Category Archives: Education

Today’s Study Question: 04/03/12

If a tornado is an act of God, and God’s plan cannot be known by man; then why would one pray to God for the safety of friends facing a tornado warning?

Billions And Billions Of Thank You’s

Today is the birthday of Carl Sagan, a scientist that opened the Cosmos to my generation, and the generation before.   While he will be known as an astronomer, a television personality, and arguably the nation’s first televised celebrity scientist, Dr. Sagan was far more.  A shaggy-haired gawky man with warm eyes he was the embodiment of nerd chic in his mod-era turtlenecks and blazers, waxing poetic about such heady topics as the Oort Cloud  and the size of our tiny galaxy within the scope of the universe.

He also inspired the look for a Big Bang Theory character

He made astronomy, and by relation science as a whole, cool for a disillusioned generation who had grown up surrounded by unpopular wars and political turmoil.  Armed with his trademark “billions and billions” descriptor, he related the wonders of the known and theorized universe through his show The Cosmos with the enthusiastic fervor of a small child while speaking in the buttery language of a herald.

Because of Carl Sagan, and his groundbreaking Cosmos, we have a new generation of celebrity scientists who carry on his work of making the extraordinary relatable and digestible to the masses.  Without Carl Sagan we wouldn’t have:

Neil deGrasse Tyson

He's Science Dolomite

Michio Kaku

The Mr. Miyagi of quantum physics

Stephen Hawking

The Snoop Dogg of theoretical physics.

Okay, so the Hawking one is a bit of a stretch, he was publishing books alongside Sagan and well within the public eye by his own right, but I’m a fan of his work and goddamn, look at the man, he’s big pimpin’ brain of the Universe herself.

As for Sagan, he had something that no one else had that set him apart from the scientists of his era; he was a true poet.  He saw the science and read it as poetry.  His greatest gift to me as a boy was the lyrical beauty he gave the cosmos, and the adventure he made it’s exploration; even from this insignificant speck of dust orbiting an unremarkable star on an indistinguishable arm of an uninteresting galaxy amid billions and billions of other galaxies.

Part of my job every year is carrying on the legacy of Carl Sagan’s heralding the Cosmos for the masses, and even though I do it with digital whimsey rather than my words and degrees, I feel proud to be part of that family that Carl created.

The wonderful skeptic in Sagan would hate my next statement, but the poet I hope would smile.

To me, the poet that stands watch in my mind alongside the skeptic saw the Cosmos give Carl a birthday present, if not a day early.  Asteroid 2005 YU55 passed by Earth yesterday, skirting by our little blue marble within the moon’s orbit.  It’s not an uncommon event, NEO’s (Near Earth Objects) are more common than people are aware, but this one caught folk’s attention.

When we got a good look at it we saw what it was; just an unspectacular rock floating through space.  Nothing more than a speck of dust from the cosmos, but at the same time so very important.  The way Carl described Earth.  In a poetic way, it could be thought that the Cosmos said, “Happy Birthday Carl, for an insignificant speck of dust, you’re pretty damned important.”

In reality the mathematical probability of an NEO sweeping past earth in line with one of Carl’s birthdays (plus or minus a day) is pretty high.  But maybe, just for today, we can let the poet win out over the skeptic.

Happy Birthday Carl Sagan, from a tiny speck on a pale blue dot in the corner of your great Cosmos.

Book Learnin’ Alert: FLOW

Menstruation is Hip Again.  Now, this isn’t new to Vote Simpson/Hemstead.  We’ve been riding through menstruation’s iron-rich canyons long enough for our poncho to need a good hose down. See Exhibit A as proof .

However, now the rest of America is catching on to the marketability of the monthly shedding of the uterine lining.  It’s moved away from the closed realm of feminine hygiene products to literary content.  FLOW: The Cultural Story of Menstruation is getting some decent press, mainly in the daytime glory gold of endorsements from Doctor Oz and The View.  From what we gather through the internets and the magic of Google Book Preview, the purpose of the book is to comically and wittily address the importance language plays in suppressing serious conversations about menstruation — with a decadently feminist bent.

What happens when you type "drunk feminist" into Google to try and make a visual joke about a feminist on a bender. Are you even trying anymore, Google?

As for the book in question though, they’re going so far on the web as calling the book a manifesto, a movement, blah, blah, blah.

Americans love their manifestos.

Americans REALLY LOVE their manifestos.

