A Quote to Start Things Off

“It’s not supposed to be mysterious or anything; I just put a band together and right now I happen to be the only one in it.” Mark Heard regarding his "band" Ideola

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Friday, December 30, 2022

A Poetic Ending to a Semester of Subbing

 






The 2022-2023 school year is my 5th school year as a substitute teacher.  Since the Spring of 2021, I have been mostly working as a long term sub. A long term sub usually replaces a teacher on a leave or fills in a vacancy caused by a teacher's departure.  I have done both.   This means I'm filling in for the same position every day until that teacher returns from their absence  or the vacancy I'm filling in for is staffed.  This year I have been subbing for a special needs classroom since the beginning of the school year.  I have had 2 classes (1 group of 6th graders) and 1 group of 7th graders in one class room.  In addition to teaching 4 subjects on 2 grade levels, I have been preparing lessons, grading papers, , making report cards and basically everything else a "regular" teacher does.  It has been some of the most challenging and most fulfilling work I have ever done.  

The length of most long term sub positions are known in advance.  Generally you know how long, give or  take someone personal, sick or maternity leave is going to be in advance.  Filling an unfilled spot does not usually come with a knowable end date.  My principals were pretty sure they were going to have me for the full school year as in the first 4 months the job was posted a total of zero people applied for it.

When I came back from Thanksgiving break, I was greeted with the news that a teacher had indeed applied and been hired for the position.  It was bittersweet, my students all have various degrees of difficulty adapting to change.  Many of them did not take to the idea well.  I on the other hand, was very glad that a SPED certified teacher would be taking over at the beginning of the next semester at the same time as being saddened that such a wonderful experience was coming to an end.  

In the last 3 weeks of school I worked hard with the students that we would finish well.
In our English Language Arts class I wanted to teach the students some poetry so I found this lesson on Acrostic Poems  from  Youtube  utilizing Brain Pop which is one of my students favorite educational websites. 

 

After the video, I went to our board and "we" created this poem using SCHOOL as our acrostic.

                                                Students and Teachers
                                                Classes and Chaos
                                                How much is 7 times 3?
                                                Old friends and new ones
                                                Open their minds up
                                                Learning begins with me.

The handwriting equivalent


The semester is over.  I have said goodbye to my students and just need to go back next week, log in their final grades and do a few other thing to transition the classroom for the next teacher.  As for me, I was able to get a long term position for the next semester as a building sub.  I'll be going to the school my wife works at but will be most likely in a different classroom each day.  It is what I had hoped to do at the beginning of the school year but I am so glad to have spent August to December where I was.  

Thanks to for Patricia J Franz  
for hosting
the last Poetry Friday of the year.  
My advice is  
check it out 
just by clicking here.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Keith Roller Played With a Full Deck and the Cards He was Dealt.

 My brother Keith was born on this day in 1970.  He passed away in April of 2013 at the age of 38 from a heart attack while in a nursing home in Elgin.  He died a few weeks  before he was scheduled to return home to his wife and kids. 


Today, he would have turned 52.  There is really very little significance to a 52nd birthday, but a few years ago I manufactured a little significance by referring to it as the full deck birthday.  This is because a card deck traditionally has 52 cards.  Today would have been Keith's full deck birthday.

My brother had social, emotional, physical, and mental health challenges on his brief time here,  One could say that the deck was stacked against him.  To judge him for his challenges, as many did,  would be not only unfair but would rob you of knowing one of the kindest, smartest, funniest people you would ever encounter.

In his short life, he graduated college, fell in love, married and fathered 2 children who he showered love on.  While it seems cruel that they hardly remember him, his legacy of kindness, passion, and creativity continues in them. 

I was an older brother to Keith, I was also his youth group leader when he was in high school.  I guess I was something of a model and an example to him.  In many ways he was an example and even a teacher  to me and although his life on earth is over the memories and the lessons continue. 


 


Earlier this year,  I started 2 sonnets with the same line: The time were given is quite brief.  It started as just an exercise,  It became much more than that when the 2nd poem became about Keith.  As today is not only Keith's birthday but also Poetry Friday.  I thought I would share it again here.  


Death of a Brother

14 lines after 13 years


The time we're given  is quite brief
For some, it's much too short
One April morn I got the report
I'd lost my brother Keith

Such news was so beyond belief
That I had no retort
Of snappy comebacks, I'd fallen short
So anguished by my grief

My brother died in a nursing home
At the age of thirty-eight
While he was watching M*A*S*H

13 years later as I write this poem
Though my grief is not as great
My heart still bears the gash

Buffy Silverman is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday.





Monday, October 24, 2022

A song about Middle School

My Friend Allen Levi is one of the most prolific music artists that no one has ever heard. He performs one song called You'll be famous when your dead" I'm not sure that he wants to be or ever will be famous. But if he ever does catch on, his 16 albums on Spotify will keep the public saturated for a while. I had been listening to one song from each of his albums on Spotify for the past 15 days now, so today when I was grading papers after work, I put the only one on Spotify that I hadn't heard a song from yet and listened to it in it's entirety. The album called People in my Town is a kind of a concept album. Levi interviews people in his town (thus the title), writes a song based on the interview and then plays them back to back on the album. Here is the title track from the album that introduces the concept ...


 . In about the middle Allen interviews a middle school teacher who had been deeply effected by his teachers when he was in middle school. Levi then performs a touching song about the dedicated teachers who love on students. When I first heard this album, I kind of glossed over this song as I was not a professional teacher at the time. The song resonates much more with me now as I am a long term substitute in a middle school setting. But I think this song should resonate with anyone who has worked with young people either as a parent, an educator, or any type of yout leader. If these songs or interviews have resonated with you in anyway consider going tot he bandcamp platform and purchasing these songs or perhaps the full album or maybe sample some more of Allen's music.  WHo knows? You might make him famous before he's dead.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Keith Green and Rich Mullins celebrate another posthumous birthday.

In the world of Contemporary Music their are few bigger names than Keith Green and Rich Mullins. Admittedly, there are literally  bigger names as the aforementioned take up only 5 combined syllables and fit comfortably  on the 1/3 of the first line of this text.  Their actual names may be small but their impact on the lives of believers has been great indeed,

Keith Green share many of the same attributes including the same birthday, today, October 21st (Keith in 1953, and Rich in 1955). They were both gifted musicians and lyricists.  They both were outspoken in their faith and counter cultural in their approach to ministry.  They also died very young in vehicular accidents.  

Due to a plane crash in 1982, Keith Green did not live to see his 30th birthday and Mullins who covered a Green song on the 1992 tribute album No Compromise died in a car crash in 1997, just over a month before his 42nd birthday.  


  

Green before his conversion to Christianity was headed to a career as a rock and roll teen sensation.  The below footage is from a guest appearance on the panel show I've got a Secret when he was 11 years old.  After revealing his secret The youngster performs one of the songs he composed.  


     

It is no secret that the music, the vulnerability, and the passion of both Green and Mullins has informed my own journey.  It is fitting that they shared the same birthday , the same passion for Christ and the same method of expressing that passion.  They also share a place in my heart for how their music and ministry still inspires me to this day.

Friday, September 23, 2022

27 years ago today ... Lance Johnson Triples Three Times in Six-Hit Game

Today is my birthday and a few months ago I noticed that one of my White Sox heroes, Lance Johnson, had a 6 hit 3 triple game against the Minnesota Twins on my birthday back in 1995. Here's the footage ...

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Poetry Friday 8/19/2022 Finding Castles Among Ordinary Things

 I am hosting Poetry Friday today for my very first time. I originally said I would wait until Midnight Eastern time (11 P.m. where I live) so that it would truly be Poetry Friday. I have caved and am posting this on Thursday at 11:09 Eastern time as I worked at 2 of my jobs from 6 am to 9 pm (my time)  counting travel time and don't want to stay up any longer than I have to asI am also working the same shifts tomorrow.  Here's what I have for you ...

 Back on June 17th, Rose Cappelli of Imagine the Possibilities shared her amazing poem, Music Lessons for Poetry Friday.

I was not familiar with the form, an etheree, and decided to experiment with it.  An Etheree is a 10-line poem that works it way incrementally from one syllable to 10 syllables adding a beat with every line. At One aspect that I enjoy about creating poetry is the freedom to see the world a little differently than everyone else.  An ability to make a connection, and then see where that connection takes me.   

As I was reading Music Lessons, at Rose's blog, I noticed that right under her poem there was a section embedded in her post stating sponsored content replete with the usual clickbait about insurance rates, medical treatments, and other sundry time wasters.   Among the annoyance, I had a flash of inspiration.  Why not write an etheree about internet ads.  This was the result ...


Sponsored Content



I

Really

Don't care where

Educated

Singles in Elgin

Meet, Nor do I need to

Know the seven worst mistakes

I can make with my retirement.

There is a search bar for a reason,

I am content to find my own content.

6/18/2022


My wife and I have had one car between us for several months now.  We were hopeful that we would be working at the same school this year and only found out a few days before the school year started that there would not be a position for me.  Fortunately my long term substitute skills  are highly sought after and I received an offer to work at a middle school in my wife's district.  While we begin to look for a second vehicle, I have been bicycling nine miles down our bike path (each way) to my new school.


When I bike to work these pictures give you an idea of the view ahead of me.




