Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Take Notes

To celebrate the end of the semester and the fact that I only have to drag myself through this five more times, summers not included, I now present you with Professor Quotes Episode One, or, The Girl In The Back Is Listening.

Professor WW, Southern Literature and Culture. My favorite professor ever. Imagine a tall, distinguished southern gentleman with white hair, icy blue eyes with a sardonic twinkle, an Alabaman accent, and the habit of mercilessly satirizing modern "culture" and politics.

"Music these days is a bunch of people who don't play guitar so much as they play amplifier."

*

on hunting:
"I believe all God's creatures have a place. Next to the mashed potatoes."

*

"Democrats never spend a dime. They invest trillions, but they never spend any. Oh, no. Ha, ha."

*

on a stupid promotional movie for the university, on youtube:
"It was so awful that parts of my body relocated as my skin crawled."

*

"Why do I need a transition here?"
"Because without one, you will cause cognitive whiplash."

*

on term papers:
"Don't write The Collected Quotations of So-and-So, with a Connective Tissue by Yourself."

*

"Why does everything have to be a science these days? They just changed the name of the home economics board to The Department of Domestic Sciences. Does that make us The Department of Punctuation Sciences?"

*

on the cotton gin:
"Eli Whitney saw a cat attack a chicken and come away with only a pawful of feathers, or so the story goes. And immediately a candle went on over his head, since the electric lightbulb hadn't been invented yet."

*

"If you email me at 2:30, I likely won't get it until the sun comes up."

*

"Is 'good-bye' the opposite of 'bad-bye,' like for people y'all don't like? It's all that's left of 'God be with ye,' telescoped down to 'bye.' In another hundred years we'll be saying '-ye' when we hang up the phone."

*

on being teased for his venerable age:
"I don't remember the War of the Northern Aggression... not clearly, anyway."

*

on an obstreperous interruption during a lecture:
"Oh, a car alarm. Let's hear it for technology."

*

on Go Down, Moses:
"The grammar of the sentence is there, but in between is a lot of... Faulkner."

*

on Pong:
"There are probably a lot of people pumping gas today because of that game."

*

"What is "The Brown's" or "The Smith's" supposed to mean? What is that apostrophe for? Do you go up to the door and knock and say, "Hello, are you the Smith?" I am going to spend my retirement going around with a belt-sander removing apostrophes from signs."

*****

Professor MW, Biology. Imagine a short man who looks like Vizzini from The Princess Bride and talks with the same emphatically explosive manner.

"The Ice Man was definitely killed. They say he went out hiking and just fell over dead, but he must've fallen on his arrows."

*

"Plants don't care if we get colon cancer. They probably want to see us all DIE!"

*

"The cow just falls over. That doesn't seem 'mad' to me. Now, if it was running around killing other cows..."

*

"Cadherins are the reason why you can go into the shower in the morning and your arm doesn't wash down the drain."

*

"All fatty acids are hydrophobic, just some are more saturated than others. Like Animal Farm."

*

"One student came up and told me that my lecture of the sun supernova-ing in 4 billion years was giving him nightmares. He must have an inflated view of his self-worth and longevity, because there's really nothing to worry about."

*

"When do legos become fun? When you put wheels and propellors on it, and send it into your cat. It's the function of carbon when you attach it to things that makes it interesting."

*

"Any more questions for test one? No? Ok. I'll think up fifty or so for you."

*

"Arsenic is a necessary mineral. You need a tiny bit. If someone tells you to go take arsenic pills as a supplement, is that good? No, it's natural selection."

*

Moment of the Year:
"What kind of mammals regulate their body temperature?"
"Reptiles?"

*

"Telophase undo's... undo's... UNDOES... prophase."

*

"I wanted you to see Gregor Mendel's garden. Now, there's nothing testable about this picture- but look at the size. It's a 20x30 space. That's tiny. Like if we took over the geologists' little rock garden in the courtyard. I don't even know what that's good for. Rock garden. Are they waiting for them to mate, or something?"

*

on plants and the visible spectrum:
"If plants were strong enough to utilize gamma rays, they'd probably get up and chase the cows around the fields."

*

on the real definition of organic:
"Up until about two years ago, you could grow a head of lettuce in a plutonium dump and call it 'organic'."

*

on electrons, with sound effects:
"Now, the electron is traveling at the speed of light, like this: zing! Zing! Bazing! Zing!"
*class stares*

*****

Professor JM, Western Civilization I (with the favored adjective "bloody" dropped from the front of most nouns). Imagine a middling-heighted man with grey hair and eyes, a ringing loud voice, highly-caffeinated movements including perpetual motion and hitting the boards for emphasis, and way too much energy in general.

