A Quote to Start Things Off

"Passive Aggressive. It works for my mother, it works for Duolingo" Luis Von Ahn , co-founder of Duolingo from his TED talk, How to make learning as addictive as social media.

Search Me!

Pictures of Memories I

Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

Friday, January 29, 2010

Poems for Children Nowhere Near Old Enough to Vote.

In preparing for our unit on poetry I checked out many volumes from famous poets. Being from Illinois, Carl Sandburg came to mind. Carl Sandburg lived from 1878 to 1967. Poems for Children Nowhere Near Old Enough to Vote is a volume of his work found and published after his death. I like everything about this book: the title, the introduction, Istvan Banyai's clever illustrations, and especially the poems.

The poems are about body parts and common objects. There is simplicity and logic in them. The first four lines of "pencils" gives us a glimpse of this:

Pencils are to hold when you write.
Pencils come loose unless you hold them.
One pencil writes many thousand words, if you know the words.
Pencils too pointed break their points and then laugh at you.

I enjoyed sharing these poems with my kids. I think the benefited from seeing how to look at familiar things from differing perspectives. In another of his poems, Sandburg describes music by saying, it is when your ears like what they hear. If poetry can be described as when your eyes like what you see, I would have to say Poems for Children Nowhere Near Old Enough to Vote is pure poetry.

Next Time: Sickness Disease

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Things This Thursday

Thing 1. Carnival sightings

This weeks Carnival of Home Schooling is at Corn and Oil. I haven't read it all yet, but what I have read is first rate. I especially appreciated Tag your Truant at Home is Where you Start from.

My blog is still the site of the most recent carnival of book review blogs. You can check it out by clicking here.

Thing 2. Sew what?

Emma is taking a machine sewing class at our home school co-op this semester. It is the only course I chose for her. She would have rather taken a drama class offered at the same time. I chose for her because she has shown interest in sewing before, and it is a class that at this point neither Amy and I could teach her. We have supplemented her yen for drama with a park district class on improvisation that takes place in the spring.

It turns out she LOVES the sewing class! She had a little trouble the first week with the sewing machine we borrowed, but we borrowed another one which is working fine.

She sewed this pocket in class. She has been working on a few more at home.

I always try to teach at least one co-op class to one of my kid's grade level and assist in one of the other kids classes. I hit the trifecta this year. I am the assistant in Charlie's gym class, Emma's is taking the second part of my Narnia class, and I am teaching a pre-K class called, "Let's go to the store." This week Lucy and her classmates made a shopping bag. Here is a picture of Emma and Lucy with their projects.

Thing 3. Two Race Charlie

It seems that no matter how full or empty your schedule is that there usually are two "can't miss" events scheduled for the same day or time. Recently, we have been experiencing that phenomena in spades. For example, the sewing class and drama class Emma wanted were two of the classes Emma wanted to take most this semester and they were offered at the exact same time. This is the second year in a row that the Awana closing ceremony and our home school closing ceremony are scheduled on the same day.

We are hyper vigilant when it comes to avoiding scheduling conflicts. I should say that Amy is hyper vigilant when it comes to avoiding scheduling conflicts. Last Fall when we received our schedules for cub scouts and Awana Amy entered them all in our calendar to make sure there were no conflicts. We were glad to see that the Pinewood Derby and the Awana Grand Prix, two similar model car events were scheduled on different weeks in January.

That was until, the Cub Scouts moved their race back a week and then they were both on the same day! Charlie was able to build two different cars and bring his Awana car in early so he could enter both races.

Thing 4: An extra special glimpse at my life.

The first time I was on an airplane was in 1973. I was 9 and we went to visit Washington D.C. I did not get on a plane again until Spring of 1992. I spent the next decade as a fairly frequent flyer. I flew domestically and internationally landing in 8 countries outside of the U.S. The last of which was in July of 2001 to attend my brother's wedding. I have not been on a plane since. It has nothing to do with the events of September 11th of that year. It is just that I have had no occasion to fly since then. Everyone else in the family has flown since then , although only 2 of them remember it. Charlie flies to Florida this year to go to DW with my parents.

Thing 5: Television by the book.

My sister stopped by today and gave me my Christmas present. 2009 not 2010. She gave me the ninth edition of "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows. I already had the 8th edition which carried a description and cast list for every prime time show from 1946 to the 2002/2003 television season. It also includes the prime time schedule, Nielsen ratings, and Emmy winners for each year. In short a TV geeks dream come true. The 8th edition is 1,591 pages long. The new 9th edition checks in at 1,831 pages and goes up to the 2006/2007 season. Chuck is not included in this tome as it premiered in the fall of 2007. If the 10th edition publishes with a 4 year lapse between editions as the 9th did. It should be available sometime in 2011. I'll be making room on my shelf.

Those are my things this Thursday! What things are up with you? Due to a glitch with mr. linky I am not able to accept links today. If you have some things to share just post a link on the comments.

Next Time: Book Review

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Poetry appreciated. Poetry demonstrated. Poetry Lucified.

We have been studying poetry in school for the past few weeks. Today I had Emma blog about two of her favorite poets who coincidentally have written several poems about bunnies. You can see her post by clicking here.

Charlie and I worked for a while to write a poem and finally since many of the poems we have been studying have been accompanied by illustrations. Charlie wrote and illustrated a poem about winter.

I like to ski. Wheeeeee!

Lucy really wanted to write a poem about flowers. So I had her dictate one to me.

