Getting fat

is a result of the bugs in your stomach. I want to know where to get more of the skinnifying bugs. NOW!

I don’t know how I missed the story, but Big Lizards has it.

Note: The AP link on his site goes to an ad page, not the AP story.

Who I would be

if I weren’t the homeschooling, teaching, happily married mother of two, more worried about grading papers than the dishes in the sink, blogging as PDA me…

La Vida Vica, a woman who turns a guy friend into a Mallomar, a non-friend guy into the hero of a Bronte romance, and blonde hair into the quickest way through the check out line.

She writes like a dream!

Thanks to Sigmund, Carl and Alfred for the nudge over to her part of the blogosphere.

Thoughts for the year


10. Life is sexually transmitted.
Yahoo! I always knew there was a reason it felt so good.
9. Good health is merely the slowest rate at which one can die
I don’t think there should be any “merely” about it. Good health is a blessing, a miracle, a joy. We’re all going to die, but wouldn’t it be nice to go healthy?
8. Men have two emotions: Horny and Hungry. If he’s not chasing you, make him a sandwich. (Is that true?[The Anchoress])
It would explain why guys gain so much weight after they get married.
7. Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks.
Well, they do come down for dinner. But only if you IM them.
6. Some people are like a slinky – not really good for much, but you can’t help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.
No comment.
5. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital dying of nothing.
4. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
3. Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars,and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?
Because the government defines the words “slight” and “substantial” in ways that most benefit them.
2. In the 60’s, people took LSD to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
Oh my goodness. This is so true I almost couldn’t laugh.
1. We know exactly where one cow with mad-cow-disease is located among the millions and millions of cows in America, but we haven’t a clue as to where thousands of illegal immigrants and terrorists are located.
Yeah… Doesn’t that say even more about our government than you wanted to think about?

This list lifted from The Anchoress. (Lifted sounds so much better than “stolen in its entirety,” which was the original title for this entry.)

Japanese history

Japan is opening its ancient tombs, sort of. Nature says “one researcher per association will be allowed to climb the outer mound of a given tomb and observe whatever features are visible from there in detail. The agency has yet to decide how many tombs it will open.”

They can’t go in. They can’t get DNA samples. But they can look, for the first time in history.

Honey’s home

and that’s good.

He left at 1 am and got home at 6:30. We arrived at the house at 7:30. He’s now asleep.


Tonight the frogs are out. You can hear them croaking loudly in the evening air.

It seems ridiculous that an arctic cold front is expected tomorrow night.

Internet down

Our internet is down. I’m at my hubby’s bestfriend’s using the computer. FYI

Hubby is at MacWorld and I am WAY behind all my plans of things to get done this week.

Thoreau in Reading in Bed

“Reading at Walden” by Henry David Thoreau

This is a new look at poetry.

“The works of the great poets have never yet been read by mankind, for only great poets can read them. They have only been read as the multitude read the stars, at most astrologically, not astronomically.”

“Most men have learned to read to serve a paltry convenience, as they have learned to cipher in order to keep accounts and not to be cheated in trade…”

“…[T]his only is reading… what we have to stand on tiptoe to read and devote our most alert and wakeful hours to.”

“I believe that having learned our letters we should read the best that is in literature…”

“Most men are satisfied if they read or hear read, and perchance have been convicted by the wisdom of one good book, the Bible, and for the rest of their lives vegetate adn dissipate their faculties in what is called easy reading.”

Ouch. I think he’s talking to me.

“The best books are not read even by those who are called good readers.”

Excuse me while I go recover. He’s clearly talking to me.

“…our reading, our conversation, and thinking, are all on a very low level, worthy only of pygmies and manikins.”

Yikes. Quite a slam.

“…I confess I do not make any very broad distinction between the illiterateness of my own townsman who cannot read at all and the illiterateness of him who has learned to read only what is for children and feeble intellects.”

Here we have the first, “It’s not that Johnny can’t read it’s that he doesn’t” statement, as far as I know.

“It is not all books that are as dull as their readers.”

Whoa. Hope he’s not talking to me. That’s quite a slam.

“Even the college-bred and so-called liberally educated men here and elsewhere have really little or no acquaintance with the English classics. …to keep up and add to his English …. is about as much as the college-bred generally do or aspire to do, and they take an English paper for this purpose.”

Whew. No, he’s not talking to me. Can you imagine? Only the papers, or the net, for keeping up and adding to your English.

Ruskin in Reading in Bed

“Of King’s Treasuries” by John Ruskin

“There are good books for the hour, and good ones for all time; bad books for the hour, and bad ones for all time.”

The good book of the hour… is simply useful or pleasant talk of some person whom you cannot otherwise converse with, printed for you. Very useful often, telling you what you need to know; very pleasant often, as a sensible friend’s present talk would be. These bright accounts of travels; good-humored and witty discussions of questions; lively or pathetic storytelling in the form of novel; firm fact-tellin by the real agents concerned in the events of passing history – all thse books of the hour, multiplying among us as education beocomes more general, are a peculiar possession of the present age.

Ah, I think they were not unique to Ruskin’s age, but perhaps began in Ruskin’s age. But think, is this “good book” described by Ruskin much like the internet of today. Think about it. That book versus literature that NEA was talking about is this one.

“We ought to be entirely thankful for them [the good book of the hour], and entirely ashamed of ourselves if we make no good use of them.”

“But we make the worst possible use if we allow them [books of the hour] to usurp the place of true books; for, strictly speaking, they are not books at all, but merely letters or newspapers in good print.”

“A book is not a talked thing, but a written thing, and written not with a view of mere communication, but of permanence. The book of talk is printed only because its author cannot speak to thousands of people at once; if he could, he would – the volume is mere multiplication of his voice. You cannot talk to your friend in India; if you could, you would. You write instead; this is a mere conveyance of voice.”

Wow! He’s introducing the telephone, talking to your friend in India. And the internet “printed only because its author cannot speak to thousands of people at once.” But they can now! Amazing.

“…[A] book is written, not to multiply the voice merely, not to carry it merely, but to perpetuate it. The author has something to say which he perceives to be true and useful. So far as he knows, no one has yet said it…. In the sum of his life he finds this to be the thing or group of things, manifest to him – this the piece of true knowdege or sight which his share of sunshine and earth permitted him to seize. He would fain set it down forever….”

That is a high definition of “book.” I think it is what NEA calls literature.

“…whatever bit of a wiseman’s work is honestly and benevolently done, that bit is his book, or his piece of art. It is mixed always with evil fragments – ill-done, redundant, affected work. But if you read rightly, you will easily discover the true bits and those are the book.”

Hazlitt in Reading in Bed

“On Reading Old Books” by William Hazlitt

“When I take up a work that I have read before (the oftener the better) I know what I have to expect. The satisfaction is not lessened by being anticipated.”

Whoo hoo! Someone else besides myself finds joy and relaxation in re-reading old friends.

See my post here on the books I have read more than 10 times.

Emerson in Reading in Bed

“Books” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries, in a thousand years, have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom.”

“…[S]ome charitable soul, …would do a right act in naming those [books] which have been bridges or ships to carry him through the dark morasses and barren oceans…. private readers, reading purel for the love of the book, would serve us best by leaving each the shortest note of what he found. There are books [worth reading]; and it is practicable to read them because there are so few.”

“College education is the reading of certain books which the common-sense of all scholars agrees will represent the science already accumulated.”

“As whole nations have derived their culture form a single book- as the Bible has been the literature as well as the religion of large parts of Europe…. [P]erhaps, the human mind would be a gainer, if all the secondary writers were lost- say, in England, all but Shakespeare, Milton, and Bacon…”

“Nature is our friend in this matter. Nature is always clarifying her water and her wine…. There is always a selection in writers, and then a selection from the selections…. Time, who sits and weighs, and then years hence, out of a million of pages reprints one…”

Ah. So Emerson is saying that any book reprinted is chosen as a better book than one not reprinted. I think this applies to his time.

“In contemporaries it is not so easy to distinguish betwixt notoriety and fame.”

And this is why I think the reprint only refers to his time. In our time, those books which are reprinted are the best of the millions printed each year. But they are not necessarily the best of all the books of the decade or the century. Certainly they are not the best books of the millenium.

Would you put Terry Pratchett and Stephen King up against the other great authors of the millenium and say, “They too are worthy.” I certainly wouldn’t. And notice that I didn’t even include MY favorite authors. I don’t think they’ll be worthy either. I simply think they are the best out of the decade in which I am reading them.

It might be interesting to know that out of all the books I read in the two years of my high school, the only ones which I still own/remember reading are Here I Stand: A Biography of Martin Luther, Nevil Shute’s An Old Captivity, and Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart. I read many other Mary Stewart and Nevil Shute books and I vaguely remember that I thought they were good. But these two were engraved on my high school soul and meant a lot to me. When I recently came upon a hardback copy Touch Not the Cat at a library booksale I bought it.

Not every well written book is a lifetime keeper.

