April 8, 2001 |
Jacquelyn Volk paused for a few seconds before spelling wicket. She and nine friends, gathered around a small table filled with word lists, dictionaries and a bag of candy, were practicing for a bee. They challenged one another to spell pinniped, tremolo and dozens of other words that spice up the English language. These spelling champs don't collect Pokemon cards and can't name all the Backstreet Boys. In Volk and company's minds, puffy refers to cheeks, not a rap star. The Middletown Senior Spellers are a group of Lower Bucks adults who travel afar to compete in bees, just as spellers their grandchildren's ages do. Levittown's George Caisse, 79, founded the group five years ago. His many victories on the spelling bee circuit have cemented his role as the club's leader - the person who introduces new words for members to learn, runs the round-table drills, and keeps track of the group's victories.
March 19, 1994 |
The French have decided to take another stand against the spread of the English language. This time, rather than just creating French equivalents of English words and phrases - to try to stop people from saying "le stress" and "le cash flow" - the government of Prime Minister Edouard Balladur is in the process of making it illegal to use English in official documents, on radio and television and in advertising. Bonne chance, mes amis! I love and sympathize with most things French, a gift of the four years I lived in Paris.
August 14, 1999
As we struggle to find a reason why two boys shot up their Colorado school, then, later, to find a reason for the shootings in Chicago, Atlanta, and now, Los Angeles, we turn to comedian Chris Rock, who nailed it when he said, "Reasons?" "Whatever happened to crazy?" Good question. Here's where crazy went. "Crazy" reached its peak in the early 1950s, as a word favored by beatniks, jazz musicians and families with not-quite-right relatives. Soon after, crazy began shrinking out of sight when the middle class discovered Sigmund Freud and went en masse to the couch.
February 21, 1992 |
When Gary gets up in the morning, he's cheerful and ready to greet the day with a breakfast big enough for a lumberjack. An exercise video, Good Morning, Sleepyhead, sets this 2-year-old in motion. He marches forward and back, jumps up and down and flaps his arms, enjoying every minute of it. The resident cat, Muffin, is usually next on his agenda. Gary pets her and follows her around the house as she tries to escape his lavish attention. He then travels from the living room to the kitchen on a horse on wheels, just to see what's going on. Spaghetti, hot dogs, rice and potatoes are culinary delights in Gary's book.
December 23, 1993 |
Lexicographer - A writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge. - Samuel Johnson, 1755 He looks harmless enough. John Morse wears a slightly rumpled blue suit and a contented expression of concentration as he looks down into his lap at the red-bound 1,559-page book that he carries with him nearly everywhere he goes. The volume, only months old but already worn, is the recently published 10th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and Morse, a native of the Main Line, is its executive editor.
May 10, 1999 |
Choreographer Eva Gholson has influenced many dancers, steering them through the partnership of music and dance in her Temple classes. Her new work, Atlas of a Difficult World, created in collaboration with jazz pianist Dave Burrell, offered a short, sweet lesson in synthesizing music and movement. Performed at Conwell Dance Theater over the weekend, it was a small entree (smaller scale than her usual) that one hopes may be expanded. Gholson opened the piece herself. Moving to Burrell's declarative, tightly modulated, hymnlike chords, she radiated an equally declarative strength punctuated by a few sharp gestures.
July 7, 2004 |
At the end of this road as a public school teacher, I find myself asking: What have I been doing for the last 35 years? Can I offer any advice that might prove useful to someone else? Did my teaching career amount to anything other than a paycheck? Experience, I've learned, is the best teacher, and perhaps mixed in with my ideas are some valuable nuggets for students, faculty members and their spouses. For students: For the last 3 1/2 decades, I tried to teach a vocabulary that led to ideas.
August 27, 1995 |
So what took 'em so long? The 1996 edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary will recognize a word that's been rattling off Philly rows for generations. Four points for the y, one point for the o. Yo! Or actually, yo. (There are no exclamation points in Scrabble.) It takes some time for a word to make it from the streets into one of the five standard desk dictionaries that Scrabble guide compilers rely on to determine what flies on the gameboard. The word yo - with roots that reach back to the 15th century - finally made it into Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, in 1993.
September 15, 1999 |
The questions are as deep as the gaze of a baby's eyes: What is an infant thinking when she stares into space? Does he understand when others talk to him? How is it that she remembers where her favorite toys are? Researchers at Temple University's new Infant Development Lab here said yesterday that they are working on the answers. "You look at babies and you wonder what's going through their heads," said Nora Newcombe, a cognitive and developmental psychologist who specializes in spatial research.
June 12, 1992 |
Even though Hakim, 6, knows popular songs and rap, his favorite number is a church hymn titled "I'm Glad to Be in the Service. " After giving his rendition of it, he marches around the playroom, singing "Old MacDonald" and knocking down bowling pins. Inspired by applause, Hakim dribbles the plastic bowling ball and feigns a jump shot into an imaginary hoop. This active, healthy little boy, with the big grin and dimples, is in first grade. There is abuse and neglect in his background, and his need for special education arises, in part, from an attention deficit disorder.