Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Hurrah for Youth Empowerment

Some oft quoted ideas

Allow everyone to register to vote at 16- current law in most stes allow you to register if you will be 18 by the next election. That may be as young as 16 or as old as 18. All 16 year olds are allowed to make political contribution (Hey kids, remember sending money to the Obama team? Maybe you were a Ron Paul fan or for Romney or maybe on the McCain Train)

Drinking age
If prohibition won't work then a country probably needs a drinking age
Let's make it 22. Your brain is more developed then than 21.
21 or military ID?
Let's let responsible college kids have a sip.
18 with completion of alcohol safety course (required for boating and driving in many states, why not have one for drinking responsibly), 17 with diploma (or otherwise proven responsible) to allow for younger freshmen. If they're going to do it anyway, why not make it legal

There are loopholes in many states, but to keep this site FAMILY friendly, they're not being listed here.

Smoking- consensus says: Just ban it.

PS If you're reading this post while driving or operating other large machinery WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING!

Monday, September 28, 2009

How to Slow Traffic

without speed bumps

Try putting in streetcar tracks. Georgetown has left about 8 blocks of streetcar track on two streets, unused since 1960, to do exactly that. And preserve history.

On the same note, the much, awaited delay of the opening of the new National Capitol Trolley Museum on October 18. Great- delay opening to conincide with the 40th anniversary of the museum's founding. But why is there a new museum? The streetcar was displaced again by the automobile. How ironic. The ICC Project (aka SR MD 200) is planned to plow right through the old museum site, as well as the 20-minute demo loop for riding the trolleys. But remember about all the modern social expenditures that are now attached to freeway building (I 110) ? The state was so obliged to do just that. What an ending.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Art of Eating Jello

After 3 months of helping people with their minor problems and issues over the summer, I found it quite different to encourage the irresponsible behavior that I had discouraged people from doing over the break. Spin around ten times and consume 2 cups of Jello. Yes, two cupfuls. In a competition relay race. Luckily for Main House, there were more than enough qualified people to do the deed. No, but in the vetting process for 4 contenders we had to determine the prowlness of each of us. So we determine the ability of the newest recruit, a foreign exchange student. "What's Jello?" "It's sweet and fruity." "Never ate it". "Well would you like to try Jello today". " Spin around and swallow? Nah". The creds of everyone else: A sucessful Jello run back in May. Closet gluts. I, a cream pie contest winner, was not as qualified as the other Mainers. For other houses, well, due to their lack in numbers and absentees and disdain for jello and gelatin, some members had to run twice, and, 4 cups of jello. I wanted to see that. Yes, I shouldn't want to, but it'd been something.

But it was intense. The spinning causes great disorientation, which really disorients the contestant. Thus, I was occupied reminding our fellows how to eat jello: head sightly back to supress gag reflex, not too far as to cause choking.

Yes, Main won the relay.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time to spare

I will be getting home on a weekday before 5pm. What a novel concept. Since mid August, there has always been a soccer practice or game to conveniently occupy me. But now that I have this one day reprieve, what shall I do when I get home when banks are still open?

A freudian slip? Of course not. Find a roll of halves and a stack of $2 bills. That's my style. But why the reprieve? A victory on the field with four goals. Some thought the game was lost. The opponent was up 2-0. Then a comeback. 4-2, a sufficient pointage that we get to, well, not bring our cleats.

Well, happy house day, cactonians. May Main House conquer again. I mean, may the best team win.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The stars must have been in alignment.
Or, maybe just day and night.

I suspected it first at 10am, when I was sorting through my "clientes", a latin word. Or, the people who owed me greenback. What I realized was that half of them weren't in class. So before I ruled on hookey, or write a thesis about the relationship between borrowing money from friends and sickness, I knew there was a wider trend. Sadly, I had to leave last period early for a soccer match. "Where's P.?", one asked. "Thought Alexandria was too far for a game." "Where's K.?" "Sick." Well, there goes some great players. Early in the game, our enduring goalie was injured in a successful attempt to apprehend a rougue ball heading for the rwrong net. Pretty bad, it seemed. Limped off the field with assistance, nurse on the go was radioed, ice bag given. Prognosis: A few days off.

A newbie goalie was put in. The alternative, K., as I said above, was sick. The fresh blood made 3 great saves. Final score 2-0 panther victory. A logjam over the 14 st bridge, home.

Happy equinox and a beginning of autumn.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One Big Family

Is it really true that buildings do sometimes sell for $1? Yes. And do they have scary terminology attached as a condition of sale for the price of a candy bar? You betcha with liens and tax requirements, etc. This leads me to question the realisticness of the 'urban novel', The Young Landlords. Set in 1979 Harlem, these peskery 15-year-olds get served with a tenement building I haven't finished reading, and am far from it, but there are some disagreements brewing...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bankers Sequester High Value Items

Or, more accurately, tellers have a propensity for taking collector coins out of circulation. I went to Riggs Bank in Georgetown, the oldish landmark on M and Wisconsin, to to see if they had any of those large dollar coins, the ones made up to 1978 before the Carter Quarter (Susan B Anthony Dollar) was introduced. I was hoping to pick up a few Ikes, maybe even one of the big old silver ones that a silver certificate would get you. But, they didn't have any at hand. They didn't check the vault, but they were sure they didn't have any. Then the senior teller came and told me, "We don't get many of those anymore. When we do, we like to keep them for ourselves. Go to a dealer to get them." So that verifies one roll hunter's suspicion. Count me lucky that I was able to get a roll of silver from a bank that one time.

Solution: go find a bank with tellers who don't know a hoot about coins, or a bank that strictly forbids their staff from doing this practice.

Friday, September 18, 2009

To Make an Empire

Did you notice how half our class plans to run for school office in the Spring?, queries one affindat. No, like in the future, we're going to like run the world. I mean, half of us will run the world and the other half will take it over. Everyone's going to know about that group of kids from St. A's.

Picking from a potential pool of 150 is a lot different than luring from a pool of 20,000. I don't understand why we do it, but we play games with the premier DC public school. In the meanwhile, we lose 1:2, at best.They live in various environments, from the realm of lawyers and local politicians to the diversified masses, including art majors. Many come from joke-worthily homogenous society with dabblings in science. The tech corridors. STEM. Maybe I bring it up to the wrong people: Let's be the first denizens of Science City. "Shaddup". A truer friend brought the issue up: Audiences. Yes, these people who only think of rap and b-ball are the ones who aren't the future powerforce. But as for the deep-thinking investment club or the worldly Model UN, there might be my audience. Indeed, the way the investment club analyzed Ford (F) stock as a good investment, they have a bright future.

Whom do these leaders follow? Their older cousins? No- there's a STEM shortage, an Priveledged generation, sure. Rebellious, sure. Concerned about the environment and social welfare? As a card in the wallet (more than none, less than a whole life). Likely to end up working and partying as a Zappo clerical? Not the '90's man, or lady. In an attempt to mantain a lifestyle provided by our helicopter
Not the last generation. Those goths! I invision being their boss, really. Positivity is the road to success. Our parents? Our grandparents? Our emigrant great-grands? Family values pass on like dna. Generations. See that one of investment club speaks for his friends' and brothers' suburban class scism cause (for example, Montgomery Co. east of Creek vs West of Creek). Four points: he seems cool headed and not a populist. And, he's a stable conformer (not a big-government type). It's also egalitarian- raise our standards but don't paracite the already successful. He reads the Wall Street Journal and is economically 'realistic'.

Young people are what we need. Moldable. We need x more y-careerees. They're consumerist, and the glut on the way out will need houses. Oh, and all these houses (or most of these spare houses) are in suburbs. Granted, some of these exurban developments are helpless, but we can return the orginal meaning of the suburbs of the convenience of city living with the ease of country life (this was the 1920-1950 slogan). Thus, the quip by Harvard legacy and Bethesda (inner-burb) resident that the young people will move fvrom suburbs to city, according to my evidence, is incorrect. Maybe the first tax hike or bag fee will put them on the outbound train (You must believe that Big Government at all levels is harmful to our values!).

