I have been playing around with different banners and this one struck my fancy.
I am meditating about thinking about possibly working on my WIP, my 4th novel, which I know should’ve been finished by now.
One of these days Alice…Add a Comment
I have been playing around with different banners and this one struck my fancy.
I am meditating about thinking about possibly working on my WIP, my 4th novel, which I know should’ve been finished by now.
One of these days Alice…Add a Comment
There was a blurb in the local paper about auditioning for “Wheel of Fortune,” cause yes, they were coming to town! So, we went to the Casino where the auditions were being held. What a hoot! We arrived right on time but the roped off area was empty! Oh no! Where was everybody? Well, we were handed the application forms and told to go ahead and go inside. Everyone was already in the ballroom. The energy was palpable. The room was packed! My husband chose to sit in the back, but I went straight down front and found one empty seat in the second row. I glanced around and saw some friends, which was cool. Our little town had some action in town and everyone wanted to be there!
We filled out the application and they picked names out of a barrel and people went up small groups at a time. It was crazy. It was wild. It was loud!
We didn’t get called, but this was definitely one of the wackier things I did this summer!Add a Comment
Passing By by Yona Tepper, illustrated by Gil-Ly Alon Curiel
Yael likes to watch the street outside her house from her balcony. She can see dogs walk by, a cat hiding in the flowerbed, a car driving past and honking its horn, a man riding a bike, a tractor with a trailer filled with brush, and a bird. Best of all, she sees her father coming!
The book has a nice rhythm and repetition both before each thing on the street appears and after it leaves Yael’s sight. Tepper’s prose has a quiet feel that really allows readers to feel a sense of ease and leisure that is inherent in the book. The art depicts life in Israel which is both similar to a street in America and yet has quite a different feel. Curiel’s art is simple and very child-friendly. The book has a nice mix of close-up images and panoramas of the area of Yael’s home.
Ideal for toddlers who will enjoy the repetition of the book and identifying the sounds and animals. Appropriate for ages 2-5.
Reviewed from copy received from publisher.Add a Comment
NOTE TO SELF: THIS MAN WAS ELECTED TO SERVE HIS CONSTITUENTS?
"It is time that the dyslexia industry was killed off and we recognised that there are well-known methods for teaching everybody to read and write."
Graham Stringer MP
Nobody said that politicians had to be smart to get elected. Case in point, a British Labor Member of Parliment who commented in an online column that dyslexia was a myth perpetrated by educators to cover up poor teaching.
I'm sure those who are in education must have been in shock to read this statement.
The politician, one Graham Stringer, described the condition as "cruel fiction" and should be consigned to the "dustbin of history." Furthermore, he says he believes that many children can't read or write because - well - merely the wrong teaching methods are used.
Silly teachers! All those years of university to acquire knowledge and know-how to pass on to young, fertile minds only to hear from a non-teacher that they have been using the wrong methods. It's so...logical! Were that only the case...Responding to the politician's conclusion, Charity Dyslexia Action said that dyslexia was real to the six million people in the UK who were affected by the condition.
Just a reminder, for those of you that signed up and will be joining Ruth and I (and probably 50,000 other people), that the Stories in Hand Class begins tomorrow. Make sure you have a 6″ x 6″ binder for the project. (Ruth kindly sent me one since this size binder was sold [...]Add a Comment
NOTE TO SELF: A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY...SOME PEOPLE SEE SUBVERSIVE PLOTS EVERYWHERE, ESPECIALLY IN LOUDON
Given the fact that this is a place where there is reading matter covering a wide variety of subjects, one parent whose sensitivities were obviously jarred by the prospect of gay penguin parenting, has managed to get a book pulled from the library shelves. Some people see subversive plots at every turn, even within the pages of a children's book.
A children's book about two male penguins that hatch and parent a chick was pulled from library shelves in Loudoun County elementary schools this month after a parent complained that it promoted a gay agenda.
The decision by Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III led many parents and gay rights advocates to rush to the penguins' defence. Many say that the school system should not have allowed one complaint to limit children's literary choices. Some are calling for an overhaul of the book review policy. Besides, many say, what could be wrong with a book about penguins?
"The book is based on a true story . . . of what happens in the animal kingdom," said David Weintraub, director of Equality Loudoun, a gay rights organization. "It's about the joy of being part of a family. These penguins love each other. They take care of each other. The book, "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, draws on the real-life story of Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in New York. It also appears to make a point about tolerance of alternative families.
As the book says, Roy and Silo were "a little bit different" than the boy and girl penguins who noticed each other and became couples. "Wherever Roy went, Silo went too." After they tried to hatch an egg-shaped rock together, a zookeeper gave them a fertilized egg to nurture. Experts say male chinstraps typically share incubation duties with females.The 2005 book, written with simple words and colorful pictures and dedicated "to penguin lovers everywhere," topped the American Library Association's list of banned or challenged books in 2006. Parents challenged the book in Shiloh, Ill., and Charlotte. Administrators in Charlotte initially yanked the book but later restored it, according to news reports.
Read the whole story here:
Extra Information regarding penguins found on the Sea World site: http://www.seaworld.org/infobooks/Penguins/hatching.html:
"Care of the chicks
1 . Chicks require attentive parents for survival. Both parents feed the chick regurgitated food. Adults recognize and feed only their own chicks. Parents are able to identify their young by their chick's distinctive call (Marchant, 1990; Simpson, 1976).
2. Male emperor penguins exhibit a feature unique among penguins. If the chick hatches before the female returns, the male, despite his fasting, is able to produce and secrete a curdlike substance from his esophagus to feed the chick (Marchant, 1990; del Hoyo, et al., 1992) allowing for survival and growth for up to two weeks (Pr6vost and Vilter, 1963-1 Stonehouse, 1975).
NOTE TO SELF: ONE GENERATION PLANTS THE TREES; ANOTHER GETS THE SHADE
Seems at times that there is a plethora of negative reports and stories focusing on errant youth. It's therefore refreshing to come across a "feel good" story that gives one hope for the future of mankind. It's the kind of story that makes you smile.
Young Jack Davis, aged 11, was perturbed upon learning that Florida restos throw out food due to legal restraints should anyone eating the food become ill or develop food poisoning, since he felt it could be recycled and given to homeless people. He had visited a homeless shelter on school field trips and worried about people going hungry.
Jack's idea was to pass a law that would give restaurant owners' some protection from lawsuits. He got his dad to float the idea to some Florida legislators.
It now seems certain that Jack's idea will become a law.
"If you take away the reason restaurants will not give food -- they will," he said. "And it's kind of it's a win-win situation 'cause the restaurants get to do something good."
When Jack's bill started gaining momentum, he was suddenly big news in Miami.
"When I go to school, people were chanting my name because they saw me on the cover of the Miami Herald," Jack said. "Over the whole day, they were asking me what does the law say. And in some of my classes they clapped as I walked in. If you think there's a problem in the world," he said, "you don't wait for other people to fix it. You have to try to fix it yourself."
Amen to that!
See a photo of Jack here: http://abcnews.go.com/WN/PersonOfWeek/story?id=4123327&page=1
NOTE TO SELF: AS A *WORDSMITH*, *IT IS WHAT IT IS* USING CERTAIN WORDS OR PHRASES
Go figure that someone would create a list subscribing that certain words and phrases are useless. We're talking words that most of us have used over time and now they're - Lake Superior State University - suggests that we find others.
In all there are 19 words or phrases that appear in its List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.
The school in Michigan's Upper Peninsula released its 33rd list Monday, selecting from about 2,000 nominations. This year's list derives from more than 2,000 nominations received through the university's website, www.lssu.edu/banished. Word-watchers target pet peeves from everyday speech, as well as from the news, education, technology, advertising, politics, sports and more. A committee makes a final cut in late December. The list is released on New Year's Day.
Here is the 2008 list:
BACK IN THE DAY
*IT IS WHAT IT IS
UNDER THE BUS
If you surf on to the university's site here: http://www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php there's a list of who nominated the words i.e. ordinary people who claim they have a pet peeve against one of the above-mentioned words/phrases, and the reasons or rationale behind their distaste for them.
Looking them over can't say that any of them particularly upset me. For me the mere concept of accepting words nominated by...anybody for no good reason, is ludicrous and a reason not to take this seriously. Strikes me that the university is using their annual listing as a ploy to attract potential students.
NOTE TO SELF: USE GIFT CARD
There used to be a time when store clerks and shoppers dreaded the day after Christmas in anticipation of the post-holiday return madness. The endless line-ups to bring back items that were the wrong size, bad color selection, vile scent or mis-guessed sizes appear to be on the wane with the growing popularity of gift cards.
Surveys according to America's Research Group, which polls shoppers for retailers, indicate that significantly fewer shoppers would be returning gifts this year. Ten years ago, the group found, 38 percent of consumers said they had an unwanted gift to return after Christmas. Five years ago, that number was 33 percent; this year, it is 14 percent.
The National Retail Federation surveyed shoppers and found that 64.3 percent didn’t return anything last holiday season, up from 62.4 percent in 2005.
When you think about it a gift card makes a lot of sense since it allows the recipient a good span of time to reflect upon what they really want or need. However, the trick is to remember that you received one and to check on the expiry date. Also, you can't re-gift a gift card!
Read the rest of the story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/27/business/27returns.html
What gifts did you return this year?
NOTE TO SELF: EDUCATORS SHOULD STICK TO...EDUCATION
Here we go again. There used to be a time when schools and educators relegated themselves to expanding student's knowledge. It appears that they're also getting involved in fashion choices.
School officials at Lincoln Middle School in Meridien, Conn. have banned hooded sweatshirts, citing that they violate the dress code policy. While the district's Board of Education dress code policy does not specifically ban this piece of clothing, it does now allow head gear, which presumably includes sweat shirt hoods.
"The hooded sweaters, and some of the hooded shirts that are out, all those are excluded. If you're in the stores shopping, that's all there is -- everything is hooded," said parent Cheryl Tomassetti.
School officials said they decided to ban the shirts after some students were spotted wearing hoods over their heads in school hallways and classrooms. Officials said that hoods are sometimes used by students hiding headphones.
Makes a person wonder how far the arm of educators should extend, especially when it comes to the choice of clothing. If it was for safety purposes officials would be justified but headphones?
The ban will go into effect after winter break.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! On this and every other day, it's important to be able to know good from evil and choose accordingly. I found this test, composed by Professor Stampede, to be most helpful, at least as far as my own nature is concerned. Lest there be any doubt, the result:
What?? Not Sanrio's beloved icon of penguiny cuteness, "Bad" Badtz-Maru! Surely you jest, Mr. Witcover!
Would that it were so! Look again:
Why, he's even got his own "Quality Web Site"! If that's not evil, I don't know what is.
As we all know, St. Patrick was responsible for driving the penguins out of Ireland, which is why this day is celebrated the world over with prodigious bouts of drinking and vomiting, for evil penguins like Badtz-Maru feed their young by a similar method; yet another example of how the Catholic church is not above taking its rituals from penguin (or "pagan") sources.
Ever since the Badtz Maru mersh got thin on the ground, I've been feeling pretty pouty. Hello Kitty et al. are fine and dandy, when you are feeling pink. But when you are feeling both Cute and Evil, there's nothing like an angry penguin.
Well, now I feel a bit better.
Monokuro Boo aren't quite as menacing as Badtz, but they are black and white, and there are two of them. Double the trouble. Their expressions are ambiguous. Are they waiting to be sure? Are they thinking about eating your liver? Are they bored? And they've got quite a bit of mersh.
So, I'll make due with the pigs, until Badtz gets out of lock-down and is strolling down the streets of Gorgeoustown once more.
NOTE TO SELF: How sad and pathetic that eBay allows this "auction"
Talk about living off the avails of a dead person. Is it just me or does this news item leave a bad taste in one's mouth?
Anne Frank's tree may be doomed, but you can have a chestnut from it for only a few thousand dollars.
Charles Kuijpers, who lives next door to the famous house in Amsterdam where the German-Jewish girl was hidden from Nazi occupiers during World War II, has put what he says is a chestnut from the famed tree up for auction on eBay.
Anne wrote in her diary, which became a bestseller after her death, that during the two years she was hidden in the house's attic, the horse-chestnut tree was her only reminder of the natural world.
"I had this idea for a few years, then I saw that the tree was in the news and I decided to put the chestnut up for auction," Kuijpers told Reuters.
The tree, estimated to be between 150 and 175, has been in poor health for several years as it fends off parasites, and municipal authorities are set to tear it down Wednesday, pending a court hearing.
In August 1944, Nazi police raided the hiding place, and Anne and her sister Margot were deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they both died during a typhus epidemic in March 1945.
British soldiers liberated the camp in April. Anne Frank's body has never been found.
It would be acceptable and even a commendable act if Mr. Kuijpers would indicate that he plans to use the money from the auction towards some type of charity that helps homeless children or children living in war-torn countries.
NOTE TO SELF: Sometimes a good deed by a stranger gives a person faith in humanity.
Tourist, Thomas McCauley, was nervous in as far as crime is concerned when visiting New Orleans for a medical convention. He somehow lost his wallet stuffed with $8,000 he'd won at a local casino and presumed his pocked had been picked.
However, good samaritan, waiter Al Castro, found the wallet stuck in a booth that had been used by McCauley. Now he could have kept it and no one would have been the wiser but instead he returned it much to McCauley shock.
McCauley had stashed the cash, won Thursday at Harrah's New Orleans Casino, in a spare wallet, with no ID that he carries, in case his pocket is picked. His friends back home had warned him about that possibility. After dinner and a show, he realized the wallet was gone.
McCauley said Castro, who'd waited on him and his friend, turned over the wallet as they rushed back into the restaurant.
When asked why return a wallet with no ID, Castro said McCauley was a "gentlemen" and I put myself in his shoes.
"Plus," he said, "my wife's been telling me she believes in karma. Good things happen to people to who do good things."
McCauley said Castro refused his offer of a reward. But Harrah's general manager said, "we're going to take care of him."
There are good people in this world who do good deeds because they want to, period. For his generous act, we salute waiter, AL CASTRO!
NOTE TO SELF: GOING IN STYLE?
The first thing that hits your field of vision when surfing on to the Toto/Washlet site, http://www.cleanishappy.com/, is the row of bare buttocks with smileys drawn accross, which slowly evolves into the happy faces of three males and females. A mouse click on the first female on the left informs surfers - and toilet seat aficionados - all about a special washlet. Not just any washlet mind you but one that is neither a bidet or a fancy toilet and in the words of the manufacturer: "a pretty remarkable toilet seat."
Oh? This bares further investigation.
According to Ms Washlet 101, who relates all the information, the device is easily installed, on any toilet and uses pure clean water that uses and a "bunch of nifty technology."
Again, oh? One ponders the usage and definition of 'nifty technology.' Perhaps - just perhaps - it doubles as an entertainment centre or something similar. Then again, 'nifty technology' could also be extended to frying an egg or even a mobile device. Nifty is a tricky word!
Our host, Ms Washlet 101 goes on to relate that the way it works is simplicity personified. First-time users sit down and do what they came to do (quaint but succinct) and reach for the remote.
Oh? A remote?
Next the user selects the area to be washed presumably after the person does what they came to do, and with the push of the button, the washlet does the rest. A small wand located below the seat extends, and a gentle stream of warm water cleans you.
Oh happy days!Nothing touches the user but water and the wand cleans itself automatically.
NOTE TO SELF: One for the 'uh-oh' file
Now comes news that preparations are being made for the advent of bad weather during their Olympics to be held in China in 2008. In doing this Beijing weather people are proceeding with plans to fire rockets to disperse rain clouds in an attempt to get more sunshine. Predicting the weather as many weather forecasters will agree is not an exacting science to say the least.
Anybody see anything wrong with this idea?
According to Zheng Guoguang, head of China's Meterorological Administration, practice drills are ready. The drills are supposed to simulate what will happen when the Olympics begin on August 8, 2008 and this is the last opportunity for meteorologists to practice working out the kinks. When you think about it - it's not such a big deal if attendees get a little wet while watching athletes do their thing. It's all part of the experience... a little rain must fall and all that.
Course some people take the rain a little more seriously.
Chinese officials report that historical records indicate a 50% chance of rain for the opening ceremony and the same for the closing ceremony. Then there's the usual just-in-case-it-doesn't-work statement where the weather officials admitted that seeding cloud to produce rain and then shoo away rainmaking clouds is - um - immature technology.
We get the point, peeplz. Maybe it'll work...and then again, maybe it won't.
"Dispersal is more difficult than rainfall enhancement," Wang Yubin, assistant chief engineer with the Beijing Meteorological Bureau commented. "In rainfall dispersal, we are still in the experimental stage but we are continuing our efforts."
So people planning to travel to the China Olympics should bring along a raincoat and/or umbrella - just in case of course.
NOTE TO SELF: Pick up some agnolotti for supper
Perhaps you or someone you know participated in speed dating recently followed by a date where microgreens were eaten. If Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary is any indication, words like agnolotti (meaning: "pasta in the form of semicircular cases containing a filling (as of meat, cheese, or vegetables") or speed dating ("an event at which each participant converses individually with all the prospective partners for a few minutes in order to select those with whom dates are desired") will become part of our everyday vocabulary.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary updates its Collegiate dictionary every year with "new words, senses and variants." The word "ginormous" (meaning: extremely large, humungous) was one of 100 neolisms or the use of new words or senses of existing words added. Here are twenty out of the list of the 100 mentioned on their site:
8. gray literature
13. perfect storm
17. speed dating
Without going to their site, http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/newwords07.htm how many do you know without having to check on the meaning? A better challenge is how many can you use in one sentence?
Meanwhile, I'm feeling very crunk-ish due to all the microgreens I ate.
NOTE TO SELF: another move to replace people?
Perhaps as many people do, you might have complained about the long wait at the supermarket to pay the cashier. Then again there's always the do-it-yourself scanning system that in theory but not necessarily in practice, makes the check-out faster. Yet another move afoot or at hand in this case has been created to improve on the self checkout system with the use of a high-tech hand-held personal scanner.
Just what we need in life: another "tool" to schlep along while shopping.
The way it works is shoppers remove an item off the shelf, scan it and bag it all on their own without any human intervention. Although more commonly used in Europe, North American supermarkets are beginning to introduce it slowly to consumers. Once they finished shopping customers head to the front of the store and have their credit cards scanned.
So how about customers who try to "forget" about paying for an item?
To avoid this occurence some shoppers are randomly picked for audits - as a reminder of course for those "oh my - who me?" occasions.
There is no information provided as to whether stores using this "service" make items available at a lower cost since customers do all the work. But then don't we always?
Writers & Friends
NOTE TO MYSELF: ONCE UPON A TIME I HAD A DREIDEL
THE CHANUKAH KING
by Eleanor Tylbor
There was the usual sense of excitement among students attending the Chavarim Afternoon Hebrew School a couple weeks before the onset of Chanukah. Throughout the school spinning dreidels whirled around the floor surface in anticipation of the annual competition held on the first night of Chanukah. Even then practise was no guarantee of a successful outcome of deposing "the dreidel king" who was defending his title for the fourth year in a row.
If there was anyone who personified the ideal qualities in a student it was Zelig Bornstein. At ten years of age he could do no wrong. A brilliant student academically he was also blessed with the voice of an angel and it was a given that he would sing the part of lead candle in the annual Chanukah concert. As if that wasn't enough to cause jealousy and rivalry among classmates, he ALWAYS won the annual dreidel competition.
Among the students of Mr. Meldrum's class there was the general belief that his cobalt blue dreidel with gold lettering on the sides possessed magical properties. There could be no other explanation to account for his perpetual dominance other than a mysterious and powerful outside source was at work, unavailable to his classmates. A few brave participants had come close to deposing him but somehow Zelig always managed to win out in the end. To further undermine his competitors confidence "The Dreidel King" did nothing to dispel the air of mystery surrounding his acumen.
"It's all right here," he would boast when asked the secret of his success, pointing to his wrist and flicking his fingers one-by-one to demonstrate his unbeatable technique, "and my magical dreidel, of course."
He never divulged any background information on how it was acquired and neither would he allow anyone to touch it much less give it a spin, further adding to the mystique.
"He" doesn't like leaving my hands," he would proffer in the way of an excuse, speaking of his top as if it was a living thing or a pet.
Externally, I professed animosity towards him as did the others, but internally I adored him from afar. However, this did not diminish my desire to win and I practiced fervently in the hope of improving my spin. I longed to emerge victorious if for no other reason than to make Zelig aware that I was alive, or at least be aware of my presence. It wasn't considered socially unacceptable to acknowledge the existence of the opposite sex, and even if he did harbor some stirrings of romantic feelings, he hid them well from me.
It would be fair to say that nearly every student in Mr. Meldrum's class dreamed of wresting the title away from him. We discussed the situation amongst ourselves, plotting a course of action that could de-throne him. Dreidel tossing techniques were assessed including "spit-shots" in which the "toss-ee" would spit or lick fingers to acquire more control of the toss, disallowed by Mr. Meldrum for hygienic reasons. Finger exercises were evaluated in addition to the benefits of knuckle cracking workouts before the competition, all of which were eventually discarded as ineffectual. Deep down inside we knew that the end result was out of our hands in the true sense of the word, and in those of the fates. There was always the glimmer of hope that perhaps the fates would smile on one of us. Anyone of us except Zelig.
Like a conquering hero "King" Zelig took center-stage tossing his dreidel from hand-to-hand as he walked, attempting to psyche out the participants. It was a piece of pure theatre as he produced a blue satin drawstring bag and reaching in, retrieved the cobalt blue dreidel smiling all the while. We took our places around the table, our hands clasped around the dreidels, waiting for our turn.
As the reigning champion he spun first, achieving the "gimel" and winning the first round. Dreidel competitors fell one after the other until it was time for me as the last competitor to
One by one he knocked out of the game until finally it was my turn. All eyes were upon me as I opened up my hand, gently allowing a cobalt blue object with gold lettering on the sides to drop on the surface of the table. There was an audible gasp from my fellow students accompanied shortly thereafter by excited whispers.
"D'ya see her dreidel?" they asked each other. "It's the same one as Zelig?s!"
At tournament time a large table was set up in the middle of the classroom and dreidels distributed to students. King Zelig tossed his dreidl from hand-to-hand, smiling smugly and acting self-assured. As the reigning champion Zelig spun first, achieving the letter "g" or "gimel", which meant that he won the first round. One by one we took turns and I landed on "hay", acquiring half of the pot composed of chocolate coins and other goodies, which pleased me no end. For the next few turns the dreaded "shin" turned up denoting a loss, accompanied by groans of disappointment from fellow students. Like many of the stories we were told focusing on unsurpassable victories over adversity, things turned in my favor. The king was dethroned and long live the new champion. Me. Jubilant cheers broke out among fellow students as they savored the moment for which they had all waited. My adversary, meanwhile, appeared stunned and in shock. Consumed with laughter and staring triumphantly into his eyes, I couldn't help but notice his were brimming with tears. It was bad enough being dethroned but having it done by a girl, was more than his young ego could handle in one day.
I could have chosen to ignore him and savor the moment of victory, since it was a long time coming and it probably wouldn't happen again. Instead, upon realizing that he had been humiliated in front of his male friends, a final showdown was suggested to determine the final victor. Needless to say, he amazingly emerged victorious.
He never did acknowledge my presence or reach out to thank me for my selfless gesture, in all the years of our attending Hebrew school together. He did allow me to spin first in a subsequent re-match the following year, presumably as a good will gesture on his part. In my mind I would always be queen to his king be it only for one occasion and that was better than nothing. That's life. Sometimes you win and sometimes you gotta lose.