Vocab test.

I think I set a land-speed record today. At 7:42 a.m. I was a sweaty post-workout mess, and by 8:20 I was dropping into my seat on the bus. In between: All the grooming/makeup/morning stuff. It seemed a good omen for the day, but most of it was spent sitting in a chair, with a brown-bag lunch. But it wasn’t a bad one, and for that I’m grateful, because who wouldn’t be.

Tonight is the Detroit fireworks, always a crapshoot. If you’re lucky enough to have a prime viewing spot — by which, I mean “access to a high office suite or loft with a good view or maybe a roof” — it’s a pretty good time. If not, you run the risk of being hassled by police or, y’know, shot. Shot or trampled. I haven’t the former, so I left work a.s.a.p. after 5 p.m. and still got a little delayed by traffic. The older I get, the less I like crowds.

Of course, the best way to view fireworks is from a boat. Not this year.

Fireworks means it’s midsummer, right? Why doesn’t winter pass this quickly?

For bloggage, one thing I really found interesting: The gender gap in vocabulary, or 10 words that are most known by only one gender. I’m pleased to say I knew all of them, but was shy of definitions on only two, although I was pretty close; I knew a solenoid is something to do with electricity, and a dreadnought was a weapon. Close enough.

The actual vocabulary test — embedded here — is fascinating. I got 91 percent, and even though it’s at the top level, that’s not a brag. Nothing like a vocab test to tell you what you don’t know. It’s sort of insulting to think that most of the female-recognized words were about clothing (taffeta, bodice) and the men’s were about weaponry (dreadnought, claymore), but the world wouldn’t fall part with more bodices and fewer claymores in it, I guess.

How about some cooking notes? Been grilling a lot, of course. I keep meaning to do some pineapple and fruit projects, but the success of the summer has been spatchcock chicken, also known as a way to grill an entire chicken in under an hour. Our dinners tend to be scattershot these days — I never know when Alan will be home — so I’m all in favor of anything that can be fixed once and provide a lot of leftovers. One butterflied chicken = several meals. Big ups here. And it’s pretty and tasty.

And now, with Monday in the bag, time to turn in and get Tuesday under way.

Posted at 12:30 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

38 responses to “Vocab test.”

  1. Dexter said on June 24, 2014 at 1:16 am

    I hurried to the test without realizing it was loaded with non-words to sort out, so I began to think I was pretty ig-nunt, not knowing much at all. One word threw me and research further confused me.
    I know the word Dreadnaught because my long-time friend Belinda went to high school in Lakeland, Florida, home of the Dreadnaughts, and her parents have become rabid fans of their nearly-always national ranked football team. Now, Mum is from England and P spent his military service in England, so you’d think they would know how to spell Dreadnaughts. http://images.maxpreps.com/site_images/editorial/article/c/4/2/c428edb6-b91d-4bd4-aacd-99a50595cef2/f336d7b6-8b4c-e311-995d-002655e6c126_original.jpg
    P, also know as Andy, designed these Dreadnaughts hats and wears them to all the games. Obviously his wife, mum, also wears one.
    Now I see the word frequently spelled DreadnOught. So WTF, man?

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  2. Wim said on June 24, 2014 at 6:16 am

    I also got 91 percent. I prefer to regard this glass as nine-tenths full.

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  3. Judybusy said on June 24, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Hello all, thanks so much for all your good wishes for our friend Amy! After just under 24 hours in the hospital, she gave birth to baby Mira. They are doing great. We found out just before bedtime, which was good for my partner because she really takes things to heart and was very worried. She is a new labor and delivery nurse, so knows enough to get anxious about how long, how painful an early induced labor can be. But no, after very little progress for 21 hours, baby came into the world three hours later. Thanks again.

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  4. Connie said on June 24, 2014 at 8:19 am

    My now husband taught the meaning of solenoid early in our relationship when he replaced the starter on my 1964 Chevy. A solenoid converts electrical power into mechanical motion. He drives me nuts sometimes by insisting I need to understand how things work or why they don’t work.

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  5. Dorothy said on June 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Took the vocab test twice. I got 89% the first time, and knew all the non-words, which was a relief. The second time I got 91%, but got 3% deducted for saying one of the non-words was a word (so 88%). I believe that was HOOTH (I accidentally closed the window before I could double check it). I guess that’s a respectable score, twice. Still – I’ll probably mess around with it several times just because I’m driven that way.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 24, 2014 at 9:09 am

    In local news – http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20140624/NEWS01/306240007/Man-covered-deer-blood-sparks-police-interest

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  7. Minnie said on June 24, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Fun. I’m a sucker for vocabulary quizzes. Didn’t fall into any traps and learned some new words – agenesis, for instance. Ninety-three. Yippee.

    Judybusy, thanks for posting the news. Will continue to send good vibes Amy and Mira’s way.

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  8. coozledad said on June 24, 2014 at 9:33 am

    When I was watching that piece of sentimentalist garbage “Immortal Beloved”, I wondered how much longer this dolt’s career would last.

    Now it looks like the little fucker is angling for the lead in a biopic of Enoch Powell:

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  9. Jessica said on June 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

    We’re stuck here with an ancient version of IE – IE 8. If you are, don’t bother with the quiz as the scores don’t show on the score page.

    Alas. They warned us, but not emphatically enough.

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  10. Deborah said on June 24, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Judy Busy, glad to hear your friend and baby made it through the delivery. Now the hardest part. She’ll need a lot of support, as you know.

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  11. Mark P. said on June 24, 2014 at 10:40 am

    It’s not a good test. There were some words that were obviously possible English formations but which I thought had better and far more common alternatives. So, they may be in the dictionary, but I just said “screw that” and rejected them.

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  12. Heather said on June 24, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Connie, I hear ya. My uber-handy boyfriend is always telling me in detail about those kind of things–most recently he explained how ball bearings work. I guess it’s useful. Then I get to do things like explain who Virginia Woolf is. It works for us.

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  13. Charlotte said on June 24, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Yay for baby Mira — now may her mother make a swift and full recovery.

    Garden just coming in here — dinner last night was a stir fry of ham with snow peas and new onions from the garden, and this morning eating the first of the strawberries from the sets I planted last spring. I might never eat a commercial strawberry again.

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  14. Jolene said on June 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

    94%, but I agree that it’s a slightly weird test. Some words, such as sociologic, may be formally correct, but the usual adjective form of sociology is sociological.

    But this weirdness is nothing like the weirdness that exists in Words with Friends. As many of you know, WwF is an electronic word game–essentially a Scrabble equivalent. The game decides what’s an acceptable word and what isn’t. It will accept odd forms of words that I’m pretty sure no educated speaker of English has ever said such as daunter and joyed.

    It also rejects various slang or profane words, but the basis for its determinations as to what to accept is somewhat hard to discern. For instance, it will accept shittier, but not fuck.

    On the game’s ruling for whore but against slut, one of the people I play with said, “I guess slut is an insult, but whore is just a job description.”

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  15. Julie Robinson said on June 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Jolene for the win!

    The eyes glazed over look that happens when my dear hubby tries to explain science stuff to me is matched by his when I try to explain our taxes. I want to share his excitement but my brain doesn’t seem to stretch that way.

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  16. MarkH said on June 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Off-topic a bit: I know we’re all Roger Ebert fans here. His widow, Chaz, appeared on CBS This Moring today to talk about the just completed film on his life, “Life Itself”. It was started before he died and they didn’t really expect that he wouldn’t live to see it’s completion. Looking forward to seeing it.


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  17. Minnie said on June 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    During the academic year my husband hangs out with computer geeks. Along about now, a month into summer break, he begins to miss tech talk, so once in a while he declares, “This is a little technical, but…”. I hang on, gazing intelligently into his eyes, until his compulsion to communicate about computer science subsides. He likewise indulges me when I go on too long about flora and fauna.

