A Neglected Anniversary in Science Education

We didn’t light the autumn sky with homemade rockets or harness the wind to electrify remote villages. But in 1974 a group of juniors sitting in the back of biology hung on every word our teacher said, because we never knew when he would add a new entry to “Great Words from Mr. Blake’s Unlimited All-Star Vocabulary.”

To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of this milestone in science education, I present here the unabridged list, copied exactly from my faded, folded, and slightly torn original, that I’ve kept all these years. The words are in chronological order; the numbers indicate the times Mr. Blake repeated the word. In italics are comments I added as I assembled this post.

Some words and phrases are common, but spelled the way he said them. Others are common and he said them correctly, but they were funny just because he said them.  Still others he said just right, but we had never heard them before, and that made them funny.

The List:

  1. bosh (5)
  2. pshaw (15)
  3. flick (4) as in movie
  4. adjournal (2)  as in, “We’ll now adjournal into the lab.”   
  5. chuckyplum
  6. savee (8)
  7. samosamo (2)
  8. oomps
  9. gaak (20)
  10. beasty (12) he had lots of generic word for organisms – it was biology afterall
  11. contangerous he liked to change just one letter or syllable 
  12. pardnon he also liked to add a letter or syllable
  13. bugger
  14. hissy (1)
  15. bogus
  16. larvay
  17. anuse
  18. pfffft (1st 9 weeks) he considered vowels optional
  19. kiddiebumps as in, “You kiddiebumps need to study more!”
  20. krkhjjh
  21. duh (1)
  22. crimenently
  23. plumchucky
  24. mongamous (1) in other words humongous
  25. comoselama (2) that l was pronounced “la” 
  26. Holy Pete
  27. boo – ooo (4)
  28. croak (1)
  29. trite bit of ariation as in, “What was that trite bit of ariation, Jill?”
  30. guk
  31. walag
  32. yi-ee-aa
  33. AAHHH!!
  34. peachy keen
  35. boob tube (4)
  36. figidy
  37. gook as in a sticky mess
  38. tad bit (11)
  39. funky dory
  40. Johnny Bloenose
  41. Price of Newcastle
  42. bulla bulla bulla
  43. befuddled
  44. blubber
  45. pinky sheet as in, “Do all the problems on the pinky sheet.”
  46. zap (2)
  47. bannanas (8) as in, “Don’t go bananas, but…” 
  48. señor mouse (1)
  49. tody habits
  50. chicky eggs
  51. bag of worms (1)
  52. Sam Hill
  53. Whooo (1)
  54. Ya-oooo
  55. Pall Mall
  56. coposati
  57. snicker snicker
  58. kitty kat
  59. bow wow
  60. snot
  61. mish mash
  62. bling
  63. ding bat (2)
  64. super duper
  65. bugaboo
  66. chewing gum for the eyeball
  67. chew on your nuts to a class full of adolescents?
  68. heapies (1)
  69. iota
  70. joggers
  71. how some ever (2)
  72. critters (7)
  73. hook & crook
  74. conotes
  75. crawlies
  76. poor little hairy hide
  77. cookery
  78. zip zip
  79. croak
  80. taboo
  81. cheapy
  82. bunch of spaghetti
  83. oodles
  84. cut the mustard
  85. doosch
  86. haul our bods as in, “Let’s haul our bods into the lab”
  87. plaza loma
  88. boomp
  89. 600 nitro express (1)
  90. babababababoon this was sung – “Baaa ba ba ba ba boooooooon”
  91. nomenclature
  92. minuous
  93. o-observay
  94. twosies as in, “Work on this assignment in twosies.”
  95. zerah
  96. Ricky Baby as in, “Ricky Baby, be quiet!”
  97. zamples
  98. fortay
  99. spewtum
  100. 6 of 1 1/2 dozen of the other (2)
  101. cute attacks of apoplexy as in, “David, would you explain your cute attacks of apoplexy?”
  102. krambs
  103. cobre
  104. scrage
  105. The Hanging Drop
  106. the gobbling up things as in carnivors
  107. tayboo
  108. sitting on your buffs waiting for the goats to come home
  109. hebies
  110. toydie
  111. Sandy Cumerzis I made the list; He liked me! He really liked me!
  112. wluwluwlu
  113. fruitcake
  114. bludublubdadublu
  115. hokeed up
  116. do our thingie
  117. Suzy Q
  118. the big TIT I wonder why I capitalized it
  119. horsies
  120. moo moos
  121. nerd
  122. flim flam
  123. cow
  124. fly by night

Late in the year the list was published in the school paper. Mr. Blake thought it was funny. I think I’ll start saying these words in my teaching. After all, he got us engaged with them.

But I think I’ll avoid 67 and 118. And maybe some others.


Sandy Merz

I grew up in Silver City, New Mexico and went the University of New Mexico, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. After working for the U.S. Geological Survey in remote regions of western New Mexico, I moved to Tucson to attend graduate school at the University of Arizona, earning a Master of Science degree in Hydrogeology. While working as an intern hydrologist for a local county agency, I started doing volunteer work that involved making presentations in schools. At that moment I knew teaching was the path to follow. It must have been a good decision because I’m still on the path after thirty-two years. My teaching certificates are in math and science and I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technical Education. After teaching engineering and math and elective classes at the same school in downtown Tucson my whole career, I’ve moved to a different middle school and district on the edge of town to teach math. In addition to full time teaching, I am actively involved in the teacher leadership movement by facilitating National Board candidates, blogging for Stories from School Arizona, and serving on the Arizona K12 Center’s TeacherSolutions team. In January 2017, Raytheon Missile System named me a Leader in Education and I’m a former Arizona Hope Street Fellow.

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