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ONE OF T H E MOS T E L ABORAT E P RANK S I N H I S TORY THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GEORGE P. BURDELL
Whether April Fools’Day is a time-honored western tradition or a tired, unfunny festival of eyerolls depends on who you ask. Ask the momwho just got blasted with water via the old“rubber band on the sink sprayer”trick, and you’ll probably find the latter. But ask the kid who planted the trap, and you’ll get a hearty, cackling endorsement.
At some point, George P. Burdell morphed from an elaborate practical joke into a bona fide legend with countless copycat pranks to his name. One of the most famous came early on, when a truckload of furniture arrived“collect on delivery”to a Georgia Tech fraternity, addressed to one George P. Burdell. Apparently, a freshman had felt snubbed by the frat and decided to get even. Burdell was continually enrolled in the school by loyal fans for decades. In 1969, Georgia Tech computerized the registration process, but intrepid hackers found a way to enroll him in every single class offered at the school that quarter. The man was unstoppable. Members of the armed forces carried on the Burdell hoax, and Private Burdell began to appear all over the world in dozens of conflicts. He even flew 12 missions in a B-17 bomber over Europe in the 8th Air Force until a Georgia Tech graduate was promoted to operations officer and put the kibosh on his service. Burdell wed the fictional Agnes Scott student Ramona Cartwright in 1958, served on the board of directors for Mad magazine, and was nearly voted the 2001 Time Person of the Year before the magazine removed him from consideration. Barack Obama even did his part to further the myth. While giving a speech at the school in 2015, he began “Now, I understand George P. Burdell was supposed to introduce me today — but nobody could find him!” The only thing more impressive than Mr. Burdell’s abundant achievements is his fans’dedication to keeping him alive. You may think your buddies’inside jokes are long-running— this one practically willed a human into existence. Today, people always seem to be on the lookout for Burdell, paging him at the airport or during football games. Even in his ripe old age, he still has time to be the production assistant on “South Park” and read thousands upon thousands of magazines during his spare moments. Wherever he is, we can only wish him well and hope that all the would-be pranksters out there take a note fromWilliam Edgar Smith’s playbook this April Fools’ Day. After all, if you’re truly dedicated to your craft, what’s 70-plus years?
Even if you’re sick of watching your back on April Fools’ Day and tired of the corporate cash grabs masquerading as (mostly) bad jokes that pop up like clockwork every year, you still have to give it up for the classics. Even the most bitter among us must admit that some pranks are so clever, elaborate, and inspired that they deserve their place in the annals of history. The name “George P. Burdell”will certainly reverberate through the hall of hoaxes for decades to come. Never make a clerical error with a young student who has too much time on his hands. In 1927, when William Edgar Smith was mistakenly sent a second enrollment form for the Georgia Institute of Technology, he had an idea. Combining the name of his then-principal, George P. Butler, with Burdell, the maiden name of his best friend’s mother, he enrolled the fictitious George P. Burdell in the prestigious university. Next, Smith signed Burdell up for all his same classes and, for the next four years, completed every bit of his schoolwork twice — once under his own name and once under Burdell’s, changing a few details here and there and varying his handwriting slightly so as not to raise suspicion. Somehow, despite the fact that Mr. Burdell never once attended a day of class, he managed to secure his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1930. Soon after, he continued on to his master’s degree. GEORGE COMES TO LIFE
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WORLDS WITHIN PAGES BOOKS TO ENGAGE T H E WHOL E FAM I LY Learning to read opens up a world of possibilities. When your child walks through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia with Lucy Pevensie or rides with Harry Potter on the train to Hogwarts, they connect to something beyond their own experiences. In the U.S., April 23 is World Book Day, and the date commemorates the deaths of legendary authors Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as the birth of author Vladimir Nabokov. World Book Day is the perfect time to sit down with your family and let yourself be transported to new worlds. So, here are three great stories to help you take young readers on brand-new adventures. “Song of the Wild”makes a great read-aloud book for beginner readers because they can get lost in the beautiful artwork while you read the text. Written in prose and rhyming poems, this book showcases sprawling landscapes — savannahs, jungles, and oceans — and features the wildlife living there. It’s worth a read simply to appreciate the colorful depictions of each animal. This book was written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Petr Horácek. FOR THE MIDDLE SCHOOLER: ‘THE NIGHT DIARY’ 12-year-old Nisha navigates her world after the partition of India creates the new country of Pakistan and her family is forced to leave their home. Her mother may be gone, but Nisha finds solace in writing nightly letters to her in her diary as she discovers what the future holds. Based on author Veera Hiranandani’s memories of her own family, this moving tale lets readers experience life through someone else’s eyes. FOR TEENS: ‘BRAZEN: REBEL LADIES WHO ROCKED THE WORLD’ While some might not think of comics as proper reading, Penelope Bagieu’s graphic novel forces reconsideration. Her clever, colorful artwork and engaging narrative take the reader through the biographies of 30 women, from Betty Davis and Mae Jemison to lesser-known but equally intriguing ladies like Giorgina Reid. All in all, this book provides a great way to get kids excited about history in an entertaining form. FOR THE ELEMENTARY READER: ‘SONG OF THE WILD: A FIRST BOOK OF ANIMALS’
The sun is the source of all solar power. The sun provides light and warmth to the Earth, making it possible for life to flourish on our planet’s surface. While we appreciate the sun and everything it does for us, there are many facts about our sun you might not know. THE SUN HAS LAYERS Similar to the Earth, the sun has multiple layers surrounding its core. The surface of the sun we can see (though should never directly look at) is called the photosphere. Underneath this outer layer is the convective zone, followed by the radiative zone beneath that, and finally the core. OUR MIDDLE-AGED SUN Astronomers believe that our solar system’s sun and eight planets were formed from the solar nebula some 4.6 billion years ago. This places our Sun in the middle of its life, with an estimated 4.5–5.5 billion years left to go. All stars go through a life cycle, starting with the solar nebula. From there, the sun goes through what’s called the “main sequence,”which refers to the star’s life. A star’s nuclear fusion reacts with its core of hydrogen, creating helium and thus solar power. As its helium center begins to deplete, the sun will get brighter and hotter, eventually becoming a red giant. HOW LARGE IS THE SUN? We all know the sun is large, but just how big is it? About one million Earths would fit into the Sun, and its surface is 11,990 times larger than Earth’s. However, relative to all the stars we’ve discovered, our sun is relatively small. The largest known star is a supergiant called VY Canis Majoris, which is nearly 2,100 times the size of the sun. THE HEAT OF THE SUN Beneath the sun’s surface, temperatures can reach about 15 million degrees Celsius or about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. Its surface can reach about 5,600 degrees Celsius or 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. 4 FACTS ABOUT OUR SUN THE SOURCE OF POWER AND LIFE
It will take billions of years for our sun to complete its life cycle. For now, we’ll enjoy everything it has to offer!