Granted it's gorgeous but it's also fairly common place. Don't get me wrong I love my commute.  Most days I see at least 2 deer and some pretty good views of the Fox River but for the most part it's just tree after tree with a couple of towns thrown in for good measure.

But there is also this ...









Yes 2 miles from downtown Elgin there is this castle structure that I believe was brought over from England.  Most days I bike right past it often not even seeing it.  

Over the past few years I have found myself in a bit of Poetry Renaissance.  To me poetry has been my way of finding castles among ordinary things and even making ordinary things stick out like castles.  

That's what I have for this week.  Let's see what you can add and find out where the adventure takes us. 

 


As you read through what I'm sure re going to be excellent selections this week. I hope you experience your own Poetry Renaissance.  Next Weeks Poetry Friday will be hosted by Tanita S. Davis  at Fiction Instead of Lies.


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Poetry Friday: Hosting Next Week ,Way Back Machine This Week


Greetings Friday Poetry People.  I just came back from a month volunteering at a camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my family.  It was an amazing time.   One minor drawback was there was very little access to Wi-Fi and such things and I did not get to read many blogposts let alone participate on any Friday Poetry events.

I did get to perform some of my poetry at a crew talent show so that was good. I didn't write any poetry while I was there and am saving the one I was working on before I left for next week so today I am going back to the archives.  

Here is one from 3-11-1993  


Untitled

John Doe rests uneasily

Albeit eternally in the county morgue

Found outside a supermarket

Slumped against the cart return rack

On a different cart now

The contents as generic


Doe, John

Motionless on the table

A poem prepared for publication

The venomous white space atop the page

Leaves the editor no choice

But to mark the work: Untitled


An unnamed man

Alone in a dimly lit parking lot

Breathes his last amid

Unread circulars and candy  wrappers

Leaving behind no glimpse of history

No hint of next of kin to alert


Height and weight can be measured

Eye and hair color observed

Blood type determined

Age only guessed at


The death certificate

Marks the cause:

Natural


Margaret  is hosting this weeks Poetry Friday event at Reflections on the Teche. You can check it out by clicking here.  Today is Margaret's Birthday so you may want to congratulate her on that as well.



Thursday, July 7, 2022

Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book #10: The Stranger in the Woods



Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book #10: The Stranger in the Woods:   

Poetry Friday: The Problem of Good.




 It's Thursday night so we all know that mean's it's time for Poetry Friday.  This week's festival of free verse, carnival of couplets, and symposium of sonnets is being held at Bookseed Studio.


I went through about 1.3 million drafts or so of this poem before I got this far. I was driving my family crazy with all the revisions.  Here is what I came up with ...

The Problem of Good.

I tried feeling good

       But ...

Feeling good fades.


I tried being good

       But ...

Being good is impossible


I tried doing good

Doing good is filling a leaky bucket

One exhausting drop at a time


Then I remembered

God is good.

I can ...

Feel His Goodness

Be His Goodness

Do His Goodness

And...

That's not bad. 


For more Poetry Friday click here.






Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book # 9: Between Heaven & Hell (Plus Next Ten)




Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book # 9: Between Heaven & Hell:   

This was not only my 9th book of my Summer Reading Program but the 35th book I read this year.  This puts me on pace to read 69.39 books by years end.

Next Ten

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
Knowing God - J.I. Packer
Immanuel: Reflections on the life of Christ- Michael Card
Inside the Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Devin Brown
Writing Poetry from tje Inside Out - Sanford Lynne
What to Do on Thursday - Jay Adams
Dorothy L Sayers - A Biography: Death, Dante, and Lord Peter - Colin Duriez
Dreyer's English - Benjamin Dreyer
Great Short Poems - Paul Negri - Editor
The Light of His Presence - Anne Graham Lotz

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Poetry of Music: How Can They Live Without Jesus

 I have really enjoyed my short time as part of the Poetry Friday community.  Up until a month ago or so, I would just occasionally see links to it on some of the blogs I follow.  It wasn't until 4 weeks ago that I started posting there.

I love music, and I have a very eclectic taste in music.  There are many things I enjoy about music, but I think overall I am drawn to the lyrics.  Today's "Poem" is actually lyrics from a song that I think would make excellent poetry.  I think once a month or so, I will share some of these songs here and post them as well to Poetry Friday, which by the way is being hosted this week by Janice at Salt City Verse.

Today's Poem/Song is How Can They Live Without Jesus by the late Keith  Green. 

Before I reveal the lyrics, a few quick comments about them and the writer.  Keith Green was a contemporary Christian musician (CCM)  from the mid-'70s to the late '80s who died in a plane crash in 1982. He was a gifted pianist, singer, and songwriter. 

This song has a very strong and clear Christian message. It is a message that many may take umbrage with.  I don't share it here to be divisive or evangelical.  While I agree with the tone and the message of the song, I share it here because I think it's great poetry. I find it thought-provoking, and at the same time, it is enjoyable.  