Flowers are pretty

They're very nice

I picked them for my Momma

Flowers are beautiful

The pink and purple and red ones

and green ones and black ones and yellows ones

and roses and green ones

and orange ones and . . .

Now, she probably had a few dozen more lines to recite when I interrupted her by saying that's a nice poem let's draw a picture of a flower. Her response: I'm not good at drawing flowers let's draw a horse.

Then she decided that she wanted to draw a unicorn instead of a horse. I want to say that she wanted to draw a unicorn because I had read Shel Silversteins's "The Unicorn" earlier that day. But Lucy's motivations are generally much more random than that. Here is said picture . . .

Those are my six words for today. Head over to Show My Face dot com to play along at home.

Before you do, I want to share a small poem I wrote today inspired by Charlie. I had asked him to write a poem about winter and he was getting frustrated and being silly at the same time. He said something like: Winter winter Winter winter. I don't like winter.

I decided to write a poem from the perspective of a second grader assigned to write a poem about winter and does not want to.

Winter. Winter. Winter. Winter.
Winter is no fun.
Winter. Winter. Winter Winter.
Now my poem's done.
I say it's done
but Dad say no.
Who wants to write
when you can play in the snow?
Sledding, Skiing, snow ball fighting.
Winter's really quite inviting.
It's fun outside and in the home
but do I have to write a poem?!!!
Winter. Winter. Winter. Winter.
Now, my poem's done!

Next Time: Things This Thursday

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Getting Ready for DC

As some of you know, I took over a blog meme this past fall called 3 Things This Thursday. Michelle at Psalm 104:24 originated the meme whose premise was basically simple: On Thursday blog about 3 things and then link to her post. I was a frequent contributor and when she gave me the opportunity to host, I gladly went for it.

The thing is this: Hardly anyone ever participated in it. I have been thinking about scrapping it or begging Michelle to take it back. I have decided instead to tweak it a little.

Going forward I will call it: Things this Thursday.

The reason why the name change is because some people have told me they would participate but can't think of three things. That's okay one thing is fine. Just blog about as many things as you'd like and then link it to my post. If you don't know how to link and still want to participate just leave a comment and tell me the name of your post and blog and I will do the link for you.

Here are my things for this Thursday:

Thing One: Our family is going to Washington DC this spring and we are psyched. I have been to DC several times but not for an extensive time of sight seeing since the 4th grade. The rest of the family has never been. We definitely want to visit the Mall and some of the Smithsonian exhibits. We have contacted our congressman will visit several governmental buildings but it doesn't seem likely that we will get into the White House, which is what we really want to see.

A friend of my sisters, who we have never met has offered to house our whole family for our week there at no cost. What a blessing! We are driving and we hope to visit a few other sites near the DC area as well. As the plans get more fleshed out I will let you know what's going on.

Thing Two: I've been blogging for over a year and there is so much that you don't know about me. Each Thursday I'll try to share something about me that I haven't shared previously. Today's Factoid: My favorite candy bar is Three Musketeers.

Thing Three: Chuck Update. Michelle used to give us Lost updates and maybe she still will and link them here. I don't do lost. I do enjoy Chuck and have blogged about the show a few times. When it was renewed for season 3, I shared my fears that the show would have no choice but to bring Chuck back to the Buy More. I thought this would be a mistake. After watching the 2 hour season premiere and the most recent episode, I must say that I am pleased with the direction the show is going. Yes Chuck is back at Buy More but it sure seems he will be spending less and less time there; and the way they are utilizing Chuck's BIL is, well, awesome!

Thing Four: What's with the music? You ever get a song stuck in your head? Tuesday night Emma, Charlie and I went to visit my SIL. For the entire 45 minutes there and back they sang the words they knew of You Never Let Go. As a result, I've been singing it ever since. I did not know who sang it. As I was writing this post I was listening to the music on Michelle's blog and it came on. So it's going to be on the blog for a few days. Maybe I can get all of you to sing it as well.

Well those are Things for this Thursday I hope you enjoyed them. Just click on Mr. Linky to join in.

Next Time: Poetry

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carnival of Home Schooling: Library Week Edition

This is week 212 in the carnival of home schooling. If this was the carnival of home schooling for dogs it would be week 1,484.

Before I get started with the theme of this week, I thought this would be the best time to talk about the big news story going on right now. I certainly don't mean Leno vs. Conan. Laura presents 21 Ways For Your Children To Help Haitian Earthquake Victims posted at Practical Homeschooling.

Twice a year, our family embarks on library week. It is a week where we go to at least 1 library every day during the week. It serves our family as both a break in the academic year and also an opportunity to discover the various amenities and learning opportunities afforded at these libraries. In past years, we have crossed state lines to see how the other book lives. This year we kept it strictly in Illinois. Interspersed amongst the fine articles that I have assembled for you this week, I will tell you of our library travels during our Christmas break.

Our first home school article comes from Jenn who presents More Homeschooling (Plus Bonus Funny Interlude!) posted at Rational Jenn. She says: "As the needs of my kids (ages 7.5, 4.5, and 1.5) change and grow, things are getting harder to juggle in our homeschool! Yikes! "

Speaking of juggling, Cristina presents Home Spun comic strip #435 posted at Home Spun Juggling.

Not all schooling takes place indoors as Becky Johnston informs us in Animal Tracks posted at Wide Open Campus.

The outdoor learning continues, as Amber presents October Nature Walk posted at The Mommy Earth.

