Sunday, April 24, 2011

Daisy: I've got to work on a science project this weekend.
Me:  Oh yeah?  What about?
Daisy:  Earthquakes.
Me:  Cool!  What's your project?
Daisy: I'm writing a song and making a music video.
Me:  You're.  Singing.  And.  Dancing.  For..... Science?   Are all the kids doing music videos?
Daisy:  No, some of the other kids are doing essays or worksheet packets.

I was on the verge of launching into a diatribe about the quality of education in Daisy's school when I was struck by a vivid memory from my own high school years.  I recall, after reading the Greek tragedy Antigone, being given the option to either write an essay or perform a musical.  So, a week later I found myself crouching behind an overturned table with two of classmates, performing a sock-puppet lip-synching musical summarizing the plot of Antigone.   It was superficial, insightless, and got an 'A'.

At some point during that year's Advanced Placement English class, my friends and I had learned that if you did something, anything really, that involved turning off the lights to present it, you'd magically get an 'A'.   So, that year, in lieu of doing various essays, I filmed a short movie, made the aforementioned sock puppet musical, performed a satirical interpretive dance, and, yes, made a music video.  We did anything we could to get out of writing essays because as easy as it was to get an 'A' on a bit of fluff during an interpretive dance, it was equally difficult to bluff your way through an actual essay.  That teacher taught me more about writing during the few essays I couldn't avoid than anyone else has, before or since that class.  (Obviously I've forgotten it all now, but just trust me that I knew how to write properly at one point.)

That teacher, Mr. Richard Friss, died last year.  I dearly regret not letting him know what a valuable teacher he was to me.  So, am I ok with Daisy doing a music video for science?  I think I am.

For the record, here are her lyrics, which are to be sung to the tune of "I'm Looking Through You" by the Beatles.  And, yes, Hank did help her a bit.

There is an earthquake.
Where do I go?
I feel the ground shake
And the lights are low.
Is so my foe.
There is an earthquake.
Where do I go?

The magnitude of
a seven point five
Causes destruction
and the loss of life.
Tectonic plates
Are adrift.
The motion of magma
has caused this rift.

Why tell me why
do I smell gas right now?
I would love to know
just what do do and how.

A fallen plate has
Crashed to the floor.
I hope there are not
too many more.
Duck and cover
Is the way
To keep my head safe
On this bad day.

Why tell me why
do the faults act up?
I see the ripples
bounce around in my cup.

Mercalli Intensity
Is level nine.
The floor and walls are
out of line.
This terrible shaking
Is hurting my brain.
This building will fall
right out it's frame.


Anonymous said...

I learned more about earthquakes by reading those lyrics than I ever learned (or remember learning) in school. Well done, Daisy!

(and Hank)

(and Mike for not stopping her)

Mike said...

Thanks, Bones. I had never heard of Mercalli Intensity before this, so I learned something too. Still not a very sciencey science project though.

Eponymous Pseudonym said...

Wow, that totally transported me back to Loma Prieta.

"Liquefaction is so my foe."

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