Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Read Across America and Dr. Seuss's Birthday

Did you know that this week is Read Across America week? Thursday, March 2nd is Theodor Seuss Geisel's birthday. Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) was born in 1904 and would have been 102 this year. He authored and illustrated forty-four children's books. The first one was published in 1936. Not only have our children grown up with his books, but we did and our parents did. Maybe even some of our grandparents.

Today was "Crazy Socks Day" at my school in honor of Fox in Socks, one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books. Children and teachers wore their craziest socks. For me, that meant some Rudolph-the-red-nosed-Reindeer socks. Yes, Christmas was over two months ago, but my Rudolph socks are the only unusual socks I own.

Fox in Socks is a tongue-twister of a book that the children LOVE, and it's great reading practice for them. They have to read THROUGH each word carefully to get it right. I used the book with a small fifth grade reading group yesterday, and I used it with first grade, second grade and fourth grade groups today, and they all loved it. I even read it aloud to the entire third grade yesterday. With a room full to bursting with children, it held each one's attention. In the small groups, it was fun to watch the children's faces as they struggled through the tongue twisters. There was laughter. No one realized they were getting some high quality oral reading practice. The introduction to Fox in Socks warns

Take it slowly. This book is dangerous!
And it is! Dangerous for anyone who doesn't want to smile. Here's a sample:

Let's do tricks with bricks and blocks, sir.
Let's do tricks with chicks and clocks, sir.
First, I'll make a quick trick brick stack.
Then I'll make a quick trick block stack.
You can make a quick trick chick stack.
You can make a quick trick clock stack.
Or how about this one?

Bim comes.
Ben comes.
Bim brings Ben broom.
Ben brings Bim broom.
Ben bends Bim's broom.
Bim bends Ben's broom.
Bim's bends.
Ben's bends.
Ben's bent broom breaks.
Bim's bent broom break.
Ben's band. Bim's band.
Big bands. Pig bands.
Tomorrow evening I will stop by Sam's Club to pick up NINE sheet cakes so that each child at my school can celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday on Thursday with a piece of birthday cake. I'll be wearing a Cat In The Hat hat as I dish out cake slices.

Your assignment: If you know a child, read a Dr. Seuss book to him or her this week.

A Taste of Tuesday

A mix of reading for your Tuesday morning: This is an open trackback post. Trackback to this post, and it will be displayed here and reciprocated.

The Black Republican looks at the hypocrisy of the left on the ports deal - and how the WSJ has come to the president's defense.

Let's face it: our borders are as porous as a spaghetti strainer, our State Department hands out visas like they're chocolate mints, and Aunt Bessie is being strip-searched at the airport while Hassan and Mohammad walk right past the security checkpoint. Does it really matter who negotiates longshoreman contracts, as long as the federal officers who have prevented further plots on our soil continue to provide port security?
Blue Star Chronicles also looks at the cowardess of the MSM.

California Conservative was interviewed on the radio about the Dubai Ports deal.

Atlas Shrugs has what the Danish Prime Minister said about the cartoon controversy.

Why are we not getting the FULL story from our news sources? Why does the MSM not report this?

Ruthlace tells us about this week in Christianity.

Daddy's Roses suggests some reading that will uplift and/or interest you.

Blue Star Chronicles offers a movie review that's frightening (the movie, not the review).

Michelle Malkin shows us how censorship is being used in the UAE.

And the Captain's Quarters has given us a little chocolate heaven.

Stop the ACLU has an eye-opening post that sheds light on hypocritical behavior.

"Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" takes on sinister connotations in this story at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

If you want to talk about arena football, Basil's Blog is the place for you!

Enough for now. Unfortunately I have to go earn a living. Happy Tuesday.

Disrespecting The Fallen Excerpt: Due to the ridiculous flap over the cartoons there has been a lot of talk and debate over what is and isn't properly free speech. Let me share two examples that fall outside of the rubric of free speech to me at least...Weblog: Freedom Folks
Tracked: 02.28.06 - 8:51 am

The Emporer's New ClothesExcerpt: With an air of authority and superiority, he portrayed the Danes as child-like and living in a land of fantasy. He implied the whole affair had been set off by the naivete of the Danish nation.Weblog: Blue Star ChroniclesTracked: 02.28.06 - 3:42 pm

Christian Holy Places and Shrines

There is an unexpected plus side to all the rioting, burning, killing and general mayhem caused by the radical Islamists as a result of their supposed anger at the publication of some cartoons depicting their prophet Muhammad. And that plus side is that it forces Christians (speaking for myself) to examine their own beliefs.

I was listening to a talk radio show awhile ago, and there was a discussion about how Christian holy places and shrines were planned targets of Muslim violence. I started thinking: What would Christians do if the places where Jesus lived and taught were destroyed by terrorists? Would we feel that it was an insult to Jesus? Would we feel compelled to avenge the desecration of our Christian holy places?

I tried to think of what some of our Christian holy places are: Bethlehem - where Jesus was born? Where the Sermon on the Mount occurred? The location of the Last Supper? Where the crucifixion occurred? What ARE Christianity's holy places? My mother will be aghast at my ignorance. My belief, though, has never been tied to physical locations or items. Any damage to those places would be a tragedy, but I would have no need to retaliate. God knows who did it. He knows their hearts. He will handle it.

How about desecration of The Bible? Would I consider that something that must be avenged? Again, my answer is no. It is just a book that contains the story upon which my beliefs are based. It is paper and ink, published by massive printing machines. My belief isn't based on physical places and items or other people's attitudes or actions towards God. God knows our hearts. He can handle any desecration or abuse directed towards him. He doesn't need my help in avenging Him.

He DOES need my help in spreading the word of our loving God - a god who wants the best for us and who takes us as we are and helps us to help ourselves and others: A joyous contrast to what we are seeing in Islam.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Worst Meal I've Ever Prepared! Plus It Stunk Up The House

I was at Sam's Club awhile ago and saw some frozen fish that looked really good. The picture on the box showed what appeared to be filets with a light breaded crust. It vitually screamed good health and nutrition! Well, OF COURSE the packaging would show something that looked delicious! So I bought them, brought them home, and popped two in the oven for my dinner. 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Ten minutes, and there was a definitely unappetizing aroma filling the house. That's just the way fish smells, I told myself. Would that I was so lucky. Basically, what was pictured on the package as fish filets with a light breaded crust ended up being gross fish-flavored bread. There was no recognizable fish in it. Just breading. One bite, and I threw it all away. Absolutely the worst meal I've ever prepared. And the house still reeks!

Why Education is Important

OK, I KNOW you've probably gotten this in your email. It's making the rounds right now. However, I liked it enough to copy it to THE MEDIAN SIB. If you haven't seen it yet, enjoy. . .

Why education is important...

Random 2005 journal entries from a "less-than-slightly educated":

January: "Took new scarf back to store. Too tight."

February: "Got fired from pharmacy job. Couldn't get labels to print correctly. Duh... bottles won't fit in typewriter!!!"

March: "Got excited...finished jigsaw puzzle in just six months. The box said 2-4 years!"

April: "Trapped on escalator for hours. Power went out!!!"

May: "Tried to make Kool-Aid. Disaster. Eight cups of water WILL NOT fit into those tiny little packets!!!"

June: "Tried to go water skiing. Never could find a lake with a slope."

July: "Lost breast stroke swimming competition. Learned, later, the other swimmers cheated--they used their arms!!!"

August: "Got locked out of my car in rain storm. Car got swamped, because the top was down."

September: "The capital of California is 'C'! Isn't it???"

October: "Learned that I hate M & M's. They are so hard to peel."

November: "Baked turkey for 4 1/2 days. Didn't turn out well. The instructions said one hour per pound, and I weigh 108!!!"

