Ogden Nash: To My Valentine

To My Valentine
by Ogden Nash

More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That’s how much I love you.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That’s how much you I love.

I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.

I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oaths,
That’s how much you’re loved by me.

Source: oldpoetry.com

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) started work writing advertising copy for Doubleday, Page Publishing, New York, in 1925.
He went on to publish his first book for children, The Cricket of Caradon, in 1925, and his first poem, Spring Comes to Murray Hill, in New Yorker magazine in 1930. Joining the New Yorker in 1932, he was briefly the great Dorothy Parker’s editor. I’ll bet that cost him some sleep. In all, he published 19 books of poetry. Light verse though it was, he was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1950.

Question: What role do elderly parents play in your life?

My mother died last week,Muff near Eastern Market, 20 July 2004 and I’m mourning and thinking back. When I decided to stay here in Germany, an ocean away, I automatically decided against sharing her day-to-day life and being there to help her with her big and small needs. Not being there has felt morally wrong, always. After all, you simply can’t “delegate” tender loving care, no matter how involved you get in your parents’ living arrangements from a distance. Two of my brothers cared for her in Washington, which is very comforting, and I spent time with her recently. But still, she wasn’t a part of my daily life. I’ve always dreamt of a utopia where all of the generations of my family and my and our friends are nearby, but reality is very different.

Can you imagine having, or are you planning to have, your parents live with you and your family? There will certainly be more of that in the next years, as retirement homes will again become a great luxury. As for me, I’d like to find group living arrangements myself, with a small group of like-minded people sharing a house, and kind-hearted professionals to take care of our physical needs. Yet another utopia?

What about you? Are you struggling with arrangements for your elderly parents? Or are you already thinking about how you will handle your own last years?

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Question: Can you learn from a robot?

I had great fun last week, exploring what it is like to talk to a chatbot. It was Shelly Terrell who originally put me up to it, advising me when I was gathering ideas for a Spotlight Magazine article edited and coauthored by Jo Westcombe on ways English learners can use the Internet. I spent the better part of a day and evening experimenting, trying to figure out how chatbots make sense of my input, wondering whether or not our exchange sounded “human”, and thinking about whether I’d want students of English to use chatbots to develop their language skills. My findings will go online as a language exercise to supplement the article on Tuesday, and I don’t want to jump the gun here, but I’d like to share some of my impressions of the process with you.

What I’d like to know from you: Can you learn from a robot? Have you ever “interacted” with an inanimate system to improve technical and/or life skills? What sorts of skills do you think robots could teach? And would you enjoy using them in place of a “human” teacher?

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Question: Do you believe in learning styles?

In my profession there’s a hot debate going on about “learning styles”. You know, finding out whether you are a visual learner and need to see things to understand them, or an auditory learner who prefers to hear things, or whether you are a kinethetic learner and have to do things to really get them. Those are just some of the more famous learning styles, there are many more (such as whether you learn more on your own or in a group, or whether you are more analytic or non-analytic.) I found a video by Professor Daniel Willingham who calls the whole idea of “learning styles” unscientific. I find it particularly interesting, as it got me thinking.

I also liked this response by New Zealand teacher Craig Hansen:

My opinion? If the idea of learning styles helps a student learn, I’ll run with it, whether it’s science or religion. Because, no matter what you call it, learning improves when you’re motivated, and finding out that your way of dealing with learning is taken seriously enough to actually have a name can be very motivating. Students start to learn better once you’ve given them some attention and looked at what they need to become better learners.

What about you, do you believe that we have learning styles? If so, does that knowledge help you learn?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences.

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Question: What do you need to create flow?

Flow is the state when all systems are go and you just do and forget about time. It’s when you feel completely involved and concentrated on whatever you are doing. Even if the task involves a strong challenge, you feel that you are able to meet it. You’re in control, yet not pushing anything. And you feel happy and whole and at peace.

It’s a term developed by a pschologist whose name I can’t spell or pronounce: Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi. (I remember the name this way: “Mick: ‘High chick sent Mick high!'” I’m not the only person who has trouble with his name:

These days I’m working against the clock and around the clock, like many of us at this time of year. But sometimes flow kicks in. Do you experience flow in your working life? Do you have any tips on how to get into flow?

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Question: What new services do we need?

Last week I was getting a class ready to go to “Seven Days in the Life of Simon Labrosse”, a play being presented by the BeMe Theatre. It’s about a guy who has been unemployed and is trying to break back into the market (and into life, really) by inventing new and intriguing services: “emotional stuntman, ender of sentences, ego flatterer, easer of consciences”. Well, I asked my students to invent services they thought there was a market for and to write job advertisements for them. In this week’s podcast I’ll tell you about their ideas — and I’d love to hear yours! Please add yours in the comments below, or blog about the subject and link this post to your blog.

Ref.:

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Question: What risks do you like, and what’s your survival kit?

I’ve been called a control freak by people who actually call themselves my friends. So what do my enemies call me? I think it’s a teacher thing, wanting to be prepared for all eventualities. Yet I’m fascinated by teachers who “teach barefoot”, taking nothing but a smile and a good night’s sleep. I know that will get you far, and I do it too, quite a lot, actually. But I only do it when I know the terrain, when I figure that I have enough tricks up my sleeve to handle pretty much anything that can happen. So while I hate taking blind risks, I love taking calculated ones.

I always take my survival kit with me. These days it consists of a high tech gadget, my multimedia MacBook Pro hooked up for wifi, which is really worth having made me computer-poor, along with my low tech tools: index cards, empty sheets of paper, colored pens, pins, sticky tape. A key element in my survival kit is my beloved Moleskin diary in red – so I can always find it, even when my desk is a mess – containing not only my appointments, but lists of all kinds: ideas and to dos, completely illegible to anyone but me. I love my Moleskin, and if I lost it, well, I might just take a lengthy holiday to run away from my clients and creditors.

How about you? What risks do you like taking, and what’s your survival kit to get through them?

Tipp: Sie möchten Ihr Hörverständnis verbessern? Zwischen dem Podcast und dem geschriebenen Text gibt es viele kleine Unterschiede. Hören Sie genau hin, um sie zu entdecken.

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