Friday, October 30, 2009

Worth reading

Thanks to Jon for this link.

READ the article. It's not as long as it looks (half of it is citations and notes).

Also, note 112 at the end links to this article, which I have not yet read but which is by the same author and prove to be interesting:

Except for the missing mixer....

Things are starting to feel normal here, after a week and even without my mixer (which I miss) and my sewing machine (which I really miss) and my computer (which I am mourning the lack of).

The kids are adjusting.

The messes are kicked into the same corners they were 2 years ago when we decided to give it a go and move to Las Vegas.

Lots of snow on the ground has kids going out, coming in to thaw, going out again, and debating if they can eat the crystal-clear icicle or not.

I can see the nearly-full moon low in the west, shining between the branches of the snow-laden pine that towers over the house in the front yard and blocks my view of the street.

We made home made bread (thanks to the pan Donella lent us) and snickerdoodles today, so the house smells like home.

My rocking chair doesn't swivel, but it's warm and gives me a view of outside (but not the street).

I woke up to the wonderful sounds of Tim tracking his latest song down in the basement--something I haven't heard in months (since before we decided to leave Vegas late in July!). Then, when he had a draft for me to listen to, the kids danced all around and Benji said, "I'm making musics mom. Come follow me!" and then danced and danced. It was delightful to watch the baby look at Tim, then at the computer, and then at Tim over and over as he tried to figure out how come he could hear daddy singing, but he didn't look like he was singing.

I was just starting to hand-stitch the quilt I brought to work on (but haven't because I left my sewing machine) when I looked down and saw that Nathanael wasn't just sitting at my feet. He was disassembling Daniel's trike. He had loosened one nut until it was almost off, nearly gotten the other bolt out (I have no idea what he did with that nut--probably ate it. He's at that age, after all!), and was shaking the seat, trying to get it off. Yes, my son can say 3 words, loves to nurse, snitches cookie dough by the handful when I look away, and takes apart tricycles. Strange to think I was just spoon-feeding applesauce to a genius.

It's nice to be home.

I hope it lasts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Homeschooling Resource: Film Appreciation Class Online

This is a college Film Appreciation course. The syllabus is there and everything. But the discussion of films (complete with links to highlights of the films) is GREAT.

Be aware that this is a college film class and that most college students don't have any opposition to R-rated films (although I, personally, do). So don't just turn your kids loose and let them explore. (You probably don't want your 8 year old studying "The Clockwork Orange").

But it is an available resource:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Homeschooling Resource: Math?

Here is a "new" (to me) program for math that claims that math is the easiest subject for kids to excel at if they are taught properly:

Anyone used it?

I'd love feedback.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Did I just read that?

From craigslist today:

"Photographer seeks dogs to shoot - (Denver) <<creative gigs"

Sometimes I feel that way about dogs, too.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Did I just read that?

On the back of my yellow box of Blue Bonnet used-to-be-margarine-but-now-has-too-little-oil-to-qualify-so-it's-"stick" (really is; read the box!), there is a recipe labeled "America's Classic No-Fail Chocolate Chip Cookies".  At the bottom of the white recipe square is a picture of three cookies, stacked, with the words (in bright red) "Great for baking or sauteing"

I've never heard of sauteed chocolate chip cookies!

Spin it how you want...

From the NY Post:

"The WHO’s Interphone investigation’s results showed, "a significantly increased risk" of some brain tumors "related to use of mobile phones for a period of ten years or more," the Telegraph reported today.
The study’s head, Dr. Elisabeth Cardis, said, "In the absence of definitive results and in the light of a number of studies which, though limited, suggest a possible effect of radiofrequency radiation, precautions are important.""

Did anyone else notice that sentence 1 and sentence 2 of this quotation are at direct odds with one another? Also that the head of the study isn't saying anything at all (no definitive results, no description of what studies or by whom, how were they limited, or what the possible effect might be--super powers?)? In other words, since we don't know anything about anything, we should be careful.

