My syllabus says:

Memorial Day holiday.
Remember those who have died in this nation’s service in the last 231 years. Remember their families as well.

My family and I were talking about Memorial Day versus Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day celebrates those who made it home.

I wish this was the reason I’ve been feeling so lonely.

If a small vocabulary and the frequent use of clichés promote understanding and communal solidarity, the achievement of verbal-intellectual sophistication can have the opposite effect. The more people know and the more subtle they are at expressing what they know, the fewer listeners there will be and the more isolated individuals will feel, not only at large but also among colleagues and co-workers.

This is a quote from Yi Tu-Fan’s book Escapism. Read at Dyamist Blog.

Broken Leg

Monday night while I was making dinner my sister called. Her husband and our dad were both out of town. She thought A, age 6, had broken his leg. She’d have to take him to the ER. Could I come watch the girls?

I was out of the house in three minutes and at her house in 50. (Houston is big. Rush hour traffic is not fun.)

She took him to the hospital and was there till 1 am or so.

He did break his tibia. They put it in a fiberglass cast and told her to get him a cane.

She went with him to the pediatric orthopedist who told her to get him a wheelchair.

May I just say that neither my house, nor my sister’s house, nor my parent’s house is wheelchair friendly. Neither is T-ball, which he had to drop out of, summer soccer camp, which he can’t go to… And I am sure lots of other things little six year old boys tend to do.

We have to wait another week to see if he will have to have surgery on the limb.

I need to sleep more.

Apparently it really is true that sleeping more means weighing less.

sleep loss can alter hormones involved in appetite and metabolism.

In one small study, healthy young men who slept for only 4 hours for two nights in a row showed a dip in the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, and an increase in the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin.

There’s also evidence that sleep loss impairs normal blood sugar metabolism, Knutson said.

Still, the current findings suggest that more attention should go toward how sleep is measured in studies, according to Knutson. For example, she said, asking some people how much time they spend in bed will accurately measure how much sleep they get; but for people with poor sleep quality, much of that time may be spent tossing and turning.

Reuters Health

Low ceilings inhibit thinking and exacerbate* criticism

Live Science says “In every tested situation a 10-foot ceiling correlated with subject activity that the researchers interpreted as “freer, more abstract thinking,” whereas subjects in an 8-foot room were more likely to focus on specifics.”

They also said there was more criticism in short ceilinged rooms.

We need to move. That’s the ticket. We need higher ceilings. Then we’d all love each other and never criticize.

*Exacerbate means to worsen according to Princeton.

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That seems to me to be something that ought to be obvious. But apparently it not only isn’t obvious, but if I haven’t stated it, it isn’t true.

See AviaDirectory’s Twelve Laws of Blogging.

If you had epilepsy, you were institutionalized.

Clayton Cramer has been talking about inappropriate institutionalization. May I say that I know personally of three instances of this. Thankfully only one was long term.

1. The valedictorian of his class, a friend’s uncle had a grand mal seizure. He was institutionalized. It was 1930 something. I think they may have eventually overdosed him on so much medicine that he lost his mind. Or maybe they did a lobotomy. I know that he was still in there in 1975 and that he was no longer sane. (Would you or I be?)

2. A friend was given medicine for migraines. He hallucinated. He was put in a mental hospital. The doctors argued for permanent commitment. His 19 year old wife stood firm. “Take him off the medicine and he will get better.” He did. Some wives might not have found the strenghth.

3. A friend’s father started hallucinating. Again doctors recommended permanent institutionalization. His wife refused. She drove across the country with him, looking for treatment. It turns out he had experienced a weird and extremely severe allergy to coffee. He’d been drinking three or four Brazilian cups a day. It took about a year for the effects to wear off. He looks at coffee as you or I might an overdose of LSD. (He’ll never eat my molasses cookies. There’s a half a cup of coffee in the sixty cookies.)

Reading Lists for Children

There are several out there.

