Psalm 101

Written by my eldest at some time in the last two years.

Thank you for my parents, O lord,
for they are wise in your ways,
and go forth and obey you, O lord.
They teach me to do as you wish,
to be true, oh true, to your ways,
to do as you do, and walk in your ways.
O, I thank you, Lord, O I thank you, Lord,
for a mother and a father who walk in your ways.

Please pray for my son to believe in God.

Books I Should Read

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Raven: a Biography of Sam Houston and other biographies by Marquis James

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I don’t remember it.)

Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I don’t remember it.)

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Life of George Washington by Washington Irving

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (I don’t remember it.)

How I Found Livingstone by Sir Henry Morton Stanley

Erewhon by Samuel Butler

Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy

Life of David Crockett by Davey Crockett

Berenbaum, Michael
The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Epstein, Norrie
Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard.
Gain a perspective on Shakespeare’s works through these sidelights, interpretations, anecdotes, and historical insights.

Kennedy, John F. Profiles in Courage (I don’t remember it.)

Tocqueville, Alexis de
Democracy in America
This classic in political literature examines American society from the viewpoint of a leading French magistrate who visited the U.S. in 1831. (I’ve read some of it.)

Tuchman, Barbara
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
Tuchman uses the example of a single feudal lord to trace the history of the 14th century. (I just bought this.)

Yolen, Jane
Favorite Folktales From Around the World
Yolen frames these powerful tales with explanations of historical and literary significance.

Reading for Fun: Recommended

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Her Majesty’s Wizard by Christopher Stasheff, and the next three
The Dragon series by Gordon Dickson
David Weber’s Oath of Swords, etc.
The Dragon series by Patricia C. Wrede

The Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters
Amazing Father Brown series by G.K. Chesterton
The Victorian and Edwardian mysteries by Robin Paige

Science Fiction:
Miller and Lee’s Liad Series
Anne McCaffrey’s The Rowan (others love her dragons, but these are my preference)
David Weber’s Honor Harrington

Just in case you didn’t have enough to do already.

Recommended Reading List

I wish the internet had been around when I was in school; you can find out so many interesting things. One of the ways I have used the net recently is to find books for my sons to read. I am not the only one.

Atypical Homeschool has a 15 year old asking what books students should read by the time they are out of high school. As a teacher of college freshmen, a homeschooling mother, and a PhD in English, I have some definite opinions. You might be surprised by what they are.

I looked to see if I had discussed this previously on my blog. I do have a discussion of reading lists. Though I said I should, I did not write a 100 list.

So what would I recommend?

I would recommend reading the Bible, especially Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

I would recommend reading fairy tales, particulary the Grimm stories, the Andersen stories, and Aesop’s Fables.

I would recommend reading children’s classics, such as A Child’s Garden of Verses and The Little Red Hen, and The Little Engine That Could.

Other books, in no particular order:

Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Pilgrim’s Progress

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Call of the Wild by Jack London, even though it presupposes evolution

The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, again, evolution

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, dystopian, but widely read in high schools, many college teachers assume you’ve read it

Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm by George Orwell

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, about racial prejudice

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, a sad story, but a regular high school read

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Constitution of the United States

The Declaration of Independence

The Pied Piper of Hamlin by Robert Browning, the children don’t come home

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, a bad guy gets saved at the cost of his girlfriend’s life, her choice, and when he finds out, he comes in revenge and dies

The Short Stories of Edgar Allen Poe

Mythology by Edith Hamilton- Greek, Roman, and Norse

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. I taught this in 10th grade literature and my older son has read it. It may not be classic literature, but I think it is worth reading. It introduces students to the idea of nuclear holocaust in a story without, usually, scaring the bejeezus out of them.

Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton. I had to read this in my public high school. I remember reading it, talking about it, adn thinking about it.

Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

Peter Pan by Sir James M. Barrie

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, a ubiquitous choice for high school students. Everyone assumes you’ve read it.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller, a better choice of his work. About the Salem Witch Trials.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, watch the 1952 version of the movie, not the modern one. (Dramas should be seen, not read.) It’s a comedy.

