Thursday, January 7, 2010 math this time, I swear

I have a favorite aunt, actually I have two favorites, but one of them is having a contest. She’s a retired school teacher and you know how they love to challenge the brain, so this isn’t her first contest. Last year, she had one where she promised the contest didn’t have much math, that it was more like a “carnival game”. I got all excited because I love contests and I hate math. I figured this was a no-brainer, right? I don’t remember ever having to add anything up at the fair. “Ring a bottle, win a bear!” How hard could it be? You tell me.

Here is a snippet from last year’s contest:

“There are two ways to win.  Just be the one with the closest guess of how many cubic feet of dirt in BOTH planters combined  AND the combined weight of that dirt in both planters (only dirt, nothing else) and you win! “  Then there was some clue about the small planter to help you figure out the big planter.


Yeah, I don’t know about you, but that sounds all about math to me. Those school teachers, you gotta watch out for them, they’ll trick you. So you can probably guess that I did not enter that particular contest because I hate math is not my thing. For those of you who might lose sleep if you don’t know how much dirt was in these planters, here is the answer, courtesy of my Dad, the winner:

Clue  small planter:    10.5 cubic feet    822 pounds of dirt
    Large planter is 84.15 cubic feet.   It's 8.014 times bigger than 'clue planter'.
    84.15 + 10.5 =  94.65 Total Cubic Feet
    Weight of dirt*: Clue planter -   822 pounds divided by 10.5 cubic feet = 78.28 pounds per cubic foot.
    94.65 cubic feet  x  78.28 pounds = 7409 pounds of dirt

7409  POUNDS of DIRT TO FILL IT   (3.7045 TONS)

Excuse me? Is that MATH??

The reason for telling you all that is to lead you up to her new contest. When I saw her email I was leery, because her concept of math and mine are decidedly different. This time, though, it’s about creativity and I certainly have some of that! Here are the rules, and trust me, I went over them several times looking for math a trick.

  • 25 words or less (The difficulty is in how short this really is!)
  • Any type of writing - poem (unrhymed or not) first paragraph of a short story or novel, a limerick, free form writing of any kind
  • Every entry must use the word *ominous   (see all acceptable definitions below) once, but only once in your 25 words or less submission
  • Can be funny, serious, or anywhere in between

*ominous  (adj)
threatening, warning, worrying, gloomy,  menacing, ill-omened, unpromising  being or exhibiting an omen : portentous; especially : foreboding or foreshadowing evil,  sinister
ominous –adjective
1.portending evil or harm; foreboding; threatening; inauspicious: an ominous silence fell over the group
2.having the significance of an omen.

I decided I could be creative and write something. I write a blog, right? And we all know how easy that is. So I sat down and put my creative cap on, okay, it’s really an apron, but whatever. After about an hour, when my eyes glazed over I finally came up with this little nugget. I’m thinking “winner, winner, chicken dinner!”

IMG_1416 I’m a gal with two dogs
Who like to play and chew clogs
It’s quite ominous
That one is abdominous
Maybe she’d do better to jog


Did you see that? No math! Other than counting words, which apparently is too much like math for me.

I am inviting any of you to join our little contest. It is fun and gives the retired teachers something to do. Just put your submissions in the comments and I will forward them on to her. No prizes this time except for the warm fuzzies of a job well done. And the chance to beat my Dad. Even though he says he’s not a wordsmith, I’m thinking he has some phrases up his sleeve.

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