November 3, 2014


Volume 9, Issue 18 – November 3, 2014



November is here and with it some colder weather. It was supposed to snow this weekend, since it was a bit drizzly and the temperature dropped below 32°F on Friday night. I read on Facebook that some folks up here saw a little snow, but I didn’t see any. The weather yesterday was sunny and mild, almost reaching 50. Oddly enough, I noticed that it only reached 65 in Las Vegas yesterday, and Jill tells me it was cold in Georgia as well. It’s supposed to snow here this Friday, but I’m not counting on it.


Seeing Double

The Funeral Services Administration program was hosting a continuing education event for local funeral directors and for its students last Thursday and I was invited to give the welcome. I was happy to do it, though what should one say at such an event? I was advised by our faculty to be funny, since funeral directors are known for having a sense of humor. I talked a little about how I felt when they were making a life mask of me a few weeks ago, having my face covered first with petroleum jelly, then a green polymer mask, and final with plaster of Paris. When the mask was removed, I found that the polymer had gotten onto my right sideburn, and we had to cut it off to remove the mask.

zvi mask1

Anyway, after I gave the intro, Prof. Penepent gave me the final cast of the mask, now done up in a copper hue. I think it’s a quite good likeness, and the folks who’ve seen it all agree.

Szafran Death Mask

The mask sits on two thin wooden dowels, set in a block of wood base. It’s currently in my office, but when my wife comes up for good this Thanksgiving, it will become the strangest Chanukah present ever.



It’s Magic

Later on Thursday, I had the pleasure of being part of SUNY Canton’s Read Aloud program for young children, led by Maureen Maiocco of our Early Childhood Education program. When I first talked to Maureen about the program, I offered to do a Chemistry Magic Show as part of it and she liked the idea. I had prepared a list of experiments I wanted to do, and Jim Hamilton, our Chemistry stockroom director, ordered the chemicals and made up the necessary solutions. Maureen, Jim, and I got together on Wednesday to do a dry run to make sure everything worked as it should, and all was well.

At 5:30 PM on Thursday we set things up in the Theater, and at 6:30 it was show time. The audience consisted of about 40 local children and their parents, with the children ranging from six months to about 14.  The Early Childhood Education students helped seat the audience and assisted with the fun.

The program began with Maureen reading “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything”, a funny Halloweenish story with lots of acting out that the children all enjoyed. The magic show followed, with me doing such things as creating a fireball (the kids wanted to see that one twice!), changing the color of a bottle of liquid from clear to blue by shaking it (and the color then changed back after 30 seconds, whereupon I’d shake it back to blue again, doing this throughout the show), starting a really hot fire with water and then putting it out with the same water, exploding some hydrogen balloons, freezing various things (a superball, racquetball, piece of rubber tubing, a banana, and an orange) in liquid nitrogen (400 below zero!), making slime, and doing an iodine clock reaction (a reaction that changes color after a specific amount of time).

IMG_1485The Early Childhood Education student team.  Maureen Maiocco (left), Jim Hamilton (back)

2014-10-30 18.48.40Making a fireball!



IMG_1483Me and Jim Hamilton pouring the liquid nitrogen

I had a good time playing the mad scientist doing the show and the kids seemed to enjoy it too—I heard that at least one told his parents he wanted a chemistry set for Christmas.

I used to do lots of magic shows when I was a young faculty member, trying to interest elementary school children in science, but hadn’t done one in over 10 years. I got so well known around the local area back then (northeast Massachusetts) that the local paper was going to cover one of the shows and send a photographer, but I had to cancel at the last minute for a very good reason—my son decided to be born that day. The newspaper ran a small story about that instead, so as a result, Mark was in the newspaper on the day he was born.



Volleyball Mania

On Wednesday night, I attended the United Small College Athletic Association (USCAA) national volleyball tournament banquet. While the tournament was hosted by SUNY Canton (for the third straight year!), the banquet was held at Eben Holden Hall at St. Lawrence University. It was a nice venue complete with fireplace. The top ten teams in the USCAA were all there to compete, one of which was SUNY Canton.


Five of our athletes won national awards: Mackenzie Mytner and Morgan Bills both were named First Team All-Americans (Mackenzie for the third time); Caitlin Grimshaw earned a spot on the All-American Honorable Mention team; and Caitlin, Kelsy Cornish, and Kiana Archer were named members of the All-Academic Team. If that wasn’t enough, SUNY Canton coach Carol LaMarche was named Coach of the Year.

SUNY Canton was undefeated during the pool play, and quickly made the semi-finals. Unfortunately, we lost a heartbreaker to Rochester College on Saturday morning (who then went on to lose to Florida College). The Roos then beat SUNY Alfred in the consolation game, thereby coming in 3rd in the national tournament, our best result ever. Jessica Reynolds was named to the USCAA All-Tournament team. It was a great tournament and very exciting to watch. Congratulations to our excellent players, coach LaMarche, and the rest of the staff for a very fine season.




Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest had questions all had to do with the word gold. Our winner was John Jodice (SUNY Canton Help Desk Technician) who was the first to get them all right. Others with all five correct included Nicholas Kocher, Christina Lesyk, Desiree LeBoeuf-Davis, Memorie Shampine, Chelsea Chase, Kerrie Cooper, Renee Campbell, Jennifer Jones, Marianne DiMarco-Temkin, Rajiv Narula, Terri Clemmo, Barry Walch, Joanne Fassinger, Rhonda Rodriguez, Umesh Kumar, Patricia Todd, Marcia Sullivan-Marin, Robin Palm, Robin Gittings, Martin Avery, and Ronald O’Neill. That’s quite a list!

Here are the correct answers:

  1. Fairy tale character that spent some time with the three bears.  Goldilocks.
  2. It’s kept at Fort Knox, in Kentucky. The nation’s gold reserve.
  3. Someone who marries only to get their spouse’s money. Gold digger.
  4. It happened in California between 1848 and 1855, starting at Sutter’s Mill. The Gold Rush.
  5. 1981 Movie starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda, set in Squam Lake in New Hampshire! On Golden Pond.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

In honor of Advising Week, this week’s questions all have to do with superheroes.

Advising Week November 03, 2014Captain America and the Wonder Twins, Marianne DiMarco-Temkin and Sharon Tavernier!

As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Planet that Superman is originally from.
  2. She’s the emissary to man’s world from the Amazons.
  3. Wields the mighty hammer Mjolnir, which only the worthy can lift.
  4. He and his shield were frozen in an iceberg from the end of World War II until the early 1960’s.
  5. Very cool 2000 movie starring Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson, directed by M. Night Shyamalan about a Philadelphia security guard who slowly discovers he has superhuman abilities.


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