Our Town by Thornton Wilder, again everyone assumes you’ve read it.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare- comedies

Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet by Shakespeare- tragedies

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Okay, that’s 60, with just the names listed here. I think that’s sufficient for the day.

No, it’s not.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Robert Frost
Langston Hughes
Emily Dickinson

And my previous recommendations, of the best poetry ever, are here, here, and here. It is a series of lists, with some discussion, on 66 poems that I like or have liked. (Note: The poems for PoeTree had to be short.)

Defining Patriotism

Frank Miller, comic book author, wrote about being a rebel, rebelling against his parents’ WWII beliefs and attitudes and thinking the flag was an old piece of cloth. Then came September 11th.

For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years.

Patriotism, I now believe, isn’t some sentimental, old conceit. It’s self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation’s survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don’t all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back.

So you’ve got to do what you can to help your country survive. That’s if you think your country is worth a damn. Warts and all.

So I’ve gotten rather fond of that old piece of cloth. Now, when I look at it, I see something precious. I see something perishable.

I appreciate this so much. I remember when we used to say “Love it or leave it.” I know people don’t want to leave and I think that is because they know it’s the best country. (I might be prejudiced there, but if they don’t think it’s the best, why wouldn’t they leave?)

Found via Dynamist’s Blog

72 Virgins: Drink lightly

9/11 brings many thoughts. Some of these are of the so-called martyrs who killed the people that day. They expected to be ushered quickly into heaven and given 72 virgins of their own. That’s brought up some interesting ideas.

Right on the Left Coast offers us “practical math.” He posits that the only way to get rid of the jihadis is to kill them off. But how will we know we are done? He suggests a problem in which we figure out everyone in the world (say 12 billion) and then half that for the females in the world (6 billion) [note that in bad times females are more likely to be born than males, so this may be slightly low], after that we want to figure out how many women lived to their teens (3 billion), and then, of those, how many never had sex in any fashion (3) [Okay, that’s a joke; but how many? Certainly I wouldn’t expect it to be in billions.] (x). Then divide that by 72, and you have the number of jihadis who must be killed before the virgins available for martyrs are all used up.

According to the Guardian, that may not matter. Turns out the language should be Syriac instead of Arabic and all those virgins in the Hadith [They are not mentioned in the Koran.] turn out to be chilled white raisins.

, to conjure away the wide-eyed houris promised to the faithful in suras XLIV.54; LII.20, LV.72, and LVI.22. Luxenberg ‘s new analysis, leaning on the Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian, yields “white raisins” of “crystal clarity” rather than doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins – the houris. Luxenberg claims that the context makes it clear that it is food and drink that is being offerred, and not unsullied maidens or houris.

In Syriac, the word hur is a feminine plural adjective meaning white, with the word “raisin” understood implicitly. Similarly, the immortal, pearl-like ephebes or youths of suras such as LXXVI.19 are really a misreading of a Syriac expression meaning chilled raisins (or drinks) that the just will have the pleasure of tasting in contrast to the boiling drinks promised the unfaithful and damned.


I have read over 700 tributes in the last 48 hours. I cry. My son suggested I drink water so I wouldn’t be totally dehydrated.

We lost so much.

Debbie’s husband lost her and her skills at organization for his band.

Florence brought the Salvation Army band into a restaurant she thought was too staid.

Eileen and Ivan weren’t married yet, but they both perished.

Brenda could have retired but didn’t.

Adam was married to Fern and wore a mazzuzah around his neck.

Stacey died and her friend lost a friend and her father in the attacks.

Wade shoveled snow for a pregnant neighbor.

Irina immigrated from Uzbekistan to have a better life.

Leobardo immigrated and sent money home to his wife and children.

Kip died at the Pentagon. Two weeks later his wife Nancy gave birth to their second son. Then she discovered she had cancer. She died quickly. Now the two boys are being raised by their uncle. They could have been with their dad, if not for those glory-seeking-murdering-martyr-excuses.

Daniel jumped around the fire station in glow-in-the-dark boxers, just to keep everyone awake once when they were on duty. (All they could see was the boxers!)