Day 1: St. Charles Public Library. I previously blogged about our trip there but for those who missed it is Emma's report of our time there:

Name of Library: St. Charles Library. St. Charles, IL.
Something I liked: I liked all the Animal Ark Books they had.
One thing I didn't like: They didn't have one of my favorite books, Bunnies in the Bathroom.
A book I read while I was there: 2 Minute Mysteries by Donald Sobol author of Encyclopedia Brown.

Dad asked me to ask the Librarian a question. Lucy said she would, so I followed her with my notebook.
Lucy: Knock Knock
Librarian: Who's There?
Lucy: Emma
Librarian: Emma Who?
Lucy: Emma Kayrene (My Middle Name)

Next up, we have Cindy who wanted to get into the nitty gritty world of the planning of her unit studies. This she has done with gusto in Unit Studies Revisited, an informative Q&A, posted at Our Journey Westward.

A good homeschooling book to add to your personal library is The Socialization Trap by Rick Boyer. Click here for my review. I thought of that book when I received a carnival submission from Molly Cook of Southern Spunk. It seems she wrote this piece in response to having had her fill of ignorance outside of the homeschooling circle. She had heard the socialization word one too many times and decided to set some people straight. Well, you go girl! Here she is with, Don't Go Hatin' On The Homeschoolers.

Molly is not the only one out there confronting stereotypes and misinformation. There seems to be a plethora of education "experts" out there essentially making up their own facts and bending those facts to meet their agenda. To that end, last week's host Alasandra presents Robin L. West takes a potshot at homeschooling posted at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog.

Elena LaVictoire weighs in on the Robin L. West issue with The Double Standard of Robin West - Author of The Harms of Homeschooling posted at My Domestic Church.

Day 2. Our library Journey continued to Lake Zurich, Illinois where we visited the Ela Public Library. Emma and Lucy had a play date with some girls from our church. Things we liked: We could use our library cards there and what we checked out would show up at our regular libraries website. They also had a cool super hero section that Charlie enjoyed.

Sebastian from Percival Blakeney Academy has submitted Egyptian Art Projects for Kids. It is an insightful post rounding up links on ancient Egypt.

Sandra Foyt presents A response to the New York homeschooler arrest case, describing our typical homeschool day, and arguing that there is no such thing as "no-schooling." in Homeschooling, Unschooling, But Not "No-Schooling" posted at On Living by Learning.

e-Mom presents Family Life: Top 100 Books for Kids posted at C h r y s a l i s. This is an excellent list. A great place to get a hold of those books would be your local library.

And speaking of libraries that brings us to day 3.

That's a picture of Charlie and me at the entrance of the Oak Park library. Oak park is a lovely Chicago suburb that actually feels more like downtown than a suburb. No offense to my friend Patti who grew up there, and has fond memories of the previous library building, this one has all the warmth of a bus depot. A children's section that is on tile rather than rugs did not add to that impression. They did have a very good selection of books to choose from. I also taught Charlie how to use a microfilm reader, which he was extremely keen on.

When I visit libraries I spend a lot of time with a kid and a book in my lap. Lapbooking is the subject of our next post, as Lynn presents Lapbooking Ideas posted at Eclectic Education - Homeschool Blogger.

Here is a quick family science experiment submitted by The Family which I give two big thumbs up. It is aptly titled Genetic traits of the thumb and posted at Once Upon a Family.

Michelle Dennis Evans presents an excellent work titled Freedom and Kids posted at Michelle D Evans.

One thing I have noticed about libraries, is that they often have good craft ideas especially around holidays. Libraries aren't the only ones with good holiday ideas. Here are some valentines day articles worth looking at . . .

Shannon Dodds demonstrates with Valentine Craft (sun catcher) posted at Mommyapolis.

HappyCampers presents Valentine's Day Homeschool Ideas posted at Reese's View Of The World.

Day 4

Johnsburg is a small town in Mchenry County in Illinois. It has a population of less than 7,000 people. Yet it boasts one of the finest libraries I have ever been to. For homeschoolers it is a special library. It houses a homeschool resource center with shelves of curriculum and other materials available for checkout. Homeschoolers can check out material for 6 weeks at a time and renew for an additional 6 weeks as long as there are no holds on the material. I am test driving an Abeka spelling book I checked out from there with Emma.

Since socialization gets brought into the home school discussion so often, I have decided to bring it into this week's carnival again. Janine Cate wrote a very insightful article on socialization based on a recent conversation she had. She says it comes down to what socialization means to you. I proudly present It depends on what you value posted at Why Homeschool.

Kathy says Read my review of the first Camp Club Girls book, a fun new book series for your tween girls. You can find Camp Club Girls and the Mystery at Discovery Lake posted at Homeschoolbuzz.com Reviews.

Misty shares a couple of tricks to make multiplying by 9 more fun. Check out (Library Pun Intended) Fun Multiplication Tips and Tricks – 9’s posted at Homeschool Bytes.

Katherine from No Fighting No Biting went out on the first non-frigid Saturday in a long time and took her big kids to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. She says the inspiration was worth the long lines. Read all about it in National Archives.

You know what else has archives? That's right, libraries. Let's get this fun over with and move on to day 5. Amy read on-line that Downers Grove library was having a game day so we decided to end our library week there. There were tunnels and little rooms for the kids to explore. Lucy played on a children's computer while Amy and the kids played games. Their favorite was a dice game called Shut the Box. We liked it so much we ordered one from amazon.

