February 24, 2011

Metaphor Mishaps

Every year, English teachers from across the USA submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers (and many others) across the country. Here are the winners of a few years ago:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

3. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was room temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of
his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:3o.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

"maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding..."

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina
rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

- - - - -

I love these. XD If you're ever feeling discouraged about your writing skills, look back at this list and be encouraged. :)

Always Hope,

February 18, 2011

The 5 Best Toys of All Time

I have discovered an excellent article; a refreshing reminder of happy summer days. 'Tis written by Jonathan Liu and entitled "The 5 Best Toys of All Time." I tried to put the article directly in this post, but the formatting didn't work, so you'll just have to read it here. For best effect, read it while sitting by an open window, where you can inhale the spring.

Outdoors for President!

pile of toys
"Treasure Box" photo by Flickr user Evelyn Giggles. Used under Creative Commons License.

February 7, 2011


I have sad tidings, which you may have already heard.

Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall Series, died two days ago.

How very sad. I'm sure many of you have read those honorable books - for me, they were my first real, sad, epic, long stories. They were the first books I read where good guys might actually die, where bad guys might actually win (for a time), but where good would ultimately triumph in the end.

I remember in an interview several years ago Jacques said he planned to keep writing the Redwall series till the day he died... he lived up to that ambition. Two days ago a heart attack took him at 71 years of age; this May his 22nd Redwall book, "The Rogue Crew", will be released.

I only found out the news that he'd died just this morning. When I saw the headline of the article, I literally leaped out of my chair and ran, yelling through the house, up and down stairs, shouting to siblings, "The author of the Redwall series DIED!" The news was greeted with much shock and sadness.

I was working tonight at the library - just got back a half hour ago, in fact. While I was tidying books in the children section, I came to the lonely little section storing the half-dozen Redwall books that hadn't been checked out. Loamhedge, Martin the Warrior, Redwall, High Rhulain... I stroked their spines, each one individually, and thought of something I remembered and cherished about each story. Then I stood there, hands folded behind my back, and spent a few moments staring at the books, giving mental tribute to the man who wrote them. Before moving on, I whispered a few quick words to the books. "Thank you for a good tale well-told," I said. Not particularly profound words, but they were what came to me.

Farewell, Brian Jacques.

February 5, 2011

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stewart

This was a clever and entertaining tale. A bit ominous in size but written for a younger audience, it concerns four particularly gifted children who pass a series of tests, thereby becoming a part of a mission to sabotage the work of an evil scientist and save the world. The characters were well-done, and though at times the plot was improbable or unrealistic, it was charming as what it was meant to be: a child's tale. The beginning takes on a bit of a Lemony-Snicket-style mysteriousness, but doesn't retain it very long. Happily, the novel is perfectly clean, and while I rather enjoyed it, it probably was intended for ages 8-12 or so. In my opinion, "The Mysterious Benedict Society" was an exciting, entertaining, and enjoyable tale.