Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chalk is Cheap!

This is a plea to you young to-be parents out there, PLEASE give your child a normal name, and SPELL it correctly.  This is one of my biggest pet peeves.  Why is it that people think it is important to give their child a crazy name?  They all to often seem to follow a pattern, for little boys it tends to be some variation of an old name, and then often they throw in a odd spelling and it turns out looking something like Kalen.  I know you’re reading that and know for a fact that however you read it, is NOT the way the parents pronounce it.  Little girls have some choice, they can either have some random word as their name like, Sparkle,  or they can have some obscene spelling of a classic name like, Gessikka…  Both of those are nothing compared to the obscene spelling of a random word for a name like Apiffany.

How many times have you picked up the phone to have your last name mispronounced?  It doesn’t matter how simple your last name may seem to you, it never fails that it gets butchered from time to time.  Even for the most hardened of mangled last name veterans, a little piece of you just wants to smack the person on the other end of the phone and tell them EXACTLY how to pronounce your last name.  Now, imagine if that happened with your first name as well! 

I understand that the main argument for this type of naming structure is to prevent the classroom with three Brians, or two Jennifers,  but trust me, what is worse, having the same first name as someone else, or having a name that nobody can read…  If you want a truly unique name that is unlikely to be found repeated in a classroom, go back in your family tree.  I am always amazed at how contemporary the most historical of names can sound.  You want something out there, pick a good family name, so at very least when someone asks your child why their name is so weird, they can reply that they were named after their great so-in-so Blah Blah…

Besides, everybody knows it’s fantastic fun to be in a class with four kids with the same first name and a substitute teacher.  “Brian, will you please come to the board and complete this math problem?“ Everybody in unison now “Which one!? *giggle giggle*”

Speaking of the “board”, I would like to take a moment to talk about why a chalk board is truly superior to the current standard “white board” (aka dry erase board). 

First of all, you can always identify when you will be unable to write on a chalk board, because no chalk = no writing.  A dry erase board is always littered with markers in all states of their life cycle.  Inevitably, half of them are dry, which even on a “dry” erase board is not a good thing.  The probability of finding a functioning dry erase marker is inversely proportionate to the number of markers located on the board.

The claimed reason for the shift from chalk to dry erase is supposedly due to the sensitivity of electronics to dust.  In the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s this may have been a valid point.  Computers were highly mechanical devices with plenty of moving parts.  Today however, computers are nearing completely solid state.  In a few years, likely the only moving part to be found on a computer will be the power button, and only because people need actual buttons to not destroy touch screens while turning them on and off.

Need another reason why chalk is superior?  How about the complete absence of VOCs.  I suppose depending on how you look at this it could be both an advantage and a disadvantage of the dry erase marker.  While it is quite evident that some teachers enjoy getting high while talking about the symbolism of The Scarlet Letter, even Hester Prynne could tell you that huffing markers is not good for you.

Finally, in a society where under funded schools are EVERYWHERE.  Chalk is cheap (I was aiming for a good chalk pun)  Dry erase markers are incredibly expensive, and the only good ones are the name brand variety which are REALLY expensive!  Lets go back to LOW TECH!

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