Mozart’s Fist


Inspired by the typo in this article that appeared in the Daily Mail, Mozart’s Fist is my new band name.

“You’re Vacuous…”


I’ve taken it upon myself to begin teaching Anthony some word origins and their definitions along with a few examples of each. And much to my surprise (or perhaps not), he’s taken a liking to it.

As it stands, we’ve covered quite a few of the list consisting of over 100 that I could think of. He’s fully aware of the differences between –ology and –onomy as well as knowing that when his grandfather had a quadruple bypass last year, he had to go and see a cardiologist (heart + science of + person who specializes in) for a complete diagnosis.

I’m doing this for a few reasons. First, because I know he’s sharp enough to grasp it. Anthony is one smart little cookie and will go much further than his old man ever did. It’s definitely not so that I can live vicariously through him because—let’s be honest—is being a wordsmith all that exciting?

No, it’s not. I mean, look around this place. Sheesh.

Secondly, it’s because I keep pounding the importance of proper communication into his head. Sure, we all snd txt msgs and use the acceptable shorthand when we do but I don’t want that to spill into his daily life nor have him forget what it’s like to pick up a pen and paper and actually create a manuscript (hand + written). Not like he has a cell phone or anything just yet…

As an accompaniment to what I already know, when we study we have his dictionaries opened in front of us for quick reference. It’s been a lot of fun sitting in the kitchen with him and watching him get passionate when he puts those word parts together, creating a word he’d probably never understood until then.

But despite his vigor, there was something bothering him the other night. We later got him to confess that a kid in his classroom has been a handful while they participate in their workgroups. This kid, whom I’ll call Vavoom because he’s got a loud mouth and is also built like said stout character, has been trouble since I first saw him in kindergarten. He was always in a time-out and never able to participate in any games and after seeing how he interacted with his classmates, I could see why he was always in trouble: Vavoom’s a flat-out jerk that appears to have little discipline at home.

This jerk is now Anthony’s partner, albeit temporary, and when Anthony came home the other day he told us that Vavoom had called him a few other choice words.

Sticks and stones, yeah, whatever.

Anthony wanted better.

In a quest to completely confuse Vavoom, Anthony took to the dictionary and found a word he thought would be perfect for him should he decide to cause yet another disruption in class.

And not surprisingly, the opportunity presented itself since Vavoom is a jerk. From all accounts, Vavoom called Anthony “stupid” and was just being his usual self. But this time, Anthony retaliated in a way that made me proud.

“Yeah? Well, you’re vacuous. Don’t know what it means? Go look it up in the dictionary!”

I don’t think Vavoom even knows what a dictionary is, let alone the word vacuous. Shit, I don’t think many adults know what it means.

The story was confirmed by one of the class parents who said that she had to laugh when Anthony laid the law down and broke Vavoom’s brain. And I’m not entirely sure of this was the cause of it but at the end of the day, Ann had told me that Anthony had one of his cards pulled (1st card = warning) in class.

While he was reluctant to give us a reason why his card was pulled, we explained that if it was indeed for telling this kid that he was lacking content and unintelligent, it’s a hit he should gladly take—and one that Mom and Dad would never be upset about.

By the way, Anthony will be 7 in March 🙂


There was an awards presentation at Anthony’s school today which, unfortunately, I had to miss since I’m still working. Not unfortunate in that I’m still employed but that I couldn’t be there like so many of his other events in the past. In fact I’m working an extra 5 hours tomorrow, all of which will be sweet, sweet overtime. This’ll come in handy since I will be unpaid for the upcoming holiday office closures. Which will suck.

Anyway, when I got home I was happy to see Anthony’s award, as humble as it may be. It’s not exactly parchment paper or even worthy of framing but it’s recognition nonetheless and that’s good for him especially when you consider he’s still fighting off what’s left of the pneumonia he’s been stricken with for the last few weeks. (And now Ann has it so I’m doubling up on my vitamin doses.)

So I gave him a great, big hug and told him to keep the momentum going. He’s come a long way and I am as proud of him as a parent can be. I then reached for the certificate and looked it over to see why he earned it.

And that’s when I grunted, bitched and moaned.

Why, you ask? Just give it a gander and see if you notice anything wrong (school name and logo intentionally pixelized so as not to incriminate the guilty):

I don’t know who filled out these certificates but…since they were given out to, ya know, students at a school, let’s try and make sure that everything’s spelled right before distributing them, mmmmkay?


This Aggression Will Not Stand

Anthony and his friend Vanessa regularly play for at least an hour each day once she gets home from school. And for the most part, despite Vanessa being three years Anthony’s senior, they get along very well.

But something happened yesterday that threw a wrench into their playtime. Whatever it was, Anthony felt that an apology was in order for what had transpired. He did just that and Vanessa replied by leaving the following note in our mailbox:

“Anthony, I except your apology.” They then went back to playing as if nothing happened.

Aw, kids. You gotta love ’em, and can’t really fault Vanessa too much for using the wrong word here since except/accept tends to fall into the same category as affect/effect, complimentary/complementary and to/too. You might even go so far as to add are/our to that list.

Coming from the mind of a child, I can find such a mistake acceptable especially in regards to the situation. Nothing too serious and she wasn’t being graded on it. It was, for the lack of a better term, cute.

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Passing the Torch

dictionaries-lores As if you hadn’t figured it out by now, your ol’ pal Dave fancies himself a writer. Hell, I even got paid for doing it a few years ago when I haphazardly pieced together articles about artificial turf, granite countertops, and other topics of the most uninteresting nature.

My love for words came to me at an early age, and it was all because of the books you see on the left (and yes, those are the actual books and not a stock photo). Call me a nerd or whatever but as a kid, I spent any spare time I had with my face buried in the pages of either one of those books, absorbing and digesting all the information I could. So much time, in fact, that the letter tabs on either volume of those dictionaries became worn over the years—even the XYZ section.

From grade school through adulthood, those World Book Dictionaries were my source to the world of words, spelling, and pronunciation. If not for them I probably wouldn’t be such a Grammar Nazi, have my own blog, get jobs as a proofreader and writer, or even be remotely interested in written communication. Then again, I might have had a real job by now, too.

But I digress. Either way I’m glad I spent the time with those books, two volumes of wordy goodness that I simply could not do without.

And yesterday, I let them go.

As I explained their significance, I tearfully yet confidently passed them down to The Kid in the hopes that, even in this world of let’s-Google-it-and-see-what-it-means, their worn and sometimes dog-eared pages will stir his imagination and open his mind to the endless possibilities that await him in his budding academic journey.

Here’s hoping that he gets just as much use out of these dictionaries that I did, and that he wows his classmates with his etymological prowess.

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