When the fairies come out to play...
Photo cred: L.N. and Anella Dexter
Okay, so we haven't actually launched the new website yet because technical bugs are a b*tch, but on the off-chance that this post is magically live to anyone's Muggle eyes, you heard it from us first: Happy May Day! That's right--it's Walpurgis Night, exactly half a year from November 1st, that other pagan holiday your Christian pre-school discouraged you from celebrating. Whatevs. You're older and wiser now. Welcome the fairies and dance around a Maypole!
Stop and Smell Significance
Who cares if you don't have a sweetheart who sends you bouquets? The arrival of spring means flowers for all, including the single folk. Even cement jungles and strip malls can only stave off blooms for so long. At the very least, you'll glimpse a dandelion pushing through the cracks in the sidewalk on your jaunt to the Tastee-Freez. More likely, flowers will bombard you, especially if you have pollen allergies. Should you get the sniffles bad enough, you might start resenting your stupid petalled friends and wonder why they're ruining your life. Who even needs flowers? They're just--
Shh. Take your Sudafed and calm down. They're flowers. They're beautiful. Stop and smell them. Then wipe your nose and listen up. For today I have a tidbit for you and that, dear Snuffleupagus, is the meaning of one of the most common spring flowers: The tulip.
Long, long ago, the tulip originated in Persia and Turkey. Today different species grow natively from Southern Europe to the Middle East to North Africa. The pretty thing was first cultivated for commercial purposes in the Ottoman Empire. Turkish men put tulips in their turbans, which inspired their European name, coming from the Latin “tulipia,” meaning “turban.” Nobody's quite sure when the first tulip came to Europe, though an ambassador for Ferdinand I of Germany usually gets the credit as the flower's cross-cultural hustler. The flower became so popular in the 17th century, especially in the Netherlands, that tulip mania was a real thing.
Anyway, enough about their history and now onto reading them. In the language of flowers, tulips symbolize perfect love, wealth, and eternal life. (Imagine being that loaded with meaning just by existing.) More specifically, red tulips symbolize true love, while purple ones symbolizes royalty and yellow ones symbolize cheerful thoughts and sunshine. Cream-colored tulips symbolize a love that lasts forever; white tulips represent purity and heaven. Meanwhile, pink tulips symbolize friendship and affection and orange tulips symbolize passion and desire. Variegated tulips, which are simply multi-colored tulips, mean, “You have beautiful eyes.”
Maybe instead of making awkward conversation at the bar next time, you should just hand your favored cutie a tulip. No loss, since this time of year it's easy enough to snatch one of your neighbor's lawn without spending a penny.
Enchanted Animal Crackers, Fo' Shizzle
By Starling Root
Admit it, your life could use more magic. You'd like to retreat from conversations about gay marriage and gun control for a spell or two. (Maybe then you can avoid getting pressed up against the wall by a conservative soccer mom wacko for the third time this week.) You don't care about Honey Boo Boo or the latest Facebook re-design—or at least not enough to talk about this stuff ad naseum. You'd rather pet a unicorn. But where are you going to find one of those? You'll have better luck doing something reasonable, like enchanting your animal crackers, bringing them to life, and riding one into the sunset. Think small and you shall go far.
Resurrecting your animal crackers from their cemetery of commercial packaging is a cinch. Seize one in your hopeful fingers, close your eyes tighter than a pair of hipster skinnies, and twitch your nose like a witchy Samantha Stephens. Then say the magic words: “Kim Kardashian's big because she's pregnant and that's normal/Could we just stop talking about it already?/It's making me hormonal/Bring this hippo come to life and I'll name him Teddy.”
Repeat the words for whatever animal cracker you'd like to enchant next. The only catch is that its name must rhyme with Teddy. While that's limiting, you can't complain about having a camel to ride to work. You'll never have to pay a parking meter again! And if the meter maid is foolish enough to bug you, just have Teddy/Freddy/Betty spit in her face.
By Sir Gearheart
Oh, my dear sir, there's absolutely no reason to be ashamed in proclaiming your platonic love for Quail Bell Magazine, this 'zine whose "femininity" may make you question your "masculinity." Don't. Isn't that sort of duality too Victorian for a modern fellow like you? What I'm saying is, DUDE, it's okay to be a dude and like Quail Bell. (I mean, it's not like it's XOVain.com.) Plenty of guys read QB.
Sure, we run articles on fashion and hair and make-up and fairy tales and historical costumes. There's a loooot of frilly Art Nouveau stuff here. But we also run original art and literature, as well as articles on historical, folkloric, and social justice topics.
So calm down. Keep reading. "Like" that piece. Share that story. Comment, Tweet. It's A-OK to be a Quail Beau--especially since you're not the only one.
Bridging the Language Gap in Richmond Public Schools
RICHMOND, Virginia − When you send off your child to school, you harbor certain expectations. You hope that your child will be safe, productive, and social. You also hope that the teacher or school will communicate with you about school events and your child’s progress.
But what if you couldn’t read the PTA newsletter or notes sent home by the teacher? What if permission slips, fliers and report cards confounded you? What if returning a teacher’s phone call or attending a parent-teacher conference seemed more like an obstacle in a fantastical quest than a normal parental task?
For the 10 percent of Richmond parents who speak a language other than English at home, these anxieties are not just hypothetical. They are a part of daily life in a metropolitan area that is challenging itself to meet the needs of immigrant families.
