Friday, August 14, 2009

Rachel Hedman: So I sat in class and thought of Shakespeare one day. . .

David Novak wondered about the background of the phrase "I won't stand for that!" during our class on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at about 8:10pm.

Today we tend to say this phrase to mean "I won't endure any nonsense!"

David guessed that it might relate to Shakespeare times when the "cheap seats" of theater were not seats at all but a place to stand. If the show was not even worth standing for, then why stand at all?

So I did some sleuthing and discovered. . .there is defiantly an English connection but not directly connected to the theater.

First, I looked up the "stand for" of the phrase to see when that specific phrase came about. The year would make a difference.

"Stand for" came about in 1567 to mean "represent, be in place of" and then turned into a verb to mean "endure, undergo" in 1606.

Though consider what happened in 1626. Suddenly, "stand for" connected to tolerance.

In addition, the word "won't", which is a contraction of "will not", was first recorded in the mid-1500s as "wynnot" and then to "wonnot" in 1584 and finally to the modern version of "won't" in 1667.

Hmmm. Interesting.

Though, the years 1625-1649 will illuminate understanding.

Charles I was crowned the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland on March 27, 1625. It was not long before he disbanded the English Parliament on June 15, 1626.


The Parliament kept insisting that the people should have certain rights. They wanted it to be clear that a monarch could not do anything that he wished.

Despite being disbanded, the Parliament then submitted a Petition of Rights in 1628. Part of this document declared that the King could not create any new taxes without the consent of the Parliament. People also could not be imprisoned without cause. And so on. And so on.

Did King Charles I like this Petition? What do you think?

The struggle intensified.

Some people saw this as a time to flee to the Americas.

They certainly were not finding tolerance in England.

Colonies formed. An ocean-long distance from England sounded nice.

On June 12, 1630, the Massachusetts Bay Colony landed in Salem mostly comprised of English Puritans. They appointed John Winthrop as governor.

Other religious groups followed.

Back in England of 1640, the English Parliament met for the first time in 11 years and developed the Triennal Act. King Charles I had asked for this gathering due to his need for financial support.

The Parliament refused to grant any money and instead listed all their complaints within the Triennal Act. Part of the Act demanded that the Parliament meet at least once every three years. The Act passed and the king was unable to dissolve the Parliament without its agreement.

Then the English Civil War began in 1642.

Yes, they had a Civil War, too. Strange to think that!

Eventually, King Charles I became a prisoner of the Parliamentarians, supporters of the Parliament.

They attempted to negotiate with King Charles I, but the king committed to his belief of leading England by Divine Right. The Parliamentarians knew that the king could raise an army against them. They reluctantly concluded that they must have the king killed.

In order to vote to have the king killed, the people had to stand to make it known. Fifty-nine commissioners rose to their feet on January 27, 1649 and signed the death warrant.

However, the House of Commons did not pass this death warrant.

After King Charles I was beheaded, the people who had stood during that fateful date on January 27, 1649 were pursued for punishment.

At least 19 of these people were hung, drawn, or quartered. Many were imprisoned for life.

And the people who "won't stand for that"? They lived.

Today you can see the original death warrant of King Charles I at the Parliamentary Archives in the Palace of Westminster, London.

This may be a long way to discover the meaning of "I won't stand for that!", though it can be amazing the story that a few words hold in history.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I looked out the window to see pants in the sky one day. . .

I can usually discover all kinds of creations in the clouds, though rarely to I find a pair of pants in the sky.

That was. . .until Marjorie exclaimed, "It's almost as much blue as a Dutchman's pants out there."

While at her home, we had hoped to eat on the balcony on Friday, July 17, 2009 at 1:20pm.

I stared out the same window that she looked out of and saw that clouds had gathered so thick and dark.

I saw a patch or two of blue sky.

Then the word "Dutchman" lingered in my mind. I tossed around what I knew about the Dutch since I am 1/8 Dutch. That is the most that I am of any ethnicity, and to honor it I wear a Dutch cap as my storyteller's trademark.

The saying relates to the folklore of "if you can see a patch of sky as blue as a Dutchman’s pants it won’t rain”. As with any folklore, it has as story.

The Dutch loved the seas for the trade and commerce and all the luxuries that came with it. For a long time, the Dutch controlled the seas and were the center of power in Europe.

Then, England became jealous.

