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4 kittens

Slam Duncans

Posted on 2017.02.12 at 22:45
Sprung is springing.

I wore shorts and sandals today.


The math students have trouble with negating if-then statements. For example, "If it rains, than the sidewalk will get wet," is probably the canonical if-then statement. The negation is, "It is raining, and yet the sidewalk is not wet!" (It's exclamatory for earnestness.)  The negation of "If P, then Q" is "P and not Q". The asymmetry drives students crazy - they want the negation to be another if-then statement. They want to negate P as well as Q.

I finally came up with a good example of the negation structure in the wild. I told my students, "My two year old stood up in his chair at dinner time. The chair tipped over and he bonked his head. He's okay, he cried, he's two. So the next night, he went to stand up in his chair, and we said..." (I slowed up for emphasis) "... 'Rascal! If you stand up in your chair, then you'll fall and bonk your head!' " (I used hand motions and made it totally clear that this was the key if-then statement.)

"So! What did my seven-and-a-half year old do? Well, she loves to prove mom wrong, right?" Students love this kind of personal anecdote. "So Hawaii stands up in her chair, and she says...so: what did she say?"

Several all answered, right on cue, "I'm standing in my chair, and I'm not falling and bonking my head!" It was so nice! The perfect negation. It's not an if-then statement. Keep the hypothesis true, and negate the conclusion.

Hawaii did not actually stand up in her chair and say this. That part is fiction. It is true that Rascal stood up in his chair, fall down, bonk his head, and got the if-then warning statement the next night.

What actually happened is this: when we said, "Rascal! If you stand up in your chair, then you'll bonk your head!" Rascal kept going slowly standing up, gauging our response.

So then we said, "Rascal!! If you don't want to bonk your head..." and we looked at him questioningly. Rascal answered, "don't stand in my chair," and lowered himself back down again.

What really occurred, of course, is exemplary use of the contrapositive - If not Q, then not P - instinctively by us and by Rascal. That's what got me thinking about the context as being ripe for logic examples.

I already have a great example for contrapositives, though. I say to the students, "Suppose you're on the border between an A and a B at the end of the semester, and I tell you, 'If you get an A on the final exam, I'll give you an A for the semester.' So you study and take the exam, and then the semester ends. The next week, you're sitting around at home, and you go to check your grades, and...you got a B!" I say, "So what can you infer?"
"Must have gotten a B on the final exam," they all say wearily. It illustrates the point very well. "If P, then Q" is equivalent to "If not Q, then not P."


At the beginning of each PT session, I have to spend ten minutes on a dumb recumbent bike. "All our patients start this way!" they told me in a chipper voice, when I politely asked to skip this part. During this ten minutes, I stare at this poster:

I used to just read my phone for the ten minutes, but a few weeks ago, the doc pointed out that whenever I'm standing around bored, I reach for my phone, and perhaps that bent-neck posture was contributing to my neck cramps. I sheepishly acknowledged this. So now I stare at that poster.

The more I stare at it, the more amazing it seems.  It was really hard to get a legible photo. Let me help you out with the main bullet points.

First, "Commitment to commitments"? Who says that with a straight face?

1. I commit to Rabid Responsibility. I own my commitments.
2. I commit to Confidentiality and Alignment. I keep confidences.
3. I commit to Empathy. I picture myself in the other person's shoes.
4. I commit to Authenticity. I acknowledge I am an individually valuable person.
5. [I can't make this one out. Something about humility.]
6. I commit to Life Long Learning. The learning never stops.
7. I commit to Perspective. Playfulness and fun makes people better.
8, I commit to Do What's Right. Very simple: Would mom approve?
9. I commit to Serve with Passion. My passion drives me to make meaningful differences in lives and business.
10. I commit to Sisu. I will face challenges head-on.

What a mouthful. Do they pledge allegiance to this poster every morning? It's not exactly bad, but personal valor ambition is so intense that it sort of gives me hives. Rabid responsibility, come on now.

(Also, before you bother to google, let me help: "Sisu is a Finnish word which loosely means stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. It is generally considered to not have a literal translation into English." The English translation is generally considered to occur in the intersection of youth, earnestness, and adorable hopefulness.)

I think the dry needling completely cured me. I don't feel like I'm fighting my own traps to hold good posture any more.


Hawaii bowls!

Pokey bowls!