"In the absence of definitive results" usually means the study didn't accomplish anything--you can spin it how you want to. US cell phone companies say, "There is no proof of cancer."  WHO says, "It could cause cancer." BOTH statements are true.  But both of the above-quoted statements would have a hard time being true--either it shows a significantly increased risk, or there are not definitive results. You can't have it both ways.

I would like to point out, though, that cell division could cause cancer, and that 100% of cancerous rats exposed to cats die. Also that in the absence of definitive results, we should all take precautions against Big Foot, Alien Abduction, and Poltergeists, since there are a number of studies which, though limited, suggest a possible effect of encounters with such beings, so precautions are important.

I guess we were born to be gypsies!

I'm starting to feel like a disorganized gypsy again. My belongings are quite literally strewn across three states. Precious stuff, like family history, is stored in Las Vegas; the stuff that didn't fit and was left in the house went to Utah. And then early this week, we packed van and trailer as tight as we could with necessities and came back home.

Yes, back to our house on Hover in Colorado.

It was a kind of spur-of-the-moment move (turned out three of us had been thinking about it, and when we all finally started talking, it seemed like a good idea--the house was sitting empty, and we were staying with family. Why not move home?), so we ended up with random things--all the knives, but no measuring spoons; a whole package of pens, but only a couple sheets of paper; all the towels but none of the dishrags or wash cloths; a few most precious toys but not enough to keep everyone busy all day; bottle brush and bottles but no dish soap; frying pan and saucepan and 3 spatulas but no stirring get the idea.

Fortunately, my wonderful aunt, Donella, who just moved out of this house, lives in the area. She came to my rescue with dinner, dishes, spices, baking pans, etc--not just things to get by, but things to really enjoy ourselves, including supplies for making pies (since she knows my extended family loves pies) and a BIG bag of toys for the kids. Hooray! AND she's letting us borrow her extra washing machine and fridge so we can function here.

It's weird to come full circle! Back where we started. It just took two years.

Had we known we would be coming back here, we would have been back as soon as Toxic Audio closed. And we would have missed out on some awesome experiences. How many musicians get to go to the world capitol of their particular art (Vegas is considered one of the entertainment capitols of the world, and there is more solo vocal/vocal ensemble music concentrated there than anywhere else) and spend 18 months studying every aspect of it? Tim is particularly adept at observing and analyzing what is going on (esp in performance) and then applying that information to his own shows, so it was a particularly useful time for him. He learned about every aspect of both creating and mounting a world-class vocal music show. It was like grad school in popular vocal music--something you still can't study in school.

I mean it. Seriously. There are commercial music programs, but where could he get a MM (Masters of Music) with an emphasis in popular vocal ensemble performance/conducting? You'd need whole classes in the difference between a concert and a show; mass entertainment versus building a fan base; presenting yourself (to the public and to auditioners); the role of talking in a music show/how to not bore a non-fan audience/programming a show; starting a new group from scratch; defining your image; learning from other performing genres; tech for musicians (audio and visual concerns); costuming; using technology in your show (you'd be surprised how few vocalists really know how to use a mic!), etc. That kind of a program doesn't exist. (He could teach one now, though, I suspect!)

So I'm really deeply ashamed of all my whining and fussing over my own personal discomfort in Las Vegas. Had God given me what I was begging for, Tim would have missed out on an incredibly valuable learning time. I would have short-circuited his future--our future--for my short-term comfort. That'll teach me not to trust God. I guess I'm still weak on faith...but I'm learning.

So now we're back in Longmont (and oh how I love this ugly old house on the busy street!), still blind to our future but with a LOT more knowledge than we had when we left.