Over the past decade, the Hispanic immigrant population has nearly doubled across the state, while the Asian immigrant population has risen 68 percent. There are now more than 62,000 Latinos in the Richmond metropolitan area, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
More than 1,000 of them are students in Richmond Public Schools with limited English proficiency who speak primarily Spanish at home.
This year, RPS has more than 1,320 students with limited English proficiency – up from 400 a decade ago. Those students speak about 40 different languages, from Afrikaans and Arabic to Vietnamese and Yoruba. The vast majority – more than 1,050 of the students – speak Spanish.
These students are your children’s classmates and possibly their friends. Their parents are your neighbors.
At last count, RPS had 21 English as a Second Language teachers. And there’s just one full-time staff member with the express job of bridging the linguistic and cultural gap between schools and immigrant parents. That person is Barbara Ingber, the ESL parent liaison for RPS.
Outstretched Wings for the Birthplace of the United States
We would've expressed our love for you sooner if it hadn't been for our website re-launch. So here's a belated quail nuzzle and a little peck, too. No city deserves the tragedies you've had to face with the recent marathon bombing and MIT shooting. But the symbolism of these attacks makes your suffering that much more tragic. You're BOSTON.
You're such a beautiful place rich in American heritage and creativity. You're one of the oldest cities in the United States, steeped in Revolutionary War history, full of colleges and universities, and, golly gee, your harbor sure is *blush* pretty. We don't wish for death or violence anywhere, but we're especially sorry that all of this nastiness happened to you.
We love and treasure you, Boston! Stay strong and feel free to send us photos of how your incredible city has held up.
The Quail Bell Crew
P.S. We did not under any circumstances forget about the recent Virginia Tech shootings anniversary, either. How could we when most of our crew comes from the Old Dominion? We love you, too, Blacksburg.
Here's the real deal.
All of the content posted before this date is our tester content. It was stuff we posted while we were re-building our spanking new website! But now the website is all shiny and new and we're ready to go. (We'd put three exclamation points here if we hadn't just put one at the end of the last sentence.)
Please enjoy all of the stories, photos, video, etc. we have to share with you!
The Quail Bell Crew
Naked Mushroom Ladies
By The Picture Pharmacist
Nothing teaches French better than nudity and trippy art, preferably in combination. Case in point: These mushroom ladies. Don't you suddenly feel fluent in the language of Chanel and Monet? Without these capped exhibitionists, how else would you learn such useful vocabulary as "La Vie Parisienne" and "Fantaisie d'Automne"?
And if you have no flippin' idea what any of these means, never fear. You'll learn un mot, at least: "champignons." That's the word for mushrooms. Use it in a sentence, "Bonjour, je suis un champignon et je voudrais chanter."
See how worldly you are? Now download this picture, pop it into Photoshop and add more French vocabulary to it--like in speech bubbles! Then mail it to your high school French teacher (anonymously, duh).
The Picture Pharmacist
College Muggles Battle for Glory
By Ben Oldach
Capital News Service
COLLEGE PARK, Maryland -- In the Harry Potter universe, quidditch is a game played on flying broomsticks, with young witches and wizards battling high in the air.
The version of the game that hundreds of college athletes will play at the Quidditch World Cup in Florida on Saturday will take place on the ground. Muggles, after all, can’t fly.
A field of 80 teams from Canada, France and Mexico will compete in the two-day tournament against college quidditch squads from across the United States, including Penn State, Ohio State, Boston University, Texas A&M, USC and the University of Maryland.
“Muggle quidditch” was created in 2005 by students at Middlebury College in Vermont who were looking for an alternative to bocce ball and adapted the rules of J.K. Rowling’s game for a non-magical audience.
Before long, several intramural teams were competing against each other at Middlebury. Eventually, the game spread to other colleges in the U.S. and around the world.
“We tried to inspire other colleges around the country to start their own team, and then create even larger events for all the other teams to compete in,” said Alex Benepe, the commissioner of the International Quidditch Association.
Seven years later, the International Quidditch Association now presides over the biggest tournament of the year, the Quidditch World Cup.
“I think that quidditch could easily become one of the most popular sports in the world, it has a higher entertainment value than some other well established sports, but it is going to take some time,” Benepe said.
For spectators, the entertainment value is indeed high. It’s a full-contact, co-ed sport, an odd mashup of rugby, dodgeball, hide-and-seek, basketball and soccer. Players tackle each other, without protective padding.
And it requires the seven players on each side to run, awkwardly, with a broom between their legs to simulate flying.
The same positions from the novel exist in the muggle game. “Chasers” throw a slightly deflated volleyball, the “quaffle,” through one of three hoops defended by a “keeper” to score points. They must dodge “bludgers” (rubber kickballs) thrown by “beaters” attempting to knock them from their brooms.
And two “seekers” from opposing teams compete to catch the “snitch.” In the books, the snitch is a magical golden-winged orb that darts around unpredictably. In the muggle game, the snitch is a person dressed in yellow. The game ends when a seeker grabs a tennis ball attached to the snitch’s pants.
Within the next five years, the association hopes to establish a true world cup, where national teams made up of the best players battle it out.
“We really want to expand the audience of the game,” said Logan Anbinder, director of marketing for the International Quidditch Association. “They think Harry Potter, they think nerds, they have connotations of people running around on brooms, but it’s a real sport.”
Where am I? Betchya don't know.
Think you know? Email us and stay tuned for the answer!