How Can They Live Without Jesus 

How can they live without Jesus? 

How can they live without Gods love?

How can they feel so at home down here,

When there's so much more up above?


Throwing away the things that matter,

They hold on to things that don't.

The world has gone crazy, 

But soon maybe,

A lot more are gonna know.


For maybe they don't understand it

Or maybe they just haven't heard

Or maybe we're not doing all we can

Living up to His Holy Word.


'Cause phonies have come 

And wrongs been done

Even killing in Jesus' name

And if you've been burned,

Here's what I've learned:

The Lord's not the one to blame.


For He's just not religion

With steeples and bells 

Or a salesman who will sell you

The things you just want to hear


For His love was such

That he suffered so much

To cause some of us

Just to follow, follow


So many laughing at Jesus

While the funnies thing That He's done

Is love this old stubborn rebellious world

While their hate for him just goes on


And love just like that

Will bring Him back

for the few, He can call his friends

The ones He's found true

Who've made it through

Enduring until the end

The ones He's found true

Who've made it through

Enduring until the end


If you are interested in hearing the song, here is a rendition by the CCM vocal group, Glad.






How can they live without Jesus appears on the Kieth Green album, No Compromise.  


I wrote a poem this week which will have to keep until next Poetry Friday.  For more of this week's, festivities click here.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Down to the Last Strike: A Six Sentence Story

 I am participating today in the Six Sentence Story Thursday Link Up at Girlie on the Edge's blog. 

The basic idea is to write a story consisting of six sentences only.  Each week a word prompt is given to base the story on. This week's prompt was: strike. 

Down to the Last Strike. 

Frank only understood one thing in his life, baseball; everything else was like watching a movie in one unintelligible language with subtitles in another unintelligble language.

Baseball had absorbed his life for too long now: obsessed with it as a kid, endowed with an incredible gift to play his favorite game on a high level, and then lucky enough to get drafted by his favorite team.

His luck and his signing bonus-grubbing wife ran out nearly simultaneously after a career-ending injury before his professional career really even started. 

He stumbled at first but soon, Frank was making the transition from player to scout; until he got the news about his Dad's cancer.

Frank only understood one thing in his life, and that was baseball - everything he knew, his Dad had taught him; the greatest of those lessons was you play the game down to your last strike. 

Frank knew that life wasn't all peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and was now absorbed with something more than baseball: rooting for the home team.  



For more six-sentence stories, click here.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book #7: Little House on the Prairie




Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book #7: Little House on the Prairie:   

What Jim Edmonds Greatest Career Catches has to do with my ADD

My ADD gets in the way of my everyday life but it often leaves a pleasant wake in it's path.  Today, right now in fact,I was getting ready to leave the house on what will be a very busy day. I couldn't find my phone and when I found it it was totally uncharged so I needed to charge it.  I noticed it had earbuds in it that were not working on my phone last night when I was trying to listen to Moby Dick before I went to bed.  So, instead of plugging in the phone and continuing to get ready to leave.  I took the earbuds plus the phone to the computer to check if the earbuds worked on the computer, which they did.

I thought the best way to check it, would be to go to YouTube .  Instead of going to the video I was going to look up, I got distracted by a Jim Edmonds video and began watching the video of his 8 amazing catches.  I liked it so much, I decided to post it here. I also googled Jim Edmonds HOF and found this good article about his qualifications to be voted in by the veteran's committee.  I was right about to go back in my archives and see  if I voted for him on my mock ballot when he was eligible, when my wife walked by and asked if I found my phone and then reminded me it still needed to be charged.  I'm going to go back now to my busy day, which I just made a little busier for myself. Thanks ADD!.

When I post this in a few days, the today referenced at the top of this (6/24/2022) will actually be in the past.  How long in the past? Only my ADD can say for sure.  For now: enjoy this video of great Edmonds catches that my ADD left in it's wake. 



Thursday, June 23, 2022

Poetry Friday: For The First Time



I hope you are not confused by the title of this post.  It is simply the name of the weekly blogging event  I am participating in, and the title of my poem which will appear therein. 

I did not mean to imply that I was participating in Poetry Friday for the first time.  This, in fact, is my 4th appearance in as many weeks.  Prior to that, I was an irregular reader of some of the entries through links to some of the other poetry blogs I follow.  My blog is not a poetry blog as such, it is more a mixed bag of miscellany in the shape of a blog. It is true that I am certainly on a poetry kick these days. While this is not the first time I have posted on Poetry Friday, this is the first poem I have written specifically with this blogging event in mind. 

I really enjoy these blogging events.  Back when I was homeschooling my kids, and this blog was called Home School Dad, I participated in weekly blogging events called Three Things Thursday, Works for me Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, and my favorite the Carnival of Homeschooling.  Some of my favorite posts in my 13 + years of blogging were when I hosted the aforementioned carnival.

