Thursday, January 27, 2011

2 Day Weeks Are Easy

On a snow day, I'm obliged to blog. As unusual as it is, I've been productive these past two days. When I'm productive, there isn't usually much news. Down in West End DC, the snow total amassed 4 inches, a respectable amount. In the northern suburbs of Fairfax County, VA and Montgomery County, MD, over 8 inches of snow blanket the ground. Get this- in parts of Mont. Co, the snow totalled two digits- 10.2 inches in moderately populated Damascus, and 11 inches in more rural Boyds, according to WTOP reports. Why do suburban snow totals matter? Because St. Anselm's follows the Mont. Co snow reports. Why?

There are several reasons. Mont. Co. is the lowest common denominator when it comes to snow. Back in the '90's, the County picked up a reputation of being the first to close. This snow-phobia has diminished somewhat: 3 inches of snow on farmland doesn't guarantee a day off- it didn't last season, and it didn't two weeks ago. The second reason is that a plurality of students come from Mont. Co, and adding students who live within walking distance of the county line would make a clear majority. A third reason is that DC the city rarely issues snow days: DC expects kids to trudge through snow to a Metrorail or major bus route, even when cars are snowed in on the sidestreets. At least half of St. Anselm's students rely on a car or SUV some part of their journey to and from school. Reason four is that the other schools in our league abide by MoCo's judgment. If your friends are out to play, then so will you! Then there's brand recognition and association. Mont. Co., as well as Fairfax, VA, do an excellent job in public school education; many schools in these counties rank top in the Nation. Mont. Co. Public Schools is the biggest absorber of students between 8th and 9th grade at St. A's. Reasons for making the leap range from "availability of females" to "my gosh they've got Smartboards in every classroom!". To my knowledge, DC Public Schools has not lured off any rising freshman in recent history.

One proposal that arises in the County is whether or not to split the County's schools into two snow districts, so that South County gentry from Bethesda and Chevy Chase (like my classmates) don't get a free ride whenever Sugarloaf Mountain gets a white coating. This suggestion is off the table, though, because enough students from Upcounty travel to Mid-and Down-county schools for advanced level curricula, lacrosse, etc., that a split system would be unfeasible.

It's my last year in the K-12 ed system, so I'm not concerned about this, but some keen, younger students are aware of "changing demographics". As DC the city becomes more cosmopolitan and attracts well-heeled families,the schools increase recruiting efforts in the rowhouse neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and West Georgetown. As a result, pushy parents from snow-light DC may get the schools to adhere to the DC school closing announcement,and call to an end the easy flow of snow days.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

4 Day Weekend

On Tuesday, I went down to the car; I needed it that day to shuttle equipment and people around at school. The night before, around 10pm, freezing rain started to fall from the sky. Tuesday morning, indeed, there was about half an inch of ice all around- sidewalk, and on the car windshield. I turned the car on, and started to chip at the ice with a gloved hand. I tried using the ice brush, but it wasn't much use. After a few more hacks with my hand on the ice, I called upstairs to tell Mom that, "I'm taking the train today". "Come up, there's no school today", she replied. Snow days come when you least expect them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dr. King, General Jackson or Lee, Commemorate as You Wish.

Illinois was the first state to designate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a state holiday in 1973. MLK Day became a federal holiday in 1986(Fed holidays are a big deal for the DC area), and by 1993(Arizona was the lager), all states had some sort of holiday on the third Monday of January. Some jurisdictions refuse to commemorate holidays that mark a single individual. On that point, some politicians pointed to the need to commemorate all of our Civil Rights activists. New Hampshire and Utah had names such as Human Right's Day to mark the day. On the other hand, some states were less altruistic to the concept of world-as-a-family: South Carolina and Virginia conveniently moved their Confederate Commemoration days to overlap the third Monday in January. Since 2000, though, Virginia's Lee-Jackson Day has been moved to the Friday before the third Monday in January. By 2000, the official name for the holiday in mid-January had been changed to MLK Day.

As for the shrugging of shoulders over designating this day a holiday, it's nothing new. The politically acceptable reason is that MLK day was planned to be too close to the excesses of the holiday season! (Remember that Christmas Week was just three weeks ago?) There is also the reason of relevance. In the DC area, it's a big celebration and commemoration with a deep social context. The influence of MLK is less prevalent in some parts of the country, and thus understandably, isn't as widely celebrated and commemorated. Some counties, usually in areas which do not widely celebrate the day, choose to have school on MLK Day, but some don't have a firm stance. At least one county in North Carolina decided to use this holiday as a snow make-up day. The sudden change really ruffled some feathers.