By 1652, the English gathered enough ships and soldiers to attack Holland. The Dutch retaliated and thus started the first of four Anglo-Dutch Wars.

England's navy was strong and won the first of the four Anglo-Dutch wars. They became cocky and looked for any way to make fun of the Dutch. As most of the Dutch were connected to the nautical world, the sailors tended to wear blue poofy breeches. At times, the breeches needed to be mended and sometimes patches scattered about on the uniform.

This was just what the English wanted for their jokes.

The term "Dutchman's breeches" became slang for a sailor's pair of trousers. The English used it as a derogatory term.

After the second, third, and fourth Anglo-Dutch wars, the Dutch's economy plummeted. England secured control of the seas in 1684.

In case you feel bad for the Dutch, think on this. . .

In 1688 the Dutch William III of Orange became the King of England since the former English King James II was thrown off the throne due to the people's intense dislike of his practices. As William III of Orange was the closest relation to the English Royal Family, he was chosen.

England still controlled the seas, but the land was ruled by a Dutchman.

So that explains the contention between the Dutch and the English, but how did the pants get in the sky?

It still has a nautical connection.

Sailors used the sky as a way to determine the forecast. They were their own weathermen.

They usually looked to the West for their weather verdict.

The conditions were if--
  • It had already rained
  • There was enough blue in the West to make a Dutchman's breeches
  • The weather would soon clear off
Sailors needed something to define "a patch of blue sky" and when they remembered the patches on the Dutch sailors' blue pants, then the image was chosen.

Other cultures and ethnic groups took this idea and used other bits of garment to define their "patch".

Besides Dutchman's breeches, the following have also been used:
  • Dutchman's jacket
  • To cut out a pair of pants
  • Sailor breeches
  • To make a Scotchman a jacket
  • To make an old woman's apron
  • Make a sailor a pair of trousers if seen before ten o'clock
  • Shirt for a sailor
  • Large as a handkerchief
Now. . .what kind of garment do you see in the sky?

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rachel Hedman: So I heard the nice to the not-so-nice one day. . .

When parents want to avoid certain words, have you noticed that the "not-so" is added into the conversation?

I heard a comment from a young mom during Sunday School on July 19, 2009 around 2:20pm at the Johnson City, TN Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The mom shared what she usually told her child, "Why, when I'm being nice, you are being not-so-nice back?"

Ah, the parent/child relationship.

Adults tend to skip saying certain words like "stupid", "dumb", and "mean" as if they are swear words. That is. . .when kids are around.

However, this mom made this comment when a roomful of adults. Of course, she was referring to a dialogue with her daughter and must have kept the "not-so-nice" part of it for authenticity.

If most of your time is spent with children, then keeping the "not-so" phrase becomes habit.

The "not-so" phrase also emphasizes the desired trait in the intended listener.

After Sunday School, I attended the Women Meeting called Relief Society.

This time, with a roomful of women, we could be our true selves.

Out came the giggles.

And what did we have. . .but a spotlight of one of the women? Interestingly, we call each other "sisters" whether or not there was a biological connection. The same is for the men, only they are "brothers".

Similar to sibling relationships, we heard the Relief Society President declare, "You're in the limelight!"

Ah, the sister/sister relationship.

And where did the term "limelight" come from?

There once was a surveyor named Thomas Drummond who invented the limelight in 1825. His invention grew in popularity despite some competition from an English chemist named Goldsworthy Gurney who invented a similar light.

The chemicals in the light were calcium oxide also known as the chemical compound lime. It was contained in a hot hydrogen-oxygen flame so that the white light was bright enough to use in lighthouses and to survey land. People said that the light could be seen 100 miles or more away.

Eventually, the theaters discovered that the limelight was safer to use than the gas light currently on stage. They switched. An actor in the limelight was someone "center stage and the center of attention". Naturally, people said the phrase "in the limelight". Limelight has now been replaced by a safer lighting technology.

Back to Relief Society with the women.

To this limelight line, a lady in a violet dress said, "You're blowing it out of proportion!"

This kind of blowing relates to the air that "blows" out of our mouths to describe things. The bigger the words or the more grandiose the achievements, then the more "blows" or breaths. Suddenly, the words do not fit the achievements.

Towards the end of the Relief Society meeting, a lady in a blue dress said, "I try to put myself in that person's shoes."

