-DIS makes no sense! So I’m gonna dis it.

Humor Post #65 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

Question: Why do so many people have trouble reading?
Answer: Because English is messed up, that’s why. If it made more sense, people wouldn’t get so mixed up.

Here’s a total screw-up I figured out all on my own. Just by thinking, you know. And I’m just a kid. So there must be gajillions of other things I haven’t even noticed yet.

We’re working on prefixes in English class and there’s a bunch of them that mean “no” or “opposite of.” Like -un, -im, -in, -non, and -dis. I think you know pretty much what I’m talking about. Our teacher says knowing these prefixes will help us on those standardized tests they give us all the time. But I had to ask about -dis in class last week and my teacher couldn’t really answer me. So I’ll ask you.

-DIS — Like disrespect is the opposite of respect, like dislike means to not like, like dishonest means not honest. Easy, huh?

But I thought of a couple that make NO SENSE! Now how are we supposed to do gooder in school if English is such a wreck. (And yes, that was supposed to be funny. Epic fail, huh? So what’s new?)

Here they are:
The wind is gusting.
The wind is disgusting.
Huh? I don’t think the second sentence means the opposite of the first.

Or how about this?
She’s stressed.
She’s distressed.
Huh? again. This time both sentences mean the same thing. Here –dis is a prefix that means absolutely nothing. Must be there for decoration, I guess.

Like I said, I asked about these in class, but my teacher didn’t have a good answer for me. At least she seemed interested and said she’d look it up. I’m not sure anyone else noticed because most people weren’t paying much attention. That’s because prefixes aren’t the most exciting thing for most people. More people listened to me at the beginning of the lesson when I tried to be my usual brilliant self. The teacher asked someone to give a sentence that used disperse. So I raised my hand and said, “Dis purse is made of leather so it costs a lot.” At least I got a few groans and the teacher gave one of her “Oh, please” looks so I guess that counts as a success.

So anyway, getting back to the “disgusting” and “distressing” examples from above, it takes Dr. Crankenfuss once again to point out why American kids have such a hard time in school. It’s not our fault. It’s English’s fault. Why don’t they fix it? One of these days, they’ll hire you-know-who to fix the world and everyone’ll have it a lot easier.

But till then, keep checking her for beautiful pearls of wisdom from Dr. Crankenfuss,
The Dude with the ‘Tude

The Ten Hardest Things to Do in the World

Humor Post #64 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

Today I have a giant philosophical question for you. What’s the hardest thing in the world to do? Now, as most of you know, I love sports even though I’m not so hot at them. But hey, if you can’t be a star, you can always be good at watching them on TV while you chow down on pork rinds and doughnuts with powdered sugar (preferably not in the same mouthful).

Well, I found lots of debates on the web over what’s the hardest thing to do in sports. And I found a bunch of stuff that I have to admit would be a little out of my range. Hitting a fast ball from some moose throwing at 100 miles an hour always gets mentioned. And that WOULD be a hard assignment. Hey, you might think the ball was coming at your head. And you could be right! That teeny bit of worry might make you a little less successful at concentrating on your goal. But if you don’t mind possibly dying from a clop to your block, you might have a chance of hitting a pitch once in a blue moon, no? Just as two ants in the Superdome do have a remote chance of meeting at the 50 yard line, so you too have a chance of hitting a fast ball. Just keep swinging, anytime, all the time. You might get lucky. And lots of people HAVE hit a fast ball, haven’t they? They’re called good baseball players.

But here’s another list I’ve come up with that almost no one has done or can do. Yeah, it’s possible in theory, but then why do so few people do it?

1) Setting a pole vault world record. Sure, once a year or two, one person in the whole world does it. But most any “normal” person would rip their shoulder apart trying to pole vault. It would probably feel like holding a horse and then he saw some pretty mare he liked and he bolted while you’re still holding on. Goodbye, body part!

2) Landing a quadruple jump in ice skating in perfect form. First, almost no one can even do a quad. What, maybe five or ten people in the world? And how often do they land it perfectly? Uh, I’ll let you look it up. Naw, I think this would be harder than hitting a fast ball.

3) Winning the Tour de France without artificial help, like with steroids or blood doping or stuff I can’t even explain. Only one guy wins the thing every year so already you’re up to a 1 in 7 billion chance. The race is like 3,000 miles long and much of it is up, way up. And many, if not most, of the winners do it by cheating. And even the ones who don’t, lots of people think they do. Oh, this is one is tough!

4) Scoring 50 points on Kevin Garnett in 20 minutes. Just think of those razor elbows rewiring your grill. Yep, this one has never been done so it might definitely qualify. But if you use your tricky intelligence (like I often do), you could make it happen. You could score 50 on him in a video game like Moose Hockey or something. Yeah, that’s kind of cheating, but the job should have been better defined.

5) Throwing three no-hitters in a row in the Major Leagues. Hah! I came up with another one that’s never been done. This guy Johnny Vander Meer threw two straight no-hitters in 1938 (against the Boston Bees??? and the Brooklyn Dodgers). But three? Nevahh! So this might be the hardest one yet. But still maybe possible some how, some day, some way.

6). Being a mom. Yeah, this isn’t exactly a sport, at least not one usually covered on ESPN, but I had to bring it up because people always say, “Being a mom is the hardest job in the world.” Excuse me for being a sourpuss, but C’MON! Millions, maybe even billions of women seem to be able to do it (and still have time to watch “The View” and “Dr. Phil.”) Hey, for all I know, a few guys have done it. There’s that old movie called “Mr. Mom,” remember? Sorry, ladies, this one doesn’t even come close to the others I’ve listed and the ones coming up. Now if they said, “being a great mom,” that would narrow the field considerably. But they never say it that way. And so, Dr. Crankenfuss nixes that pick.

Okay, now let’s get serious. Here are three finalists from Dr. Crankenfuss that might be sports or they might not, but they’d sure be harder than anything mentioned so far. Ready?

1) Climbing Mount Everest while holding your breath. Even possible? No, no, and uh, no!

2) Winning the 100-meter butterfly at the Olympics while tied up with duct tape into a little ball in a sack. Reasons? The thing only comes around once every four years. You have to know how to swim the butterfly. You have to understand the metric system. You’re bunched up in a little sack. ‘Nuff said.

3) Turning inside out (while alive) with no one else’s help. Okay, it’s not exactly a sport, but it would be cool if someone could do this. Hey, I’d pay to see it.

And for my grand finale (and #1 out of all ten I’m putting on this blog post), here’s the most impossible thing in the whole world to do because no one’s ever done it and no one will  ever do it, I’m sure. FOLDING A FITTED SHEET SO IT LOOKS NICE AND NEAT. You think so? Try it, bub. Now try it again. It just never looks right, does it. Believe me, I’ve tried and I’m sure zillions of others have, probably even on other planets. No way, nowhere, no how, it’s a no go.

So even though I’ve given you the ultimate answer to this mind-shattering conundrum, feel free to offer your own second-best suggestion. I won’t laugh, I promise. Except at the dumb ones.

From Dr. Crankenfuss,
Your Dude with the ‘Tude

Here’s how to solve and prevent all missing kids cases. Really!

Humor Post #63 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

No jokes today, people. Ol’ Crankenfuss has turned over a new leaf. For today, anyway. (BTW, what’s with that “turning over a new leaf” thing? If it’s in your yard, like so what? If it’s in a book or album, like so what? Either way, it certainly doesn’t take much effort, does it? But sure enough, I’m already off-topic. Hello, ADD. Just forget what you just read in these parentheses. Or start this post over and just skip this part. Sorry.) Yep, he’s going to solve something everybody really cares about: missing children.

