Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Take Notes II

As promised.


Professor BT, Spanish I and II. Imagine a short, heavy Peruvian man in his early 70s who looks like an Inca, has a deep, thick, and rumbly accent, goes on philosophical tangents, and thinks that we need basic words defined as well as translated.

"Do not tell me that the cat escape and you run around on top of roof to catch and she fall down and she dead so you go to funeral. -That, that is no excuse for to miss class."

*

"There is no free coffee, even in Paris."

*

"If you don't learn to conjugate now, you are going to have a hard time. It will be a handicap to you. I don't want to be the carrier of bad news, but I want to be realistic. I want to be blunt. I don't want to discourage you, I want to encourage you to study. So, I am going to give you extra work."

*

on irregular verbs:
"This is a dangerous field with a lot of mines. You do not want to blow up."

*

"I know it is pain in the neck to buy- it cost $70.00- but this is capitalist society and they want your money."

*

"Don't try to trick me- I know the rules of the game. After you miss class, I have right to separate from the course. The next time you do the same trick- you skip exam- you get a C."

*

"Nobody put a gun to head and say you go to Spanish II. You decide, you make investment."

*

"No telephones alive in this class. Don't say grandmother fixing antenna on roof and she in hospital. Or brother break leg. Everyone want to talk on phone and be popular- even in bathroom. No telephone alive and ringing in my class."

*

"First, let's understand what the word 'verb' means. El verbo es la palabra mediante la cual se expresa un compartamiento del sujeto."

*

on accidents and verbs:
"Not mean verb break its head or leg- not that accident. This is grammatical accident- voice, mood, tense, number, person."

*

"If I hit someone on the head, is it active or passive?"

*

"Human beings have to locate themselves in life. So- they measure time. *pause* They measure time."

*

"This is equal opportunity course. That means no one escape. Do not hide under table."

*

"I don't enjoy to inflict you pain, to be sadistic- but we have work to get done. This is very difficult; three times more difficult."

*

defining a one-star hotel, when someone merely asked for a direct translation:
"One star, you might find maybe a roach crawling around. No star- you end up in hotel full of thieves and they come knock at your door and maybe at your head, too."

*

"Well, we know we all are mortals... we need a verb to describe the situation where we get stiff."

*

over-explaining instead of translating vocabulary:
"When you want to go from point A to point B, you use different modes of transportation. Medios de transporte. You can walk, you can take a bicycle, plane, train, whatever. A metro is an underground train that goes very fast and carries you from one point to another."

*

"There is no study guide in this course. You read de chapter. There is no reason for me to rewrite de whole book."

*

"You must internalize all these words."

*

going over word lists took a long time.
"You buy them, and they are not all dried up, they are still green- and that is why we call them green beans!"

*

"Wait- so cerdo is pork, or the actual pig?"
"The whole thing is actually a pig, you know."

*

explaining the expression "estar aburrido como una ostra":
"You know what an oyster is- they sit at the bottom of the sea, they look pretty but don't do anything."

*

"Wait- so is chorizo made of chicken blood?"
"No."
"Oh, good."
"It is made of beef blood."

*

"Ice cream can come in different flavors."

*

"Peruvians- we are too short to play basquetbol. My fellows, we are too little."

*

on hockey:
"You go to special places where the ground is frozen, for you to practice the sport."

*

"When you play a sport, you do not go naked. What do you need? A uniform. Some even have the names of the athlete on it."

*

on helmets:
"You wear these because there is the possibility that you land on your head. You need protection, or else your head open like a watermelon."

*

"We think we have developed, but really we have not. We go to sports, watch two guys beat each other up. Why is this better than Romans? Or go to bull fight, watch them kill poor animal. -Of course, we turn into steaks afterwards. But sometimes bull kills the guy. We are not civilized- not yet."

*

"Me?"
"Yes, you. You think I skeep you? You think you escape?"

*

"Irregular is something that is not regular. Like a shirt that is missing one sleeve and one pocket."

*

on how many students pass:
"Usually, the rate of mortality in this course is 50%."

*

"You can fall from several places. For example, you can fall on your back."

*

a student says,
"Do I have to roll my r's, man?"
and
"I'd rather learn Turkish..."

*

on our hospital vocabulary list:
"As human beings we are very fragile, and experience many situations of agony."

*

on scantily-clad people:
"Some people, they get so used to heated houses they think they can just go outside- and then they catch cold. That is what they think."

*

"Look at the picture. Tell me what is item seven?"
"El... hoover?"
"NO! La aspiradora."

*

"Vacuum cleaners are not very popular in Latin America because the floors are made of-"
"Dirt?"
"-wood or tile."