Legitimately, the book is funny.  The authors have a strong comic voice that Vote Simpson/Hemstead thoroughly embraces, in that quiet, jealous sort of way.  The feminist agenda makes us a little itchy in our tickle parts however.  Irreverence makes us happy in our happy place, and life is too short to not see the humor in something as ripe with material as Aunt Flow.

Compared to an Ant Flow.  Also called the “Death Circle”.  Draw your own comparisons.

However, we are most disappointed that we were not interviewed for the euphemism section.  They got some good ones for the book.  The Danish phrase, “There are Communists in the Funhouse,” and the Dutch phrase “The Tomato Soup is Overcooked” make us kind of wish we could join in the fun…..and have a bowl of soup right now.

Those Ruskie bastards are in there overcooking the soup, I just know it.

However, Vote Simpson/Hemstead wants to add another euphemism to the list.  If the Dutch can do it, by god so can we.  Something more in line with our current consciousness, and a little less offensive to global politics.  Maybe something that includes the man as part of the cycle if even in a psychological sense.  After nearly 82 minutes of hard research and whiskey we’ve come up with our entry into the menses euphemism dictionary; “Danny’s at the Elevator”.

This is pretty much what the mention of "communists in the funhouse" does to even the most masculine and stalwart of men.

For those of you who don’t understand the reference, let me post for you what Danny is looking at:


If you still don’t know the reference I suggest you start doing some youtube searches for Danny and Elevator.

So next time Danny’s at the Elevator ladies, and men who love ladies, and men who maybe wish they were ladies – remember to Vote Simpson/Hemstead, the ticket for the joyfully, un-apologetically irreverent.

photo credit: my fridge

*Simpson/Hemstead asks that all good supporters change their facebook or google + profile pictures to a shrieking Danny in support of our new phrase the next time Aunt Flo discovers some lousy communists are overcooking their tomato soup in the funhouse.

And ANOTHER Thing….



Okay, while I’m on a tear here, I’ve got another beef with your education policies, America.  Surprise, surprise.  I guess I shouldn’t have expected less from the country that last week allowed sexting and twitpics to count as “writing”, but the people at Vote Simpson/Hemstead occasionally gets a wild hair up their collective asses and decide to hold out hope, or hope for the best.

compared to the wild hare that sometimes gets in our collective asses when we drink too much.

Well, not anymore America.  I naively forgave you National Writing Day only to be stabbed in the back by the Common Core State Standard Initiative.

To give you some background on the enemy as taken from their website: The Common Core State Standards Initiative is “a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)”.  44 out of our 52 states have formally adopted the educational standards set out by this organization.  Of course, there is always wiggle room for individualized state practices, but 84% of the powers at be in basic American elementary school + high school education have basically consented that “hey, these guys over here — I like their thinkin’”.

Now, where does Vote Simpson/Hemstead take offense?  State coordination isn’t the issue.  Having some universality in education standards is, you know, nice and prevents any one state from creating an army of angry adolescents creepily well versed in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”.

Or alternately a state full of peppy kids well versed in Sun Tsu's "The Art of Angry Birds"

The issue at hand is that aforementioned standards omit the teaching of cursive entirely, but does include mention of keyboarding skills.  And thus began the winter of our longhand discontent.  Indiana and Illinois were the first to fall – removing teaching cursive in schools in its mandatory curriculum for the young ‘uns.

Pictured: Actual Indiana Farm Boy

To that we say: JesuAllaFasa, America…really?  No, seriously, Really?  Sure – we’re in a digital age, but let’s not forget out roots.  Interactivity with words is key in the learning process.  The fine muscle control that is learned in cursive writing benefits children far beyond their composition books.  There is an inherent value in how freaking hard cursive is to learn.  Man that capital Q and Z were damn near impossible, but struggling with how to string letters together made you use your noodle more than scrawling whatever was easiest to get your point across.

Contrarily, punching keys to make words on a luminescent screen disassociates you from the words and letters you are writing and impedes memory retention (this is my way of saying you guys are lucky this makes a lick of sense you ignorant wretches).

To be clear, the message that the current government and the Common Core State Standards Initiative is putting out is that THIS is writing and should be applauded and heralded with it’s own day, but THIS is meaningless and should not be formally taught to our children.

For all our followers with little ones: teach your Twitted little booger munchers cursive yourself.  Think of it as a post-apocalyptic survival mechanism.  When the computers crash, you want to be apart of the select few cursive readers + writers – who can communicate where food and shelter is in code simply because the masses will have no clue what those weird loops and squiggles mean.

Not to mention the bitch uses all the TP.

P.S. John Dillinger, while a notorious criminal, was taught cursive writing and was well-known for his gentlemanly nature and good manners.

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