I’m serious. Practically every day there’s news about some poor child who disappears. Around here, they issue an “amber alert” when that happens and they have announcements all over the TV and the radio. I’m sure a lot of these kids have just wandered off and are found. Others have been kind of “kidnapped” by one of their parents from the other one if the parents are split up, like after a divorce, you know. But the ones who get on national news often end up getting killed. It’s really scary and terrible, no matter how you look at it. No matter which category it falls in, a missing child means lots of anguish and pain for the child’s parent(s) and family even if it’s only for a few hours.

But most all of this could be stopped with one small innovation that’s actually already here. It’s to put a GPS computer chip in every kid. Probably while they’re still in the hospital, right after birth. Lots of dog owners do that with their dogs. The chips are getting tinier and tinier and will be practically invisible in a few years. They could be easily hidden inside a kid’s body to prevent them from being taken out. I’ve read about guys who’ve been shot and they still have the bullet inside them the rest of their lives. It’s not common, for sure, but it does happen. And they seem to do okay, so it would be very possible for people to walk around with a tiny chip in them. The way science is going, they could probably put the chip almost anywhere. If it was always put in the same place, a kidnapper could cut the chip out of someone. But if he didn’t know where it was, he couldn’t. And the child’s parent would probably activate their GPS thing and know where their kid was before a kidnapper could do anything anyway.

Let’s say a mom is at the mall and her child goes missing. She could activate her “child finder” GPS and it would pinpoint exactly where her child was. And if it showed that her child was already a mile or two from the mall, that would show a certain kidnapping and the police could get involved. But with such an accurate location device, they’d find the child pretty quickly. Just the possibility of this happening would probably cut down on a lot of this stuff. After all, kidnapping is definitely a felony everywhere and that would mean lots of jail time for sure.

Just recently some crazy woman stole a baby from a lady leaving the hospital. She killed the mother, but if the baby had one of those GPS devices inside already, they could have found that psycho immediately. Hey, she probably wouldn’t have done it knowing how easy it would be to catch her.

Now I know a lot of kids wouldn’t like their parents always “spying” on them. But hey, when they were 18, they could have the thing taken out of them since then they’d be adults. But I bet a lot of people would keep it inside them anyway and just let their husbands or wives know all about it.

There it is, all wrapped up like a beautiful present. So when are people are going to get smart and use this new science to protect their children?

From Dr. Crankenfuss, a guy with good ideas more often than you’d think

Why a half should NOT be a half

Humor Post #62 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

Math scores ain’t so high in this country, if you can believe what all those international test results show. Now I’m pretty good at math, but I gotta admit, there’s a lot about it that could be improved. Like fractions, for instance. That’s what I’m going to rant about today. Okay, it’s not going to be a rant. I will be very calm and patient as I explain how THE WAY FRACTIONS ARE NAMED MESSES LITTLE KIDS UP RIGHT AWAY!

See, I was working with my little pal Jojo again. (You can see the last time I worked with the little guy here.) He’s the little brother of a friend of mine and I want to get it where he’ll be considered a junior genius. That shouldn’t be too hard considering who’s teaching him. So I figure I’ll help him get ahead in math. I can picture some scene where his kindergarten teacher is saying, “Okay, class, let’s practice counting up to 3,” and Jojo will go start asking her questions about atomic particle accelerators or 3D quark generators or something else I’ve taught him. All the other kids’ mouths drop open. The teacher will be just a little bit surprised.

At least that was the idea I had. I like to shake things up, ya know.

So since Jojo already knows how to count, I thought I’d start him off with some simple fractions. I got out a chocolate chip cookie — he likes those — and cut it in half. Then I tried to show him how there were two halves in a whole. But he immediately got mixed up with the word “whole” and asked why I wanted to put his cookie into a hole. “I don’t want my cookie all dirty,” I think is the exact quote I got. No, no, I tried to explain how a “whole” meant “one” and I was already getting the little dude confused. But I plowed on anyway.

The next step was to show him when the cookie was cut in two parts, each part would be called a “half.” That blew his little brain even more. So I showed how to cut a cookie into four pieces and each piece would be called a “fourth.” So Jojo asks, “How about if you cut the cookie into six pieces?” and I say, “Then each piece would be a sixth,” so he says, “So if it’s in two pieces, why don’t they call it a twoth?”