*

"Wood or tile floors are very hard. You can put a rug on it, if you want to make it- soft."

*

"If you do not do any homework, that is laziness. And laziness must be punished."

*

"A bathtub is where you fill the water and take a bath."

*

handing back a test:
"There were many casualties."

*

"We as human beings are violent. We kill each other. The whole history is a litany of wars and crimes."

*

because saying the same thing with ten times more words makes people understand:
"Maybe someone in your family gain weight, have a heart attack. Then you say you need to exercise. Understand the usage of the word?"
"No..."
"I explain again. A member of your family, maybe brother or sister, gains weight exponentially. So you decide-"
"I'm lost."

*

"People collect things. They are ratpackers."

*

"Some people like to reproduce their environment by painting."

*

"Some people like to spend all day try to get a fish out of the water. It entertains them."

*

"My wife is such a bad cook, she can burn water."

*

"The moon has phases. One of them looks like this: ( "

*

"Margarine is full of highly toxic polysaturated fat."

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"People can get mad. People get so mad they can have a heart attack. People have died, getting mad."

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"Human beings are full of emotions. They can be wonderful or evil. We descend to the darkness very swiftly."

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"There are always people trying to get into your private life. Especially the government."

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"Children adopt computers and sit all day, eating crackers, eating everything- and then they turn into balloon. We have an epidemic, right now."

*

"I used to be 5'7. Now I am 300 pounds, and it compress the discs in my back so now I am only 5'5. Now my wife, she taller than me. That is sad, but true."

*

"What are these trees in the picture?"
"...nouns?"
"No. A forest."

*

"I have brought this music to show you that Latin music is very rich. It is not just chachacha."


***


Professor JM, Western Civilization II. See part one for description. This semester, he's at his bombastic best. ^_^

on the syllabus:
"Please turn off your beepers, pagers, cell phones, boom boxes, etc."

"You have to take notes. I don't care if you say, 'Oh, I love history, I know all this, I watch the history channel!' You will do badly."

*

"This is a European history course, and for those of you who didn't recognize it, this-" *thumps map* "-is Europe."

*

"There's a tendency in students to think that if they don't believe something, no one in the past could've believed it. And that's... false."

*

On being asked why education was limited in the Middle Ages:
"If automobiles all cost $100,000, how many of you would know how to drive?"

*

On Luther burning his writ of excommunication:
"And obviously there were a lot of students around who enjoyed bonfires and tweaking the Pope's nose."

*

"Do I hear voices in the back of the classroom?"
"Sorry, I just... I missed what you said and didn't want to interrupt-"
"Feel free to. Because, you know, I might know the answer."
"I didn't want to make you lose your train of thought-"
"I'll find another one. This is not a movie where it can't be stopped."

*

"Now, modern Americans might have a hard time understanding that there was only One Church. Here it's, don't like one church, join another church. They don't like you, go start your own bloody church."

*

"Now, don't confuse baptists with anabaptists. You see anabaptist, and think baptist, and then Jesse Helms."

*

"Churches these days make up the strangest names for themselves. I can't tell what they are. There used to be a church near my house called Westwood Baptist. Now, I know what that is. But now it changed its name to Summit Church, and... I have no idea."

*

"Do you think government leaders wanted Luther's philosophy applied to laws? Why don't you try going down I-40 at 95 miles an hour and when the cop pulls you over say, 'Here I drive, I can do no other, and my conscience requires that I drive 95 miles an hour.' And see what happens."

*

"Now, you can read in your textbook about Calvinism. It says a lot, and it might overwhelm you, so here's my take on it. The book doesn't say this, but... it doesn't contradict the book. The real take of Calvinism is, it's anti-Catholicism."

*

"Now we have a situation- and by now I mean the 1300s and 1400s-"

*

On the fame of William of Orange:
"You didn't think they named Orange County because they grow oranges there, did you?"

*

On Elizabeth I:
"She was called the Virgin Queen, although I seriously... doubt that."

*

On Elizabeth I sending help to the Netherlands to fight Philip II
"But wait- didn't that hurt their relationship?"
"After 22 years, he's figured out she's not going to marry him."

*

"So, the Armada was blown into the North Sea. Have any of you been to the North Sea before?"
"Yeah."
"What's it like?"
"Cold, choppy... I don't know, I was on a cruise and I stayed inside the whole time."
*class begins talking about sea cruises*
"This is not a tourism class. You'll just have to go there and take your chances."

*

"Who was the ruler of England in 1556?"
"George?"

*

"We have a new dynasty. The Bourbons. That ought to be an easy name for some of you to remember."


