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.
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.
Where am I? Betchya don't know.
Think you know? Email us and stay tuned for the answer!
The Smithsonian Latino Center Wants YOU
Quail Bell Press & Productions, LLC. can make videos for your initiative, too. More at QuailBell.com.
A fool and his money are soon parted
Pet cred: Sorcha Patricks
This is no longer just a mere rumor, folks: Argentine bazaar salesmen have been caught selling weasels on steroids and marketing them as toy poodles. This urban legend was confirmed when a recent customer brought his "poodle" to the vet--only to learn the truth. It reminds The Quail Bell Crew of when medieval merchants used to sew bat wings to lizards and sell them as "dragons"! For the full report...
Documentary Film: "The Persistence of Poe"
In a letter, Edgar Allan Poe wrote: "I am a Virginian--at least I call myself one, for I have resided all my life, until within the last few years, in Richmond." That proclamation and sense of personal identity inspired the first documentary film by Quail Bell Press & Productions, LLC. It's called "The Persistence of Poe" and was co-directed by Christine Stoddard and David Fuchs. The film gives you a taste of Poe's life in Richmond, Virginia and the continued influence his mythos and lit have on RVA today.If you've missed the screenings and can't make one in the near-future, never fear. Now this flick is available for your home viewing pleasure on our affiliate website, PoeRichmond.com. Get out the popcorn and open up your mind for 24 minutes (or 48 if you want to make this a bizarre double-feature.) Supplemental material--like an original experimental dance choreographed for a reading of "The Raven"--is reserved for screenings only. So even if you've seen the film, come out and watch the 'suppies,' fire away in a Q&A with the co-directors, and maybe even meet Chris Semtner, Poe Museum curator, author, and painter.
Thanks to VCUarts and the Poe Museum of Virginia for making this film possible. Otherwise, we might've used milk money to fund this.
Anacostia--the next H Street? Try Old Town.
By Brainy Bird
Mention Ward 8 to the average white Washingtonian and you're unlikely to hear any favorable remarks. Why is it that "black neighborhood" often reads as code for "bad neighborhood"? Basic sociology. History. Politics. At the root of it, ignorance and fear. These are not revolutionary observations. They're the repetition of a sad truth.
This is not to say I'm oblivious to the crimes committed in Historic Anacostia and nearby neighborhoods. Anacostia, like many DC neighborhoods, has its share of homicides, robberies, and sexual assaults. It is to say that the desire to commit a crime stems from desperation caused by socio-economic problems. That desire is not a race-based genetic trait. You don't steal because you were born black. You steal, perhaps, because you were born poor, didn't get proper schooling, and are unaware of better options, plus or minus factors XYZ.
So if you improve the socio-economic state of a place, it doesn't matter if white or black people are living there. Crime rates will go down. The real question, of course, is how do you heal all those socio-economic boo-boos while still preserving the historic and cultural integrity of a place. Ring in a Panera, a Starbucks, and Whole Foods and—boom!—problem solved, right?
No, that's just a case of the nasty “g” word. Anacostia won't grow as Anacostia simply because yuppies set up shop. Anacostia has to stay true to itself: its people and the potential of its community. It needs a solid middle-class base of educated blacks, open-minded whites, and people of all races and ethnicities who are willing to cooperate for the betterment of the neighborhood and Washington as a whole.
The Art of Ward 8 blogger, Charles Wilson, makes an interesting suggestion, one I've yet to hear from anyone else. He says, that instead of turning Anacostia into the next H Street, Ward 8 should look at Old Town as a model. His advice makes sense because the two places share three major characteristics:
By QB History Buff
With online shopping becoming an ever-popular option in mainstream society (and not just with cybergeeks), it's no surprise that malls are seeing a decline in business. Admit it, you hit up Amazon.com more often than your local bookstore or Etsy.com more often than your local craft fairs.
You might sometimes wonder what these retail mammoths looked like in their heyday. You know, back when malls were THE place to see and be seen. Central Virginians, for example, may be familiar with Southside Plaza on Richmond's Hull Street corridor. In the 1960s, Southside Plaza was a hustling-bustling sort of place. Just look at all those cars!
Psst...Want to see it return to its mighty, chest-pounding state? Haul your tail feathers over to the Hull Street Road Corridor Revitalization meeting taking place tonight. It's the last one where the general public can comment on the grant-funded Hull Street 360 project.
Democrats Rap Cuccinelli Over Federal Law
By Whitney Spicer
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – Virginia Democrats slammed state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday for refusing to support reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act.
In a telephone press conference, Delegate Jennifer McClellan of Richmond and Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos criticized Cuccinelli for being one of three state attorneys general who did not sign a letter urging Congress to reauthorize the act.
“Virginians deserve to know what prevented Ken Cuccinelli from sticking up for the Violence Against Women Act, not a half-hearted excuse for sitting on his hands while Republicans killed the reauthorization,” McClellan said.
“As attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli is the chief law enforcement office in the Commonwealth, charged with doing whatever it takes to keep all Virginia safe from those who would do them harm.
“In light of that responsibility, and his desire to be our next governor, Virginians deserve to hear a real explanation from him as to why he would refuse to support the Violence Against Women Act.”
Cuccinelli’s spokesman said there is a simple explanation: By policy, the attorney general’s office does not sign letters of support for federal legislation that is still subject to amendment.
“It is beyond comprehension how anyone could seriously try to blame a single state attorney general because 535 members of the U.S. Congress didn’t pass a piece of legislation,” said Brian Gottstein, the attorney general’s director of communication.
He noted that Cuccinelli supports many programs against domestic abuse. For example, the attorney general operates the Address Confidentiality Program, a mail-forwarding service that keeps the addresses of domestic violence victims confidential. Cuccinelli’s office also collects cellphones to donate to Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Program for victims in protective shelters.
In an interview, political commentator Bob Holsworth said he believes Democrats are attacking Cuccinelli on this issue to paint him in a bad light in this year’s gubernatorial race.
“The Democrats are trying to position Cuccinelli as someone out of touch with the mainstream. Using social issues like this is a great way to do that,” said Holsworth, the founding director of the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
During the conference call, Stamos, who has been a prosecutor in Arlington County and Falls Church for more than two decades, said the Violence Against Women Act has helped law enforcement officials.
“The act has helped people in our office to deal with the very specific and specialized needs of domestic violence victims. It has provided the training and tools that we need at the local level to prosecute very difficult cases,” Stamos said.
Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has provided funding for rape crisis centers and hotlines and assistance for women who have escaped domestic abuse.
“It is a piece of federal legislation that works in the trenches at the local level,” Stamos said.
Capital News Service is a flagship program of the VCU School of Mass Communications. Students participating in the program provide state government coverage for Virginia’s community newspapers and other media outlets, under the supervision of Associate Professor Jeff South.
Ethel Person said...
By QB Word Nerd
"Fantasies are mediators between the inner and outer worlds."
-Ethel Person, Psychoanalyst who died in October '12