Category Archives: humour

My son’s 7 things

angrysandwich

Photo by Sakurako Kitsa

You’ve heard me talk about my elder son (Mr 18 yo). He was inspired to write his own 7 things, and I thought I’d reblog them here for some amusement.

By the way, he has inherited bombast and hyperbole from someone in the family, so don’t believe him when he says his parents made him learn piano. No parent can make a child study piano until they get their AMUS certificate.

7 Things

1. When I was in pre-school, I was convinced I was not a human being. The reason? We were read an environmental-themed book which showed “human beings destroying animals’ habitats”. Logic: human beings practise deforestation, I have never even thought about deforesting anything, ergo I am not a human being.

2. In the past week, I have been eaten by lift doors over a dozen times and almost lost my manhood to a scaffolding pole at a church clean-up

3. Russians don’t have middle names but rather patronymics so my full name is Alexander Petrovich Sheko (which is to say, “Alexander Sheko, son of Peter”). However, when I was young, I decided to rebel against the patriarchal system (you’re welcome, ladies) and called myself AlexanderTatianovich (Alexander, son of Tania).

4. At the age of three (or so), I had nightmares about a dragon chasing me around the backyard. Not just any dragon: the St George dragon. And I don’t mean the generic ectothermic creature of legend, but the dragon on the St George Bank logo. (Ironic twist: Last year I briefly worked for a sales company representing St George Bank)

5. I sing bass but because I have never had proper singing training, my range depends on the temperature, time of day and how long I have been singing. Usually the lowest note I can reach is D below the stave but it can go up to F if I’ve strained my voice. I once sang an A below the stave.

6. My parents made me learn the piano. At various points in time, I despised it and hated them for not letting me quit. I now have an Associate Diploma in piano, am being paid to play for a school musical (Cabaret) and enjoy playing every single day. I consider it a great blessing and one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.

7. A fundamental element of Russian culture is forcing children who have barely learned to speak to commit to memory large portions of poetry and recite them in front of large groups of people. At some point in my childhood, it was decided that it would be a good for my education (despite the fact I spoke very little Russian) for me to participate in this cultural treat and I learned some verses of a poem to recite at the annual Russian Culture Day. Unfortunately, I was sent on stage with a girl (half my age and height) who recited her poetry first. It never occured to me to adjust the microphone stand and I could not understand why several dozen Russians were laughing raucously at my attempt to combine poetry recitation with limbo.

These 7 things were originally posted in his blog under the pseudonym of Phillip Sandwich.

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Filed under humour, Musing

Da Vinci vs Michelangelo

by Tracy Workman

This video made me laugh; it’s very clever.

This is where I found this video.  It’s created by a student, Tracy Workman.

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Filed under animation, art, creativity, humour

Santa camp

The holiday period seems to be lightening me up at long last. Humour is slowly creeping back into my life. I found this video on The Britannica blog.

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Filed under film, humour

Embellish the interior passageways

I know that you would have seen these before – these strangely reworded Christmas carol titles or, as described on the site, obfuscated Christmas carol titles, but I thought I’d pull them out – as one pulls out of a dusty box that’s been sitting in the back of a dark cupboard – as a light challenge for the season.

The website calls them titles of Christmas Carols, rewritten in florid and multisyllabic language!

See how many you can guess.

  1. Move hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their belief
  2. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds.
  3. Nocturnal time span of unbroken quietness.
  4. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere.
  5. Embellish the interior passageways.
  6. Exalted heavenly beings to whom harkened.
  7. Twelve o’clock on a clement night witnessed its arrival.
  8. The Christmas preceding all others.
  9. Small municipality in Judea southeast of Jerusalem.
  10. Diminutive masculine master of skin-covered percussionistic cylinders.
  11. Omnipotent supreme being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males.
  12. Tranquillity upon the terrestrial sphere.
  13. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals.
  14. Expectation of arrival to populated area by mythical, masculine perennial gift giver.
  15. Natal celebration devoid of color, rather albino, as a hallucinatory phenomenon for me.
  16. In awe of the nocturnal time span characterized by religiosity.
  17. Geographic state of fantasy during the season of mother nature’s dormancy.
  18. The first person nominative plural of triumvirate of far eastern heads of state.
  19. Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted, metallic, resonant cups.
  20. In a distant location the existence of an improvised unit of newborn children’s slumber furniture.
  21. Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation.
  22. Jovial Yuletide desired for the second person singular or plural by us.

If you reach saturation point guessing these, scroll down past the picture for the answers.

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  1. Oh Come All Ye Faithful
  2. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  3. Silent Night
  4. Joy to the World
  5. Deck the Halls
  6. Angels We Have Heard on High
  7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
  8. The First Noel
  9. Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
  10. Little Drummerboy
  11. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  12. Peace on Earth
  13. Frosty the Snowman
  14. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  15. White Christmas
  16. Oh Holy Night
  17. Winter Wonderland
  18. We Three Kings
  19. Jingle Bells
  20. Away in a Manger
  21. Go Tell It on a Mountain
  22. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

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Filed under humour

A limerick for all occasions, but in a dictionary?

spaceodyssey

In the spirit of holidays, I thought I’d tone down the intensity of my posts – seriousness interfering with the holiday spirit…

Reading through Articulate, I found The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form (OEDILF).