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  18. nancy said on June 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Just took the test again, and got 94 percent. To be sure, it only asks if you recognize the word; you don’t have to define it.

    And now, back to my taffeta bodice.

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  19. MichaelG said on June 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I agree that a lot of the words in that test were weird. I got 91 but I hit ‘NO’ on blonde when I was moving too quickly. Oh well.

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  20. Jolene said on June 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I just looked at the FAQ on the vocabulary test. Found this paragraph on how many words people typically know quite interesting. Indicates that all the A student/word game fanatics here are, as you’d expect, way above average.

    How many words do people know?
    This is one of the questions we’d like to answer with our test. However, on the basis of our experiences with a similar test in Dutch and previous rating studies in English we estimate that a proficient native speaker will know some 40,000 words of the list (i.e., 67%). Older people know more words than younger people. The situation is different for second language speakers. Here, our estimates range from 6,000 words (10%) for a medium proficiency speaker to 20,000 words (33%) for a high-proficiency speaker.

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  21. Sherri said on June 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    The first time I took it, I only got 76%. Then I realized that words that I think of as silly unnecessary non-words, like applausive, were considered words by the test. So the second time I took it, I got 93%.

    I have a bias against tacking on ridiculous endings onto words to make new words. I still hate orientate (what’s wrong with orient? do we conversate or converse?)

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  22. Dorothy said on June 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    My 2014 desk calendar is a Word of the Day one and I’m wishing some of the words I’ve learned in the last 175 days were on the test. But who knows – maybe they were!

    Jolene I haven’t thought about playing WWF in ages – and then you mentioned it today. I have been getting LOTS of reading done, though, since giving it up. I’m half way through the second Cazalet Chronicles book, and have book number 3 at home waiting for me. Maybe come fall I’ll start playing again.

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  23. Jolene said on June 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Whew! Looks like we are headed for a series of fights over tenure in public schools. As you may have heard, a California court recently ruled against that state’s tenure system, and now a suit seeking to overturn the tenure system in NY is about to be filed. Not sure how I feel about this, but it is not likely to be a fun ride for anybody. The link below goes to a story about former Obama staffers who have signed up to be the PR staff for a public anti-tenure campaign.


    Interested to hear your thoughts.

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  24. Jolene said on June 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I hear you, Dorothy. It is a gigantic time-waster. Fortunately, I combine game-playing with my other time-waster–television.

    Honestly, I am embarrassed about how little offline reading I do lately. The combination of the Web, the DVR (which makes available TV that I might have previously missed), and streaming of movies and TV shows takes up way more of my time than in my former life as a voracious reader. Not sure whether to live with it or try to cut back.

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  25. Sherri said on June 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I just have one question for the anti-tenure people: after you fire the teachers, what next? Let’s stipulate that you are able to correctly identify the bad teachers that should be fired who are otherwise being protected by tenure; where are you going to find the high quality replacements willing to work in the environment you’ve created? It would seem to me that if you want to attract better teachers, you need to make teaching a higher status occupation, and all of the education reform proposals do the opposite.

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  26. Jolene said on June 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I agree, Sherri. Teaching is a very hard job, harder than most people realize. To face the challenge of dealing with whatever combination of talents, aspirations, bad habits, fears, hopes, dreams, health problems, and family issues 25 or so people bring with them into the classroom in an environment characterized by constant criticism and low pay . . . well, it’s just amazing people sign up to do it–and not at all amazing that most of the best students don’t.

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  27. MichaelG said on June 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I agree, Sherri. I think it should be ‘orient’. I don’t think ‘orientate’ is a word. Same with ‘preventive’ and ‘preventative’. What is this add a syllable stuff?

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  28. brian stouder said on June 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Jolene, President Obama disappoints me greatly on public education; I think he simply doesn’t get it.

    And if he sends us back to war in Iraq – then I will detest him completely; more than I detest his predecessor.