Now he had ME all messed up. What a great question! We have fourths, sixth, eighths, tenths, and all the rest. Now “thirds” and “fifths” might throw you off a little, but at least the first two letters are the same. But to change a “two” into H-A-L-F makes NO SENSE! And then there’s that plural of HALF which changes the f to a v. How’s a little guy supposed to learn this stuff? How’s anyone supposed to get it?


They really should call it a “twoth.” But of course they won’t cause that would get kids mixing up fractions with teeth. (Which makes me wonder why they don’t call more than one half “heef.” But that’s a whole ‘nother thing to consider another time.)

So anyway, to help little Jojo and everyone else in the world who’s ever gotten mixed up learning fractions, here’s the new diagram I think should go in every new math book there is so EVERYONE CAN LEARN FRACTIONS WITHOUT GETTING THEIR HEADS ALL FLIPPED UPSIDE DOWN.

Go ahead, show this to your teachers and see if they don’t have to agree with you. But they probably won’t want to because that would rock their worlds too much, ya know.

So go have a great day (or night) and remember who’s doing his best to make the world make better sense for everyone.

That would be:
Dr. Crankenfuss
The Dude with the ‘Tude

Hey, you thought 6th grade math was hard? Try these 4th grade problems.

Humor Post #60 from the world’s Crankiest Curmudgeon’s Middle School Blog (and probably the awesomest YA blog too) –

Way back on March 14, I gave you some sixth grade algebra problems that our teacher was giving us to prepare for the EOGs (those standardized End-of-Grade Tests). These tests — They’re next week! Y-a-a-a-a-h! — are really important because they supposedly let the world know how smart we are, how good our teachers are, and how good our schools are. Well, maybe they tell you that stuff and maybe they don’t. I’d just like some adults, mainly the ones who make us take these things, to subject their brains to the same tests. You know, let them do the sweating for once. I don’t think the results would be very pretty. Kind of like a dog’s behind, if you know what I mean.

Now I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know how bad it really was till yesterday. See, I got sources deep inside the school system and they’ve been feeding me some valuable inside info. Actually they’re just a couple kids down the street who are in the fourth grade at a school near us. But they showed me the kind of stuff they have to do in class to get ready for their EOGs. As the TV Batman would say, “Holy hippopotamuses!” And I would say, “I feel for you, little dudes. These problems are harder than my head!” And baby, that is H-A-R-D! These stupid problems were ridiculous! How can anybody expect fourth graders to do these things? It’s like they think we’re in college or something!

Think I’m whining too much? That I’m being too much of a Crankenfuss?

Well then, you try ’em, wise guy! And remember, these things are meant for FOURTH GRADERS! I’m just giving you four little bitty questions. There were 12 on this homework sheet! Get ready for a lickin’ that’ll keep on stickin’, folks.


1. Darius and Charlie are saving quarters. Darius saves 7 quarters for every 3 that Charlie saves. How many quarters will Charlie have saved when Darius has saved up 42 quarters?
a. 45
b. 21
c. 18
d. 35

2. Using these three pieces of information, which of the four answers is true?
Information Piece #1: R + R = K + R + K
Information Piece #2: R + K = G + G
Information Piece #3: R = 20
a. R < G b. R > K
c. K > G
d. G > R

3. What is the value of the expression 6 X 8 + 12 ÷ 2?
a. 30
b. 54
c. 60
d. 84

4. Ms. Jones wrote this expression on the white board: 27 – 5 X 4 + 6 =
Which operation should a person do first to find the value of the expression?
a. 27 – 5
b. 5 X 4
c. 4 + 6
d. 27 + 6

Had enough yet? As they like to say at Staples, “THAT WAS EASY!”

Click here to see how you did. But you might want to take an aspirin first. And let other people try these questions out. Maybe they’ll take some pity on us poor students and get teachers to give us some work that’s a teeny bit easier.

From the Dude who’s watchin’ out for all the kids out there,
Dr. Crankenfuss