Speaking of Downers, very few downers are more depressing than thinking about the many terrorist acts that have been in the news lately. ChristineMM shares ideas about how to talk to young children and tweens who ask about news stories about terrorist attacks against American civilians. Take a peek at Thoughts about Parenting Kids in Times of Terrorism posted at The Thinking Mother.

We check out all manners of things out from our library. The main 2 staples are books and DVD's. With that in mind, Rachel Lynette presents Comparing the Book to the Movie posted at Minds in Bloom.

Linda Dobson revisits The Animal School saying it's a wonderful classic. It's posted at PARENT AT THE HELM.

Lynn presents 10 Ways Save Money on Homeschooling posted at Lynn's Gather Page. I just want to say that 3 of the 10 ways include using the library. Way to stay on theme Lynn!

Well we did it! We got through library week. 5 days, 5 libraries in 5 different counties. There were several things we did during library week that didn't involve going to the library. I'm sure we ate, shopped, I think we might even have bowled once. I didn't really go into detail about them here because I was focusing on the library part of library week.

In the same way, I received many submissions this week that had nothing to do with homeschooling. Some were fine articles, but I just didn't think they fit here, so I left them out. One exception to that was a fine article from Leah, The Danger of Parenting Books posted at Ingathered. It really described a perspective to parenting that I think is similar to my home school tale on it.
Next week's carnival is being hosted at Corn and Oil. Susan has a post this week entitled Don't burden the innocent. She says The public schools seem to be making attempts in several states to close in on homeschoolers by using truancy as their weapon of choice

Announcement: The library week carnival of homeschooling is closing in 5 lines. Please select from the articles above and then go on with your homeschooling Day. You can submit a post by clicking here.

Next Time: Looking forward to our trip to Washington DC.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book Review Blog Carnival - 35th Edition

This is my first shot at hosting the Book Review Blog Carnival. My special thanks to Clark Bjorke, who runs this fortnightly literary lovefest like a well oiled machine, for giving me a chance to drive the zamboni. I'll try to do him proud.

A quick explanation of format before we commence with the reviews. I have divided each review into 4 components. 1) Title, Author, Reviewer and blog information. 2) A picture of the book being reviewed. 3) The reviewer says, which is a place where I include the remarks the reviewer included with his submission. Not every reviewer included comments. 4) Review Nuggets where I have included a quote from each book review. Also, there were a few literary based submissions that were not exactly book reviews. I include these at the end of my post in a section I call, beyond reviews.


Hold the Roses by Rose Marie reviewed by Rick Sincere at Book Reviews by Rick Sincere

Rick Says: My project for 2010 is to archive all of the book reviews I have written over the past 30 years on a single blog site. This review -- of Rose Marie's memoir -- is a sample I unearthed from 2003, previously published in The Metro Herald.

Review Nugget: Hold the Roses—a chatty memoir by radio, TV, Broadway, and nightclub star Rose Marie—is fascinating but flawed.

Clark Bjorke presents American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by Joan Biskupic posted at I'll Never Forget the Day I Read a Book!

Review Nugget: Outspoken and opinionated, Scalia has not hesitated to "tell people what they don't want to hear." This biography focuses on his most colorful, written opinions and public remarks, of which there are plenty.


KerrieS reviews BLOOD BORN by Kathryn Fox posted at MYSTERIES in PARADISE.

Kerrie says: Australian crime fiction author who is up there with the best. Forensic physician Anya Crichton risks her own life in her search for justice.

Review Nugget: There is no doubt that this is a novel that can hold its own in the world market of this genre.

Clark says: The second in a two book trilogy, The Year of the Flood explores the consequences of climate change, genetic engineering, religious cults and corporate irresponsibility in a future nobody could love.

Review Nugget: Atwood has extrapolated on climate change, genetic engineering, privatization of government functions and corporate irresponsibility and immunity, all trends we can see today, to create the distopian future of The Year of the Flood.

Nicole presents The Swan Thieves, by Elizabeth Kostova posted at Linus's Blanket.

Review Nugget: Kostova’s writing is a reader’s dream. The rich language is descriptive of characters and setting, and I was seamlessly folded into Andrew Marlowe’s quiet life as a psychiatrist and dilettante artist, which is suddenly disturbed by the curiously urgent need to delve so deeply into treating this particular patient.


Diana Hall reviews Marked by Steve Ross at damascusmoments.

Review Nugget: Fast-paced, terrifying… this graphic re-imagination of the gospel of Mark in a contemporary fictional setting is clever and deep.


After The Stroke: My Journey Back to Life by Mark McEwen reviewed by Sparky Bates at Accidental Reads

Review Nugget: Although I have had some personal exposure to friends and family who have experienced relatively minor strokes, reading this book made me acutely aware of how little I really knew.

June Tree presents A Parent's Guide to Wills & Trusts by Don Silver posted at The Digerati Life.

Review Nugget: This book will help you make sense out of what you may feel is a complicated subject. The six page glossary in the back of the book is probably worth the cover price of the book alone, with some of the more complicated terms described in easy-to-understand language.

Viviana Widjaja reviews Learning Early by Dorothy Eidon posted at Resources for Moms and Kids

Review Nugget: This is the parenting book that will give you a complete guide about your child’s learning during the first 5 years, from newborn to preschooler.

Adam presents Interview: Jane White, author of “America, Welcome to the Poorhouse” posted at RabbitFunds.com.

