Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Did you learn anything interesting today?

A random sample of my day:

It started with my students asking me if I'd seen "Free Willy" and I said, "Yes, but I really wish they hadn't let him leap out. He was better off contained." That's when I found out there's a porn flick called "Free Willy." I suppose my comment would be good for either of them.

After we read a series of essays about famous people, it was time to answer questions and make observations. And, most importantly, to make connections.

According to my students, Hitler was once Time's Man of the Year, while Bono was Time's Shared Person of the Year. Both deserved the honor, as Hitler was ". . . one bitchin' evilmeister" and Bono is ". . . a guy who wears sunglasses and wails like a little girl."

We read a short essay about Einstein and Edison. I asked my students if they saw any irony in the fact that both men are, today, considered to be revered and brilliant scientists. One young man said that he found it ironic that Einstein would be allowed to teach with that freaky hair. Another boy said that he thought it was ironic that Edison was looked up to when his eardrums had exploded and were leaking down his shirt. Plus, he was an arsonist and once blew up a moving train with a chemical mix that went wrong.

Clara Barton was Heidi's crippled friend, who was taught to walk by goats. Florence Nightingale was one of the Pointer Sisters.

The Wright Brothers are a bluegrass band. (They are, actually, here in southern Indiana.) They built the first airplane out of old bicycles. They weren't really brothers but lived together in a kind of sin, "sorta like the cowboys in 'Brokeback Mountain,' only not cute and not gay and without Anne Hathaway." They flew their plane on the sand so it would be soft if they crashed.

Steven Jobs makes cool movies. His hobby is tinkering with old computers. He also invented Pixie Stix.

If the Red Cross didn't persuade our soldiers to chain smoke between skirmishes, our casualty rate would be even higher because the men would be more nervous and jittery and inclined to shoot at random. Like in VietNam. And "Louse." Men who were stationed in Louse came home with them in their hair. This is what the school nurse in "Billy Madison" was looking for.

Sandra Day O'Connor played Edith on "All in the Family." Rob Reiner played Meatloaf on this same show, before he became a fat rock singer and directed chick movies like the orgasm scene in "Harry and Sally."

Sally Ride used to dance with a big bubble to hide her facial expressions. It was the olden days and nobody was looking at her face anyway.

Marie Curie died of cancer caused by radium on the numbers on her watch. But she wanted to see what time it was even in the dark, and since her husband was a hit and run victim, killing him mortally, she had to tell time somehow.

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, and he used the cash cow to help other inventors make cool stuff, not necessarily to blow up barns, but sometimes they did. The interest on dynamite has grown really big in the bank, so inventors get a big piece of that when their stuff works and has a buyer.

My students are not stupid. Don't misunderstand me here. It's mostly that they are NOT well-read or informed, and have been out of the system for a long time, or are freshly out of a system that did not do well by them. And yes, some of them are dumb as a box of rocks. But they are trying.

Mostly, though, they are cool people who were trying desperately to make some 'connections' between things they'd heard, and the facts in our short essays. These are some of the results. Only some.

It just goes to show ya. Don't believe everything you hear.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:32 PM | |


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