Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Made in Australia, or Why I Get Weak in the Knees Everytime I Watch TV nowadays

So, I was watching The Glades over the weekend *strike that* So, I was watching the whole first season of The Glades over the weekend and I have decided I have my new crush/Fall distraction.

Two words: Matt Passmore

After about three episodes, I recognized his accent was a bit off...oh! not in a bad know with words that have strong vowels like 'hour', 'anger' and 'shot'! I googled me some Mr. Passmore and found out that he hails from Australia. Now, here's the thing, Matt (I'm sure he won't mind if I call him Matt from now on) isn't my first TV crush from would seem that many of the lead male roles that I've felt compelled to oogle happen to be from the land Down Under. I've compiled a list:

Julian McMahon
Where I've seen him in the US: Charmed, Nip/Tuck
Why you should stalk him on HULU or wherever you can find him: He has lovely teeth, a pretty smile and great hair. As Dr. Christian Troy, he was that bad boy you love; conflicted and honest (really), unlike his counterpart Shawn, and confident and strong...oh, and he has nice get to see them a lot (along with other parts of his anatomy) when watching Nip/Tuck. He's good at playing conflicted...remember demon/human Cole, anyone?

Alex O'Loughlin
Where I've seen him in the US: Moonlight, Hawaii 5-0, that horrible depressing show about organ donations called Three Rivers, The Shield
Why you should stalk him on HULU or wherever you can find him: What I like most about Mr. O'Loughlin (or is that O'Lachlan) is his eyes...yes, it's his eyes...If you haven't watched Moonlight might I suggest it, I mean who doesn't like a crime-fighting vampire? I'm sure I would have liked Three Rivers had its concept not been so darned depressing. I also really like him in the movie Oyster Farmer (accent intact) and, oh yeah, there's this little show called Hawaii 5-0 where he's shirtless a friggin' lot. If you're into that sort of thing...

Simon Baker
Where I've seen him in the US: The Guardian, a short lived show Smith, The Mentalist
Why you should stalk him on HULU or wherever you can find him: Curly, blonde hair and manly eye wrinkles. There for awhile I wasn't really sure that I was going to get to see him on television, his shows weren't making it and then The Mentalist happened. Simon Baker has an excellent laugh and he does it a lot in this show. This show is smart (even if you know the ending as the formula never's fun to see how they get to it) and funny and also quite serious and sometimes down-right bloody. There's also a lovely British man (Owain Yeoman) disguising himself as an All-American if you aren't into my Aussie friend. But, how could you not want to see Simon everyday?

Jesse Spencer
Where I've seen him in the US: House
Why you should stalk him on HULU or wherever you can find him: He's using his own accent playing sniveling little doctor Robert Chase on House. Although he is pretty, I'm not particularly interested in his character on House as he mostly mopes around and whines and has only just begun (feel free to sing) to work for and appreciate what he has. I do, however, like his character in Uptown Girls and I think that he sings for real...sigh... If you don' watch House for Mr. Spencer, you can always watch it for Hugh Laurie, Dr. House, himself.

Matt Passmore
Where I've seen him in the US: The Glades
Why you should stalk him on HULU or wherever you can find him: I enjoy a show that has some good sexual tension, just ask me how I feel about Mulder and Scully or Booth and Bones or Sam and Diane (yes, I started early!)...seriously, it's almost obsession. I liked this show from the start because of  the dynamic between the two main characters Jim Longworth and Callie (oh, and I also like the name Callie). I am also a sucker for clever, pithy dialogue. This show rocks. Don't believe me? At one time they were letting people download the Season 1 Episode 1 script for your e-reader. It's a good read, especially if you enjoy a good script, which I do!

And, if the above isn't enough...
Here's an interesting post talking about the Aussie Invasion from a lovely blog I stumbled upon called waxing lyrical and philosophic. It highlights both males and females and gives you a little background, something my little comments are lacking, well unless you're looking for eye-candy via the boob tube.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Word of the Week: Importune and Weekly 100 Words

Here are my 100 words from The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown p180:

     "His powerful hands clasped her head tighter, and a crushing force rammed her downward, plunging her face into the tank. Searing pain burned her eyes. The man pressed down harder, driving her whole head under the ethanol. Trish felt her face pressing into the fleshy head of the squid.
     Summoning all of her strength, she bucked violently, arching backward, trying to pull her head out of the tank. But the powerful hands did not budge.    
     I have to breath!
    She remained submerged, straining not to open her eyes or mouth. Her lungs burned as she fought the powerful urge to..."
This meme is hosted by Ruthi at Ruthi Reads!  The object is simple:  share exactly 100 words from the book you are currently reading, and no spoilers!  Be sure to include your book's title, author, and page number in your post.  Head over to Ruthi's site and add your link to your book!  Happy Reading!

Monday, August 29, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #36 The Lost Symbol

     I enjoy a good thriller.    
     I like when a book makes me read so fast that I get paper cuts flipping through the pages or, in the case of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, I read so fast I get little tini seizures from flicking through the pages on my Nook.
     I love Dan Brown.
     I love Robert Langdon.
     I'm pretty sure that I won't have anything bad to say about Mr. Brown as long as he continues to write books involving the brilliant Dr. Langdon and clues that aren't hard for me to cipher, but always surprising when I do, as long as there are tormented characters like Mal'akh, as long as there's slight sexual tension, but not enough to be distracting, as long as he writes about pretty places I've been or want to go.
     I love that Dan Brown's stories are always just a step ahead of what my head can guess.
     I do have to say though, if you have a fear of drowning or suffocating (like I do) or a fear of large sea creatures (like I do) might I suggest not reading this book (especially the last few chapters) late at night, on a trip to the Smithsonian, in a cabin in Colorado with just your kiddo beside you, or while taking a bath. I mean unless you want to be freaked out of your ever loving mind, which sometimes isn't a bad thing.

