It’s been a big week here at Ye Olde Blogge with two big big events and we anticipate a big week next week as we head into the Chinese New Year celebration at the end of January.
ICYMI: Posts from the week:
We celebrated two lives this week on 18 January: Betty White’s on her 100th birthday and MLK on MLK Day. Wednesday’s and Saturday’s posts continued our discussion about how we should be viewing and responding to the destruction of our democracy.
THE STORY OF MARY. Mary’s story started with my sixth grade students begging for a class pet a couple of weeks ago. They were full of suggestions like rabbits, horses, and kittens, but none of them had a rabbit, horse, kitten, or other animal to donate as our pet. I thought that bit of clever insight and wisdom, Well, do you have a rabbit that could be the class pet? No? Then, I guess we won’t have a rabbit, would be enough to deter them, but, to use a popular phrase, they persisted.
Friday before last, I found an African death’s head moth in the open corridor — many Southeast Asian buildings are built with hallways and stairs open or semi-open to the environment — outside of my classroom. I picked it up to keep it from being stepped on when the students arrived. As I was about to let it go out of the window, it occurred to me that the students might like to see it, so I put it in a jar. Then it occurred to me that it might be our class pet.
My last class of that Friday was my smaller sixth grade science class — eight students attending and two online. We were all tired at the end of our first week back, so I showed them the death’s head moth. They were all impressed. Then we went down to the butterfly garden — Yes, the school has a butterfly garden for some reason. It’s cool, but how do we use it? — to look at the butterflies because moth.
As the visit ran its course from excitement to boredom, I let the moth go in the shade near the mesh of the butterfly enclosure. It seemed fitting somehow. At my feet, I spied one of those large Asian snails that are everywhere, so I picked it up to show the students.
That snail, now named Mary, became our class pet. The students are strangely intrigued by her. Every morning, when she’s active, a few girls come into the classroom to ooh and awe at her and gain bragging rights during class later that day. Snails are largely nocturnal avoiding the direct sun and heat of the Cambodian day the better to preserve their moist sliminess, but in the late afternoon and early evening, she’s out and about. And, in the morning when I feed her, she often rouses herself.
I take pictures and video of her when she’s active to show the class. She’s amazingly elastic and deliberate in her actions. Of course, she’s deliberate, but maybe rational? When I put the dirt in her habitat, she immediately came out of her shell and twisted her head this way and that and lowered her eyestalks to take a closer look. It was clear she knew her environment had changed and that she wanted to explore it. She also seems to know that the curve at the top of the habitat is too sharp for her navigate safely. She’ll move up to the top, stick her head out over the edge and eventually turn back. She fears falling. Smart snail.
Of course, there are pictures:
#COVID19 COMES TO VISIT. The other big event this week was #COVID19 not only visiting the school in the form of two student infections, but one of the students was in Ma Belle Femme’s class! On Monday, when we arrived at school we found out that one of the MSHS grade levels, their teachers, and several students from other grade levels were on quarantine because one of them had tested positive for #COVID19.
Quarantining the teachers is devastating to a school our size. We all teach multiple grade-levels. While the teachers can teach over Zoom, students require supervision and some lessons need some in person supervision. We’ve been scrambling to cover classes and duties all week.
Then on Friday, Ma Belle Femme was informed that one of her students had tested positive. Unfortunately, so had the student’s mother. She’s a teacher at the school, too, so ha ha, two more grade levels are on quarantine. While neither class will affect the MSHS, it does affect Ye Olde Blogge’s production center! Ma Belle Femme has to self-quarantine at home and isolate in a room. Ideally, she will have a room and bathroom to herself and minimize her time outside of them.
It’s funny how these things work, though. You think when it happens to someone else that it’s easy. You suck it up and that’s what you do. Not so here. Ma Belle Femme is all it’s not fair. We’ll all wear masks in the house. I need to be able to play the PS4. We had the discussion concerning her staying in a room as much as possible. We didn’t come to an agreement. When she sat down at the table to have dinner as I was eating, I realized that I would have to isolate in a room. She wasn’t going to.
Luckily, I’m rather snail-like: self-contained and inert most of the time.
NEXT WEEKS. The next couple of weeks seem “light” compared to what we’ve been having. First is “EXPERIENCE WEEK” in which we have extracurricular activities planned both on and off campus, but none of the faculty has to do any prep. Just supervise during the activities. It feels like a holiday.
The week after is Chinese New Year. I know what you’re saying, but you’re in Cambodia; they have Khmer New Year. Cambodia has a substantial Chinese population from a migration that took place a couple of centuries ago. They’ve remained somewhat insular maintaining their language. Some of my Chinese-Cambodian students don’t speak Khmer. We only get two days off because of all this.
Because storytime was so substantial this week, I’m truncating the links section to avoid the TL;DR curse.
- The age of digital interventions. From the APA comes an article about “digital therapeutics” or diagnostic and treatment software for mental health disorders. No human contact needed. Just in time for our #COVID19 and climate change induced Zoom Age, right? Who even needs real human beings when you have social media to induce depression and anxiety and digital therapeutics to stitch your psyche back together again?
- The pandemic’s true death toll: millions more than official counts. We’ve all been breathlessly following the #COVID19 death rate at least at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, analysis of year-to-year deaths reveals that those deaths were grossly underreported by various governments around the world by as much as two to four times! (Nature)
- Nocebo effect reason for vaccine side effects. Apparently, as much as two-thirds of the side effects from #COVID19 vaccines are caused by the nocebo effect or the unconscious assumption of noxious effects a take off of the placebo effect. (The Guardian)
- All things begin anew after a loss. In one of the sweetest and most honest treatments of reaching out for companionship after the loss of a long-term spouse, Charles, recounts his efforts after losing his partner of 22 years. (Reaching for a New Beginning)
- Don’t sleep may seem like bad advice, and, in general, it is, but when applied to local elections, especially our school boards, it isn’t. As burned out as we all are on every fucking thing around us, we need to figure out who the MAGA candidates are and vote for the one that has the best chance of beating them. We get a strong reminder and some very practical steps on what to do. (hecatedemeter)
- Rising like a French phoenix from the ashes only more slowly. Really slowly. We get a report on the progress of restoring the venerable Notre Dame church the iconic Parisian church. What makes it so worth the visit are the photos of the damage, the repairs underway, and the detailed explanation of what is happening or not happening. (cas d’intérêt)
Ye Olde Friendes
No matter what else, we always have time to show our friends a little gratitude. Check out these blogs for consistent blogging fun… not like the others aren’t consistent or our friends or anything.
- FEAR THE NEXT GENERATION: Confirming that the Quote o’ the Day is the best new thing since sliced bread, Bobcabkings gives us the best quote about the use and abuse of propaganda. Check this one out and all the rest. Let us know which is your favorite in the comments. (Of Cabbages and Kings).
- WHEN ALL YOU HAVE IS A HAMMER, the whole world is made outta nails, amirite? Now that all the GQP gubnors are racing to create election police, I’m sure they’ll be locking up more election frauds than there are stars in the multiverse. Of course, they’ll all be Democratic voters. (Mock Paper Scissors)
- AND BY WE, THEY MEAN, THE GQP. We’d know if we were living in a fascist state, right? I mean fascism is horrible and all violatey of all the human rights, right? We’d know if we were violating all the rights of humans, right? Besides, we’re good, so everything we do is good… and I can vote, so it’s a democracy and other such bullshit. (Homeless on the High Desert)
- FULL STEAM AHEAD! Burr is steaming ahead with his weekly review of the best from the week’s reading. His health setback hasn’t harmed his snarky charm, either. (Fair and Unbalanced)
- IT’S FUNNY CUZ IT’S TRUE? Better to laugh than to cry, I guess, so it’s better to view the week’s news through Scottie‘s cartoon roundup up and links to lots of other worthwhile stories. (Scottie’s Playtime)
- NOTHING MAKES MAGA HAPPY judging from their response to Psaki’s interview on Fox News earlier this week. There is so much happening in the news these days it’s difficult to keep up. I didn’t even know they had her on. And, friend o’ Ye Olde Blogge, Tengrain, is curating Mike’s Blog Round Up this week, so check it out, too!(Crooks and Liars)
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The picture is mine, taken by me of the snail, Mary, so it is free to use and abuse as you see fit.