Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Um.... you were saying?

Yeah, it's been a good long while. The Headmaster figures that about one year between posts is what the people want.

Here is a video from a series you can find on Youtube called "The Sagan Series". This is the third installment. It is narration by Carl Sagan from the documentary "The Pale Blue Dot", put to music and video. The Headmaster was so moved by this video that he has incorporated the entire series (and it's companion "The Feynman Series") into the Academy's science curriculum.

Before watching the video, the Headmaster feels it is important to frame it into the proper persective by recalling some facts about our universe.

The speed of light is 186,282 miles per second, or approx. 671 million miles per hour.

- at that speed, it takes a little more than one second to reach the moon from earth
- at that speed, it takes 8.3 minutes to reach the sun from earth
- at that speed, it takes about 6 hours to travel from one end of our solar system to the other (from the sun all the way out to its furthest planet Pluto)

Now, consider that there are more than 400 billion other suns in our Milky Way galaxy, each with their own solar systems.

- at the speed of light, it takes 100,000 years to travel the length of our Milky Way galaxy
- at the speed of light, it takes 2.5 million years to travel from our Milky Way galaxy to our close neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy

Now, consider that there are more than 400 billion other galaxies in the universe.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Big-Tent Party?

Those conservatives sure know how to appeal to the broadest possible base, don't they?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Robert Ehrlich Was Right. Once.

You may recall the Headmaster's surprise at discovering he lived in "Lorton Country". Since the Headmaster's O'Mehrlich sign mysteriously disappeared from the East Grounds in the middle of the night, he felt the need to continue his contribution to the neighborhood sign wars.

This may be the only known case where Robert Ehrlich was right.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Done and done.

The Academy is happy to report that it is actually possible for the Headmaster to finish a project. Today he completed the stone planter box on the east entry. The Headmistress is pleased indeed.

Recall the demolition process on the old battleship gray sandstone planter box...

And here then, is the completed project...

While the Headmaster never likes to give away his building secrets, we did manage to record some of the construction process. Enjoy...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sign Wars

A political sign goes up in a neighborhood. And then the very next day, another. And then, overnight, it's as though those two signs had gotten together and got BIZZEEEE!

Fortunately for the Academy, our little neighborhood has been spared. Until yesterday when the Ehrlich bunch started a fight. Then the O'Malley crowd got into it. Now, the signs are springing up everywhere.

Today, the Headmaster took the matter into his own hands and created a sign that would make any Unitarian proud.

Let's hope this calms things down a bit.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lorton Country Has "Qualities"

Today the Headmaster was surprised to learn that he lives in "Lorton Country". Kyle Lorton is the "fiscally responsible" "family guy" who "has ethics". (Picture Chris Farley doing Bennett Brauer here) Sure, Lorton may not be "camera friendly", and he may not "wear clothes that fit". Yeah, he may "lack hygenics". And he doesn't "own a toothbrush" or "let his scabs heal". But dammit, he "can win!"

Seriously, is that the best they can say about this aspiring state senator - that he's a "family guy"? We're not sure what that means, beyond the fact that he likely "has family". The Headmaster also has family, but we don't recommend voting for him anytime soon. And can we define "fiscally responsible"? How about: "I'll fund the things I want to fund, and not the stupid things THEY want to fund". Sure, the Headmaster would love to fund a Ferrari in the driveway and think himself positively responsible for doing it. But the Headmistress might beg to differ.


And don't even get us going about "has ethics"! It's like having a friend set you up on a blind date -- "Really, you'll like her - she has looks!"

Ah, but now we see from whence this tepid endorsement springs. Probably from the bottom of a growler of Fordham Copperhead Ale.

We thoroughly enjoyed the following excerpt on Mr. Lorton's official website:

"I will not compromise on principle, but... I will work with anyone who will work with me."

Sounds like a nice way of phrasing the Headmaster's motto: "My way or the highway."

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Much Will You Take For The Unused Lithium?

The Headmaster has always maintained that yardsales are a perfect venue for witnessing the absolute worst in human behavior. They make even homeschooling listservs look like models of order and decency by comparison. This is why he avoids them like the plague. That is, until this weekend when the Academy joined an alliance of regional schools to conduct a yardsale to benefit school children in Haiti. Now if you think yardsale rats will run you down looking for the bargain of the century, wait 'til you tell them that all proceeds will benefit a third-world country struggling to recover from the disaster of the century. Oh yeah baby, it's on. It is so totally and completely on.

You might not normally connect Juicy Couture dresses for toddlers with questionable judgment, but when, in the context of helping impoverished kids obtain badly-needed school supplies, a discriminating shopper offers $1 for a $90 dress worn only once for the opening of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince at Regal Snowden Square 14 Theaters - well, one must draw a line somewhere.

The worst of the worst are the "early birds", which is a euphemism for (kids, if you're reading this, cover your ears) "professional asshole". These are yardsale rats who seem to find joy in haggling with you over a nickel. See, they're gonna need that nickel to defer the cost of listing fees when they resell your gently-used possessions through Craigslist at 2000% markup.

It's 6am. You stand in your driveway before a pile of "stuff-that-was-destined-for-this-yardsale-the-moment-you-impulsively-bought-it", sipping coffee and contemplating your setup strategy. It's the quiet before the storm. Suddenly you see them drive by and hit the brakes, followed by the urgent whining of the transmission as they back their utility van over your carefully placed orange parking cones. They pause to size you up. Slowly they emerge and walk up as if skulking into an adult bookstore. You can see it in their hollow eyes - lost souls with no conscience to speak of. "Hey, mind if I look around?" they say without looking up. "Sure. Hey, mind if I poke you in that hollow eye with this distinctive, hand-forged fireplace poker from Woodland Direct in lovely vintage finish that is sure to complement any decor?"

Ah well, it's just "stuff". If you go into it with the expectation that you are going to get rid of a lot of unwanted merchandise and maybe make a dollar or two, you won't be disappointed. Alternatively, you could just take a heavy dose of lithium two hours prior. Then, afterward, take all your proceeds and go buy some more silly-bands.