In a few months, I will be hosting one of the Poetry Friday's which I am very excited about and have already begun drafting.  One thing I will put an end to, at least for the week I host it, is this whole Poetry Friday on a Thursday thing.  This is very typical of all the blogging events I've ever participated in.  If you want to be one of the first posts on the Linky list, and who doesn't?, you need to post the day before.  Now I must ask you my fellow existentialists, is it really Poetry Friday when you post it on Pre-Poetry Thursday? 

Therefore, When I host in August, my post will drop at 11 p.m central time on Thursday Night.  That's because it will be Friday in New York City and if that's good enough for New Year's Rocking Eve it's good enough for me.  

I believe that's more than enough pre-amble/rant.  Here is my poem for the week ...

 For The First Time

Meeting someone

Is like

Walking

Into the middle

Of two movies


They walk into yours

You walk into theirs


You both walk into

What could be

The pivotal scene

Of your lives

Poetry Friday is being hosted this week at Reading to the Core


 


Monday, June 20, 2022

Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book #5: The Great Gatsby



Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book #5: The Great Gatsby:

"A Song About Baseball"



I saw this on Bob Bennet's website just about 30 minutes too late for Father's day.  I worked Father's Day at a K.C. COugars game selling concessions.  Kids were playing catch with their Dads.  I watched them do it and remembered playing catch on that field with my son just a few years ago.  

I really enjoyed this new look at one of my favorite songs.



Thursday, June 16, 2022

I Can't Skip

 It's Poetry Friday again and this is my 3rd straight week participating.  Before I share today's poem I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words about The time we're given experiment.  I just thought it would be interesting to start 2 poems with the same line, I had no idea what would come from it.

We've been doing some Spring cleaning around these parts and a few weeks ago my wife and daughter found one of my old college writing assignments. It was for a non-fiction creative writing class which I may put on the blog later.  On the back of one of the pages, I scribbled a poem.


I Can't Skip.

I can't skip.
Don't ask me to
I can't,
I won't.
I don't
Skip ...

I'd like to skip
It's fun,
It's free.
It's me,
It's who I want to be.

But I can't.
So, I won't,
And I don't.
Skip  ...

"Can't you skip?"
"No."
"Everybody can skip."
I can't.


This week's Poetry Friday is being hosted by Michelle Kogan.



Wednesday, June 15, 2022

I have 100 posts in draft status.

 Blog Insider: An unsolicited and superfluous look beyond the minutiae 

Today's Episode: Draft Status 

Back when I started blogging getting to your hundredth post was kind of a big deal.  People would celebrate the accomplishment in different ways.  When I got there I made a list of 100 people I knew who who influenced me.   At 500 I wrote a parody to I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles). Since I consolidated all my blogs here I have been in the process of consolidating all posts from all those blogs here as well.  Because of that I'm not quite sure what number post I'm at exactly but I am nearing 1,300 for the ones that have been written or transferred here.  

Earlier this week, I discovered a different century mark.  I noticed that I have 100 posts here in this blog that are in draft status.  That means they are not currently accessible to you. the reader. I was astounded that it was that many.  

When I consolidated the 2 other blogger blogs here it also brought over anything in draft status from those blogs.


The most recent of my posts in draft status was from May 26th.  Over the past 3 years I have had  35 more identical posts/  They have no title and no content whatsoever.  I don't think I was aware that i was leaving phantom drafts 

The oldest of my drafts is originally from my sports blog.   It is from January 10, 2012 (more than 10 years ago!) and entitled A thought on Harold Baines and the HOF.  It was written right after Baines was removed from the HOF ballot by failing to received more than 5% of the writer's vote.  Written is too strong of a word as the only thing written was the title of the post.  Baines was eventually voted into the HOF on the veteran's ballot in 2019.  So since the motivation for my post (expressing my opinion that Baines is HOF material) has been for all intents and purposes been achieved there is really no reason to keep it in draft status.  

The most recent of my posts in draft status was from May 26th.  Over the past 3 years I have had  35 more identical posts/  They have no title and no content whatsoever.  I don't think I was aware that i was leaving phantom drafts.  That's more than 1/3 of the 100 drafts and those will be easy to delete. There are other posts like the Harold Baines post that are title only with no content. 

The remaining posts  are basically in the following categories. 

* You Tube videos.  

I post quite a few you tube vidoes straight to my blog.  Since I have had in the past more than one blogger blog at a time, when I put those videos onto my blog I get a screen shot like the one below.  


If I accidentally put the video in the wrong blog it usually gets trapped in draft staus in that blog without being immediately aware about it.

