RSS

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Little House in the Homeschool

Those of you who have read this blog over the past year or so know that I am a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” Little House Booksseries of books. So naturally when I came across this offer I just had to share it with any of you who might be interested.

It’s from a homeschooling website and it’s full of free resources to use in your own homeschooling program based on the Little House books, including free printables and unit studies. So click here and check out these great materials to help your young ones learn and soak in the true spirit of pioneer America.

Enjoy!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Children's Books, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

A Quick Question

Two years ago I wrote a two-part review of a book by William Manchester called “A World Lit Only By Fire.” The book was a wonderfully written history of the early middle-ages and beyond. I enjoyed it so much that I had to write a long, two-part review. It got a fairly good response and I was happy at that. But over the past year or so, I’ve noticed that I’m getting a huge number of hits on those reviews. For example, over the past week “A World Lit Only By Fire, Part 1″ has had 177 views, and Part 2 has had 132 views.

So, what’s going on here?

Is there a history class out there that’s using my posts for study aids? Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with that. Flattered even. I’m just real curious about the who and what and why, etc. So, if any of you viewers have a spare moment please drop me a comment and let me know where all the views are coming from.

And thanks!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 18, 2014 in History, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Good, The Bad, and the Orc-ly

OK. I apologize for the above title. Really. It was the best I could come up with at the time. I needed to get your attention so you’d check out middle_earth_according_to_mordor-460x307this post. I mean, this is important. We’ve all been mislead.

It seems that Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” was nothing but Western propaganda. Did you know that Gandalf was actually a bad guy out to destroy technology and science? And that the elves were out to rule the world? Further, Mordor was a progressive center of science and rationality, the very essence of enlightenment as compared to the pie-in-the-sky West. That is evidently the premise of a book newly available in English. “The Last Ringbearer,” by Kirill Yeskof, was originally published in Russia back in 1999, but an English translation has just become available (via a FREE download, no less!). It tells the story of the War of the Ring through the eyes of Mordor.

I haven’t read it yet, but Laura Miller over at Salon.com has and I’m linking to her review here so you can check it out. Viewing things from the bad side’s perspective isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff, though it has become even more prevalent these days in books and in television. What strikes me about this book is that it seems to want not only to make the bad guys sympathetic, but to present the good guys as the ones who are evil. Is this taking things a step further?

I don’t know yet, but I’d be interested in  hearing your opinions on this. Whatever your view, it looks like a fascinating read.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Coming Soon to a Kindergarten Near You?

One of my weekly pleasures is reading the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. It’s an excellent paper and one of the few left in the country that has a conservative opinion section. (There, I’ve outed myself.) But while the Journal may be a conservative publication, it is most definitely a secular one as well. Witness Alison Gopnik’s Mind & Matter column from this past weekend.

It seems that some scientists think that evolution, particularly the natural selection component, is too difficult for young children to understand. I’ve provided a link to the article above so I won’t go into all their reasoning for this seemingly obvious insight, however the upshot is that they recommend that children should be exposed to picture books that help them understand natural selection. As early as kindergarten. They’re afraid that these young minds may actually come to think that our earth and the life on it was created somehow by, gasp!, some transcendent, intelligent being.

These proposed natural selection “story books” are characterized in the article as “powerful intellectual tools.” I think it’s just a blatant attempt at indoctrination dressed-up in lab coats, clip boards and plastic pocket protectors.

What do you think?

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A New Year’s Resolution For All of Us

English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

English: Two New Year’s Resolutions postcards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy New Year to all of you! I hope everyone had a wonderful evening and are now safe at home enjoying family and friends.

I wanted to share a New Year’s resolution and invite everyone to consider joining me in following it. I don’t think it will require any major feats of willpower, just an increase in awareness.

Let’s all try to tell ourselves better stories in 2014. Whether these are in the form of traditional novels, graphic novels, movies, television programs, it doesn’t matter. Let’s all try to take in the stories that tell of nobler things, things like honor, truth, bravery, hope, faith and, of course, love. By love I don’t mean the superficially romantic, physical love thrown at us by today’s culture, but the real love that we as humans give to our family, friends and fellow human beings. These are the virtues that reflect our Creator and set us apart from being mere animals.

Let’s try to avoid, as best we can, the cheap, the vulgar or obscene, the irreverent, the dysfunctional, the crude, and the pornography of blood and death. These things also separate us from the animals. These things make us lower than the beasts of the field, the swimmers of the depths, or the sailors of the sky.

Let’s all feed our spirits with stories that display the truth that being human is a wondrous joy and a divine responsibility.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Liebster Questions, My Answers

As I reported the other day, I was nominated for the Liebster Award by fellow blogger Jubilare. In order to receive this award I need to answer some simple questions. So here we go!

1. If you could walk into a book and make a home there, where would that home be, what would it be like, and what sort of people/creatures would you try to befriend? Specifics would be fun and you can give more than one answer if you like.

Holy cow! I can’t remember all the places books have taken me over the years. Now I have to pick one to live in? Oy! Well, at least at this point in my life, I’d have to say The Lord of the Rings and within that book I’d select someplace in the Shire, perhaps Hobbiton, though Pincup in the Green Hill Country looks good. Willowbottom sounds a bit enticing as well.