December: "Couldn't call 911. 'Duh'...there's no '11' button on the phone!!!"

"What a year!!"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Carnivals! Blue Stars - Insanities - Blogging at its Best

Blogging time has been scarce the past few days - and so for my readers who are trying to adjust to a mere one measly post a day at THE MEDIAN SIB after months of multiple posts each day, let me direct you to two sources of great blog-reading.

First there is the Carnival of Blue Stars - devoted to posts about our soldiers and their families.

Then there is the Carnival of Insanities where the bizarre, ridiculous and insane happenings of the week are highlighted.

Happy reading.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bedtime Prayer for Sweet Stuff

Last night Sweet Stuff (4 years old) and Sunshine (2 years old) spent the night with me. When I was tucking them into bed, I asked if they wanted to say their bedtime prayers. Sweet Stuff immediately said she did. So we bowed our heads, and this was her prayer - very quiet voice, rambling on a bit, hands clasped tightly and head bowed:
I want to spend the night with Grandma Carol. . . . until it is wake-up time . . . . and uh. . . .I'll see mommy and daddy. . . .
(Then she seemed unsure of how to end it but obviously realized that she needed to be a little more religious, so she took a couple breaths and blurted out . . .)
I think that was her version of "Amen." I wanted so badly to laugh, but I was a good grandma and held it in and took my turn at saying my prayers instead. Sunshine declined to pray. Guess she felt that Sweet Stuff's and my prayers were sufficient for all three of us. Maybe I need to give them some lessons in praying?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Words that make you sound smarter than you are

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Words that THE MEDIAN SIB thinks make people sound smarter than they are

1. unobtrusive: Instead of "Would you just shut up!" you could say "Please be unobtusive so you won't disturb everyone."

2. maladroit: "I can't believe I was so clumsy!" will become "Goodness gracious, that was maladroit of me to knock that urn off the mantle!"

3. cacophony: "All this noise is driving me crazy!" will be "The cacophony in here is somewhat overwhelming."

4. retribution: Replace "I'll get you back, you scumbag!" with "I will exact retribution for your misdeeds."

5. fatigued: "I'm so tired." will become "I'm feeling a bit fatigued this evening."

6. insipid: Instead of "That speaker is boring me out of my mind!" substitute "That insipid speaker is giving me the vapors."

7. dishevelled and 8. manifestation: "Lord, I'm a mess today!" will be replaced with "My dishevelled appearance is a direct manifestation of an alarm clock malfunction this morning."

9. sagacious: Instead of "He thinks he's so smart!" would be "His perception of being sagacious is flawed."

10. wretched: "Omigod, after that party last night, I'm wasted!" is replaced with "The excess libations last night along with a paucity of slumber have rendered my countenance quite wretched."

11. conundrum: "These directions are totally confusing me!" becomes "These directions are a conundrum from which there is no escape."

12: restitution: Instead of asking for a refund, I'll say, "I demand restitution for the time and money this defective merchandise has cost me."

13. inexorable: "Monday morning always gets here too quickly." will be "The inexorable nature of the passage of time is an undeniable reality."

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Joan (Joan, let me know if I used any of the words incorrectly!)

2. Jane

3. Terrell

4. Mel

5. Uisce

6. Nicole

7. Jill

8. Norma

9. Lazy Daisy

10. Nancy

11. Shash

12. Karen

13. Chickadee

14. Melissa

15. Leesa

16. Dariana

17. Ruth

18. Kelly

19. Dana

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Converting the world to Islam

At this point it doesn't matter what Muhammad taught or what is written in the Koran. It doesn't matter whether or not at heart it's a religion of peace. What matters is that millions of Muslims are killing, bombing, burning, destroying, beheading and threatening and being raving lunatics in the name of Islam. If there is anything worthwhile in Islam, it is completely negated by its militant fanatics and ridiculously uncivilized laws. Muhammad is apparently such a weak and ineffectual "prophet" that the religion can't win converts or exist on its own worth. Muslims have such little confidence in their prophet's power and abilities that they must kill and terrorize the opposition in order for him to prevail.

We understand, though, that none of today's turmoil is truly about religion or cartoons - despite all the sound bites about respecting or disrespecting Islam. It's about men who are so emasculated and perverted that the only way they can prove themselves as men is through brutalizing others. Islam is a sick, sad and barbaric religion.

Garfield's Philosophy of Aging - It's TRUE!

We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads. So, I'm not fat, I'm just really intelligent, and my head couldn't hold any more, so it started filling up the rest of me!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Carnival of Education - Week 55

The 55th edition of The Carnival of Education is up at The Education Wonks. One of my favorite parts of each week is reading all the posts that are highlighted in each week's carnival. There's everything from the philosophical to the political to the practical. Make sure you check it out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Conversations with Children & Literacy

Our school's speech and language pathologist talked with some of the teachers last week about the importance of conversation. She discussed how talking WITH children in order to increase their vocabulary and their understanding of language is vital in their literacy development. She referred us to an article by Lesley Maxwell, MS, CCC-SLP, in Advance for Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists entitled "Practical Strategies for Rich Vocabulary Instruction." The article emphasizes the place of vocabulary learning as a component of literacy:

Understanding relationships between words and concepts is a very important aspect of vocabulary knowledge. Students become flexible thinkers when they are asked to consider how and if words are related.

....Good vocabulary instruction is explicit and has measurable outcomes, but the most important element in any classroom with a strong vocabulary focus is the teacher. Teachers who love language and use words well will inspire their students to enjoy the beauty and complexity of language and the joy of learning new words.
Then as I read my latest copy of Reading Research Quarterly, I saw an article entitled "A primary-grade teacher's guidance toward small-group dialogue" by Ellen McIntyre, Diane W. Kyle, and Gayle H. Moore. As part of their research, they outlined contributions from various studies about classroom discussion. Here are the findings of one:

Recently, a team of researchers (Almasi et al., 2004) conducted a series of studies in two states on the relationship between peer discussion and student achievement in the primary grades. This study illustrated a positive relationship between amount of peer discussion and how much the students valued reading, focused on text, and contributed linguistically complex responses during discussions. Further, the study showed that older students (second and third graders) were more adept at having sustained and focused dialogue, especially with respect to the amount of content-related talk. But even kindergarteners in the treatment group were able to participate in peer discussions, some with very little teacher scaffolding, illustrating that young children can partcipate in classroom dialogue.
The authors conclude that:

Developing a dialogic classroom is not just about developing skills, but about ensuring an overall classroom that promotes collaborative work and the sharing of ideas. As many past educators have shown, creating a space for children to construct new understandings through talk takes consideration of the classroom community in general, and it may be risky for some teachers(Fairbanks, 1998).
This is a topic that has especially fascinated me for the past year. Last year I attended a professional development day in which Ellin Keene was the featured speaker. During her presentation Ellin taught a model lesson with a group of third grade students. The purpose of the lesson was to encourage rich conversation about and deeper understanding of the children's book Freedom on the Menu. Whenever Ellin asked a question and a student replied, "I don't know," she would respond, "Yes, but if you DID know, what would you say?" I felt uncomfortable. She was putting the children on the spot. However, I underestimated the children's ability to think and verbalize their thinking. By making the children think more deeply, the conversation quickly became more meaningful. The children had understanding far beyond the surface. By the end of the lesson, Ellin was able to take herself out of the conversation, and the children continued it on their own. I was hooked on the idea of using rich vocabulary and helping children develop skill in conversing with each other. Encouraging and facilitating children's conversations about what they read is a wonderful way to improve their comprehension, vocabulary and interest in reading.

Other posts and information related to conversation, communication and learning:
The Reflective Teacher uses Valentines Day for a writing and discussion lesson which includes vocabulary study.

Sarah Plain and Tall compares the way teens learn social skills today with that of her generation. She writes that:
the explosion of internet use by teenagers is almost replacing face-to-face social contact. Youngsters prefer talking via mobile phone or MSN (instant messaging) to actually… talking.
Irish Eyes write that communicating via the internet is far better than relying on television for social skills: Previous research has discovered that extensive television viewing has a negative effect on children's social skills. The difference is in the interactivity. If you take the time to snap photos, mash up music or write enthusiastically, you are producing web content and that is levels above merely consuming information of nicking music tracks.

The U.S. Department of Education program "American Reads" provides information for parents, teachers and school on helping children become literate. In one of their brochures, they describe a study to determine how family income affects the words that a child hears. Here are the results:

Number of words heard at home per hour by 1- and 2-year-olds learning to talk:
low-income child 620
middle-income child 1,250
high-income child 2,150

Number of words heard by age 3:
low-income child 10 million
middle-income child 20 million
high-income child 30 million

In another part of the U.S. Department of Education webpage for parents was an article entitled "Helping Your Child Become a Reader." It provided the following information:

As your child grows older, continue talking with her. Ask her about the things she does. Ask her about the events and people in the stories you read together. Let her know you are listening carefully to what she says. By engaging her in talking and listening, you are also encouraging your child to think as she speaks. In addition, you are showing that you respect her knowledge and her ability to keep learning.
However in looking at qualities of effective teachers, engaging students in conversation was not mentioned.

Talk With Kids is a guide for parents in discussing current events with their children. It is produced by The National Institute for Literacy which offers information for parents and teachers in helping children become better readers.

A Proud Mother and Bryant Gumbel's Racism

Just talked with my son. He told me he is now a published author. Oh? He told me to check out this morning's newspaper. His letter to the editor is in there. And what was his letter about? Bryant Gumbel's obnoxious racist remarks about the Winter Olympics - remarks that have been virtually ignored by the MSM. Oops! I mean the CCC. I'm headed out to buy a newspaper.

Update: I'm back now - newspaper in hand. Here is his complete letter entitled "All races can compete in Olympic games":
I was recently made aware of an interesting quote from Bryant Gumbel regarding the Winter Olympics. He said, "Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the winter games look like a GOP convention."

Does he mean that a lack of black athletes equals a lack of athletic talent? Does he think other races and ethnic origins cannot be talented athletes?

The Winter Olympics are full of obscure sporting events that most Americans do not play. I can understand his lack of interest. I cannot understand how someone of his stature and education could say something so offensive and ultimately racist. Further, in this time of political correctness, why has this statement not been widely reported and ridiculed? Just because racism is so-called "reverse racism," does this
make it acceptable?

I would rather it be discouraged from all views. For whatever reason different sports are dominated by different races. For example, hockey and basketball: One has a majority of white players and one a majority of black players. I doubt the race of the player has anything to do with the quality of the talent.

Someone might consider telling Bryant Gumbel that racism doesn't have a place in sports commentary.

He makes me proud.

Tagged by the "FOUR" Fairy

Cozy Reader tagged me with the following meme:

Four jobs I've had - in no particular order:
Mary Kay Consultant (hated it - I am NOT a salesperson!)
2nd Grade Teacher
5th Grade Teacher
Reading Specialist

Four movies I can watch over and over:
When Harry Met Sally
The Shawshank Redemption
Gone With The Wind
Sleepless in Seattle

Four places I've lived:
Various places in GA (Griffin, Ellijay, Rome)
Matthews, NC
Naperville, IL
Nashville, TN

Four TV shows I love:
Boston Legal
American Idol
The Apprentice

Four places I've vacationed:
Mexico Beach, FL
Topsail Island, NC

Four of my favorite foods:
Salad (with romaine, sliced strawberries, grated cheese, walnuts, and a special homemade dressing)
My homemade meatloaf
PawPaw's grilled ribeye steak

Four blogs I visit daily:
Blogs of various family members (Ruthlace, Daddy's Roses, Alone on a Limb, Blue Star Chronicles, Reasoned Audacity, Jack Yoest, Cozy Reader, A Few Minutes With Robin and Andy)
Dr. Sanity (always thought-provoking)
Blame Bush! (always hilarious)
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

Four places I'd rather be right now:
Alaska - hiking through Denali (although it's closed this time of year)
Hawaii - lying on a beach soaking up the sun
PawPaw's log cabin

Four people I tag:
No one - However, if you'd like to write your "fours" please do so and let me know so I can read them.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sanity's Bluff - good reading

Go over to Sanity's Bluff and read this post. It's good.

Mississippi vs. New Orleans - Reaction to Katrina

I got this in today's email. What do you think?

MS Gulf Coast: We have a plan
New Orleans: We've got a plan, too

MS Gulf Coast: We have trucks waiting on higher ground to move food, etc.
New Orleans: We've got our trucks parked, too. They're just in 6 feets of water.

MS Gulf Coast: Police will be back on patrol as soon as we can move around.
New Orleans: Cops loot Wal-Mart.

MS Gulf Coast: Home owners begin clearing debris by themselves.
New Orleans: Who's going to clean up this mess?

MS Gulf Coast: It'll cost me some savings to rebuild, but . . .
New Orleans: Where's the damn government with the debit cards?

MS Gulf Coast: We are partners with FEMA, but it starts here first.
New Orleans: Damn FEMA, why weren't they ready?

MS Gulf Coast: It was worse than I believed. I should have evacuated.
New Orleans: They didn't send anybody to get me.

MS Gulf Coast: Leaders: We have work to do, let's get started.
New Orleans: Leaders: Let's go to Las Vegas and party.

MS Gulf Coast: We made a few mistakes, but we learned.
New Orleans: It was ______ (fill in the blank) who was at fault.

And you wonder why the MS Gulf Coast isn't getting the news coverage New Orleans got? The media doesn't want to see a state with its act together or watch people work to rebuild.

Whining, complaining and infighting. That's news! Why should we believe and trust the news media?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday Evening Potpourri

The world is crazy right now. People are rioting and killing because of some innocuous cartoons. Of course the cartoons aren't the REAL reason. That's just their excuse to kill. Major news organizations such as CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and others cower under the threat of violence from Muslims. The selective reporting of the MSM becomes glaring - there is almost non-stop press coverage of an accidental shooting where the victim is already out of the hospital and admits that it's not a big deal -- and yet virtual non-coverage of racist comments by a prominent news personality and the torture and killing of Iraqi soldiers and civilians by islamic terrorists. It is obvious to anyone (except those oblivious because of blind loyalty to an increasingly radical "progressive" agenda) that the left and the MSM are beyond reason.

Some interesting writing for this Sunday evening on a variety of topics:
The 2nd edition of the Carnival of Blue Stars is up. Do you know what a blue star signifies?
Media hypocrisy at Rhymes With Right.
They're coming to take them away at The Right Place.
Mensa Barbie wants an investigation.
Something Awful has the Muslim Man Complaint Box.
Gateway Pundit talks about the Gumbel grumble.
Le Sabot Post-Moderne talks about porn for Republican hawks.
Red State is down to the kitchen sink and pudding.
Dr. Sanity tells us about bullies pushing the envelope.
Peter Porcupine could make a fruit salad with the apples and oranges he's writing about.
Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has some advice for news folks who haven't done enough research.
Stop the ACLU and how limiting the ability of police officers to control criminals can have fatal consequences.
Blame Bush! explains how the grown-up are trying to protect the children.
Captain's Quarters uses a big word (pusillanimity) to describe the MSM. He also bring up the "Controversy, Crap and Confusion Press."
Michelle Malkin maps the cartoon jihad for us.
Atlas Shrugs writes of the lesson American can learn from Great Britain.
Baldilocks stresses that practice makes perfect.

