Snippets That Stick

Today’s post comes to us from our Ben

I was talking with a friend the other day and we were talking history of our area and I made the comment that I am always surprised to see in older photos how few trees were in the area. I tend to think, in the terms of Laura Ingalls Wilder, of the men clearing the fields of trees and making room. So to see these old photos and there simply are not any trees for hundreds of acres.

 

And my friend says “yes, Minnesota was Oak Savannah, so clumps of oaks, but really, not much else”. And I thought oh yeah, I guess I must have learned that in middle school, US history, or Geography, or a visit to the nature center, or something. But I forgot. And then he simply says “It was Oak Savannah” and now it’s stuck.

Isn’t that interesting how we can learn something in school but it won’t stick and then 23 years later someone says “Big pointed bars are called ‘drift pins’” and there it is. Stuck in your brain.

People say “lefty loosey, righty tighty” and I’ve never been able to make that work. I just know you turn it this way to put it on and that way to take it off. Lefty?? From the top of my fingers or bottom?? That just makes me think too hard.

What’s stuck in your brain?

87 thoughts on “Snippets That Stick”

  1. So much stuff is stuck in my brain, almost none of it anything I can attribute to school.

    Back when I was in college and before I met Robin, I was sitting in a cafe booth across from a friend I had known in high school. She was memorizing lines for a play she was in and I was reading her script upside down. I memorized a few lines while she was doing the same and I could still recite them today. I don’t know why- they’re of absolutely no use to me.

    Technically, oak savannas were mainly in the southeast corner of the state and they only existed where native Americans had maintained them with annual burns. The big savannas were further south, especially Illinois. Down there, an area called English Prairie was heavily settled by English immigrants who thought the savannas looked like a vast estate.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. red blue yellow green orange purple black brown

    in first grade our teacher put one color a week out on the bulliten board until we had them all memorized

    roy g biv gives you indigo and leaves out black and brown

    Liked by 2 people

    1. George Elliot’s oldest grandmother rode a pig home yesterday. Why in heavens name would you remember all of that rather than just remember how to spell the word geography without thinking about it?

      I’ve actually thought about this a lot over the years. I do use mnemonics to remember things and I’ve always thought it was interesting — if you can remember the mnemonic, why can’t you just remember the thing you wanna remember?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. There is something helpful about a mnemonic. I also find it helpful to write down something I want to remember. I probably won’t find the piece of paper I rote it down on, but the action of writing it down sets the memory.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Absolutely. I sometimes write a shopping list and don’t bring it to the store. But having written down what I need, somehow cements it in my memory.

          Like

      1. i count knuckles for months
        if you put your knuckles together and start on the end
        january has a knuckle and 31
        february has a space between the knuckles and does not have 31
        march 31
        april no
        may 31
        june no
        july yes
        august yes
        sept no
        oct yes
        nov no
        dec yes

        ben your chant ends with
        all the rest have 31 except for february which has 28 unless it’s a leap year in which case it’s got 29

        a really bad ending to a chant …

        Liked by 3 people

  3. OT – I’m writing this in haste. I’ve just come in from our back yard stunned by the color of the sun this morning. Quick go take a look. Pretty sure it won’t last long.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All we have here is haze from West Coast wildfire smoke. No pretty colors. It is suppressing the temperatures, too. It was supposed to get to the high 80’s yesterday, and it barely made 77.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Last night Kelly was walking and had a picture of the bright red ball of sun just at the horizon. Kinda hazy here this morning and didn’t notice anything unusual.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. For some bizarre reason, the one piece of academic learning that has stuck with me from my high school days is the Archimedes’ Principle. I think of it virtually every single time I immerse myself in the bathtub.

    As you all know, I’m an avid fan of Jeopardy! In some categories I’m absolutely hopeless, in others I sometimes wonder how and why I know the answer. It’s a mystery to me.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Clyde here. Went out to look at the sun 30 minutes ago. I have never seen the sun that bright. Cannot look at it for even the briefest of time. Must be some lens effect. It seems to be an amorphous blob of searing light surrounded by glowing fuzz. Ben, I am with you on righty tighty. Makes no sense to me. My father always explained it as clockwise and counterclockwise. Calling it a left-hand thread makes even less sense, but the term works to name it.
    I tried hard not to teach facts, which are soon lost. I tried to teach processes, skills, insights, how to relate to literature and literature to the world, how to write for college and how to write in the real world. Apparently many of my students retain rules of mechanics well. Some are all upset about the APA accepting “ten items or less” as acceptable.
    I retain many facts from high school few from college. I can often identify exactly where I learned it. I retain terms lied squamous epithelial, and can correctly apply them. No idea why. My brain is wired that way. Because I retain itsy bitsy pieces of fats people think I am smart. That ability has little to do with intelligence.
    Ben, your brain must have a prairie idyll lobe.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Righty tighty makes perfect sense to me, even though it actually is a clockwise twist. If you are screwing a screw, the top of the screw moves right as you tighten it. Hmm, something seems wrong with that line “screwing a screw,” but I think it is correct. If vaguely smutty.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Until this morning on the trail, I had never heard the phrase righty tight, lefty Loosey. But it makes a lot of sense to me and my guess is that I’m going to remember it from now on. However I bet if you askme next year I’ll say right tight left loose.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s supposed to indicate which way you turn something to tighten or loosen the lid/ bolt / nut. As I said, it never worked for me.
        Too many variables. I just know I turn it this way to tighten and that way to loosen.

        My dad used to look at a bolt and tell me to get a 1/2″ wrench or 9/16 or whatever. Took me a long time to get to that point. And I’ve lost a bit because I’m not working with them as much as I used too.
        3/4″ I can usually tell. It’s the 5/8 and 11/16 that are still tough. They’re just an odd size I don’t come across very often.
        And also, a 9/16 bolt head is a 3/8″ hole. 7/16 wrench fits a 1/4″ bolt.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. i get messed up when using a socket wrench laying on my back under the car makes the socket come back toward me to do brakes or oil
          righty upside down and backwards above your head is just confusing. i end up bringing the socket wrench back to me and twisting the socket to see which way it’s going

          Like

  7. Gregarious gracious grandmother Gert wears the garter that holds the gavel for the greater gravel graders association.

    On a family vacation when I was in about the seventh grade, we passed a gravel grader on the side of the highway. Then as a family we started expanding on the words “gravel grader” and came up with this sentence starting with gregarious gracious grandmother gert. I don’t know why I’ve remembered it all these years.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh, that’s good!

      For vocal warmups before shows I use “She Stood on the balcony inexplicable mimicking his hiccuping while amicably welcoming him home.” I think I heard Garrison Keillor say that once upon a time.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I think there was a game with lots of words all beginning with the same letter – I remember memorizing a bunch of similar phrases. The one that stayed with me was “Eight egotistical eaglets eagerly expecting ecstasy.”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. After living in one place for 37 years, I moved to Oregon, then Michigan, then back to Saint Paul. At one point I had four homes in six years, each with its own collection of addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts, clinics, insurance agents, passwords, bank accounts . . . all that stuff. To keep track, I wrote things down in a document I keep on my computer. It is embarrassing when someone asks your phone number and you don’t know it, but I don’t call myself, so it isn’t a number I get to actually use.

    I guess most people now have all this information stored on their phones, but I don’t have that kind of phone. I typically consult this document two or three times daily.

    At the bottom of this file–which runs to nine pages–I have an odd list of words that absolutely refuse to stick in memory. The list: Martye Allen, taupe, mirepoix, atonement, hashish, Dr. Elner. If my life depended on it, I couldn’t recall them without my cheat sheet. Meanwhile I remember lots of things that happened when I was three, and I sometimes think I recall every story my dad ever told me. Nothin’ wrong with my memory, just that list of Teflon words and names that will NOT come back to me.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That’s a weird list of words alright. I’m wondering why Martye Allen’s name is on the list? “Taupe, mirepoix, atonement, hashish,” very odd.