This list is for modern book and goes through grade 7.

HedgehogBooks also has lists of modern books. They go through eighth grade.

Reading Ideas from TeachersAndFamilies has both classics and modern books. It has all the grades. Of course I am not sure of their leveling choices. I totally agree with Johnny Tremain for 8th, but Night by Weisel, about concentration camps? I’m not sure that’s an appropriate book for that age.

Usually placed near the list price on the back cover of children’s books you’ll see something like this: RL 3.2. This would indicate that the book was written with the reading vocabulary of a typical child in the second month of the third grade.

from Reading Level Assessment has ten summer reading lists by grade level. These include both modern and classical books.

The Man Who Never Missed, the prequel

The name of the book is The Musashi Flex and it is by Steve Perry. Perry wrote a series which began, originally, with a short book about a revolutionary who fought the corrupt intergalactic government and not just won but came out alive. That book was called The Man Who Never Missed.

The series is fiction, lots of fighting, lots of sex, some serious perversions- though those aren’t too graphic in the novels.

Perry wrote the books for the most important/interesting characters. And they were great. He even gave the hero an unknown daughter and finally married the guy off to the girl’s mother.

This is not that kind of book. There’s some sex, but it’s not titillating. The story develops very slowly. He starts with four characters who aren’t connected and slowly weaves them together. The story never really speeds up. He throws in a red herring that has you sure one character will connect with another in a certain way. It may not be a real red herring. At some point it may come out to be true. But not in this book.

About a quarter of the way into it I thought about quitting the book. And I might have except that I’m trying to keep my list of new books read up. So that meant I read this instead of re-reading something else. I can re-read old books, from last year even, but I don’t count books I read and re-read in 2007.

But the book gets more interesting. It’s actually very interesting. You get to hear where the Musashi Flex came from. You get to see the 97 Steps come into being.

It makes you wonder if maybe you are reading the beginning of the Siblings of the Shroud. (Is there another book I haven’t seen? Maybe I am reading it.)

It’s interesting, even though the book itself is not as tight, not as fascinating, as the others. If you hold on, it’s a good read.

List of Books: First Eighteen Weeks

I’m up to a total of 96 books. That’s 96 books in 126 days. Not too shabby.

Ordinary Heroes: A Novel by Scott Turow
Irish Magic II- story by Susan Wiggs was good, the rest not so much
The Man from Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller, very well written Western
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 4
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

The Visitant by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear- icky Anasazi stories of murder and incest mixed with interesting archaeology characters being developed–Don’t know if I’ll read the others.
The Price of Murder by Bruce Alexander
Jack, Knave, and Fool by Bruce Alexander
Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris, a great book, I enjoyed it.
Death of a Duchess by Elizabeth Eyre. I liked it well enough to get another of her books to read.
Shoes to Die For by Laura Levine. My short review is here.
Hasty Death by Marion Chesney- good, fun, fairly light reading
Sick of Shadows by Marion Chesney
Our Lady of Pain by Marion Chesney
The Grilling Season by Diane Mott Davis- didn’t like it, too depressing
Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier- I really liked this one, even though she didn’t know who it was till the end.
Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier- This is much later in the series and I didn’t like it as much. She looks like an idiot at the end and everyone is patronizing. I’m still going to look for other books, though.
Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier
Tippy Toe Murder by Leslie Meier
Bimbos and Zombies by Sharyn McCrumb
Shakespeare’s Trollop by Charlaine Harris
Shakespeare’s Christmas by Charlaine Harris
Shakespeare’s Champion by Charlaine Harris
Shakespeare’s Counselor by Charlaine Harris
Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
The Julius House by Charlaine Harris
Dead Over Heels by Charlaine Harris 23
A Fool and His Honey by Charlaine Harris
A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris
A Really Cute Corpse by Joan Hess, fun light read- Claire Malloy mystery
Misery Loves Maggody by Joan Hess- Arly Hanks mystery, not as good
Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs, better than Cross Bones but very painful in places
Death at Dartmoor by Robin Paige- very good, weaves several old characters together

