Lesson #94 Redux: Being Linked

This blog has never been anything more than a way for me to just vomit random information for about a dozen people who know and love me to read if they’re interested. I teach you things because I like to know things. Because my parents like to know things.

Apparently, though, I’m only mostly just a tiny little internet blip vomiting knowledge and good research. I’m super late to the game on this — mostly because this little endeavour lay dormant for three years while I did my second master’s and then didn’t have a need for this sort of intellectual stimulation in the following year and a half. But here we are just into 2018, and I’m looking at the stats page and notice a weird referral.

Most people who wind up here came either because they’re subscribed to it (Hey, guys! Thanks for still being here!) or because they’re googling whether a. they can legally go to Paraguay for that dual they’re itching for (Put the gun down!) or b. their untreated syphilis will make their nose fall off (There are drugs for this! Go see your doctor! And wear a condom next time!) However, since 2015, a perplexing number of people have ended up here thanks to…The Guardian?

Like…the reputable British news site, The Guardian. As you can imagine, this was confusing. How on earth did so many people end up here because of a British newspaper to which I have zero affiliation? It turns out that in 2015, someone writing over there went to the Google machine whilst writing an article on the revival of Manx Gaelic and found my post on the same. What I find hilarious is that the statistic to which I’m linked is pulled from the fifth chapter of a book from a 1990 conference on Minority Languages that literally took me all of about 90 seconds to find, in full, from the moment I clicked off my blog to the citation.*

But…I rather suspect I was linked because I’m much more concise and easier to read than the author of the original paper (one Dr. Wilf Gunther of Lancashire Polytechnic in Preston, about whom a cursory search reveals surprisingly little outside of acknowledgements by other authors, which makes me think he may not still be alive), which is heartening. The original article is interesting, but dense. I’ve broken the information down into just a few paragraphs, and being linked by a source like The Guardian means the work I’m putting into learning about these things and making them digestible pieces of knowledge for non-academics is effective and useful.**


*It would have been faster if the initial citation to which I linked had been more complete. What should have been a two-step process turned into a five-step process. So it took a minute and a half instead of 15 seconds.

**I’m sure there’s a discussion to be had on the decline of our attention spans to the point where valuable academic information needs to be broken down into a few easily digestible paragraphs, but I’m not here for that right now. Or ever, really, I guess, given that this entire blog is easily digestible knowledge designed for people who aren’t inclined to spend an hour or two or three (depending on the lesson) reading up on a subject for no reason other than “I was curious”.


Lesson #194 Redux: The Teddy Bears’ Picnic

The summer after I started this blog, I came across a website that looked at the more disturbing second verses of common childhood verses and songs that we all know. Today, I learned the later verses to the Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and wow are they sinister.

The second verse is innocuous enough,

“Every Teddy Bear who’s been good is sure of a treat today. There’s lots of marvelous things to eat and wonderful games to play.”

But then it suddenly takes a really dark turn in the third (and final) verse:

“If you go down in the woods today, you’d better not go alone. It’s lovely down in the woods today, but better to stay at home.”


Nothing says childhood trauma like “your teddy bears sometimes come to life, get together in the woods for a picnic, and eat the children who follow them.”

An Addendum to Lesson #351: Things Are Not Always As They Seem

At some point between the time I hit publish on yesterday’s post and midnight this morning, the Harvard Law Library issued a (weirdly timely) post on their blog about the validity of the book Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias Hispaniae as an example of a text using human leather.

Tests have shown that our flayed friend did not get made into a book binding. Unless, the post points out, said friend was a sheep. I find this equal parts relief and disappointment.

You can read the article here. This is easily the shortest period of time I’ve had between posting a lesson and issuing an addendum thereon.

An Addendum to Lesson #266: Our Copies of Gatsby

Just no! Earlier today my WordPress cheerleader used the word “Dope!” No one has said “dope” since 1996. This needs to stop. I suddenly feel like my dashboard is the Brian Krakow of blog segments…not that Brian Krakow ever used the word “dope.” Moving on…

A couple days after our discussion about the merits of graded readers and Fitzgerald’s intended wording, my friend in the Texas capital texted me to tell me that he had found his copy of The Great Gatsby and to his surprise, it contained the very essay we had been discussing. I found that very interesting and then didn’t think anything of it until this afternoon when I pulled my own copy off the shelf to lend to a friend who decided, in the aftermath of my discussion with her about the wording, that she needed to reread it. It turns out my copy also has that essay in it.

For the last dozen years, he and I have both had this essay sitting right under our noses, but never read it. Clearly neither of us read Gatsby for class.

An Addendum to Lesson #249: Rhymes With Jaywalk

Last weekend, I wrote a post about the etymology of the word jaywalker and noted that Merriam-Webster, for whatever reason, provided me with words that rhyme with jaywalk. I didn’t think one would ever need to know that information.

Until today.

My dashboard this morning had a search query that brought someone to this blog that said “rhymes with jaywalk.” So apparently there are points in ones life where that information may be necessary. I stand corrected.

An Addendum to Lesson #207: The Boudoir Grand Revisited

My mother doesn’t play the piano. She is the only person in my family who doesn’t. But it seems she knows more about the family piano than anyone else does…

A boudoir grand is not necessarily a flat piano, as was explained to me. They can also be uprights. I did not know this until my mother sent me an email saying “look at the sounding board of our piano.” I have been playing that piano since I can remember and I have never known this. A boudoir grand can be apparently be an upright piano. I have no reference for this except my parents’ own piano. But I’m more inclined to believe Mr. Gerhard Heintzman, who built our piano, than anyone else.

Also, only sort-of-secretly, I’m planning to inherit it. I love that piano.