The goal of The OEDILF, our online limerictionary, is to write at least one limerick for each and every meaning of each and every word in the English language. Our best limericks will clearly define their words in a humorous or interesting way, although some may provide more entertainment than definition, or vice versa.

Look up a word, browse by author or topic/genre, or join the project to submit original limericks.

There’s an impressive list of topics/genres.

Here’s an example of what you’ll find:

If you look up the word anticlimactic, you find this limerick:

In picking up women, my tactic?

I promise adventures galactic

We watch Lost in space

When we’re back at my place

Which they find to be anticlimactic

 

Here is one result for genres: science fiction:  

asphyxiate by mephistopheles (Limerick #8004)

Though you’re weightless and moving with grace,

You’ll asphyxiate here, out in space.

Is your very best pal

a computer named Hal?

You could die here and leave not a trace.

 

And some background is included:  In Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1968 film, 2001, a Space Odyssey, an astronaut, Dave, was famously locked out of the spaceship by a malfunctioning computer named Hal. If Dave had not succeeded in getting back onto the ship, he would have died when he ran out of air.

Lots of possibilties with this dictionary, both educational and recreational. For the sake of holidays I’ll abstain from the usual heavy-handed instructions.

One more under ‘ballet’

Her willowy arms flutter slightly,
Her feathered white head drops down lightly.
Alas for Odette,
Men who love soon forget.
Thus, she’s dying in Swan Lake once nightly.
…Except on Mondays, and twice on matinees.

There.

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Filed under 21st century learning, creativity, Education, humour, play, poetry, writing

Just do it – together

Allanah King  has made a lot of people smile with her collaborative project dance video. See if you can keep a straight face.

Allanah commented:

The project started out as a bit of fun – it ended up that way too. We thought we would make a collaborative video in a similar style to the Where the hell is Matt video that is wildly popular on YouTube. By having a collaborative dance video we were able to transcend cultural and language barriers as everyone loves to move and dance- it is pretty universal.

Allanah collaborated with schools across New Zealand, as well as Canada, Bangkok and the United Kingdom. She talks about her process on the Time 4 Celebration site.

Why does this kind of thing make me stop in my tracks? Allanah said that she did it for a bit of fun. She also said that it transcended cultural and language barriers since dance is universal. I think it’s a simple example of what makes us human – just getting together and enjoying each other. The fact that there are things like dance or music that we can share across cultures gives me a clue about engagement in schools. It just takes a simple thing, a happening, celebration – as long as it brings us together as a group and gives us a sense of belonging. Great things can come from this.

I like Allanah’s blog title: Life is not a race to be first finished.

It shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be aiming for good marks in a test. It shouldn’t be focussing solely on a result. It’s about enjoying the process and sharing it with others. I love the idea of creating online learning spaces to support, connect, share and celebrate. Learning shouldn’t be a lonely road. Not a journey kept to yourself. Never an experience without good fun.

I’ve been privileged to do some collaborative teaching with Maria Toomey in her English classes at school. Maria understands this instinctively. Understands and lives this. What her students learn in class they do with a sense of being valued as part of the group. She teaches the whole person, and gives of herself in the same way. She and the boys come together to think, discuss, review, display and celebrate. She shows them the value of learning beyond academic content, and they will remember her beyond the classroom.

By the way, do yourself a favour and read some of Matt’s dancers’ comments here. You can also get a Google Earth tour of some of Matt’s favourite places around the world. I loved this.

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Filed under 21st century learning, creativity, Education, film, humour, learning, teachers, teaching, Web 2.0

Words come to life in Wordia

oscarpuppet

I love the idea of a dictionary created by many people, but Wordia is more than that. It’s a media dictionary created by people sharing their own videos. It’s people talking on video about a word that they’ve chosen. So it’s much more than a definition. Watch Oscar Puppet’s video defining the word ‘buncombe’ and you’ll see that it’s just as much about the person (or character) behind the chosen word – it’s a word definition with personality.

What else is Wordia?

It’s a community of people who, for one reason or another, care about a word enough to spend time making a short film to explain their chosen word.

wordiacommunity

You, too, could join this collection of people who make this media dictionary. This is what you have to do:

wordiainstructions

 Wordia is in beta and is far from comprehensive. There’s something good about a brilliant, new idea in the making, especially when anyone is invited to contribute.

I got sick of searching for words that weren’t there so I browsed using the ‘words’ tab. There’s a list of ‘best words’ and that’s how I came across the definition for ‘fermata’. Very entertaining.

Wordia has it all. Aside from the obligatory dictionary definitions on the page, the list of synonyms, you also get comments from people, making Wordia not so much a dictionary as a linguistic peopleonary.

There are many ideas for the English classroom here. Apart from the kids watching or making their own Wordia clip, you could discuss which videos work best and why, or how the video presentations could be improved, or you could get the kids to choose 5 words they didn’t previously know, or 5 words that sound the most ridiculous, or 5 legal words, 5 words associated with emotions, etc. You get my drift.

Have a look for yourselves and tell me what you think.

 

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Filed under creativity, Education, film, humour, language, learning, play, teachers, teaching, Web 2.0