Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Start of the New Year. Welcome 2016! The Imaginarium.

A New Year's Greeting From the Oberste F├╝hrer Des Universums

Hello Troops,
     Christmas is over. The New Year is about to begin. January 4th, the day dreaded by students worldwide, dawns in a few days.Teachers will get to school first to ready their lessons, stoke the coal fires, and review their list of sarcastic remarks intended to put overly sugared students back into their place. An hour later, students will slither back into the classrooms, trying to calm themselves by chanting the date of the next holiday.





"Do I look like I'm happy to be back!?"
     
     I do my best to properly greet my students as they arrive, but I wouldn't place a wager on the number of optimistic responses I get back. Usually they answer my friendly greeting with expressions of hopelessness and sighs of despair.




Cherish Prudence, student class president, photographed the morning
of the first day back from Christmas Vacation, 2015.


     I'll start the day by listing five hours of homework on the whiteboard titled “Due Tomorrow”. That always gets the kid's attention. After I'm sure they are beaten down and submissive, I switch to positive reinforcement. For every positive comment I get about my lessons or appearance, I’ll erase one of the assignments. Soon, just like Pavlov’s dog, they'll be trained. They'll remember how to use the toilet, how to eat with a knife and fork, and how to use a kleenex to wipe their ever runny noises. After a few hours, they'll start to resemble proper young ladies and gentlemen. By the end of the day they'll be speaking the Queen’s English and reciting their sums and times tables from memory.  



Students After a Day of Retraining

     Let's hope I haven't forgotten my student's names come Monday morning. It took all of September just to get them down. They'll hear a lot of "Good job...um..... er..... buddie," all next week.
     As a teacher, former director of the Space Center, and all around good guy, I feel it prudent to take a moment to start this new year with a few bits of wisdom I’ve picked up over the years .
     Remember, I’m from South Dakota, a beautiful state you may know nothing about. South Dakota lies just below North Dakota (as if that helps). Contrary to what you’ve heard, South Dakota has indoor plumbing, highways, and airports. Contrary to what you may have heard, the Cheyenne to Deadwood Stage stopped running years ago. Best of all, South Dakota doesn’t have a state income tax! The American Dream is alive and well in this capitalist oasis of the northern plains.



Luella Mae Stump, South Dakota Director of Tourism, is launching a new tourism campaign titled 'South Dakota. Beautiful Places, Beautiful Faces'. The campaign is designed to remind people that South Dakota is one of the 50 states. !" (side note: South Dakota has a severe shortage of dentists
but you won't find a better buffalo burger anywhere)

     I was raised in rural South Dakota - cowboy country. Cowboys have a down to earth wisdom that applies to everyone. To get 2016 off to a good start, may I present a selection of cowboy truisms I try to live by. 




  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
  • Don't squat with your spurs on.
  • Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier'n puttin' it back in.
  • If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.
  • If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
  • After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him... The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
  • Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
  • There's two theories to arguin' with a woman. Neither one works.
  • If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
  • Never slap a man who's chewin' tobacco.
  • It don't take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.
  • Always drink upstream from the herd.
  • When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.
  • When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.
  • The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.
  • Never miss a good chance to shut up.
  • There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading, the few who learn by observation, and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
"I got a fire goin' and the biscuits are hot. I'll be waiten for ya."
     Now I‘ll be plannin’ on hitching up the horse and goin’ after the strays. Ya’ll enjoy the next few days of yer freedom. If ya’ll have some spare time, get yer horse and help me check the fences. Bundle tight, it's colder than a mother in law’s kiss out here.

Mr. Williamson

P.S.
After serious & cautious consideration . . .Your contract of friendship has been renewed for 2016! It was a hard decision so try not to mess it up.

My Blessing for You in 2016
May peace break into your house and may thieves steal your debts. May cash line your pockets. May love stick to your face and laughter nest in your lips! May your clothes smell of success and your tears be of joy. May your problems forget where you live. 
In simple words . . . May 2016 be the best year of your life.

