Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Only an 8th Grade Education?

Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina , KS - 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.

2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications

3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph

4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run.'

5. Define case; illustrate each case.

6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.

7. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft.. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?

4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?

5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.

6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per metre?

8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865..

Orthography (Time, one hour) I don’t even know what this is….
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.'

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, f ain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

4. Describe the mountains of North America

5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.

7. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

8. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

9. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.

Gives the saying 'he only had an 8th grade education' a whole new meaning, doesn't it?! Also shows you how poor our education system has become, and...

NO, I don't have the answers!

McKinley & Scooter

After family dinner at my sister Janet's on Sunday evening - I drove the scooter home. McKinley wanted to ride with Poppa... so here we go... (Yes - we should have had helmets - but I merely coasted down the hill to our house)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Saga of House Plumbing

We moved into this house 16 years ago. Ever since we've had trouble with the water pressure with the indoor plumbing.

On Sunday mornings, and when house guests were visiting, we'd have to 'schedule' the showers to make sure only one shower at a time was running. (kind of hard to communicate from the basement to the 2nd floor)

You couldn't rinse dishes in the kitchen sink and have a shower going at the same time. Before taking a shower you'd have to turn off the clothes washing machine, and make sure the dishwasher wouldn't start on you.

We were 'warned' from the previous owners about this 'little' problem, and learned to cope with it, but still complained mightily about such a simple thing as indoor plumbing not working right.

We did a major house remodel project about 5 years ago. Thinking this was a good time to upgrade and fix this problem. We had the kitchen, master bath, main floor bath, and basement bath pipes all re-plumbed. (Since we had cleared out everything down to the studs, the plumbing was accessible) We also had them put in a brand-new, larger water heater. Thinking more hot water available, perhaps more simultaneous showers.

Still, after the remodel was complete we had even worse water pressure, especially with the 'new' locations.

Since then we've had many many plumbers come by. Some to fix other issues, some just to try and track down the problem with the pressure. Added a water softener/filter system, fixed a couple of leaks, all to no avail. Some plumbers suggested it was NOT inside the house, but coming from the water company's pipes from the street.

So we had the city send out multiple times a water engineer to check the outside water pressure and to make sure all the valves coming from the street were unobstructed. (They have done work on the local streets in front of our house...) The City of Orem water guys proved to me it wasn't on their side.

What to do, what to do. This was *really* bugging Jill, the kids, and anyone who visited. Last weekend after a family dinner my nephews were washing the dishes and couldn't understand how we could live with such low pressure. They were about to get out the pipe wrenchs and 'do something' about it.

Then this week, while a handyman was installing the new 'doggie door' - a larger one that 'fits' Rory now that she is bigger - he also mentioned we shouldn't have to 'live with' the water pressure like that.

He called in a buddy from the plumbing company. Finally a guy who walks in, just asks a couple of questions and then in mere minutes FIXED THE PROBLEM!

It turned out the previous water heater installers switched some of the pipes going into/out of the water heater - seriously depleting the water pressure. Obviously the second replacement water heater installers also missed it, and just installed the replacement just like the original - wrong!

The latest plumber turned off the water to the house, switched these two pipes, turned the water back on and Voila - all better!

We can now take multiple showers, the bathtub fills an order of magnitude faster for the grandkids baths, you can use the sinks AND a shower at the same time. Hallelujah!

So after 16 years of living with this problem... we now have a 'normal' house.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quick trip to Philly

On Thursday I took a flight out to Philadelphia, spent the night in the hotel, then on Friday taught a one-day 'make-up' course for the materials I missed during my little 'episode' the last time I was in Philly.

Then... I started on my flight home.

Boarded the flight 30-minutes prior to the scheduled take-off time. (thanks to being Platinum Medallion with Delta I got a free First Class upgrade - Yea!)

Because of a totally full-flight, we were running a bit late pushing back from the gate.

Because of 'weather' we had to wait in line with many many other planes to get in line for a runway.

We were waiting so long, they turned the engines off for over an hour.

Then after two hours, we finally started moving again, and got into the #2 position to take off.

Then... a 'lady' and I use that term loosely, decided to call her lawyer, threaten a law-suit and force the plane back to the terminal to let her off the plane.

They weren't expecting us at the terminal, so no gate was available.

After 45 minutes, we finally were able to let her off. (she missed her connection out of SLC and decided to sleep at home rather than in a hotel by the SLC airport) She would fly back to SLC in the morning.