I remember Peter, Shimmy, Dan, and so many others.

We must remember them. We cannot forget them.

I wonder sometimes if I think I am doing penance, reading through all of these, watching the videos. Or if I simply think that we get going too easily in our lives and don’t realize how much we have lost and how near we are to losing it all permanently.

Manette’s tribute author suggested we do something nice for someone this week in honor of Manette. I am going to do that.

9/11- prayer request

I was going to leave my tribute at the top all through today. Laura Gilly is one of the 2996 who died in the World Trade Center. I am grateful that I was able to remember her today.

9/11 wasn’t the beginning of a war. It was just a loud wake-up call that most of us needed to recognize that we were already in a war.

And it is one of those who serve in this war that I want to ask prayers for. A Storm in Afghanistan is the blog of one of our military. He came home from Afghanistan when the German doctors diagnosed his wife with breast cancer. I prayed. My church prayed. She did chemo. We thought she was healed.

But his most recent post tells us that Elicia, his wife, has tumors in her breast… in her lungs… and 11 in her brain.

There are eleven tumors in her brain. If you were to divide her brain into quadrants, then at least two of the tumors would be as large as the quadrant. There are also metastatic tumors in her lungs (again).

So, we have breast cancer, lung cancer, and brain cancer. And like the neurologist told us, while the situation is not hopeless, it is extremely serious. If we do nothing at all, she likely has no more than a few months.

I asked for prayers yesterday, when we were at the fire house thanking our firefighters, for Elicia. Please pray for her. They have little children. Very small children. And they’re in Germany, far away from family.

Laura Gilly

Laura Gilly, age 32, blonde, technical support at Cantor, was killed in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

That’s the most common information available about her on the net. But that is not the sum of Laura Gilly. It isn’t even a very big part.

Steven Kretytak of Newsday wrote:

Raised in Bensonhurst, [a section of Brooklyn, New York City, ed.] Gilly was a cheerleader at Lafayette High School and always had “an effervescent personality,” her mother said. She went to Kingsborough Community College for two years before joining Tower Airlines, which is now defunct.

“She saw places you could never even think of,” her mother said.

Gilly spent nine years traveling to far-flung destinations such as Kuwait, Russia and Thailand. One of her favorite places was Israel, where she could lie on the beach, Fribourg said.

At one point, Gilly lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, for three months to work strictly on flights ferrying Muslims there on a holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Gilly lived in Bay Ridge with her two cats. She often went out with the young staff at Cantor, usually on Thursday nights and often to Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 107th floor of Tower One.

And she always relished her times at the shore. There, Gilly would always cap a day in the sun with a night at the bars and clubs. Gilly and her two good friends – Fribourg and Danielle Hoffman – knew everybody, and rarely had to pay for anything, especially at Jenkinson’s, their favorite nightclub, they said.

Hoffman said she calls on Gilly’s constant optimism and happiness to get past some of the sadness of losing her.

“She had such a positive outlook. If you were worried about something stupid, she’d say, ‘Just get over it.'” Hoffman said. “She’d say, ‘I have a choice to be happy or not, and I am going to choose to be happy.'”

Laura Gilly had family who cared for her.

Her mother loved her and spoke of her to the NYTimes.

“She wanted a 9-to-5, so she could make plans without breaking them,” said Phyllis Gilly, her mother. “So many times she wasn’t home for Christmas or New Year’s. She was really looking forward to stability.”

And 16 months ago, she found it in a job working in technical support for Cantor Fitzgerald. Life was finally sweet and somewhat predictable, and Ms. Gilly, 32, was enjoying every minute of it, her mother said, recalling a phone conversation she had with her daughter weeks before Sept. 11.

The joy Mrs. Gilly heard in her daughter’s voice has made it all the more difficult accepting the irony of her death. “We spent so much time worrying about her flying here and there, and to have her go like this: killed by a plane as she sat in an office building. All she wanted was a real job at a desk in a building.”

She had an older brother who loved her and wrote her poetry.

A cousin spoke of her in Riverside.

