Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pepsi Brings You Back From the Dead . . . and Other Strange Things

     My husband and I love Chinese food, and so do our children.  It is especially yummy after we've been traveling in the car for days and are looking for a healthy alternative for dinner. So, we love to find Chinese restaurants while we are driving, and many times we are amused at their names.  While I am neither proficient in Mandarin or Cantonese (although I can say "thank you" and "toilet" in Mandarin) I don't pretend to be, nor would I go to China and open up a restaurant with some Americanized, translated name that didn't quite make sense in their language.  So, we have "China Taste".  Maybe "Taste of China" would have been better?
     And I really don't get this one-- "Good Friend"?  Like I'm going to eat my friend or what?  Maybe it means I should trust them and their food because they are my "Good Friend"?   I don't think so.
     Okay, "New Garden" is a little bit better.  But I have to think that the opposite would be an old garden, and I don't really want old stuff.  I guess the connotation here is fresh veggies, which is a good thing.  But I just don't usually associate Chinese food with any garden-- new or old.
     And last but not least, "Jade House".  This is definitely a little better as jade is indeed associated with China, but the thought of crunching on green rocks doesn't make me too hungry either.   This may have come across better if it was in a large nice green building and not a strip center.
     And we close with what was supposedly the biggest bungled translation ever.  In the 1960's, Pepsi, at the time a faltering product, came up with the slogan, "Come Alive!  You're in the Pepsi Generation!".  (Check out that phone!)  It did wonders for their sales and the ad campaign spread.  When Pepsi marketed their product in China, the billboards read "Pepsi brings you back from the dead"*.  I suggest using fluent translators when doing anything of this sort.  Happy Thursday!
*If you research this you can find it, but it does fall under "undetermined" in the urban rumor category.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Lovely Piece of Christmas Music

   It's that time of year again--time to find some sort of new and refreshing Christmas music.  Many of you probably know this piece.   I may very well have performed this instrumentally before awhile back, but I do not recall seeing it as a hymn.  The lyrics are beautiful and haunting, and the late Renaissance texture is absolutely beautiful.  This piece is probably not in the top 10 performed pieces of Menno-Christmas-School-Holiday repertoire, so it  may be helpful as an addition to your own program this year.

 Oh yes, and it's quite past the date for being public domain.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Oasis Chorale Has Rollicking Spot-It Scrabble Gummy Bear Party

     Well, they did it.  Rosie and Phil got married!  And after their lovely reception we had an OC party at our house.  And OC knows how to party.  They do wild things like . . . play Spot-It for hours, organize the Scrabble board into OC sayings, freely eat bass gummy bears, give cello lessons, and . . . okay, so their parties aren't all that wild.  They are really kind of geeky.  Actually, they are really geeky and kind of nerdy.  Apparently they like it that way.   :-)  

Anyway, teachers should have lots of parties because . . . 

1.  You can exchange good ideas,
2.  You enjoy wonderful conversations,
3.  Playing games makes you smarter, and
4.  You can smell Brittany's boots? 
5.  You can see Parker make surprised deer-in-the-headlights expressions when you take a picture  
(nice socks, by the way, Parker.)  

     The hurricane rains kinda ruined our sit-around-the-campfire plans, so we all enjoyed the downstairs of our home even though the radiators aren't hooked up yet and it was a little chilly.  The sheer number of bodies warmed things up after a short while.  Oasis Chorale members from the past ten years were present and we had a blast.   I got to bed around 2 a.m. and haven't laughed that hard in a looooooooong time.  The house is quiet and empty now but the memories linger.  

Oasis Chorale Party Scrabble Board by Phoebe Beiler and Jeanene Nisly

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bass 2s = Super Geeks

      The bass II section of the Oasis Chorale was very good for everyone's morale this past summer.  They had "Bass Pro" hats, swan hats, and matching socks.  (Not all at once, of course.)   I didn't realize they were going to actually wear the socks for performances until I caught a glimpse of one their ankles.  Then I was surprised when all five of them showed me their socks-- in uniform, of course.  We must admit that they are not trying to be cool, in fact it is a little geeky.  And that is a good thing.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Soft Palate Awareness Day

      The other day my husband decided that it was time to make the 7th and 8th grade choir students aware of their soft palates.  First he explained to them that the whole purpose of the soft palate is to create a seal so that when one swallows his food, or Sprite, or milk, it does not exit out his nose, but down his throat.  We've all known someone whose soft palate had a peculiar tendency to raise during laughing/milk ingestion,  and then had milk squirting out his nose.  (We used to try to get my niece to do this when she drank Sprite at holiday dinners, and more often than not, we were successful.) Anyway . . . .
     So, in order to make them more aware of their soft palates so that when they are older they can keep them raised when they sing, he had them go to their respective bathrooms, find their uvulas in the mirror, (the uvula is the most visual and most obvious part of the soft palate) and attempt to raise the things.
    This is where it gets weird.  After the experiment was done and they had returned from their respective rest rooms, one girl's hand went up.  She asked, "Is it okay if I touched my uvula?"
    My  husband was a little surprised and somewhat grossed out, but he said something like, "Um . . . yea . . . that should be fine."  Now, what he was thinking was, That is really weird.  Why would you want to touch your uvula?
     Singing is great.  Funny 7th grade girls are great.  Uvulas and soft palates are great.  Touching your uvula with your finger is weird.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Um . . . Ah . . . Ugh . . . She's Eating It!