Tim is excited to be here because there are unbelievably talented singers here who are anxious to work with him (they even look like they could be brothers...and they communicate that well and approach music performance that well, too). I've been laughing because we've had what we call the "too many bicycles" phenomenon (once we prayed for Tim to get a bike when we were totally broke and couldn't even spare $50 to buy a used one, and within a week we had 3--I think they were all free!). This time, we spent 2 years in Vegas praying for a bass to sing with Tim, and also a really great tenor. Now he's got a really great tenor (literally the only other  man on earth whose singing voice is as appealing, flexible, and accurate as Tim's) and no less than 4 basses lined up, all of whom are also vocal percussionists! I hate seeing/hearing Tim sing bass to back up a soloist that isn't as good as he is (especially on songs he wrote/arranged for his voice as lead)--so this is delightful to me. Not only can Tim take the solos now if he wants to, all 5 of these guys are as good of soloists as he is! Now if we can just find that perfect female voice.....4 octave range and mellow through it all (no shrill notes), and able to both blend with and hold her own with 5 guys and no other female voices or instruments.

He's also excited because this house has a 500+ sq ft studio in the basement that is only semi-finished space right now, so we can finish it up with a filming corner (white wall with curved corners), a recording booth/home studio, and rehearsal space. It will be great work space for him.

And I'm excited because Colorado likes us, and we like Colorado. Here is the ward where I had writing friends. Here is the state that gave Tim the Impact Award for having the greatest impact on vocal ensemble music in the Rocky Mountains. Here is one of the best sound guys for mixing a cappella live. Here are people who welcome new music projects, are interested in novelty (Live Looping, here we come!), are not selfish as musicians. Here are decent (not great, but decent) home school laws. Here we feel at peace and at home.

I have no idea if we're staying a month or a decade. I guess we shall see!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Did I just see that?

from google news today:

New York Daily News - Samuel Goldsmith - ‎4 hours ago"

Is the parked car sitting behind, or in front? I wonder....

Thank you, Mr. Obama

Well, at least now it's publicly acknowledged. For years, conservatives have been lambasted for claiming that the "mainstream media" was liberal.

Obama just forced them to admit it.

It was a great favor, of course, to the majority of the country, for him to expose his supporters as just that (since for decades they've claimed they were "unbiased" or "fair" or just cried foul when other said they were liberal-leaning). It reveals his extreme inexperience (and ineptitude) that he pointed out FoxNews as "not real news" and expected that to come off in his favor.

It does make me scary, though, if the rest of the world starts not loving him. His behavior with Fox News points out his immaturity in the face of opposition--exactly the kind of sophomoric behavior that could land us all in a war if some other country disses him in just the right way. He has revealed that his buttons are easily pushed. I would be interested to see what happens next if it wasn't my LIFE he's playing with.

Note to President: You are like the mommy--if you fight with the kids, then who is going to be the grownup? And, more importantly, who is going to teach the kids not to fight?

I don't mind that he exposed his cronies. I just hope they go after him so we can get someone else in there in 2012 (and hopefully the entire country isn't destroyed first!). After all, the media's prestige comes not from supporting power, but tearing it down. They were attacking the "power" of conservatism. Now maybe they'll go after our incompetent, power-grabbing president.

Interesting article's_Most_Popular

If this article is right about the "haves" and "have nots", and we apply the "Rules for Radicals" behavior to other organizations around, then the religious people are the "haves" in the social debates. Interesting.

Not that we can back down and stop fighting for our constitutional rights to religion.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Did I just read that?

from Boulder's Craigslist:

"The interior frame of this sofa is some kind of resin so it weighs very little. Pier 1 says they dropped one out of a second-story window to test it but we didn't try that with ours. Also, please don't burn this sofa during a riot since the resin might produce toxic vapors. "

Since people with couches in their homes are 1) involved in riots frequently and 2) burn their couches during said riots. Thanks for the warning.

Actually, this struck me as a very "boulder"ish kind of statement. Always aware of the environment there!

Did I just read that?

from Boulder Craigslist:

"Also open for people with learning disabilities:dwarfs,wheelchairs,blind,deaf,etc."

