Friday, October 03, 2008

Two Thumbs Up

If you ever happen be at a thrift store agonizing over whether or not you should spent 99 cents on a VHS copy of 1988's educational film 'The Living Body,' do your self a favor and bring the tape and $1.06 to the cash register.

Thanks to Ms. Gannon and her need for a day off, I have a new favorite educational film. The Living Body has it all. It opens with a four minute long musical montage of the human body in action. This is what LIVING looked like in 1988. Taut, tanned bodies running and jumping, dancing and skiing, stretching and flexing, a ripped old guy slalom water skiing, a rally car driver shredding down a one lane country road. There is slow motion and close ups on ripling muscles, there are short shorts and two piece swimming suits. In short the living body is sexy, and thats just the montage.

Then the Counsel on Science and The Humanities takes us inside the body. Have you ever seen the inside of an intestine? Yeah? So have I. But, if you had seen The Living Body when it first came out in 88 it would have blown your mind. How about the inside of a lung, or an ear? You get to see both in this educational film. What I learned from the tiny camera on the end of stick shots is that inside we are mostly pink and slimey.

Once we've seen what we look like on the inside, The Living Body takes us where many eduacational films fear to tread. The reproductive system. I don't want to give everything away, but how does a psychadelic light display projected onto the body of naked pregnant woman sound? I thought so.

When Ms. Gannon comes back to school on Monday I'm going to ask her if I can dub a copy. Mr. Awesome needs a copy for his library.


Guess who just found a crumpled 20 dollar bill in the middle of a deserted hallway?

This Guy!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sheppards Pie

School Lunch. For most people it's only one step above airplane food, maybe a half step. And now that it's 2008 and airplane food doesn't really exist anymore, school lunch stands alone as the last stalwart of notoriously bad tasting food.

I for one will argue that school lunch doesn't have to be as bad as its reputation. The food at my grade school was actually good. Granted, at that time in my life my mom was feeding us brown rice, lots of vegetables and my little brother still thought that when people talked about candy they were talking about raisins. But even the kids whose families ordered in Domino's every Friday liked most of the food served in our cafeteria.

My grade school's cafeteria was run by one very nice lady named Marge and 4 other ladies who were more than a little scary. Marge and her scary helpers made a different meal every day and student had no options of what to eat. The standout meals, the ones that drew cheers from eight year olds, were macaroni and cheese with bacon, chili, and sloppy joes. Also worth mentioning was chipped beef, which I am convinced was just slices of hard salami cooked in milk and eaten on a biscuit, but somehow made to be good tasting.

In Marge's cafeteria, every meal included at least one hot vegetable and most days carrots, celery sticks and salad olives were offered as an appetizer. There was also a small desert. Marge and the scary ladies earned whatever salary they were making.

For most people school lunch is a concept that is receding farther and farther into the dusty corners of their memory. This is not the case for substitute teachers. I sometimes eat in the cafeteria of whatever school I'm at as often as twice a week.

At Gateway my options are usually a chicken patty sandwich, fries and a half a pint of milk. Lunch is supposed to include a vegetable and fruit but it's rare to actually receive them. Sometimes you can scrounge up a fruit cup, some watery broccoli or a red delicious apple. On the unusual occasion that the menu does not end at chicken sandwich, you can purchase pizza or spaghetti or a generic McRib sandwich. I thing it's fair to say that the options in the Gateway cafeteria are limited, but the prices are low and on a good day the food is only one step below fast food.

McKinley Gifted Junior High is one of my favorite schools to work in. The students are bright and friendly, everything is clean and organized and the cafeteria is, in my opinion, the best in the whole district. I'm at McKinley today and even though I brought a salami sandwich, I decided see what was on the menu in cafeteria.

The woman who runs McKinley's cafeteria is a younger prettier Marge. She always gives me heaping helpings of whatever I'm having and I am sure to heap on the compliments. Today's special was something I'd never had before, but something I've always wanted to try. It was my dad's favorite lunch when he was in school. Sheppard's pie. Its a mashed potato casserole with ground beef and gravy. It was delicious. Or at least as good as fast food.

You don't substitute teach for the money. The real payment is experience.