Friday, February 8, 2008

Smart Aleck! (what is an aleck?)

First of all, NO SCHOOL TODAY, AGAIN!! You see, we keep getting snow, just a little each day, and all of the villages/townships are out of salt. The salt is stuck on a barge in Peoria, IL in a frozen chunk of the Mississippi River. The busing was treacherous yesterday, so they decided it wasn't worth the risk today. This seems to be a let's-have-school-every-other-day kind of winter. I am one who has a true appreciation for routine, and getting into a groove. We've got no groove here. I can't imagine how difficult it is for the teachers. And I'm really out of fun mom ideas. I have very few to begin with......By the time Monday rolls around, the kids will be begging for school.

Some thoughts from reading "The Year of Living Biblically" and I'm reading the book of Joshua right now. They did some wacky things in Old Testament times. I read yesterday about how the leaders of Israel did not consult with the LORD before signing a treaty, and that was a mistake. Because the folks they made a vow with were actually deceiving the Israelites. I have a commentary that I look at when reading the Bible. It's called "The IVP Bible Background Commentary," and it explains the cultural context of passages. It doesn't interpret the meaning of the passages, it just explains what life was like when this verse was written.

So my commentary explains that "consulting the LORD" usually meant using oracles. This could be casting lots, or some other kind of gross practices that you can research on your own, if you really need to know. I was thinking, wow, we don't do that today! I don't ask God a yes-no question and then roll the dice to get my answer. Hmmm.

And then I found myself kind of thinking of us today as being so much wiser and sophisticated than the people of those times. But wait a minute! Are we smarter? Yes, we have more knowledge, because we have the benefit of all of the wisdom accumulated through the ages. Look at the difference in technology from my childhood to my own kids' growing up. Records? No cell phones? You know.

But are the people who are turning a regular Nintendo game system into a Wii actually capable of more than Leonardo DaVinci was? But am I more intelligent than the average woman who had to spend a week once a month in a red tent? I don't think so. I don't think my cats today are more intelligent than cats were then. And I guarantee no dogs are smarter today. If they are, things must have been pretty sad back then. (tee-hee) Why would humans be different today than they were 3,000 years ago?

And, speaking of all this technology and getting smart, can't they figure out some other ways to get ice off of roads? Sheeesh.


Alan and Judy said...

A good project for today would be to get the map of Illinois and Wisconsin and see where all the rivers come from and go to in your area and the rest of the state. You might be surprised to find out that the Mississippi River is the border between Iowa and Missouri with Illinois, and that Peoria, which is in the center of the state, has Illinois' other navigable river (when it is not clogged up with ice) the Illinois River. It might also be interesting to see where the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers come together and what other historically significant river also joins the Mississippi in the same vicinity. I don't know about your being smarter than the women of 3,000 years ago, but you will definitely know more than you did yesterday.

-- Dad

Alan and Judy said...

I like the way you and some of your readers question the definitions of everyday words. I couldn't find "aleck" in the dictionary, but I think maybe an aleck is a dad!

-- Mom

--julie said...

Well, that's what I get for listening to my third-grader! I read in the paper last week that the salt was stuck in Peoria. never paid attention to the body of water. Yesterday, I was telling the kids about the shortage, and asked, "do you know why everyone is out of salt?" and Luke, my child who will always know more then me, says,"yeah, yeah, the Mississippi River, blah, blah..."

and Mom, um, you said it, I didn't.

--julie said...

oops...I see a typo there...Luke will always know more than me, not then me.
ok, I;m tired now. trying so hard to be smart.

Roz said...

According to one of my favorite books, Partridge's Concise Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, Alec (also Alick)is a "hence," a dupe, especially a swindler's dupe. Thus, a "smart alec" is a know-all, an offensively smart person;a colloquialism originating about 1870, came to the US about 1925. Now you know the "rest of the story...." Back to chores and my to-do list!!!!