Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rest in Peace, Geraldine Ferraro

Many of us were inspired by Walter Mondale's choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate in 1984. Thank you, Congresswoman Ferraro, for your service to our country. And thank you Walter Mondale for inspiring little girls all over the country to aspire to serve our country in new ways.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Will you still need me?

Here's the question of the day!

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oooo
You'll be older too, (ah ah ah ah ah)
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, Wasting Away.

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Botanical Break from Storytelling

During a break between story sessions at the Southern Order of Storytellers Winter Festival we wandered across the parking lot, of the Unitarian Church where the festival was held, to a tiny natural area sandwiched there between the church and tiny Fern Creek right next to I-85 and found a pocket of Spring arrived a couple of days early. (I've made my quick guesses. Now I'll ask Richard and Teresa Ware to correct my mistakes.)

 Wood Poppy
Stylophorum diphyllum


 Blue Violet
Viola sororia


 Bloodroot
 Sanguinaria  canadensis


 Toadshade Trillium (Sweet Betsy)
Trillium cuneatum


Yellow-eyed Grass???
 Slender Toothwort
Dentaria heterophylla


 ????


DYC (d#@%ed Yellow Composite)??

Friday, March 18, 2011

Home Sweet Home



The brightest little sparkle,
with the smaller barren Luna to its right,
is home to all of us,
and everyone we've ever known or heard of.
It is the home of all of human history;
of every ancestor of every human;
of every known insect,
vertebrate,
bacterium,
diatom,
virus,
or cartoon character;
of every human thought,
invention,
fantasy,
emotion;
of every word ever spoken;
of every murder and all kindnesses; of every war and every turned cheek;
of every kiss;
of every curse;
Washington, Mao, Elizabeth I,
Hitler, Gaddafi, Herod,
Ceasar, Alexander, Monctezuma, Tutankhamun,
Curie, Einstein, Galileo,
Twain, Shakespeare, Aesop,
Jesus, Mohammed, Abraham,
Erickson, Columbus, Armstrong
... all romped on its surface as children.

The water planet.Our little blue oasis.
Home sweet home.

(The photo was taken May 6, 2010 by the Messenger spacecraft during its mission around the planet Mercury. Messenger is busy mapping Mercury and searching for asteroids in the inner solar system. It giving us the first new close-up information from Mercury since Mariner 10, thirty years ago.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How to Tell a Story


Mark Twain has it about right. Telling stories is a lot like acting. The teller/actor, however tall his tale, must believe it to his toes as he tells/acts it. Here's Twain's "How to Tell a Story". I trust it is out of copyright.

How to Tell A Story
I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told, for I have been almost daily in the company of the most expert storytellers for many years.

There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind--the humorous. I will talk mainly about that one. The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter.

The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst.

The humorous story is strictly a work of art,--high and delicate art,--and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it. The art of telling a humorous story--understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print--was created in America, and has remained at home.

The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it; but the teller of the comic story tells you beforehand that it is one of the funniest things he has ever heard, then tells it with eager delight, and is the first person to laugh when he gets through. And sometimes, if he has had good success, he is so glad and happy that he will repeat the "nub" of it and glance around from face to face, collecting applause, and then repeat it again. It is a pathetic thing to see.

Very often, of course, the rambling and disjointed humorous story finishes with a nub, point, snapper, or whatever you like to call it. Then the listener must be alert, for in many cases the teller will divert attention from that nub by dropping it in a carefully casual and indifferent way, with the pretense that he does not know it is a nub.

Artemus Ward used that trick a good deal; then when the belated audience presently caught the joke he would look up with innocent surprise, as if wondering what they had found to laugh at. Dan Setchell used it before him, Nye and Riley and others use it to-day.

But the teller of the comic story does not slur the nub; he shouts at you--every time. And when he prints it, in England, France, Germany and Italy, he italicises it, puts some whooping exclamation-points after it, and sometimes explains it in a parenthesis. All of which is very depressing, and makes one want to renounce joking and lead a better life ...

- Mark Twian
Twain goes on to give examples of the self-consciously "comic" tale and the longer, more genuine, "humorous" tale. You can look it up on the web and read the rest. I found it in a copy of`A Treasury of American Folklore I found in a thrift shop recently.

I collect my birthday present from Sheila this weekend -- a trip to the Southern Order of Storytellers Festival. We'll hear Carmen Deedy and her talented husband, John McCutcheon, as well as several lesser known Georgia storytellers. Can't wait!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

EEA Conference 2011

Notes from the EEA conference:
EEA Executive Director, Paul McLendon on the mission of the Environmental Education Allience of Georgia
"We want to build a statewide culture of environmental literacy and citizenship."

I'm with ya, Paul.

From songwriter Erica Wheeler (our entertainment at lunch):

"...see that moon out your window?
I'm under that same light.
Hear me whisper your name
- I'm prayin'
may our love be never-ending
as long as somewhere the wind still blows"

and (again thanks to Erica) a quote from a Georgia settler (no specific date given, but must have been early 1800s.):
"...I saw that interesting part of the state when all was
new-waters in the creeks and rivers as clear as crystal; rich valleys, hills . .
. . covered with thick forest. A land of beautiful flowers-white, pink, yellow
and red honeysuckle (azaleas), redbud, dog-wood blossoms, wild roses and many
others. The ground was covered with violets, sweet-williams (flocks), and other
beauties. There was plenty of wild game-deer, turkey, and other varieties. When
first seen, it was in lovely spring and I was nine years old."

Sean Beeching (from the website below.)

Best (and lamentably only) field walk: An after dark lichen walk with a UV flashlight led by Bob Hill of UGA. We saw the fluorescent lichens! Wow. Several lichen species give off a fluorescence when illuminated with these UV lights. You can tell the species by the color of fluorescence. The most fascinating thing was to listen to the incredible depth of knowledge exhibited by the wonderfully fascinated and articulate co-leader of the walk, Sean Beeching, as he discussed these widely ignored, strange, double organisms - part fungus, part algae. An amateur lichenologist, he has discovered previously undescribed species. Check out this link to see pics of Sean and his cohort at work play.

 Green Tree Frog (lifted from the internet)

It was good to enjoy again Tara Munez' presentation on amphibians. Our school has a special relationship with these critters  since our students  initiated the movement that resulted in the state adopting the Green Treefrog as the official Georgia Amphibian.

My Facebook friend and fellow "Triple Facilitator" Nikki Belmonte of the Atlanta Audobon Society taught a session on "Connecting Children and Communities to Birds". She led us through a little exercise that will be esy to use with our students to help them understand the odds our feathered friends face in their migrations. Unfortunately I had to leave the session briefly and realized when  I returned that I had missed the very thing I wanted from the session -- how to us the Backyard Bird Count with my students.

Eddie Anderson, an Atlanta videographer, presented some ideas for using technology in EE. He designed video podcasts for Arabia Mountain and Flat Rock Baptist and sared those with us.

Scott McMahan of Garden Hood gave advice on planting for school gardens.

My favorite moment in a workshop was the illustration by our teachers from the Atlanta Botanical Garden of the importance of going beyond simple identification in interpreting nature for students (or anyone). She exhibited a Mickey Mouse pocket watch and asked us to describe it. We did so in some detail - size, shape, material, etc.
 A similar watch lifted from hyperspace.

Then she told us the true story behind the watch, choking up a little, and bringing lumps to our throats as she described how her beloved father had come to be given that watch and the significance of the engraving on the reverse. It gave me chance to remind my student-teacher, who was sitting with me in the class, of why I put such emphasis on storytelling in teaching. However carefully and closely we examined that watch, I doubt any of us would be giving it any thought at all a day later had we not heard the story that goes with it.

And the awards...

• our own Kim Kilgore - Project Wild Facilitator of the Year
• The Georgia River Network, Environmental organization of the year (accepted by CRBI's Joe Cook.)