By the way, she had to endure those 45 minutes with all the other passengers complaining loudly around her about her actions causing over a hundred people on our flight to miss their connections because of her selfish actions! I was ten rows forward, and easily heard those 'comments'.

Since we had idled so long, we now didn't have enough fuel to get to SLC.

But they couldn't refuel us, because there was lightning a couple of miles away.

They were able to find some 'volunteers' to push us back and we decided to fly without too much 'spare fuel'

Then back in line for a runway...

Finally in the air and heading to SLC.

Thus I spent more time getting home from Philadelphia than from Europe!

I'm home all next week! Sweet!

Photos for the Week

I thought I'd add some photos from the last week's activities.

McKinley, Alysha, Sophie, Jenny and Ayden at Riverside Pool

McKinley, Alsyha, Chuck E. Cheese and Brooke

Kylie and McKinley playing at Chuck E. Cheese

Alysha and McKinley at Chuck E. Cheese

McKinley having Fun!

McKinley in her 'Pillow House' she wanted me to make her

Napping with Rory

Kylie likes playing with Rory - Rory is a good sport!

Lettuce (on fourth cutting) Beans, and Onions

Tomatoes are coming along

Rory gets a new Doggie Door

Friday, June 26, 2009

Watching the Grand Daughters This Week

Tuesday Jill and I drove the 220 miles down to Cedar City to meet up with our daughter Karrissa and do a little 'transfer'. We took Karrissa's Honda Pilot, with the car seats and DVD player, and let her have my Honda Element to go camping with. She is the 'Young Womens' President in her church and took their church's teenage girls on a 'Girls Camp' this week. So we got the two cute grand-daughters for the rest of this week!

Then another 'quick three hours' driving another 220 miles back to Orem with the girls. Those little girls sure love their Grandma! Jill is great with them!

Wednesday we were able to take them to Cabella's to see the 'Big Animals' and the 'Fishes' -
Then on to Chuck E. Cheese's for some 'Pizza' and play with the big toys. McKinley had a great time with her aunt Alysha and Uncle Ryan taking her around to play. (Alysha's friend Brooke also helped out) - Grandma and Grandpa Parsons also stopped by to visit and check out all the 'fun'.I had forgotten how bad the pizza was at Chuck E. Cheese...

Jill, Ryan, and Alysha also got to take the kids yesterday swimming with Janet and her family at the Riverside Country Club. (I was on a flight for 5 hours to Philly to repeat the last day of the class I missed last month)

Karrissa will be up Saturday afternoon to spend next week at the house. Then Joe will join us for the Fourth... Jill's parents will also be down next week from Washington. We're just going to have a 'party' all together!

We'll all be going to see Stadium of Fire at the BYU stadium for the Fourth of July!
- Jonas Brothers - SheDaisy - Glenn Beck - and lots of Fireworks. Should be fun!Then we're off on another family vacation. This time Jill and I are taking both sets of our parents back to Nauvoo Illinois for a Church History little trip the week after.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Upgrade to the iPhone 3G S

I know people call me the 'gadget man' - even to my face sometimes. And so to stay on the 'cutting edge' of gadgetry, I went down on Friday to the local AT&T store and picked up a new iPhone 3G S - only about 15 minutes, in and out.The first thing I did, before even turning it on, was to go to the 'Invisishield' place in the mall to get a little protection put on.

This way I can get a newer phone, Jill can get a much faster phone with more space, and we'll have the 2G to help someone else get onto the iPhone bandwagon. (Perhaps someone who had an iPhone but it somehow stopped working... ;-)

It is a bit faster, has built-in compass, takes videos, and little things like that. It's also 32GB compared to my old 16GB, thus I can carry more videos with me on trips. Additionally, it should have the ability to carry data in the future.

But best of all, it has a much better built-in camera. With auto-focus. It is far superior to the older iPhone 3G I had before.

Here are some comparative photos - things that I use my camera for, like taking pictures of peoples' business cards. (try using this with Evernote to have a great searchable record that's available on you laptop, phone, or via Internet)
Now with this better focus, and better resolution this process will be much improved.

Can you tell the difference between the 3G and 3G S?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Palo Alto for Sharkfest

This week I spent three days over in California, specifically Palo Alto for a conference held on the campus of Stanford University.

(Yes, I know some of you are sadden by the loss of the daily blogs from Europe... but we had to come home sometime...)

The campus of Stanford was simply amazing. I've driven past the entrance many many times, and never thought to enter and look around. The campus is about 3 square miles of prime California property. Built by Leland Stanford (the guy who owned the Central Pacific Railroad over the Sierras) - was Governor of California, Senator, and even drove in the Golden Spike in Promontory Utah.

