JJ Makes Another Book Meme Her Own

27 02 2009

Okay, I wanted to play nice but this recycled meme copied from some random blogs made me cross — it purportedly comes from “The BBC Booklist” so I marked up all 100 books ready to share, before I tracked this back to the original BBC list voted on by British readers in 2003, and found the thing’s been tinkered with, like a game of Gossip.
(On the Intertubes, imagine that!)

For example, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett which left me (and Oprah) awestruck, and which now has a satisfyingly fat sequel sitting in my bedside on-deck stack, belongs at #33 but was dropped completely off the list for meming purposes, what’s that about??

Jane Austen dominates the meme version, but the BBC’s real readers voted for plenty of Terry Pratchett and children’s book specialist Roald Dahl (but no Dr. Seuss??)


while Jane Austen was put in (or out of?) her place! . . .OTOH, Shakespeare and Margaret Atwood aren’t on that original list, which is a loss imo and one reason to prefer blog-altered versions. No Ann Patchett on either list, hmmm, not even Bel Canto which should be required reading before registering to vote??. . .

So I could’ve meddled further, kept in and put in more of my own favorites, taken out titles on the real list that trip my gag reflex, like Clan of the Cave Bear [shudder] and certainly added the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

But I blog the virtues of my own best books without following any meme or popular vote, see “Choose Nine Books for Your Gift Box.” Or this, in which I demonstrate that to me, all holiday gift list memes should be book lists too:

Via BlogHer, where there’s lots more holiday fun and we’re encouraged to add our own custom-crafted gift lists, say for evolved homeschoolers or unschooling dads? . . .

All my lists for giving and getting turn into book lists — this year I found a couple of great word books for my pubescent nephews, but geez, “Word Books for Pubescent Nephews” might be a bit too esoteric a list, even for BlogHer? 😉

So instead, I redid my personal 100 using the real unadultered BBC list, not anyone’s bastardized meme momma version! Here ’tis, play along if you want: Read the rest of this entry »

Anyone I Know IRL Might’ve Said This

25 02 2009

”If I had been a younger woman, I would have been so embarrassed. But when you’ve lived long enough, you don’t take yourself too seriously. When you can laugh at yourself, it don’t matter.”

That’s what I call healthy living.

(Apparently there is video on YouTube, a real regular woman despite her celebrity, having a real wardrobe malfunction because her plus-sized Spanx make her elastic-banded slacks literally slack. And surviving with a smile. I think possibly I could do the same these days — I haven’t had that naked at school nightmare in decades . . .)

Evolution Education Fish He Fries With Relish!

22 02 2009

Pun intended. 🙂
Don’t miss this. Pass it on. That is all!

Evolution is a fish I choose to fry. It’s an idea that I want my children and as many others as possible to know and care about.

A list of reasons to champion evolution education:

Climate Contrarian: Abandon Hope??

22 02 2009

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2009) —

. . .For decades, say Vucetich and Nelson, we have been hammered by the ceaseless thunder of messages predicting imminent environmental cataclysm: global climate change, air and water pollution, destruction of wildlife habitat, holes in the ozone. The response of environmentalists—from Al Gore to Jane Goodall—to this persistent message of hopelessness has focused on the need to remain hopeful.

But hope may actually be counter-productive, Vucetich and Nelson suggest.

Is this yet another place where science and belief conflict then, evidence against irrational hope that our good works will bring rewards in heaven, rather than quite pragmatically doing the right things for the right reasons NOW?

(As a young Methodist once upon a time, I remember deciding that heaven and hell described the state of mind each of us lived out in real time on earth, created by who I became, how I lived and why.)

We can read heaven and hell into everything from the daily news to married life; in both journalism and marriage counseling, for example, what counts is what’s done, not just the words — of position, prescription, praise or promise — but their meaning manifest in reality, what’s behind the words, the circumstance and change described and delivered.

Show, don’t tell.

Whether in preaching or politics, inspiration literally means a new spirit goes “in” and becomes part of who you are, that you are affected and the totality that is “you” changes somehow that makes an outer difference for others. I suppose all presidents inspire the people and thereby change the nation’s reality but some presidents including the present one — hey, does the word president share a root with present? — inspire us to healthier change than others! Read the rest of this entry »

“Stimulate your own economy!”

19 02 2009

Sitting here at the computer with one ear on cable news, when suddenly I hear this line in a rush of passionate words from financial counselor Suze Orman. She’s not speaking against the federal stimulus strategies, merely saying that we better not rely on all that to save us personally. I think we need this on t-shirts. . . hey, maybe budget to buy one for every American in the next bill and that would stimulate the garment industry at the same time? 🙂

What’s Young and Stupid? What’s Old Enough to Know Better?

18 02 2009

We thinking parents have discussed before, how the frontal lobe is the last part of the brain to mature and how in males it can continue to develop through the late 20s.

(I remember observing that when he was in the news secretly taped pushing his political views on kids in the classroom, that teacher Jay Bennish was 28, and I wondered whether despite his own education and experience, his frontal lobe was fully mature.)

We’ve talked about the right age for kids to handle driving, in the hugely more complicated and congested traffic patterns of today and tomorrow. About common and/or compulsory attendance age for schools versus red-shirting kindergarten kids for later school entry, especially boys.

About girls forced by religion, culture and economy to marry and/or mother too young, and girls forced to abstain from sexual competence and refrain from their own healthy adult decision-making too late. About children and young adults denied certain books and movies, foods, friends, video games, vaccines and even life-saving treatments because they are still “minors” dependent on luck-of-the-draw parenting, no matter how capable, responsible and well-prepared the minors by age might be, even if it’s more than their own ignorant and/or abusive or neglectful — yet legally mature and in control — parents.

And military recruiters selling their way of life in schools, and about the justice system trying kids as young as the early teens as adults, for Read the rest of this entry »

Ultraconservative Palin Fits Political Mainstream At Least One Way

18 02 2009

With her embarrassing personal tax problems . . .so let’s hear no more slavering on this from rich conservative attack dogs in the media, unless they include conservative darlings Palin and the Plumber.

And you just gotta love her official tone-deaf stonewalling about public business from this very public official, as the public is reeling to realize even private business — everything from banking to building cars — somehow is their business:

The governor’s office wouldn’t say this week how much she owes in back taxes for meal money, or whether she intends to continue to receive the per diem allowance. As of December, she was still charging the state for meals and incidentals.

“The amount of taxes owed is a private matter,” Sharon Leighow, Palin’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Evidence Mounts For Greg Ladenblather as Flame War Flashpoint

18 02 2009

He’s ba-ack. Playing the provocateur from behind his Harvard science degree and geographic proximity to the deservedly renowned PZ Myers, destroying intelligent discourse in whole communities all the while claiming HE is the injured party — science is about recognizing and intelligently interpreting patterns, and this one is repeating itself in classic form, another human pot stirring to generate a fresh batch of the same recycled crap with which to fertilize his ego-operated science bloggery.

He did it to evolved homeschoolers in 2007 and was rewarded with enough traffic to earn a coveted scienceblog all his own! If those memories aren’t seared in your brain, see this and this and this for a refresher course in the baiting process he indignantly pretends is intelligent inquiry.

Two excellent discussions at Rolfe’s are most revealing though:
Keep Your Radicals Free and Deja Vu.

It’s like I’ve read it all before, and I know what’s coming next. I have better things to do with my time.

I don’t mean to insult any of you who participated passionately — good for you! — that game just isn’t for me. The fight seems futile, and I’m not sure what the prize is for winning. Do we get Greg Laden to write a “I love homeschoolers” post? What would that be worth? Maybe you want to participate so people can see that there are reasonable and effective home educators out there? You[r] voice will probably be heard quietly, but prepare to be dismissed as atypical and therefore irrelevant.

While I don’t see much upside for participating, I do see a downside. Some of the commenters in this game are downright nasty. I remember how COD got slammed out of the blue when they came into a discussion at Greg’s earnestly trying to give him a broader perspective on homeschooling. As I recall, Doc, Nance, JJ and others got similar treatment, and responded with varying degrees of patience. Did they get mean after that? Yep, but they started out very nice, and even ignored the first few shots. And their nastiness is nothing compared to what has been sent their way.

Then there was that unbelievable attack on JJ and her daughter that Read the rest of this entry »

FSU professor measures Obama’s positive effect

16 02 2009

More change we can believe in? 🙂

“Dwarfing Pluto and Shrinking Ourselves” Redux

15 02 2009
Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, says he thinks Pluto is "happier" in its current classification as a dwarf planet. topfoto.co.uk

Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, says he thinks Pluto is "happier" in its current classification as a dwarf planet. topfoto.co.uk

Here’s science storytelling from NPR that also adds power of story to well-worn culture clash among homeschooling parents.

The public shock of shrinking Pluto as a planet hit when our national homeschooling networks were years deep in a civil war over public charter programs and other hybrid homeschooling, unable to clearly define distinctions and differences between like kinds without dislike, much less kindly.

One side called for involuntary legalistic redefinition (demotion) of all bodies unlike themselves in some aspect however strained,  assuring us it would help rather than hurt those whose status was thereby dwarfed by calling them what they really were, and that they would be happier once instructed in reclassification camps to face their factual lack of fit as full-fledged homeschooling planets, I mean PARENTS. . .

I first satirized our “what’s in a name?” clash as “Large Dogs Welcome” but  then this campaign to “help” Pluto out of its redefined-as-illegitimate status presented the perfect parable:

Dwarfing Pluto and Shrinking Ourselves: A Joyfully Unclear Meditation
[UPDATE: Culture Kitchen is still offline for site maintenance so I put the whole essay here too.]

Would the best-integrated and most powerful leadership for home education look and feel much more like viral collective wisdom expressed by autonomous individuals, and less like cliques, gangs, law firms, Congress, the Vatican, media marketing, house organ pandering for profit, union protectionism or the sausage-making of paid political campaigns and federalized public schooling?

Wouldn’t it look an awful lot like all of us just being US, as confident, sovereign individual Thinking Parents, a whole creative class of families freely learning and thinking as we wish, choosing whatever connections with each other we wish and communicating about it all as we wish, to help people hear and understand and perhaps begin to crave the healthy, happy fundamental freedoms we enjoy?

“In education politics of any kind (home education or not), we always come down to: what DO we teach our children, so they can best preserve and protect their own freedoms?

The Revealer Offers Perverse Take on Valentine’s Day

14 02 2009

Here’s some new content emailed from Jeff Sharlet’s religious journalism site, how romantic! 😉

New from The Revealer, published at New York University’s Center for Religion and Media:

“Where’s the Love?” — Meera Subramanian on a Hindu extremist Valentine’s Day marriage-by-force campaign. (On The Revealer’s sister site, KillingTheBuddha dot com)

“My Bloody Valentine” — Louis A. Reprecht asks, “How have we gone from a beheaded priest to a giddy worldwide day of romantic love?
In a word: the widespread conviction that love is a dizzying sacrifice.” (Via ReligionDispatches dot com)

“Pray Away the Gay; Abort the Retort” — Two new “liberal” films, “Praying for Bobby” and “Revolutionary Road,” tell the same old conservative stories.

I Like Rachel Maddow But. . .

14 02 2009

. . .does she channel Paul Lynde and Alice Ghostley when she gets snarky, like she did tonight mocking how Blackwater is rebranding itself as “Xe”?

No matter, you’ve got to love her report on India’s pink-panty rebellion by the “consortium of pub-going, loose and forward women”!