Category Archives: education

Hopes for the Future: Sunny Skies

Standard

A 14th Century mystic poet named, “Hafiz” gives us this cheerful

message today:

“Even after all this time,

The sun never says to the earth,

“You owe me.”

Look what happens

with a Love like that.

It lights up the ‘Whole Sky.'”

 

Here is some ‘food for thought,’ in a much more serious tone:

“If we use our fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and

exhausting it rapidly. This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful

and will have to be stopped in the interest of coming generations. The

heat of the sun’s rays represents an immense amount of energy, vastly

in excess of water power.  The sun’s energy controlled to create lakes

and rivers is for motive, purpose and transformation of arid deserts

into fertile land.”

~Nikola Tesla, September 9, 1915

 

Solar energy became popular years ago, but a recent report mentioned

and gave ‘credit’ to President Jimmy Carter’s administration in forming

close relations with the D. O. E., which is the Department of Energy.

I follow Greenpeace and have been posting on this subject with updates,

from time to time.

 

There is an acronym for India’s governmental energy program. I may

have informed you of some of their solar home systems. The ‘newest’

fact I found was there are 150,000 families in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal,

Vietnam and South Africa actively participants of SELCO.

 

Solar solutions are followed by a “Solar Foundation” here in the United

States, where “so far, its operations include 13,000 plus megawatts of

cumulative solar energy.”  This amount  which the average layperson,

myself included, might think were rather ‘low’ in its numbers.

 

Interestingly enough, my instinct to guess this to be ‘not much to speak of,’

really has the capacity to serve 2.2 million American homes.

 

The Solar Foundation carries out a solar job census of solar workers, which

gave a remarkable number of 143,000 solar workers in the U.S. This has

increased in numbers since 2012 by 20%.

 

Pioneers in solar advocacy formed by two men named Daniel Yergin

and Neville Williams have been working to increase awareness on two

blogs.

They are a great ‘resource’ on the subject of solar power.

You may wish to check them out at:

http://danielyergin.com

http://sunpowerbook.com

 

Neville Williams’ first book was called, “Chasing the Sun.” President Bill

Clinton said of Williams’ book:

“I really loved your book. I made everyone in the Clinton Foundation

read it. It’s terrific.”

 

The late Sir Arthur C. Clarke said of  “Chasing the Sun:”

“A fascinating account of the author’s odyssey to promote solar

energy in the developing world.”

 

 

Here is something to be ‘proud’ about they tallied up the states which

have the best usage and most actively working with solar energy.

The Top 10 States in the U.S. are:

1. California                      6. Massachusetts

2. Arizona                         7. Hawaii

3. New Jersey                   8. Colorado

4. North Carolina              9. New York

5. Nevada                        10. New Mexico

 

Since President Obama came into office, there have been 550 new

major solar project. Sixteen of these have been permitted on federal

land with over 6,058 megawatts generating capacity. If you look back

at the total number given previously, this is about 50% of the solar power

presently available in the U.S. These are huge ‘strides’ or progress in

pursuing energy generated by the sun. This is in great part to realizing

the importance of other resources than gas or oil, thanks to collaboration

between both political parties.

 

The newest Neville Williams’ book is titled, “Sun Power:  How Energy

from the Sun Is Changing Lives Around the World Empowering America

and Saving the Planet.”

 

Quite a lofty goal which all of us around the world can appreciate.

 

The hope for the future is to have more common usage by people

everywhere. By becoming a leader in solar power, our country could

become a major catalyst for global, political and economic change.

 

This is one more quote to bring you smiles:

“Solar power is the last energy resource that isn’t owned yet- –

Nobody taxes the sun yet.”

~Bonnie Raitt

 

 

 

Join Me for a ‘Spell’

Standard

When my grandmother would ask me to “Come and sit for a spell,”

this meant we would gaze out at the back yard and enjoy the view.

Sometimes, it would take awhile but there would be words shared

and some little fragment of a story, which meant I would have to

gently pull the rest of her thoughts out. Asking questions and then,

waiting. I had a quiet, gentle grandmother who lived with us from

when I was only three years old up until I was a sophomore in

high school. She had what people call, the ‘mother in law’ suite.

 

Eveline was her name and she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio with

a few tendencies to use Kentucky or Tennessee expressions. Did

any of your grandparents or parents use the words, ‘sit a spell?’

 

Spell is such an interesting word. Here is a current definition of

it  with a few of my own little ‘takes’ on this fun wordplay and

word analysis. I hope you will add your  favorite interpretation

of “spell” in the comments’ section.

 

The vastness and variation of the definitions for “spell” are

amazing. I started this with only three actual uses and found

out there is so much more dimension to the word.

 

“spell”

noun-

1. a spoken word or form of words held to have magic power.

2. a state of enchantment.

3. strong, compelling influences or attraction.

4. a short indefinite period of time.

5. a period of weather of a particular kind.

6. one’s turn at a task or work.

 

verb-

1. orally recite the letters or give the spelling of a word.

2. to relieve someone from work, by taking a turn.

3. to allow someone to rest awhile.

 

I am especially fond of the sitting in a rocking chair, sipping lemonade

with a relative or friend, and pondering while not in any rush to finish

the conversation. Time passing slowly, like the image which is often

used, ‘watching the grass grow.’

 

I enjoy movies where you can see, through the director’s guidance

and the film crew’s efforts, the ‘exact moment’ someone is caught

in a ‘spell.’ I even like the idea of someone’s falling in love and

calling their first meeting, ‘magical.’

 

There have been many love songs, where there are descriptions

of the initial meeting, the spell being cast and the enchanted couple

finding this memorable. Details during the meeting come back and

are mentioned again and again, to children and others who like to

know ‘how it all began.’ It can include, “She bewitched me.”

 

“Strange Magic,” was a fantastic and beautiful animated children’s

film. Of course, there are many songs in it, including the Electric

Light Orchestra’s song, “Strange Magic.” There is a bright purple

bottle which contains a “love spell” from captured fairy, “Tinkerbell.”

It contains purple blossoms from the flowers on the edge of the

forest. They are ‘forbidden’ to be picked. Micah, my oldest daughter,

Carrie and I saw this on Sunday evening.

 

I was surprised at all the different songs that were included in the

children’s movie, all popular ones from the 70’s. George Lucas directed

this film. There were several adult couples holding hands and giggling

at the antics in the movie filled with elves, fairies, and evil grasshopper-

looking king of the “dark forest.”

 

 

Please share a name of a song and include the group or individual

who performs it.

 

Another use of the word ‘spell’ I heard at a quilting bee, one where

I was a guest and enjoyed watching the ladies working together.

One of the women asked me to ‘spell’ her on some of the stitches

and watched me, giving me suggestions and compliments on my

even stitches. Have you ever used the word, “spell” to take a turn?

 

One of my favorite uses of the word “spell” was in the classroom usage.

I enjoyed having “Spelling Bees,” while I was a young teacher. I would

buy candy bars and give them to the ‘top’ spellers. I also would give the

classroom popcorn for good behavior while participating in the ‘bee.’

 

Later, when I had a daughter who ‘hated’ spelling, since we think she

missed out on my ‘spelling gene,’ I realized this may not always have

been such a fun way to practice spelling. It is embarrassing to those

who are either shy or are not able to spell.  The only ‘comfort’ would

be that sometimes those who spell well, cannot do well in math.

 

This math knowledge skill my oldest daughter had inherited  from her

father, I tried to promote and encourage.The balancing out the ones

who could do math with the ones who could spell, still has a few who

are not successful in either case.

 

I would admit to my Language Arts classes, I ‘hated’ the game of

“Around the World,” when I was in school. This game played off

two students,  one who was standing and the other sitting at their

desk.

 

The teacher would ‘flash’ a problem and the other would have to

give the correct answer to be able to move around the classroom.

If unable to be quick with your response or give the wrong answer

and you would be ‘bested’ by another student, taking their seat.