Having just returned from our trip to Europe, I was greatly impressed with the architecture and stone-work and mosaic work on the campus. The buildings were 'made' of stone, not just as a facade, but like the buildings and cathedrals of Europe. There is no way someone could build such a campus today. There are thousands and thousands of beautiful trees on the property as well. The campus arborists must be very busy taking care of them all.
The conference was called Sharkfest - in homage to the product in question - Wireshark. (get it, the whole 'shark' theme)It was a group of techie, nerd, geeks, who like to understand networking from the packet level. Folks who use packet analysis to keep all our networks running smoothly.

It was good to meet face-to-face with many of my contacts and friends who I have worked with for years, but only over the phone or via e-mail.

A more detailed explanation of the course offerings and what I learned is over at my professional blog at http://wlaniconoclast.blogspot.com - if you care...

It is good to be back home, where people speak English with the correct accent ;-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

St. Paul's Cathedral, Millennial Bridge, Natural History Museum

On our final day here in London - and the last day of our vacation before flying home - we took a subway (yea! they were off strike today!) from our nearby 'Marble Arch' station down to the 'St. Paul's' station. What took us over 3 hours last night, was over in only 10 minutes!

St. Paul's Cathedral is BIG! - now, not as big as St. Peter's Basilica in Rome... but very large none-the-less. You can easily tell this was built hundreds of years after Notre Dame, or Westminster Abby, or even Salisbury Cathedral. The building techniques were much improved, more refined, and more 'finished'.

I'm awestruck at the in ordinate amount of money that goes into buildings such as these. Even the little details were finished ornately and with great expense and labor.

Then a little walk down onto the 'Millennial Bridge' - a pedestrian walkway over the Thames.

Another tube ride and we were back in the Museum area by Harrods. Ryan had wanted to return to the Natural History Museum. Like the Science Museum next door, this was also free, and also very well done! It would take more time than these old feet would want to walk to finish the entire museum. (we're also kind of 'museumed out' after two weeks of vacation)

The architecture of the Natural History Museum was also stunning. I don't know if we will ever build again as a human race with this level of detail and amount of hard laborious work. Each of the columns is carved stone with a different motif. Some have fanciful or grotesque animals, others geometric patterns, and others still more 18th century science motifs.

The others did a bit more shopping - and then back to the hotel. We'll have one last meal - probably our favorite - Italian, and then tomorrow morning off to the airport for the flights home.
7:30am - Leave for Heathrow Airport
10:00am - Flight from London to New York City's JFK airport
1:00pm - Wait in JFK Crown Room
4:00pm - Flight to Salt Lake City
8:00pm - Drive to Orem
9:00pm - Home
So, only about 19 hours of travel time to find our way back home...

Ryan is 'just happy to be in London' - he's faking of course
"Thank you 'Poppa' for taking me to London"
Yes, were are actually by St. Paul's Cathedral in London!
Natural History Museum
Architectural Details - Amazing
OK, I was just 'resting my eyes' because of an allergy attack, alright?
The stone work, brick work, and tile work were simply amazing!
This is a 'Museum' - architecture was wonderful!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower of London

Today was a long day of 'tourist' sightseeing! We did the things tourists normally do.

First was a bus ride down to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards. Was an immense waste of time! We stood for over 100 minutes watching very BORING slow movements of some soldiers. The palace wasn't too impressive from the outside. (They only run tours inside when the Queen is out of town)

Followed by a nice walk through St. James Park, Westminster Abby, Houses of Parliment, and Big Ben, before heading across a bridge over the Thames river. (wow, that quick little sentence actually took quite a while...)

Then for a great 'ride' on the London Eye - ferris wheel thing. It is HUGE by the way. Very easy to ride, and moves quite slowly. (over a half hour to make one revolution) It was great to see London from an entirely different perspective. Though expensive, this is a nice thing to do - highly recommended!

Next up, a cruise down the Thames on a boat, under a bunch of bridges, down to the Tower of London.

This was started back in 1066 after William (first King of a united England) on top of an old Roman fort. It was initially just a 'keep' (called the White Tower) but grew into an entire Castle complex with 20+ towers, interior walls, curtain walls, and a huge moat.

It was attacked twice, repelled the attacks both times - but mostly was the palace for the Kings... it's still officially a 'palace', but the Kings and Queens of England haven't lived there since the late 1600s. It has a long history of being a prison, as well as a place to store the Crown Jewels.

We had a very nice tour with one of the Yeoman Warders - who was very entertaining and explained many bits of history and stories of the folks in the Tower complex.

