Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Here's the most hapless carnivore ever, attempting to prepare a turkey dish:
This is Google's Swedish Chef interface. Don't ask.
Monday, November 17, 2008
ALL ANSWERS SHOULD BE COMPLETE SENTENCES!!! You will receive no credit if the sentence does not have a subject AND predicate. Also, no credit if each answer isn't numbered and on its own line. My TAs were instructed to grade brutally, as I warned you they would be.
1. Why is Bill Maher opposed to certitude?
Bill Maher opposes certitude because he believes there is value in doubt, and faith is just an opinion.
2. What is the film La Chagrin et la Pitie (1971) about? Is it an appropriate title for the subject?
La Chagrin et la Pitie is a documentary about the Nazi occupation of a French village, the title is very appropriate.
3. Why did the writer of the new film, The Changeling, originally think he should change the title?
J. Michael Straczynski was not sure the supernatural connotations of changeling was appropriate for the film.
4. Look at these two pages of choleric personality traits:
Would you like to work for a choleric boss? Why?
Most people would not like to work for a choleric boss because they would be very driven and rigid, but they would also be highly productive, strong leaders...if you like that sort of thing.
5. Would you enjoy your visit to the circumlocution office?
No one would enjoy visiting the circumlocution office because you would never get a straight answer to your question.
6. In this article:
is being circumspect considered a positive trait? Why or why not?
No, being circumspect is presented as a negative trait, slightly cowardly, lacking a passion for life, etc...
7. Is this blog entry appropriately titled? Why or why not?
No, the blogger is not being very succinct in describing her life...understandable, seeing how complex her life has become, but that doesn't change the fact that the word is used incorrectly.
8. Why might Dan Johnson's life be without compunction?
Dan Johnson spends his life spreading the word of god, so he feels no guilt or anxiety.
9. Does this article recommend concomitant use of ibuprofen and low-dose aspirin? What is its position?
The article spends a lot of time and words to arrive at no concrete recommendation about taking both ibuprofen and aspirin, only an observation that the timing of the dosages has to be carefully monitored.
10. What 'condescension' is Peter Craven referring to in this article?
Craven is referring to the dumbing down of the literary curriculum to reflect texts that are easily relatable as opposed to having transcendent humanistic value.
11. According to this article, which parts of the brain are involved in confabulatory states?
The frontal and parietal lobes in the right hemisphere of the brain appear to be involved in confabulatory states.
12. Read this short story. Explain why the conflagration was 'imperfect.'
The conflagration did not destroy the evidence as intended.
13. Is this painting appropriately named?
Yes, this painting appears to depict two brothers, so Confrere makes sense as a title.
14. What kind of trial is the CONSORT Statement designed to report?
The CONSORT Statement is designed to report medical trials.
15. Why would the flower arrangement cause consternation?
The arrangement caused consternation because it resembled a swastika.
16. Do you agree with this writer about the Red Sox? Why or why not?
Since the Red Sox won, despite the odds against them, the headline is appropriate.
17. What is the focus of this theater company's work?
Point of Contention seeks to illuminate the human experience.
18. After reading this article, answer the questions in the last paragraph.
Although the questions seek an opinion, for a student in AP English, there can only be one answer: Newspapers SHOULD seek to challenge their audience by using higher level vocabulary. (If an AP student doesn't value vocabulary growth, they don't belong in AP English.)
19. What native North American mammals are crepuscular? Name at least two.
There are a LOT: rabbits, foxes, possums, deer, etc... Most likely, any answers given are correct, BUT make sure the animals named are MAMMALS...no birds or reptiles.
20. What is the cuckold's name in Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale?"
The cuckold's name in "The Miller's Tale" is John.
21. Read the poem, explain what Whitman's describing.
Whitman is describing eagles mating in mid-air.
22. Which vocabulary word best describes the first picture?
The vocabulary word that best describes this picture is corpulence.
23. What happens in the denouement of Brave New World?
John the Savage hangs himself in the denouement of Brave New World.
24. What kind of music can you deduce this band plays?
Deride apparently plays some sort of death metal/thrash/punk...something aggro.
25. What is the common name for desiccated cow flesh?
The common name for desiccated cow flesh is beef jerky.
26. Who runs this website? How can you tell?
No one appears to operate this site because none of the links actually DO anything.
27. Is this a good name for the game? Why?
Yes, Desolation is a good name for a post-apocalyptic video game.
28. Does this man's life really seem desultory? How?
Yes, this man's life is desultory, he bounces from one random job to another, with no real plan. (While this site appears to have been deleted by aol on 10/31, the original vocab test was due on 10/27 and I announced the extended deadline on 10/30, so if you missed that window, it's on you.)
29. Is this a good name for this site? Why?
Yes, Detritus is a good name for a site that "recycles culture."
30. Is the title of this painting appropriate? Why?
Evolve to Devolve is an appropriate title for this painting because it depicts two sources of power, wind and oil. One is considered primitive, but is also the wave of the future. The other brought about much of our current technological advances, but is non-renewable and thus, not a viable source of future power. If we want to survive, as a society, we must evolve...yet in this case, evolution requires that we go backward, to a simpler source of power.
31. Do you agree with the author about refusing to accept the dichotomies imposed by our society?
I would hope that everyone would refuse to accept the limiting labels that society imposes on us.
