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Showing posts from November, 2011

The Turkey That Ate St. Louis

I received this email from a colleague on Thanksgiving eve, and I thought it'd be worth re-sharing this holiday season.  This seems to be an auspicious occasion on which to introduce the first years (and perhaps others) to one of the department's greatest artistic achievements-- Seth Shostak and Bob O'Connell 's searing masterpiece ``The Turkey that Ate St. Louis''. (Unfortunately, only the trailer was completed.) The actors were mainly graduate students in radio astronomy [at Caltech]-- except for Jesse Greenstein who plays Walter Cronkite. The locations were OVRO , Lake Street , and the Caltech Campus. Seth was already obsessed by movies when he came to Caltech. However, his first major effort ``The Teenage Monster Blob from Outer Space, Which I Was'' (1967) was neither a critical or a commercial success. In fact after its first and only showing, O'Connell remarked ``Gee, Seth that sure was a Turkey''. It was this chance observati

Caltech Wins Home Opener!

I attended the Caltech men's basketball home opener last night in historic Braun gymnasium, a.k.a. the Beaver Lodge. Okay, it's not also known as that. At least not yet. Prof. Geoff Blake and I made it up while watching the first half. The Beavers had an amazing first 10 minutes against Pacifica College, with Mike Edwards and Frosh point guard Bryan Joel raining threes as if shooting free throws. The problem was that Pacifica kept hitting layups. I have no idea how a team composed entirely of guards was able to work the ball into the paint so often and easily, but I'm pretty sure Pacifica made it the entire first half without hitting a jumper. To be sure, their guards were bigger than Caltech's guards. And faster. And generally more athletic. In fact, to be perfectly honest, only a few of the Caltech players look  like basketball players at all, at least in the strictest sense. However, the Beavers have no want for hustle and heart, and watching them progress throu

Occupy UC and Police Brutality and Hope

In case you missed it, students at UC Davis recently held a nonviolent protest in solidarity with students at UC Berkeley, as inspired by the Occupy movements nationwide. At both campuses students erected tent cities, and in both cases the police, fully clad in riot outfits, came in to forcibly clear the tents and arrest the protesters. Here's the sad, sickening video of UC Davis college students getting pepper sprayed by a callous, abusive cop: These are students exercising their First Amendment rights. These are not trouble-makers. They are not threatening anyone's safety. They are US citizens, or at least here legally to earn an education. Many of them take U.S. history classes that teach them about our constitutional rights, and about how wonderful and free our country is. As I watched this video, a few questions come to mind: Who ordered the police onto campus in riot gear? No matter who made the call, the chancellor is ultimately responsible for this act. A brave

So alone

Erin's adventures in Community Service

Three months ago, after a great deal of beating around the bush, I pulled my resume together, wrote a mission statement and threw my hat in the ring for the Class of 2012 for an organization called Leadership Pasadena .  While the decision to do so was fueled by encouragement of friends and family, the desire to step out of my comfort zone (being a stay-at-home-mom)was certainly lacking. Boy, has stepping out of that comfort zone been empowering! Leadership Pasadena was started in the early 1990s by a group of community members who wanted to address the issue of gang violence in Old Town (which was quite different than the Old Town of today). In examining the issue, this group recognized the need to address critical and often controversial issues in the greater community of Pasadena.  I am now one of 14 members of the Class of LP12.  Our collective passion is a desire for facilitating community connections.  My passion is creating an excellent educational experience for my children a

Owen: Reading Machine

Modern day pen-pals, I guess. Owen's first grade Dual Language Immersion class often communicates with other classes around our country.  Only they don't write letters and send them by snail mail like we used to.  His class uses skype!  Today, Owen had the honor of reading  Book Fiesta to a class of fourth graders in Michigan who has just started taking Spanish one day a week, so Owen's class got to show off their bilingual skills today.


Over dinner tonight, Erin recounted the following Mar conversations (Marversations): Conversation 1 Mar: Mom, you can't stand up to go pee. Only me and Owen can. You can't stand up to pee because you don't have a penis. Moms don't have penises. But i know a mom who does have a penis Erin: Really?! Mar: Yeah, really. Erin: Who?! Mar: His name is Clarence Simmons and he is a good guy and he is a mom. For real. (We don't know anyone named Clarence or Simmons.) Conversation 2 Mar, Owen and their friend Mila are jumping on the trampoline. Owen: Mila, are you allergic to peanut butter? Mila: No Owen: Okay, then you can have a peanut butter sandwich, too! Mar: But no. I don't want one. I'm allergic to sharing. (This is, indeed, a fact. Mar is allergic to sharing...and quite often allergic to manners, too)