I definitely want my own Hobbit hole, snug into the side of a nice green hill. Great insulation you know. A good size larder would be nice, as well as a fairly spacious study and library. I think it would be fine as far as size goes. I mean, if Gandalf can fit in Bilbo’s home, I’m sure I can be comfortable too. Oh yeah, and a sizeable dining hall with a large fireplace would be necessary for entertaining guests and for gaming night.

Whichever village I pick will need to have a local pub with an Olde Pub name like “The Board and Bone” or something similar. Oh, and it needs to be within crawling distance of my new abode. For convenience, you understand. I really like pubs.

As for who (or what) I’d try to befriend, probably just the locals from the pub. We’d more than likely have much in common. Good food, stout ale, some aromatic pipe weed, lots of books and interesting conversation; what more can a man ask for in the golden years? If I should see any tall, gray-bearded types with staffs wandering through, I’ll head to my cellar to check on the wines and brandies. If I can’t hear them knocking, oh well.

2. Name a food you have read about, but never eaten, that you have since wanted to try. It doesn’t have to actually exist. What, in the reading, piqued your interest?

Most of the books I read don’t have food in them, although George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series described plenty of meals. Of course I don’t remember a thing about them. I will say that I’ve always been curious about ancient cuisines. What did the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians or Huns eat?

But then, maybe I don’t really want to know.

3. Do you have a favorite plant? If so, what is it and why do you like it so much?

I never thought about this much. I guess if I had to pick a plant, I’d pick ivy. I love the shape of the leaves and seeing it growing and covering walls and fences reminds me of libraries and books and warm, cozy houses with fireplaces and reading chairs. So yeah. Ivy.

4. What fictional character is your favorite hero (male or female), and what villain really scares you and why?

My favorite hero in fiction would have to be John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee. MacDonald was one of the best pop fiction writers in America in the 1950s and 60s and he wrote a lot more than just the Travis McGee series, but the Florida beach bum was sort of his trademark. McGee lived on a house boat called The Busted Flush, so you can guess how he acquired it. He was in the “recovery” business, which meant that if someone screwed you out a great deal of money or other property, he would get it back for you for a percentage of the recovered item(s). You just didn’t ask him about his methods. He was also something of a keen observer and critic of  modern America. A public philosopher, if you will. Treat yourself to a Travis McGee novel sometime and you’ll see what I mean.

As for what villain really scares me, I’m going with the incomparable Preston Maddoc from Dean Koontz’ “One Door Away From Heaven.” Maddoc is a PhD in philosophy and claims to be a utilitarian bioethicist, but what he really likes to do is dispatch people he deems not worth living, like his nine-year-old crippled step daughter, Leilani Klonk (hey, it’s a Koontz novel). Koontz has distilled and concentrated the essence of the secular-humanist-utilitarian mindset into this one character and what makes him so frightening is that there really are people out there who see the world this way and are trying to spread their ideas. Ever hear of Peter Singer?

A close second would be Koontz’ new, improved Victor Frankenstein from his five novel series based on the Frankenstein story. I really do believe in mad scientists.

5. There is a crossroad at your feet. Behind you lies the path back to home and hearth (wherever that might be). The road directly ahead leads to a city, blue in the distance, settled among hills and on the edge of a bright inland sea. To your right lies a steep climb into old, low mountains clothed in forest and fern. To your left is rolling farmland that eventually flattens out into broad plains dappled by the clouds overhead. You can go as far as you like on any of the roads (even farther than you can see), including back home. There’s no wrong answer, only the where and why.

Ah, yes! The Happy Wanderer game. Let’s see. I’ve never been a big city-type of person, and farmland is useful but doesn’t have a lot of variety in the vistas department. Now, the mountains with the forest and ferns sounds really nice but at my age the steep-climb-thingy is a deal breaker. Heck, that may have been a deal breaker in my younger days, too! So that leaves the home and hearth option, which, if I were to have my very own Hobbit hole, would be just peachy by me.

There IS another direction I wouldn’t mind going: up. I’ve always thought that if a race of advanced aliens (friendly, of course) were to stop by and ask if I’d like to come for a ride I would probably answer yes. To see our planet and solar system retreating from the ship as we head out into deep space would be amazing! Maybe even see a new world or two.

I guess one could also include the option of going down. Think I’ll pass on that one, too.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Liebster!

Friend and fellow blogger Jubilare has nominated me for the Liebster Award!

Liebster-Award-Badge

Liebster-Award-Badge (Photo credit: Adrienne Third)

Don’t worry, I have no clue either. But it’s an award! YAY! What’s really cool about this award is that, as far as I can tell, if you’re nominated, you win. How the heck can I argue with that?

But it DOES require some effort on my part. Evidently I have to answer five questions the lady has put forth, dealing with such matters as walking into a book and eating strange food with your favorite character and his plant. Or something like that.

I think I’m also supposed to nominate some other bloggers for this award, but I really don’t follow that many and the ones I like have already been nominated, so . . . Not this time.

Anyway, it’s going to take me a bit to get my thoughts in order to answer said questions. Not too long I hope, though at my age I never promise. But I intend it to be soon. Really.

So, thank you, Jubilare! I’m truly flattered you like my posts enough to nominate me. That you trust me after reading what I did with Bilbo and Beorn in my review of “Queer Lodgings” from the Hobbit is a real confidence-builder. I’ll try not to let you down.

I do, however, have one question of my own. Just what in the Sam Peckinpah is a Liebster?!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 98 other followers