The Imaginarium

































Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Space Center's Breakfast Club. Goodbye Aleta and Tabitha. Scott Gets a Love Note. The Imaginarium.

 

The CMSEC Breakfast Club

Hello Troops
     The Breakfast Club met Monday morning at the Space Center. You recognize some by name, others by face. What you're looking at is the heart and brains of the Space Center, minus a few notable exceptions, who may have been too lazy to get up and attend the 8:00 A.M. celebration.
     There were three reasons for the event. Aleta Clegg is moving with her family to Pasco, Washington next week. Tabitha, the USS Odyssey's set director, is leaving on a mission shortly after the start of the new year. And summer planning to iron out a few mission details.
        

     Mr. James Porter officially released Aleta from her Space Center contract with a handshake and goodbye card. And with that, he ushered her into retirement with the understanding that she could be recalled to active duty should the need arise.  The reactivation clause has been in every employee's contract since the Space Center's early days. Many have been recalled to duty. Some came willingly, others with much fuss.
     The Sandwich Club will meet at the Space Center this Saturday from noon to 2:00 P.M. to say goodbye to both Aleta and Tabitha. If you're a Sandwich Club member (far more prestigious than Disney's Club 33) please plan on attending.


     I'm not a breakfast eating guy, but the buffet offered Monday morning was much much better than breakfasts served during my time as Space Center director. In my day we had juice and your choice of plain or plain bagels.  Yesterday's menu included hot off the skiddle items cooked by masterchef Jon Parker.


   

      The front table held an assortment of breads, bagels, juices, spreads, and breakfast casseroles. Just look at the smiles in the photo below.  You know the food had to be good to generate real genuine smiles at that time of morning.  


     Isaac called out for two more skittle delights just as I snapped the photo.


     "Coming right up!" Jon replied.
     I'm taking a risk by posting the picture above. Notice Jon Parker isn't wearing a hat or hairnet, yet he's cooking food in a public school. I shudder to think what might happen to the program should Utah's Risk Management see this.  Spiral staircase in the Voyager? Hair shedding all over the crepes every time Jon turns his head. What other dangers lurk just beyond sight at that space place?!


     After everyone had stuffed themselves on crepes a la Parker, Mr. Porter brought the official meeting to attention. He apologized for not having gifts for everyone, but did have one gift for one lucky person. To get the one gift card, all one had to do was outperform everyone else in the 'go find the clues to get the key words to fill in the correct blanks to piece together a coherent sentence' scavenger hunt.  We scattered throughout the school looking for microscopic slips of paper taped to walls and equipment. We each had a paper with clues telling us where to look. Figuring out the clue was the real challenge. For example, one of the clues read, "Where do ghosts go when they're thirsty?" referring to the kindergarten hall drinking fountain. Only those who religiously read The Troubadour would know the answer to that from a story I posted a few years ago about ghost sightings at Central School by space center staff and volunteers.    
     Erin won the gift card. I'm not a graceful loser so we'll leave it at that.
     The summer space camp missions sound exciting.  Several new missions will be offered along with revivals of a few hits from years past.  Go to the Space Center's website and book your summer space camp now spacecenter.alpineschools.org.


Scott is Flattered Yet Remains Humble



      Scott is an outstanding Space Center volunteer and member of our Voyager Club. Recently he had the occasion to become prideful over his peers when a young lady slipped him a note during a Magellan mission he was working.  "You're HOT," is the note summarized.  A heart shaped kitten illustrated the ego inflator.  I found Scott parading the note around the Magellan control room and thought it newsworthy.
     "That's unbelievable!" another volunteer exclaimed when shown the note. That cruel statement shocked Scott back to reality and promptly struck a mortal blow to his pride.  He folded the note and stuck it into his pocket.  There are rumors the note can be found on his Scott's refrigerator at home.
A required stop for all holiday company.

Mr. Williamson

The Imaginarium