Friday, June 30, 2006

how the World Cup almost made me crazy

This is a post that I've been pondering for a few days, but I find in sitting here that I might have made a discovery. And like diverging trains of thought, this update may ramble all around updating. But I'm sticking with that.

We'll start with Momma's schedule. In addition to work, which sometimes keeps her fairly late, she has roller derby practice twice a week. Big Brother goes with her to practice to play, but generally, The Boy and I stay home because we don't always have fun there. That may change. We did all attend the most recent practice, and there were more adult people there in general. There have always been the girls and the coaches. Now though, more boyfriends/girlfriends are attending and hanging out for the couple of hours. The Boy is starting to get that I'm not feeding quarters to the candy machine at his whim, and he can just run around and play.

Now comes the World Cup and my sudden realization. I have not been leaving the house for more than quick dashes to the grocery store. I've been glued to soccer for so much of the day. I certainly didn't meet my goal of watching every game, and I will never try again. The upside is that Momma has finally seen the light and even gets offside. Now, when it gets to the fall season, she will enjoy my and Big Brother's games more. But overall, I've been inside crouched on the edge of the sofa waaaayyyyyy too much.

Momma might be traveling to Alabama in August with a team from her roller derby league for what would be their first bout. The fun part is that it would likely require an extra night of practice each week. What am I gonna do? say no? yeah right, so long as she takes Wednesday nights off so I can go play soccer. I also haven't been seeing enough of her lately which is the big thing that has been tipping me toward the edge. It seems like she should be spending less time at work lately what with the "head chef" guy being back. But then we remember what he is actually like, and how he makes more work for everyone else rather than less. He sucks!

Speaking of taking different directions, Momma says it'll be cool if I get some new soccer cleats. I even know exactly what I want, and they won't be as much as her new skates. I'm not sure if I'm going to. I have a serviceable pair already, though I really hate them. They are the cheap Adidas that are a little narrow and have extra toe, almost like new All Stars. We can afford them in a bad-American-consumer sort of way, but I can get by without them. But if I get them now, and then something comes up and we can't afford them later, and the ones I have can't last much longer because they already suck, and . . . but . . . then again . . .

We are discussing talking about a vacation. She gets a week sooner or later, and we need to do something. We might plan a trip to see a soccer game. There are a few MLS teams near enough for a drive up and a day or two in town somewhere. DC United would be an obvious choice due to the DC part. Is there a campground near there? Chicago might be fun, and I'm sure they have some campgrounds. The shortest drive is Ohio, but seriously, Ohio?

And I learn something else. Seriously, just now, I wandered away from posting and learned that in 2007 Toronto will be the newest city with a team in the MLS. And the reason I was away was to see how close FC Barcelona is coming in their America/Mexico tour, and I learned, not so close actually.

And I think that here is where I leave you for now. I've wandered and meandered, and I have bored you all. It's really the least I can do, and if you have read this far, you know. I'll do a book post soon. Can you guess what I'm just now almost finishing? I'm going now to read it while I sit outside and enjoy a nice cigarette.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

word of the day

I'm only doing this because it sounds dirty, and when things sound dirty, I have to laugh. I'm that kind of guy. So, if you want to see today's word, which means "shoemaker" you will of course want to click. . . on "shoemaker" . . .no, the other one.

In addition to being a maker of shoes, a shoemaker is also someone who proves unsuccessful as a cook. That makes the word ever more funny as I may get the chance to use it one day. Restaurant cooks delight often in attempts to demean one another with slang and with slurs as to one's character or sexual proclivities or abilities in either the bed or the kitchen. Any new way to convey such thoughts only serves to promote one within this hierarchy of idiotdom.

I will seriously not tell Momma about this word just so that she doesn't get a chance to call someone this before I do. However, if any cooks or lesser restaurant people should happen to read this, they will most likely also use it before me. But I can rest easy for a time . . .okay, to use this term, I'd have to get a job, and while I continually expect that it will eventually happen, I'm happy to put it off. Them boys ain't getting any younger.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ghana or Brazil?

That's the hard question. I love the way Brazil plays. I love the way Ronaldinho grins as if he is constantly reminded that he gets to play soccer for a living. I love also the story that is Ghana in World Cup 2006. Even though Ghana defeated my side to get to the round of 16, I still wish they could move on. I kind of don't see it. I'd love for them to have gotten paired up with almost any other team just so they could advance a little further.