* Consolidation

When I moved my sports blog and vlog to this one, I also brought whatever blogs I had in draft status with me, like the aforementioned Harold Baines post.

* No longer relevant, No longer interested, could not do it justice

These are actually 3 very similar situations.  In each case I start a post and put it aside to finish.  By the time I get back to them they are not worth finishing for one (or more) of the above reasons.

* Work in progress

After I have finished this post, this should be the only category of posts in draft status that remain.  These are posts that I am either still working on or do not want to give up completely on.

* Ready to publish/overlooked.  

There are a few posts that are in draft status by mistake.  When I find those I go ahead and put them into the blog as was originally intended.

100 posts in draft status is not an achievement I ever anticipated achieving.  Now that I'm finished achieving it, I'm going to spend a few minutes behind the scenes and unachieve it.  

 



Tuesday, June 14, 2022

More Than a Song: Bob Bennett

Yesterday, I was cleaning out some junk from my room and decided to put on some music while doing so. I chose a Randy Stonehill You tube video, that I had previously shared here.


The video is from a series called More than a Song which is part concert and part interview.  After the Stonehill segment had ended I found there was another artist form my big 5. Bob Bennet, who was also in an episode.  I liked it and thought I'd share it here as well
 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book #4: Whose Body? (Plus Next 10)




Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book #4: Whose Body?:   

This was not only my 4th book of Summer Reading but my 30th book of the year. This puts me on pace to read 67.17 by year's end.  My last 5 books read were Bury The Lead by David Rosenfelt and the first 4 books of my summer reading lists including this one.

Next Ten

Moby Dick - Herman Melville

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

Knowing God - J.I. Packer

Between Heaven & Hell - Peter Kreeft

Little House on The Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Immanuel: Reflections on the Life of Christ - Michael Card
 
Inside the Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Devin Brown

Writing Poetry from the Inside Out - Sanford Lynne

What to do on Thursday - Jay Adams

The Collected Short Stories of Louis Lamour - Vol I


 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Death of a Brother: 14 lines after 13 years

 I am participating in Poetry Friday for the 2nd week in a row.  Last week I contributed this sonnet  and mentioned I had written a 2nd sonnet with the exact same first line

One of the many differences between this sonnet and last week's is that today's is an Italian sonnet and the first one was an Elizabethan sonnet.  Each one has 14 lines but the rhyme scheme varies.  Today's sonnet has the rhyme scheme ABBA ABBA CDE CDE.

Death of a Brother

14 lines after 13 years


The time we're given  is quite brief
For some, it's much too short
One April morn I got the report
I'd lost my brother Keith

Such news was so beyond belief
That I had no retort
Of snappy comebacks, I'd fallen short
So anguished by my grief

My brother died in a nursing home
At the age of thirty-eight
While he was watching M*A*S*H

13 years later as I write this poem
Though my grief is not as great
My heart still bears the gash

As I mentioned last week, in my opinion, this is the lesser of the two sonnets.  Maybe I feel that way because it's so personal.  

Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry week, click here to see more.  

Made To Fly (Original Song)

I just sent a letter to Allen Levi. If you read this blog you know he is a singer-songwriter who lives near the Alabama Georgia border.  In the letter, I told him that my favorite song of  his is House of Mercy from his album Rivertown.  (You can check it out at Bandcamp by clicking here.  Or listen to it on Spotify by clicking here.)

After I sent out that letter I realized that I had set up this song to play today.  It reminded me that almost every song of Allen's is among my favorites.  


Friday, June 3, 2022

To Live Each Day

As part of my summer reading I've been reading a book about writing poetry.  I enjoy writing poetry and learning about different poetry forms.  This week I decided to write a an Elizabethan sonnet and a Petrarchan sonnet that both started with the same line.  

I am sharing the Elizabethan today as I think it is the better of two and will share the Petrarchan next week.

Both types of sonnets have 14 lines.  The rhyme scheme for the Elizabethan is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.  Karen is hosting Poetry Friday this week.  So I am linking it there as well.

To Live Each Day

                                                                      The time we're given is quite brief
                                                                      Our days are of finite amount
                                                                      Our object than should be in chief
                                                                      To live each day and make it count,

                                                                       Each person is a thing of beauty
                                                                       The Psalmist says wonderfully made
                                                                       I think it then should be our duty
                                                                       To live each day that work displayed

                                                                        Each day we contend with the urgent
                                                                        The important may be left behind
                                                                        We need to stay still and observant
                                                                        To live each day with peace of mind

                                                                        To live each day as we are able
                                                                        To live our lives - strong, good and stable. 

For more Poetry Friday click here.


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book # 1: God's Forgetful Pilgrims

I started a new blog today.  I promised myself I was done starting blogs.  However, like any good addict I've become an expert at explaining my actions.  The Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog is actually an extension of this blog. This past Sunday I started my 100 days of Summer Reading Program.  Yesterday I finished my first book during the program.  My plan is to write a post at the Summer Reading Blog after each book I finish and then publish a link to that post here.  