5 Stars

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last Week in a Nutshell #2

One] It was the first full week of school and, golly, I'm still exhausted. I am enjoying my new students. I'm not sure that I'm enjoying this new schedule yet. I got the dates wrong on one of my calendars, thought Friday was a Black Day (thank goodness I prepare ahead and, well...NEVER leave my room otherwise I would've been lost!) and I'm just sooooo tired. The new schedule goes like this: all my classes Monday, Tuesday and Friday, Blocks 1, 2, 5, 6 on Wednesday and Blocks 3, 4, 7, 8 on Thursday (this is to help accommodate the Tech school) just leaves me confused. I hate change.

Two] I finally got to talk to my friend who moved to Nashville, I called her during school on my planning period. Just incase you were wondering...I called mostly to gossip and catch-up and, yes, I used my planning period to do that! Now, if only I could find sometime to finish our conversation! You know you don't really realize how much you miss talking to someone until you actually get to talk to them!

Three] Christopher took the family out to dinner on Friday. The tiny person was mostly on good behavior. Hanging out without a plan was really nice and Haruno's is always a good time, especially if you like sushi. Family time is also always a good time, especially when your husband let's you eat and plays with the kid by making paper airplanes and coloring with the crayons in your purse.

Four] I've been reading this blog Ricochet for a little bit. I enjoy reading this blog because it's nice to see that other teachers have the same problems with parents, kids, administrators that I do. If only I'd thought of being anonymous and writing a blog about theraputic!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Six Word Saturday #19

My life in six words
Memory Lane with the Tiny Tot!

I spent the better part of Saturday reorganzing the tiny tot's room. This meant mostly going through her clothing and packing up things she could no longer fit. It took the better part of yesterday because I spent the better part of yesterday in a nostalgic cloud thinking about when she wore this outfit or had this shirt...sigh, memories.

Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Five (Sticky)

I love doing surveys and questionnaires. I love reading peoples answers to surveys and questionnaires. They are a weakness of mine, and in looking for topics for my blog to make it easier for me to post everyday once school started...I found this. So, Fridays we're taking a break from talking about reading and books and words to answer silly surveys and questionnaires. Feel free to post your answers below, on your own blog, or both!!! Ideas from

  1. What kind of magnets do you have on your fridge?
  2. What’s your preferred type of glue?
  3. When is it good to feel sticky?
  4. What was the last thing you wrote upon a Post-It?
  5. How much pancake syrup do you put on your pancakes?

  1. Magnets from my travels...Chicago, Scotland, England, Philadelphia, a crab from Maryland, one from my friend when she went to Paris, Wonder Woman (given to me by a student for my birthday)...and, some silly ads that a friend and I turned into magnets for Christmas presents..."I Wanna Believe"...I think that's all.
  2. Elmer's
  3. Never...ew!
  4. Things I needed to remember to do when I got back to school on Monday...things I should have done last Monday, but I didn't put them on a post-it then, so...
  5. I like to drown the pancakes in syrup...I'd rather have too much syrup than not enough...but, I always manage to get just the right amount.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (History)

         From Booking Through Thursday:

     Sometimes I feel like the only person I know who finds reading history fascinating. It’s so full of amazing-yet-true stories of people driven to the edge and how they reacted to it. I keep telling friends that a good history book (as opposed to some of those textbooks in school that are all lists and dates) does everything a good novel does–it grips you with real characters doing amazing things.
     Am I REALLY the only person who feels this way? When is the last time you read a history book? Historical biography? You know, something that took place in the past but was REAL. 
          You are definitely NOT the only person who feels this way BTT. The last historical book I read was The Devil in the White City and that book rocked my socks off and I talk all about it here. And, nerd that I am, I read my college history books all the time. I especially like the ones I have for my American History survey courses. I'm still working on Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and like to impress people with random facts about the man whose tasty face graces our $10 bill. Did you know that, at one time, people thought that Hamilton was part Black, as he was the illegitimate son of a, for lack of a better word, prostitute and that he was the first American politician to get involved in a sex scandal? Unlike most politicians today, he didn't deny it or try to keep the secret from his wife, and his wife stuck by him until his unfortunate end. Oh wait! Did you know that his son also died in a dual? Seriously, I love that book and have not finished it only because it's really long...I mean really long.
Feel free to share your answers below, on the original post (above), on FB or on your own blog!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Who is that Oprah-chick and why would I read books she recommends???

Here's your sign: source
I have never been a fan of Oprah. The two (yes, two) episodes I watched of her show made me a] angry and b] cry...neither emotion I like being evoked from me against my will by a woman I do not know...I could go on, but I don't want hate mail from the Oprah camp (although the numbers are smaller than 2 years ago, they could still flash mob me to death if they had the mind to do so).

The other day a Goodreads member commented on a group I'm in, Reading the Chunksters, about how our next book East of Eden was at one time an Oprah read. This comment elicited several responses and made for an interesting discussion.

You see, in the not to distant past, if I saw a book that had the Oprah seal of approval I boycotted the book on principle (a principle I will not get into because of the fear I have of the aforementioned beat down). If I wanted to read an Oprah book or read a book that became an Oprah book I felt dumber and I felt robbed of my delicious reading experience.

I realized, in talking/arguing whatever, that I really do have a reason that I dislike the Oprah Book Club and this reason has nothing to do with Oprah or her show, per se. I truly dislike the book selections, again I stress, not because of the selector (who I'm sure didn't select the books without a board of trusted book readers), but because of their content. No one can argue that Oprah chose some great classics to read, her last selection was a Tale of Two Cities and she had also chosen Love in the Time Cholera, Night, Faulkner, Tolstoy, Pearl Buck...I could go on...lots of good stuff.

The reason for my dislike is so simple, I'm surprised I didn't notice it before...I dislike tales of melancholy and I dislike tales in which the main character spends most of the book moping around practically screaming 'woes is me'. I've read 14 books on the list and out of those books I could not find one, not one that was uplifting, and not one left me feeling like I could tackle the world...several made me cry. And, you can just look at these two posts (One Day, She's Come Undone) to know that I am not into a good cry in the name of literature.

Will I start reading more books that the club has endorsed because I have now found the reason I have been avoiding them? No, probably not. Will I stop thinking of Oprah as some sort of She-Devil? Hmmm...I don't think so. But, I promise I will stop saying "Oprah is dumb because she picks trashy books". That statement is SO NOT true!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Word of the Week: Argot and Weekly 100 Words

Here are my 100 words from The Art of Seducing A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper p29:

" Nick freaking Thatcher was sitting at my kitchen table while my mother served him chamomile tea and a piece of her special apple cake. My favorite apple cake.
 “Oh, my God! Is nothing sacred?” I howled.
 Faced with my mental tormentor, the interrupter of sleep, and his head-clouding scent, I’d expected to feel awkward and bashful again. But mostly, I felt anger. Sweet, clarifying anger. Who the hell did he think he was, waltzing into my valley, with his stupid feet under my table, eating my freaking cake?
 His feet did look awfully big, I noticed, biting my lip...."

This meme is hosted by Ruthi at Ruthi Reads!  The object is simple:  share exactly 100 words from the book you are currently reading, and no spoilers!  Be sure to include your book's title, author, and page number in your post.  Head over to Ruthi's site and add your link to your book!  Happy Reading!

Monday, August 22, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #35 The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf

I was a little apprehensive to read this book 1] because I thought the first book How to Flirt with A Naked Werewolf was so funny and delicious I didn't think this book could possibly be as good and 2] I didn't really like Maggie as she was portrayed in the first book and thought that Harper would have to do a lot of work to make me like her while still being loyal to Mo and Cooper.

By gosh people she did it!

We see Maggie grow up a little at the end of How to Flirt with A Naked Werewolf, I can guess that it's just enough that we want to read a whole book about her. But, in this book, we truly see her transformation. She puts aside some deep seeded prejudices, recognizes that it's these prejudices that almost got her and her whole pack killed, and even accepts the faults in others when an encroaching pack tries to take over her land. In this respect, I think that Maggie may be a stronger character than her predecesor Mo. Maggie doesn't do what she doesn't want to do, Maggie communicates (which means those silly misunderstandings that happen in all romance novels don't last long) and the reason why she comes off as a bully in the first book and sometimes in this books is because she is so passionate about her love of family, her people and her wilderness.

In a believeable way, Maggie bumbles around trying to make the right choice of who to marry, while not understanding why she's drawn to a man who should be anything, but her type. There's a hilarious scene were Nick suspects Maggie, in werewolf form, of being Mo and in a fit of crazy jealousy, she bites him on the rear and then regrets that decision everytime she sees him limping around. She makes fun of baby showers and other kinds of girlie rites of passage (my kind of girl). She is honest and sincere (almost to a fault). She is the kind of female hero that I'd like to see more often in any book I read.

Cool things I like about this series:
1. If I hadn't read the first one, I would have still understood what was going on in this one. She tells us just enough that we get whats going on and, as a person who read the first one, I didn't feel like I was being beaten over the head with the information.
2. You aren't going to find a sex scene until page 230 of this book and, yes, that's a cool thing, as it lends to plot and character development. There is sexual tension, but it's of the cute romantic comedy variety and it seems that in werewolf land, once you've mated they're yours for sex and biting (the werewolf kind) are taken pretty darn seriously.
3. All of the characters in this series seem attainable. Nick, who is the love interest in this book, is a nerdy werewolf hunter who has to be saved, at least once, by Maggie because he's too dorky to realize he's in danger. And, he sounds just yummerrific in glasses, carrying a load of books on the extraterrastrial. Maggie, too, possesses typical, but not redundant and cliched, and likeable strong female lead attributes.

I am in love with this series and will definitely be reading all that Molly Harper decides to write, especially if they are books about Alaskan werewolves.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What Makes Superman So Darned American? (Or, is he?)

For years I have assigned Gary Engle's essay What Makes Superman So Darned American? early on in my Honors Sophomore English class. They have to write a response essay to it and for the most part (because it's such an interesting subject, full of allusions most of them get or are easy to research) it makes for an interesting bellwether of things to come. I can determine which of my students are good writers, have a commanding voice, hate/love The current President, love pop culture, love comics and I can usually approach the year with a firm grasp of the identies of my classrooms. I love this essay assignment, just as I love this essay.

I don't know where I was in April, but I did not know that Superman renounced his citizenship, so did not know how to react when one of my students said in response to the essay title, "But, he's not. He gave up his citizenship." I spent a couple of "I should be doing something else with this time" hours researching his citizenship. Was he ever a citizen to begin with? The answer, according to the articles I read is "No". It was only after the 1950s (and, I could wax on about why this decade is so important for such a movement) television show that "the American way" was added to "Truth and Justice". Superman has just gone back to his globalized roots. As GEORGE GENE GUSTINES of the New York Times notes, “'Superman is a visitor from a distant planet who has long embraced American values,' said DC Comics co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio in a statement. 'As a character and an icon, he embodies the best of the American Way.' And though Superman will 'put a global focus on his never ending battle,' the statement continued, 'he remains, as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville.'”

The question I guess I'm asking is, what kind of United States do we live in that Superman feels he needs to publicly renounce a citzenship he never had to be able to fight for 'truth and justice' all over the world? I don't have an answer to that question. I'm still trying to figure out what Engle would think of it all! Superman and Clark Kent are two separate entities that make one figure. What happens when one entity (and, don't think I didn't notice it's the meek, mild, mannered reporter/broadcast journalist) is clearly American and the other (the stronger, more handsome and revered of the two) is Universal? And, you have to have them both in order to have the super hero. You have to have the man who is tied to the culture of one nation in order to have the alien who is tied to many.

How does this play out in my classroom? Clearly, it just makes Engle's essay even more poignant. Here are some wonderful things that Engle says about the Man of Steel, things that do not change even if he says he isn't a US citizen and, while we claimed him as our own, he truly could fit into any nation as a culture hero and into any nations' idea of 'truth and justice'.
  • Superman is the great American hero. We are a nation rich with legendary figures. But among the Davy Crocketts and Paul Bunyans and Mike Finks and Pecos Bills and all the rest who speak for various regional identities in the pantheon of American folklore, only Superman achieves truly mythic stature, interweaving a pattern of beliefs, literary conventions, and cultural traditions of the American people more powerfully and more accessibly than any other cultural symbol of the twentieth century, perhaps of any period in our history.
  • Superman is an orphan rocketed to Earth when his native planet Krypton explodes; he lands near Smallville and is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who inculcate in him their American middle-class ethic; as an adult he migrates to Metropolis where he defends America–no, the world! no, the Universe!–from all evil and harm while playing a romantic game in which, as Clark Kent, he hopelessly pursues Lois Lane, who hopelessly pursues Superman, who remains aloof until such time as Lois proves worthy of him by falling in love with his feigned identity as a weakling. That’s it.
  • It is impossible to imagine Superman being as popular as he is and speaking as deeply to the American character were he not an immigrant and an orphan. Immigration, of course, is the overwhelming fact in American history. Except for the Indians, all Americans have an immediate sense of their origins elsewhere. No nation on Earth has so deeply embedded in its social consciousness the imagery of passage from one social identity to another: the Mayflower of the New England separatists, the slave ships from Africa and the subsequent underground railroads toward freedom in the North, the sailing ships and steamers running shuttles across two oceans in the nineteenth century, the freedom airlifts in the twentieth. Somehow the picture just isn’t complete without Superman’s rocket ship.
  • He stands out among the hosts of comic book characters (Batman is a good example) for whom the superhero role is like a mask assumed when needed, a costume worn over their real identities as normal Americans. Superman’s powers–strength, mobility, x-ray vision and the like –are the comic-book equivalents of ethnic characteristics, and they protect and preserve the vitality of the foster community in which he lives in the same way that immigrant ethnicity has sustained American culture linguistically, artistically, economically, politically, and spiritually. The myth of Superman asserts with total confidence and a childlike innocence the value of the immigrant in American culture.
  • Individual mobility is an integral part of America’s dreamwork. Is it any wonder, then, that our greatest hero can take to the air at will? Superman’s ability to fly does more than place him in a tradition of mythic figures going back to the Greek messenger god Hermes or Zetes the flying Argonaut. It makes him an exemplar in the American dream.
  • On a human scale, the American need to keep moving suggests a neurotic aimlessness under the surface of adventure. But take the human restraints off, let Superman fly unencumbered when and wherever he will, and the meaning of mobility in the American consciousness begins to reveal itself Superman’s incredible speed allows him to be as close to everywhere at once as it is physically possible to be. Displacement is, therefore, impossible. His sense of self is not dispersed by his life’s migration but rather enhanced by all the universe that he is able to occupy. What American, whether an immigrant in spirit or in fact, could resist the appeal of one with such an ironclad immunity to the anxiety of dislocation?
  • The shape-shifting between Clark Kent and Superman is the means by which this mid-twentieth-century, urban story–like the pastoral, nineteenth-century Western before it–addresses in dramatic terms the theme of cultural assimilation.
  • Though a disguise, Kent is necessary for the myth to work. This uniquely American hero has two identities, one based on where he comes from in life’s journey, one on where he is going. One is real, one an illusion, and both are necessary for the myth of balance in the assimilation process to be complete. Superman’s powers make the hero capable of saving humanity; Kent’s total immersion in the American heartland makes him want to do it.
  • In America, cultural icons that manage to tap the national religious spirit are of necessity secular on the surface and sufficiently generalized to incorporate the diversity of American religious traditions. Superman doesn’t have to be seen as an angel to be appreciated, but in the absence of a tradition of national religious iconography, he can serve as a safe, nonsectarian focus for essentially religious sentiments, particularly among the young.
If comicbooks and their heroes are signs of the times in which they live, what does this say about the world today? And, is it a good or a bad thing?

Here's an interesting review.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Six Word Saturday #18

My life in six words
The kittens' name is Hester Pritten!

Thanks to those of you who gave suggestions Ebony was in the running and so was Snowball, because who doesn't like irony. I tried to get the tiny tot to name her all week...asking various questions "Who is this?" Answer: the kitten, mommy "What's the kittens' name?" Answer: It's over/under there "Not where, but what" Answer: it's the kitten mommy...22 months, might be to young to name a cat, or she just doesn't care what the cat's name is, she's more concerned with carrying it around like a rag doll. Hester, like the Hester of old, takes her lickings here on Earth, she too must know her reward will come from high above. My friend suggested her full name, and she also wants us to get her a Scarlet A collar...hmmm???

Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

American Girl in Italy

Today, the above picture turns 60! Can you believe it? The subject of the photo, the lovely Ninalee Craig is 83 years old. If you read the story, Craig talks about the circumstances behind the photo, 23-year old woman traveling in Italy alone (amazing!) and adamantly denies that it was staged. More importantly, she talks about the fact that this picture is "a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time".

I didn't really think it was anything otherwise. I mean look at her face, chin up, an almost hauty expression...beautiful and enchanting. The photographer, Ruth Orkin, captured the timeless expression of the American woman abroad. I am glad this photograph exist as it demonstrates values that I try to emulate when I travel abroad. I've always thought of this as a picture of a woman owning her feminity; proud and resolute.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (Fluff)

         From Booking Through Thursday:
You’ve just had a long, hard, exhausting day, and all you want to do is curl up with something light, fun, easy, fluffy, distracting, and entertaining.

What book do you pick up?
          Simply put I pick up some Aisha Tyler. Aisha Tyler is smart (she went to Dartmouth) and funny. More importantly...she knows how to laugh at herself. Of course, the book I'm talking about is Swerve: Reckless Observations of a Postmodern Girl.

          Here are some gems from that lovely book:

p15 The concept of the mack is an old one. A gigolo, a pimp, a player--all words used over the years to refer to someone, a male someone, who plays by his own rules. All of these terms, in varying degrees, have come to have a positive connotation: a guy who gets the ladies, a lover, a manipulator of women and rubes. This connotation is so powerful and pervasive that Hugh Hefner can go out with eleven matching pneumatic blondes and be thought of as an international bon vivant, while Demi Moore appears in public with both her ex-husband and her twenty-five-year-old boyfriend and people faint dead away, their hands frozen in the shape of a cross. A woman who plays the field is the modern equivalent of a gorgon--one look and you are turned to stone.
p74 I think girls should make being sassy, o brazen, or feisty, or loudmouthed, or audacious, or brash, or impudent, or any of the other double entendre tidbits that are used to dismiss girls that are just sticking up for themselves and speaking their minds, the normal state of things. We shouldn't feel enpowered to speak out, because it should just be the way we are how we do.
p86 I am a fan of the dirty joke. I do not have fragile sensibilities nor a delicate constitution. I do not faint, or wilt, or even swoon, in indelicate company. I will laugh at almost anything.

And, with chapter titles like "Once More in the Balls, with Feeling", "Martha Stewart on Crack" an "McMarriage", how could this book not put anyone in a better mood?
Feel free to share your answers below, on the original post (above), on FB or on your own blog!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Five Words Even the Summer Couldn't Help Me Forget!

Note: if these five words aren't enough for you...use this lovely tool to create your own deliciously annoying Edu-term...Educational Jargon Generator

Intentional Non-Learner A student reluctant to learn or as they look in the English Department...a student who refuses to read the friggin' book and then can't do the friggin' homework and then friggin' fails his/her English class.

NCLB or No Child Left Behind The Wikipedia definition works for me..."NCLB supports standards-based education reform, which is based on the belief that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education. The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools. The Act does not assert a national achievement standard; standards are set by each individual state." Frankly, an idea that works well in theory, but in practice means that the teacher is more responsible for the learning of the student, than the student is...

Tardy Sweep As a person who is never on time to anything I have a real problem with forcibly counting students tardy using a process referred to as 'sweeping' means I shut my door when the bell rings and let my students miss class time filling out a form with the principals (that's not the part I dislike). During my planning period, I get to 'sweep' the students to the designated area and wait for them to fill out the forms and then escort them to rooms in my area of the building. Tardy Sweeping does keep tardies down, REALLY, but it's an inconvenience and makes me feel like I'm treating the children, well, like children.

Authentic Instruction What the frick? Break those words down,, isn't all teaching real...I'm positive I haven't seen any fake teaching practices. Authentic Instruction (yes, somebody got paid to think of this definition) is, in essence, instruction that challenges the student, has meaning beyond the classroom, includes all students equally in the process, and should be what all teachers do...even if they don't know what it's called.

and, my favorite!...note the dripping sarcasm...

Because Wikipedia can define it best!
Happy 13th School Year to ME!!!

What 'terms' of your profession do you find grating? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Word of the Week: Obviate and Weekly 100 Words

Here are my 100 words from A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan p82:

"She takes hold of his hands. As they move together, Rolph feels his self-consciousness miraculously fade, as if he is growing up right there on the dance floor, becoming a boy who dances with girls like his sister. Charlie feels it, too. In fact, this particular memory is one she'll return to again and again, for the rest of her life, long after Rolph has shot himself in the head in their father's house at twenty-eight: her brother as a boy, hair slicked flat, eyes sparkling, shyly learning to dance. But the woman who remembers  won't be Charlie; after Rolph..."
This meme is hosted by Ruthi at Ruthi Reads!  The object is simple:  share exactly 100 words from the book you are currently reading, and no spoilers!  Be sure to include your book's title, author, and page number in your post.  Head over to Ruthi's site and add your link to your book!  Happy Reading!

Monday, August 15, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #34 A Visit from the Goon Squad

Every Summer I spend a great deal of time feeling nostalgic. When I was 11, I distinctly remember walking to the playground up the road, sitting on a swing and feeling nostalgic that I would never be able to do that in the same way again once I entered junior high. I remember lamenting the loss of youth when I turned double digits ("I'll never be one digit again" I wailed to my mother who didn't understand why I was crying in my birthday cake) and don't even get me started on what I did on my 30th birthday or how I recovered the loss on my 31st birthday. I'm all about remember the past with that breezy voice and far off glance of a woman way closer to deaths' door than I actually am.

I find that at 35, two years into being a married parent of an almost two year old (if you can't do the math, you may read here), getting ready to start my 13th (lucky number, no!?) year of teaching, having lived in a town, by choice, almost as long as I lived in my hometown I have many things to be nostalgic about...enter A Visit from the Goon Squad  by Jennifer Egan, a book that for lack of a better word is all about nostalgia...whiney, tragic, beautiful and mesmerzing nostalgia.

This book is a set of short stories (Jennifer Egan will say otherwise) that weave in and out of a group of lives. While reading don't make the mistake of forgetting a character because he/she will pop back up when you least expect it. I thought I'd write a little about each one. Overall this book rocked my socks off and I suggest it to anyone who has a tender heart for the past...not, that you want to relive it, but that you know while it's happening that it's shaping you into the person you are today.

I already posted most of these comments on the discussion board for the book at Goodreads.

Chapter 1: Found Objects
I couldn't help, after reading about this book, thinking that it was very similiar to The Imperfectionist, in that it was going to be stories about people living their lives, lives that take unexpected turns and twist, but always manage to survive, lives that are all somehow connected. So, I was hesitate as that book made me feel soooooo melancholy from the get-go with the story about that workholic man and the sad reason behind it. In books like this the first story really does set the tone. I like that this story, a story about a klepto and her one night stand, with its details about the bathtub, and her feelings and the therapists made me laugh, made me feel ashamed, made me feel for the boy whose precious note was stolen, made me want to take a long bath and made me want to read on to learn more, while that was a real story it was darned upbeat and honest!

Chapter 2: The Gold Cure
I knew I was going to like Bennie, as messed up as he is/was, when he lets his son try his medicine, noting how much it cost him, but also noting that he's eating it without coffee and is curious about what that's like. Sure he can't communicate with his children as well as he'd like (what parent can all of the time, if you are that person tell me how you do it) and he's lived a pretty rock and roll life, but he does regret and that makes him human enough for me to like him (although I found out later, I like his ex-wife more!)
Chapter 3: Ask Me If I Care
This is my second favorite chapter, I love a good story about unrequited love! I like Rhea best and even years later when she and Jocelynn visit Lou I like her more, you can tell she's going to be ok, by the end of this chapter. Love her!      

Chapter 4: Safari
This chapter is beautiful. I don't want to ruin the feeling I have about it, by talking about bittersweet. I love how simple actions and words have effects on us for years and shape who we are.      

Chapter 5: You (Plural)
Lou is icky and he will die being an icky man having learned nothing even after the death of his son...sadness, as I liked Rolph. Jocelynn will be fine, now that she's seen Lou. You can tell it was touch and go before that...I like that she looks at Lou and realizes that she let this weak man affect her so much and for no reason. I like that Rhea is a mom and a good one living a normal life in Seattle...this would seem like failure to Lou but you can tell that he is in awe of her and has always been. I like that Jocelynn recognizes that Rhea was really only 'pretending'. In the end everyone heals...maybe even Lou...a little.      

Chapter 6: X's and O's
This story just made me depressed. With every detail I thought of Scotty as being more pathetic than before. In some weird way he reminds me of a Hemingway Hero and is reminicent of the old man in The Old Man and the Sea...just keeps doing what he knows he should be doing, the one great fish, the failure, but the ultimate triumph...although he has nothing to show for it, but the carcass of his crumpled, used jacket.      

Chapter 7: A to B
I love this story because I love Stephanie...she's sneaking around trying to plan this perfect lie and it just keeps getting screwed up and I love that she trust her a husband (a man that shouldn't be trusted) so much that she notices that Kathy and Bennie have something that brushes it off. It's jules that draws attention to the fact that they are both hiding something and Stephanie's reaction to that, the fact that she's sneaking around, but really that means nothing in the light of Bennies' affair, is so real as to be painful and we know that after she has her moment in the grass with crazy Noreen watching everything, she has to go back into the house, confess (like she said she was going to) and break it, as we know she does after reading chapter 2...we know she breaks it in such a way that Bennie is left impotent and we could see that coming with the harsh way she treats bosco after he calls her old. This woman with the tattoo and spiky brown hair may think she's different than those blondies, but she really isn't.      

Chapter 8: Selling the General
Frankly, even after reading it to the end, I can't tell if I supposed to like Kitty and Dolly. Was Kitty being brave or stupid? Did she truly have a death wish? And, while what she did saved Kitty, Dolly took the hush money and let the general go on doing what we now know he truly is doing...that makes me not like Dolly. Then she does unconditionally love her unplanned daughter so much that you can't help but like her and Lulu reminds me of Rory Gilmore (way more responsible, almost too responsible, than her parent). I like that Lulu gets the wind knocked out of her sails on this trip and learns to love her mother as her mother, not the woman is purposely made her life miserable. hmm...and as I write this maybe I liked this chapter more than I realized, although it's just silly...I mean really what dim-wit would put huge containers of HOT oil above everyone...really? who would go off to a war-torn country with an out of work actress for PR for the regime purposes? I do think that it's true that people will pretend to be somewhere that they perceive as desirable while totally dissing the event and person in charge!      

Chapter 9: Forty-Minute Lunch
Um...interesting. At first it was fun to read the footnotes, then it got tedious, but I felt compelled to read all of them. I found the footnotes more interesting than the story itself (I enjoy snarky and informative those in An Abundance of Katherines by John Green), as I dislike interviews written in this manner (I suppose that's why I'm not a SPIN mag fan!). I'm glad this chapter was written in this way, as it tells us what kind of writer Jules is/was and that he really is a darkly humourous character who will be able to pull off Bosco's comeback!

Chapter 10: Out of Body
Powerful! I didn't really like this chapter as I could see where it was going to end, and still had/wanted to read on, as I didn't want to take for granted what I thought was going to be happening...I didn't mind that Rob died, when I didn't know him, but getting to see a glimpse of him and understanding the Drew and Rob and Sasha dynamic more made me quite sad.      

Chapter 11: Goodbye, My Love
I hate when I can feel something slipping out of my grasp and can't find the words or the actions to save it. This what I felt about Ted the whole time. He didn't go to Naples to find Sasha, he went there to find himself, too bad he didn't find the courage to bring that self back with him to The States. It was also nice to finally see exactly what Sasha was doing in Italy.

Chapter 12: Great Rock and Roll Pauses
I got it from the get go...and, didn't want to like it (as the whole world did), but loved it...this is how I think and act (in mind maps and clusters) and appreciate that Egan not only got the voice of a tween, but let us into the lives of the others so wonderfully, beautiful! I especially like the part where she ask her father about rob, kids can be so insensitive sometimes because we don't realize until much later that our parents had lives before us and it's those lives that shaped them and, in essence, made us...I like how drew handles it...we know his pain in answering even if she doesn't. Wow!      

Chapter 13: Pure Language
I can think of better ways to end such a true to life book. The futuristic element was a little distracting. I like that we get to see Lulu again and she is kick butt and I like that Scotty isn't left as pathetic as I thought he would be. I wish it wasn't the end...

5 Stars
A really great post about it...with a map! (See I told  you Rosie was cool!). I will also be using this post again to demonstrate how authors should talk to their readers...the people who make or break their careers...but that is another day.

And, if you are really all that interested Goodreads chose it as their inaugural book club book so there are tons of discussions about it, somebody even put the chapters in chronological order!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

OK, so seriously, I would have posted about this award earlier this week, but I was wayyyyy too busy reading all fabulous blogs that getting this award provided for my perusal... :D

Ruthi Reads! is an amazing lovely lady with an amazing lovely blog (I spotlight her every Tuesday when I do my Weekly One-Hundred) and she has passed this award on to me! Yippie!!! And, of course, thank-you Ruthi!!!

Liebster Blog Award

As with most blog awards, the Liebster comes with rules of appreciation:
  • Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  • Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Copy and paste the award on your blog.
  • Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
  • And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

The goal of the Liebster is to spotlight bloggers with fewer than 200 followers who you feel are worthy of recognition, thereby supporting growth of their blog following.

I'm passing the Liebster Blog Award forward to:

100 Stars or Less Indie Book Reviewer and great give-a-ways

A Kindle in Hong Kong A lovely lady who lives in Hong Kong and writes about her reading experiences there

Sarcastic Female Literary Circle Some great Bechdel Test of really great books and well delicious sarcasm

Short Story Slore A place for short story addicts...really, do you need to know more???

Rosie Says OK, I assume that this blog has like 1 bazillion followers, but she and it are so wonderful that I've no choice, but to add it here!

Now, please know I picked these blogs because they are amazing and reflect aspects of all that I cherish! I'll try to notify people, starts next week and I've been procrastinating like the dickens!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Six Word Saturday #17

My life in six words
Our toddler loves the new kitten!

Now, if only the cat had a name???
It's a girl cat...suggestions???

Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Five: Evidence

I love doing surveys and questionnaires. I love reading peoples answers to surveys and questionnaires. They are a weakness of mine, and in looking for topics for my blog to make it easier for me to post everyday once school started...I found this. So, Fridays we're taking a break from talking about reading and books and words to answer silly surveys and questionnaires. Feel free to post your answers below, on your own blog, or both!!! Ideas from


  1. What could serve as physical evidence that you sometimes lose focus?
  2. What could serve as physical evidence that you are loved?
  3. What could serve as physical evidence that you’re from wherever you’re from?
  4. What could serve as physical evidence that you went anywhere this past week?
  5. What could serve as physical evidence that you recently caved in to temptation?

1. My dirty house, my unfinished syllabus, my classroom that still doesn't have all of the stuff put away!

2. These three pictures and more!

3. All that maroon and gold Mansfield Lions stuff in a box in my spare room. Except for the t-shirts...I wear those!

4. Me in front of Frank Lloyd Wright's house in Oakpark, IL, taken by my friend on Wednesday...   
         5. large thighs??? the ice cream in the freezer??? I dunno! :D

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Booking Through Thursday (National Book Week)

    From Booking Through Thursday:
    It’s National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status
    (We’ve done something similar to this before, but it’s always fun, so … why not?)?

              What a fun BTT to do as I ease my way back to teaching!
              A book that is near me is a book that I have been meaning to give to a friend. It's called Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French.
              Here's the 5th sentence on page 56:

    "They would then have made sauces out of any leftovers, to give a bit more flavour to the half-edible bits of the next animal they killed."
              That definitely has me intrigued!

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    50 Books in a Year: Books #33 The Hunger Games

    I stumbled upon this series totally by accident. Er...sorta. I was planning on reading the series...really, just closer to the movie after THE REST OF THE WORLD had read them and I could read them alone...sorta.

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    How I fell into this one: My friend Julie and I had tickets for the NKOTBSB concert exactly 48 hrs. after the U2 concert...I was tired as I drove to St. Louis to meet her so I bought an energy drink one of those Monster M3 jobs, my first...heck it was my first (and, I'm not gonna lie...probably not my last!) foray into energy drinkdom. I was awake for the concert, awake for conversation after and...awake wayyyyyy after Julie went to bed. What was sitting on the end table by the futon? The whole set of the Hunger Games (thank-you Julies BF)...I read most of this book that night and finished it before left to go home.
    Reaction: OK, so I've been reading all these amazing articles about how YA SF has really gone head over spaceship to create work that appeals to adults as well as kids and after the whole OVER THE TOP vampire craze, I am all for this new YA Dystopic phase...actually it's making this unit that I teach even easier as 3 years ago I spent a class period explaining things that kids already know now. Yippie! The thing is that no matter how well it's written it's still written for kids and not those kids who were reading LotR or Zelazny or Conan books in high school. If I were 11 or 12 and just found this book, I would have been blown away by the plot, by the characters, by the freshness of it all!
    Just incase you don't know the plot, here it is from Goodreads:
    In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

    The freshness of the plot...I mean I read a lot of dystopic lit and this is the first I've read that pits teen against teen in some government controlled fight to the death. I also like the way Collins lets us get to know most all the characters in the Games, so we are over-whelmed and sad even when bully children die. There are sooo many wonderful scenes that I can't wait to see rendered in the movie and the reason is because Collins can write a heck of a story.
    While Katniss is pretty kick-butt compared to Bella Swan, she still isn't totally the teenage girl that I want my daughter to model herself after. Physically she is amazing! She bow hunts with her male friend Gale, she Mentally she is stunning! She has great inference skills, uses the medical training she received from watching her mother to help more than one of the kids in the Hunger Games, she understands enough about how bad the Hunger Games are that she makes it difficult for those in charge. Emotionally!!! she is just like every other teen girl in these books!!! She needs the boy to help her understand anything that requires the least bit of emotion or thought. She distrust everyone (just like the teenager girls in these books) and while she isn't lost without boys...she is lost without boys.

    What I thought about the series as a whole?!
    I am in love with this series and look forward to talking about it with my students.

    5 Stars

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    An Old Hymn

    OK, when I was little this was one of my favorite songs! And, because I was raised in a small town in Southern Baptist Convention country, I probably liked this version best!

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    Six Word Saturday #16

    My life in six words
    "I cannot go to school today..."

    Sick by Shel Silverstein

    "I cannot go to school today"
    Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
    "I have the measles and the mumps,
    A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

    My mouth is wet, my throat is dry.
    I'm going blind in my right eye.
    My tonsils are as big as rocks,
    I've counted sixteen chicken pox.

    And there's one more - that's seventeen,
    And don't you think my face looks green?
    My leg is cut, my eyes are blue,
    It might be the instamatic flu.

    I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
    I'm sure that my left leg is broke.
    My hip hurts when I move my chin,
    My belly button's caving in.

    My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
    My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
    My toes are cold, my toes are numb,

    I have a sliver in my thumb.
    My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
    I hardly whisper when I speak.
    My tongue is filling up my mouth,

    I think my hair is falling out.
    My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
    My temperature is one-o-eight.
    My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,

    There's a hole inside my ear.
    I have a hangnail, and my heart is ...
    What? What's that? What's that you say?
    You say today is .............. Saturday?

    G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

    How many days until Christmas Break???

    Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Friday Five: Public Opinion

    I love doing surveys and questionnaires. I love reading peoples answers to surveys and questionnaires. They are a weakness of mine, and in looking for topics for my blog to make it easier for me to post everyday once school started...I found this. So, Fridays we're taking a break from talking about reading and books and words to answer silly surveys and questionnaires. Feel free to post your answers below, on your own blog, or both!!! Ideas from

    Public Opinion
    1. When did you last use a public restroom?
    2. When did you last ride public transportation?
    3. How far away from your home is the nearest public housing?
    4. Which of your public utilities is the least reliable?
    5. What did you last view on public television or listen to on public radio?
    1. Um, yesterday...I was at school...working-ish.
    2. Last week...thank goodness, I don't have to do that everyday!
    3.'s in town...however many miles it takes to get into town.
    4. Does internet service count? If so, internet service, my internet connection gets lost everytime my AC kicks on...really!
    5. A couple of hours ago...we watch a lot of PBS!

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Booking Through Thursday (Anticipation)

    From Booking Through Thursday:
    What’s the last book you were really EXCITED to read?
    And, were you excited about it in advance? Or did the excitement bloom while you were reading it?
    Are there any books you’re excited about right NOW?
            OK, so this may sound corny, but I'm excited to read all the books I read, and my reasons for being so vary. For instance, I was excited to read Wither because I read such a horrible review of it, that I was intrigued to see what could have possibly made it so bad and I was excited that my aunt had it on her bookshelf. I was excited about reading The Hunger Games trilogy because I'd heard so much about them from adults and students, alike. I am excited to read The Golden Compass because my sister loved it and owns the whole series. See, every book is exciting, and I'm usually excited to read the second I see the cover!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    30 Day Song Challenge: Day Thirty!!!

    Day Thirty: Your Favorite Song At This Time Last Year

    So, the song I'm about to put down...I'm not sure is my favorite from last year, but it is definitely one I remember because the tiny tot was just beginning to notice music on her own and everytime the Samsung Smart TV commerical came on she'd notice and sing along...sorta.

    I love Trains' song Hey Soul Sister because it reminds me of a wonderful time last summer hanging with the kidlet watching her notice her surroundings.

    Feel free to join in by commenting below (I really do love comments, on fb or here), or doing this challenge on your own blog.

    Hmm...this is the last day of this challenge...What challenge should I do next?
    The 30 Day Song Challenge
    Day 01 – Your favorite song
    Day 02 -- Your least favorite song
    Day 03 -- A song that makes you happy
    Day 04 -- A song that makes you sad
    Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of someone
    Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of somewhere
    Day 07 -- A song that reminds you of a certain event
    Day 08 -- A song that you know all the words to
    Day 09 -- A song that you can dance to
    Day 15 --A song that describes you
    Day 16 --A song that you used to love but now hate
    Day 17 --A song that you hear often on the radio
    Day 18 --A song that you wish you heard on the radio
    Day 19 --A song from your favorite album
    Day 20 --A song that you listen to when you're angry
    Day 21 -- A song that you listen to when you're happy
    Day 22 -- A song that you listen to when you're sad
    Day 23 -- A song that you want to play at your wedding
    Day 24 -- A song that you want to play at your funeral
    Day 25 -- A song that makes you laugh
    Day 26 -- A song that you can play on an instrument
    Day 27 -- A song that you wish you could play
    Day 28 -- A song that makes you feel guilty
    Day 29 -- A song from your childhood


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...