Part of me just doesn't think Ghana can beat Brazil. They will try so hard, but in the end, they just won't have that little bit of help that a history in the World Cup lends Brazil. But then one has to admit that, yes, this is soccer, and one game really can change everything. Ghana has certainly shown themselves up to the task, and they could very easily prove how little rankings and odds are worth in the end. I kind of hope they do.

That game isn't for a couple of days. Tomorrow however, Ecuador is going to send the fancy boys (England) back across the channel. Rooney with his "bad boyfriend" demeanor, Beckham, showing nothing much so far, that goofy sack of tied together sticks that is Crouch, they won't do much beyond that one goal, and all the dancing in the world won't win the game when a much hungrier team shows up.

I'm leaning Netherlands tomorrow in the later game. It almost hurts to cheer for that much orange given my disdain for the local collegiate teams. I do make an exception for soccer, and the local collegiate soccer team, the Lady Vols, will likely make a good showing this fall. But regardless, the bright orange will win and go through only to be defeated by a team from the Americas.

That's my soccer post for the day. Hope you liked it.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

my pointless musing on net neutrality

One thing I notice among the arguments against net neutrality is the suggestion that sites like Google or You Tube should pay for the bandwidth that they use. But, I'm guessing that they already pay. Maybe they have some super secret free internet bargain, but I'm guessing not. I'm also guessing that they do indeed have the internet at Google and that their employees don't do the work at the office and then download it at home. I pay a certain company for my share of the internet, so what I'm wondering is, why should we now all have to pay more?

I once worked in a restaurant that once had a fire in the hood vents. In addition to the fire department and the loss in time and sales, the place had to pay to have the vents cleaned out and fixed after finding the problem that caused the fire. There were problems with other equipment, as will happen in restaurants, that required repair or replacement. But when these problems were encountered, the management didn't raise the prices to pay for them. The restaurant had to find a way to take care of the problem while still providing the customer with what they expected.

It seems to me that the telcos are tired of paying their part of the deal. They can't provide their service without some amount of work, an example of which is running cable lines. The argument is, in my opinion, that the telcos want to charge people because they have to update their hardware. To keep pace with technology and the spread of the human population, they want to make extra money for doing something that is integral to their business.

If you help me pay for the fryers, I'll open a restaurant, and you can come buy food there. The big difference here is that I have options when it comes to restaurants. And once I'm in the restaurant I still have options. If the corporations want more money, maybe they should worry more about their service than what they can manage to charge and how many people will pay twice.

But that's just how I see it.


I actually got a visitor here at the ol' blog searching the words Sweden and rat tail. I wish people would comment once in a while. I get really random visitors and would love the feedback. I'm not sure I could take the comments though, because they might be mean or harsh or disagreeable. I might also point out that I get regular visits from searches for Myspace and evil, and now they have two posts that will come up.

why schooling when we don't?

Why this bothers me I can't say, but I just don't like any of the terms used to describe what we homeschoolers do that involve the word "school" as any part of it. I honestly can't think of a single word or word combination that I actually like. Home education sounds like a more strict version of homeschooling, sort of a fixation on that "body of knowledge" that we are all supposed to leave school with. Unschooling as a word just shouldn't exist as it is a single word oxymoron. Life learning is a suggestion that Momma came up with, but we aren't hippies, and she agreed.

Honestly, I'm sort of anal about things sometimes, so it just may be that there isn't any thing to call it that I'd be happy with. I suppose that living is about as close as it gets. Maybe being a family and growing and hopefully maturing. But even those tend toward snobbishness as answers and turn us back to those granola hippy moms.

Whatever you call it, a main motivation for this thing we do with our kids instead of the school system is to give those kids a better start. Regardless of our political and religious drives, I think we could all agree that giving the kids a better start is at the end of many of our reasons.

So maybe that's my new answer. Maybe it will go something like this.

Random Person: So, where do you go to school?

Big Brother: We don't go to school.

Random person: Oh?

Me: No, we're giving them a head start by doing the job right.

Random Person: Hmmm?

Me: Don't worry about it. We homeschool.

Random Person: Ooooohhhh . . .(confused look) . . . so you go to school at home?

