Emmons Klein Ratliff

          ⚠️ Warning ⚠️  ⚠️ Warning ⚠️  ⚠️ Warning ⚠️

• THIS PROUD DAD MOMENT CONTAINS GRAPHIC AND BRAGGADOCIOUS MATERIAL.
• IT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL AUDIENCES!
• IT COULD CAUSE DYSPEPSIA FROM SACCHARINE GASCONADE.

 

I used to Facebook post crowing items about my sons’ stuff to help communicate what was going to my mother regarding her grandchildren. She almost demanded I do it. That way, she could get photos and stuff in one place. Yet such a post gets a little addicting to a guy who identifies mostly as a dad. So, in Nonie’s honor, I commence bragging about my son.

I’m attending Emmons’s graduation ceremony in a few hours. His class, which he will be graduating in the top 4%, is large enough to be held in Dickies Arena, the same place we saw some grand champion rodeo thingy. He’s graduating with a butt load of honors. And my pride might be sinfully bursting at the seams. This has nothing to do with parenting, and I will abjure any utterance to the contrary. He did all the work and had a natural scholar’s acumen. He received many honors and awards for his attitude and spirit throughout his education, which shows he just naturally strived for academic excellence. His grade point average was something like 104%! Well done, Emmons. Nonie would be as obnoxiously proud as I am.

Proud Dad Moment – Emmons’s Senior Awards and Honors include:

Honor Graduate – Top 10% of the class
UIL Scholar Award – Top 10% Seniors, based on participation in UIL Sponsored event
President’s Education Award – a cumulative GPA of 96 or better with two commend STARR test or two AP test scores 3 or higher
Pioneer Excellence Award for AP Physics II
NASA High School Aerospace Scholar

He also qualified for AP Scholar honors and an AP Capstone Diploma, but that happened after students’ honors were printed.

PS. I had to use a thesaurus to discover the word “gasconade.” I have never heard it before this morning—many apologies (especially to  Wayne) for the smarmy writing.

PS. PS. Wayne might have his own Proud Dad Moment as became a GRAND-DAD, which is as fantastic as mine, but he would never stoop to smarmy writing.

PS. PS. PS. Photos to follow

Boiler Up! Elias!

Next week my youngest son, Elias, is doing his first campus visit as a high school student researching which college to attend. He recently watched his older brother make a prosaic and apathetic college search, only to acquiesce to their mother’s choice of colleges.  Don’t get me wrong, Emmons will have an amazing and fruitful education at Texas A&M. His mother chose well. But, Emmons’s decision to attend A&M, and he will tell you so himself, was purely utilitarian, without any passion or emotion, “It’s just the next step in what I have to do.” I have wanted him to show even an inkling of excitement, but no.  He even gets upset when I emote joy at becoming an “Aggie Dad.” It’s been a little disappointing and anti-climatic for me.  Alas, I think Elias is more inspired as he begins his search for the perfect collegiate experience.

In 5th grade, Elias had a class assignment to design and build a Rube Goldberg machine.  As all good elementary students do nowadays, he Googled “rube goldbureg machine” to research the assignment.  He kept showing me videos he found of the astonishing elaborate machines competing in the annual National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. As a certain university founded this competition in 1949, made it national in 1987, and generally dominates the competition each year, the videos tended to be teams from that certain university.  Consequently, without knowing my alma mater, Elias said, “I want to go to that college,” pointing at a team with an awesome Rube Goldberg machine trimmed in black and gold paint. I smiled, didn’t say anything, and my heart started pounding out the opening stanza beats to “Hail Purdue!”

Elias is my independent thinking offspring; he’s not going to submit to his mother’s or my college choices for him.  He has announced he will make his own choice and research the best fit for him.  So, we are readying for his first campus visit, which happens to be my alma mater.  He has plenty of time for other campus visits; he is just now finishing up his sophomore year.  I’m expecting a flood of nostalgia and reminiscing on my end of his Purdue Campus visit.  I haven’t been back on campus since my first date with their mother back in 1998 (I saw ol’ Drew Brees win that day, and now the dude is retired from the NFL).  Also, I hope I don’t unduly influence Elias’ collegiate choice with my love for my old school.

Should I let him know he would be a triple legacy with his grandmother and aunt receiving a Boilermaker education? Probably not; I think that can wait. 

Campus Visit for him,
Homecoming for Me!

Awe, Purdue! I was Purdue Class of 1991, but that stretched to the Purdue Class of 1992, then again into Purdue Class of 1993, and finally I joined the Purdue Class of 1994.