Montaigne in Reading in Bed

“The Commerce of Reading” by Michel de Montaigne

“To divert myself from a troublesome fancy ’tis but to run to my books…”

“it delivers me at all hours from company that I dislike”

“I never travel without books, either in peace or war; and yet I sometimes pass over several days, and sometimes months, wihtout looking at them…” (Okay, not reading at all I don’t do, but I do gather books and not read them immediately.)

On Reading in Bed

Reading in Bed ed. by Steven Gilbar is one of the books I bought to read last year but haven’t read. So, I sat down with popcorn and water to read, refreshing my soul with winsome words and personal thoughts writ well in someone else’s essay. There were some thoughts I’d never had before as well. I copied them here if I thought they might be meaningful. I sometimes made a comment.

They were excellent and I have enjoyed reading the selections chosen by Mr. Gilbar. But it’s too meaty a work to breeze through in an evening. I will save the whole works and add to them tomorrow or the next day.

First book on List of Books 2007

Art & Love: An Illustrated Anthology of Love Poetry from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The cover price is $16.95 and it was published in 1990.

This book is what text books in literature should be like. Small. Engaging. Beautifully illustrated with some of the great works of art throughout history. I picked it up for a dollar at the library book sale in October.

But remember… No one is reading anymore. Well, except for me and The Common Room.

Time’s argument relevant to reading

Time’s argument about the person of the year chosen is very relevant in this online diatribe about reading in the US today.

[2006 is] a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It’s about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

Wikipedia anyone? I have read six articles there in the last 24 hours. I don’t hit MySpace much and YouTube only gets my attention via one of the 101 blogs I am currently reading every day. But Time chose You (or you and I or us or yall) as the person of the year because we are changing how life is. We’re also changing how reading is done.

Reading again

According to the survey firm NDP Group — which tracked the everyday habits of thousands of people through the 1990s — this country is reading printed versions of books, magazines and newspapers less and less. In 1991, more than half of all Americans read a half-hour or more every day. By 1999, that had dropped to 45 percent.

This is from a 2001 article in the Washington Post.

I read less printed material than I used to. But I don’t read any less. I just read the internet more.

Tidbits from NEA and my response

“Total book reading is declining significantly, although not at the rate of literary reading.”

If you were reading depressing literature, you’d stop too. 🙂

Women read more literature than men, the report says.

Yes, we’re saps. And we like the old stuff, more safety and security there.

Survey says: the more educated a person is the more likely they are to read.

Er, yes. Because most of us have jobs that require us to read. Not everyone of course. Dr. K reads about a book every three years. But he also reads his technical journals and that’s not in the mix of reading studied by the NEA either.

“Literary readers are more likely than non-literary readers to perform volunteer and charity work, visit art museums, attend performing arts events, and attend sporting events.”

Wow! Okay. Now I know why they want you to be reading literature. You contribute to the national economy more.

“A 1999 study showed that the average American child lives in a household with 2.9 televisions, 1.8 VCRs, 3.1 radios, 2.1 CD players, 1.4 video game players, and 1 computer.”

Here we go. My children live in a house with 1 television. 1 VCR. 1 DVD. 2 radios. 2 video game players and 6 computers.

Do you see anything in that list about books? My kids also live in a house with 5000 books. And we go to volunteer at the library once a week.

There it is. My review of the NEA’s poorly constructed survey of reading. If they’re going to look at reading, they should look at all reading that is not a requirement for work or school. That includes blogs, emails, letters, magazines, newspapers, and other online reading pit stops.

Is reading really going down?

The NEA said that less people are reading it, so what do they say it is?

The survey asked respondents if, during the previous twelve months, they had read any novels, short stories, plays, or poetry in their leisure time (not for work or school).

But really what they asked, according to one of the questions, is “read any book” or “read literature.” I don’t read a lot of literature (although I read lots of novels). So would I have brought it down? No. I teach literature so I also read literature.

It [the survey information] comes at a critical time, when electronic media are becoming the dominant influence in young people’s worlds. Reading at Risk adds new and distressing information to the discussion…. If one believes that active and engaged readers lead richer intellectual lives than non-readers and that a well-read citizenry is essential to a vibrant democracy, the decline of literary reading calls for serious action.

They offer the information that the survey “comes at a …time when electronic media are becoming the dominant influence in young people’s worlds.” But they don’t survey how much reading the person is doing on the net? What’s up with that?

According to Pew, 40 million Americans get their info on news and science on the net. So can we add them in as readers? I know there are pod casts, but most of the internet is still reading.