32. What is the legal definition of "DICTUM" (or, in its singular form, "DICTA")?
Dicta are judicial opinions expressed by the judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case.
33. What reason does this person give for choosing the name of his farm?
He "liked the idea of using a mythological place as a herd name because it gave me such a huge selection of names to chose from when naming my animals."
34. Copy the first stanza of Carroll's parody.
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
(This one was tricky...most people copied Watt's original poem, not Carroll's parody. Always read instructions carefully.)
35. Is Rob Fishman complimenting Cornell's diffidence in this article? Why or why not?
No, Rob Fishman is saying that Cornell should be more proactive about offering financial aid, like the other Ivy League schools mentioned.
37. Do you agree or disagree with the disapprobation theory presented in this comment? Why?
This question should have open-ended answers, but the reasons given ought to make sense.
38. Which definition of effete is this headline invoking?
This article is referring to the meaning "Marked by self-indulgence, triviality, or decadence."
39. Based on this information, give an example of a dissolution we encounter in everyday life.
We may encounter sugar water, salt water, or any number of other dissolutions in everyday life.
40. Listen to a few of the sample tracks on this site. Do you agree with the characterization of Midge's voice as "dulcet?"
The answer may agree or disagree, this one's wide open. But again, the answers should make sense.
41. Is this a good example of duplicity?
Yes, this is an excellent example of duplicity.
42. Which vocabulary word best describes the person's expression in the second picture?
This person's expression is best described as doleful.
43. Who composed this thought-provoking aphorism?
"It is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane." --George Orwell
Identify which parts of speech these two words are, and identify the root word:
44. Efficacious : Adjective
45. Efficacy : Noun
The root word for both of these is effect.
46. Would a solution of mustard and warm water work as an emetic?
Yes, apparently mustard and warm water will make you puke.
47. What is the cognitive dissonance implicit in this product?
Sound coming out of speakers that look like eyeballs is cognitively dissonant because they are evoking the wrong sensory organ.
48. Read these two entries in Jeff Goldstein's blog, does he actually elucidate his haiku for the concerned reader?
Yes, Jeff Goldstein does elucidate his haiku for the concerned reader, although that doesn't make it any more logical.
49. Find a product or service that is named "Elan." Copy and paste the link, and explain whether the company named itself appropriately or not.
Again, answers may vary greatly...and again, it's the EXPLANATION that counts. If it sounds logical, give them credit.
50. Identify at least THREE types of effusion and identify their location on the human body.
Pleural: Lungs/Chest cavity
Parapneumatic: Lungs (inside)
Tympanic/Otitus Media: Ear
Joint: Various Joints
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
If you feel you’re not improving, here are some ideas that may help you boost your scores in the coming months...
1. Get a prep book! Use it! Regularly. I don’t make this a “requirement” for the class, since there’s no way I can enforce it without wasting a lot of time playing cop, but it’s quite clear who has--and who has not--been taking additional practice tests on their own. The strongest students in previous years are the ones who prepare for the in-class tests by taking a test at home the night before. It’s a good idea, even if it’s not an assignment.
If a prep book is not available to you, there are many websites that offer bits and pieces of AP prep materials. Google books has a few, as well. There’s no reason you can’t find stuff if you try. Be proactive. Success is your responsibility, not mine.
2. Study the list of literary terms. The one I posted is not necessarily the best one, it’s just what was available online. There should be a list in every prep book, too. Knowing these terms is a key part of building a vocabulary with which you can intelligently discuss any literary work.
3. Know how to scan a poem. I’ve posted a website on the blog that discusses this in detail, but again, a prep book should also cover this basic skill (you can also google “scan a poem” and TONS of sites pop up). It is useful on both the MC poetry passages and the poetry essay prompt.
4. Do the assigned readings ON TIME! I can tell that a fair number of you aren’t staying caught up on the readings. You tend to be completely quiet and avoid eye-contact during lectures. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the same students who sheepishly avoid looking at me and never have anything to say are often also the ones who score low on tests. Cause and effect, people...it’s simple.
The readings aren’t capriciously assigned. I chose these texts for very specific reasons, and I genuinely believe they will help you do well on the AP test. If you don’t read them BEFORE the assigned dates, then you are simply not getting everything you can from the lectures because I am going on the assumption that you’ve done the reading.
5. Refer to the blog regularly. Subscribe to it if you can (it may require a Gmail account...I like Gmail in general, it works. And no, I don’t get a kickback from Google). I post a lot of information on the blog, if you don’t bother keeping up with it, it’s like being absent from class. Because our time is so tight, I use the blog to disseminate materials and review administrative details. It is an INTEGRAL part of the class, you cannot afford to ignore it.
6. If your exam scores are stagnating, work extra hard to boost your grade on the essays and vocabulary tests. Honestly, folks--and I hope I’m not being mean here--not everyone came into the class with the same skill levels or prior knowledge. Some students are simply less well prepared than others for the challenge of rigorous AP-level critical reading. But that doesn’t mean those students are weaker writers, or less capable in vocabulary development. If you feel that you’re in over your head on the practice tests, apply your energies towards doing your absolute BEST on the other elements of the class. They will carry you through even if you continue to struggle with the exams.