This Purdue Campus Visit will remind me that I did the Purdue four years on the seven-year plan. There was just too much to do; Boiler football games (the Fred Akers years – Ugh), fraternity parties (ΔΧ), four different majors (Philosophy, Psychology, something I forgot, and Leisure Studies), touring on bikes (rode home to Salem, Indiana one Fall Break – 180 miles mostly using Indiana State Road 135 South), dozens of campus organizations (College {insert a major political party’s name here} Club), more fraternity parties, a mid-degree Gap Year (not by choice), becoming a Lafayette Towny, learning to kite with a quad string stunt kite (full-size sewing patterns drawn on some university CAD/CAM & CNC thingy), backpacking the Smokies during breaks (800 miles total with university gear), coffee shops (anyone remember the Blue Café), hustling chess games for coffee money (Blue Café again), concerts (Sting & Gate Mouth Brown on campus and the Dead & James Taylor at Deer Creek), seeking university co-eds’ attention, taking ANTH 105 — Cultural Anthropology three times, taking five Spanish classes to get my required three courses of a foreign language, getting rejected by those university Co-eds’, bar-tending, completing the Around the World in 80 Beers challenge at the Knickerbocker (the most expensive damn T-shirt ever), street magic and mime (Red Brick Mime Troupe), some fun oddball classes (Etymology 105 – Insect Friend or Foe), some serious courses, a recreation class sitting next to Glenn Robinson, earning semester honors twice, and all kinds of other wild and collegiate things. I finished in the last class of the Leisure Studies -Therapeutic Recreation Concentration and a double major in Psychology. I had a hell of a time, and it lasted about as long as the third sentence in this paragraph (oh, now I remember, I was a creative writing major for a semester).

I hope I don’t bore him with my reminiscing during his Purdue Campus visit; I’ll do my best to contain it.

PS. I think I just wet myself… just a little bit.  Uh… Boiler Up!

We might have gotten some shit in our water, as a side effect of the botched rolling blackouts during this Texas Big Freeze. Our water trickled out along with the power but remained off quite a bit longer. I don’t know how much our lack of water was based on frozen pipes in the apartment complex or if Fort Worth turned off our water. It matters not; what does matter is we didn’t have water for about 36 hours. That in itself was a trite inconvenience (we can always drink Bourbon). What mattered is three men in one apartment, didn’t connect the real problem of a waterless lifestyle until it was way too late. Viewing the preverbal optimistic silver lining, our olfactory discomfort triggered an amazing use of all those STEM classes so espoused by our school district.

Emmons will leave for Texas A&M next Fall. He wants to double major in Physics and Engineering. Standing in front of the microwave, he quipped, “Fun Fact: a ½ gallon Mason Jar full of snow takes 00:06:00 in the microwave to meltdown to about a pint of water.” He continued, “We’ve got the math and can now figure anything out. Let’s see… it’s going to take a little over 21 minutes to flush the commode.” 

I started to poke a little fun with optimization questions. “Does it have to be fully melted to flush?” “Can you overheat a smaller amount of water to expedite the melting process?” and “Can you alter the chemical makeup of the solution to expedite the melting/flushing process (I.e., add salt)?”

I got some eye-rolling, and he recruited his young brother to follow him outside to fill 6 of said Mason Jars with snow.

I tried to help ? and accidentally moved the tank stopper a little when I tried to speed things up by dumping in a whole popcorn bowl of snow straight into the tank. I was immediately removed from the project, sent back to this keyboard, and told I can’t leave until I think about what I have done. I was also asked to do the math because I set the project back, “Damn near 18 minutes.”

Gotta love those STEM classes! 

What’s been your biggest problem during this Declared State of Emergency? I hope everyone is safe, warm, and well. After that, I hope you are having fun with your kids!

 

The boys wanted me to try to raise a little Disaster Relief. So, we're selling Fun T-shirts that I just overdesigned.

The boys wanted me to try to raise a little “Disaster Relief.” So, we’re selling Fun T-shirts, Survivin’ Texas Rolling Blackouts.

You’ve “Been There! Done That State of Emergency!” but, don’t have the T-Shirt yet? Or maybe you just want to show solidarity for us frozen ones in Texas!

<—– There is your chance!  All proceeds help the Ratliff Boyz do something cool!

Forgive Me for The Proud Father
Indulgent Moment

 

Today, NASA accepted Emmons into their High School Aerospace Scholars program! He gets to take a 16-week online course and he could get invited for a summer experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they work with NASA experts on designing a mission to Mars.
Did I mention “NASA!?”

High School Aerospace Scholars

 

Emmons Klein Ratliff
My Son Emmons Klein Ratliff
— High School Aerospace Scholars —
Journey of Discovery

High School Aerospace Scholars

 

 

“High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) is a unique NASA experience that begins with a 16-week online interactive course on NASA activities related to space exploration, Earth science, technology, mathematics, and aeronautics. Students complete design challenges including 3D drawings, science quizzes, discussion posts, technology writings, and monthly webinars with NASA scientists and engineers. The highest achieving students are invited to NASA for a six-day residential summer experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where they work with NASA experts on designing a mission to Mars. Students are nominated by their state legislator and must be a Texas resident and U.S. citizen currently in their junior year of high school (rising seniors) with an interest and aptitude for mathematics, science, engineering or computer science”

 

May 13, 2020 – Update – 

NASA invited Emmons to participate in NASA’s Texas High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) virtual summer program.  Typically, this is a 6-day summer camp at the Johnson Space Center, but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic precautions, it’s virtual.  He’s a little disappointed about the “virtual part, yet super stoked about the invite and opportunity to participate.  

I am so blessed to have two scholars for sons.