Adam Says: In America, Welcome to the Poorhouse, Jane White sounds a strong warning to the nation’s citizens that change is needed in order to retire with enough in the bank. White uses this book in order to promote specific political changes and bills that she is sponsoring in Congress.

Review Nugget: Although White does an excellent job of raising the right red flags, there are several flaws in the changes proposed in her book. For the most part, I found that her argument lacks a strong understanding of economics as well as a false sense of entitlement.

Jim presents Career Comeback by Lisa Johnson Mandell posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

Review Nugget: I liked the book because it was both practical and realistic. . . . It’s good practical advice from someone who recently went through the job hunt roller-coaster, . . .


Craft Stew reviews Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions by Maxine Anderson posted at Craft Stew.

Craft Stew says: I’m a big fan of technology books written for kids. I first discovered them when I homeschooled my son for 7 years.

Review Nugget: If, like me, you’re a crafter who enjoys bringing a bit of technology into her projects, take a look at Amazing Leonard da Vinci Inventions.


Emily Moser presents The 50 Best Free Online Comic Strips You've Never Heard Of posted at Graphic Design Degrees.

Sandra Lopez At Best Colleges On Line Dot Com presents The Evolution of The Book

Well that wraps up the 35th edition of the Book Review Blog Carnival. Two weeks hence, the show moves on to the capable hands of Deanna Dahlsad. Click here to submit a review.

Next Time: Carnival of Homeschooling: Library Week Edition.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Six Word Saturday

As I wrote earlier this week, I took the week off, for the most part to concentrate on regular old life. Any blogging I did do was in preparation for the blog carnivals I am hosting next week.

Well, I am back and back with my contribution to Six Word Saturday.

Here goes . . .

Six words for blogging. Reviews: four.

I really like Six Word Saturdays at Show my Face.com. It is a challenge to condense your week into six words. I guess that's why I enjoyed The four world film review (FWFR) so much.

It is strikingly similar to Six Word Saturdays but it is relegated to film reviews. Your reviews can be less than 4 words but not more than 5. The idea is you submit these film reviews and then they are either accepted or rejected by the editorial staff at fwfr. Once accepted then your reviews can be voted on by other members if they enjoyed them. From 2005 to 2008 I had 657 reviews approved which is good for 105th all time of fwfr reviewers.

My first review was of the movie Return to Me. (Love grows where transplanted).

I have reviewed films from 3 different centuries: Edison's Kinetoscopic record of a sneeze from 1894 (Lights. Camera. Ahchoo), 1986's Peggy Sue Got Married (Turner ignores time warner), and Crash from 2004 (Six degrees of segregation).

Other reviews I am quite fond of are

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace: First shall be fourth.

Cars - Herbie Fully downloaded.

Legend of Bagger Vance: Golf War Syndrome.

Wizard of Oz: Garland's dream role.

Braveheart: Wallace lethal weapon too.

Emperor's New Groove: Me llama, David Spade.

American President: 1600 (Pennsylvania) First Dates.

Jonah: A Veggietales Movie - Animal, Vegetable, Biblical.

I especially enjoyed the ones where I actually was able to make salient points about the film even while making a pun or two. For example . . .

A River Runs Through It: Redford's Reel - Great Casting.

Breaking Away: Cycling down 'Rocky' road.

I mentioned that I used to like fwfr. I still do. I just kind of grew out of it. Writing 657 film reviews in 3 years will do that to a guy. I recently submitted a few new reviews. One that was just accepted was: The Dark Knight (Knight dark. Joker Darker.)

I will leave you today with four word reviews of my 3 favorite movies of all time.

I'll just say the reviews without the titles. The first person ( who is not my wife.) who can give me the correct title of each film will win a bag of ramen soup.

1. Angel gives Christmas absence.

2. Swampdwelling Muppet becomes star.

3. Brother drowns. Mother frowns.

So those are my six words about four words. To see more Six words click here. For more reviews, albeit book reviews longer than 4 words, come back tomorrow for the Book Review Blog Carnival.

Next Time: Book Review Blog Carnival. Didn't I just say that?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Serious Call For Help.

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog. I urge you to stop over and check out her cat and dog edition. Next Week I am hosting. If you home school I encourage you to submit a post. Especially if you never have before. Submission ends Monday night. But the more time you give me, the better off it will be for all of us.

Speaking of time, this is a busy week for me. I am trying to restore order to a chaotic home school class room, prepare my classes for our home school co-op that starts Monday and prepare 2 blog carnivals that I am hosting next week: The Book Review Carnival on the 17th and the Home School Carnival on the 19th. As a result I will not be posting here again until Saturday.
  • Click here to see the current issue of the Home School Carnival. Click here to submit an article for the issue I am hosting on the 19th.
  • Click here to see the current issue of the Book Review Carnival. Click here to submit an article for the issue I am hosting on the 17th.

Next Time: Six Word Saturday

Friday, January 8, 2010

Six Word Saturday

My six words for today . . .

A brief history of restaurant water.

I remember when I was a kid, we didn't go out to dinner very often, especially to "sit down" places. We went often enough I was at least acquainted with the restaurant culture. You would be brought to your table and there would be a glass of water set at each place.

Now sometime in my 20's water ceased to be set out unsolicited. It is still to this day available in most sit down restaurants at no charge to the patron, it just needs to be requested.

At about the same time that water was becoming an item that needed to be ordered it was also becoming bottled. Now the same water that you get at the water fountain or from the tap at no cost can be purchased. Recently we've found out that tap water is generally safer than bottled water as there are more regulations about how it is produced than bottled water. Not to mention the problem of the proliferation of plastic bottles.