***


Professor TB, Macroeconomics. Imagine a man who looks exactly like Einstein- mustache, flyaway white hair, likes to stick his tongue out, always wears shabby black- but has a Scottish accent so engaging that it's the main reason I'm taking the course. He couldn't decide whether to go into biology or literature, so he became an economist.

"Mr. B, I hear there's a reason why you always wear black."
"Yes, there's a story behind it. Do you really want to hear it? I'm warning you, it's stupid."
"Yes."
"Well, I was walking along one day and saw this wonderful climbing tree. So I started to climb it- but I slipped and fell into a fork of it and got stuck with half of me sticking out one side and half of me sticking out of the other. Finally, these two guys came along and helped me get unstuck. My chest and ribs were all bruised and scratched- not dangerously, just pretty badly, so I didn't want to tuck my shirt in. But when I wore black pants and a red shirt, it looked sloppy. So I thought to myself, if I wore all black, it would match. And then it was so comfortable I decided to always wear black."
"..."
"I told you it was stupid."

*

"A rolling stone gathers no moss, but at least it doesn't get caught by the police."

*

"Congratulations! You've just drawn your first economics diagram! That wasn't too hard now, was it?"

*

on the question of whether apartments are a resource or capital:
"Apartments don't occur naturally."

*

"Here you don't walk like an Egyptian, you think like an economist."

*

"You see these mothers with little kids waiting in line at the grocery store, and all the kids are whining and screaming for candy. Just give them some. Let them rot their teeth out. They'll get new ones later."

*

"So, Arboc would have to go entirely into producing televisions. But you can only use so many televisions. Unless you're my son. If you're stupid enough to go into his room, you can see he has screens everywhere- it's amazing, like mission control or something."

*

on his creative vocabulary:
"I had a thesaurus for breakfast this morning."

*

"But all things are not equal. Look at your highschool gym class. You have the jocks, and then you have the people who get chosen last. That's awful. That's a vicious, vicious thing. The little guys with the glasses and the gray hair. But when it comes time for economics class and they need help- look who can do it now!"

*

"Apparently nematodes are nasty little worm things just waiting to sink their teeth into some tobacco roots."

*

"You can look this up in Chapter Two if you have additional questions. Make yourself a note. 'Having fun in Chapter Two. Wish you were here.'"

*

while rummaging around in his briefcase:
"Talk among yourselves, please."

*

"We can instantly say, therefore, in a chorus, with harmony, that the opportunity cost has decreased."

*

after a hands-on example:
"That was fun. Now we've got to do the serious stuff. Sorry, guys."

*

"I have a bit of a headache, NOT a hangover."

*

"I lost my train of thought."
"Well, hang on. Another train will come along."

*
email received last Monday:
Hi,

There's an opportunity cost to doing problem sets--not getting to go out in the snow, clean the car,sled, throw snowballs at neighbors or whatever your next most preferred alternative is.

So, let's make your problem sets due on Thursday (not Tuesday).

Enjoy the snow and be safe!

Best to you,
TB


***
To be continued...

4 comments:

  1. "This is a dangerous field with a lot of mines. You do not want to blow up."
    "Frends sometimes esplode."

    "I know it is pain in the neck to buy- it cost $70.00- but this is capitalist society and they want your money."
    Heck, the difference between that and a socialist/communist society is they have your money. They're not even different in practice, one's just the end result and the other is getting there. Ha!

    "Churches these days make up the strangest names for themselves. I can't tell what they are. There used to be a church near my house called Westwood Baptist. Now, I know what that is. But now it changed its name to Summit Church, and... I have no idea."
    There must be as many First churches as First banks. Some people forget that first and last reversal thing Christ warns us about.

    "There's an opportunity cost to doing problem sets--not getting to go out in the snow, clean the car,sled, throw snowballs at neighbors or whatever your next most preferred alternative is."
    Har har... teacher talks like a student trying to use the teacher's own language to communicate student frivolities.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I always wondered that about First churches, too. The day I see a Last Baptist Church, I'll know someone's finally seen through it.

    Oh, my economics professor is always talking about us in economic language... whenever he ends class, he always comes up with an economic reason to end class, like the opportunity cost has become too high and we're now going home, or something. ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful! Some day, I'll have to tell you about my Greek professor......he is legendary.....

    ReplyDelete
  4. My favorite quotes from this semester are from music theory.
    The professor: "Now, if you were taking an ear-training course....oh. You ARE taking an ear-training course."
    "We're going to make use of an important element: fear."
    The TA: "No one can hear you scream down here!"

    ReplyDelete