Thursday, January 15, 2009

[Insert Sarah Palin Joke Here]

Curiously, after pointing out variously the decline in my attendance rates, numbers were back up today, especially in 3rd period, which had 12, as compared to two. Remember, today's lesson is survival after a plane crash in the Alaska wilderness. Student groups are given a list of items they may use, from which they must select a certain number, and explain their reasoning. As I expected, there was little discussion in English within the groups (okay, virtually none). But after the relative success of the poetry thing the other day, I was disappointed with the failure of logic in their group decision-making.

Only about one group per class would survive more than a day or two in the wintry Alaskan wilderness. First of all, a few groups opted to bring along the cans of food, but not the can opener. All the groups brought the pistol, but many of them only for protection, with no mention of food procurement. Many also chose to bring the compass, virtually useless since they have no map and no idea where they are. But here's the kicker: virtually everyone would carry matches, but very few saw the value of bringing the Russian dictionary or the Sumo Magazine. Do you, dear reader?

Well, picture the scene: it's approaching darkness, you've constructed a shelter of the airline blankets and/or parachute, shot and dressed a hare, and gathered wood from the snow-covered wilderness surrounding you. I submit that you will find it well-nigh impossible to consistently catch light to wet wood and kindling with just a match or three. A crumpled piece of paper, however, could easily make a difference in this regard.

Not to belabor the point (too late, I realize) but these are sixteen or seventeen year old boys--if they don't know how to build a fire, it's high time they learned. Happily, no group would opt to carry the CD player, though they got a smile out of the visual image I presented of electric sockets conveniently located in trees and rocks. These are city boys, and I've been dealing with country boys my whole career--who, BTW, would bring along the paperwork even if the storyline was a nice spring day in semi-rural Georgia. For the latrine.

Bonus Photograph: Asian headquarters of asics, I cross the street at the traffic light then turn right just past this building on my way home.

asics Asian HQ, in my neighborhood

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