The demigods in the sky:
Technically, there is no reason why industrial execs can't live the high life. There is really no reason why manufactory has to be done in developing countries. These days, there is a bulge of ready-to-work workers in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania who have experience in the manufacturing and heavy indusries. Yes, college-spiff degrees lead to a flavorful landscape with a wide variety of careers from banking jobs to art jobs. But there isn't an overwhelming demand for art. Fortunately, as we reemploy former factory workers into modern plants, they will retire, and we'll need replacements. Pull them straight from the high school gown at 17 or 18 or 19 and make them 40-year company men or ladies. We'll save middle america and restore the way things used to be with stability and American Industrial might. The things that made the 20th century great. O little town of Bethlehem PA!

So, if you believe in what I said above, you seem to have a good shot at success

-Atticus Sawatzki, motivational coach.

To Make a Tag Day

It seemed like people were nowhere to be found. There was a fire drill, 8:35am. The results and observations will be reviewed by the School Safety Comittee. At least 70% of students came in 'Tag', and were levied $5 a head. No cut-arounds, though. All entrances were made into obstacle courses to help discern the people who think levy hooky is a fun game. All in all, well over $600 would have been collected, with a very good profit margin, that we as students should see in coming months. FYI, I don't do $5 tags. I point out that at $3, more people would be akin to paying, and that would result in more money? No, the market saturation is complete. Maximum revenue has been gained. Not to say I'm not charitable: I plan to make a contribution to the Model UN Fund, which I encourage all students who have a stake in the club, or in the free world for that matter, to do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A More Intellectual Night Out

"Let's go to the JHU place at Sceince City and watch cells multiply, then, we can watch a techincal presentation on neurology as we eat 'dippin' dots'." That's the sceince cityt lifestyle. Just like Tyson's Corner is remaking itself from blacktop and office towers and a fantastic mall into a full-service city (that is not totally contained within the mall), Montgomery County, Md, just across the river, wants to turn a starship research cewnter, The Shady Grove Life Science Center (it already has a Metro station nearby!) into a 24-hour destination. Granted that it's already a 7am (some scientists like to start early) to 1am destination (some scientists try to get home for dinner). It'll cause a traffic jam! It'll be like Tyson's Corner! Then there is, "It will be a fabulous opportunity to show that Montgomery County is a first-rate center for research (it already is).", claims some.

On the plans is to include high-desity residences, an entertainment center, hotel, and research space, and so on.

Science has done so much for us and the world, prolong our lives, debunk prejudice, make the world a better place, and so on.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

American Jokes

I love America. I'm not laughing at it, but with it. These jokes sum up some stereotypes about Americans: Stuffed, gun-toting, cupiant, affluent, overlyprotective, and on...

"1. Only in America......can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

3. Only in drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

4. Only in people order double cheese burgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

5. Only in banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters. "


How many American tourists does it take to change a light bulb?

Fifteen. Five to figure out how much the bulb costs in the local currency, four to comment on "how funny-looking" local lightbulbs are, three to hire a local person to change the bulb, two to take pictures, and one to buy postcards in case the pictures don't come out. (Ibid)

Why is an astronaut like an American footballer?
They both like to make safe touch-downs.

These four guys were walking down the street: a Saudi, a Russian, a North Korean, and a New Yorker.

A reporter comes running up and says, "Excuse me, what is your opinion about the meat shortage?"

The Russian says, "Excuse me, what's meat?"
The North Korean says, "Excuse me, what's an opinion?"
The Israeli, says, "Excuse me?? What's excuse me?"
The American says, "What's a shortage?"


Friday, September 11, 2009

Game in the mist

I pulled this school-spirit Haiku for the 9th grade Haiku competition. School spirit can't be turned down.

Big brown flying ball
gliding into the basket
Panther Victory

I pulled this silver bullet against one of those really deep-thinking writers: those 3 haiku he used were his gems: I only had 2 gems, so I fell out of the bracket that round. He likewise fell out in the next round, having run out of 17-syllable pearls.

