Category Archives: reading

Mark My Words

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There are so many ways we leave our ‘marks’ upon others’ lives and

upon some small part of the world itself. It may be through your

writing, you have touched someone’s mind and heart. It may be by

your creating a painting, taking a photograph,  preparing a special

food dish, making something old, ‘new’ again for someone or. . .

I found the word, “mark” in the dictionary and would like to share

what meanings it has, along with a few expressions that include

various forms of the word, “mark”in them.

 

The definition for ‘mark’-

noun:

1. A visible trace or impression, (line or spot).

2. A symbol, name or other identifier.

3. A name, logo or other indicator.

 

verb:

1. To mark a visible trace or impression, (spot, line or dent).

2. To form, make or depict by making a mark.

3. To supply with natural markings, (a tiger is marked by stripes.)

 

My favorite use of ‘mark’ is the one I used in the beginning. It means

to contribute to others by making our ‘marks.’ This means leaving

our legacy and how we helped make an impression upon another’s

life. There are many books in the library which are ‘marked’ as either

psychology or philosophy. They contain the current meaning and

suggestions for leading a ‘purposeful life.’

 

I enjoyed a pastime in high school and college, along with many

years of going to my youngest brother and  later in life, my two

daughter’s races. The excitement and anticipation of the races,

builds almost like a ‘frenzy,’ when I picture their putting a foot

into a wooden block to ‘mark’ their place.

 

Then, an announcer says these dramatic words:

“On your mark. . .

Get ready,

Set,

Go!”

There are other races, such as cars, horses and drag racing, where

the word, “Go!” are accompanied by a gun shot given to ‘mark’ the

beginning of the race.

 

I have had many dogs in my life, both female and male, ‘mark’ their

territory. This was especially noticeable with my parents’ male dog,

Nicky, who would do this while we were walking in the woods, once

we ‘disembarked’ from their small RV, (actually a Transvan). Nicky

would like to sniff all the other places animals had been ‘marking’

their own parts of the woods.

 

In concert and symphonic band, our musical teacher and director

would ask us to use a pencil to ‘mark’ our parts. Where I sat, I was

in the woodwinds area, with the clarinet section.

 

Since I was always a ‘second row player’ I needed to ‘mark’ a harmony.

Rarely was I able to ‘mark’ the melody.  In marching band, we would

have to count our steps, playing different marching songs, along with

a few popular songs peppered into the mix. We would find our place

on the field or our ‘mark’ before we would perform or make a pattern.

 

If the truth be told, I rarely played the first two games of the season.

I would march trying to be accurate in the precise places I needed

to be. Finally, in the third football game I would be confident in the

way I marched and could play my clarinet.  Two guys, Armin K. and

Mike C., were the only players who ever commented or noticed. Of

course, I had my clarinet in my mouth and looked like I was playing!

 

A side note, I love details about grandparents, so hope you will

appreciate my Grandpa Mattson who would call my clarinet, a

“licorice stick.” This is a popular slang term which some in other

countries may never have heard! I want to tell you I still have my

wooden Selby clarinet and can ‘wet my reed’ and perform simple

songs and scales.

 

If you have a story about music and remember ‘marking’ your place

or listening to the metronome during piano lessons, please share.

 

The younger Mark Ruffalo, with Jennifer Garner was one of my

youngest daughter’s favorite Mark’s in the film, “13 Going on 30.”

My oldest daughter followed, “New Kids on the Block,” band for

a short ‘minute’ and liked Donnie’s brother, Marky Mark (also his

claim to fame was wearing Calvin Klein jeans. We listened to his

band, “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s” version of the Beach

Boys’ song, “Good Vibrations.”

 

There are countless other “Mark’s” such as Mark Harmon who

was a ball player, actor in movies and continues to be in “NCIS.”

 

There was “Mark Anthony,” who Shakespeare focused on, as

well as his being a part of history.

 

Our great American author, Mark Twain left his ‘mark’ upon our

country’s literature. He shared remarkable stories of life upon the

Mississippi and going out West. His wry perspectives of the times

he lived in, along with honest character portrayals made a ‘mark’

upon my thoughts and writing, too.

 

I am sure you can think of other famous Mark’s to add. . .

 

There are many who enjoy the dramatic colors and designs of a

young teenager’s graffiti.  They leave their own distinctive ‘mark’

under bridges, overpasses and other cement or brick walls. I don’t

mind graffiti, as long as it is not upon a historical monument, in

a cemetery where respect should be displayed or designations of

being a member of a  ‘Gang.’

 

I enjoy when my grandchildren take colored chalk and leave their

less than permanent ‘marks’ on sidewalks and the driveway. They

may ‘mark’ their place while playing hopscotch, by putting a rock

down on a square.

 

I did not see this in the definition but do think that ‘marking time’

can be a little like ‘sitting a spell.’ It could include putting slash

‘marks’ on a piece of paper, wall or even ‘marked’ by etching into

a stone wall. The ‘marks’ in prison or concentration camps can

make me weep.

 

When I buy a paperback book at a garage sale or the library

book sale, I don’t ‘value’ some of them as I should. If it is one

of those ‘beach’ or summer reading books, I may ‘mark’ my

page I left off reading by bending back a corner of the page.

Are you guilty of this ‘bad habit?’

 

In our ‘defense,’ sometimes it is easier than getting up to

find a piece of paper or a classy bookmark.

 

Book ‘marks’ can be such lovely decorative gifts. I have my

favorites in my ‘good’ books, which hold or ‘mark’ a special

passage I will read and re-read again. I have a silky one,

a cross-stitched bookmark, a metal one with a pearl-like

decoration and I have one which is in the shape of a paper

clip with a butterfly on the tip.

 

I have marked many passages in my Bible, since I received

it upon my high school graduation. The book has ‘marks’ and

underlined places. Tucked into the pages, there are several

pieces of paper with scribbles made by my children during

church.

 

One is quite funny, a ‘bunny ballerina’ by my oldest daughter

when she was 4 years old. The other is quite serious, drawn

carefully by my youngest daughter at around 8 years old of

Jesus on the Cross.

 

Although it is a name and therefore capitalized, I do like another

part of the Bible, which is in the New Testament which goes like

this: “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

 

I have to close this multiple usages of the word, “mark”

with something I really enjoy.

 

Are

you

ready

for

the

BEST

use

of

‘mark?’

 

I absolutely love going to a store where it has many large signs

after the ending of each season.

These all say, “Mark Down Prices.”

I like the neon yellow, neon orange and even neon green signs

found in different departments.

 

Now, even better than the ‘Markdowns’. . .

are the ‘Slashing Prices!’

 

 

Sleeping and Music

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When people say it is best not to go to bed angry, I can understand

their logic. There is a saying, often quoted, derived from the Bible,

“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” I used to have a hard time

sleeping, while young,  if things were unsettled or unresolved in my life.

Recently, I read another way of looking at this,  a different perspective

being:  Why ‘battle it out’ while tired? Instead why not go to bed and

‘sleep on it?’

While we are sleeping, many neurons keep on firing in our brains.

Many people come up with book ideas, song lyrics or other creative

thoughts, along with going, “Ah ha!” and waking up refreshed and

having a whole different outlook on their life or problems. I know a

few people who have had a pad of paper and pen or pencil on their

bedside table, sometimes called a ‘night stand.’ The brain still practices

music, it is still active while we are still and deep in our REM mode of

sleeping. Instincts sometimes keep our mind alive, while we have a little

baby in our care, whether we are a parent, grandparent or babysitter.

Animals are on ‘guard,’ while we may be more sorting through our fears,

re-thinking and processing, our cautions may even become ‘fixed’ and

we may solve a way out of our danger, at hand.

While our bodies are slowing down, our metabolism also is slowing.

We have growth and cell repair sources released while we sleep.

Something scary that researchers are now filling us in on is that

those who are more likely to get Alzheimer’s and dementia are people

who have gone through most of their adult life, lacking sleep, this would

apply to nurses, doctors, air traffic comptrollers and others who have a

busy and hectic schedule, allowing less sleep and rest in their lives.

 

Some positives gathered from several sources gained from our deep and

tranquil sleep:

Mathematicians solve algorithms and problems while sleeping.

Scientists figure our solutions, structures and finish ‘their daily work,’ in

their sleep.

When we make mistakes, our mind rolls the process around in our head,

we are much more cautious, an example given, when we approach a slick

piece of ice on a road, after we have had an accident.

 

We may have our best songs that we sing and our best pieces of art,

while creative minds were finishing their projects, organizing and

composing.

Leading me into the next subject. . .

There is a musical milestone that we past last February: 100 years of

ASCAP.

Many songwriters don’t get the money from our downloading ‘free’

music. This organization was created in 1914, representing currently

over 1/2 million songwriters. It ensures the rights to make money while

others may sing their songs.

I have known two local groups who write their own music, who joined

ASCAP.  Team KNYCE (a trio of rappers with some blues and jazz

influences) and Morgan Treni, who wrote all of her own songs on her

Fall, 2014 release of her Essays album. A group that plays locally folk

songs, whose advice I sought about this subject, also all are members.

 

The American Society of Composers, Authors  and Publishers is a long-

standing organization who has famous members, including Irving Berlin.

This is a world wide organization and it is emphasized by mentors of

musicians to join this, to protect your music. When performers sing the

Irving Berlin song, “White Christmas,” his heirs will get checks. It protects

performers who sing their own songs. Although artists get royalties from

sales of albums, there was a time when famous musical composers would

die, virtually ‘penniless.’

 

Just for your interest, I found out the estimated sales of the song, “White

Christmas” make it the most sung and highest number of all time, as over

50 billion song copies sold , with the second most being Elton John’s,

“Candle in the Wind,” at 33 billion copies sold.

 

The President of ASCAP is the well-respected and likable Paul Williams.

I was amazed when I saw him speaking recently on television of all the

wonderful songs he wrote. I enjoy his sense of humor, along with in the

past, numerous guest starring parts on television shows. Here are just

a few examples of Paul Williams’ songs:

Three Dog Night sings his song, “Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song.”

The Carpenters sang his song, “Rainy Days and Mondays.”

The theme song for “Love Boat” still brings Paul Williams some royalty

checks, as it repeats and reruns on television.

 

ASCAP President Paul Williams (composer and singer) says it is very

frustrating how many sources on the Internet ‘try to steal music’ and not

allow the original artist or songwriter to get their ‘cut’ or ‘share of the pie.’

An example of how many songs are streaming was 7 million streams of

one Lady Antebellum song in a short period of time, losing quite a lot of

money for the group and composer, too. Taylor Swift was interviewed

about ASCAP, saying she was pulling her songs off of “Spotify.” Garth

Brooks and Billy Joel were also outspoken while being asked about this

landmark anniversary of the organization. They mentioned Pandora,

as another source which is a concern of theirs, allowing access to songs

without paying for them.

 

So, when you listen to “The Music in Me” (written by keyboardist Bias

Bochell, of the Kiki Dee Band), “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel)

and Stevie Wonder’s “Dance to the Music,” you may not get these free

anymore.

There are some artists, musicians and composers standing up for their

rights, in the face of the internet. We will see if the songs that are pulled

off, will still reach the popularity level that others which are free and

available.

As fellow bloggers and writers, we must admire their integrity and

believe in their right to having their music kept original and protected.

 

Patricia Cornwell was a 1975 high school graduate. I graduated in 1974

which makes me feel like we could have been friends. My brother, Randy,

was a ’75 graduate so I hung out with a lot of his friends. She is an author

I deeply admire. I was interested in knowing how she reached her level

of writing and productivity. Her most recent book, “Flesh and Blood,”

was published in November, 2014.

 

I enjoy her murder mysteries that often dwell upon the forensics found in

the coroner’s office. Ms. Cornwell says her favorite book for years, one she

carried around everywhere, was titled, “The Inner Game of Tennis.” She

has been a tennis player yet never became a professional tennis player.

She suggests there is much to find in the book about life. She also slyly

mentioned in AARP magazine, that she may not play like a pro, but she

has through her writing and recognition been able to make friends with

Billie Jean King. Timothy Gallwey wrote this book Patricia admired and

studied.

 

Although she does not mention sleep and creativity, I imagine she would

say she discovered some of her best plot lines while sleeping. I contemplate

how rest can prepare you for reaching your own personal goals.

Patricia Cornwell on her personal motivation:

“After reading the book, “The Inner Game of Tennis,” I made it my ambition

to pay attention and not live a fear-driven life. When I sit down to write, I

remind myself to stay in the moment.”

 

J.M. Barrie, author of “Peter Pan,” is often quoted:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able

to do it.”

 

Sometimes, as in Peter Pan, it is fun to be child-like. In “Downton

Abbey,”

Elizabeth McGovern portrays the character, “Cora,” Countess of Grantham.

In her personal life, she may not be so serious, as exhibited by this quote:

“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

 

Hmm. . .Or is this possibly a ‘slam’ on those who tend to act immature,

even as adults. . . up to your own interpretation.

Rare Books

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The unique, exquisite first edition rare books collection is awe-inspiring.

This includes many books you will know and love. It includes international

books, on loan for a brief period, from September 29 until November 9, 2014.

A man named Stuart Rose, started collecting books that were special to him.

Rose’s collection began when he found in 1992, the First Edition of,

“Tarzan,”

by

Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Rose went on collecting past 2000 First Edition or

“One of a Kind” books.

There are 49 featured books,

displayed on

University of Dayton

campus,

in the

Roesch Library

First Floor

Gallery.

 

I love the title of the exhibition:

 

“Imprints

and

Impressions”

 

Part

of

the

“Milestones

in

Human Progress”

Program:

 

Highlights

from the

Rose Rare Book

Collection

 

There are directions online

you may follow to get to

the place you need to go.

 

Jane Austen’s

“Pride

and

Prejudice,”

Quote:

“The spoken word passes away, while the written word remains.”

 

Paul H. Benson,

essayist for the

Dayton UD Alum

Magazine

reminded

us of the

Essence

and

Importance

of:

Preserving books while time marches forward

some day society may feel we don’t ‘need’ them.

These are our own printed legacy and heritage.

(Not quoted, but read and digested. Explaining

and passing on my feeling of urgency to see this

magnificent book collection before it goes away.)

 

Here are some favorites of mine:

The

“Qu’ran”

Copied

in

Beautifully

Intricate

Calligraphy

by

Aziz

Khan

Kashmiri

(1864)

 

Galileo,

“Starry Messenger”

(1610)

 

Mark Twain,

“Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

(1885)

 

Isaac Newton,

(Misspelled words,

intentionally copied as

Newton

chose to do.)

“Opticks

or a Treatise

of the

Reflexions, Refractions

Inflexions and Colours

of

Light.

Also,

Two Treatises

of the

Species and Magnitude

of

Curvilinear Figures”

(1704)

 

Ralph Ellison,

“Invisible Man”

(1952)

 

Virginia Woolf,

“A Room of One’s Own”

(1929)

 

J. R. R. Tolkien,

“The Lord of the Rings”

Hand-written

Proofs,

with final edits

done in pen.

(1953 – 1955)

 

Geoffrey Chaucer,

“Canterbury Tales”

(1492)

 

Rene Descartes,

“Discourse on the Method”

(1637)

 

William Shakespeare,

“Comedies, Histories and Tragedies”

(1632)

 

Nicholas Copernicus,

“On the Revolution of Celestial Spheres”

(1543)

 

*I would love to see*

Artistic

Illustrations

drawn by

Salvador Dali,

“Alice in Wonderland”

(1969)

 

There are more books to examine and admire.

 

There is a special informative talk by former

UD graduate and famous person,

Daniel De Simone,

about the Rose exhibit on:

October 16, 2014,

7:00 – 8:30 p.m

 

Daniel De Simone is

Librarian at the

Folger Shakespeare Library,

Washington, D. C.

(Formerly worked at

Library of Congress)

Lecture topic:

“Why the Stuart Rose Book Collection

Matters in the Age of Digital Surrogates.”

 

Since I have two First Edition books that are not ‘rare’ nor very great condition,

I felt the power of words would be expressed better personally, if I told you about

my books.

“Magnificent Obsession,”

Lloyd C. Douglas

(1929)

P.F. Collier and Sons, Company

New York, New York.

The book begins with a physician given as, “Doctor Hudson.” His mental and physical

condition is described as “on the verge of a collapse,” along with “all but dead on his feet.”

We can all relate, in one way or another, to this man who is trying to be the best doctor

he can. Reminding us of that often expressed, “Physician heal thyself.”

Then comes a “twist of fate.”

I love this book, which was made into a movie. (Although, it changes some of the details,

making it a different story entirely.)

In the end of the book, another doctor is mentioned, if you were not aware of the accident

you might wonder who this character is. “Doctor Hudson” is no longer the focus. The reader

has come to know and love a different man, you see.

This story has turned from a solitary life of medicine to one where there is someone named,

“Bobby.”

He plans on boarding a train, then disembarking to go on a big steamer ship.

The love of his life, (you need to read the book to find out how he met her!)

“Mauve” approaches with what the author describes as, “a snug, saucy, cloche hat” on

her head and she is wearing, “a tailored suit of mauve that sculptures every curve of

her body.” She embraces him and the rest of the happy ending comes in his plans for

their future, where the Captain will marry them on their trip abroad.

 

My other favorite book, which my good and dear, deceased friend, Bob gave me. I have

written how I met him and our friendship grew, from playing games on a picnic table

in the park, to his watching my two grandsons playing on the gym equipment there.

This is an everlasting gift, his memory pervades into my soul, which is perfectly fitting

in the book he gave me:

“The Keys of the Kingdom”

A. J. Cronin

(1941)

Little Brown and Co.

Boston, Mass.

This is a Scottish tale, with a priest named Father Chisholm. It begins with his limping up

a steep path from St. Columbia’s Parish (church) to his home that is walled in by gardens.

He looks out on a beautiful view described by the author,

“Beneath him was the River Tweed, a great wide sweep of placid silver, tinted by the low

saffron smudge of Autumn sunset.”

What a way with words you have, Mr. A. J. Cronin!

You can picture his wonder in the lovely description.

The book is filled with simple treasures, nuggets of wisdom and throughout it,

deep philosophy. The book takes a crooked path, through periods of time,  where

you need to re-read at time, to orient to what part of Father Chisholm’s life you

are in. There is never any doubt in Father Chisholm’s love, belief and faith in God.

His encounters and adventures are vast and absorbing, including danger and

Eastern culture, too.

 

At the end of the book, it closes with the Father going trout-fishing with a poor,

country lad named, Andrew. There is less infirmity in his step. There is added

purpose for living implied. His path has come full circle, back home again.

His adoption of Andrew has given him a

second chance on life.

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my books I shared today

along with the fascinating examples to view,

Online tour given through photographs,

or in person at University of Dayton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connections: the past with the future

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When I heard that there were two days in a row, celebrating subjects of interest

to me, I was determined to make a ‘big stretch’ and connect the dots. The first day

is based on an animated cartoon t.v. series about the future. It was shown awhile

back, where some of the inventions and special effects have come true. The second

day is one celebrating how we separate our words, making our sentences flow by

using special symbols to separate the words. I think this form of language is swiftly

diminishing, since so many people text, rather than email. While computer emails

have replaced fashioned letters. I am hard pressed to figure out how the celebration

of the first Jetson’s animated cartoon series and the subject of punctuation go together.

 

Traveling into the future with the Jetsons. . .

 

Happy September 23rd: Celebrating the Jetsons!

 

Today, September 23, 2014 is the 52nd Anniversary of the original premiere of the

futuristic, science fictionalized cartoon with child Elroy,  dog Astro, the maid Rosie,

the teen-aged girl named Judy being raised by their parents, Jane and George Jetson.

Here are some interesting facts I found out about this cartoon television series. Did

you know the first two years of “The Jetsons” were shown during “prime time t.v.?”

During 1962 and 1963, this was shown after dinner, after the news during that coveted

time slot of “prime time.” The number of shows totaled 75 episodes and three full-length

feature films. While my children were babies, during the years of 1985-1987, additional

Jetsons cartoons were produced. They are syndicated and repeated over many years after

their original showings.

 

The cartoon series was based loosely on the family in the comic strip, “Blondie.” The father

is drawn tall, lanky and has a tyrant of a boss, named “Mr. Spacely.” Of course Dagwood

Bumstead had a cranky, short-tempered boss, too. I had not put these two together, so

there is another ‘connection,’ that will form a new impulse from one brain wave to another.

(Or one synapse to another!) The setting for the creative cartoon is an imaginary time in

the future, when there would be space vehicles from home to work, transportation, when

there woud be pollution, so there would be little outdoor activities, along with moving

sidewalks (glad we know we have those, at least) and robotic maids. (We have some

versions of automation that could resemble the work provided by Rosie.)

 

The Jetsons family lives in a place called, Skypad Apartments. Their city is called, “Orbit

City.” George’s workplace is called “Spacely’s Space Sprockets.” The apartment building

was designed to remind you of the Seattle Space Needle. There are vague references to

how one gets in and out of the atmosphere, which is supposed to have air pollution.

The people wear space helmets while transporting around the city and various other

buildings. You probably may remember George’s space vehicle turning into a brief-

case.

 

In promotional information provided for the setting and relationships in the scripts,

the ages and some of the individual interests and details are given. This is something I

was not aware of, since I don’t think we knew their ages. The plots of the shows may

have revealed many of this, but my mind was intrigued with the idea of an actual

script and characteristics given for each character.

 

By the way, “T.V. Guide’s list of the 25 Greatest Science-Fiction Legends” considers

“The Jetsons” to be one of those famous influences and includes them in the top 25.

 

George is 40 years old, while going to work he wears a suit and tie, similar to some of

our fathers representing the period that the series was shown on television. Occasionally

at home, the family wears leisure suits that resemble jogging suits with some interesting

shoulder pads.

Jane’s outfits always seem very ‘hip’ with some points on her cuffs and shoulder pads.

Jane is given the age of 33 years old. She portrays an active homemaker participating in

clubs such as the Galaxy Women’s Historical Society.  Jane’s details include liking and

enjoying artwork. Her favorite artists are “Leonardo de Venus” and “Picasso Pia.”  Judy

is a ‘typical’ depiction of a teenager of 15 years old. She attends Orbit High School,  likes

to shop, likes talking about clothes and is often on her telephone. There is a cool futuristic

‘digital’ diary she has; which reminds me of today’s cell phones and computers. Elroy

attends Little Dipper School. He is 6 1/2 years old and is studying some serious subjects.

He studies Space History, Astrophysics and Star Geometry. He enjoys playing with his dog,

Astro, who talks without his “r” sound.

Later during the 80’s additional series, there was an interesting creation of an alien, who

is named, “Orbitty.” Elroy’s playmate has spring-like legs since there were some robotics

involved in this guy who changes colors with his moods.

 

 

 

Moving on, possibly the way the world revolves. . .

to September 24, 2014.

 

Traveling into the distant past. . .

when punctuation was important to use. . .

 

This is the Tenth Anniversary of one of my personal favorite subjects:

Happy National Punctuation Day!

 

There is a man who was concerned about our nation’s ability to spell,

use proper grammar and punctuation. His name is Jeff Rubin. He has

had for some time, wanted people to let him know when they hear of

punctuation errors in their every day lives. He also wishes that the various

spokemen and women, along with newscasters, would be more aware of

their correct usage of these.

On 9/24/04, the first annual National Punctuation Day came about!

There is still an ongoing debate whether or not, Punctuation and even,

Spelling are current and relevant. Currently, with texting, few uses of

full sentences and other forms of communication, using ‘short-cuts,’

slang and abbreviations it may seem to be a ‘lost art.’ One that parents

and teachers alike, may just give up on!

 

But definitely not on September 24th!

 

Teachers usually like to be ‘sticklers’ for these since they were made to,

while young and in school. In college, there was a debate about the

Spelling book, whether lists to be memorized were worth the time and

sometimes crying children, who were just not born spellers. There are

a few natural spellers, a few natural history or social studies ‘geniuses,’

along with those who can understand all levels of mathematics, including

algebra and trigonometry. In each classroom, the strengths and weaknesses

are easily determined by testing, but sometimes figuring this out, may create

biases. We need to make all subjects of learning interesting and bring the

‘fascination’ back into each subject. Games can be played, along with other

means of making learning ‘hands on’ and more ‘experiential.’

 

One suggestion in Rubin’s request in how you may celebrate punctuation

is to get an old-fashioned newspaper and circle the punctuation forms, by

children. They may like taking a red crayon and circling all the commas, periods,

exclamation marks, colons and semi-colons. Adults may be excited to circle the

misspellings and the mistakes made in usage of punctuation.

 

I have seen misspellings in the schools listed on snow days and the political polls’

results shown below the television shows. I have heard poor grammar on t.v.

shows. It upsets me most when the newscasters use either poor grammar or

show a lack of understanding what they are reading on their teleprompter.

Mispronunciations occur across all levels of education, due to possibly lack

of using the dictionary and reading the way the words are supposed to be

pronounced.

 

The Huffington Post had a great article to celebrate this holiday last year,

9/24/13. It was called, “6 Common Punctuation Mistakes that Drive Us

Crazy.”

Here they are with no details given here, I see that I am over my 1000

words again… This article had me laughing out loud, they composed a

funny article and you must try to look it up:

“1. The misused apostrophe.

2. The ubiquitous exclamation marks.

3. The crazy comma.

4. The misplaced semi-colon.

5. The quotation marks.

6. The blurring of ‘text talk’ with real writing.”

 

 

Okay, not going into how, but  I am guilty of #s 2, 3 and 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning a Week of Book Banning Awareness

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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.”

 

Imagination Gone Wild

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Monkeys and the moon are such amusing subjects for children’s books. I have

always loved, “Curious George” and his adventures. I also treasure the worn-out

copy we have of “Goodnight Moon.” There is an old classic, “Moon Man,” that has

been made into a sweet and warm video (2012.) It was beautifully animated by

German filmmakers.

 

This is based on Tomi Ungerer’s 1966 book, “Moon Man.” The author narrates the

film. If you have not read Tomi Ungerer’s books before, I would recommend, “The

Three Robbers” or “Allumette: A Fable,” to incorporate imagination and action

from a fine illustrator and author. Tomi Ungerer is famous for his ability to write

in three languages and is often quoted. There are a series of his posters with the

famous quotes available to view online.

 

Recently I have found a unique and short article that was about “Goodnight, Moon.”

I had never read Margaret Wise Brown’s biographical details and was very much

dismayed to find out that she died at the young age of 42 years old, having suffered

from a ruptured appendix. Her “Runaway Bunny,” is another all-time favorite among

my three children. I have not read it as much to my grandchildren, since it is indeed

the ‘perfect’ book to read to one’s own children. If the bunny is going to run away,

the mother rabbit will become all the things that are needed to stay by the bunny’s

side. (A sail on a boat, a flower in a garden, etc.) She passed away in 1952, having

left us with such beautiful illustrations and stories.

 

They have recently published a new collection of previously never-seen-before

lullabies written by Margaret Wise Brown called, “Goodnight Songs.” I cannot

wait to see this book, hoping to savor the eloquent words that she chooses to

use, along with hoping for more of her beautiful artwork shown in this book.

 

Did you know recently, there are numerous ‘copy cat’ books of Margaret Wise

Brown’s “Goodnight Moon?” There have been several versions of her classic tale

springing forth recently. The article I found gives this a spin by describing them as,

‘a host of imitators.’ This seems like a more polite version of what I would call

these plagiarists, stealing someone who is no longer here to ‘sue them’ over her

original theme!

 

Here are some of the amusing titles of those who have done “take-off’s” of the

“Goodnight Moon” book:

“Goodnight iPad,” where the newest technology is part of the book’s theme,

including a lot of cords in the child’s bedroom.

“Goodnight Nanny-Cam,” which is poking fun at modern parents who have

installed this to keep watch over the Nanny. One of the lines includes this,

“A bilingual nanny who was whispering hush.”)

Beyond what you would wish to have children listen to, the parody of the

book takes an adult direction in, “Goodnight Keith Moon.” Yes, there is a

line from this book going for laughs of a more seriously cynical kind:

“Goodnight rock stars, goodnight pills.” (Or is this sarcasm?)

What will they think up next?

 

Wonder if they make much money on these parodies? I am a ‘fan’ of “SNL”

parodies, but not sure how I would feel with the children’s books parodies

on my bookshelf?

What do you think?

 

There are a few adorable little clues to the 2012 children’s animated film, “Moon

Man,” I wished to share. This movie is only 95 minutes and has the man in the moon

coming to earth as a pale (moon colored gray/light blue skinned) man. He is bored up

on the moon, so he catches a ride on a comet’s tail. The imagination goes wild, with

the lovely flowers and the unique way the artwork incorporates colors. (The owl is

purple, moose is blue, and there are so many flowers the moon ‘man’ who looks

like a boy to me, needs to sniff. The commentary is subtle about humanity and will

reach your conscience about the environment and how we treat ‘aliens,’ too.)

The sad part of the book is how our President sees him as a ‘threat to our world.’ It was

released in February, 2014. It was interesting to hear Tomi Ungerer’s voice. He was

born in Strasbourg (1931) and moved to the United States in 1956, at age 25. He has

moved to Ireland, where he lives today.

Sleuthing Around

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Small Town Murder, case on “Cold Justice” television series, 8/1/14.

I watch the show, “Cold Justice,” on Friday evenings, when I am not out and

about. If there are grandchildren, an event or special occasion, I don’t like to

sit down and watch t.v. on weekends. I sometimes think to myself, “That is a

form of ‘defeat!”‘ The last straw, in being a free woman, is to just put my p.j.’s

on, watch t.v. and get up during commercials and make popcorn on a Friday

night.

Anyway, last Friday, I was tired. We acquired some stores back from Remington,

Indiana, at the warehouse. Apparently their fledgling distribution center is not

able to handle their orders. We have had ten hour days during the week, instead

of our four nine hour days and a half day, on Friday. We worked 6 hours last

Friday, making it a 46 hour week. Unfortunately, this week we just completed 48

hours. I may just have to get a library movie, or try my luck with another “Cold

Justice” show!

There are my excuses, but I have to admit, I did feel happy to see that their newest

‘cold case’ was one from 8/27/91.

It was from the small, quaint town of Cambridge, Ohio. The person who had been

murdered was a Robin Stone. There were ‘signs’ I was meant to watch this show!

Although she was found to be pregnant when they examined her dead body, the

police had never established who the father was, nor had they found who was the

one who had killed her.

Twenty-three years later, we are much more modern, there is DNA evidence that

could help solve this ‘cold case.’ The women on “Cold Justice,” are not actresses,

they have been hired and are filmed, using their ingenuity and their experiences

to solve crimes. Kelly is a former prosecuting attorney and Yolanda was a crime

scene investigator.

If you wish to read more about Kelly and Yolanda’s background and personal

stories, you may look up the show on the internet. I wish to imagine that I am part

of this team, along with another blogger, who shall remain anonymous. We have

talked about joining forces, to become an extraordinary detective ‘duo.’ We would

use our interest in detective, police and mystery shows, along with our combined

knowledge to become private investigators.

The one who was most suspected in the original time frame of the murder, was

her longest boyfriend and her declared ‘love.’ Her sister and mother were part of

the people who were re-interviewed for this show. The sister was weeping, with

her last words that Robin said to her repeated for the cameras.

Robin had just gotten off the telephone with someone and said to that unknown

person,

“I’ll be there.”

Robin  walked out of the house with those words left hanging in the air. She had

attended her first day of school and there would have been homework to do. But

she left her house with no explanations on where she was heading.

It was Robin Stone’s senior year of high school in Cambridge, Ohio.

Robin’s history of many dates, some different journal entries including how far

she had progressed with each, had been examined back in 1991. Lee Savage was

the name that appeared most often and more consistently than others.

Lee’s father, Jack Savage, was interviewed first in the newest investigation. His

words had been horrible showing disdain for Robin, in the original case notes

revealed as,

“I hope she is dead. She’s welfare trash.”

Jack’s contempt for his son’s ‘off and on again’ girlfriend, was shown again, in the

current interview, even when brought to his attention that his grandchild had been

found dead in her uterus.  DNA evidence proved it, with a high percentage number

that it could have been either Jack’s or Lee’s. A new theory was being formed.

Lee Savage acted like the ‘good ole’ country boy,’ while seemingly cooperative in

the case. He was willing to give his DNA, no concerns about his innocence being

questioned.

To add a counterpoint to this television series, I thought I would mention a famous

man, Dr. John George Spenzer who died in 1932. He was a faculty member of Case

Western Reserve  University. He taught medicine and chemistry courses, having

reached his PhD. in the early 20th century.

Dr. Spenzer, was Ohio’s Sherlock Holmes, having been a consultant on several

murder cases. One sensational murder case in 1908, was of a woman named Ora

Lee. The accused murderer was Guy Rasor. (Don’t these names remind you of

a James Bond tale? The attractive woman, Ora Lee, the ‘bad’ man Guy Rasor?)

Dr. Spenzer was able to use crime scene samples to use as additional proof in this

case. Dr. Spenzer was known for his careful notes, the care taken with specimens,

along with his ability to preserve the specimens with glass plates and plastic

bags. This fascinates me, that he was way ahead of his time, in this, considering

the above case, in a small town in Ohio, where they did not pursue evidence well.

Dr. Spenzer’s specialties were in poisons and toxicology. He was a professor, often

consulted by the Cleveland police force. In one of these cases, toxicology was a

part of the crime. At the Kiser trial, he was used as a professional witness/expert.

This was a 1916 case, where it occurred in Fremont, Ohio. A husband was accused

of murdering his wife, Dr. Spenzer was able to prove otherwise. The husband was

found by the jury to be ‘innocent.’

 

Dr. Spenzer was interested in the Crippen trial, which was held in England, in 1910.

This involved an American doctor who was accused of murdering his wife while

visiting in that country. Dr. Spenzer requested the court transcripts, (later found,

amongst his donations to Case Western.) He took meticulous notes, written in

long hand, with his own opinions and suggestions. Although he was not called in

as a witness or expert consultant, it is interesting that he was studying the case.

This is what he must have considered his ‘craft’ that he was ‘honing.’

Technology in factories and industrial advances contributed to this period of

time’s criminal investigations. Along with the industrial age innovations, crime

scenes were starting to be handled differently. This was the beginning of what we

call Forensic Medicine.

These inventions came to impact the Forensics’ area:

~Victorian goggles. You can imagine these being good while looking at a corpse.

~Microscopic slides. For blood, hair and sediment samples. Also helpful with

arsenic poision, part of toxicology.

~Wimshurst electro-static generator, 1880’s.

Turn of the century pharmaceuticals and medical techniques were changing

drastically the way of approaching crime scenes and enabling eye-opening

new procedures.

~Blood typing.

~Finger printing.

In amongst Dr. John G. Spenzer’s boxes of notes, journals, case files, slides and

examples of evidence, there were some newspaper clippings of Sherlock Holmes.

These donations were exhibited earlier this year at CSWR. While Dr. Spenzer

was consulting for the Cleveland police I venture to say, he had bigger dreams of

expanding his detective work. Those articles on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Scotland

Yard detective would be my first argument that he was wishing to go beyond his

world of academia. I think Dr. Spenzer was fascinated by this side line of his, but

consulting was not satisfying enough. I have no second argumental ‘proof’ but I

think Dr. Spenzer yearned to go beyond the walls of his professorial role, into his

own adventures of being Ohio’s own famous detective.

 

Or maybe those are my far-fetched fantasies. . .

Meanwhile, I will be watching the detective shows and studying the evidence.