Friday, June 3, 2011

Various and Sundry, June 3: Prisons, Planters, Pizza, Passings

It's June and schools are starting to let out, but one school superintendent asks the governor of Michigan to turn his school into a prison.
The State of Michigan spends annually somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per prisoner, yet we are struggling to provide schools with $7,000 per student. I guess we need to treat our students like they are prisoners, with equal funding. Please give my students three meals a day. Please give my children access to free health care. Please provide my school district Internet access and computers. Please put books in my library. Please give my students a weight room so we can be big and strong. We provide all of these things to prisoners because they have constitutional rights. What about the rights of youth, our future?!
It's a provocative letter.

Considerably less provocative is this terrific blog post at Dirt Therapy on creating a good container garden. The advice is very helpful and the photos, as always, are gorgeous. Isn't that a great planter?

If you have some time, and you aren't already a Daily Show regular, I recommend the show from June 1 for its rant on the proper consumption of New York pizza and its wonderful interview/conversation with Bill Moyers. I've never seen Jon Stewart more upset than when Donald Trump ate his pizza with a fork. "Watch and learn, people. Watch and learn."

In other dining news, the creator of the Flip camera is now starting a chain of grilled cheese and soup restaurants, starting in the SF Bay Area. There's a great blog post in the Times where he talks about the demise of the Flip camera, entrepreneurship, and his plans for The Melt restaurant. The first one opens in August. I can't wait! In the meantime, you can check out the website that will allow you to order your grilled cheese sandwich online.

Finally, two interesting obits. The first, a terrific obit for Dana Brand, 'The Proust of Mets Bloggers,' which is interesting for the way it treats the conventions of obit writing in baseball terms. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's not. Mr. Brand had a sad and sudden passing, and so I am glad he at least gets the royal treatment from the Times.
Dana Aron Brand was born in Manhattan on Sept. 23, 1954, to Brooklyn Dodgers fans. By 1961, the Dodgers had left for Los Angeles and the Giants, New York’s other National League team, had decamped for San Francisco. But a new National League team was coming, his parents knew, and so they dissuaded Dana from rooting for the hated Yankees, even when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were chasing Babe Ruth’s home run record. The next year, the boy learned to love the Mets, in all their staggering ineptitude.
The whole thing is lovely.

And finally, the obituary for Rosalyn S. Yalow describes the relentless persistence required of a woman to become a scientist in the first half of the 20th Century. She applied for a graduate assistantship at Purdue and "the university wrote back to her professor: 'She is from New York. She is Jewish. She is a woman. If you can guarantee her a job afterward, we’ll give her an assistantship.'" "When she received an A-minus in one laboratory course, the chairman of the physics department at Illinois said the grade confirmed that women could not excel at lab work; the slight fueled her determination." She won a Nobel prize in medicine, the second woman to win one. The obit ends,
Five years after she received the Nobel, Dr. Yalow spoke to a group of schoolchildren about the challenges and opportunities of a life in science. “Initially, new ideas are rejected,” she told the youngsters. “Later they become dogma, if you’re right. And if you’re really lucky you can publish your rejections as part of your Nobel presentation.”
 You tell 'em.

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