Ace doesn't bowl!

Rascal bowls!

Heebie admires the font:

Let's all take a moment to do the obligatory feel-old sigh:


Things I say:
1. "Comparisons are the thief of joy!", quoting old TR there. I trot this one out constantly, to try to short-circuit the endless bickering. It doesn't work, but I'm vaguely hoping it will sink in and stick with them when they're young adults setting out, trying to find themselves.

2. "An idiot is someone who learned today what you learned yesterday." I just learned this saying this week, so I'm someone else's idiot. But the kids are jerks about lording knowledge over each other, and I'm glad to be armed with a pretentious blowhard saying that I can trot out automatically.

Things Pokey says:
1. "It's a good thing camping chairs don't have smoke alarms on them!"
I laughed, appreciatively. He went ahead and explained it in great detail anyway.


"I want to go to Deep Sea to see the anglerfish, and the whales, and dragonfishies, and never-seen creatures that're still out there."  (Not me. Deep Sea terrifies me.)

Things Ace says:
1. "Hip hop is when you're walking and you're on a turtle, which is also walking. So you're moving on it and it is moving. Also it's stretched out so you don't walk off the end."
What? I think she just derived the elliptical orbits of the planets around the sun, or something. It's moving sidewalks all the way down.

2. "Oh yeah, oh yeah, I'm taking a bath with my butt crack open!" (Singing.)
Sorry, future Ace. I felt compelled to record that.

Things Pokey says:

I mean, it was a pretty moonrise.

2. We got called in for a parent-teacher conference for this little bugger. Basically he's several months older and twice as big as everyone else in his class, and so he's kind of bored and can really push the other kids around. I dunno, move him up to the next classroom? No?

Things Hawaii says:
1. "Mom, can we please go over March so I can put everything on my calendar? Please? It's already February."

2. "Can I get started on my Valentines? And Pokey's? And Ace's? Can I do everyone's?"

3. "A merengue is something that's hard and soft at the same time. Like a graham cracker."
I thought that was apt.

Things HEB says:
1.  When I was in high school, our cat got super constipated. The vet put him on a laxative called Propulsid. That always struck me as hilarious.

So I see this and just assume it gives you the shits.

2. Who loves Tim Duncan?

We love Tim Duncan.


On Thursday, mid-night, the cat was sloshed against me in full cuddle-bear hug mode. I spooned the cat, arms wrapped around him. He purred and wriggled and purred, head against my face. I ruffled his belly, mostly asleep. It's a thing we do.

I guess his claws, outstretched, kneading, tickled Jammies arm in a bug-like manner. Jammies gasped and started and smacked wildly with his hands.

The cat sprinted the fuck out of there, lodging his claws in my cheek to better launch himself.

I thought it was crazy-looking, but actually no one noticed except Ace.


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2017-02-13 13:07 (UTC) (Link)

Ace is my Spirit Twin

That's exactly how I feel about bowling.

Also, I would kill for an HEB here in the Fort.
heebie_geebie at 2017-02-20 03:45 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ace is my Spirit Twin

Ha. Would you like some mini-corn dogs, too?

HEB is pretty amazing. It's weird that a relatively small town has a grocery store the size of...I don't know the scale. Huge. Maybe three times as large as the Publix that my parents go to.
(Anonymous) at 2017-02-13 22:00 (UTC) (Link)
When we first got Callie, she slashed the hell out of my forehead one night. Students didn't notice that either.

J, Robot
heebie_geebie at 2017-02-20 03:45 (UTC) (Link)
It somehow doesn't seem fair. Also, bruises don't show on my skin, which also doesn't seem fair. I'd like some attention for my minor bumps.
(Anonymous) at 2017-02-14 18:24 (UTC) (Link)
Because I like annoying my kids with being weirdly out-of-date, I droned "Comparisons are odious" at them when they were bickering about whose whatever was better than whose. I don't know if it helped anything, but they did learn the phrase.

heebie_geebie at 2017-02-20 03:48 (UTC) (Link)
I also like that phrase! I loved Madeleine L'Engle's A Moon By Night, and the mother in there quotes that routinely, and the main character always notes that it's a quote from both John Fortescue and Christopher Marlowe. So I always want to say, pretentiously, "Oh, you mean the quote from both John Fortescue and...?" but the situation actually never arises. I think it, from time to time, though.
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