English: spelling: is “disfunctional” dysfunctional?

Tutoring English, spelling can hold surprises. The tutor mentions one he got from spelling “disfunctional.”

This editor is unhappy with the spelling “disfunctional”, yet Merriam-Webster does allow for it. Given that Merriam-Webster is American, and so I’m sure is this editor, I’m playfully surprised.

Neither of my Canadian dictionaries allows for “disfunctional”; rather, they both insist on “dysfunctional.”


Mish, Frederick C (editor). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Gilmour, Lorna. Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Barber, Katherine et al. Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, philosophy: what do you juxtapose?

via Daily Prompt: Juxtapose

Self-tutoring about the application behind a word: the tutor reflects about juxtapose.

juxtapose (verb):

to set side by side so as to compare.

Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English, Oxford University Press, Don Mills, 2005.

Typically I find that when I juxtapose two or more subjects, it’s a passive process: it happens before I even know I’m doing so. People juxtapose options as they prepare decisions.

Perhaps the more interesting juxtapositions are of scenarios, possibly one or both being largely unknown by the examiner. Do I make better cakes than my neighbour across the street, whom I don’t even know? What kind of cakes might they bake, compared with the ones I do?

Is there a way I could dress or behave, that would make me more popular? If I dressed like Person Y, for instance, would I have more friends? If I saw the world from Person Z’s point of view, would it make more sense to me? What is the difference in our viewpoints? Can I discover it, if I juxtapose them?

People wonder about countless scenarios. Yet, they often have an idea what might be going on, but just can’t be sure. Therefore, they juxtapose educated guesses, knowing neither may be right.

A couple months back, my wife, my two sons, and myself were sharing a breakfast table at a hotel. At the table next to us were two ladies possibly a little younger than I am. Circumstance itself juxtaposed us.

I’d say the two ladies were a couple. Juxtaposing them with us, I can’t resist wondering about the path that led them to such a different way of life from ours. We fell into some friendly conversation; even their small-talk revealed a point of view completely different from mine. I can’t help but wonder: What do they take for granted, that I have yet to learn?

I feel there is an invisible point of view more comprehensive than mine. I’m not sure whether it belongs to a person or it’s a collective consciousness, ubiquitous, waiting to be discovered. Until I can join it, I can only suppose what it knows – the ideas I juxtapose are limited by the confines of my imagination.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Yard work, exercise and fitness: the unintended work-out

Self-tutoring: the tutor shares about yard chores.

Yesterday, I thought perhaps I wouldn’t get enough exercise. I thought wrong.

For the seeds I found in our shelves, I decided to open up more garden space from a rectangle of the lawn. It was a spontaneous decision that meant using the shovel and pick-axe.

Turning over the sod took me about 45 minutes. A pick-axe is handy to have for such jobs.

When I was a kid, my Dad had a roto-tiller that would’ve done the job in under 10 minutes, no sweat. We lived in a farming place, then. Now we don’t, so I till by hand:)

I’ll keep you updated on what I plant; I hope to start today.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: homonyms: leech vs leach

Tutoring English, homonyms are a curiosity. The tutor mentions another pair: leech and leach.

leech (n): a worm-like creature that sucks blood from its prey.

leach (v): to wash out, as nutrients from soil by over-watering.


Gilmour, Lorna (editor). Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, philosophy: what does archaic mean to you?

via Daily Prompt: Archaic

Self-tutoring: the tutor reflects on an inexorable process.

Seeking a solid foundation, I look up archaic:


1) ancient; 2) out-of-date.

-Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus, HarperCollins, 2006.

For the purpose herein, archaic’s second meaning – out-of-date – is the one I’m exploring.

For me, as a tutor, and as a parent, the word archaic defines a challenging philosophical boundary. The reason is simple: to me, truth never goes out-of-date. Yet, to society, truth has a shelf-life. Past its shelf-life, any truth becomes archaic, so people don’t respect it.

A person can have an archaic point of view without realizing. Such happened to me with the kids’ piano lessons. They had recitals and exams to prepare for, so I spurred them to practice. One of them argued that it didn’t interest him, so he shouldn’t have to.

I was shocked at the notion that not wanting to practice can remove its requirement. After all, if people only do what they want in this moment, the world as we know it will cease to exist within an hour.

Over time, I have realized that my point of view is archaic. Today, in this society, people don’t generally believe a kid should have to practice the piano if they don’t want to. That philosophy extends well beyond practicing the piano – and well beyond just kids.

Mentioning the fact that, failing to practice, the student may fall short at the recital and the exam, only sinks me deeper, since I’m expressing archaic reasoning. People don’t typically think of consequences in that way nowadays – at least, not around here.