The original saying was "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his boots." According to lexicographer Harris Collis, this phrase is one of the 101 most frequently used American proverbs. Thus, judgment should not be passed until one has done those exact feats. Instead of the word "judge", it could be replaced with "criticize". Instead of the word "boots", it could be replaced with "boots".

So "not-so-bad" of blowing out some judgment on words?

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Must e-learning be 'Cool?'--Roger C. Schank

Here is a link to the short article "Must e-learning be 'Cool?'" by Roger C. Schank.

You may recognize the name. He is the same one who wrote "Tell Me A Story: Narrative and Intelligence".

I discovered this article from @makingstories on Twitter who re-tweeted it from @eLearnMag. How "cool" is that?

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I thought about poison one day. . .

A school teacher handed me a bunch of green-faced stickers, and each face had a disgusted look with a tongue stuck out.

I met Mr. Yuk. (Did you know that he has a theme song?)


I ran all over the house placing these "poison" stickers on various bottles and containers.

I had done my good deed for the day.

Except for getting "cool" stickers, there generally is not a good feeling connected to "poison".

Then, on Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 2:20pm I heard "the word".

I was sitting in Sunday School at the Johnson City Ward, TN of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The teacher said, "We feel poison for some issues." Then he followed that statement on how it was better to "sue for peace" than to react in violent ways.

What a way to put it.

So. . .what happens when one is poisoned?

First of all, there are many levels to poison.

A poison could be harmful or irritable or down-right toxic and fatal. The amount of exposure to the substance determines the degree of reactions. The body responds in violent ways.

The Sunday School teacher, when he said "we feel poison for some issues", could refer to the reactions we develop when we are mistreated. The natural way would be to "foam at the mouth" with insults or perhaps to "tremble and shake" in physical abuse.

Rather, the teacher encouraged us to "sue for peace". Resist the natural tendencies.

Though, the use of the word "sue" seems like an oxymoron of some kind. The first image is of the court and yelling lawyers and people crying. Does not seem peaceful to me.

So I had to look up the word "sue".

About 1200, the Anglo-French word "suer" meant "continue, persevere". Then came the Old French "sivre" and later "suivre" to mean "pursue, follow after".

If the "sue for peace" was changed to "pursue for peace", that would have a more positive reaction. Or even "pursue and persevere for peace".

I love alliteration.

Perhaps this change in the original phrase would make Mr. Yuk pull in his tongue.

By the way, Mr. Yuk comes from a long line of Public Service Announcements, and Mr. Yuk was only the first I would see while at East Tennessee State University.

On Saturday, July 25, 2009, I walked to and from the grocery store by the East Tennessee State University campus.

I noticed two signs (see them here):
  • "Click it or Ticket"
  • "Booze it and Lose it" (Lose your license, your freedom, your life.)
When I looked up "Public Service announcements", I noticed that most of these rhyme. The human mind tends to remember these sayings easier in this way. See a list of what I mean here.

Our eyes may search for these pleasures in words.

The "Click it or Ticket" campaign conducted a survey by the Public Opinion Strategies and discovered that 83% of 800 United States citizens have seen, read, or heard about it. As for results, the overall population using seat belts increased from 75% to 79%.

It is not enough for something to rhyme for people to remember. Often we desire--whether consciously or subconsciously--for phrases to come in threes. Notice the subheading of the "Booze it and Lose it" about the license, freedom, and life. Then, in addition to the three phrases, the first and last words start with the letter "l". There is a visual balance by using those letters. Of course, then you could mention the power of threes again, because "lose", "license", and "life" all start with "l".

Okay, so maybe this is strange to notice, but does it not make words aesthetically pleasing?

As for Mr. Yuk. . .he will always look disgusting! And he is loved nevertheless.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I listened to a man who reminded me of Spiderman's uncle one day. . .

There is a moment in the first Spiderman movie when Uncle Ben tells Clark Parker, "Remember, with great power comes great responsibility."

Somehow this resonated to how Elder Windham spoke while at the Johnson City, TN Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, July 19, 2009 towards 1:15pm.

He exclaimed, "All of you must have some story--too close to tell."

He added, "What stories are we living?"

Parker's Uncle Ben asked those same type of questions. Uncle Ben wondered about the strange experiments he conducted in his room as well as the fight started at school. He reminded Parker that he faced the years when he decided the man he would become.

