Sunday Potpourri: Slouching Toward Christmas Edition

Back in my office, dealing with odds, ends, missing papers, and such. I have one more final to give tomorrow morning, and I hope to get my grades turned in by Tuesday lunchtime. But I haven’t checked in for a bit, so here we are.


The end of this semester has been more grueling than I typically find them to be. I suspect that this may stem from the fact that I had three sections of FroshComp instead of the usual two. Add to that the fact that this is the first class of COVID freshpeeps — that is, kids who had at least one year of high school seriously disrupted by shutdowns and virtual classes — and a certain level of dysfunction is to be expected, I reckon.

Whatever the cause, the result is that I’m recording lower than usual grades this term, and am therefore hit with a higher number of futile pleas than usual. That’s a part of the job I hate; I want all my kids to succeed, and it aggravates me when they don’t, even as I know it’s inevitable. One of the things I love about Mondoville is that I don’t have any cattle call classes — the kids and I get to know each other, and I recognize more than a few coming from backgrounds not that different from my own. That makes it more difficult to tell kids that the point of no return has passed and that they need to focus on replacing the grade they have earned with a better one next term.

In fact, I’ve been on both sides of that desk. After I left Transylvania, but before I finished my non-traditional degree, I had courses in subject matter that no longer held any attraction for me, and I lacked the maturity to do the work I needed to do. That means I had a couple of F’s on my undergrad transcript, and because I wound up taking my degree in an unusual fashion, I never made them up. So I know what it’s like.

But that also means that I know that these obstacles, self-inflicted as they were for me and are for my kids, are surmountable, and I try to make that clear to the students even as I tell them that things didn’t work out as we had hoped this time around. A sentence I use a lot in my life is “Education takes many forms.” And it does, and some of those forms are unpleasant. But I learned, and I hope the kids do, too.


In better news, it looks like I’m 3-for-3 in the fictioneering business this year, having received an acceptance notice for an anthology due out later next year. The details aren’t entirely settled at this point, but I’ll pass those along as I have them.

An interesting (to me, anyway) aspect of this particular story: The editor is British, and a couple of suggestions he made were, I think, due to the fissures between U.S. and U.K. English. But one that kind of surprised me was when I had a character refer to a doctor as “an OB/GYN.” That’s the term I’ve generally heard used (pronounced “Oh Bee Gee Why Enn”), and now I’m wondering whether that’s as odd as the editor found it. In any case, I suggested that we simply use the term obstetrician, as the important thing is to make it clear that the character in question is in the family way. All the same, I’d be interested in knowing how else the concept is expressed when people aren’t trying to be funny.


Well, there’s more Gradeapaloozing to be done, so I’d best get back to it. But how about some music? While I commonly think of garage rock as a peaking in the mid-60s, it lasted a bit longer than that in some areas. (Of course, bands like the Flamin’ Groovies would, ahem, carry the torch over the years, but the genre as a vital force was largely dormant by the time Neil Armstrong went for a stroll.) This particular track was recorded in 1969 by Milford, CT’s Blue Mist. Only about 100 copies were pressed, and the labels were filled out by the manager’s family. We can hear the first stirrings of what would later be seen as heavy psych/proto-metal/bonehead rock, but the fuzzed-out guitar still lets us know we’re in garage country. Also, I love the title. So here’s the Blue Mist, with “Twice Before the Ministry.”

See you soon!

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Music, Pixel-stained Wretchery. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sunday Potpourri: Slouching Toward Christmas Edition

  1. Andrew C Stevens says:

    I certainly say “OB/GYN” and pronounce it as you do (i.e. letter by letter). I’m pretty sure the phrase is used in the UK, but perhaps not as commonly as it is in the States. Your solution of “obstetrician” is certainly what I would have chosen as well, given that you wanted to imply pregnancy.

  2. The Czar of Muscovy says:

    OB/GYN is very common in the states (I’ve heard it frequently as “Oh Bee Gainee” where the last rhymes with heinie, in the medical community). I think an American character who says “obstetrician” would sound off.

    • profmondo says:

      After I ‘splained it to the Ed, I think it’s gonna stand.

      Side note: In one of Richard S. Prather’s Shell Scott books, a bad guy poses as a gynecologist. He’s detected by a real M.D. when he pronounces it “Gin-ecologist.”

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