 Like people who can't see, hear, walk, or (ahem) grow tall just had trouble learning that skill?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Did I just read that?


"Missing 'Balloon Boy' Falcon Heen Was on 'Wife Swap'"

I thought he was in the attic when they found him!

Did I just read that?

Hopefully this doesn't offend.

I found this on

"Former Teacher Found Not Guilty Having Sex With Student"

He is? Right now? Obviously he's guilty of something here!

(In case you're confused, "found not guilty" modifies "teacher" and can be left out to clarify what this sentence actually says. You really can't ignore the little words!)

Did I just read that?

From the same section of google news tonight:

"Precautions in place to protect Fair swine from H1N1" 

Ugly swine? Sorry. No protection for them.

And this one:

"Three Pigs May Be the First in the US With Swine Flu New York Times"

And the Big Bad Wolf gave it to them!

No, but even that aside, three can't all be the first. Ask any first grader.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


For my birthday, I got a rainbow.

We were just getting ready to go out shopping when there was a sudden, intense rainfall that I really didn't want to venture out in. It was a classic sudden downpour that stopped us in our tracks and forced us to stand still and wait. And when it began to peter out, something told me I should look out to the East.

There was a beautiful, bright, complete double rainbow. Prettiest I've ever seen.

I called all my children, and as we stood there gazing at it, I realized that the rainbow didn't just follow the cold, uncomfortable, unexpected, intense rainfall that had interrupted my plans. It happened because of the rain. In fact, the beauty I was gazing on was impossible without having first waited through the rain.

Perhaps the beauty (and blessings) come because of the trials, not merely as compensation for having suffered through them.

Did I just read that?

From today:

"A Delta airliner en route from Seattle to Atlanta made an unscheduled stop in Nashville after a passenger reportedly began quoting Bible passages. No one was hurt." 

And then this: "WSMV-TV in Nashville reported that a passenger had to be subdued by other passengers after quoting the Bible."

Since Bible passages are so dangerous and painful....,2933,565582,00.html?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a16:g2:r4:c0.111206:b28306028:z10

(This adds to the whole picture, but doesn't fix the issues with the article: "According to a police arrest warrant, "The suspect would not allow the person sitting next to him to leave her seat to use the restroom. The suspect kept telling her that his blood would be on her and he was not going to let her leave no matter what happened. Several passengers restrained the suspect and the suspect attempted to bite one of the passengers in the leg.""  I'm trying to figure out how restraining someone gives them access to your leg? What kind of restraining were they doing? And where's the Bible quoting in that?)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Nobel Good Intentions Prize

So they say he got a Nobel Peace Prize for wanting peace. I know some college kids--make that lots of college, junior high, and high school kids--who deserve the prize as much as he does.

Especially since Obama is saying, "Things are getting better. The Economy is better!" and yet things like this are popping up more and more frequently:

When the top is wicked, the rest of us suffer.

And when the rest of the world praises us for accepting wickedness...I mean, "efforts for peace" (ie lying)--we're in serious trouble.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Free online astronomy classes for kids

Another Great Kids' Educational Site

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Homeschool Halloween Activities

What about bats?  Why do we trick or treat? Wanna write a mystery?

Here are LOADS of educational activities that go with Halloween!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

An Unabashedly Religious Post

I found these verses while I was studying the scriptures last night:

D&C 42 "   61 If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive arevelation upon revelation, bknowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the cmysteries and dpeaceable things—that which bringeth ejoy, that which bringeth life eternal." and " 68 Therefore, he that lacketh awisdom, let him ask of me, and I will give him liberally and upbraid him not."

I realized that's what I want.

But unlike Joseph Smith, I didn't know what to ask--only that I lack wisdom in so many many things, and that I want revelations, knowledge, peaceable things, joy--life eternal.