Me: Ya know, the very concept of school is . . .actually, yeah, we homeschool. We go to school at home.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

request for proposals for new team

There were no seven stages of grief when the US team got their plane tickets home today. As the day has progressed, I find that once again, I'm basically just disappointed. Our side, when it counted, played miserably. There is some amount of anger at the unfairness of a lot of what happened over the three games we played. There were several wrongly called fouls that resulted in cards, and as far as I know, the US is the only team to suffer two bloody faces due to elbows. There is some anger at the dives and the crying that I saw that seemed sometimes to result in called fouls, and I'm not just talking to Italy here. I'd like to think that our side was a little more honest in this regard, but I'm sure everyone thinks his or her team is the only one who doesn't try the dive.

So, I'll go through a few people that stood out on the US team, and I'll bitch about them as I see their performance deserves.

I'll start with that damn Landon Donovan. I'm over his smug looking ass. I've loved him in spite of the fact that he is the last guy we want as the face of the team. He just looks like everything the world hates about the US, the smugness combined with some sort of uppity airs. But when he decides to play, he really can. I won't deny that he can score goals. Why didn't he in Germany? I don't know. I'm waiting for DC United to pick his ass apart really soon. That's how irritated I am with him.

Brian McBride, please come home and play in the MLS and help this country get soccer wise. This guy personifies so much of what I love in the game. He went out and busted his ass for the most part. I'd like to have seen more of him, but he certainly made a lot of plays.

Clint Dempsey deserved to be on the field more than just about anyone else on the team. I'm not at all surprised that he scored the one goal we earned. If the US is ever going to not suck at the international level, I am quite certain that Clint will be a part of it. He may be the one person with whom I am not disappointed on the entire team.

As far as the referees, it can be said that the US suffered from some really bad calls. I have to wonder if this is that common soccer sickness where we blame the refs in the end. No one can argue that the US was dealt a fair amount of bad calls and improper cards. Many other teams can claim the same thing, but no other team seems to have paid quite so dearly. But, even this doesn't excuse that of our two goals in three games, we only earned one of them. The refs ruined Italy, but Ghana and the Czech Republic just beat us.

So now I need a new team in the World Cup. I'm leaning toward Brazil, and not because they are the favorites. I have loved watching Brazil play, with the exception, till today, of Ronaldo. Watching him today, I finally understood what his fat self was capable of. Brazil play the game exactly how it should be. They play the game like most players strive to. How is it that one country seems to have produced so many selfless players that would rather take the ball than the foul? That's one thing that seem most impressive about them. They don't seem to get fouled that much. Instead of falling down, they just try harder and win the ball. And they don't wing so many wild shots over the goal. They work the ball around and then, more often than not, they peg the ball straight into the goal keeper. They certainly make the keeper earn their keep, but in the end, the constant barrage of passes, all with the eye on the shot that's worth taking, all the while denying you the chance to even introduce yourself to the ball. And they seem to take turns shooting, regardless of who the star is.

My first pick for a new team might actually be Mexico, because they are our neighbors. Yes, I can be a geek like that. That's basically how I picked DC United in the MLS. I think, without actually looking, that DC may just be the closest city with an MLS team. I have a sneaking suspicion that we are about to get even more acquainted with Mexico than we have been in the past. We've certainly got our share of Mexico in the US, and that is only going to increase. I personally have no issues with that. I have this odd desire to one day move to Mexico and open an American restaurant. But in terms of soccer, closer association with Mexico might just help our side get better. Maybe what we need is more play between the Americas.

Other than today's game, I have loved Ghana. I didn't not love them today, but I wanted the US to advance. Ghana played beautiful soccer and earned their way into the next round. I might actually go with them as my favorite to win the cup. I am of course concerned because they immediately face Brazil. So that's a hard game to pick a favorite. Ghana might just be hungry enough for the win that Brazil doesn't stand a chance. Perhaps Brazil, with no yellow card issues, has the best chance of winning, but Ghana is more than welcome to surprise everyone some more. How cool would an African team winning the World Cup be?

I'm ending with Bruce Arena. I don't know what it's like to coach at the international level. But I have coached a number of AYSO teams in the time that Big Brother has been playing. And I am quite aware that U8 experience doesn't qualify me to make too bold a statement here. Having said that, I can think of a number of US players that I would have liked to see more of. But I'm done. It's over. Tomorrow is another day, and I might just take a break from soccer for the day. That's how much the US team upset me today. That's probably not true. I'll watch it because it's on and because this is some of the little soccer I'm guaranteed over the course of the year.

is this appropriate?

