Sunday, February 19, 2006

Erotic erratic

Definition: A GLACIAL ERRATIC is a boulder transported and deposited by a glacier having a lithology different than the bedrock upon which it is sitting. Erratics are useful indicators of patterns of former ice flow.

My faith in the American high school experience has been reaffirmed.

Yesterday was a big Science Olympiad competition. Middle schoolers and high schoolers...some 450 of them. Isaac, with team mate Ryan, competed in "Dynamic Planet"; the subject matter for the year is "Glaciers". We've all learned a lot about glaciers and ice bergs in the past 12 months, not the least of these being the names of smaller seagoing ice forms. "Growlers" and "Bergy Bits", anyone?

One hour to do their best, Isaac and Ryan went into the testing room with pencils, a non-programmable calculator and any reference materials they could fit into a 12 x 12 x 3 inch space.

They came back from the test 60 minutes later giggling as only 10th grade boys can giggle.

The test, according to the boys, had had a multiple choice question that gave the definition listed above, a definition that they easily recognized, then gave several choices. The choices included

"Glacial Erratic" and also

"Glacial Erotic".

Oh, my.

I might have thought this pair particularly sheltered, since they found this so funny, until I overheard TWO MORE team groups from other schools ALSO discussing the Erratic/Erotic question.

Yes, there's hope for the future when this question on a high-level science exam causes such excitement.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Practically a Yankee

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a church stewardship dinner. As luck would have it, I ended up seated at a table with some of the sons of the founding fathers of this community. Men just a generation or two removed from the German immigrants who settled the area. Those whose family names identify the roads and buildings.

I was amused to find that one of the ladies whom I considered to be a true matriarch of the congregation...wasn't. No, it had caused a near scandal many years ago when JB had gone looking for a wife and brought home such an outsider. Lovely, intelligent, talented...but from so far away.

AB came from a town a good hour and a half north.

Practically a Yankee, she was.