Tuesday, October 24, 2006

OK, O.K., Ok, ok, okay

OK is the English term that being used ubiquitously since globalization. I guess no one will disagree with me on this point. However, have you ever thought about what does this abbreviation stand for? And where does this expression come from? Perhaps many people have the same thought as me: such a trivial word does not need to pay much attention.

Until recently, Tom brought in these questions to our short story class, given that the word OK recurred many times in the story. According to his note, the origin of OK is based on a joke of sorts. During the 1830s there was a humoristic fashion in Boston newspapers to reduce a phrase to initials and supply an explanation in parentheses. Sometimes the abbreviations were misspelled to add to the humor. In March 1839, OK was appeared in print as an abbreviation for “all correct”, the joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct.

Originally spelled with period –-O.K. is derived from OK club, which supported Martin van Buren’s 1840 campaign for reelection. Because he was born in the Kinderhook, New York, Van Buren was nicknamed Old Kinderhook, and the abbreviation O.K. proved eminently suitable for political slogans.

Because it is so widely used, the "okay" spelling of it appeared in British writing in the 1860s. In the 20th century, "okay" has come to be in everyday use among English speakers, and borrowed by non-English speakers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monarch Butterfly Migration

Being brought up in a tropical country, I have no idea about hibernation and migration that happen in four-season counties. Three years ago, I experienced the first snow in my life, in the mean time, I got the first lesson about animals hibernation and birds migration.

Today, in Barb's class, we read a science article about Monarch Butterfly migration. Whoa! Butterfly migration -- I didn't know about this before (hubby is correct, I am lack of reading). Every year at this moment, millions of Monarchs migrate between Mexico and the United States and Canada. They migrate more than 3,000 miles back and forth to winter homes. I wonder how these paper-thin wings and delicate bodies Monarchs can survive the rigors of long distance travel?

Monarchs don't have map -- so how do they know where they are going? Nobody knows the answer. Some have suggested they use the sun, mountains, and other landmarks to guide their homing system. One of the entomologist claimed that Monarchs are one of the few creatures on earth that can orient themselves both in latitude and longitude. When the sun at their latitude drops to about 57 degrees above the southern horizon, all Monarchs start migrating. But, so far, Monarch migration remains one of the great mysteries of the natural world.

We as human beings have to admit that when it comes to dealing with winter, a lot of creatures on the earth seem an awful smarter than humans. While we are shivering in the dark and griping about the weather, they simply head for a warmer climate.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Stepping Stone

This is a country-western song sung by Lari White from the album "Country Cares for Kids II". I like this song very much because of its meaningful lyric. I wonder, it is a stumbling block or a stepping stone that we have faced so far in our life? To a pessimist, a problem is always a stumbling block; while to an optimist, an obstacle can be treated as a stepping stone. The fact is that stumbling block is not a stepping stone by nature. One has to work persistently and diligently in order to transform from a bad situation to a good one. To me, no matter it is a stumbling block or a stepping stone, we should always look from the bright side of life... Otherwise, life is too tough, dream is too far....

(Lari White, Craig Wiseman, David Kent)

Here I am at another dead end,
Stopped in my tracks again,
Closer than I've ever been to where I wanna be,
A broken heart standing in my way,
Big as life on a real bad day,
But making lemons into lemonade,
Ain't nothing new to me.

(No) This ain't no stumbling block,
It's just a stepping stone,
I'm gonna climb right up on top,
And take a good look at where I'm going,
And it ain't gonna slow me down,
Hold me back or turn me around,
This ain't no stumbling block, it/this ain't no stumbling block,
This ain't no stumbling block, it's just a stepping
(a stepping stone).

Now looking back I realize
How hard it is to recognize,
Opportunity in disguise as some calamity,
So I ain't gonna cuss my luck,
Every time a door slams shut,
I know a window's gonna open up,
Just as long as I believe.

Repeat Chorus

Stepping Stone
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh


stepping stone: a step towards reaching your goal
stumbling block: an obstacle in the way of reaching your goal
to be at a dead end: unable to continue
to be close to (far from) where I want to be
to get (be) stopped in your tracks: unable to continue, at a dead end
something "standing in your way": an obstacle, stumbling block
something good or bad is "big as life"
to make lemons into lemonade: to turn a problem into an opportunity
to take a good look at something: to look closely and deeply at something
every time a door slams, another one opens: A problem can end up being an opportunity
to cuss my luck: to complain about my situation or bad luck
that's nothing new: that's not unusual and not surprising
to hold me back: prevent or stop me from doing what I want

If you stop struggling, then you stop life.
~Huey Newton~