I'll start with the comic book because that's where this post and the muse and myself, and here we are. Big Brother asked, in reference to a Paul Pope comic book, "is this appropriate?" He's learned that certain items in the household library are things that Momma and I have deemed inappropriate. His reading level is to a point where I honestly worry about some of the things that he could read. I wonder sometimes whether this should be a concern, but I also know that I want to give him room to grow some. I think there are certain things that children may not be ready for. Should a seven year old be reading Kurt Vonnegut? He is perfectly able to, but should he?

I feel as though I should say that my ideas of appropriateness may differ greatly from those of many parents. Certainly the family that seems to represent homeschooling has vastly different ideas than I have. But, accepting that each family is as individual as the members that make up that family, are we so different?

When Big Brother asked his question, my mind went through a litany of questions concerning this book's content. It's a basic scifi story, teen girl superhero, not presented sexually, artwork is really great, so he should read the thing. It's a great book, and there isn't anything that Momma or I would not want him reading.

But then I am forced to remember, even if only for a moment, that I could learn the lesson. Kids don't often wait till we are ready. They go and hear things, or they read the book of short stories with that one really creepy Ray Bradbury story. Or my favorite, when your sharing with your child a favored movie, and that one scene comes on that you had completely forgotten was in the movie, and you just kind of let it go and wait for whatever happens. But, hey, that's homeschooling/life.

The real concerns concerning appropriateness concern that ability to see things in a broader context. Mark Twain is a perfect example. He uses language that is very racist, yet he himself was not racist but wrote in the dialect of the day. It's a not uncommon practice, but how does a child know this? He has no context in which to place the word "darky," so we have to be sure to explain it. But I also want to let him have a little more innocence. I don't want him to know just yet that some people are racist, that such ugliness exists. I want my boys to be open and accepting, and I want them to learn how to truly judge the character of a person. But that's tempered by wanting them to not be ignorant and naive.

And here's the sad part of this whole thing. The comic in question is sitting out because I was looking for some good images of the feminine form to practice drawing while working on some ideas for Momma's roller derby team logo. From the comic being out we jump to me and Momma BC (before children) mid to late '90's and our then growing comic collection. That was one of the things to feel the bite of changing financial prerogatives. While I do have some great comics, and I have missed a few years worth of Blade of the Immortal, they certainly aren't worth the value of the two boys who pushed the comics to the back of the line. And yes, Paul Pope is good for kids, and tomorrow, I'm going to make sure that Big Brother stretches his small self out in the floor. This is a big comic by the way, 9.5"x13" as opposed to whatever size comics usually are. But Paul Pope's art works so perfectly in a larger size.

I don't know that we learned anything here today, but maybe we started a dialogue that will lead to healing, or just not being hippies!

Monday, June 19, 2006

family path to unschooling

Thinking back for me is always a fun game. I know for a fact that I don't have the best memory. I'm sure there was more to my childhood than I remember, but sometimes, I think maybe it isn't a memory issue after all. Maybe my childhood was either A) so bland or B) so odd, that nothing really stands out.

I really am going to get to our home education decision, though I may choose to circle it a few times and make a long boring story out of a nearly pleasant anecdote. Having said that, we'll reapproach my childhood, that crazy fundamentalist Baptist home that I was raised in. I know that my parents love me, and I love them. I really do come from a great family, even if I do question so, so much of what I was once taught. I know that one of my six brothers must be aware of my own spiritual notness as he has read some things I wrote when I tried to keep up with my Myspace blog. I happened to bitch about the Pope's untimely demise. Go there and read it if you want. I still think it's a funny story.

It wasn't till I'd gotten some distance from my family and made friends with more normal backgrounds that I realized how different my own youth had been. Honestly, having no friends outside of church and school, especially when they are the same place, just isn't the best way to be. There were a couple of church friends that didn't attend out school as well as school friends who attended other churches, but they weren't the norm there.

Beyond a glaring lack of any lasting knowledge, I have few complaints about the school I went to. I certainly learned enough to get along, but I really feel that I've learned much more outside of school, and I've learned more about some of the things that I was supposed to learn there very recently as a home educating parent. That may be my own biggest problem with schools and the concept of teaching children as it seems to exist now. I also learned what part god plays in science and history. I'm sure she showed up in the math at some point. If I try hard enough, I can remember the pledge to the Bible and the christian flag, and yes they do exist. Did I mention the paddling room?