These two verses told me a lot (again--not any of it new, but wonderful to ponder right now) about HOW God loves his children--not from afar, and not as a superior and haughty distant being, but intimately, as a father who is anxious to spend time with his children. Think how much you miss your loved ones when you are apart! That, I think, is a small taste of how God feels with us gone from his home for a short time. It's not that he WANTS to hold stuff back and keep secrets. He wants to give liberally and won't get mad at or mock us for asking.

I realized that the revelations, knowledge, and wisdom we lack and can get answers on are not always about testimony-things, but also about our own personal concerns. Joseph Smith didn't lack wisdom about the nature of God (or rather, he did but he didn't know it). His question was about what church to go to. Yes, it's a religious question. But it's also a very practical question. He wasn't looking for prophetic insight, although that is what he got. He was looking for a straightforward hint to solve an everyday problem he was struggling with.

And suddenly I am aware of a myriad ways I lack wisdom in practical things--How to get prayers said wide awake when the only quiet time in the day is after everyone is asleep--and I'm too weary to keep my own eyes open? How to organize my time and energy? How to deal with the laundry situation? How to deal with feeding my family (which I am, as yet, unsuccessful at in Utah)? How to get my quilt pattern finished so I can start sewing? What on earth to do about homeschooling--I have been ignoring a vague discontent I feel about it?

Because God does care, and he does know, and he can tell us even those things.

(and, by the way, it worked--and tomorrow I will start sewing, and re-doing our homeschool setup).

A Homeschool Crisis

While I am perfectly happy with for the lower school education of my kids, I am not really pleased with their upper school. Why? Because I AM a middle school teacher, and I know I can do better than read the book/answer the questions.

And with all the free resources out there, why shouldn't I? I love creating lessons. I love teaching. I think I can make fun lessons that the kids can "log into" online the same as they do onto Time4Learning, but for free. That's what Learning Lynx (my other blog) was supposed to be. It just got dropped during our move, and I guess I'm ready to get going again.

So I sat down to think it through and came up with a few guidelines on teaching my own children school lessons:

#1) Learning is fun.
#2) I can do it better than the public schools.
#3) We can take the 13th Article of Faith as our guide: "If there is anything hvirtuous,ilovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." The purpose of elementary education is not stuffing heads with facts, but exposure to everything good and giving kids the chance to discover their own talents.
#4) The Truth (and Resources) are out there. Education should be free to all--and somewhere online I can find the resources to teach ANY subject kids need to learn, and teach it well.
#5) K-6, they're gonna do it all again, anyway, so if they learn to read and get their math, nothing else content-wise matters, only that there is content and that we don't destroy #1.
#6) Concepts over detail. No need to memorize dates, facts, etc (except in math). They won't retain it anyway. Did you?  Better to teach concepts and How to Find Information. Then if they need to know the Year the Revolutionary War Ended, they can look it up. Just like you have to. (In other words, memorizing minutiae is a complete waste of time, and time is too precious to waste).

Given that, I decided there are only 4 areas that need to be covered. Math, Science, Social Science, and Humanities. 

We got math covered. I'm happy with pre-K--level 2 math with Time4Learning. After that, we hit Saxon 54 and move forward with Saxon (Did you know you can put the math facts into a google docs "form" and email it to your students, and they can fill it out online and hit "submit" and the answers are automatically inserted into a spreadsheet, making it easy to check the answers? Very cool, huh.)

I think it's a mistake to group the Humanities as "Social Studies" and "Art" like public schools do. The social/soft sciences, like Psychology, Sociology, Political Science/Government, Economics, and Anthropology should be taught. But they don't need to be mixed with history, which is better paired with the rest of the humanities. Humanities traditionally covers the arts, literature, history, music--things that humans produce and their history. It is, I suppose, the archaic way of saying "social studies" (see the similarities--Human-ities?), but then social studies came along so kids could study the social sciences as well as the social arts, and it got to be a big mess.