After grabbing a short violin session (which, to an end did not make the conductor happy), Because of laws that restrict how many people a non-CDL driver can carry, some of us (including I) had to catch a ride over to WIS with drivers who had limited licenses that provided for one or two passengers- what a waste of space on the road and the environment. I was nervous as to whether I would field at all- a matter of center 'd' or center bench- a preposterous thought. You don't do that in some sports. Basketball maybe. But wait, I had to grab a red jersey from the athletic director. Well, I made it back in time. Edmund Burke, a 'small' radical, freethinking, call-your-teacher-by-first-name school, doesn't have its own field. While both Burke's and the Panther's uniforms were very similar, no one had problems identifying who was who. Judging a book by its covers in a way did work. Anyhow, an amazing shot that rattled the net. Panthers up 1. But don't forget- right after scoring is the most vulnerable time for the goalmaker. Change of possession, a high head, and a vengeful opponent can call for a quick turnaround. Goal two. With some certainty, one can say that the score will be 2-1 before 3-0. It happened. But it's good that they got to get the sensation of success. Three more shots, and the game was over.

Before 20 minutes, all players who came out to the game had rotated in. That includes me. Center midfield. Objective: Keep ball ahead of you. Pass if needed. Receive if called upon. Moved the ball forward a few times, received a leg to the ab, lost a pass once, a faulty pass directed to me that was easily taken by the opponent but swiftly recaptured. I don't know how long I was in the play for, but it felt short. I must have been in for at least 7 minutes though, I think. It must have also been a sort of important position, as some denied that I played there (yes, I replaced Peter). A goal wasn't made on us at that time. I did enough.

I was in for the penultimate rotation in the second half, right midfield. More success. The drizzle provided for chilly hands, but that was nothing like what winter brings. The position called for lots of running up and down the field, and some drive to change possession. If I had considered stopping for four seconds t take a breather, then I would have lost some of that momentous drive for the ball. It worked a few times, but I would also say the god of Astroturf sent a few stray balls my way, which, I made good use of. A hairy defensive moment, calling out suggestions as to handle the ball, "Kick it up (to the offensive line), do not cross center (so as to not risk a one-touch shot by the opponent)".

Final score, 5-1, Panther Victory.

A shake of hands with Burke's players, congratulating them for giving us an excellent game.

Well, they were never enemies, only opponents.

Monday, September 7, 2009


A relaxed environment that is welcoming to interaction. That's what a cubicle was designed to be. First marketed in the 1970's, the modular form of architecture made transformation of office spaces easy- no costly wall modifications, and allowed for better use of open plan spaces. Well, the concept of making a 'better' environment for employees dissipated as space managers sought to economize on space. 9x9 is a good size these days... And in the strip Dilbert, they are ridiculed and compared to prison cells, especially when combined with bright white overhead fluorescent lighting.
Then there is the counterrevolution. Open work space with no assigned workspaces. What a radical idea. Curvature!

How can we keep the conformist look but increase morale and further economize? IKEA furniture- a decent table can be obtained for $50, and a chair $10. But the chair is what counts. I have this nice $60 manager's chair. It's fluffy, it twirls and rolls. So let's add one of those. People who need privacy can hang hangings from the ceiling panels, if they still exist in the 'contemporary' workplace. That's about 15% the cost of a standard $2000 cubicle. Or some people are revolted by the sedentary lifestyle of deskwork. Let's take away the chair.
Or let people byof- bring your own furniture from home, as long as it fits in the 'virtual boundaries' of your workspace. A door? Maybe.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Where have I been? What have I been doing? This stretch from Sept. 1 may have been my longest unexcused hiatus of speech on this blog since July 2007. What have I been doing? School lots of it. Don't remind me of Wednesday- first full day of school. Start with the school day, add a soccer practice, a scrapped knee and a violin lesson across town and the initiation rite of homework from a lot of new teachers. Tuesday? I was in an aggressive homework mode. The English? Well, I had one night to make sure it was reader perfect. Good time investment, got a solid A on the stack of papers. And as I heard from a senior- annotations in the margins! (Your teacher) loves it!
So after a partly leisure day at the library, I'm being called back home. It was no rush. No clear objective. I took at least an hour cruising the web, scouring satellite photos to ID an abandoned railroad, wondered at the marvel of the forward-thinking (and now old-looking) Penna. Turnpike, read about the Nissan Pavilion and Kingman Island, spend an hour munching on a bagel and reading the college paper (Blue and Gray, to give a hint where I was), and blogging as I wait to catch a bus, and doing homework assignments.