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I got a near-hysterical phone call from the ten year old a little while ago.  While normally a whiz in math, she had got sloppy on her most recent quiz – forgetting to simplify her fractional multiplication answers – and had been dinged good and hard for it by her teacher.  She is now in anguish because she thinks she’s blown an “A” for the grading period.  (FWIW, I find this hard to believe, given the rest of her work.)

My reaction? A calm, “Well, now.  Bet you won’t make that mistake again, will you.”

Good ol’ Dad.

I think the gel had some vague notion that we could be persuaded to step in and try to bail her out, but I made abundantly clear to her that we were not going to interfere when her bad grade was simply the result of her own carelessness.  In fact, I even managed to slip in the old expression about the burned hand teaching best.

Indeed,  upon further consideration of the matter I am almost rayther glad she got dinged.  In the long run, it’s not going to make any real difference as to whether she gets into Harvard Med or not, but it will certainly teach her a valuable lesson about personal responsibility.

Once I got the gel to calm down and to admit that her grade was a problem of her own making, I then suggested that she take a hot bath and go lie down with a nice book.

Which in my experience, is good medicine for any ill.

UPDATE: I spoke with the gel again when I got home.  I assured her that while I thought it too bad that she should blow her quiz in such a foolish way, I wasn’t mad at her because I could see that she was mad at herself.  This, I said, showed me that she was learning to take responsibility for things, which is good.

Oh, and it turns out that there is an opportunity to retake the test later this week.

Words fail me.

Words. Fail. Me.

A glass of wine with Drew of the Holy Whapping.

No one topic seems to be coalescing in Robbo’s brain today, so instead I am falling back on the time-honored quick thoughts post:

–  Went to see the eight year old’s performance in The Nutcracker on Ice last evening.  (She was one of the Arabian dancers.)  All in all, considering that it was a program of about 60 little girls aged 5 through about 14, it really wasn’t too bad.  I must say, though, that when you stop thinking of the musick as an accompaniment for the dancing and start listening to it for itself, you quickly realize what a rotten composer Tchaikovsky really was.

– In connection with the skating performance, the gels were commanded to be at the rink a full hour before show time.  Because seating there is extremely limited, the parents who brought the kids (at least the veterans among them) then proceeded to go to the bleachers and stake out large claims on behalf of all the sisters, cousins and aunts who came later to watch the performance.   This same kind of thing happens in Church when the Christmas and Easter crowd shows up and it drives me to distraction.  When I become emperor of the world, such practice will constitute a flogging offense.

–  Beethoven’s birthday happens to be tomorrow and, in celebration, the local classickal station has been going great guns with his musick all weekend.   Which prompts me to say this:  I think the Chorale from his 9th Symphony is one of the most over-rated pieces of musick in the entire canon.   Fact is that Beethoven really couldn’t write for voice.   There.  I said it.

–  I have to travel out to the Midwest again this week.  I’d half been hoping that a blizzard would come through and cancel the trip, as I don’t really want to go.  No such luck, however – it’s just going to be damned cold.

– I am increasingly annoyed by the second offering at my church’s Mass.  Is this a universal practice?  It strikes me that when one has just received the Host, one ought to be left to contemplate things in peace and not have a basket shoved in one’s face.  Most distracting.

–  Oh, speaking of churches, the eight year old insisted on bringing along a library book to RFEC yesterday – she gets bored with the sermons.  The book, with which she is currently fascinated, is a children’s history of the sinking of the Titanic.   Talk about your metaphor crying out for attention!  My only fear was that somebody else might spot the book and surmise that I put the gel up to it.

– Sooper-Sekret Message to Mr. FLG:  I used the line on my friend that you recommended.  She slapped me and asked how dare I be so insensitive about South American fauna.  This is your idea of teh funny?

– I started to watch a 1968 Royal Shakespeare Company production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last evening.  Directed by Peter Hall, it featured a heavyweight cast that included Ian Richardson as Oberon, Ian Holm as Puck, a mostly naked Judi Dench as Titania, plus Helen Mirren and Diana Rigg as Hermia and Helena, respectively.  Alas, the film looked like it was done one weekend by a bunch of hippies with somebody’s home movie camera (which it probably was) because the production values are just awful.   I dozed off just after Lysander called Hermia an acorn and probably won’t bother with the rest.   Life’s too short.  Funnily, while I have seen several good stage productions of AMSND (and starred in a so-so one myself), I’ve never yet seen a good film treatment.  I often wonder why.  (And don’t recommend that one with Kevin Kline as Bottom because it’s rubbish.)


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December 2008