Leap of Dave Summer Reading Blog: Book # 1: God's Forgetful Pilgrims:  


 At the end of the Summer I will add a page to this blog with a link to all the books I finished this Summer.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Family Camp: These "guys" should have stuck to skits.

Even though you can't tell by the weather yet, I am on my Summer break from substitute teaching.  Monday was my last day until August.  This summer besides working  a local movie theatre  and the Kane Cougars baseball team as a concessionist I will also be volunteering for a month with my family at a camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  

One of the perks of working at a movie theatre is free movies for me and my family.  Last weekend I noticed a new movies coming in called Family Camp and I recognized the people on the poster.  At the bottom of the poster it said it was a Skit Guys production.



I have seen many skit guys skits first as a volunteer at my church youth group and some of them in Sunday morning services.  Here is a good example of their work.


With the prospect of spending a month volunteering at a camp which hosts family camps and because of my familiarity with the Skit Guys and because of my ability to watch free movies at my theatre I took my daughter to watch Family Camp.
As you can tell by the title of this post, I was not a fan of the movie.  I may have walked into the film for free, but I walked out feeling like I had spent too much.

As my daughter pointed out there wasn't much of a Christian message to this film.  Yes we laughed at times but  there wasn't much to the plot and what there was to the plot was recycled from so many movies before. This was especially disappointing as the Skit Guys skits are original, humorous and imbued with a Christian message.  


 In 1979 , the summer before I started high school,  Bill Murray's first movie Meatballs came out. This was the story of a Summer camp and Murray played the head counselor.  In my opinion, it is a very funny movie but a little raunchy.  In the Summer of 1986 I worked as a counselor at a Christian Camp.  When I applied for the position I wrote about how the movie Meatballs was an inspiration to work at the camp.  I referenced the relationship between Murray and Chris Makepeace who played a camper and how Murrays character  invested time with Makepeace's character to bring out the best in him.  

The fact that there  was more of a  believable transformative narrative in Meatballs which is basically a PG Animal House in a camp rather than college setting than in a Christian film is deeply disappointing.  I think the probability of people like me enjoying Family Camp  is cloudy with no chance of Meatballs,

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Let's see how you feel in 30 years.

30 years ago today Jay Leno replaced Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.


  
 

After an applause laden reaction to his first monologue he quipped Let's see how you feel in 30 years. 

Today I'm going to take him up on that offer.   

Recently Jay  started hosting a remake of You Bet Your Life, the classic 1950's game show hosted by Groucho Marx.  I have not watched the show but if the  majority of the first page of reviews at it's imdb page are to be believed it is not his finest work.

Leno was the 4th and 6th host of the tonight show replacing Johnny Carson in 1992.  Carson took over the show from Jack Paar in 1962.  The 30 year remark was an homage to Carson's longevity.  Leno was not Carson's pick to replace him.  He wanted fellow Midwesterner David Letterman who had the time slot after him to have that honor.  Leno had been a substitute host for Carson on Tonight for over 5 years before replacing him.  

Recently Jay  started hosting a remake of You Bet Your Life, the classic 1950's game show hosted by Groucho Marx.  I have not watched the show but if the  majority of the first page of reviews at it's imdb page are to be believed it is not his finest work.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Last 5 Next 10: Summer Reading Preview Edition

 

I like to apportion 100 days of each year for summer reading.  These 100 days generally fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.  This year the 100 days start on Sunday May 29th, the day before Memorial Day and end on Labor Day on September 5, 2022. As I mentioned in Moby Dick: My White Whale my only real goal for these 100 days is to finish listening to Moby Dick.  I always read at least 10 books during the Summer and expect I'll get at least that many again.


LAST FIVE



First Degree - David Rosenfelt
Listened to on Hoopla

4/28/2022


Until Tuesday - Luis Carlos Montalvan
Borrowed from Library - Read


5/1/2022


The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis
Listened to Via Hoopla

5/1/22


An American Marriage - Tayari Jones
Borrowed from library. Read

5/5/22


Neal Cotts: The Lefty Who Would Not Quit - Jim Pransky
Own - Gift from boss - Read
5/20/22

NEXT TEN
 










Moby Dick - Herman Melville

God's Forgetful Pilgrims - Michael Griffiths

The Case For Easter - Lee Strobel

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

Immanuel: Reflections on the Life of Christ- Michael Card

Between Heaven & Hell - Peter Kreeft

Bury The Lead - David Rosenfelt 

Little House on the Prairie  - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Inside The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Devin Brown

The Collected Short Stories of Louis Lamour - Vol I

I finished book #20 on 4/18 and finished book #25 on May 20th.  5 books in 32 days is not great but it is a pace to finish 57 books in a year.  Based on my rate since January 1st I am on pace to read 65 books this year.  I imagine with a strong effort this summer those projections will increase.  