The Crown Jewels collection was also very amazing. I'm pretty sure I've never ever been close to so much wealth in all my life! - now on the other hand... I really didn't like any of the stuff there. Some was impressive because of the uniqueness, but it was just too much!

Ryan was having a great big allergy attack, so we decided on coming home to the hotel to get him some medicine and to rest up before dinner. Since the Underground Strike this week... all the buses were either full or non-existent... taxis all full... tube subway service stopped. So it was about a three hour adventure walking and finally catching a taxi through very slow, extremely slow, traffic.

In front of Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guard - BORING!
Wearing a Bearskin Cap - and with an M4 Machine Gun...
Walking through St. James Park
Jill needed a restroom... so she went to the BEST!
Westminster Abbey
The 'Big Ben' tower
The London Eye - Ferris Wheel.
Looking south from the London Eye at houses of Parliament
White Tower - Royal Residence from William the Conqueror
A Yeoman Warder - the one giving us our tour. Simon by name - he was Great!
Medieval demonstration on lawn that used to be the 25' deep moat
It's not just one 'Tower of London' - but a huge Castle Complex
London's 'Tower Bridge'

Got to love those unions! - just think, some train workers who are already receiving 8 weeks of paid vacation, averaging over $80,000 in salary, plus a great pension... are causing pain and hardship to MILLIONS of people.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Science Museum and Harrods

Today was supposed to be rainy all day, so we planned on a bit of 'inside' stuff. Since the Underground was down because of the Strike... we ended up taking a bus down to the Science Museum. I was kind of glad that even Alysha wanted to see the science museum. I think it had something to do with her epiphany earlier on the trip where she decided on studying to become a nurse. I'm glad to hear it!

I thought it was going to be just another 'kids museum' kind of experience. But from the very moment I walked in the front door, it was something special.

I can't even describe all the things I liked about the museum.

The first section was based on Steam Power, and had actual full size versions of the Newcomen, and then Watt, low pressure, and high pressure, and then mobile and factory sized steam engines. These were very well done. With great explanatory descriptions on each one.

I was also impressed with all the 'original' exhibits in this museum had to offer. The No. 1 Babbage Difference Engine, one of two 'Regulator' clocks from the Greenwich Observatory, the first clock from the Long Now Project, just to name a few.

I especially like a section on the
scientific instruments used in the 18th century. Many were teaching or demonstration devices to explain different scientific theories. Things we teach in Jr. High Science classes now. I just love Brass Scientific Instruments for some reason.

I could have spent much, much more time in this place!

There was also a very thorough exhibit on the history of flight. I loved a quote from an early french airplane inventor about how they would have to go down in history as having worked on the inventions of flight, but that America would be remembered as the ones who actually did it.

Sections on health and DNA that Jill just loved - and a fun, entertaining hands-on section that had exhibits that I've never seen before. (and I've been in lots of science museums)

We then stopped into Harrods to have an early dinner in their 'Food Court' - we were told by a neighbor friend this food court was something special. We have to agree! The food there was unbelievable! - Unbelievably expensive! We saw a pizza for over $65 - and the security guards wouldn't even let you stop and look around. The place was HUGE with many many specialty areas. It would have been fun to stay and look around - but we were hungry, tired and didn't feel that wealthy.

I guess I'm just not 'sheik' enough for Harrods. (I didn't mean Chic... but actually Sheik) - I'm not Chic enough either. Perhaps if I found an extra couple million hanging around... no... Even then I couldn't bring my self to spend that kind of money on things in Harrods. I can't believe how crowded and how many people were actually spending that kind of money there!

A nice Italian restaurant down the block worked out fine. We had to wait for ages to finally get a bus back to the hotel. (Ryan, Jill and Alysha went shopping for clothes at a couple of stores down the street before returning)

A good day!

(Set Soapbox=On)
Did I mention that I *hate* strikes! Obviously something is wrong in a country when workers can cause so much damage to so many people and get away with it. Especially in an economic climate with unemployment so high. JUST HIRE MORE WORKERS! - Go ahead and strike. We'll just replace you. Should be management's position. You are worth exactly what it costs to replace you - no more, no less. If you want to be paid more, then be worth more! (set soapbox = off)

Kids just can never get too much sleep. Waiting for a bus...

On the bus ride - a couple of houses Jill would like to live in
18th Century Science ApparatusFirst prototype of the Long Now 10,000 year clock
Inner Workings of the Observatory 'Regulator' clock
An Example of a single Human's DNA Strands - Huge!