      Like

      1. I can explain. I thought you would spot Martye’s name, which I got from you. I drove myself crazy forgetting it, and I didn’t want to bother you every time I forgot, so I put it on the list. My point is that the list is goofy. Two words are French, but apart from that the words on the list have nothing in common beside the fact I can’t remember them.

        Like

        1. Oh, I’m familiar with the problem, Steve, I just never thought to make a list of the words or names I can’t remember. Caprese salad is one of them. I have to think of the individual ingredients that go into it, and that will usually trigger it to pop up. Likewise, my friend Laurie is married to a man whose name I can only retrieve if I think of her as well, It’s never just Salvador, it’s always Laurie and Salvador. Oddly, the name of a thirteen year old girl who died of leukemia while I was working at the children’s hospital in Basel has stayed with me all of these years. Karin Klimbacher was her name. Strange how that works.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. I have a bunch of useless trivia floating around in my head – picked up from various sources along the way. But like many people, I can’t remember the reason I walked from the kitchen to the den. I became a list maker many years ago. At first because I liked the feeling of accomplishment when crossing something off. Now if I don’t write it down, I probably won’t remember it.

    I learned righty tighty and lefty loosey many years ago and still utilize it.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I still remember the birthdays and phone numbers of my high school friends, although lately the phone numbers have been fading. But I still have the birthdays:

    Mary Kay Oct 22
    Carol April 13
    Debbie. February 24
    Debbie, the sworn enemy, February 19
    Ruth, July 14
    Joliene, (deceased)February 24
    Denise, August 3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. my friend who died two years ago with severe brain trauma would anguish over the word or the name he was trying to fetch handle but i would ask them when the birthday was of the person hevwasctryingvtovremembrr the name of and he knew it like as nap of the fingers

      a birthday savant

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  11. When I can’t remember a word I want, as happens more frequently than it used to, or a name or some other fact that I know is “ up there somewhere”, often I will just go about my business and let my brain work on it in the background. Then later on it just pops to the surface. I find that once that has happened, I can retrieve that word or name or fact readily, as if the pathway had been partially blocked and now it is cleared.

    Using Google to retrieve something you can’t remember can be tricky. Sometimes I have to devise ways to sneak up on it by plugging in the things I do remember. Oddly, the thing I’m trying to remember will often come to mind before I can type in my query.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Names are like that for me; I have to stop thinking about it for a bit and it will eventually surface. Four hours later, sitting on the couch and I’ll turn to Kelly and say “Art Vandelay”. Or whatever. Not sure they stay there though.. haven’t paid attention to that.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Ben, my daughter has a friend who is terribly bothered when she can’t remember something. She will struggle, then announce, “I’m working on it.” Then, maybe two hours later in the middle of a discussion about a supermarket or income taxes, Jessie will suddenly roar, “ART SUSSKIND! His name is ART SUSSKIND!”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That takes me straight back to my college days (or nights). The answer, that none of us could think of at the time, was: the uvula! What was the question?

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Mnemonics for a California job case from 8th grade print shop:
    Be Careful Driving elephants Into Small Ford Garages
    Villains Usually Take A Ride
    …and one I had forgotten:
    Let Me Now Help Out Your Punctuation With Commas

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Every good boy does fine
          FACE
          Great Big Dogs Fight Animals
          All cars eat gas OR All cows eat grass

          Every Good Boy Deserves Favour was the title of a Moody Blues album waaaay back.

          Liked by 2 people

  13. I used to be ashamed of my shabby memory. My erstwife was amused by my inability to recall things she remembered with clarity. I finally figured out that my memory is actually good . . . for some things. My erstwife always remembered people, even those she didn’t know well, and she could rattle off the names of kids for a couple we had dinner with one time twenty years ago.

