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Showing posts from June, 2011

Poem: Will's Magic Potion Advert

Imagine that William Shakespeare were alive today. He might be writing the text for advertisements, catchy jingles that people will remember when shopping. Now imagine he got a job writing for the next diet craze... ********************************************************** Blubber, blubber Toil and trouble Cellulose burn Under skin and stubble With Death by Chocolate and   Cold Champagne, Pickled herring, Your BMI Bane! When Fate brings heart attacks That soar and surge, Will a deadly rose help you Poison and purge? Grecian Formula for your hair, Contact lenses for your eyes, But what fool-proof plan appears in your head To handle those rotund thighs? My Cure-All Potion is what you Need, 100% Risk-Free Guaranteed. It will make those stones just melt away, Without making your wallet bleed. Trust me.

Poem: Burning

We burnt gasoline and oil Driving to work Driving to school Driving to stores, museums, the movies Driving to gas stations To buy more gasoline We burnt diesel Driving trains Driving tractor-trailers Moving coal, lumber, sheet metal Moving cars to people To use to burn gasoline We burnt, burnt, burnt Until the offspring of our burning Burnt the ground in Africa Killing plants Killing animals Killing crops, crops, crops Until millions of people starved **************************************************************** Background: I wrote this poem after watching a science show that discussed the drought in northern Africa in the early 1980s. You see, the rains usually travel from southern Africa to northern Africa once a year, and people in such countries as Ethiopia depend on the rains for their survival. The seasonal rains stopped in the early 1980s, and the subsequent drought killed millions of people. Then, in the late 1980s, the seasonal rains returned. For the longest time,

ECP: A Call for Geeky Art

I am a geek.  I love my new Android tablet!  My husband and I wired our house for Ethernet, even though we also set up a wireless router.  I watch Nova ScienceNOW, and I research the shows afterwards.  I get the NASA newsletter, then I drag my kids to astronomical events, though “drag” is the wrong word because my kids are geeks too.  We discuss things such as how frozen water on the moon increase our chances of setting up a successful moon base, and how thorium/fluoride reactors solve the power problem, being so much safer than uranium reactors.  Plus thorium is abundant not only on Earth, but on the moon and Mars as well. And for shopping, I love !!!  This place has everything for geeks - coffee mugs with a caffeine molecule on the side, T-shirts that proclaim “Stand back!  I’m trying science!”, replicas of the 10th and 11th Doctor Who sonic screwdriver...  For the record, I prefer the sonic screwdriver that Tenant used - it includes an pen snub with invisible ink and

ECP: Arguments for the Balanced Calendar

As the balanced calendar ended this year, several Cobb parents decided to collect some data to determine how successful or unsuccessful this year was.  The evidence is clear - the balanced calendar is not the “vacation” calendar that some people in the county want to believe it is. I am not copying their data here - but if you want to read it we’ve uploaded it to the East Cobb Patch.  You can find the information here (Wendy - please link the data here). Basically,  these areas showed improvement this past year: Test Scores:  Test scores are up this past year.  In fact, the ITBS scores, which have declined since 2007, went up again. Student Absenteeism:  Student were absense less last year - approximately 7.5% district wide.  In the first semester alone, about 75% of the school reported a decrease in student absenteeism. Teacher Absenteeism:  Teachers were absent less as well.  Not only does this favorably effect the kids - who don’t need to adjust to substitute teachers, but i

Poetry: Right Brain

I am going to write a poem. I am so tired of topic sentences, Supported by details, Restated in conclusions. I don’t need prose. Blocks of black syllables, Linked by transitional devices, Indented neatly, Three to a page, Depress me. I need a poem. Not rhymed or in pentameter, Snooty sonnets or cutesy cinquains, No ostentatious villanelles, But free verse Winging to heights invisible Then dropping, dipping, drowning, Now reviving And soaring high again. I will not use binder paper. This poem will be torn from my life. And the paper will be creased, Ragged at the edges. It will not need a title or a date; Nor, in the upper right hand corner, Will it need my name.

ECP: War of Cobb County Street Signs

Cobb County does a good job with street signs.  There are big, yellow signs announcing small roads, upcoming curves or hills, blind driveways, and other potential road hazards.  Speed limit signs abound, alerting motorists as to the maximum legal velocity.  Stop signs delineate who has the right of way.  And those cute, little green street signs pleasantly mark every corner, assisting those both with and without a sense of direction.  Or a GPS. Only now the street signs are losing a war.... with PLANTS!!!! That’s right - plants.  Historically, these green villains tried to take over each summer, growing new limbs, leaves, or vines up, over, and around our street signs.  And historically, Cobb County’s Army of D.O.T. Workers stood in the way.  Diligently, they drove their trucks around the county, hedge trimmers and hatchets at the ready to remove offending plants in their attempts to mislead motorists. These brave men and women fought offensives from kudzu, poison ivy, various bush

ECP: CCSD Changes Its Facebook Policy

Last Sunday, at 12:29pm, this post appeared on the Cobb County School District Facebook page: Due to recent offensive and/or inappropriate posts, CCSD Facebook page posting permissions have been changed to allow only comments on posts made by CCSD. Facebook does not provide an option for comments to be screened prior to posting, and the district does not have the resources to provide constant monitoring of the site. We apologize for the inconvenience. Then on Monday, the CCSD removed all posts from their Facebook page that did not originate from the school district.   This change in policy caused an uproar on Facebook, as people wondered why this happened.  Was the school board behind this?  Is the school district now censoring the community? To get to the bottom of this, I called the school district office and spoke with someone in their communications department.  The answer about “why” turned out to be fairly mundane.  According to the School Board Policy Manual, section IJND

ECP: Call to Arms

Maybe I should have said a call to keyboards and cell phones.   Yesterday, the Cobb County School Board voted to include a new calendar option on the agenda for the next meeting.  This means that we, the community, have a new chance to let the school board representatives know how we feel. Now, I believe in Albert Einsteins’ definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  So, if nothing had changed in the school board since February, I would not be writing this at all. But several things have changed since February.  School board members have been called in front of the grand jury to explain their actions.  SACS asked for a review, then told them to get training.  So the school board has gone through training, to help them not only learn their own policies better, but to help them learn how to function as a school board. What does this mean to us? It means we have a chance to work with the school board to get a calendar acce

ECP: In Defense of David Banks

As the debate over the school calendar continues, I constantly hear comments about how our school board representative, David Banks, “flip-flopped” from campaigning on a traditional school calendar stance to voting for the balanced calendar.  These comments quote his campaign website, imply that Mr. Banks’ take on the calendar was the sole contributing factor to his election win, and generally rake Mr. Banks over the coals for betraying his constituents by voting for the balanced calendar. As someone who lives in Mr. Banks’ post, I can tell you that these allegations are only true on one point, and far from the truth otherwise. The only truth is that Mr. Banks did say he thought that the school calendar had too many non-instructional days, and that by removing those days he thought that the school calendar could run from after Labor Day to just before Memorial Day.   But the school calendar is listed as the last entry on his Issues page, with SPLOST III and  traditional/block sch

ECP: Cobb County School Board's Web of Distrust

As the entire process of hiring a new superintendent played out over the past month, I became aware that from the start I did not trust the candidate, Dr. Michael Hinojosa.  Before reading anything about the man, before his meet and greet sessions, and through no fault of his own, I simply did not trust the man. Why then, did I have such an immediate, strong reaction? Because the Cobb County School Board recommended him. Under the covers, Internet security runs on webs of trust.  In layman’s terms, this concept means if I want to talk to you but I’m not certain if I can trust you, a mutual friend authenticates you as a trustworthy individual.  Then I trust you, and I confer my own trustworthiness to you when I introduce you to new people.  This is not a new concept - society itself runs on webs of trust.  When a friend recommends an article for you to read, that recommendation is a strand on your personal web of trust.  When a door-to-door salesman wants you to change garbage com

ECP: My Dear Readers, Please Do Not Feed the Trolls

Last week, I posted a response to an article I read in the East Cobber.  Happily, I received several comments.  Most agreed with me, a few disagreed.  But then there was the troll. What is a troll?  I am so glad you asked.  According to the Urban Dictionary, a troll is: A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, etc. A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a "Flamer" who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread. So, which commenter was a troll?  How do I know it was a troll?  I will leave out names, but here is the comment: Re:" Hopefully the money trail will lead us into a direction that will make a recall unnecessary as they will be much deeper trouble for their participation in bribery" Not only that, but my hairdresser (Sissy) says that Alison is Not a natural blonde!