Children’s Books:
(I like to read these and I don’t usually put them on the list, but maybe I should.)
Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots
Santa Clause Doesn’t Mop Floors
Leprechauns Don’t Play Basketball
Ghosts Don’t Eat Potato Chips (Except that it is obvious they do.)
Zombies Don’t Play Soccer (This one was strange. It was clearly not a zombie at the end.)
Aliens Don’t Wear Braces
Gargoyles Don’t Drive School Buses (I liked this one. In it a library is saved.) 7
Frankenstein Doesn’t Plant Flowers
Martians Don’t Take Temperatures
Skeletons Don’t Play Tubas

Science Fiction:
Accidental Goddess by Linnae Sinclair– I very much enjoyed this one.
Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnae Sinclair. My review.
Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber
Alien Taste by Wen Spencer– Fascinating. First Ukiah Oregon book. As of January 2007 there are four.
Tainted Trail by Wen Spencer
Bitter Waters by Wen Spencer
Dog Warrior by Wen Spencer
Games of Chance by Linnae Sinclair: I have read this one about seven times in one week. It is excellent. 8
Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson
The Weapon by Michael Z. Williamson
Here Be Monsters by Christopher Stasheff
Matadora by Steve Perry
Black Steel by Steve Perry
Albino Knife by Steve Perry
Brother Death by Steve Perry
The Omega Cage by Steve Perry
The Machiavelli Interface by Steve Perry
The Man Who Never Missed by Steve Perry 18

A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer– good book I enjoyed it. The boys said it sounded like a romance, but really its a milieu story.
Tinker by Wen Spencer– R recommended the book and I read it. I enjoyed it so much I had to order the sequel.
Wolf Who Rules by Wen Spencer
Divine by Choice by P.C. Cast– I didn’t love this one as much as the first, but it is good. I didn’t like it because I don’t like the fact that she has sex with someone other than her husband. It kind of ruined the true love aspect of the book.
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
To Light a Candle by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
A Walk in Wolf Wood by Mary Stewart- fun, fairly light reading
The Witching Hour by Nora Roberts
Winter Rose by Nora Roberts
A World Apart by Nora Roberts
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine- Came to me highly recommended and I liked it.
The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey– My brother said not to buy it in hard back. That was a good call. It has great character development, but the plot is a little… flimsy.
Another Day, Another Dungeon by Greg Costikyan– light read, a little slow in the middle, but good. 13
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris. About a woman who can feel where and how the dead died.
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
A Wizard’s Dozen edited by Michael Stearns: There were a few good stories, but overall, not that good.
Saint Vidicon To the Rescue by Christopher Stasheff.
When Darkness Falls by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (Book 3 of the Obsidian Trilogy) 19
White Night by Jim Butcher, very good, reminded me why I bought them all

The Faiths of Our Fathers by Alf J. Mapp, Jr.
Women in Anglo-Saxon England and the Impact of 1066 by Christine Fell
Art & Love: An Illustrated Anthology of Love Poetry from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Reading in Bed
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura
How to Write Love Letters
Book Lovers Quotations
The Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes. I’ve been wanting this book since I read it in the American Library in Geneva, Switzerland, which, by the way, was run by Brits. It had way too many biographies, but I found some great books there.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey 8
Paradise Lost
Scott’s Miscellany

We’re talking about guns in Texas.

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, Gov. Perry has suggested that perhaps Texas should not prohibit concealed carry permit holders from taking their guns to school or church. Many people are upset about this. One of the guys in my office was appalled.

“What if the person is crazy?” You have to go through a background check.

“CHL holders need to be educated.” They attend an eight hour class.

“What if they can’t shoot well?” To get the CHL, they must pass a shooting test.

“Why would this be safe?” Because then we can shoot the bad guys instead of only them being able to shoot us.