My wife had a very typical life of hell in public schools. Her stories are not nearly as bad as some I've heard, but just naming a few is bad enough. When she hit a boy that grabbed her breast, she was punished. There was middle school where she was constantly targeted for all sorts of taunts and insults because she dared to have been part of a family without the financial wherewithal to bow to all the latest trends.

So, in one corner we have Pop with his scary fundy schooling, and in the other corner we have Momma with a sadly typical story of the horror that is American public schooling. It's not hard to imagine why our boys won't likely soon see the inside of anyone else's idea of a school.

Apart from what I now recognize as the untruth in my own schooling, one thing that really stands out, one of those big time memories that I personally have of school, the thing that always says school to me, the buzzing sound of the lights. Yes, that's the thing I really remember.

When it's all said and done, Momma and I have one big hairy reason for why our kids won't be going to school. I mean no disrespect to public school kids, but they just don't seem to turn out very smart most of the time. It's not that they are ruined or stupid or unable to learn, but schools are very good at one thing. They can suck every bit of fun out of learning. The one thing that children do better than anything else, the one thing that lasts a lifetime, and they stomp it till it's dead, then they chop it up into pieces and burn it. And as soon as you think that learning is hard or unpleasant, then you're screwed.

Here is my baseball example. How many little boys have grown up with a love of baseball? How American is it to love baseball with it's own special code of math (yes math dad gummit) and stats? And how many little boys pore over this and soak in it yet fail the math test on Friday? It's not hard to make math relevant and interesting, but sadly, it's also not hard to make it cold and difficult. Teaching kids isn't nearly as productive as letting them learn, and it saves a lot of time and difficulty and resentment when kids are able to learn the things they need. Kids learn early in life that anything worth doing is worth figuring out. If this were not the case, bicycles would not still exist and soccer balls would never bounce from the foot to the head.

You can't pick when a child is going to care about The Revolutionary War. But you can easily explain the meaning behind the upcoming Independence Day celebrations, and that can turn into a fun way to learn about war and history and the beginnings of our America. And if Big Brother doesn't get it this year, well, there's next year, or maybe he'll come around in the fall. And it's not just for kids. And here comes the clincher, the why providing the education of our kids ourselves rocks. We can get to all those things we didn't get to learn when we were in school along with our kids. My new book, and I'm on a history kick right now, is 1976 by David McCullough.

We've looked at math and history, so I feel I should mention the next big school subject, and this is another one that used to make me cringe. Now it just makes me feel a little duh, but it's kind of not my thing. I'm just not a sciencey kind of guy. I would wager that more interest in science starts with mud and bugs than with a text book and memorizing the periodic table.

I never stopped hating school. I never liked school from any point that I can remember. I will admit that maybe I'm carrying some of that over into my parenting. I don't apologize for how I feel about school, as I'm sure is obvious to any/everyone. My own feelings about schools however only partly influenced my feelings about my own kids going to school. While I did hate school, I only recently realized just how ineffective the school system is. Having kids just does that to you.

And that's the long, painfully long version of the story. And if you're lucky, it's the whole story and not just chapter one. But for us, my family, it's not even chapter one but more of a preface. It's our book that we write over the span of our days, all these great things that we are going to learn together. Oh, the places we'll go!

almost missed the whole game

I am not posting at the moment about soccer, though it has to do with the Spain versus Tunisia game. I missed the game, watching most of the last ten minutes. I watched Tunisia, because of a stupid foul in the box, give up all chance of winning a game that they looked as if they might have a chance at winning.

The story here is about a flag I saw waving wildly among the Spanish fans. In the sea of red and yellow, someone is flying that old Southern American standard, the stars and bars. Living in the American South, I'm used to seeing the rebel flag. But you don't expect to see it in Germany being waved by a fan of Spain's men's national soccer game.

If anyone has any idea what's up with this, I'd love to know.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

the daleks

Have you ever realized that quiet noise is actually your child? I know, my child isn't a noise in my ear, but as parents, you learn how to tune in when it's necessary. The Boy is behind me, about ten feet away playing with something, I think part of a Mega Block robot fighter thing. It's basically Mega Blocks' tragically sucky answer to Bionicles.

He is also playing where most of his Thomas stuff lives, so I'd assumed he was playing with the engines. I can hear him as he plays, but we are the only ones home, so his playing has a quiet personal note that's not usually possible with Big Brother here also.