    I think Fort Wayne is a bit of an island in this storm; our public education system – 31,000 students across 52 public schools – is superb.

    And it could all go over a cliff, if the flying monkeys (money-grubbing voucher mills and anti-professional teacher slugs) get their way.

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  29. brian stouder said on June 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    You said yes to 97% of the existing words.

    You said yes to 17% of the nonwords.

    This gives you a corrected score of 97% – 17% = 80%.

    it’s as much a spelling test as a vocab test. I’m still puzzling over the math, and the conclusion they drew

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  30. Jolene said on June 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Brian, I certainly don’t know what the right answers are in public education–whether the issue is curriculum, testing, teacher evaluation, or whatever. And perhaps I am naive, but if don’t think the answer is disdain for Obama. I honestly think that access to high-quality education is one of his most heartfelt concerns. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/local/wp/2014/06/20/michelle-obama-i-will-work-the-rest-of-my-life-to-increase-the-number-of-college-graduates/

    And if things in Fort Wayne are as good as you say, you should count yourself lucky, as that certainly is not the case everywhere. Check out the article below, which is about how things are now at the high school Dorothy attended. (She posted this, in sorrow, a few days ago, on Facebook.) It’s one of the saddest and most infuriating things I’ve ever read. How did things come to such a pass? Is there any way to turn it around? It’s this kind of dysfunction that motivates the reformers, whatever their faults.

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  31. beb said on June 24, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Ever worker deserves to have the assurance that they will have their job day after day. Tenure is one way to give teacher’s that assurance. It also gives a probation period of several years for administrators to decide of the teacher is any good. Saying that tenure gives protection to bad teachers simply says administrators aren’t doing their job in a timely manner.

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  32. brian stouder said on June 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I certainly don’t know what the right answers are in public education–whether the issue is curriculum, testing, teacher evaluation, or whatever. And perhaps I am naive, but if don’t think the answer is disdain for Obama. I honestly think that access to high-quality education is one of his most heartfelt concerns.

    Jolene – whatever happens, I will always greatly admire Michelle Obama*; she’s positively sublime.

    Barry, though, strikes me as flatly wrong with this whole “Race to the Top” continuation of “No child left behind”. Standardized testing as a diagnostic tool makes perfect sense to me; but standardized testing as a club to use against teachers makes no sense at all….except as a money-grab by the test-makers (lots of Fort Wayne experience with THOSE crooks), and a battering ram to use against teachers’ unions** and public schools themselves.

    I really, really like (and support) President Obama and his administration, and his goals, EXCEPT regarding public education – where he is indistinguishable from the looniest of the money-grabbers and voucherizers and Jesus-on-a-dinosaur advocates. Really, truly – if he puts US combat soldiers back into the fight in Iraq (including airstrikes) – then, at minimum, I’ll have to re-evaluate.

    I think in that case, I’d have to say Joe (et al) was more right, and I was more wrong than I ever suspected.

    One complete and total non-sequitur: I gave up icy cold Diet Pepsi (and any other soda pop, for that matter) two weeks ago. Surprisingly, I don’t miss it nearly as much as I thought I would. We shall see how this progresses…

    *I got to shake Michelle Obama’s hand back in 2008, when the senator and his lovely wife and daughters visited Fort Wayne during the primary campaign. At the time I was disappointed that I missed out on candidate-Obama’s glad-hand (a very tall guy got in front of me and monopolized the senator; but Michelle came from the other direction, and reached for me. In the years since, I’ve come to appreciate the value of “Pressing the flesh” that all politicians derive; I felt… invested

    **Here in Fort Wayne, our stupid city council just stripped away the public sector employees’ unions….except for the police and the fire firefighters. Now, if a union is a terrible thing, why NOT strip away the union protections of the police and the firefighters? Or – if somehow public sector unions make sense for police and fire – then why not unionize the US military?

