Friday, March 13, 2009

Camp Nick Aggie Wins Big at Local Fair

Ornamental Horticulture student Bobby Ray Thurmwacker came up a winner in the home-grown cactus category at this year’s Hog Lick Corners Spring Fling Floral Extravaganza, winning first place! There were over 87 entries in the cactus division, from over 23 local towns. Along with his first place ribbon, Bobby Ray received a new pair of Ben Davis overalls, a $20 gift certificate to the local Dairy Queen and a $100 Circuit City gift card (this may prove to be somewhat problematic).

The three judges on the panel were overwhelmed when first setting their eyes on Bobby Ray’s entry. In fact, head judge Rita Fluorine Wiggenmeister, when first confronted with Bobby Ray’s cactus, became overcome with what could be called ‘the vapors’. After approximately 20 minutes of unconsciousness, Rita Fluorine was revived. She explained, “Sweet Jesus, seeing that cactus, why it reminded me so much of my late husband Earl Jr.! He’s been gone now for three years, but I think about him every day. Earl Jr. and I were deacons together at the Eye-of-the-Needle Baptist Church. I remember, several years ago, when Pastor Bob gave that sermon based on Song of Solomon 7: 2. Earl Jr. and I couldn’t wait to get back home to the double-wide. Lord knows how much I miss that man!”

The winning cactus, renamed Earl Jr., Jr., will be on display in the horticulture barn on the northwest corner of the fairgrounds, right next to the churros stand, until the end of the month. Bobby Ray would be so pleased if you could drop by to see it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why proofreading is so impotent!

A young lad in ceramics turned in an art critique on a bowl he recently threw on the potter’s wheel. He, of course, was quite proud of his accomplishment. Apparently a brief proofreading of his written work before turning it in was too much trouble! My only explanation for his lapse in spelling acumen comes from the fact that he has biology before ceramics and they are studying the human intestinal tract right now!

Also note that the students are required to fill out the critique form completely, for full credit. And what better way to accomplish this than to type using 18 pt. arial black font!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Si se puede, my tuckus!

Well, our new ‘education president’ (oh gawd, not another one) let us all know what is on his mind concerning public schools in the U.S. Apparently, he too is an adherent to the ‘dry sponge theory’ of education. Once again, the Blame the Teachers First crowd is front and center. We are again told we just aren’t doing enough to help those poor little children in our classrooms. As teachers, we should be able to negate all of the outside forces that affect our students’ ability to learn. I wonder when the last time Mr. Obama visited a public school classroom. Remember, his little princesses go to a fancy-shmansy private school! I invite Mr. Obama to visit Camp Nickleby sometime in the near future. Come into my classroom! Perhaps he will get a real feel for what it’s like to teach regular kids, the spawn of our democratic society.

Perhaps Mr. Obama would enjoy . . .

watching Duane Willy Culbertson sleeping once again through class because he was up until 2:15 in the morning, helping his Pa overhaul the 1967 Massey-Ferguson so they can get the plantin’ in before Spring.

watching Ty-Shaniqua-Shanaynay text message her little friends with her iPod firmly positioned under her desk, as if I don’t know what she’s doing.

watching little Heather Marie Munssengberger, leader of the C.N. cheerleading squad, attempt to freshen up her makeup during class instead of doing her assigned reading.

watching Jose Alonzo Umberto Fernandez and Fidel Guadalupe Alcantar Garcia fill the tempera paint jars with wet plaster of Paris, hence rendering $55 worth of school supplies totally worthless.

watching emo-boy Cosmo Jupiter Stardust, once again overcome with ennui, carve his girlfriend’s name into his forearm with the sharpened cap from a BIC pen.

watching little Tondaleo Marfan ask, for the umpteenth time, to run to the restroom during class time.

And somehow I’m expected to magically turn these little darlins’ into brilliant, productive, mindless automatons ready to be devoured by Corporate America!

And so what if Korean kids are ahead of ours? Yeah, better test scores because they are in school longer. But have you ever driven in a KIA??? Or a Hyundai??? I rented a Sedona once, and I counted 14 things falling off in the first 30 miles!

It’s all such a load!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Vanna, I'd like a 'C' please

What exactly is a smart choie anyway?

I want my new kilns, demmit!

A brief list of some of the world’s greatest mysteries include the following:

  • Stonehenge
  • The Lost City of Atlantis
  • Crop Circles
  • The Great Pyramic of Giza
  • Why was Diego Rivera a 'chick magnet' ?

One must add to this list the mysteries of public school funding! How does it work, exactly? No one really knows for sure. Shrouded away from the cleansing light of day for centuries, it still baffles experts as well as the common man on the street.

California is tanking financially, including money for schools. Last year, however, Ah-nuld apparently found a big bag of money in a desk drawer somewhere up in Sacramento. By some miracle, this money was allocated to schools to buy stuff! Really cool stuff! Music departments purchased new band equipment that actually worked. Physical education departments purchased new running tracks and baseball bats.

With my ceramic supply catalog grasped firmly in hand, I was like a kid in a candy store. I was given the directive from the powers that be, “SPEND IT OR LOSE IT!” And spend I did. I bought a couple of potter’s wheels, a clay extruder, a kiln controller (these are way cool) and TWO KILNS, a small raku kiln and a 12 cu. ft. gas-fired downdraft (also way cool). After waiting about a year, the goodies finally arrived. I went to visit my new little friends last summer in the Camp Nick warehouse. There they were, just waiting for me. I took the wheels and other smaller things, but left the kilns there, hoping they would be delivered in due time.

I waited for a couple of weeks. I waited for a couple of months. I’ve waited almost a year and they are still in the warehouse. I spent over $10,000 of taxpayers’ money for these kilns. And they sit in the warehouse. Good use of public money, no?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Not really sure how I came across this one, but it is wonderful! Check it out!

When U. S. History and Art History Collide!

To improve our pedagogical expertise, we here at Camp Nickleby use only the latest in government-approved, ‘research based’ teaching methods. We come prepared each day, loaded down with blank Venn diagrams, compare & contrast worksheets, analogy and metaphor builder worksheets (what’s a meta for anyway?) and lots of No. 2 pencils. But nothing quite beats rote memorization and daily review to really dull the little teenage mind.

Art history gets kinda fuzzy at times. In Art I today, we reviewed several different styles of art. One of those styles was Pop Art, practitioners of which include Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and Jasper Johns, among others.

I showed the campers a slide of one of Jasper Johns’ flag paintings and asked if anyone remembered the name of the artist from last weeks’ lecture on Pop Art. One brave soul ventured forth with Betsy Ross! As I recall from last week’s lecture, Jasper Johns and the entire Pop Art movement was firmly grounded in the 1960s. If I recall anything from my high school American History classes, Ms. Ross was not! But then again, anything that happened before the year of their birth is just one big fuzzy ball of needless information.