"And so, near the end of the Hundred Years' War, we see one of the most brilliant military geniuses in all of history. And that is- ?"
"St. Joan of Arc?"
"THANK YOU for not saying Napoleon, like my morning class."

*

"Oh, so you think the panic surrounding the Black Death was funny? You think people don't do that today? Ok. What if you heard some mysterious illness struck Miami. The next day, the people who had are dead. The day after, a hundred people are dead. It appears in Orlando, and Jacksonville, and Charleston SC, it's coming up 85! Tell me the people in the Middle Ages were stupid for panicking."

*

a student asks,
"So... why do people sometimes say Catholics aren't Christian?"
"Because they're confused."

*

to the people who whisper during lecture:
"Why don't you open your notebook and close your mouth."

*

"You think you're all so independent and original, don't you. Most of us are independent thinkers who think exactly what everyone else around us thinks."

*

"American Catholics don't like to confess things. It's not part of our culture. Unless you confess it on Oprah and she forgives you."

*

in a moment of ire towards historical inaccuracy in modern entertainment:
"You get this from television, from those idiot shows on television!"

*

"The word 'university' is from the Latin 'universitas.' This same word is translated as 'guild.' Universities began merely as teachers' guilds. So if you think you're not stuck in a medieval institution... *evil snigger*"

*

"In the teachers' guild, apprentices correspond roughly to students, journeymen to those with a bachelors' degree, and masters to those with a master's degree. Grad students are practically serfs."

*

"I don't mean to make light of global warming, but hell, anyone who thinks the climate always stays the same has too much AC."

*

"Pikes were twenty feet long. If I had a pike, I could WAKE UP STUDENTS IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM WITH IT."

*

"If you were at war in the Middle Ages and suddenly captured the king, what would you do with him?"
"Kill him!"
"NO. When will you start thinking like a Medieval warlord? You ransom him."
"Oh."
"And that's just what happened, at Poitiers in 1356. Devastating loss for the French. So now the English have the king, and they hold him ransom for five years' worth of English revenue. Just imagine what would happen if we captured Hugo Chavez and held him for five years' worth of oil! You know, I sort of like that idea."
"Dr. M... they might not want him back."
"Oh, true."

*

"And so what did the English charge Joan of Arc with?"
"Witchcraft and crossdressing."
"Well- ok."

*

"A lot of manners in the Middle Ages were very bad, almost as bad as manners have become in America today."

*

"There are people who believe the Bible dropped complete from Heaven, in English. This may come as a surprise to some people, but the Bible was not written in English."

*

"Jesus is not the son of Mary and Joseph Christ. That is not a name. Do not write it in your notes."

*

"Ancient Greek was like text messages. There was no punctuation, and no spaces between the words."

*

"Please ask me before you ask the person next to you. Because, you know, I might actually know the answer."

*

on the syllabus:
"If you can't stay awake during class, you're probably not getting enough sleep at night."

*

"Dr. M, so... did Diocletian insist on keeping being called 'Dominus et Deus' even when he wasn't emperor anymore?"
"Well, he didn't go back to, 'Oh, just call me Dio.'"

*

every five minutes or so, invariably:
"Ok. Questions about... what we have... saidaboutthis."

*

"And so, by 1200 B.C., we enter a period of crisis. Raiders! Who can tell me who the raiders were?"
"The Mongols?"
"NO! The Mongols didn't come until millenia later! Why do people always blame it on the bloody Mongols!"
[People continue to guess Mongols at regular intervals whenever invaders come up until Professor M bans them. Towards the end of the semester:]
"Then, raiders came. Who were they?"
"The...Mongols?"
"YES!!"

*

"Who can name some other catastrophes that happened around this time period?"
"The Protestant Reformation?"
"Well... that depends entirely your point of view, but... ok. Any more?"

*

"Why was the nobility at first skeptical of Joan?"
"Because she was a woman?"
"Why did it matter if she was a woman?"
"Because... saints don't talk to women?"
"Some of the saints are women."
"Oh."

*

"Ancient Greeks were not voted into the assembly. Any free, adult male citizen was automatically part of the assembly. Citizens were NOT voted into the assembly. Write that down. 'Citizens were not voted into the assembly.' And on the test, someone is going to tell me that they ran for office."

*****

Episode Two, including foreign language and music professors, can be awaited in the future.

3 comments:

  1. "Ancient Greek was like text messages. There was no punctuation, and no spaces between the words."

    This pretty much made my night! I may have to start texting in Greek now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I see that you at least were studiously taking notes. XD

    ReplyDelete
  3. *halo* I love taking notes.

    My second semester with that professor begins tomorrow. ^_^

    ReplyDelete