I’ve been incredibly busy this week and with the addition of battling a horrid cold/sinus infection/ blechness, I’ve found myself completely drained of inspiration to post. I don’t have it in me to be witty, clever, or thought-provoking, so I’ll just give you the snippets of my life this week.
1. I’m sick and it sucks.
Yup, I know. I’m the only one who has ever gotten a cold and had to work through it. Poor me.
2. I finished reading, The Handmaid’s Tale (the review) and started reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
(Summary via Goodreads)
Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.
HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.
The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.
The name Henrietta Lacks has been circulating around my social and professional circle ever since I attended the AP Language and Composition conference last July. Almost all of the seasoned teachers recommended and use this nonfiction piece in either their Summer Reading Project assignment or in their actual class. I’ve finally gotten around to reading it because it was on display during the Barnes and Noble Teacher Appreciation Week extravaganza. The majority of the books I actually get around to reading are selected because they are books that are pushed in face, either through a bookstore display or I’ve recently read a review about it online. I’m one of those “out of sight, out of mind” readers. Put the book in my dang hand and I’ll read it. Recommend it and leave me to my own devices and I’ll find something else.
3. I proctored the Advance Placement Calculus test yesterday, for four hours.
4. I ordered the best pencil sharpener in the world. My friend and colleague brought me into his classroom to show off his newest acquisition via Classroom Friendly Supplier
I sharpened a pencil a week and a half ago, continued to use it on a daily basis, and this is the current condition:
Here it is in action: