Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mr. Good

Disclaimer: I'm writing stories that may not be entirely The Truth. Because, when you write about a teacher who is somewhat of a legend at your school, then it's not always clear what is myth and what isn't.

***

In high school, I had a teacher named Mr. Good. In the years before my time there, some students had gotten their hands on a picture of young Mr. Good. Naturally, they made it into a poster that filled an entire bulletin board. The caption read: He's Mr. Good and there is no Mr. Better.

I read that poster practically every day for a whole school year. I tended to agree with the sentiment. After all, when a coach came to Mr. Good to borrow a desk, Mr. Good demanded to barter. As a result, he acquired a baseball cap in exchange for the desk. Then he proceeded to wear the hat (embroidered with our high school logo) to class for the next few weeks.

Another time, Mr. Good was assigning seats and ran out of desks. (It was probably about then that Mr. Good became self conscious about the baseball cap). So what did he do? He assigned the spare kid to the couch in the back corner of the room. During the next few days, Mr. Good put on a pretense of being sorry about the dearth of seats, but since every other kid in class coveted the couch seat, and the kid himself finally said, "Really, I like it here. I don't need a desk," the couch became a permanent assignment.

And there were other perks to being in Mr. Good's class: bad kids got sent to "the Veranda" (the walkway just outside the classroom door), at Christmastime, we sang songs and put on skits about government, and on bring-your-child-to-work day, his 7-yr-old daughter taught us about the planets (during an entire hour of "AP Government").

So, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that we all agreed: he WAS Mr. Good, and there WAS no Mr. Better.


Fast forward some years. I'm at work, and I hear about someone's client. The last name? Betters. --Lu

***Note: As I'm sure you noticed, there were some "high class" words in there like "dearth" that I wouldn't normally use--that's all thanks to my friend Marge's amazing editing skills. Thanks also to everyone who contributed (knowingly or unknowingly) to the stories about Mr. Good.

****P.S.: That book Moo "recommended"--Love in the Driest Season--is great. Post coming soon. BUT! don't read it if you don't like descriptions of the aftermath of war, BECAUSE, the author was a news correspondent and describes some of the horrific scenes he encountered while reporting. Nothing is described in great detail, but if you are squeemish, be warned.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

overheard

As I was walking past a back yard, a little girl's voice drifted over the fence, loud and clear, "Daddy! Daddy! We found a magic pencil! Look! A magic pencil!"

What does a magic pencil look like, I wonder? --Lu

Friday, June 20, 2008

book-o-rama

Recently (read: since last week), I've been on a reading binge. Big time binge. Why? I'm here, in the same place I was last summer and the one before that and it's hotter than sin outside. And The Rock goes to bed at the unseemly hours of 8:30 or 9. Can adults do that of their own free will? (I know, I know, plenty of people do just that every night.)

So here's a list of some books I've enjoyed in the past weeks, (and a shout out to you if you recommended them):
  • Empire by Orson Scott Card (p.s. I'm not an Orson Scott Card maniac. Just FYI.) You want action? done. You want some political commentary (or at least thought provoking look at American politics)? done. Fast moving, not space alien sci-fi like some of his others. If you read it PLEASE tell me so we can chat about it.
  • The China Study by T. Collin Campbell and son. One man's attempt to prove via gobs and gobs of scientific studies that diet can prevent cancer, heart disease and many other ailments. If you already suffer from those things, his theory is that a change in diet could actually reverse or at least lessen the impact of the problem. There's a section on how food manufactures and lobbies impact what and how we think about food. (does anyone know if this has been challenged? I'm guessing yes...)
  • The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip. A short, sweet and definitely fantasy story. You can read the official summary yourself, because if I give one, it will just spoil it for you.
  • The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm by Nancy Farmer. A mystery/adventure story set in Zimbabwe in something like 2120 (or was it 2021?). The kids of a defense leader are kidnapped and three detectives with special powers attempt to find the kids. The story is mostly focused on and told from the perspective of the kids (so I'm not sure why the detectives stole the title).
  • And Moo, who is refusing to write anything on the blog right now due to a bad case of goo-goo eyes, has recommended Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker--the story of how a couple adopted a child from Zimbabwe. NPR did a story on it, so if you want a summary, look it up on NPR (I'm being lazy about posting a link for you all, sorry). I just checked out the book today, so I'll give you an update when I'm done.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Housekeeping

So, a few of you have sent in comments on the last post...They are great. I love reading comments. HOWEVER, I'm having difficulties with my computer, so the comments won't show up right away, but I am reading them and appreciating them.

As for my real housekeeping issue: there is a smell at my house. It's new, it's exciting, and it's bothering me! It's not a rotting smell, it's not a stinky feet smell, it's a synthetic smell. I don't think it's our bikes (which live in the house, the rationale for which anyone in Tucson will readily discern), and it's not our "new" couch. What is this mystery smell?

Once I had a different mystery smell (my neighbor smoking in his apartment)--the smell itself wasn't the mystery: our apartment smelled like a motel--you know that odor of someone-has-smoked-here-just-not-right-at-this-minute-smell? That one. The mystery was, Where was the smell originating? Mystery solved: the neighbor. During that time, I was wondering if I was imagining the smell sometimes, so I asked a friend if my house smelled funny. She said, "Well I don't know what it smells like in here normally, so I don't know." Good point.

So I'm stuck in the same position once again, except the uncertainty of WHAT is causing the smell is almost more troublesome than the smell. Until I figure it out, I'll be at my apartment taking up-close wiffs of everything it might possibly be (so far I've smelled the couches (twice) and the bikes, and the garbage (ok, I just took it out, because I've already tried that before and regretted it.) What else is there to smell? --Lu

Sunday, June 8, 2008

chicken mania

Once I thought I might want to own some chickens. This started when I was reading the book Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen (I found a copy of it at a thrift store for 25 cents! I love that kind of price!) . (it has a chicken right there on the front cover...subtle indoctrination from the start!) It's a teen fiction book, it's a short, light read, and the main character owns some chickens. And that is where I learned that chickens lay eggs whether there is a rooster or not (I know they need a rooster if you want chicks, but I didn't know the egg laying was spontaneous. Pitifully ignorant, I know.) The book also contains the notion that eventually, hens lose their drive and egg-laying begins to peter out. That got me thinking: Is that true? So I started an unofficial poll. (it's a fun poll to take because you can really catch people off guard by asking, Have you owned chickens?) The answer I've come to is that chickens' desire doesn't drop off just because there isn't a rooster around (if you have had different experiences...let me know because, well, read on...).

And that means that yes, I could own chickens someday. Fresh eggs, little clucky hens with names like Gladys and Marigold = my future.

This future all depends on there NOT being a rooster involved. My aversion to roosters started the first time I met one. When I visited Karl's work (located in a small southern Arizona town), there was a rooster nearby (read: next door). It cock-a-doodle-doo'ed (you try spelling that and see if you fare any better!) all day long. Every 15 seconds (or less) there was another crowing. My nervous twitch started after 2 minutes and 10 seconds. That is how long a rooster would last at my house--because on second 11 I would be rooster hunting.

In conclusion, I'm wondering if this city-girl desire for some hens of my own is something anyone has advice about...please let me know so I can start making realistic plans for my future chicken coop. --Lu