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BOTD 8/7/16 "An Error Of Astronomical Proportions" An Anonymous Production

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David M. Katz

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Marshall

An Error of Astronomic Proportions...
An Anonymous Production


EDWIN, 12 years old:
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Your eldest son, Edwin, is a bright boy who is usually well behaved... except that, since he has begun to physically mature, he has been indulging in rather too much scatological humour lately. You have had to remonstrate with him about this on several occasions and, upon the last one, you mentioned that actual physical chastisement might well be in the cards if this particular trend continues...

Today you have received a call from his teacher, who is somewhat upset with the lad...

In science class, he was called upon to give a fact about one the planets, and he came out with this little gem: "Uranus is a gas giant". (Yes, he DID pronounce it 'your anus')

To make matters worse, his science teacher, Mr. Smellie, is known throughout the school for his rather unfortunate name and has been the target of jokes over it in the past. He has become a little too sensitive to this and all the pupils know it.

In any case, it took a long time to bring the class under control again and the vice principal had to become involved...

What is your reaction?


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David M. Katz

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Marshall
This is typical middle school behavior and one would think Mr. Smellie would be used to dealing with it. I feel Mr. Smellie has become too close to the situation.

I wish the school would have addressed it but maybe, as stated, Mr. Smellie was too involved personally and so it was better he call me.

Edwin is on his absolute last warning. I would like for him to write a letter of apology to his teacher and will be willing to assist him as to how to word the letter.

Any future issues like this and the paddle comes out of the closet.


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Iconoclast

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Trailboss
I will point out to the vice principal that we still have freedom of speech in this country and further that if a teacher (or anyone else for that matter) does not want a truthful answer to a question, he SHOULD NOT ASK IT!

Iconoclast

Jack

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Yes, we have freedom of speech, Icono. We also have the freedom to accept the consequences of that speech.

In this case, I'm going to tell Mr. Smellie that he should have corrected the pronunciation, agreed that the fact was correct, and asked if anyone could name the other three gas giants in our system. By reacting as he did, he provoked a bad response, but I don't think the VP needed to chastise him for his bad teaching... Okay, I'll probably leave that last part out.


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AFinch

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Sherrif
Where I grew up, Edwin's pronunciation was the way everyone pronounced that planet. I only this minute, on consulting the Oracle of Youtube discovered I have been mispronouncing the name of the planet for 60+ years. Who knew? And in looking on line, the new "correct" pronunciation came about as a cop out to prevent the jokes and snickers that resulted from that pronunciation.

And Uranus is, in fact, a gas giant. I don't see that Edwin did anything wrong.

ivor

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Marshall
Edwin's surname isn't Hubble by any remote chance?

I think this is an example of typical 12 year old humor. Indeed it could even be argued that Edwin stated a true fact and the fault lies with the other pupils in the class for interpreting it they way they did

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squarecutter

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Sherrif
Its factually correct but I think we all know what Edwin was driving at. Yep typical 12 year old humour. Funny unless your the intended target. I agree with Jack, Mr Smellie might have handled it better certainly and I could wish it had been dealt with in school. Its now with me, Edwin already had his shot over the bows, now he's getting a swat or two school style just to make his eyes water with that paddle and a warning it will be worse if I get another report like that

Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
I agree with Kier. When I was a kid, everyone pronounced Uranus that way and most still do. At worst, it was a silly double entendre with an obvious defense: Edwin used a perfectly valid, common pronunciation, coupled with a fact. If Mr. Smellie wants to teach middle school age kids, he'd better learn to cope better. I need a more obvious violation of my warning before I punish Edwin.

Kat

Jack

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Admin
I found a video on Youtube, which is probably the one to which Kier was referring:



It's interesting because, having raised thirty-something kids now (yes, I've actually, finally lost track), I've tried to pronounce it You - Ran - Us, with the central syllable being like what you did in a marathon.


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Pi Beta

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Trailboss
If he were my son, that would almost certainly have been how I had been pronouncing it - after all, it is named after the Roman god Uranus after which the element Uranium is also named and I would pronounce the first two syllables of the two words Uranium and Uranus similarly.

Was Edwin the first to laugh? If he said it with a straight face and it was the others who laughed forst, it is they who should be in trouble, not Edwin!

Emlyn Morgan

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Trailboss
I found this on a surnames site:

"Smellie: This unusual and interesting name is a dialectal variant of a name of Scottish origin, although it is thought that it was introduced into Scotland by an Englishman from "Smalley" in Derbyshire.  The placename means "narrow grove" or "wood", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "smael", meaning "narrow", and "leah", a grove or clearing"

http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Smellie#ixzz4GjW0ypJZ

Anyway, as for that boy, I'm going to whack him.

Zac

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Wrangler
Edwin was wrong, or at least not quite accurate, Neptune and Uranus are now usually described as ice giants rather than gas giants.

Mr Smellie needs to learn some better classroom management skills if a simple utterance like that, innocent and factual in content though obviously with an ulterior motive, causes him to loose control of a class.

Edwin is staying close to the line but he hasn't crossed it yet. Let's hope he gets over the scatological before he crosses that line.

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