When Elder Windham spoke of the image of a story, he seemed to indicate that the narrator could choose many avenues in which to take their story in life.

In Ancient Civilizations, many of the stories are epicentric. This type involves stories within a story and where one starts at one place of the story until it evolves into to allow other possibilities as paths. Some examples of these stories: King Midas, Hercules, Lord Krishna, Ra, Abraham, Shang-Ti, etc.

Common Qualities of Epicentric Stories:
  1. Highly Interactive Due to Multi-Layers (provides mystery and encourages creativity)
  2. Non-Linear Sequence of Events (builds memory)
  3. Contradictions and/or Repetitions (allows teller--and even listeners--to make choices of most logical path)

Our own lives are complicated.

We choose how we live our stories every day.

We are the ultimate epicentric stories.

We even have contradictions.

Haven't you told a story that a family member or friend said, "It didn't happen that way! I remember. . ."

Sometimes we pull close to our hearts certain memories that we do not wish to share. We may be afraid to know what a family member or friend would think.

When Elder Windham said "some story--too close to tell", he did not have to explain that he meant in our hearts. We, as human beings, often connect emotions to our hearts much like we link the brain to intellect or the stomach to physical desires.

Continuing with his talk, Elder Windham stated, "I unscientifically noted some things." He referenced faith-based decisions that do not require a visual to provide proof. Again, he had a heart/emotion theme without actually saying the word "heart". By the way he spoke, it was obvious that he placed greater importance on feelings of the heart than of the mind.

To be "scientific" about something usually implies to dissect or look at the small pieces rather than looking at the whole picture. This could be the reason that sometimes science has a negative connotation when shared with religion.

Ironically, there have been times when both scientists and religious people have accused each other as being "closed-minded".

Is it not interesting that we also have the phrase "open-hearted"? Hmmm. I think there is a connection. Follow that with "open-minded". I sure hope the science and the spiritual get along.

Whenever we speak--verbally or nonverbally--we reveal where we are on that spectrum.

There is a power to speaking. Of such, Elder Windham said towards the end of his talk, "Speaking is just one of those things that means accepting responsibility."

Can you hear the echo of Uncle Ben from Spiderman?

Whether good or ill from our mouths, we accept the consequences.

If in any doubt, then there is always the etymology of the word "responsibility" which comes from the 1599 French "responsible" to mean "answerable (to another, for something)". Then, the Latin "responsus" or "respondere" both mean "to respond". Since 1836, this has come to mean a "sense of obligation", which was inferred by the Latin roots.

Seems like a lot of science and spiritual to me. How about you?

I think Uncle Ben would be proud.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I sat from chair to chair to chair one day. . .

I moved all over the place due to the three-hour meetings of the Johnson City, TN Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, July 19th.

I was used to this constant movement and change of furniture and sitting arrangements.

Yet, I was fascinated by the comparison of the sitting from place to place with how a couple ladies referred to moving to the Tennessee area.

One young lady towards 1:00pm said, "I decided to root myself down and buy a house."

An older middle-aged lady at 2:45pm later said, "I got stuck in the mountains".

These two women were not in conversation with each other. In fact, the young lady spoke during Sacrament Meeting while the older lady spoke during the Women gathering called Relief Society.

Though, despite the different blocks of time, they referred to the stability of choosing one place to be on the same day.

When referring to "root myself down", there is a feeling of doing so with purpose and conviction. If the feeling to move to an area has a temporary feel, then one does not dig their roots deep into that ground or area.

The deeper that roots go, then the harder to pull out.

Some trees have such deep roots that they weave with the roots of others. When storms pass by, then the trees help each other during this chaotic time.

As for the "got stuck in the mountains", there is the impression that the person may wish to be somewhere else. If given the proper tools or know-how, this person would wrench themselves free.

My first image was of tar.

And who do I think of connected to tar--in all meaning of the word--but of Brer Rabbit?

When Brer Rabbit punched at the tar baby because no salutation was given, then he was stuck there good until Brer Rabbit tricked Brer Bear and Brer Fox to thrown him in the thicket of thorns.

So this lady "stuck in the mountains" only needs someone to toss her somewhere else in the world. That could mean a new job for her husband or the need to retire closer to her kids.

She did have a slight tease to her voice when she said "stuck in the mountains" so she may have accepted the place as home. . .though her use of "stuck" was an interesting choice.

May you be rooted to where you want to be!

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799