Anyway, what I want to do is create lessons that approach history from the story perspective instead of the dates of military movements perspective. I prefer to take each of the eras in human history and discuss it from two perspectives: What life was like then and What happened then--both in the arts and in the political sphere. Wouldn't the US Revolution, for example, stick with elementary school kids so much better if we ditched the memorizing dates and names and instead talked about life in that time period (eating the foods, seeing the clothes and houses, etc) and then what mattered to people, what made them angry, what they could do about things to improve their lives, what they did, who the leaders were, etc. As a great story--because it IS a great story. So why not teach it that way, complete with not only the major plot points, but with the plot, characters, setting, and remembering that "plot" means "problem and solution". It's an incredibly appealing approach and encompasses all the arts, literature, etc.

The idea that's mulling around in my brain is to take up to a whole year to study an epoch, like the Renaissance, and do all the humanities, history of science, literature, etc all together in one big context for the Humanities portion of the schooling. And then do other things we want to learn about (Math, geography, sciences, etc) too.

Likewise, from my perspective (as a non scientist), there seem to be 5 branches of science we should study: Earth Science, Physical Science (matter and energy, mostly), Life Science, Astronomy, and Human Science (which I know is a part of life science, but warrants separate study by children so they understand health, nutrition, physiology, etc). Why study, for example, weather (which all elementary students do over and over) without putting it in the greater context of earth science, with geology, paleontology, oceanography, etc? It seems like they are so intertwined that it is more effective to use the macro instead of micro approach to learning.

Social Sciences I might take from a more traditional "topics" basis. Mixing Government and Psychology is some sort of meta-socialscience doesn't seem beneficial at this level.

So I'm revamping Learning Lynx (mentally first, and then in actuality). I think I might use it as a forum to post my children's lessons for the day so that other parents can use them, too. It just depends on how much energy I have, how much motivation, how much time.

After all, one of the reasons we homeschool, some of us, is to follow our educational whims. And some days that means harvesting the grapes and making grape juice with grandma on the farm instead of getting online and "doing lessons".

Of course, if I succeed at this, the lessons will be so fun, the kids will look forward to doing them!

Homeschool resource

A video of things exploding


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

You keep asking...

Friends keep asking what's up with Sing Off.

I don't know.

These guys heard something, I suspect weren't supposed to tell, but the news is out:

If we haven't heard, then what does that mean?

Love this article

My favorite line: "You know you have a problem when Nevada – famed for nothing more than Las Vegas, casinos and desert – is laughing at you."  It says so much about both Nevada and California!

I like this one, too: ""There is people that sometimes suggest that the American dream, or the Californian dream, is evaporating. I think it's absolutely wrong. I think the Californian dream is as strong as ever," he says, mangling the grammar but not the sentiment."

"Mangling the grammar." LOL.

"If California was an experiment then it was an experiment of mass irresponsibility – and that has failed," says Michael Levine.

If that's what CA was, what was Nevada? Nevada didn't just value irresponsibility--it promoted it, advertised it, built its economy on it. And on sin. I hate to say it, but perhaps these states deserve what they have built for themselves? 

Now Riofrio has stopped selling booze in a one-man bid to curb the social problems breaking out all around him.

A hero! 

If America emerges from its crisis a greener, more economically and politically responsible nation, it is likely that renewal will have begun here. 

Now we know what the rest of the world sees us as: economically, socially, and politically irresponsible. And they're right. Perhaps it's time for America to stop being a teenage nation and grow up.

Homeschool Tip of the Day

Check out Scholastic!  This might just be the best resource I've found online yet. And that's saying a lot.

The math mysteries are awesome.

The "writing with writers workshop"  is incredible--some of the best writers teaching writing in their specialties (like Jane Yolen teaching writing myths). And your student can publish online at the end of the process. (

You should go see. I could practically homeschool my  kids from this site alone.

Did I just read that?

No errors in this one, just a outlandish ideas that are so far out it made me laugh.

From Rodale's Book of Practical Formulas, pg 46:

"Good idea! To add texture to a baked  potato, garnish with a low-fat topping and sprinkle on shredded raw carrots or beets. Top it all off with lightly toasted sunflower seeds." And then feed it to a rabbit.