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Moby Dick: My White Whale

 White Whale - Something that someone pursues obsessively with little chance of success.

In 1993, when I was teaching English Literature while living in Russia I taught the first chapter of Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  I had never read Moby Dick before and was only provided multiple copies of the first chapter.  The chapter contains probably the best first paragraph of a novel I have ever read.  The first sentence, Call me Ishamael is highly regarded as one of the best opening sentences ever written.  It is not, however, my favorite opening sentence.  That distinction belongs to the first sentence of C.S. Lewis's voyage of the Dawn Treader, "There once was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.".

I have asked Dave from Dave out Loud to come in from out of  the loud and read the first paragraph for us.




I hope you can see how amazing of a first paragraph this really is.  The entire first chapter made me want to read the entire book.  This is when the troubles began.

What I mean by troubles is that I was in Russia almost 30 years ago and I still haven't finished the book. 

I read quite a lot while I was in Russia, but I never got the opportunity to read Moby Dick in it's entirety while there.  A few years after I returned from Russia I picked up a paperback copy of Moby Dick at this relatively new bookstore called Barnes & Noble.  I think it sat on a shelf for a few more years before I actually began to attempt to read it. 

 Moby Dick is a brilliantly written book but it seems to be a very difficult book to read.  Moby Dick is approximately 209,000 words not the worlds largest novel by any means but it won't ever be confused with short.  The Great Gatsby by comparison is approximately 47,000 words long , To Kill A Mockingbird is just in excess of 100,000,  and the aforementioned Dawn Treader is just shy of 53,000 words.  Add those 3 together and Moby Dick is almost 10,000 words longer.  

Also after the first paragraph the book became much more cumbersome for me to read.

Here is a list I pulled from Quora of 10 reasons why this is a difficult book to read:

  1. The book is a long read at 822 pages. This does not make it the longest novel ever written but it's certainly a long swim.
  2. The format of the novel is odd. It ranges from traditional story telling to essays on the different species of whales to philosophy.
  3. Herman Melville has a big vocabularly. If your preparing for the GRE Moby Dick is good preperation for the vocabularly section of the test.
  4. Melville draws from many classics of western civilization. If you have not read the Bible, Shakespeare, or Plato his ideas will go right over your head.
  5. Moby Dick was written a couple hundred years ago. The reader may need to do historical research to better understand the lives of sailors in that time period.
  6. Moby Dick is not only a story about whale hunting. The whole back drop of the story is whale hunting. Why did they hunt whales? They needed whale oil for their lamps and cooking. This is a story about energy and what lengths we will go to provide society with it. I think this goes over many readers heads.
  7. Moby Dick is a dense book. It must be chewed on and thought about. It's meaning and themes don't explain themselves.
  8. Moby Dick is about life experiences that many of us can't relate to. Most readers don't understand the terror of the ocean, the hard work of harvesting energy, and the bitter loneliness of being away from friends and family for a long time. Rest assured Moby Dick captures real human experiences.
  9. The book contains lots of symbols and metaphors and they don't easily explain themselves.
  10. The whole. Once you add all nine of these things together into one book many people may decide Moby Dick is not a voyage worth taking. Rest assured it is. It will grow you as a person and give a perspective on life that is hard to find anywhere else. You will be glad when you finish this whale sized book.
Just a quick note about reason 5.  Moby Dick is not a couple hundred years old.  It is 161 years old and will not be a couple hundred years old until I am 96 years old.  But I concede the point, it is an old book.  

Over the years I have made several attempts to read Moby Dick and have never gotten very far in my attempts.  A couple years ago, I changed my strategy about reading Moby Dick and borrowed an audiocopy of the book on Hoopla from my library and have been listening to it on and off since then.  I did this mostly between April 2020 and April 2021 when I was working overnights at a local grocery store and would listen to the book for 1/2 hour or so before going to bed after my shift.  

Through this method I have gotten farther through it than I ever did reading it.  I got about 40 % through it this way. At some point I stopped reading it thinking I would get back to it eventually and didn't really until this Spring.  

Every year during the summer months, specifically the100 or so day period between Memorial Day and Labor Day I embark on a personal Summer reading program.  I tend to spend more time reading during that time  and try to read at least 10 books during that period secretly hoping to read more like 20 to 25.

This year my only goal is to finish one book and that book of course is Moby Dick.  I have finished 42 chapters and am about 1/3 trough the book.  I  am sure I will read more books than just Moby Dick this summer but I'll be much more satisfied to finish this white whale than if I read 25 other ones and this one still tasked me.