dimanche 22 avril 2018

Showbie detox

It was so easy and friendly to me
Show, Show-bee
I preload my timely notifications
Pinned my voice notes and
Smart document viewer
Texted  my co-teachers for tips and coffee
Glanced at the Parent Page to see if their in
The Loop

I could show my quick marking audio exporting
Grades-at-a glance
To Australian and New Guinea schools
Also nourishing on technology

My digital platforms allowed me to
Skip mentoring and better integrate the
Workflow to break the Puzzle

That Puzzle of knowledge that Show
Understanding is garnering curiosity so
My learners are sucking it up
Outside the box

My learners relaxed 'cause
Assignment notifications communicated
Individually and they plugged  in
Spotify -astonishing- music
Reducing  the reusing because of FOMO
(fear of missing out)

These tools nourished me day in day out
I applied applications after applications to make Progress happen
Then, one day, I  Showbied out.

I'm in a detox facility in Arizona
They've tied my fingers together for 6 weeks so I can't text
Not even my parents!
And I'm not allowed to use any Apps -not even in the bathroom.

Today I'm disconnecting to reconnect
And to hell with the smart documents and
Digital platforms and
Education and knowledge.
Tonight I'm going out
Putting on platform leather shoes to show
The World who I can be!

lundi 2 avril 2018

Easter sheep on ship

15 minutes, okay?
Should have known those people better and now they they put sheep on a fishing ship to ship to China. Unbelievable transformation. And the name of the ship is "Miss Sustain-ability".
I know there is no choice: big Sis is going on that ship so I can write this story that all of us can read.
My trembling hand struggles to take notes. I hear the motors of the turbines twirling and as I squint hard to protect my eyes from the early morning light  I hear the sheep letting loose baas that echo through the pipes of what was once a fishing trawler.

Big Sis is on the ramp and I'm writing this now because possibly she's going to part  forever and I don't want to think about it but her fur is splendid and her eyes deep and round and she looks at me one last time and says something but all I can hear is the turbines and I'm tempted to take off my top hat and run to see the Captain, that pig of a Captain overlooking the deck with his flat nose just pretending it's business as usual even though he has gotten sick of fish and now uses his boat to fret sheep across the South China Sea. All the sheep are boarding, 50 in one go; it's frightening. Suddenly I'm distracted by the Chinese satellite that is burning into the atmosphere overhead.

I can hear the Captain laughing; see the spit spraying through his teeth and as his ship pulls out he turns to me and yells, "I will use the burning ambers of the Tiangong-1 
Space Station to roast myself some nice sisterly Easter lamb! Hahahahahaaaa!"

samedi 31 mars 2018

Lithuanian Toll Keepers

Ask any tourist who has travelled to Lithuania and they will confirm the viral fascination for tollbooths. 

Vincas Kurdica who is best known for composing Lithuania's national anthem is also is the first Lithuanian to have set up toll booths in his country. That's why he appears on the 500 Litu banknote and on the verso is inscribed "maut" for toll.

Wheras the Soviets tried to impose their tollbooths after WWII, the Lithuanians stuck to their original design which was taken from the honeycomb of bees or the hive itself. (This stems from their bee culture that dates back to the middle ages and is even embedded in their language.)

Lithuanian toll booth, circa 1960

Toll worker going back to work in a beehive booth.

as opposed to the Russian designs that were more traditional and include coal stoves to keep the toll workers from freezing.

What few people know is that Vincas wrote a song about tollbooths and it goes like this:

When you drive up to my boothz
You will give me a 10 or 20 litu billz
And you should not be scared to give me a 50
Liberty is our motherland
On our frozen lips and lanez
You choose to come to my booth or my comradez 

Stalin will not tell you whose booth to drive up to
We are a nation of hope
And we will build our beehive booths like no other nationz
Our pockets will buzz with change at the end of the dayz
And we will hover over the steamy hot soup our mothers' make uzzz.
My tollbooth operator's arm may be trembling
But I am not scared! 
Let the tanks roll into my backyardz
And I will give you your change and smilezzz.

dimanche 18 mars 2018

Dicky Dickens Jr's letters

This is my 13,345th letter, mail, tweet, correspondence, whatever you call it. My great-great grandfather wrote over 14,000 and he died at 59. I'm 79 but I got a later start than Charles that's because my parents wouldn't let me have wifi until I was 20 years old.
Today, like most days,  I got 42 tweets, 67 emails, 131 instagram likes, and about 400 snapchat shares. I gave up on  facebook some years ago because of ads I kept receiving.
Last week some of my fans came down hard on me after learning that in 1996 I slammed JK Rowling when she sent me a sample of her Harry Potter manuscript. At the time I wrote:

The Pierre Hotel, New York, 1996

Dear JK Rowling,

"Do you think it should be deemed suitable that I should pass my eyes, rolls them over such demonically ludicrous characters and then use my name in order to gain favour in an illustrated house of publishing? True, I might do so if your story built something more than a slurry cauldron  of infertile magic posed on feeble foundations that couldn't set tension in the eyes of a scared cat. Your hapless, timid Harry Potter weakling character, transformed into a powerhouse hero only shows you have no inkling of an idea what the magnanimous responsibility true authorship entails.
Go wash some more dishes and think of another career.

So why do you think I didn't stroke her ego? Years later, Rowling's father was an engineer who went bust and when his burger van business failed he needed help. Do you think his daughter helped him? No. But I knew that even before she got famous. Just another unthankful daughter, that's who she is.

So I said I gotta write my 13,000 whatever letter. Whom to? Yes. My wife Martha,
even though I'll see her a few hours from now.

Grand Hotel Dieu de Lyon, Sunday March 18

Dear Martha,

I know you say that I seldom speak of myself, share my thoughts and the inner monkey in me. Prey tell I bid you my apologies but the truth is I am inhabited by my characters to such an Everestian degree that they feel more real than my family. You also consider me a liar but what liar would come out in public? Remember when President Bush bestowed me the medal of Freedom back in 2002? He whispered in my ear, "Dicky, who is your true inspiration?" and I quickly replied, "Collodi, the creator of Pinocchio." At that Bush smiled and placed his finger on my nose and then on his nose all the while people looked on somewhat perplexed and the cameras flashed in rapid fire and you were there.
I lie not when I say that I don't think I really should speak more about our 5 children, all of them, nevertheless are gamers and have only the slightest regard for their parents. My thoughts race past these misplaced conceptions and most certainly we should have stopped at 3.
Know that my love for you is truer that the cold that penetrated soviet prisoners in the Gulag.

Feeling a little bit guilty I decided to write one more letter, and why not, I had 20 minutes before making my next speech before a French literary society on how most of my characters are vegan and would not even eat croissants. I slid my chair closer to the desk that overlooked the famous fontaine Bartholdi, known for the Statue of Liberty.

Grand Hotel Dieu de Lyon, Sunday March 18

Dear Dora Annie Dee and Sidney Jr.,

I usually don't write a letter addressing the two of my children but the situation seems exceptional.
Your Mummy tells me Sidney Jr. is doing a continuum Airdop on Dora Annie Dee's Airpad and in retaliation Dora Annie Dee is nixing the Mesh network of Sidney Jr's audio relay play. Now that the Bannon revolution has passed I should remind you unless a cessation of hostilities is in sight I shall send you, like your great-great Grandfather's father did, to work on the Wall. (Charles was sent to a shoe polishing factory to pay for his father's debt.) Either that or to Siberia to work in a Hacking Think tank. Have it your way. For starters, I think I'll reconfigure the Zigbee and have your toast burnt every morning.
Your loving father,

samedi 3 mars 2018

Tuffi and polydipsia

Wuppertal, famed for the Pina Bausch dance company, is also home of the first suspended rail that was built and opened in 1901. In 1949 the town was looking to promote its ridership and hired the Althoff Circus to do a publicity stunt. A small female elephant was hoisted in to the train to show how safe this train was. The elephant, whose original name was Tarto, was thought to have panicked and smashed its way out of the cabin dropping 12 meters into the Wupper river. Tarto's name was changed to Tuffi, Italian for "dive" after this incident and the suspended rail became famous after this infamous incident.
When Tuffi died an autopsy was done which revealed the elephant suffered from polydipsia, a rare disease that shuts off the brain's understanding when one's thirst is quenched. Indeed, this elephant drank enormous quantities of water and when it was above the Wupper on that ill-fated summery day of the 21st of July 1950, it was not frightened by the wobbly steel structure that made screeching sounds as the elephant was forced in, but it, being just above the river, saw a flow of irresistible water that provoked her to spring for it.

dimanche 25 février 2018

The Codfather meets the Snowboard Queen

He was head of the New England fisheries
She was a defrocked gold medalist

He sold his fish for cash
Circumventing a complex system of cod quotas
Labeling the fish as Haddock

She was a snowboard specialist who loved speed and wax
In 1998 she was about to take the gold in the cross competition when
She grabbed her ski on the last jump
She grabbed it for show but
Wiped out getting
Snow in her mouth instead of Gold

Carlos Rafael, the Codfather, bragged in front of two IRS undercover agents posing as
Russian Mafia buyers
How he brought in tons of Cod and made millions selling them illegally.
He bragged and bragged thinking the IRS couldn't be so savvy as to hire Russians
To investigate a fish empire.
But he was wrong.