Seriously--what kind of texture do they like to add, the same one you get when your potato is not cooked enough? That sounds appealing. Baked potatoes--now with less fat and added texture!

Page 48: "For a yogurt treat appealing to children, spoon newly frozen yogurt into popsicle molds, freeze, and serve."

Since yogurt usually doesn't appeal to children?
And how do you spoon it if it's frozen? Why does the "newly" part matter? And what difference will it make to freeze it again?

And Page 49: "If you're serving carbonated beverages, be sure to stock up on club soda, sparkling mineral water, tonic water, and ginger ale." 

Since you need mixers for soda like you do for alcohol? Because people who want carbonated beverages really want to drink most of these? (Have you ever tasted tonic water?).

Did I just read that?

From Rodale's Book of Practical Formulas, ed by Paula Dreifus Bakule, pg 44:

"To cut back on salt, keep this convenient mix on your kitchen counter instead of your salt shaker. It compliments the flavor of any red meat."

First, I don't generally keep anything on my salt shaker. The surface area is too small, and it makes it hard to use the salt shaker. So yes, the kitchen counter would be the place for a convenient mix--not the salt shaker.

Second, I really need to make this mix. I'm just dying to hear it compliment my meat--"Oh, my darling rump roast--your flavor is so succulent and rich when you are cooked all day in that crock pot!"

And these weren't even in a craigslist posting! This is an honest-to-goodness hardcover book!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Did I just read that?

from craigslist today:

"My client has been nominated to the Latin Grammy's and we're looking for a stunishing girl to accompany him to the gala. What we are not looking for: an escort service. "

What is a "stunishing girl?"

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Someone should take these cases to court as examples of cruel and unusual punishment, which is unconstitutional.

What happened to warrants? Warnings? Do gang members and child abusers get more rights than small businesses?

Did I just read that?

from google news tonight:
"Weather helping crews keep Sheep fire in check
Los Angeles Times -
 ‎26 minutes ago‎ "

Good thing. Those sheep can be dangerous when they're burning!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Part of a Healthy Breakfast?

Three of these are usually considered breakfast foods; one is generally served for dessert. Can you guess which is the "treat"?

Bowl Number 1's Nutrition facts:

Calories:  265
Total Fat: 5.3 g
Cholesterol: 17.5 mg
Sodium: 402 mg
Potassium: NL (not listed)
Total Carbs: 51.6 g
Protein:  9.1 g

Bowl Number 2's Nutrition facts:

Calories: 185
Total Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 17.5 mg
Sodium: 250 mg
Potassium: 280 mg
Total Carbs: 29g
Protien: 6 g

Bowl Number 3's Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 140
Total Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 30 mg
Sodium: 55 mg
Potassium:  130mg

Total Carbs: 17 g
Protein: 2 g

Bowl Number 4's Nutrition Facts:

Calories:  520
Total Fat: 14 g
Cholesterol: 58 mg
Sodium: 1104 mg
Potassium: NL
Total Carbs: 90.9 g
Protein: 8.3 g

Because one of these bowls has 100% of some vitamins added, we'll assume you take a multi-vitamin every day with breakfast to level the playing field on that count, so the vitamin content doesn't matter. Which bowl do you choose?

I chose 3--it has the lowest calories, lowest sodium (by a LOT), and lowest carbs, with not much more fat than 1 and 2, and is significantly less on everything except protein than bowl 4.

 Did you guess what each one was?

Bowl number 1 is Raisin Bran with 1/2 c whole milk.
Bowl number 2 is Total Cereal with 1/2 c whole milk.
Bowl number 3 is vanilla ice cream.
Bowl number 4 is two pancakes with butter and syrup.

Looks like breakfast just got a whole lot tastier!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I haven't talked about writing in a long time!

Moving and then computer troubles interfered with my novel and gave me some bad habits (like reading the news online all day).