     Today I was substitute teaching at the school where my husband works.  My assignment was a class of 4th graders, and they happened to be studying bugs.  There was a display of bugs on the back table in the room, and the teacher had encouraged the students to find insects and bring them in.  They did.  They brought in caterpillars, crickets, and a large female praying mantis.  In science class we read that these lovely creatures eat their husbands after mating.
         Suddenly I heard a gasp from one of the boys who happened to be seated near the jars of bugs.  He informed us that the praying mantis was eating one of the crickets--alive.  If you've ever taught a room full of 4th graders you know what happened next. Of course, I let them all run over and gawk at the disgusting sight.  We certainly learned much about insects today.  When it was time for lunch one of the boys remarked, "I think I lost my appetite."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Oasis Chorale Holds a CD-Packing Party at Organic, Grain-free, Soy-free, Non-GMO Milk Distribution Center

        Last night we held an Oasis Chorale CD release party.  Over 800 CDs were packed to be shipped, and we had quite a fun time while doing it.   The cover is lovely, and we were reminded a few times how the cover photograph was taken by one of the basses.  If you look closely at the above picture, you will even notice one of the packers (a bass by the way) actually kissing the CD.  Weird.
        And, this was really held at an organic, grain-free, soy-free, non-GMO milk distribution center.  For more information on this amazing business, Springwood Farm, click HERE.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Mennonites

       Around fifty musicians--both singers and instrumentalists--gathered in Ephrata and Lititz, PA,  last weekend to make some beautiful music together.  Under the direction of Lloyd Kauffman, works including Mendelssohn's "Psalm 42", Mozart's "Ave Verum", and Bach's "Singet Dem Herrn" were performed.  Many teachers were present, some singing and playing, and some listening in the almost sold-out auditorium.  This was certainly great teacher enrichment time.  

      Though it was meant to be a one-time event, it was so enjoyable that there are requests already being made for another concert to be planned sometime in the future.  We shall see.  :-)

    For more information and to hear and see a brief snippet of Vivaldi's "Gloria" from a rehearsal, click here.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Girls Bring More Bugs

Ever since Jeff saved the wolf spider in class last week, his students have been presenting him with creatures they have found.  First there was the peach-goop- eating spider, then a snake, and then this stick bug.  The strange part is, he isn't teaching science.  They just find these and bring them to him because they know he appreciates it.  It is strange how the passions of the teacher are transferred to the students.  This is a big responsibility; we should ask ourselves, do we use this for good or bad?  

     It is amazing how the stick bug blends in with the stick, and one would almost not even see it, unless one was specifically looking and appreciating God's amazing creation.  After observation, the stick bug was released onto a bush.  Students appreciating nature are fun to be around.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Notice: Signs in Lancaster County Have Become Self-Aware!

     I guess my husband has read too much absurdist literature where the machines become self-aware and start thinking.  So here are a few signs that are thinking and telling us (or others) what to do.  He usually comes up with all the titles around here anyway.  

Participles People !

The way I teach my students to remember participles is like this:

                   P A R T I C I P L E S 

  A participle is a verb form functioning as an adjective.  As in burnt toast, a gurgling stream, a smiling man, etc.  We mark them with a "hockey stick" and we call them that too, sometimes.  That way the slanted line identifies them the way we do adjectives, but the flat part of the hockey stick shows that we noticed the verb ending as well.   I even have them "play detective" and we actually circle the verb ending to draw our attention to it.  
     So, to correct these signs, the puppies are mixed breed pups, evidently.  Again, mix is usually a verb, but as it is used here it is a participle.  They are mixed pups.  The way it is presented, the sign is directing the pups to mix, or rearrange themselves, I suppose.  

     Secondly, the price is reduced, therefore it is a reduced price.  The way it is displayed on the sign is in the imperative form, a command, which technically means,  
                                                          "(YOU) price, reduce!"  
     Or, it could even mean "The price has been reduced." in an abbreviated form.  Then it is functioning as a verb and it should read, "Price Reduced".  

     And on the second sign, the goods are baked, and therefore it should read baked goods.   As it appears now, the people reading the sign are supposed to go and bake some goods, as in, 
                                                           "(YOU) bake goods."
      And I diagrammed them just for fun.  Hey, my coffee isn't done yet.  I wanted to do something entertaining.