David Wurtzel said his first cousin, once removed 32-year-old Laura Gilly, had been excited by getting out of the airline business – flying with Tower Airlines – in July and landing a job high above New York’s financial district.
It was – and is – a close-knit family centered in Brooklyn. “We always kept in touch. “(Laura) lived in an apartment two floors above her mom’s.” Mom is Wurtzel’s first cousin….

Laura Gilly had friends who miss her.

Like Ricky.

Laura was a beautiful, bubbly, fun to be around, as well as warm and whole hearted person. … She was the type of person that you did not have to see or talk to , just knowing that when you did, it would feel like it was only yesterday that you had spoken to each other.

And Michelle.

I miss you every day. …I have a son now and I wish everyday you were here to see him. I talk to him about Aunt Laura all the time. … just know how much I always valued our special friendship. There is a place in my heart just for you. I will love you and miss you forvever. Rest in peace precious girl and know that I am raising my chocolate martini to you in heaven.

And Patricia.

Laura was the most caring and giving person I know. … If I could see her one last time, I would thank her for being such a good friend, and for helping me through a hard time.

And Theresa.

Laura Gilly was and will always be a beautiful gift to this world. Her smile would light up the darkest room and her laugh would bring a smile to all in that room.

And Phyllis.

Former Tower Air flight attendant Phyllis Fribourg has heart-shaped piece of blue skirt that belonged to her best friend, Laura Gilly, sewn into bodice of her wedding dress; Gilly, flight attendant who later took desk job at Cantor Fitzgerald, died in attack on World Trade Center.

And Peggy.

Laura was an absolute angel from the very beggining! I cherish every memory I have of her!

Laura Gilly had coworkers who remember her fondly.

Like Gregg.

I trained with Laura at Tower Air and flew with her all over the world for years. What a joy she was and she is deeply missed.

And Monica.

She was very funny. There was an ease about her. It was easy to be her friend and it was easy to talk to her. With laura what you saw is what you got and that was my favorite thing about her. I wish everyone could have known her. I’m happy i did.

And Dawn-Michelle.

I worked/flew with Laura at Tower Air years ago. … Laura was a joyful spirit and probably still is. I think of her often over the years (4 years later, I know). I am sure she’s missed by tons more that were closer to her. It is a pleaure to have known her.

And Niva.

It seems like yesterday we were flying together & getting extented somewhere “Awful” like Paris or Rome. Shopping in Okinawa for the best deals & hanging out on the US base somewhere out there. I miss your smile but carry it in my head & heart at all times. I sometimes still think you are going to call & catch up on old times.

And AnneMarie.

I flew with Laura at Tower Air. There were always good layovers with her on your crew.
Those memories make it like it was yesterday.

And Lisa S.

Tower Air was great because of friends like Laura Gilly. I will never forget her.

And Valerie.

I never saw Laura without a smile on her face. I have read the thoughts of those who knew her also, so I know she truly was happy in her life. This was in part due to her nature and,I’m sure, due to her family. She was surely blessed to have had such a loving family. … I sat 2 seats from here in our last Tower recurrent and that still remains with me. I can still picture her laughing there…….She must have been born with a smile on her face!!!! … She will not be forgotten.

And Lily.

No matter what they threw at us, she just found a way to have a good time. No matter how long the duty day or what far out place in the world we were sent.

And Jose.

I remember your bright smile on your face, your strength, your compassion for life and for whoever had a chance to know you.

Laura Gilly had old schoolmates who heard of her loss and grieved.

Like Gina.

You will always be remembered, I went to JR High School with you and just to know that one of my school mates went through that horror, breaks my heart. You are an Angel and will be in our herats forever.

And Lisa.

In H.S. I remember Laura always laughing and having a good time, just hanging out with friends. I haven’t seen Laura since H.S. but I will always remember what a kind person she was. She will be missed.

2,996 tributes.
One person remembered.
Laura Gilly.

Charter Communications

has someone working for it who read my post on the drivers of black trucks and called me a cracker. Wow. Power there. And intelligence.

Why would you not even read a blog entry you were commenting on?

I don’t care what the color of your skin is. Folks shouldn’t insult people in general. And they should never insult people anonymously.