I used ‘flash cards’ for spelling and math, along with ‘sight words,’

when I babysat all those years. I think practicing and keeping my

children and my ‘clients’ caught up during the summertime really

helps close the ‘gap’ while they are still enjoying recreation. I

always rewarded everyone or would just encourage clapping for

the right answer. Either way, I stopped giving ‘better’ prizes to the

ones who were successful.

 

This is now called in education, “intrinsic rewards.” They ‘know

inside themselves,’ they can do their tasks or skills. Being happy

you are successful will get you far in life, since not always are

there rewards. Teaching this lesson early is a good way to be

promoting self-worth, too.

 

I think all of us can relate to the idea of ‘dry spells,’ in our own

creative thoughts, whether we are producing books, music, art or

writing poetry to enchant our fellow bloggers.

 

In my periods of being ‘alone,’ and not dating anyone, I have been

known to be exasperated with my long, ‘dry spells’ without a man

in my life.

 

The weather usages of ‘dry spell’ and ‘rainy spells’ don’t excite me

but create important references for the weather man or woman.

They can tell us how many days in a row we have gone without any

rain or have had rain. Even though the definition ‘implies’ you can

use ‘spell’ with ‘any particular form of weather,’ I just cannot imagine

using it with snow.

 

When it comes to ‘dry spells’ you may wish to listen more closely to

the words in the America band song, “A Horse With No Rain.” I did

and it really is not ‘aimless’ at all, it has purpose to the song. I have

always loved it, but did not know it had depth and meaning to it.

 

Here is a serious “pause” in my blog:

“All of our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you in New England

and hope you have electricity, warmth and food sources. We are very

concerned for this huge snowstorm you are weathering.”

 

Lastly, my grandkids knew how to ‘spell’ the name of their home state,

because their parents are Buckeye fans.

Let me hear the first two letters:

“O – H!”

always answered with,

“I – O!”

We play in the car, the “Give me a __” and it can go like this,

“Give me an ‘S’, then they will say the letter back to you, S!”

And we can keep on going until we spell “Skyler,” or we  may

start with a “D” and keep on going until they have chanted

the letters for “Daddy.”

Of course, if you are from another country or have not played

this shouting or chanting game, you finish with the letters and

say,

“What does that spell?”

Their reply is yelled, “______!”

I used to do this with my babysitting kids when they were all

in elementary school. It was a fun way to pass time while on a

short drive to gymnastics, the park or pool.

 

Don’t forget to let me know if you have a special song with

the word, ‘spell’ included.

Even though, “Some Enchanted Evening” (from the musical,

“South Pacific,” doesn’t mention specifically the word, “spell”

it describes what one is.)

Here are a few of the lyrics, listening to Frank Sinatra or Perry

Como singing this would make you smile and reflect on love.

Across a crowded room you will find a stranger, “you’ll see

her again and again.”

You may hear someone’s laugh and “the sound of her laughter

will sing in your dreams.”

The ending is just so sweet, I get tears in my eyes:

“Once you have found her, never let her go.”

 

Don’t forget to let me know of one of the ways, ‘spell’ may have

captured your interest or meant something to you. Sharing a

song or memory will make us all feel like the ‘spell’ worked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loss of a Fine Crime Novelist: age 94

Standard

Famed detective crime novelist, P. D. James passed away peacefully

in Oxford, England on Thursday. This was in America, Thanksgiving

Day- Phyllis Dorothy James White lived from August 3, 1920 until

November 27, 2014. I had always been fascinated by Phyllis’ personal

life details. She had some similar paths which I had taken, eldest of

three children and having been on her own for quite some time. Her

husband, Ernest C.B. White and she had married while she was 22

years’ old, so had I.

From her father’s civil servant position, to my father’s government

job, the differences became much more apparent when she grew up

to age 16. Phyllis left school at the Cambridge High School for Girls,

choosing jobs at hospitals. When her husband went off to join the

war, (WW II) she had children. The obituary says she had two girls

along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I had just mentioned to someone in my comments’ section that P.D.

James had re-imagined a sequel to the wonderful “Pride and Prejudice,”

with Jane Austen’s characters, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, having become

estranged from her sister and husband, they were arriving through the

woods to a Ball planned. Murder in the forest, led her sister’s husband

to be accused while Elizabeth worked on solving the mystery. This

was on PBS “Masterpiece Theater,” in October, I believe.

While Phyllis’ husband was a doctor, Phyllis became a medical

administrator with the National Health Services in England. Phyllis

took three years to write her first book, “Cover Her Face,” which may

make some take comfort in their own writing and publication pursuits.

Her next three crime novels, focused in on medical terminology, hospital

setting and procedures.  In 1963, “A Mind to Murder” had these medical

details, along with 1971, “Shroud for a Nightingale,” which had realistic

plot line, and the last medically based novel, “The Black Tower,” included

the hospital setting. Certainly, Phyllis D. James White utilized her 19

years of being an administrator to her advantage in crime-solving.

 

P.D. James wrote thirteen novels about murder and mystery, seven of

those books became part of “Mystery!” series episodes on PBS. Adam

Dalgliesh, her most familiar character, was a Detective of Scotland Yard.

His introspection and inner poet made this him a complex and intriguing

man.

When her husband, Ernest, died, she was only 44 years old and she spent

the next 50 years beloved by family but never remarrying.

 

We shall all be mourning the loss of P.D. James. We may be happy that

her life was filled with many years of successful parenting, writing along

with contributing to England’s National Health Service with her fine

even-handed administration.

 

A life well led, she included a sense of humor in her personal interviews.

P.D. James’ favorite line was that from childhood on, after hearing the

old Nursery Rhyme of,  “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty

had a great fall. . .” Phyllis said, “When I first heard that Humpty Dumpty

fell off the wall, I immediately wondered, ‘Did he fall or was he pushed?'”

 

How fortuitous, or showing quite some premonition, to the craft of her

morbid story-telling. P.D. James was one of my favorite female authors

who could draw me into her webs of complex characters and dynamic actions.

Her ability to continue pursuing learning, outside of schools, along with her

accomplishing so much after leaving academia at age 16, all make P.D. James

a fascinating woman who should motivate us all.

 

Accolades for Malala

Standard

There is something to be said about letting words speak for themselves.

Andrea Levy, Cleveland Plain Dealer journalist and artist, blends these

two skills into incredible stories. The whole page is filled with lines,

varied from gray, black and red bold strokes. These represent all those

unknown faces in a large crowd.

All of us.

I return to her words, transfixed.

 

This has been on my refrigerator for some time now, about Malala

Yousafzai. She is indomitable, showed nerves of steel, faced her death

undaunted and walked away. She is not unscathed, but she overcame

her enemies, endured suffering and lived.

 

If each of us had only 1/100th of Malala’s humble spirit and strength

of convictions, just imagine how changed the world would become.

 

Please read this:

 

“A Face in the Crowd

She’s young, but her scars are not. At 17, she seems to be going on 5,000.

Utterly mesmerizing. In fact, if you look closely, she’ll capture you, and

against your wishes just might awaken memories of your other long-

buried lifetimes. For oppression is an ancient story.

However, I think hers is a face we might rather ignore. A face that looked

directly into the Taliban gun that shot her. A gun that shot her in the face,

on her school bus in Pakistan. A face shot for demanding education for

girls. A child bloodied for daring to have a voice. Shot for speaking

empowering words that seem to leap from the same river from which

other peacemakers have drunk:

‘I believe the only way we can create global peace is through not only

educating our minds but our hearts and souls.’

Malala Yousafzai stands up in our landscape of terrorism.

I can feel her courage pushing at my own inaction.

She makes me wonder what I might be willing to die for.

The child claimed the fight and acted.

She has held her head high for all to see.

And, at 17, she now holds the Nobel Peace Prize as well.”

 

by Andrea Levy

(Opinion Art Journalist)

If you are interested in following her Opinion Art blog, you may go to

Cleveland.com/andrea.levy or find Andrea’s page on FB: Levyart.

 

Musical note suggestions for the Nobel Peace Prize winner and for

our own hearts to rejoice in Malala’s becoming a survivor:

1. If you wish to listen to “Peace Train,” by Cat Stevens, it may just complete

your day.

2. “From a Distance,” I like the Nanci Griffith version (1987), as well as

Bette Midler’s.

3. “Imagine,” John Lennon’s song embraced the world with its pure message.

 

 

White Lace and Promises

Standard

There once was a girl who was from a different elementary school from my children’s

school. There are five elementary schools, hers was Conger, my kids went to Smith.

She lived across the street from us, she became ‘fast friends’ one summer, when she

found out my youngest daughter was going to Willis Middle School in the fall with

her. We had just moved in, when they met on the sidewalk. Soon, the two girls were

inseparable. They would go down to the pool, they would go to Blue Limestone Park

and travel around the neighborhood, upon their bikes.

This girl is named Holly, my daughter is Felicia. They would call each other up, on

land line telephones. I look at my same land line phone, set up in my current apt. and

remember that there was a chair in our foyer, this white telephone with its gold edges

and push button numbers was one I have a photograph with Felicia talking to the girl

who lived across the street. Why weren’t they visiting, instead of on the phone? I am

not sure but this was an age when ‘grounding’ occurred, sometimes as the meted out

punishment.

Soon Holly would call up and ask what we were having for dinner, she liked the way

I ‘grilled’ the hot dogs in butter in a skillet, the way I used a can of spaghetti sauce,

(Hunts brand, mushroom sauce) adding oregano, basil and onion salt. She thought

it was fun to come over and eat dinner, sometimes lingering around in the back yard

with Felicia, pretending they were acrobats and other imaginary circus players on

our wooden ‘gym set.’ Often, one or the other home would be the place they had a

‘sleepover.’

These two friends went through high school, joining soccer and basketball together,

along with their separate interests. Felicia quit soccer, to become a Cross Country

runner, Holly became a cheerleader. They shared a lot of common thoughts and

goals. They both were runners-up, or ‘contestants’ for Homecoming Queen, their

senior year. They shared a great graduation party held at the Delaware County

Fair, where the cost of $200 was divided up amongst five good and solid friends.

All five girls went off to college, staying in touch, going and visiting each other’s

campuses.

The first of the original five friends is getting married today. I have to choose

between three dresses to wear, my youngest daughter wishes me to wear the

longest, new dress. It is a sleeveless dress, with cream, pastel peach, tan and

black details geometric dress. She helped me choose it a young people’s

clothing store, called “Forever Twenty-One.” I have a beautiful autumn mid-

length dress I wore at my son’s wedding six years ago. It has a brighter fall

colors palette with a lovely sweater I could wear over it. I have only worn it

twice. Once on a date and possibly today. The third choice of dresses is a

right below the knee dress, with more ‘pizzazz’ which I have never worn;

like the first choice. It has a jeweled burnt orange diamond that makes my

bodice area look more fuller, with the way it creates folds on both sides of

the diamond. It has the deepest autumn colors which includes swirls and

paisley designs. I went from the pastels in the first, the medium tones in

the second and the deeper ‘jewel’ tones in the last one, with a brighter

orange, olive green and cream background. Each one I will probably wear

gray or tan hose, black velvet pumps and they are about 3 inches high. I

don’t like the brown purse, brown set of shoes I tried all three on, although

you would think they would ‘match’ the fall colors, the black outlines in

each dress seems to need black shoes and purse.

My best girlfriend, Jenny, and I were discussing the 3:30 wedding and

the evening reception. It is not going to start much past 5:00 since even

the longest wedding would not go on that long. She left the length question

unanswered, as a good friend she just said, “Wear whichever you feel you

look best in. Don’t worry about the length.”

After looking at George Clooney and recent bride, Amal’s wedding photos,

studying the guests, I saw no one except the bridal party wearing long

dresses. It put doubts into my youngest daughter’s reassurances about the

sleeveless dress, the first choice I described. Since today’s high may be too

cool to take off the sweater chosen for this dress. (Black with black with gold

edged buttons.) I have a burnt orange colored stone necklace for the two

other dresses, which was made by an artist, looks very stunning with v-neck

dresses, as the two mid-length and knee-length dresses.

My youngest daughter is not a bridesmaid in this wedding, not sure of who

was chosen, since I will find out when I go to the wedding. Felicia was chosen

to read the quotation taken from the end of the 2001 “Love Actually” British

movie. It is meaningful, powerful and brings tears to my eyes. About airports,

greetings and partings, how the world changed for some from 9/11/01 World

Trade Center bombings, but how people still embrace and have hope for Love.

 

White lace and promises, most may remember is taken from that all-time

favorite wedding song of the 70’s through today by the Carpenters:

“We’ve Only Just Begun.”

Memories of a friendship that traveled over the years, through thick and

thin, to transformation of closeness and dear friendship to where they are

right now, Felicia will have a special and meaningful place in the story.

 

It will be forever changed when Holly marries Nate today on October 4, 2014.

They dated for four years, they have been engaged for a year now and own a

home together.

Best wishes for happiness to the Bride (who is like a daughter) and Groom!

Makes me hum the song, “Through the Years,” which Kenny Rogers sang.

Beginning a Week of Book Banning Awareness

Standard

From September 21st through the 27th, the American Libraries Association has

declared this “Banned Books Week.” They wish to encourage our freedom to read.

The ALA’s slogan for this week is, “Discover What You’re Missing.” I think it is so

important to remind people of how recently we had books destroyed, censored

and banned in our country.

In my opinion, books on any subject are meant to expand our world views. They

open our eyes where we may hold insulated views. Some have been protected,

kept safe and ‘closed off,’ from what is being presented in their community or

‘tribe’ (or family.)There are some who home school, some who don’t believe

in public news, some who wish that all offensive subjects not be mentioned to

or around their children. I respect their freedom to do so and they have valid

concerns. But they must also be careful for ‘what they wish for.’ After having

a protected Catholic roommate my sophomore year in college go, ‘haywire,’

with her sudden freedom. Also, knowing a relative who sent her 3 daughters to

a Christian college, only to have one get married to a Catholic, a Jewish man

and another to live with a man out of wedlock, I think one must be careful

about what kind of life you are presenting to your children and family.

By the way, just so you don’t misunderstand, I felt all three of these choices

were find and acceptable choices. It is just the fact the parents had tried to

prevent this ‘kind of thing,’ from happening, that I mention it at all.

Creating awareness of censorship and banning books may seem ‘foreign’ to

ones in their twenties who may live in a city where this has not recently

happened. Historically, it is no so far in the distant past, as one may think. It

is also part of many cultures’ and countries’ current practices. Awareness of

the dangers in such behavior, burning books, taking black markers and

removing words, opinions, and whole passages of different perspectives is

so important for everyone to recognize.

The definition of ‘ban’ that applies to this practice is defined as to prohibit

especially by legal means or social pressure some form of information.

Censure or condemning through public opinion.

The definition of ‘censor’ is to examine in order to suppress or delete

harmful or dangerous material.

The major problem in both banning and censoring is “Who is doing this?”

Who has the authority to choose what we are able to read, write or talk

about?

The subjects of McCarthyism, Apartheid, Racial Issues and Governmental

Control are the ones that “leap to mind’ and produce a cold hand upon my

heart.

Do I think the military servicemen should have had their letters censored,

for fear of accidentally getting into the hands of our enemies? I would not

wish to make a decision that might cause death or infiltration of the enemy

in times of war.

Do I think that some subjects are ‘gross’ and upsetting to my mind? Yes,

but again, I would not wish to impose my thoughts upon others. I don’t

feel this would be fair or just behavior.

While teaching my first year of middle school, in 1979, I was in a small

town where the principal and the superintendent were from cities. They

said it was important to not feel that parents should dictate how their

students be taught. They made me feel comfortable about approaching

them with topics. Sixth grade Language Arts, along with English, Spelling

and Current Events were part of my instruction responsibilities. We had

team teaching, where the students moved from classroom to classroom.

Once I found out I was expecting my second child (my first miscarriage

had been the year before) I asked when it would be appropriate to tell

the students. We were going to be riding in a bus, in the winter months

to a swimming pool, I would be helping the kids to learn floating and

Life Saving techniques. I would be wearing a maternity bathing suit by

then. They suggested telling the parents in November and I listened to

their more experienced advice. We also were having Sex Ed discussions

in the Science classes. I was a little embarrassed as students would see

my belly expanding, but it turned out they loved getting in a line after

lunch in December to feel the baby move. Then, I would have them put

their heads down, as they rested and listened to the chapter book, “The

Yearling,” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

What books do I think of that have been banned? Without referring to

a list, I imagined “Clockwork Orange,” from my high school readings.

I pictured and remembered that the word, ‘nigger,’ was considered very

controversial and some schools and libraries during the Civil Rights

Movement, mistakenly removed the book, “Huckleberry Finn,” from

their book shelves. The third immediate ‘banned’ book I could think of,

was “The Scarlet Letter.”

Why ban “Clockwork Orange?” Graphic language,  the governmental

control and the futuristic idea of mind control over a criminal. The main

character is injected, I believe if my memory serves me well, with something

that causes him to have pictures of violence and he suffers excruciating pain

from this. Why should we accept this book and not ban it? This is an intriguing

start to a whole new genre of books, which opened our minds to possibilities

and also, made us aware of the dangers of choosing how a criminal should be

punished. Do we have the right to do this? It can also be argued, do we have

the right to kill a man because he killed or committed dangerous acts. Our

legal world, with a ‘jury of our peers,’ makes those kind of powerful judgments.

Why ban “Huckleberry Finn?” I think fear of repercussions and misunderstandings

during a very dangerous, emotional period of our times. We can look at this

rationally, knowing the language was supposed to depict what was acceptable

during Mark Twain’s time. Why accept the book? Because it is an outstanding

story that does cross racial barriers and shows a black man and a young boy in

a fantastic piece of American literature. Their unique friendship and reliance

on each other shows a trust unexpected between two such characters, prior

to Mark Twain’s writing this book.

Why would “The Scarlet Letter,” which has a 19th century woman wearing a

red “A” across her chest be considered censorable? I think some would say

go ahead and promote this book. It holds their own judgments of the situation

on adultery. I am not sure if it is on the banned books list, which I had decided

when I set out to write this, that I would not ‘peek’ at the list until I finished my

opinions or had a chance to ‘editorialize.’ I think it may have been on the list

but would take it off, due to my determination that usually the WOMAN is

given the scarlet letter, not the man who was part of the couple engaged in

adultery. This is an antiquated viewpoint, but sadly this is still held in some

form or other, which is not the time nor place to talk about why this still goes

on.

 

The Office of Intellectual Freedom gets reports and complaints. They usually

get the most “challenges” to freedom from the public wishing to ban books

after the Top 10 Book List is published.

Here are the Top 5 out of a list of Top 10 the OIF received after the 2013 Top Ten

List was published:

1. “Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey.

The complaints were: Offensive language and unsuitable for age group.

2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

The complaints were: Offensive language, sexually explicit, violence and unsuitable for age group.

3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ,” by Sherman Alexie.

The complaints were: Drugs, alcohol, smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James.

The complaints were: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.

The complaints were: Religious viewpoints and unsuitable for age group.

Hmm…I would have added violence possibly.

Overall, there are large numbers given on the official website of the Office of Intellectual Freedom

of the population that wish to restrict our reading materials.

 

 

The funny thing that someone in my life mentioned about censorship, I am

not quite sure who, but he asked this thought-provoking question:

What book has many adult themes within its pages, including adultery,

fornication and murdering one’s family members, but is considered

‘acceptable’ by those who wish to forbid and censor books?

(The Bible, he answered.)

What books came to mind, when I first started this post, that may be on past

banned books lists?

 

Nelson Mandela’s quotation seems apropos:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way that respects and enhances

the freedom of others.”

 

September 17th is Doubly Worth Celebrating

Standard

September 17th celebrates two special days for everyone, especially Americans.

Both of these events can be loosely based on the fruit of an apple. . .

First of all, on this historic day in 1787, our Constitution came into “fruition.”

Sometime much more recently, we have delegated a day that doctors ‘approve

of,’ while teachers are happy for their pay ‘bonus.’

I am stretching this ‘fruity’ tie a bit, aren’t I?

Today is known to as both, “Constitution Day” and “Eat An Apple Day!”

There have been some politicians from both parties making the rounds

in the news and in a wide variety of locations, celebrating the United States

Constitution.

Teachers may have planned to serve apple cider, discussing how apples are

pressed to make this delicious drink. Or maybe they had children or middle

school aged young people chopping up apples and serving them with some

caramel dip or sprinkling cinnamon on them. They may have ‘gone all out’

in their celebrations of the apple, by having some students learn how to

make pie crust. I remember as a preschool teacher, finding this to be as

good as making play dough.

Since many people get the Constitution confused with the Declaration of

Independence, I will give you a ‘third grade’ review of this fine document.

The Constitution of the United States is the ‘supreme law’ of the land in the

U. S. of A. It is a set of rules that are enforced by the three levels of the

government. We have the Branches of the Legislative, Executive and the

Judicial levels.

The Constitution was originally written and created in September, 1787 but

did not get accepted, approved or ‘ratified,’ until June 21, 1778. In 1789, what

is called the “Bill of Rights” was added.  There are 7 articles with the #s 4, 5,

and 6th ones discussing the relationship between the States and the Federal

Government. This includes the rights and responsibilities of the now fifty

States. It discusses or defines the concept of Federalism in the articles.

Unlike other countries’ forms of Constitution, our amendments are not

inserted into the original document but are added at the end.

Here are some fun books to look up and read to children from Grades

Fourth through Eighth Grade:

“Our Constitution Rocks,” by Juliette Turner.

“We the Kids:  The Preamble to the Constitution,” by David Catrow.

“Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution,” by Jean Fritz.

 

Here are some fun songs, starting with one that is a ‘chant,’ using

arms and hand motions:

1. “Apple Tree”

“Way up high in the apple tree (Raise your hands up in the air.)

Three little apples looked down at me. (Hold up three fingers and can be dramatic

using your eyes and eyebrows lifted.)

I shook the tree (Pretend to shake your trees!) as hard as I could

Down came the apple. . .

M-m-m

M-m-m

It was good!” (You may rub your tummy to demonstrate!)

(Anonymous)

 

2. “Apple Tree”

(You may listen to this on a 4 minute ‘track’)

“Swing with me,

Underneath the apple tree.

We will swing,

We will sing,

Till the dinner bell.”

(Doesn’t it seem to need ‘ring,’ here?)

To and fro we will go,

flying to the sky.

Happily, merrily,

Up we swing,

With the birds we fly.”

(Author Unknown)

 

Now for some adult versions of songs with the name of apple

in the group or song. You will recognize most of these, which

you may be excited to know there are plenty more in a list on

the internet!

3. Doris Day’s lovely song, begins with a stanza about her true

love, Johnny leaving her and she is sitting by her lonesome:

“The apple tree

The apple tree

The apple tree,

Still sitting under the apple tree

With nobody else but me.”

 

(Why do I remember this as, “Don’t go sitting with nobody else

but me;  under the apple tree?” Memories play ‘tricks’ on me!)

 

4.  Louis Armstrong’s song, “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

 

5.  Dionne Warwick’s song, “As Long As There’s An Apple Tree.”

 

6.  The Ink Spots’ “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”

 

7.  Alice Cooper’s song, “Apple Bush.”

 

8.  An American Country Music Band in 2002 was called, “Hot Apple Pie.”

 

9.  Bob Applebaum’s song, “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree.”

(Isn’t this guy cool, has apple in his name, too!)

 

10. Jake Owens’ song, “Apple Pie Moonshine.”

 

Which is interesting, since this Friday, to ‘kick off’ our Fall weekend, I have written a post about

fermented apple cider. I really enjoy the flavor of “Angry Orchard,” hard apple cider made in

Cincinnati, Ohio. There is a new trend brewing apple cider, although the practice has been around

since the Mayflower ship brought the Pilgrims here, and even before then. . .