So I got my computer fixed up, set up, and ready to go.

And still didn't use it.

I realized last night that I had broken the habit of writing every day by not doing it for 2 months, so I forced myself to open my novel and start reading.

And I was pleasantly surprised. The characters were far more round than I had feared (first drafts are plot drafts for me--I deal with the character development on the rewrites). I cleaned up some wordy sections, noted one spot that was structured so that you don't feel any intensity even though the main characters are escaping the witches, and decided my children are probably wrong--I think it's okay to explode a dog in the second chapter. (They keep saying "Can't the witch just blow it's tail off?" or "Why don't you blow up the castle full of witches instead?" or "why doesn't she miss?").

I thought I was writing lightweight, slightly comic fairytales, but it turns out that's not what I do. No matter how I start, I write action/adventure stories. Think fairytale thriller, mistaken identity, missing persons...that kind of stuff. With fairytale characters and magic. (If I try to write a play, however, it comes out surrealist comedy. Go figure.).

Anyway, it was nice to start writing again. Fun, relaxing, good.

Now if I can just finish!

Did I just read that?

Someone else's fun collection of "did I just read thats"

My favorite is Number 6.

Did I just read that?

from google news:

"McChrystal Flown to Denmark To Discuss War With Obama"

Seems a little extreme--going to war with one man? But I guess some Americans are mad enough at him--why not the Danish, too?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Did I just read that?

A real winner from

"Jackson a cappella group gets shot at national TV gig"

I think they meant "a shot at national TV gig"--the article was all about them auditioning for Sing Off!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Did I just read that?

from las vegas craigslist:

"I need a dope engineer - (Las Vegas)"

Since we advertise for drug makers openly now.

Did I just read that?

Headline on home page tonight:


School Rethinks Religious Banner Ban

Public school overturns Bible sign ban on football field, designates area for banners 50 yards from field"

So the school officials now have to stand in a designated area 50 yards from the field? I mean, they are the banners, right? They banned something. They are banners of banners.

Did I just read that?

from google news:
"Most Babies Born Today May Live Past 100
ABC News -
 ‎1 hour ago‎ - 

Technically, most babies born EVER may live past 100. But it is nice of ABC news to give them permission.

Or, using the other definition of "may", nice to notice that they might.

Or they might not.

Did I just read that?

Not a typo or mistake in language, but definitely flawed logic here. I realize the whole world is going through tribulations right now, and that people have spun the global warming thing to cover all kinds of political drives for funding. But this one was ridiculous!

"It could be that the 2016 Games are the last Olympics in the history of mankind," Ishihara told reporters at a Tokyo 2016 press event ahead of the vote.
"Global warming is getting worse. We have to come up with measures without which Olympic Games could not last long.
"Scientists have said we have passed the point of no return," said Ishihara.

 Could somebody please explain to me how Global Warming is a threat to an athletic competition?  I think this makes the list of stupidest things politicians have ever said.

This translation had us all laughing our pants off

I hope this isn't a link to a malware site. It's a blog re-posting of moosebutter/corey vidal's Star Wars video, translated into English (from what? I don't know).

It is so so so funny.

Chat between Caleb and his Dad--unedited

"Caleb:  No. Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. Road Runner created a massive dust cloud and all of a sudden, the cloud is in the sky along with the other two! Road Runner on a ledge, though.
 Mister Tim:  Chuck Jones: defies physics.
 Caleb:  TEENY UMBRELLA TO SHIELD AGAINST MASSIVE ROX? See? Chuck Jones' mind is slightly dysfunctional!

My 8 year old said "slightly dysfunctional". And he spelled it right! And he got his apostrophes right  on a tricky part. I think maybe he is verbally talented? Why are we wasting time with 4th grade?

Did I just read that?

From this article:

"But if they can't show they've looked for work, then we will cut heir benefits off."

No heir benefits  if you don't work. Sorry. But you can have benefits for yourself....