    I remember stories remarkably well, plus many events and images from my childhood. For example, my father rode in a cavalry unit of the National Guard (serving with Ronald Reagan). I could easily talk for an hour retelling stories about his cavalry adventures, stories he probably told us one time. Stories are easy to remember.

    The book of memoir I wrote about my parents was only possible because I could remember so many things that happened to us in the 60s, 50s and even the 40s. I suspect that most people have good memories for certain things, poor memory for other things. PJ probably remembers folk performers she met in person; Ben probably remembers things about his farm that nobody else knows. tim’s recall of his younger years is incredibly clear and detailed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No… I have CRS disease. Can’t remember Sh*t.
      I have a very short memory; it’s good for my marriage and friendships. i can’t remember what we were arguing about an hour ago.
      And there’s so much I’ve forgotten from when the kids were little. I feel really bad about that.
      I think it’s because I was busy just surviving day to day. It was just milking cows and hauling manure every day.

      My folks both wrote down things about when they were growing up. It’s fun to read.
      My family right now is trying to determine when a pole barn was built and when a third silo was built. No one mentions that. We’ve gone through a lot of pictures and their stories. Might find a picture with something in the background so we have ballpark years, but no specifics. It’s been a fun scavenger hunt.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. For typing class, you hit all the letters of the alphabet…

    is are was were has have had am be been can could will would shall should do did done. The irregular verbs in English – learned from Mrs. Latch in 6th grade, who told us to memorize it by saying it over and over to our pet. Since we had no pet at the time, I said mine to my sister.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh man, there were so many of these. Prepositions in German: an, auf, hinter, in, neben, über, unter, vor, und zwischen.

      And how to conjugate “to be” in German:
      Ich bin, du bist, er, sie, es ist,
      den tyske time er så trist (this is Danish and means, the German class is so boring)
      wir sind, ihr seid, zie sind,
      oh lad den gå geschwind. (again Danish, and means, please let it pass quickly.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t remember ever having to memorize conjugations. What sticks in my memory are useless sentences like “Wo ist meine Gummishuhe bitte?” and “Siest du die Blonde? Sie ist eine Freunde meine Schwester.”
        (The spelling of the above is approximate)

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Why yes, it is: de·clen·sion /dəˈklen(t)SH(ə)n/

        noun
        1.
        (in the grammar of Latin, Greek, and other languages) the variation of the form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective, by which its grammatical case, number, and gender are identified.
        the class to which a noun or adjective is assigned according to the manner of this variation.
        plural noun: declensions
        2.
        archaic
        a condition of decline or moral deterioration.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. “I am baking a pie. My pies are legendary. My pies can launch ships and settle global conflicts. They disappear like summer and linger like perfume, my pies…”

    “At that moment the mind grasps it will have to try every key on the ring, the fourth key opens the lock! I am elated! The door opens and the entire room is filled to a depth of five feet with keys. I begin to push my way through the keys grabbing huge handfuls of them as I go. Suddenly the ceiling opens and huge barrage of keys falls into the room burying me. SCREAM! Holding my breath I struggle towards the door! SCREAM! With my hand I feel the door! The scream stops. The door opens. It is my kitchen.”

    Some of my lines from a big monologue in a production of ‘Ten November’ back in the late ’80’s. I remember several bits of it… not sure they all fit together in order and I know I’m leaving out parts of it. But those pies and keys…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. ‘Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar.

      A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable—not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. “Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!”‘

      I have read this story by Truman Capote so many times that parts of it are stuck in my brain forever. Like Ben’s monologue, some parts are fragments, short phrases, or sentences that I especially love.

      Liked by 4 people

        1. There used to be a horrible weekly drama on TV that was set in a submarine. I only watched one episode,but it gave me a line I’ll never forget. Somehow the captain of the ship turned into a werewolf and began terrorizing the crew. They got him bottled up in one room and were discussing killing him. The line, spoken very earnestly: “Well, he may be a werewolf, but he’ll always be The Captain to me.”

          Liked by 3 people

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