My kid did practice the piano: it was a battle, but I won. It’s probably my last victory.

Nowadays, the concept of preparing for exams is being challenged as archaic – “How will this help me in life? In the real world, people work in groups – don’t you know?”

I’m becoming a marginal character. Academic learning – seeking understanding for the purpose of self-improvement – is outmoded in the world that surrounds me. It is, so I am, archaic – at age 48, I’m out-of-date:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Microsoft web browser: how to tell which you’re using

Computer self-tutoring: the tutor mentions how to check which Microsoft browser you’re using.

In my experience, here is how to reveal the About info:

The three dots at top right, just under the x, hold a menu, under which, at the bottom, is Settings.

Opening the Settings option, a heading called About this app is near the bottom. There is described the browser: this one reports Microsoft Edge.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Gardening: planting a rose cutting inside a potato

Gardening self-tutoring: the tutor tries a trick he saw on YouTube about starting some rose cuttings.

I’ve been trying to spiff up the yard with new plants lately, including some rose cuttings. I started them in potatoes – an idea I saw in this video from Fast Remedy.

The potato stabilizes the cutting, making it much easier to plant. I’ve done the trick with two roses, and hope for the best.

I will let you know how they turn out.

Best of luck with your gardening:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology: Who is guilty?

via Daily Prompt: Guilty

Guilty is such a loaded term, I looked it up before starting to write. Concisely and unequivocally, Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus (HarperCollins, 2006) defines guilty:

guilty (adj):

having done wrong.

When I was a child, people often made me feel guilty, not because I was, but to maintain control over me. With that aim, guilt is used by individuals and institutions everywhere. The reason is simple, and stated, as I recall, by the Smoking Man in X-Files:

When you can ease a person’s conscience, you can take their freedom away from them.

Therefore, via manipulation, a person can feel guilty without being guilty. The reverse is true as well. I watch people neglect their commitments and infringe the rights of others without consideration. Those people are guilty – they just don’t feel guilty.

Confusion about whether someone is guilty, especially nowadays, seems to spring from its legal definition, which might be more like so:

guilty (adj):

provably responsible for a crime that’s been brought to court.

Many people apparently believe that if they can get away with an offence, they’re not guilty of it. Everyday rudeness, therefore, can be committed without guilt, since it’s not illegal. Moreover, a murder can be committed, but if no evidence against its perpetrator exists, they remain “not guilty.”

Yet, the perpetrator is guilty. Being rude is wrong, so having been so, the offender is guilty. Similarly, the murderer is guilty, whether the court finds them so or not.

If you’re religious – which I am – “guilty” and “not guilty” are probably easier states to distinguish; God knows, after all, what you did. I don’t necessarily believe in heaven vs hell, reward vs punishment, and so on. Much more directly,

if God knows you did it, then you know.

God might be like a blank piece of paper, the sin like a blot of ink thereon.

As a parent, and as a person, I’m guilty of countless wrongs. (Hopefully) I commit fewer now than when I was younger, because I understand better, today, what is wrong. I feel guilty – yet, unlike when I was a child, it’s not a bad feeling. Rather, it’s the truth that helps me navigate life, going forward.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, yard work: watering reflections, part 0

Self-tutoring about watering: the tutor reflects….

I can’t remember when summer 2018 started (see my post here about when summer starts); irrigation is in full swing. (I began about this year’s watering efforts in the post here.)

I’m no pro at watering, but I’ve observed a few helpful hints:

  1. When working with several sprinklers, turn off the one in a sensitive area (eg, near the sidewalk) first. If you turn off another one instead, the one near the sidewalk may then receive more water, and spill beyond the yard.
  2. I typically water one spot for, at most, around 30 minutes. I suspect once it’s soaked, the rest of the water probably doesn’t help; rather, it may just leach out nutrients to runoff.
  3. Single plants or bushes that need water but are outside of the main sprinkling areas, I do with a watering can. I don’t sprinkle the whole yard, just main areas.

Best of luck with your yard:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use: restart fix for sound problem

Self-tutoring about home computer use: the tutor mentions how a restart fixed a sound problem.

Over a week the sound from the main computer deteriorated. At the end it still wasn’t bad, but definitely noticeable. The kids wanted something done.

I went into the device manager – none of the sound devices was reporting a problem. I hooked another computer to the speakers; they sounded fine when it played through them. I wondered what the problem was.

Confounded, I turned off the computer and left it off for about 10 minutes, then restarted. Since then the sound is fine.




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.