Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mustard or Mayo?...the fall color continues in Sabino Canyon..."but we don't need to know big words"

Which condiment defines your personality--the yellow stuff or the white stuff? I just read a hilarious essay, reprinted in a newsmagazine the other day, that posits that there are two kinds of people in the world: mustard people and mayonnaise people. (I, being bi-racial, proudly claim that I am both.) Also, geography comes into play--the South, Portland OR, and France. Click here for a link to the original. Really--go back and click on the link'! You must read it outloud--or at least hear it in your head--with a Southern Accent.


My mustard-half went for his usual longer weekend run yesterday...and took the iPhone along this time...the late autumnal color continues in Sabino Canyon: Cottonwood, Sycamore, Arizona Ash along the creek--glorious!

...behold--in the desert: little fishies!!
...ahh, December mornings in the desert...


Now, for the latest in high-school-student remarks:

I was trying to encourage students in their vocabulary-learning the other day by pointing out that there is a correlation between the size of one's vocabulary and the potential for one's future income...

Right away--'correlation' was too fancy a word for some of them..

And then, a couple of girls--who in all sincerity say that they want to become pediatricians--said to me:
"But, mister, we don't need to learn big words--we're going to be working with children!"
Breathless, I could not sustain a poker face.
One of the girls then said: "Well, we don't want to, you know, make children feel uncomfortable."
To which her friend added: "Yeah, so you see, we don't need to worry about getting a bigger vocabulary."

Please, could I have a pediatrician come talk to these misguided adolescents? Egad.

A few minutes later, another student, getting ready to write the date down on a quiz paper: "So, like, is "12" for December?"

Yes, it, like, is.
And I, like, so need a vacation.

One more week...just one more week...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blackett's Ridge Trail

...another weekend to stay away from the shopping centers...a perfect December Saturday in Tucson--sunny and in the 70's after a frosty morning, ideal for a  hike:
...a ten-minute-drive from where we live; starting in Sabino Canyon and ending up on a 'peninsula in the sky,' on the ridge between Sabino and Bear Canyons, just high enough to be above the 'saguaro zone'...

Just beginning to climb from the canyon up onto the ridge...
...the sycamores and cottonwoods down along the creek 
are beginning their autumnal show;
still amazes me how the fall color
(what little of it there is on the desert floor)
peaks in December here:

...the deer are so docile here--never nonplused by the hikers--
no hunting allowed...
human, that is--
there is a reasonably healthy
mountain lion population in the Santa Catalinas...

...from about halfway up, looking off to the SW
 toward distinctive Baboquivari peak, the 'navel of creation,'
according to local native Tohono O'odham legend...

...almost at the top--a framed view of Thimble Peak,
one of the 'landmark' mountains behind Tucson:

(were he alive today,
would Ansel Adams carry an iPhone for photography?)

...the canyon below is one of the best weekend running-routes... can just make out the ribbon of riparian color below, following the watercourse...
(I just had to include the photo of my friend: 'man vs. mountains'--
to try to show the scale and steepness of the landscape)

...looking south, over Bear Canyon and the far East side of Tucson, toward the Rincon mountains, and in the distance, the Santa Rita mountains...

 ...the end of the trail;
time for lunch among the sunning chipmunks...
then back down again...

Truly, one of the best hikes around Tucson:
stupendous views all around,
city and wilderness panoramas,
without having to plan an entire day to do it--
accessible, but still a good, steep, workout,
and the notion of hiking from one ecosystem up into another one is fun...
(The trail is marked in red below...)
For more information, click on:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Late fall hike--Pima Canyon...
...& the things one hears in a classroom

Last Thursday...My wife and I went for a hike in Pima Canyon--
     so close to the city, so far from the malls:
...cottonwoods turning golden, a chill in the air...


Recently heard in the high-school classroom:

....a conversation between teacher and 15-y.o. student:
St.: My P.E. teacher was so rude to me this morning.
Tchr.: What do you mean?
St.: He called me a b****!
Tchr.: Oh, come on--I'm sure he did not.
St.: No, really--he said to me that I was 'habitually late'...
Tchr.: (trying to stifle eye-roll and gasp) Wait--do you know what the word 'habitually' means? He was most surely not calling you a bad word.
St.: 'habitually?'--no.
Tchr.: Okay, think...'habits?' Like--are you always or usually late?
St.: Well, yeah, I guess so...
Tchr.: So, do you get now what 'habitually' means?
St.: Oh...Oh now I do.

"...oh, really? Ohmygod, I thought Asia was a country in Africa."


...and, speaking of Asia--the recent rumblings on the Korean peninsula got me looking back at a couple of old photos, and I came across this one:

...a glimpse into North Korea from a hilltop observation point--one of the few accessible to tourists--in South Korea. This view overlooks the Han River estuary, NW of Seoul; taken in the autumn, when the rice paddies are golden.

Note that all of the North Korean hillsides in the horizon are completely deforested. No North Koreans live permanently in this region, which is a 'propaganda village' zone; loudspeakers blare slogans, hoping to 'convert' the capitalist South.

This year is both the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Japanese colonization/occupation (which lasted from 1910 to 1945) and the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

It's crazy that this is sometimes referred to as 'the Forgotten War;' as many Americans died in the three years of the Korean war as during the ten years of Vietnam, and millions of Korean civilians, and hundreds of thousands of Chinese, perished.

The Korean peninsula was completely razed, napalm was first widely used--and all of that to end up with a cease-fire (the war is technically still 'on') and a border essentially where the line was at the beginning of the war...And before this, Korea was a unified nation for over a thousand years...

The last remnants of the Cold War--still simmering in NE Asia...