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N O T S U F F E R I N G F R O M A C O S T MAK I NG AN I NVESTMENT
When we talk with customers during or after an installment, they often tell us that when they were first considering the idea of installing a solar energy system, they were very concerned about the cost. We always assure them that a solar system isn’t a cost — the monthly utility bill you receive each month is. A solar system is an investment. Whether you finance, lease, or purchase a system outright, the initial payment for that system will eventually end, and you will still be enjoying the benefits and freedom solar energy gives you. In comparison, the payment for a utility bill won’t come to an end. Instead, you’ll be faced with having to pay that bill every month unless you decide
considering the cash outlay. But as an investment, you’ll discover that the benefits are far greater than the initial cost. Many of our customers have told us how they’ve paid off their bills faster because of the extra money available to them month-to-month from saving on electrical expenses. Some customers have even told us they’ve put money aside for dreams they’ve otherwise been unable to chase. These are the kinds of life-changing effects solar energy systems can make on people’s lives. Solar energy isn’t just about solar panels and technology; it’s about investing in your future. When you’re not writing a check to the utility company, you are writing a check to yourself.
to switch. Once you make that decision and become free from the never-ending bill, you won’t have to worry about its cost ever again.
To learn more about solar energy, installments, and what you could be saving, call our offices today. Our team is waiting and ready to answer any and all questions you may have!
We understand that installing solar power can seem pretty costly at first, especially when only
ROASTED RADI SHES WI TH RADI SH GREENS
Radishes start showing up in droves during the spring and summer months, but all too often we
only eat the bulbs raw on salads and discard the greens. This recipes bucks both of those trends, with the radishes being roasted alongside their green tops.
1. Heat oven to 500 F. While heating, trim radishes and wash greens. Pat both dry using a paper towel. 2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over high heat until shimmering. Season radishes with salt and pepper, add to skillet, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer entire skillet to oven rack and roast for 15 minutes. 3. Once removed from oven, return skillet to stove. Over medium heat, stir in butter and add greens. Cook until they are wilted, about 2 minutes. 4. Finish with lemon juice and additional salt if desired. Serve immediately.
• 3 bunches radishes with greens attached • 2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper, to taste • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Inspired by Food & Wine magazine
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I N S I D E
THE BALLAD OF GEORGE P. BURDELL 1
BOOKS TO ENGAGE THE WHOLE FAMILY
OUR BIG YELLOW STAR 2
MAKING AN INVESTMENT
ROASTED RADISHES WITH RADISH GREENS 3
AN UNMOVING DEFENSE 4
IN A PLANT’S DEFENSE THE INTERESTING METHODS THEY USE TO FIGHT PREDATORS
Many trees and plants are beginning to bloom, which means that they will soon have to ward off various predators. Most animals have a fight-or-flight response when faced with a dangerous situation, but plants can’t run or physically fight the dangers they face on a daily basis. However, what they lack in claws and teeth, they make up for in chemical and mechanical defenses. EXTERNAL DEFENSES Many of us are familiar with thorns, prickles, and spines, which are all examples of a plant’s physical defense. But many other plants’ physical defenses are not as obvious. Trees protect themselves with thick, hard-to-eat bark, which is comprised of a natural polymer called lignin. Leaves are often coated in a natural wax, which deters most insects and pathogens. Some leaves have trichomes, which are sharp, hair-like features that stab or prick insects’ legs as they try to land or walk on its surface. Trichomes often also release toxins that can cause irritation and inflammation. Some plants contain microscopic, sharp crystals that puncture and inject chemicals into an animal’s mouth once they’ve bitten it. INTERNAL DEFENSES When a plant’s external defense fails, its internal protection takes charge. A plant lacks an immune system; instead, each cell is programmed to defend against any foreign object that comes in contact with it. If an insect or disease attacks the plant,
the plant will thicken its cells walls with waxy plating, close its leaf pores, and kill off sections of itself to preserve the whole plant.
Plants also have unique chemicals that are deadly to insects and microbes, some of which we use today as seasonings, medicine, or drugs. In addition to toxic compounds, plants can release hormones into the air that warn neighboring plants or even attract other insects to kill would-be attackers.
If you’ve decided to plant a garden this year, take some time to find out which natural defenses your plants wield.
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