Saturday, February 1, 2014

Greater is gone and an Owl is fixed

Photo: Nicole Miller Adelaide Zoo
  Greater, the world's oldest Flamingo has died at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia.  The bird had reached the ripe old age of 83!  That's a fairly old age for most animals, including humans, except for some parrots and turtles.  Greater was the last Flamingo in the country (Australia) and had been brought there in 1933 from a German zoo.
  A Snowy Owl in Washington DC was hit by a city bus, the bird had flown in looking for food.  It is not known why the bird chose the city because most owls hunt in the country side.  At least he/she was fortunate to have been under the care of a vet.
Snowy Owl on a building ledge, Washington DC
Photo: Manuel Blace Ceneta, AP

Friday, January 31, 2014

More charter schools, virtual this time

A student at home.  One sort of virtual school.
ehow images
  Maine has started a proposal that would include two virtual charter schools.  I have questions, a lot of them, about those particular schools.  Maine Virtual Academy would be run by Virginia based K12, Inc..  K12, Inc. has been investigated by at least four states for using unqualified teachers, for not preparing students for basic testing, and possible several other things.
    Another proposed school, a brick and mortar school, would be the Lewiston-Auburn Academy, it would be associated with a Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim religious leader from Turkey, but states it would not be a religious school.  There is a concentration of Muslim peoples in that area.
  Lot's of questions, not many answers, yet.  As the process continues we'll learn more, and I will be watching closely.
Students in a "virtual classroom"

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hard to believe and other stuff too

How snowplows used to look, a "V" plow
Photo: Portland Press Herald
  I put this photo (top) up because while watching the goings on in Atlanta (that's the hard to believe part) I thought about on storm when I was a kid.  I don't remember the year but between '47 and '53, I think, one storm with a lot of snow and wind left a drift by our house that the plows couldn't get through, even a larger State plow like the one in the photo.  It ended up that men on snowshoes shoveled some off the top before the plow got though.
  Now on to Atlanta.  It's awesome what a half inch of ice and two inches of snow can do when a whole state is unprepared for it.
  Now on to more "blue eyes".  I've been closely watching more commercials; so now I notice that when someone is "smart" or makes good choices (the stuff the ad wants you to buy) they are likely to have blue eyes!  When a "bad" choice is made the old brown eyes are shiny.   Somewhere in this great land and Ad Agency Exec has blue eyes!  Also pay attention to the "Life Lift" ads, notice the "new person" has darker or hair with more color and slightly a different "do".  No surprise there.
Linda's Blue Swallowtail - some color in winter to remember warmer times
Photo: by the geezer hisself

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

State of the Union Superbowl

After the Cardinal came the Bluejay
Just in case you missed it the Superbowl is being played in New Jersey on Sunday, the President gave his fifth State of the Union last night and it's winter even in the south.
I don't really believe any of you missed that stuff, but just in case.  In the speech that came last night there was a small wish list and nothing that brought the two parties closer to working together.  In other words an hours worth of hot air.
In the football game there will be athletes pounding themselves on the chest in a "look at me, I'm winning this game".  They'll need to be reminded that football is a team sport, and they're helping the team - boy will they be disappointed.  Some players will be called for a foul, they will walk around shaking their head "NO" and wonder why they're being picked on.
That just about does it, hot air, phony players, and shaking heads, oh, and it's cold.
..and then we went to the store

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Trophies and a follow up

The World Series Trophies arrive in Bangor
Photo: Kevin Bennett, Bangor Daily News

  Thousands of people came to the Cross Center (new Bangor Auditorium) to view the World Series Trophies from 2004, 2007 and 2013.  I was not in the crowd - that's a little too crowded.  Several people had video equipment or "smart phones" so member of the Maine National Guard's 133rd Engineer battalion could see them "live in Bangor", they are deployed to Afghanistan. 
This is the painting Winslow Homer made from the
drawing that was in yesterday blog.


Monday, January 27, 2014

If you can draw this.......

The Unruly Calf drawn by Winslow Homer 1875
  Karen Sherry is the Curator of American Art at the Portland (Maine) Air Museum.  She used to work at the Brooklyn Museum or Art.  That was where she sorted through hundreds of drawings made by famous artist that would become paintings.  She looked at over 3000 drawings and selected 110 of them for an exhibition.
  When Karen arrived in Portland she was able to attract the exhibition to show us in Maine.  There are Edward Hopper, Homer, Thomas Eakins and many others.
You can read more here:

That's such a thing as call in this world, Thomas Eakins 1870

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Magnet or Charter? Which school for you?

At Fiddlehead Academy or Arts and Science
Photo: Seth Konig Bangor Daily News
  Charter schools are described as alternative schools - they appear to be, in Maine, the same as Magnet schools in that they tend to have a core purpose of one subject matter.  I don't know how other states assign a Charter but here they're public funded this way:  The State has always had an amount of money as a standard for each child.  Grades K-6 may be $2500.00 and 7-12 may be $4000.00 for example.  If a student in Levant wants to attend Fiddlehead Academy the school in Levant would pay $2500.00 to the Fiddlehead Academy.  That's because the Charter schools students may be from a number of communities.
  The subject matter at the schools differ widely, but there are only a handful of Charters in Maine.  I think the "bully pulpit" of Governor wants it that way so he can actually try to run something.
the Baxter Academy for Technology and Science sticks to STEM subjects.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  The Magnet School in Limestone, which is a state school, not a Charter school has nearly the same purpose.
  The Maine Academy of Natural Sciences has a core of Agriculture and Forestry as subject matter, both this School and Baxter are for grades 8-12, or 6-12.
  There are two K-6 schools too, Fiddlehead and Cornville Regional Charter School, these two teach traditional subjects but in a manner the uses small groups, if I understand that correctly.
Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Goodwill-Hinckley