Lindsey Jacobellis, 12 years later, sitting in front of her house with her dog Gigi,
Knows that she ain't fishing for the gold no more but
There's a non-stop loop in her head and if it weren't for Denise
Her mental coach performance architect
She's be stuck in that race and the millions of mocking mails she received since.

Lindsey and Carlos met at the National Portrait Gallery
In front of the new portraits depicting former president Obama and his wife Michelle

Lindsey was looking at Barak's leafy background that appeared like an overgrowing texture
Ready to envelop the former leader of the free world

Carlos was looking at Michelle, his eyes were lost somewhere in her dress that
Any young tot would wish to hide under

Their eyes crossed and Carlos blurted "what a nice dress you have" even though Lindsey was wearing a skirt "If he ate more codfish I bet his hair wouldn't be so grey" he added.

Lindsey found Carlos funny. They went to a fish restaurant and shortly after, on his invitation, they
got on a plane to Pyeong Chang to see the 2018 winter olympics.


Knut Nystad is known as the Waxman. He heads a team of 30 Norwegian wax people who take
an oath to become invisible and inscrutable to the press and the public at large. Lindsey and the Codfather ran into the Waxman at a bar on Solbong-Ro street. It was bustling 'cause the weather was sub-freezing outside.

"Nobody complements a dishwasher for scrubbing clean a whole night's worth of plates" Knut insisted, "that's what makes us invisible." said Knut with a smooth Norwegian accent. Then he took out a q-tip, cleaned his ear and sucked it between his lips. From the bar Knut invites the couple to the multi-million dollar Norwegian wax shop. Inside, people are busy caressing the bottom of skis and the Codfather's eyes sparkle in front of the myriad of waxes. He is thinking of a way to fatten his cod by waxing them so they would stay warmer and burn less calories.

"Fish oil is good for outdoor clothes and Chinese umbrellas but I wouldn't think of waxing up them fish even for a competition." said Knut but Lindsey just laughed it off and said he was such a "good fellow."

Suddenly an alarm went off in the grinding room and everyone could feel the earth shaking as 230 North Korean cheerleaders marched by the shack. They were chanting and twirling in the minus 22 degree atmosphere and pulling 230 identical red carry-on bags.

Knut opened the door and immediately felt his nostrils fill with an exotic scent, so profuse, so exotic it took his brain a minute to cogitate what it was: it had a touch of earthly tar and a hint of a nuclear underground reaction with a tinge of torture room screams. And yet as those beautiful lipsticked girls marched and sang in unison in front of the wax shop, Lindsey stood spilling a drink she had brought with her from the bar as she stared at what she thought was Mrs Um and Mike Pence walking side by side. But what really surprised her was to see Lindsey Vaughn just behind the close-lipped couple with 20 or more photographers following her and taking rapid fire shots of the Olympic star.

dimanche 11 février 2018

Savage Winter Olympics

I spent the weekend listening to a sports broadcaster comparing the savage evolution of a yellow boxfish to a Toyota Yaris and a skeleton bobsled manned by a female Jamaican team only to learn that the angle of the blades of speedsters is offset by .85 degrees in order to accommodate a more gripping trajectory as the skaters spin around the ice at impossible speeds.

It is a Savage Winter Games
And if you feel like a quarantined Buffalo
Corralled at the airport waiting
To burst out of security of your nation

Then consider when 17 year old
Red Gerald won the gold medal in Slopesstyle
Winging so many twists and turns one feels dammed
To dig for what angelic, civilised thoughts
Must have been orbiting in this young lad's head

(Certainly not the Tesla propulsed by the Falcon Heavy
Into a solar orbit that won a gold medal in the eyes of
Push-button happy leaders)

And Red's beastly post-medal comment was
"I just wanted to land it"
His grinning coach beside him
His teeth going "a-ching!" as future green bills
Flipped before his pupils'

Still it is the Olympics that is known for twisting and turning
And what Olympian deserves higher accolades than
Huzuru Hanyu who with his
Pistol pose, hydroblading and signature Biellman spin
(With a generous foot posed over and behind the head)
Is considered the Skater of the Century!

Hanyu's flock of followers chuck Pooh Bears on the ice
Hanyu dips into a Pooh Box of tissues to dry his post
Performance tears

Some on the Alt Right taking out their Gaydometers claim
Hanyu is flaming
But for those who know him they see fearless effeminate feats
Transgressing style
Skating in the silence of the sublime

And even Winnie the Pooh
Walking around the snowy woods like a half-naked savage
Holding hands with Piglet and Christopher Robin
Never had us doubt that he knew where he was going to land.