Today, I was at one of those / fast food restaurants with my two oldest kids. I call it a / restaurant because it combines two fast food chains under one roof. I don't want say which two restaurants but let's suffice it to say that the menu was filled with poultry prepared in a method derived from the bluegrass state and pirated seafood items. I ordered milk for the kids and a cup of water for myself. I was charged 10 cents for the water! I have been charged for a cup of water before, but it is usually as a means of getting people not to just get free water never for paying customers. I wonder if this is a harbinger of things to come?

So that's the state of restaurant water from setting it out in advance to putting it on the tab. For other Six words amble over to Show My Face Dot Com

Next Time: Library Week Part II

The Frozenated Awards

First of all I'd like to apologize to anyone who tuned in yesterday expecting the debut of Some Things Thursday. I got busy and never got a chance to do it. I will start it next week I promise.

Today I debut a little thing I called the Frozenated Awards. When I was in college I spent the part of a summer in Mexico. While I was there I saw an advertisement for Icee, the Slurpee wanna-be. It was one of those signs that is in English but you can tell that it was translated to English. Under the picture of the Icee Bear in big bold letters was the word: Frozenated.

I have lived in 1 foreign country and spent significant time (airports don't count) in 6 others. My Frozenated experience wasn't the only time that the intertwining of different cultures or languages have caused hilarious results.

From time to time I will be giving out Frozenated Awards to blog posts that find the humor in intercultural adventures. My inaugural winner are The Curious Experiences of a Family in Beijing.

If you haven't linked to it already this picture says it all . . .

If you see something that is worthy of a Frozenated Award please send me a link and I will seriously consider it.

Next Time: Six Word Saturday

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1 Year Ago Today . . .

The FAQS of Life: My life in Frequently Asked Question Format

Special Blogoversary Edition

Q: Do you know what is special about today?

A: Yes. Today is a special anniversary.
Q: An anniversary of what?

A: It's the 4 year anniversary of date multiplication day. Just 4 years ago on 1-6-06. You see 1 times 6 = 6.

Q: Doesn't that happen quite frequently? Aren't there 4 just this year?

A: Oh, that's right! January 10th, February 5th, May 2nd and October 1st.

Q: Is it maybe a different anniversary?

A: Can't think of any.

Q: Does this ring a bell?

A: Literally, no it does not ring a bell. But figuratively, yes, this here blog is a year old today.

Q: Are you doing anything special to commemorate the day?

A: Yes?

Q: Are we back to that joke again?

A: Yes

Q: What are you doing to commemorate the day?

A: I thought you'd never ask. I have been making changes to the format of the blog over the past few weeks and I am unveiling them today.

Q: What's new?

A: Not much. We had fish today. Don't usually have fish at home. It was quite tasty.

Q: No I mean what's new with the blog?

A: Well first of all, I am starting a new segment where I feature a new blog in the top right corner of my blog.

Q: Cool. What's it called?

A: Featured blog .

Q. Catchy. Who are you featuring now?

A: Cornforth Adventures. It is an excellent blog. I have known the Cornforth's for several years and it is nice to follow someone in cyber life who you know in real life. She has great music on her blog. I'm even listening to it right now. She is also been a consistent commenter and encourager of this blog. Even when we don't see eye to eye she gently states her points without destroying me in the process.

Q: Will you basically be featuring blogs that you already link to?

A: No. I will probably feature all those but I will also be featuring many others.

Q: Has your blog changed a lot over the past year. If so what about it has changed?

A: Yes, it really has evolved. In the first few months I was changing links and music and other things on a weekly basis. It was wearing me out. I did a lot of experimentation over the first few months as well. I really learned my lesson from the NABLOPOMO incident. Blogging is not an end in itself.

Q: Didn't you write about that in the End of blogging?

A: Sure did. Tackled it in Danger: Blogging as well. It is a theme I kept going back to. I constantly need to be reminded to put this blog in it's proper place. Another thing that changed was that the blog often took on a more personal nature than I thought it would when I started it.

Q: What do you think that was due to?

A: It was definitely due to the passing of my Brother last April.

Q: How did blogging affect your grieving process?

A: I think it both helped and hurt. It helped in the sense that I had an outlet to air my feelings. It hurt that it created an idea inside myself that because I blogged about it, I had dealt with it fully. But that's enough about that now. Ask me another question.

Q: Gladly. What have been some of the more surprising aspects of blogging over the past year.

A: I think most surprising is that I have started 2 more blogs and each of my oldest kids have started their own. Lucy can't wait until she can get in on the act.

Q: Isn't she already the act with all her Lucyisms?

A: She sure is.

Q: Do you have any more?

A: This past week she was on her way home from AWANA. She asked Amy if she (AMY) was a Christian and Amy said "yes, why." Lucy told her that she (LUCY) was not a Christian. Amy asked "why not, don't you believe in Jesus?" Lucy said, "Yes, but I'm not a Christian". Amy asked why not? Lucy said, "because I don't want to go to Medieval Times".

Q: Medieval Times! What's That?

A: It's a dinner theatre experience where there is jousting and knights and much merriment.
Apparently Lucy had heard about Jesus being King and tied it together with Medieval Times.

Q: That's quite a story, How do we move on from that?

A: Ask me what I'm doing tomorrow.

Q: Why can't I ask you right now?

A: Aren't I supposed to be handling the jokes?

