Thank You and Other Bits

Now that the Grade 12 students are finished, many of them have written thank-you notes, and not just for stellar results. Of these, most are by email, and compared to no note at all email is just fine. Of the handwritten notes, one was on a tiny envelope the size of a double postage stamp, and another was on a handsome card with a framed scene in silken embroidery. All of them were appreciated.

Amazingly, many students need a reminder that thank-you notes to university interviewers would not go amiss. I conduct interviews of local applicants for admission to my alma mater and almost always receive, and notice, an emailed thank you. I am sure some people think writing thank-you notes is as old-fashioned as dancing the pavane, but they don’t include my colleagues or the interviewers for my alma mater.

* * *

Some time back I wrote a jingle that included this couplet: “Mr. Klein talks lots of bunk and / More bunk comes from Mr. Duncan.” Indeed it does. Informed that the NEA had asked for his ouster as Secretary of Education, he replied, “I always stay out of local union politics and believe most teachers do too.”  The representatives of millions of teachers may have other reasons than local union politics to wish his removal, including misguided incompetence.  I have written many, many postings discussing both (for examples, take that, and that, and that, and that), but today I want something a little lighter. Taking as my starting point the rhyme of bunk and & Duncan (a slant rhyme, but rich in possibility), I realized that “Duncan” calls up a mother lode of rhyme:

bunk and

clunk and

funk and

junk and

lunk and

skunk and

slunk and

stunk and

sunk and. (Duncan‘s prosodic associations are peculiarly rich in s-words.)

Why not make up your own couplets, or even jingles? It’s fun! It’s easy!


* * *

Speaking of jingles: let me end with one in honor of one of my advisees. (The supervisor of his Biology Extended Essay reports that he is making the rather complicated preparations needed, e.g., preparing his agar and petri dishes, etc., before he performs the necessary experiments, which he will do in his own time over the summer holiday.)


A Student Casts a Cold Eye on His Petri Dish

E. coli move with their flagella,

And I must say that it’s a hellu-

va trick to fill a whole intestine

By flagellatin’ and infestin’.

It’s marvelous, but on the whole I

Prefer a world without E. coli.





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