So whatever you celebrate or don't, enjoy your Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Obecalp(2) by New Age Pharm House

These days, doctors and other authorized prescription writers like to prescribe medications- especially those that give the doctor a generous kickback. When pharm means kickback- that's 1K to 5K dollars. You know, not too much work to get that new car. As long as no one gets side effects, all's happy and well.
On the other hand, Obecalp has no side effects, and is a low-cost alternative that reaches the same placebo effect which fancy, expensive, and time-consuming solutions may do. Obecalp is so revolutionary that it's not on the medicare/aid schedule yet. Don't let the doctor prescribe an unnecessary medication which pads his or her pockets and milks yours! There are many different forms of Obecalp specifically suited to each patient's needs:

Obecalp: (active ingredient: carbonated sucrose dehydrogenase) is a powerful remedy that is prescribed by doctors for many different conditions. Ask your doctor if Obecalp is right for you. Side effects may include a craving for sweetened items or even tooth decay; withdraw symptoms include sugar crash.

Obecalp Lite: (active ingredient: saccharin) goes easy on your waistline, and is suitable for those with conditions which counteract Obecalp Regular.

Obecalp Once-a-day: (active ingredients: aspartame, gelatin) Don't let taking Obecalp get in the way of your daily routine! Once-a-day Obecalp is formulated with two layers to provide both fast acting and long lasting relief.

Obecalp PM: Specially formulated to reduce risk of tooth decay when taken at bedtime.

Obecalp for Kids: (active ingredients: moderate fructose corn syrup, niacinamide) Obecalp for Kids increases immunity to schoolhouse germs and has been proven to increase levels of physical activity among youngsters. Comes in groovy grape or bubbly bubble gum flavors. Side effects may include hyperactivity, which can be counteracted with Ritalin.

Obecalp Xtreme: (active ingredient: agent Y) Feeling tired after midnight is a chronic condition, which, if not treated, may lead to serious problems that can hinder your performance throughout life. Obecalp Xtreme contains the natural ingredients found in OTC Aspirin medication. (some varsity athlete): All your friends are taking it! What are you waiting for?

Obecalp Antacid: (active ingredients: sucrose, sodium bicarbonate) Regular antacids only mask acid reflux! Obecalp Antacid has been shown in clinical trials to cut to the root of the problem. Do not take if overly full from food or drink.

Obecalp KO: (active ingredients: ethanol, petrolatum gel, castor oil, methane by-products) Remember those bygone college days when you were so full of vitality, yet could get a good night's sleep? If you've lost that pep, you may have a condition. Ask your doctor if Obecalp KO is right for you. Obecalp KO may cause drowsiness. Do not operate hazardous machinery or a vehicle until you know this medication's affect on your motor abilities.

DISCLAIMER: This product, Obecalp, is actually a marketed item with a valid patent. Name is used under fair use through the spoof clause. The concept for derivative products such as Obecalp for Kids was created by the author of this blog. Look for these items, under a different trademark, on your local pharmacy shelf in coming years.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back to Business, Jan. 3

This week is the 1 year anniversary of the DC bag tax. The bag fee is nickel and diming at its finest: for most people, it's not worth shopping across the border to avoid the fee. However, a Giant Grocery right on the border (on the MD side) reported an unexplainable uptick in business this time last year. At least a number of residents had beef with the principle. Of course, you can always bring bags to the store to avoid the 'fee', but that's a hipster thing. But-the idea is not going away: This year, San Jose, CA (population near 1 mil.) jumped on the bandwagon and banned plastic bags.

DC also gets a new mayor: Vince Gray. He represents a return to the status quo: Gray put the long-time teachers who were fired for alleged incompetence to the top of the rehire list. This is good old DC. Although shifting demographics should have favored the "progressive" (Adrian Fenty*), many of the 'new residents' of DC actually vote absentee ballots in their home state. This left the 'authentic' residents to decide the fate of the bike-lane-and dogpark-loving mayor.

*Lost the Democratic Primary, Won the Republican Primary by write-in, but declined the nomination. On Election Day, Fenty won some Northwest precincts through an insurgent (and not endorsed) write-in campaign.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, Pacific Ocean!

I know that some readers of my blog subscribe to an RSS feed. You receive updates for posts of all sizes and relevance. You suggested that I write a bit less, but more in depth, and I heeded your advice. Thank you for your patronage. The reason I am here is simply a technicality. The dateline posts in California time; so at 12am local time (DC) earlier today, it was 9pm out on the West Coast. When I celebrated 2011, folks in Seattle, Berkeley, and elsewhere on the West Coast were enjoying their last few hours of 2010. Moral of this post? Understand that sometimes the dateline on my posts can be a calendar day off the content I write about!
Happy New Year; the dateline reads Jan. 1 this time around, if California didn't drift too far into the Pacific overnight!