Q: And shouldn't I be asking the questions?

A: Good point.

Q: What are you doing tomorrow?

A: Eating the leftover fish. Oh! On the blog! I am making a change t0 3 Things This Thursday. From now on I will call it Some Things This Thursday. That way if people only have 1 or two things going on they can still contribute.

Q: Any closing thoughts you'd like to share?

A: I'd like to thank everybody who followed the blog this past year and say I am looking forward to having you along for the ride in the years to come.

Next Time: Some Things Thursday

The Day is Finally Here

I have been anticipating this day for a long time. It is my 1 year blog-o-versary at Home School Dad. Head over there for a celebration.

Today also happens to be the day they announce who is going to Baseball's Hall of Fame via the writer's election process. I have spent the last 7 posts here preparing for today's announcement.

Today I'd like to recap who I would vote for given a ballot, give my predictions for who I think will get in and also some general remarks.

There are many scientific ways to determine who should be in the hall of fame. This year I attempted to develop one of my own. I call it the BILYNM index. What I did was on Christmas Eve took the list of HOF candidates and read them to my BIL Mike. Mike is a writer, a baseball nut (not to be confused with the seasonal 31 flavor's ice cream variety of the same name) and a pretty nice guy.

I asked him to respond yes, no or Maybe to whether the players should be enshrined in Cooperstown. I will admit that I omitted Mike Jackson from the list just because of the double Mike factor.

Here are the results:

Andre Dawson: Y
Bert Blyleven: N
Lee Smith: Y
Jack Morris: M
Tim Raines: N
Mark McGwire: N
Alan Trammell: N
Dave Parker: N
Don Mattingly: N
Harold Baines: N
Roberto Alomar: N
Kevin Appier: N
Ellis Burks: N
Andres Galarraga: N
Pat Hentgen: N
Eric Karros: N
Ray Lankford: N
Barry Larkin: N
Edgar Martinez: N
Fred McGriff: Y
Shane Reynolds: N
David Segui: N
Robin Ventura: N
Todd Zeile: N

Mike's Summation: If Lee Smith doesn't get in, no one should get in.

Speaking of which, the last time that any player on the ballot failed to get the 75% of the vote needed for election was 1996. I think there's a chance that no one will be elected this year.

If I was a 1o year member of the BBWAA I would vote for 7 players this year. Roberto Alomar, Harold Baines, Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Robin Ventura.

I Predict

I think there will be 1 player elected to the Hall this year and I think that player will be Andre Dawson

I think the top 3 vote getters will be Dawson, Roberto Alomar, and Bert Blyleven

Along with Alomar I think 3 other first ballot players are likely to get more than 5% of the vote and stay on for 2011. They are Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff, and Edgar Martinez

So this end my build up to the hall of fame announcements. I will be be back today or tomorrow with an HOF recap.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The New Year in Review

I posted this a few days ago. But I just decided the word I want to get out, might get out well as a half dozen words. So, here is a subtitle for this post, Six Word Saturday Style . . .

I need your book reviews, Please

It may seem a little early in the year to review it. But it is never too early to review some books. On January 17th I will be hosting the 35th edition of the book review blog carnival. The 34th edition is now up at Book Dads. It's just skipping from one Dad to another when I take the helm of the fortnightly carnival later this month. In the mean time I am looking for submissions. If you have reviewed a book on your blog recently and have not submitted it to a previous book review blog carnival edition, now is your chance. I know a lot of my followers review books at their place from time to time, this would be a great time to share with the class. You can submit a post by linking here .

Next Time: 1 year ago today ...

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Official Unofficial Hall of Fame Ballot

For the past number of posts I have been fixated on the BBWAA election that will be announced this Wednesday. In previous posts I have reviewed the players returning to the ballot and the progress they have made over the years. I have also reviewed the players who are appearing on the ballot for the first time this year. The writers are allowed to vote for as many as 10 players on the ballot. In my last post I began to reveal who I would vote for if I was instructed to vote for 10 players. I ended my post at #8 as if I was given a ballot this year I would only vote for 7 players.

Today I will tell you the 7 players I would vote for if I was given the opportunity.

The 7th on my ballot would be Dale Murphy.

Why I voted for Him: There are several things that set apart Murphy from the other players who I did not vote for. Murphy was a back to back NL MVP winner in 1982, 1983. He was also the heart ans soul of the Braves teams of the 1980's Besides the back to MVPS in 1984 and 1985 he led his team in the following 4 categories: Hits,Homers, Runs Batted In, and Batting Average in 1986 he led the braves in all those categories but homers where he was second. One writer explaining in 2001 why he did not support Murphy's hall of fame bid had to admit his amazing run in the 80's and his other worthy achievements but countered with "I can't recall the last time I said to myself 'I miss seeing Dale Murphy play baseball'" 1

The thing is I do miss seeing Murphy play ball. I remember he played with a style that said he enjoyed playing the game that made me enjoy watching him play.

Why he's not higher on my list: He doesn't really stand head and shoulders above the rest of the possible inductees. Murphy was one of them. He was only listed one time in the top 5 of any offensive statistical category among position players on the ballot and that was a fith place showing in career homers. The MVPs and his 80's dominance did get him on my ballot but his inability to standout statistically in the crowd of challengers keep him entrenched in 7th.

If I was limited to 6 votes I would use the 6th for Lee Smith.

Why I voted for him: There are only 5 relief pitchers in the Hall of Fame (Goose Gossage, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, and Dennis Eckersly) Smith has more than 100 saves than any of them. He had 25 or more saves in every season from 1983 to 1995.