Grossest Thing You've Ever Seen

I apologize beforehand if this post bothers anyone. It's a true story, but it is also extremely gross. Also kinda funny... maybe a sick kind of funny, but still funny.

I was reading a series of blogs about the grossest thing you've ever seen. They reminded me of a meeting I attended last year. After an afternoon break, I came back into the room where the meeting was being held and sat down. Off and on over the next little while I kept smelling something absolutely disgusting. So bad that I kept glancing around, trying to figure out where the smell was coming from. Then the leader of the session had us stand up to move our chairs into small groups. That's when I saw it. There was an enormously overweight lady who had been sitting near me. When she stood up and turned around to move her chair, I saw toilet paper sticking out of the top of her slacks ... obviously and disgustingly USED toilet paper. Apparently when she wiped she neglected to make sure the toilet paper went into the toilet.
I still cringe when I think about it. Absolutely the grossest thing I've ever seen.

Did I tell her about it? No, I didn't. I turned away from her quickly and joined a small group across the room. I don't know what happened. I don't know her, but I know she'll most likely be in other meetings with me in the future - and I KNOW what I'll think of everytime I see her.

Happy Birthday to my Mother

Today, February 19th, is my mother's birthday. She is a remarkable woman. I thought that maybe the way to celebrate her birthday is to make a list of 83 facts about her - 83 is a purely random number I selected:

1. She describes herself as painfully shy as a child.
2. She married my father when she was very young.
3. They had seven children.
4. She made education a priority in our family.
5. She "made do" with very little money, and yet we never felt poor.
6. One Christmas she made matching nightgowns for us girls and our dolls.
7. When I was caught shoplifting as a teenager, she knew how guilty I felt about it and she has never mentioned since then. At the time I begged her not to tell Daddy. I don't know if she ever did. (Update: When Mother read this, she told me that she never told anyone about it - she doesn't believe in discussing negative things about people).
8. She makes the best buttermilk biscuits in the world.
9. When I was a child she made biscuits in a big wooden bread board.
10. She makes the best yeast rolls in the world.
11. When my father died in 1986, the congregation of his small Methodist church asked Mother to take on the responsibilities of being their pastor until the conference could appoint another minister. Mother said yes. Within a few weeks after his death, she preached her first sermon.
12. She felt a strong calling to be a minister, and went back to school to finish her college degree and then her Masters of Divinity degree - all after the age of 63.
13. A few years later she was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church.
14. She started a career as a Methodist minister at a time when most people her age were retiring.
15. She is an excellent preacher and still is often asked to fill in for other ministers who are sick or who must travel out of town.
16. I've heard her preach many times over the past 20 years. She's phenomenal.
17. In some of the churches where Mother preached, there were church members who were reluctant to accept a woman as their minister. Without exception, she has won them over with her sincerity, her caring and her dedication to preaching God's Word and following God's will.
18. She still scolds me if I say "Oh God!" as slang.
19. She started using a computer in her sixties and became proficient at it.
20. She has a knack for decorating.
21. She has always had pretty legs - and still does.
22. When she was in the hospital a few months ago, the nurses commented on what young looking and pretty legs she has.
23. Each morning she walks down the driveway to get the newspaper.
24. During the walk to get the newspaper, she breathes deeply because that's a healthy thing to do.
25. For my birthday she still bakes me a chocolate pound cake because she knows it's my favorite.
26. Each of her seven children feel special and unique.
27. She loves her sons- and daughters-in laws.
28. She looks on the positive side of issues.
29. She and my father were married for 48 years before his death.
30. She has a green thumb. All the plants in her house thrive.
31. She used to collect elephant figurines until everyone gave her so many that she didn't have a place to put them all.
32. Then she started to collect miniature churches until everyone gave her so many that she didn't have room to display them all.
33. She remembers the birthdays of everyone in the family - and that's over 50 people.
34. She has seven children.
35. She has 2 daughters-in-law.
36. She has six sons-in-law.
37. She has 18 grandchildren.
38. She has 15 great grandchildren.
39. She has 3 grandsons-inlaw.
40. She has 3 granddaughters-in-law.
41. She thinks that preparing a meal for 50 people is no big deal.
42. She lived with trigeminal neuralgia for years before getting some relief through surgery in 2001.
43. She likes to sit in a rocking chair by the fire to read.
44. Her feet get cold, and so she wears socks most of the time.
45. She prefers a bath over a shower.
46. She is a good friend to many people.
47. When she says she will attend a meeting or other activity, she is there - even if she doesn't feel like it.
48. She sings hymns when she is cooking.
49. If I close my eyes, I can see and hear her singing "This is my story, This is my song..." or "Trust and Obey" in the kitchen.
50. Her father died when she was just 9 years old.
51. She tells about how much her mother and father loved each other - how tender they were with each other.
52. When her father died, she slept in the bed with her mother because there was nowhere else for her to sleep in their small house.
52. She is the youngest of 9 children.
53. Until my father died she had never slept by herself.
54. As I sit here typing this blog post, I am in her study, and I can see literally hundreds of books on shelves around me - a testimony to her love of books and reading.
55. She reads a lot.
56. She can quote a lot of scripture.
57. She believes that all Christians should support each other and not have bickering between denominations.
58. My mother has a funny sense of humor.
59. Tonight five of her seven children were at her home - having a meal together and laughing and talking for hours.
60. She is frugal.
61. Although she is frugal, she is incredibly generous.
62. She manages her money very well.
63. She looks 20 years younger than her age.
64. She knows how to dress stylishly. (Update: She wore a gorgeous RED suit to church this morning - looked absolutely fabulous!)
65. She is a lady.
66. She is kind.
67. She has her own blog (Ruthlace).
68. She has written some of the most beautiful poetry I've ever heard.
69. She taught me to sew, and she made many of my clothes when I was growing up.
70. She is consistent - true to her beliefs at all times.
71. She believes the Bible is the word of God. With just a quick glance around her study, I see EIGHT Bibles. I'm absolutely certain there are more in here - I just can't see them from where I'm sitting.
72. She has a book: Recipes, Rhymes and Reflections that has her favorite recipes, some of her poetry, and some of her best sermons. I treasure my copy of it.
72. She has a Bible quiz on the sidebar of her blog - and each day she answers the questions. Usually she gets them all right.
73. She has her own webpage, too.
74. She says she looks better than her pictures.
75. She found some flannel nightgowns on sale and bought two of them, and she says they're the most comfortable things in the world.
76. She prefers wearing dresses over wearing slacks.
77. She still has dial-up internet which is VERY slow.
78. During World War II she took the train to San Diego to be with my father who was in the Marines. She contracted Scarlet Fever and had to be quarantined the whole time she was there. My father brought his buddies to the window of the hospital to wave to her and to show off what a beautiful bride he had.
79. She loves bargains, and finds some great bargains at the Salvation Army store.
80. She made two trips to the Holy Land with my father.
81. There are pictures in her study of her and my father on horses during one of their trips there.
82. She doesn't watch much TV, but when she does it is usually either the news or religious programming.
83. She is loved and respected by everyone in her family and community.
84 (an extra one) I wish her a wonderful birthday and many more to come.

Check my siblings' blogs to read more: Daddy's Roses, Blue Star Chronicles, Alone on a Limb.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Weekend Respite - Mother's Birthday

I'm in Georgia for the weekend - visiting my mother whose birthday is Sunday. I drove here after work this afternoon. She made me promise not to write how old she will be. So I won't. I will say that I had a delightful evening sitting in my mother's family room and chatting with my mother (Ruthlace), my sister (Blue Star Chronicles) and my niece (who doeesn't have a blog because she thinks they are annoying).

It will be a sparce weekend for blogging. I'll be busy visiting family, celebrating my mother's birthday...and cooking. I always enjoy cooking a meal or two whenever I'm here, and I got my mother to tell me her favorite menu so I can prepare that for dinner Satuday night.

Despite my other activities, I will take time tomorrow to write a post about my mother. Check back here for it. I wrote a story about her in 1989 that made it into a couple of publications. She's an incredible woman.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

When You're Just Not "IN THE MOOD" - even for a RoMo

This is the third time I've started to write something for this blog tonight, and the two previous times, I've written a couple of sentences and then stopped and deleted it all. I'm tired of writing about political issues. Nothing I write will make any difference, and I just get all worked up thinking about what I see happening in the world.

I'm just not in the mood to blog tonight. And really, what does it matter? I'll be back full force in a day or two. For tonight, I'm turning off the computer and going to bed. Good night.

Oh wait! I DID hear something I thought was funny this afternoon. On the radio (as I was driving home from work) there was a discussion of the muslims calling Danish pastries "Roses of the Prophet Muhammed" (now that's a mouthful - figuratively and literally speaking) to punish the Danes for publishing those cartoons. Yea, that'll spank 'em! One of the callers remarked that he was going to order a "RoMo and a cup of decaf" next time he went to the coffee shop. I guess TECHNICALLY it should be a "RoMu". Either way - I thought it was funny. I could see people all over the world asking for RoMo's just because it sounds funny - and it points out the absurdity of the whole situation.

OK - a few links for the RoMo... I should google the term and see if it's an original or if everybody in the world is talking about RoMo's and I just don't know it. However, I won't. If you want to read more about non-abbreviated RoMo's, check out Atlas Shrugs, The American Princess, Blue Star Chronicles, Michelle Malkin - Here, too.

Now, I mean it this time! Good night!

Favorite Quote for Thursday - Cartoons: sensitivity or free speech?

I discovered a blog new to me - and in it I found a wonderful quote. The blog is Le Sabot Post-Moderne and here's the quote:
Liberalism has become a philosophy of Western suicide.
I took the quote from a post titled "Danish Cartoons: An issue of sensitivity or free speech?" How have I NOT read this blog before? Here's more:

What I can't fathom is the unbelievable stupidity of the Left - particularly in this instance. This is their issue! They are lions when it comes to fighting the Ten Commandments in a courtroom or gagging a kid from praying at the football game.

However, when confronted with true, creeping theocracy, they denounce the victims! I was nearly alone in my Migration and Radicalism class in framing this as a freedom of speech issue. Nearly all of them saw it through a prism of Arab victimization. The cartoon authors were white and European, so inevitably bad. The fact that they were exercising freedoms of press and speech was immaterial. . . .

This is a test, one of many to come. It's a test of whether or not the West (and especially Europe) has the will to defend its core freedoms in the face of religious totalitarianism.

Thursday Thirteen - My 13 Favorite Blogs

In a recent post Right Wing News listed his favorite 40 blogs.
I wasn't on the list. Sigh! How dare he!
However, it gave me the idea for this Thursday Thirteen. I hate to choose JUST 13 because I have SO many favorites that I read regularly. However, after much thought, I narrowed it down - only cheating a little on #1. Okay I stretched it on #6, too.
(drumroll) Introducing
Thursday Thirteen


13. The Anchoress

12. Rhymes with Right

11. ScrappleFace

10. Right on the Left Coast

9. The Education Wonks

8. A Female Soldier 2

7. My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

6. All the Thursday Thirteen Folks

5. Captain's Quarters

4. Michelle Malkin

3. Blame Bush!

2. Dr. Sanity

1. My family blogs come first because I check them everyday - and enjoy reading them all. I have to list them altogether - otherwise they'd take up almost the entire thirteen by themselves! Here they are: Ruthlace (my mother), Daddy's Roses (my sister), Alone on a Limb (my brother), Blue Star Chronicles (my sister), Cozy Reader (my cousin), Reasoned Audacity (my niece), Jack Yoest (my niece's husband - does that make him my nephew-in-law?), A Few Minutes With Robin and Andy (my cousin), and Bran's Florida Blog (my niece).

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Norma

2. Joan

3. Jane

4. Terrell

5. Chickadee

6. Kelly

7. Courtney

8. Jade

9. Uisce

10. LazyDaisy

11. P.J.

12. Kimmy

13. iKat

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney Speaks Truth to Power

So Vice President Dick Cheney talks to Fox News today. Here's the news story. Here are a few of his words:
"I had a bit of the feeling that the press corps was upset because, to some extent, it was about them - they didn't like the idea that we called the Corpus Christi Caller-Times instead of The New York Times," he said. "But it strikes me that the Corpus Christi Caller-Times is just as valid a news outlet as The New York Times is, especially for covering a major story in south Texas."
Boy, ain't THAT the truth! Talk about doing their best to make a scandal and cover-up out of nothing! It was a terrible accident. Period.

More at Michelle Malkin, Real Clear Politics Blog, ScrappleFace, Right Wing News, Protein Wisdom, The Anchoress, The American Thinker, California Yankee, The Nose on Your Face, Baldilocks, Outside the Beltway, National Institute for Truth and Freedom, Blame Bush!

Bad Hair Days - It's All in the Life of a Teacher!

This morning when I got dressed for work, I thought my hair looked especially nice. I honestly did! Sometimes no matter what I do, it just doesn't look right. I was pleased that today wasn't one of those days.

Later at school, my third grade reading group walked into my classroom - five bright-eyed children who were unusually quiet (probably on a low after yesterday's valentine sugar high). As Nicki sat down, she looked at me and said (and I quote verbatim):
"It looks like you are having a bad hair day!"
"Oh," I replied. "My hair looks bad?"
"No, it just looks like you're having a bad hair day."

She contradicted herself. Right? I felt my hair to make sure there were no wayward strands sticking out, and then grabbed pencil and paper to write down Nicki's exact words. As they say, "Pride goeth before the fall."

The Carnival of Education - Week 54

Week 54 of the Carnival of Education is now up at EdWahoo. It is FULL of interesting posts this week dealing with a wide variety of topics in edusphere. Check it out.

Carnival of the Magnolias VI

The 6th edition of the Carnival of the Magnolias is up at Everyman Chronicles. It highlights the writing from the Southern blogosphere. The carnival had been on hiatus for awhile and is just now getting started again. It's a great opportunity for bloggers to get their writing seen by more readers.

If you would like to submit a post for next week's Carnival of the Magnolias, go here for the submission form. Submissions are due on Sunday, but you can send them in any time between now and then.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Shopping for Husbands and Wives

A store that sells new husbands has just opened in New York City, where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

You may visit the store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the attributes of the men increase as the shopper ascends the flights. There is, however, a catch: you may choose any man from a particular floor, or you may choose to go up a floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!
So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 - These men have jobs. The second floor sign reads: Floor 2 - These men have jobs and love kids. The third floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men have jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking.

"Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the fourth floor and sign reads: Floor 4 - These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead good looking and help with the housework.

"Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it!" Still, she goes to the fifth floor and sign reads: Floor 5 - These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead gorgeous, help with the housework, and have a strong romantic streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor and the sign reads: Floor 6 - You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at The Husband Store.

A new Wives Store opened across the street. The first floor has wives that love sex. The second floor has wives that love sex and have money. The third through sixth floors have never been visited.

(H/T to my friend, Dianne)
(We don't really believe any of that. Women are NOT impossible to please...and men are interested in more than just sex and money. There IS the NFL, after all.)

Professional Development in Literacy

I just got my February issue of The Reading Teacher. Yes, it is February 14th which means it's running a tad late. There was an article, though, that is pertinent to what is going on in my life at the moment. The title is "Accountability by design in literacy professional development," and it is written by Kathryn Kinnucan-Welsch, Catherine A. Rosemary, and Patricia R. Grogan.

It is pertinent to me at the moment because I'm in the midst of planning the February 20th professional development day for the 90+ second grade teachers in our school system. I NEVER imagined that planning such a day would involve so much! I feel guilty about the times I've been overly critical of other professional development experiences. In the future, I know I will be a little more understanding about what goes into such a day. I always expect high quality, but I won't be quite so picky about minor things.

There are four of us on the committee, and I believe we have a productive and helpful day planned. We've got a great motivational speaker for the first 15 minutes, and we have three break-out sessions. Each session has four or five different classes from which participants may choose. We've got local stores, restaurants and book representatives to donate items for door prizes, and the PTO is providing refreshments. Most importantly, I think (hope, pray!) the classes will be really good. The classes are planned to meet the needs that the teachers themselves expressed.

Now that I've read this article in The Reading Teacher, I have a guideline against which to gauge our plans. The article lists six principles of high-quality professional development. The first three principles are the ones that most relate to a specific professional development opportunity. So let's see how we're doing.

(1) The content must align with what students need to know and be able to do, often as articulated by content standards and district course of study. Whew! We got that one covered! That's where we started with our initial ideas. Our wonderful Tennessee "Blue Book" of standards.

(2) Professional Development involves active learning for teachers. Again, we've got that covered, but no thanks to me. My "old school" patterns are hard to let go, although I DO constantly work at it. I was gearing up for a "sit and get" day when my co-presenter (at the three classes we're leading) suggested getting the teachers actively involved instead. MUCH better idea, and I think it will be much more helpful for the teachers. Since children's literature is a passion of mine, I volunteered to lead classes on using children's literature to teach reading and writing skills and strategies. That class will be held during all three sessions since so many teachers signed up for it. The other classes will also involve the teachers in active learning.

(3) Professional development is embedded in the context of work in schools and classrooms. Again, we hit the nail on the head. There are two second grade teachers on our committee, and we initially came up with a long list of ideas, sent that list to all the second grade teachers in the county to find the topics they most wanted help with, and then we worked with those topics in coming up with our sessions. We also have built in time during the day for teachers to talk with teachers from other schools and with their own school team to plan how to utilize what they've learned in their own classrooms. Teachers leading teachers.

It makes me a little scared, though. It sounds almost TOO good. You know what I mean? No matter how well we think we've covered every need, there are bound to be things that come up that no one on the planning committee anticipated. That's where that great life skill of flexibility comes in. We'll just have to do our best in planning, hope for the best, and then handle whatever happens.

Each teacher will have to fill out an evaluation form at the end of the day. Knowing how I've filled out those forms in the past makes me very wary to think of what I might read in them Monday evening.

Reading Today Daily had further information on professional development, and Mei at Mei Flower tells about a professional development day that I hope we don't match.

Open Trackback Tuesday

Come one! Come all! Today is Trackback Tuesday at THE MEDIAN SIB! My readers can be your readers! And your readers can be my readers. Share and share alike.

Blogs Linking Here: Freedom Folks, Why Do I Bother?, Blue Star Chronicles

All bloggers are welcome to participate. Just link to THIS post in your blog, and then leave a comment here with your post's URL, the name of your blog, and your name. I look forward to reading your post and linking it for all to read. I'll place each new link at the top of the post so readers will be sure to read it.

The trackback URL for this post is: http://haloscan.com/tb/mcarol49/113991733011118243

Just copy the trackback URL and paste it in your trackback program. If you don't have a trackback program you can use the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger.

A Nashville Story about boats and sailors

Here's another joke forwarded via email. Most forwards I get are repeats of old jokes. This is actually one I hadn't heard before.
A young blonde woman in Nashville, TN, was so depressed that she decided to end her life by throwing herself into the Cumberland River. She went down to the docks and was about to leap into the frigid water when a handsome young sailor saw her tottering on the edge of the dock, crying.

He took pity on her and said, "Look, you have so much to live for. I'm off to Europe in the morning, and if you like, I can stow you away on my ship.

I'll take good care of you and bring you food every day." Moving closer, he slipped his arm around her shoulders and added, "I'll keep you happy, and you'll keep me happy."

The girl nodded yes. After all, what did she have to lose? Perhaps a fresh start in Europe would give her life new meaning.

That night, the sailor brought her aboard and hid her in a lifeboat.

From then on, every night he brought her three sandwiches and a piece of fruit, and they made passionate love until dawn.

Three weeks later, during a routine inspection, she was discovered by the captain.

"What are you doing here?" the captain asked.

"I have an arrangement with one of the sailors," she explained. "I get food and a trip to Europe, and he's screwing me."

"He certainly is," the captain said.

"This is the General Jackson, and we never leave Nashville."

Note for non-Nashvillians: The General Jackson is a riverboat that stays docked most of the time and makes brief river cruises along a few miles of the Cumberland River.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Vocabulary Lesson - dhimmitude

Dhimmitude - I've seen that word in a lot of different blogs, and I just wasn't sure what it meant. I could guess from the context, but still I wanted to be certain. So I went searching and discovered that it is a very good word - a very descriptive word. Let's have a vocabulary lesson. The Washington Times provides our definition (The bold print/emphasis is mine):

Dhimmitude is the coinage of a brilliant historian, Bat Ye'or, whose pioneering studies of the dhimmi, populations of Jews and Christians vanquished by Islamic jihad, have led her to conclude that a common culture has existed through the centuries among the varied dhimmi populations. From Egypt and Palestine to Iraq and Syria, from Morocco and Algeria to Spain, Sicily and Greece, from Armenia and the Balkans to the Caucasus: Wherever Islam conquered, surrendering dhimmi, known to Muslims as "people of the book [the Bible]," were tolerated, allowed to practice their religion, but at a dehumanizing cost. There were literal taxes (jizya) to be paid; these bought the dhimmi the right to remain non-Muslim, the price not of religious freedom, but of religious identity. Freedom was lost, sorely circumscribed by a body of Islamic law (sharia) designed to subjugate, denigrate and humiliate the dhimmi. The resulting culture of self-abnegation, self-censorship and fear shared by far-flung dhimmi is the basis of dhimmitude.

The extremely distressing but highly significant fact is, dhimmitude doesn't only exist in lands where Islamic law rules. This is the lesson of Cartoon Rage 2006. . . . We have watched the Muslim meltdown with shocked attention, but there is little recognition that its poisonous fallout is fear. Fear in the State Department, which, like Islam, called the cartoons unacceptable. Fear in Whitehall, which did the same. Fear in the Vatican, which did the same. And fear in the media, which have failed, with few, few exceptions, to reprint or show the images. With only a small roll of brave journals, mainly in Europe, to salute, we have seen the proud Western tradition of a free press bow its head and submit to an Islamic law against depictions of Muhammad. That's dhimmitude.

Not that we admit it: We dress up our capitulation in fancy talk of "tolerance," "responsibility" and "sensitivity." We even congratulate ourselves for having the "editorial judgment" to make "pluralism" possible. "Readers were well served... without publishing the cartoons," said a Wall Street Journal spokesman. "CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam," reported the cable network. On behalf of the BBC, which did show some of the cartoons on the air, a news editor subsequently apologized, adding: "We've taken a decision not to go further... in order not to gratuitously offend the significant number" of Muslim viewers worldwide. Left unmentioned is the understanding (editorial judgement?) that "gratuitous offense" leads to gratuitous violence. Hence, fear — not the inspiration of tolerance but of capitulation — and a condition of dhimmitude.

How far does it go? Worth noting, for example, is that on the BBC Web site, a religion page about Islam presents the angels and revelations of Islamic belief as historical fact, rather than spiritual conjecture (as is the case with its Christianity Web page); plus, it follows every mention of Mohammed with "(pbuh)," which means "peace be upon him"—"as if," writes Will Wyatt, former BBC chief executive, in a letter to the Times of London, "the corporation itself were Muslim."

Is it? Are we? These questions may not seem so outlandish if we assess the extent to which encroaching sharia has already changed the Western way. Calling these cartoons "unacceptable," and censoring ourselves "in respect" to Islam brings the West into compliance with a central statute of sharia. As Jyllands-Posten's Flemming Rose has noted, that's not respect, that's submission. And if that's not dhimmitude, what is?

The publication of the Muhammad cartoons solicited by Denmark's Jyllands-Posten was an act of anti-dhimmitude. Since no Danish artist would dare illustrate a PC children's book about Muhammad for fear of Islamic law (and Islamic violence), the newspaper boldly set out to reassert the rule of (non-Islamic) Danish law. It's as simple as that. And as vital. The cartoons ran to establish — or re-establish —Denmark as bastion of Western-style liberty. But in trying to set up a force field against encroaching sharia, Jyllands-Posten and the Danes have showed us that no single bastion of Western liberty can stand alone. So, how do you say solidarity in Danish? If we don't find out now, our future is more dhimmitude

Now I understand dhimmitude, and I see it all over the news, and it is frightening. Are we Americans not strong enough to stand up for our freedoms? Do we not expect and demand that our culture and our freedoms be respected by others? Sure, it's not very nice when someone draws and publishes cartoons about someone's religion, but that's the price of living in a free country. Do we REALLY want to be submissive to a religion that not only condones but promotes this and this and this?

Other posts on dhimmitude: Michelle Malkin, Cox & Forkum, Dhimmi Watch, Junkyard Dog, Atlas Shrugs, Environmental Republican, Jihad Watch.

Al Gore - How Will They Defend Him?

I'm curious about how democrats will defend Al Gore's speech at the Jiddah Economic Forum. I KNOW they will, and I'm looking forward to hearing their rationalizations and explanations. With everything I learn about him, I continue to thank God he was not elected POTUS. Updates will follow as I read more.

More at: Atlas Shrugs, Druthers, National Institute for Truth and Freedom, Captain's Quarters, Sister Toldjah, TigerHawk, Ankle Biting Pundits, Michelle Malkin, Blogs For Bush, Blue Star Chronicles,

The First Carnival of Children's Literature

The First Carnival of Children's Literature is now up at Here in the Bonny Glen, and I am AMAZED at not only the quality of the highlighted posts but also the number of them. What a treat for any teacher! I am indeed honored that one of my posts was selected for this first carnival! Yea!!! It's a good thing we had a snow day today because I intend to spend a L-O-N-G time going to all the links and finding authors, books and bloggers that are new to me, along with some familiar ones, too. Happy reading!

Teachers and In-Service

I received this via email the other day. Considering the long hours I've put in lately planning an inservice day for our teachers, I thought it was appropriate to share here. Plus, I know other teachers will identify with it.

What Happens to Teachers When They Die

A teacher dies and goes to Heaven. When she gets there, she meets Saint Peter at the pearly gates. St. Peter says to her, "Welcome to Heaven. Let me give you an orientation first."

St. Peter takes her to some beautiful mansions. The teacher asks, "Who lives in these beautiful houses?"

"These are for the doctors. They did a lot of good on Earth, and so they get a nice mansion," replied St. Peter. Then he takes the teacher to even finer mansions - more magnificent than the first.

"Wow! Who lives here?" asks the teacher.

"These mansions are for social workers. They did a lot of good on Earth, but they didn't make much money. So they get an even better house."

Finally St. Peter took the teacher to even more mansions. These were the most gorgeous homes she had ever seen. They had huge columns, well-manicured lawns, lush gardens, beautiful stained glass windows: the works!

"These are the most beautiful homes I have ever seen!" exclaimed the teacher. "Who lives here?"

"Teachers live here," replied St. Peter. "They did much good on Earth and received meager monetary compensation, and so they get the best houses in all of Heaven."

"But where are all the teachers?" inquired the teacher when she surveyed the empty rooms.

"Oh, they'll be back soon," St. Peter answered, "They're all in Hell at an in-service."

Hunting with Dick Cheney & the Funniest Line of the Day

One of Michelle Malkin's readers, C.T., had this to say about the Cheney hunting accident:

I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy.
Well, isn't that the truth? And it begs other "I'd rathers". Here are several that immediately come to mind:

I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than have my daughter intern for Bill Clinton.
I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than have Jimmy Carter speak at my funeral.
I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than have Ray Nagin as my mayor.
I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than have Al Gore represent my country abroad.

Any others?

Update: Seems the press is in an uproar because when the accident happened, the folks involved were more intent on taking care of the injured man than on notifying the press. I'm certain there will be accusations of cover-ups now - despite the fact that nothing was covered up. As though anyone in the Cheney organization would think something like that COULD be covered up - even if they wanted to. Oh well - that's the MSM for you. Boots & Sabers has a great take on the situation.

Note: For the record, what Cheney did was unbelievably careless and stupid. However, there is no cover-up, and I still would rather hunt with him than have Gore represent me.

Others weighing in on the topic - some serious, but most hilarious: Dr. Sanity, A Certain Slant of Light, Captain's Quarters, Wonkette, Outside the Beltway, Point Five, One Hand Clapping.

Monday Linkfest

It's a Monday Linkfest! Send a trackback to this post and it will be listed here as long as you link back to this post or blog in the post you send. That's it. So send those trackbacks on!

Trackback URL for this entry: http://haloscan.com/tb/mcarol49/113984213486697728

Check Linkfest Haven, Blue Star Chronicles.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Islam and Justice

I had read about this story a couple weeks ago, and then again today. Unbelievable! From One Hand Clapping who linked to Outside the Beltway:

Where is the ACLU when you need it?
Tehran, Iran, Jan. 07 – An Iranian court has sentenced a teenage rape victim to death by hanging after she weepingly confessed that she had unintentionally killed a man who had tried to rape both her and her niece.... She described how the three men pushed her and her 16-year-old niece Somayeh onto the ground and tried to rape them, and said that she took out a knife from her pocket and stabbed one of the men in the hand. As the girls tried to escape, the men once again attacked them, and at this point, Nazanin said, she stabbed one of the men in the chest. The teenage girl, however, broke down in tears in court as she explained that she had no intention of killing the man but was merely defending herself and her younger niece from rape, the report said.
The court, however, issued on Tuesday a sentence for Nazanin to be hanged to death.It seems that under sharia law, when a woman is being raped she really is supposed to lie back and enjoy it. Then, of course, having been violated she is therefore unclean and has brought permanent dishonor to her family because her virginity can never be restored. So she must be killed by her father or brother to return honor to the family. No, this isn’t satire, and odds are that Nazanin has already been hanged.

Yeah, sure - it's just a different culture and we should let them be. Don't worry about all the Nazanins over there who are being murdered and hanged each day. Their "culture" is not our problem. And uh . . . the Americans that they murdered and decapitated? Well, I guess that shouldn't bother us either. Murdering and beheading are part of that culture, and we need to respect and appreciate their cultural uniqueness.

Glimpses of Courage

I wrote yesterday about the difference between cowardice and courage. Today, courage was shown in the fight for freedom of speech against the militant Muslims who want to deny that freedom. Michelle Malkin writes about two men in France who went into the midst of a Muslim cartoon demonstration wearing the Danish flag and advertising their support of freedom of speech. Where else is courage being shown? Dr. Sanity has a post about Ayaan Hirsi Ali who stands up for liberty and writes:
Today I am here to defend the right to offend within the bounds of the law.
Then Blue Star Chronicles tells about Shahla Azizi at Iranian.com who declares:
I am willing to go to war to defend one Danish cartoonist.
Who else is facing the terrorist Muslims and saying "That's it! We won't back down"? Who else is showing courage in the face of terrorist Muslim threats? If you have other stories, please let me know. I'd like to highlight them here.

Carnival of the Insanities

If you're a regular reader of THE MEDIAN SIB, you know that Dr. Sanity is one of my favorite daily reads. This morning, the latest Carnival of the Insanities is posted at Dr. Sanity. It is among the best carnivals because it highlights the absurdities in our world. And, believe me, absurdities abound! Click the link above and enjoy!


(Drumroll!) The very FIRST Carnival of Blue Stars is up at Blue Star Chronicles! (applause! cheering!) What a great carnival! And what a great blogroll to be a part of!

I've spent a good chunk of my morning reading the posts that are listed at the carnival. It has some of the best writing in blogdom by people who have personal knowledge of the military.

The wonderful thing about reading the blogs of members of the Blue Star blogroll is that you get information that the MSM and leftwing politicians ignore or downplay. You read about some of the GOOD things that are going on because of our military. By reading Blue Star blogroll members, you learn of forums for discussing the military, how military families feel about what's going on in the world, ways you can show support for our troops, how others honor our soldiers, what our soldiers are saying, what other people are saying, what politicians are saying and doing, and you share in proud moments. Most importantly, you know you're getting the straight information because it comes from people who have personal knowledge of what's going on and who don't have a political career or agenda to further by slanting the information.

If you would like to submit a post for next week's carnival, please send the title and URL of the post to bluestarchronicles (at) yahoo (dot) com.

And if you support our troops and our mission of freedom, if you have a son, daughter, other relative or friend in the military, head over to the Blue Star Blogroll and join!

The Carnival of Blue Stars is also mentioned at Basil's Blog.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The War, Protesting, Political Shenanigans - what I think

This is a personal post about what's going on in the United States and the world today. This is what I believe in the core of my soul.

Cowardice is being afraid and running from what you fear - or perhaps ignoring what you fear and hoping it will go away. Cowardice can be manifested in many ways. Dr. Sanity has some great information on that topic - so go there if you want to explore that more thoroughly. Cowards look at the short term. Perhaps by ignoring or running from the threat, they can buy a little time. In the interim, though, whoever or whatever is threatening them gets stronger and bolder. The next time they threaten, they are more capable of victory and can do more damage. Cowardice is generally a short-term response that only serves to make the situation worse. The aggressor becomes stronger. The coward becomes weaker.

On the other hand, bravery is acknowledging the fear, and then moving ahead to face and deal with the fear. It is looking at the long term and knowing that enemies don't just give up because you don't want to fight them. You may not WANT to fight, but because your enemy is determined to fight you, you must fight. Not fighting means giving up your freedoms. You don't back down, make concessions or apologize for your freedoms.

An analogy - It's a little long - so bear with me:
In a school playground a bully goes up to another child (let's call him Sam) and takes Sam's lunch money. Sam sulks but figures the bully got what he wanted, and that's the end of it. However, the next day the bully does it again. This time he's bolder because now he knows he can get away with it. So this time he not only takes Sam's
lunch money, he also grabs the Twinkie Sam had for a snack. Sam is upset. He cries, talks it over with a friend who tells him that if Sam is nice to the bully, then the bully will be nice to him. The next day Sam holds out a Twinkie when he sees the bully headed his way. "Here," he says, "I brought one for you." The bully laughs,
grabs the Twinkie and then also grabs the lunch money and the Twinkie Sam had for himself. Another friend tells Sam that he has to fight the bully. So the next time Sam swings at the bully and catches him by surprise and gives him a bloody nose. After that first swing, though, the bully is ready, and he blocks swing after swing. Sam's friends tell him it's no use - the bully is blocking his swings. Soon Sam
gives up. The bully laughs again, takes the lunch money and Twinkies, along with Sam's juice box. Then, for good measure, he gives Sam a bloody nose. Some of Sam's friends tell him to fight, and one of him teaches him how to fight well. Another of those friends tells the bully ahead of time exactly when and how Sam is planning to fight him. After all, it's a free country and the bully should know what he's up against. Other friends tell him that he needs to give up and give the bully what he wants. Other friends tell Sam that the whole situation is HIS fault for not being nicer to the bully to begin with. Soon the friends are arguing among themselves about what Sam should do. Sam is left to handle the bully by himself.

From then on, each time Sam tries to appease the bully or win the bully over with kindsness, the bully just gets greedier and bolder. The only thing that will stop the bully is for Sam to be stronger and for the bully to know unequivocably that Sam WILL NOT let the bully continue bullying. Sam can't give in - even a little bit. There are no gray areas - no exceptions. It IS a black and white issue. NO bullying will be tolerated. No appeasement whatsoever will be made. It will take a fight and a show of strength on Sam's part for the bully to get the message. Sam will most likely need his friends to help him.

The point of the analogy is obvious. The Muslim terrorist bullies have bombed the World Trade Center, the U.S.S. Cole, and finally they were emboldened enough for 9/11. Since 9/11, they've terrorized the people of the world with car bombs, suicide bombers, beheadings and other attacks. The bullies are getting bolder and stronger. They even produce videotapes bragging about their plans to cause even further damage to our country. They videotape beheadings and captured civilians begging for their lives. They openly swear that their plans include killing as many of us as possible. And rather than all Americans standing up and saying "We will not be bullied!" and supporting our country and our servicemen who are fighting the bullies, we have Americans who are telling us it's OUR fault the terrorists are killing people, it's OUR fault that we haven't appeased them enough. The poor terrorists have a bad home life. It's society's fault they must turn to bullying to get what they want.

The next part of this post has to do with honor. I grew up in the South - one of seven children of a Methodist minister. We children had our squabbles, but one of the basic principles of integrity and honor that we learned early in life is that you respect and support your family. If you disagree, you do it in private. You don't go outside the family and disrespect a family member to others. A brother and sister may bicker and fight at home, but when they're elsewhere, they stick up for each other. The same principle holds true for organizations you belong to or for your political leaders. You support your elected officials and your country. If you don't agree with your mayor, governor, senator, representative or president, then you go through the appropriate channels to get someone elected that you DO agree with. If you vote to support something, then you continue to support it until the mission is accomplished. To the world you present a united front. You stick up for each other.

Islamic terrorists have declared war on the United States, Great Britain, Denmark and other countries that prize freedom. We have freedoms that the Islamic terrorists don't have, and for that they hate us and want to deny us those freedoms. In fact they're working to take away those freedoms. We MUST be united in our fight against them, and we MUST fight them. They aren't going to stop going after us if we pack up our soldiers and go home. They will just be bolder and stronger and more determined because we've shown our weaknesses through our bickering, leaking of information, and public disrespect for each other.

Elected officials have responsibilities, too. They are leaders and they set examples. When these leaders stand in public and disrespect the nation's president and the course of action that they themselves voted for, they undermine the whole country - not just the president. When they use the honor of speaking at a funeral to get in some political digs, they demean themselves. While there a few people who agree with what former President Carter did at Coretta Scott King's funeral, most Americans see it for what it is. Carter dishonored himself in that moment and demonstrated his stupidity. When people justify their words and actions by saying it's their DUTY to protest, they are showing a pettiness that is mind-boggling. They are putting their own political agenda ahead of the welfare of the nation.

There have been Democrats who have accused Republicans of acting out of fear. It seems clear to me that the ones who are fearful are the Democrats. So fearful that when it comes to dealing with Muslim terrorists, they're covering their ears, eyes and mouths - hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil - and believing if they do that, then there won't be any evil.

Meanwhile the Muslim terrorists are continuing their killings, bombings, beheadings, and and other terrorist activities - ever mindful that this open and hostile dissent from within is weakening their enemy. From my viewpoint, the terrorists' best friends are many Democrats, the ACLU, the MSM, along with such malcontents as Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and Jimmy Carter.