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  33. brian stouder said on June 24, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    (btw – I pointed to Michelle, Jolene, because the marvelous article you linked was about her and her passion for education, and not about him. Just sayin’)

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  34. basset said on June 24, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    And, Nance, been meaning to ask – how did the adventure up north go? Did they hit any deer?

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  35. Deborah said on June 24, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I’m taking Little Bird back down to Albuquerque tomorrow morning to see another Dr. She’s been having some issues with a fibroma (tumor) on her upper left thigh and her neurologist wants her to see a dermatologist about it so that’s where we’re going tomorrow. It’s really frustrating because her condition is relatively rare and many Drs don’t really know what it’s all about, as I’ve said before. I’m sooooo thankful that this issue came up when she’s got good healthcare thanks to the ACA. Perfect timing.

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  36. alex said on June 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Brian, I don’t follow the education beat as closely as you do, so I’m interested to know: What turned you against Common Core?

    I ask because of this article I read today. As a casual observer, the idea of shaping American education to produce a highly skilled world-class workforce doesn’t sound objectionable to me.

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  37. Sherri said on June 24, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Jolene, I don’t think there is an education reform answer to the problems in Wilkinsburg, because the problems in Wilkinsburg aren’t really about the education system, they’re economic.

    When old buildings aren’t being maintained, that tells you there isn’t a tax base available to support the kind of education my kid had in her suburban district. No amount of teacher evaluation, curriculum tinkering, or testing is going to change that.

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  38. brian stouder said on June 24, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Alex – Common Core was just another presentation of the truly, genuinely remarkable assumption undergirding No Child Left Behind: that is to say, the Federal takeover of public education in the United States.

    It used to be that education policy and curriculum was set at state (and lower) level, and the idea that Uncle Sam should homogenize the whole thing would have sent people into the streets. Common Core struck me as putting lipstick on the pig….and indeed – it always struck me as interesting that the Tea-Partiers were as rabidly against Common Core as folks who would disagree with every other thing they advocate for!

    And now, there’s a mad dash to adopt new standards that aren’t called “Common Core” – but which still align states with whatever Uncle Sam wants (call it Covert Common Core).

    From where I sit, the old Watergate truism applies, if all caps: follow the money.

    Standardized tests and data mining and curriculum development is a no-lose for some very big companies (like Pearson Education, to name one); and if public schools go down in the process – so much the better for the “privatizers” (so-called! They’ll take all the public money they can get, thankyou!) and charter operators; and oh by the way – ooopsie! We’re segregated again!! Oh mercy me!

    I’ll never get over the absolute fraud – if not criminal conspiracy (it sure looked RICO to me) that was the Imagine school on Wells Street. The same company buys the YMCA building, and then leases it from itself (I think the lease payment was $400,000/year), then hires ids straight out of collage and pays them spit to teach, and collects vouchers – right up ’til Indiana finally shut them down….and then wiothout missing a beat the “school” re-opens under another name and goes merrily on its way.

    I have attended Fort Wayne Community Schools board meetings for the past four years (spoke at the last one, but we’ll skip that for now!), and watched them debate and discuss budgets and renovations and curriculum and testing and graduation rates (91% graduation rate this year – in a district as diverse economically and ethnically as about anywhere you can name)….and I get to vote for the two at large positions and my own district (so direct influence on three of the seven seats), and I couldn’t attend any Imaging board meetings if I wanted to; nor, for the matter, any of the church schools board meetings, if they have them. And even if I could attend, I have no vote on whoever sits on those boards, even as they obtain and spend dollars that would otherwise go toward actual public schools.

    In short, I view “high-stakes” testing/Common Core implementation, as currently run, as a suckers game. We – real public schools – can only lose (unless we’re affluent suburban white schools where mostly all the kids have two parents at home, and where there’s no such thing as an “english language learner”), and that’s the whole idea. It strikes me as a battering ram to smash down urban schools and grab away the resources, the better to tut-tut about how urban people aren’t from “the real America”, etc

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