Why he's only 6th: The concept of relievers in the Hall took a little time to grow on me. But the recent inclusions of Eckersly, Sutter and Gossage have convinced me of his hall worthiness that being. Perhaps that previous bias helped me make stronger cases for the players in front of him.

Now is the point of my discourse than I am apt to lose all credibility. But before you put your fingers in your ears and started shouting blahcetera, blahcetera, blahcetera, I urge you to hear me out.

If I had only 5 votes I would use my fifth on Robin Ventura.

Why I voted for Him: Let me be clear. I don't think Robin Ventura belongs in the Hall of Fame. I do believe that he merits some consideration. I have noticed there is a bit of local cooking when it comes to hall of fame voting. Certain players only get votes from the reporters who covered the team he was on. I see that as a trust that the local writer has to opening the eyes of the rest of the media. As someone who is a life long fan of Chicago baseball, I do feel that trust even though mine is just a hypothetical one.

I believe that Robin deserves to be part of the conversation for more than just 1 year. Ventura splayed an excellent 3rd base and deserved each of his 6 gold gloves. A fierce competitor with a keen batting eye (5th in walks among this years hopefuls) and a clutch hitter as attributed by his 18 grand slams which ties him for 3rd all time.

Why I didn't vote for him higher: Putting him ahead of Smith and Murphy who have much brighter hall 0f fame prospects than Ventura was foolhardy enough. I can justify it by saying that if I had only 5 votes I would want Robin in more than the other two. As we get to the final 4 on my ballot, I can't bring myself to score Ventura over any of them.

Before I reveal my top 4 I want to say a bit about the list of 12 statistical categories I have been talking about. I made this chart after I decided who I was going to vote for to see if my voting pattern meshed with the player career numbers. The 12 categories are two Bill James Stats: Hall of Fame Monitor and Hall of Fame Standards and then 10 traditional stats: Games, At Bats, Runs, Hits, Home Runs, RBI, Stolen Bases, Walks, Batting Average and Slugging Percentage. I was glad to see that the three of the 4 players I have left to reveal appeared most frequently on those top 5 lists, two 7 times and 1 8 times. I felt that lended a little credibility to my selections.

If I was allowed to vote for 4 players to the Hall of Fame. My 4th vote would be for Roberto Alomar.

Why I voted for him: Alomar seems to me the most Hall of Fame worthy of anyone on the ballot for the first time this year. He had the highest scores of anyone on the ballot in terms of the Hall of Fame Monitor and Hall of Fame Standards metrics. He is second in runs and stolen bases and 3rd in 3 other categories including his career batting average of .300. He was an All Star every year from 1990 to 2001 and won gold glove awards in all but 2 of those seasons.

Why He was not higher: I have Alomar rated ahead of all the other first timers on the ballot. Even though Alomar's accomplishment are stellar it would take an even more special player than him to overtake the 3 returners remaining on my ballot.

If I was told that I only had 3 votes for the Hall of Fame my 3rd vote would be Harold Baines.

Why I voted for Him: While Harold was only listed in the top 5 4 times in the statistical categories referenced above he is on the top of more lists than any other candidate. Baines played more games, got more hits and batted in more runs than anyone else up for consideration this year and He had the second most at bats. Granted those are longevity records and longevity is often dismissed when it comes to the Hall. What can't be dismissed is the quality of effort Baines put out on the field. He was a fan favorite with the White Sox and the Orioles having 3 stints with each team. After his first stint with the White Sox the owner retired his number while he was still playing! Baines missed a game as coach for the White Sox this past year to be honored by the Orioles at a special Harold Baines night.

Why he's not higher: some of the things I said about Edgar Martinez in my last post are true about Harold to a degree. He spent more than 1/2 his career as a Designated Hitter and isn't always one of the first two players you think of in those White Sox teams in the 80's. To be fair though he led the team in both hits and Rbis 4 times between 83-88 and was just 1 RBI behind Ron Kittle from doing it a fifth time. That being said he just doesn't have the numbers to compete with my top two.

If I only had 2 votes for the Hall of Fame my second vote would be for Tim Raines.

Why I voted for Him: If Tim Raines ever makes it to the Hall of Fame which I believe he will, he will have Rickey Henderson to thank for it. In my opinion Hendersons enshrinement last year will force voters to reevaluate Raines who is much like Henderson. Raines had more stolen bases, runs scored and walks than anyone else on the ballot. He appeared on 5 more top 5 lists for a total of 8. Again more than any other player on the ballot.

Why I don't have him higher: Out of respect for the career of who I have # 1.

If there was a rule that you could only vote for 1 player a year for the hall of fame, that player would definitely be Andre Dawson.

Why I have him #1: My best memory of Dawson is in his years with the Cubs in his batting stance with the brick wall behind him at Wrigley field. It is a beautiful memory and to me it resonates baseball. Of all the candidates for the Hall no one is as deserving as Dawson. Of those on the ballot this year he ranked 1st in at bats, second in games and RBI, third in hits and home runs and fourth in stolen bases. I mentioned in phase 1 that Dawson is 1 of 6 players with more than 300 homers and stolen bases. He is one of only 3 players that has 400 + homers and 300 + swiped bags. The other 2 are Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.

So there it is my official unofficial hall of fame ballot. The results of the official balloting will be announced Wednesday. I will check in Wednesday with some final thoughts on the selection process.

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip