately about fundamental differences of opinions with teachers I had when growing up.
I was in Seattle and enrolled in a weird summer school class. I think the theory was that, as an army dependent, I might miss too much regular school due to moves, so why not stick me in a summer school? Or maybe my parents were just trying to get rid of me. I was about six, so probably not fun to be around, what with the cowboy outfits and the cap guns — things that you kids today probably don’t know about.
The teacher was very nice and spent a lot of time reading L. Frank Baum’s original “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” book, which I hated. But I appreciated what a nice gesture it was on the teacher’s part. She didn’t have to read to us. She could have just sat at her desk and glared at us until the time was up.
Anyway, at some point she tested our spelling, and I aced her test, outscoring any of the other kids. She asked me up to the blackboard to explain to the class my spelling gift. She gave me the word “boat” to spell — which I thought was kind of a softball, but OK — and I wrote “boat” on the blackboard. Then she said, “Explain how you know that’s the spelling.”
So I walked through it: This “b” is the bow of the boat. This “o” is a porthole. This “a’’ is another porthole but it has a fishing line on the right side. This “t” is the rudder and steering. She had me sit down and told the class we were going to learn “phonetics.”
To this day, I have no idea how phonetics can tell you it’s “boat” and not “bote.” The teacher was very nice but a couple or three bricks short of a chimney, in my view.
All this reminiscing is designed to put off the dreadful rundown of the midterms. The Dems are giddy because they haven’t lost nearly as much as they thought they would have. They deserve a special award for coming in a relatively close second.
The Senate is right now — last Friday morning, to you — down to the wire. Alaska hasn’t been called, but the only fight left there is between two declared Republicans. The Democrat is out of the race. So counting that as a GOP win, the GOP has 49 senators lined up, while the Dems have 48. There are three races left to call this morning in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. Georgia will be decided by a runoff next month. The Dems have to win two out of the three races left to maintain the edge they have because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaker role. If the Dems win in all three states, Kamala’s tie breaking may not be needed for the rest of Biden’s term.
The tally in the House of Representatives stands at, last I checked, GOP: 211, Dems: 191. There’s 33 seats left. The GOP only needs seven out of the 33; the Dems need 27 out of the 33. I’m going to go way out on a limb here, do a Nate Silver impersonation and say the Republicans are going to win the House. If not, it will be an epic “defeat snatched from the jaws of victory’’ moment. Remember how you used to watch the opening of “Wide World of Sports” just to see the skier wipe out? That kind of moment.
I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure me and Nate are in agreement on this one.
Oh, and then there was Mrs. Pangborn, English 10a, Cleveland High School, 1964. I did not do one homework assignment for her class. She passed me anyway with a D minus. She was convinced I was a genius. Five bricks short of a chimney.
Read more of the Nov. 16-22, 2022 issue.