What finally caught my ear as he was playing was him repeating something. I don't know how long he'd been saying it when I finally realized he was saying, "exterminate, exterminate" in his best Dalek voice. Next came the sound of someone being exterminated. And I never really thought he paid that much attention to Dr. Who. Big Brother will watch it with me and actually has reminded me about it. What great kids!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Cup, grass and slipping

I know I'm not a professional soccer player. I know that I don't play on fancy fields with seating for 70,000 screaming fans. I play in front of the subs and someone's girlfriend. I don't play on fancy grass. I don't know about grass other than green and some of it grows faster.

But why in tarnation am I watching so many people slipping in the World Cup? I've lost my feet before. I'll do it again this fall on a rainy day. And I know charging and hitting the brakes, sometimes you slide. But are these fields right? I've seen more divots in the World Cup than at the anger management class' golf outing.

I'm not sure if it's a single stadium issue or what. I just know that it seems to me like a lot of people are just slipping at odd moments and falling down. I'm not talking fouls and dives. I'm plenty familiar with what soccer players can come up with. Maybe I just haven't watched enough international soccer.

finally started missing games

I knew it was coming. I knew I'd never last trying to watch each World Cup game. But I almost tried, and that's what counts.

I think it started Sunday, whatever game came first. I didn't watch it. Up to that point, I'd certainly watched a fair portion of each game, and I did start the day with whatever game was well into the late minutes. I was also doing my morning thing, the smoke and the coffee mostly, possibly some bathroom issues.

Mexico and Iran, I mostly saw all of. We were meeting friends for brunch, so we waited till half time to haul ass downtown to the brewery. We had a perfect table near a tv, and of course the staff was fine with me changing the channel. We were the only customers watching the tv anyway. However, we couldn't have any sound as there was a jazz band playing louder than was necessary. Also, the bloody marys tasted like sweet ketchup. The beer was awesome, but that's the best thing they have going for them. I used to work there, and I noticed that none of the Mexicans were there. The staff was all two extremes of human coloration with none of the middle tones. They were home watching their side win three points.

I really wanted Iran to do well, mostly because our fearless leader is being kind of a butthole to them right now. I'd love for them to ditch the mullahs and just deal with the fact that we aren't all going to be equally religious, but we certainly have our people here in the US that need to hear that same message. That isn't to say I wanted them to win. I can't help but want the cup to come to the Americas. I'm partial to my own side, and I'll extend that hemispherically.

Speaking of Americas, Argentina beat the ever loving crap out of Serbia and Montenegro. I'd have loved to see that game, but the sleeping and a late errand disallowed all soccer viewing except for today's Mexico match against Angola.

Mexico versus Angola, so of course there's the Americas. But I've loved watching all the new teams. It seems like there have been a lot of first time teams, and they are of course all the underdogs. I often find that I will pull for the underdog when I don't have some other more sensible reason for picking a team. Unless they're playing the US, I always love to watch Mexico. I can't say I've seen that many games, and I'm sure if I have, it's probably been against the US. Both teams played admirably. Poor Angola never quite got the attack they needed. Mexico, for all their effort, just couldn't beat the goal keeper. That man alone kept Angola from giving up the game. The whole team certainly played well, but Mexico was better today, even if the game ended in a draw.

I'm kind of worried about tomorrow. US is playing Italy in a game that we really need to win. I'm going to be extremely disappointed if they piss the game away like they did in the first game. If they do, I'm going to send them an angry email. It will make them feel so bad that they will hang up their cleats and leave soccer. That isn't a concern though, because they are going to win. They are then going to beat Ghana and eventually advance to the final round where they will either beat England or bust their asses to a draw against either Brazil or Mexico. So say I.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

where's the cup?

I've been a little lax the past couple of days. I only got up early enough for the 9:00 am game once since the beginning of the World Cup. And I completely missed the first two games today, though I missed very little of Germany versus Poland, and I definitely watched Brazil and Croatia yesterday.

I've probably mentioned not getting to often see international soccer matches, so I really haven't gotten to watch Brazil play very often. Of course we are all aware of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, but honestly, it doesn't do the Brazilian team justice not to mention them all. I'm not going to, but . . .

I don't know when I've ever seen eleven guys having that much fun on the pitch. They put the ball everywhere it needed to be. They snuck in from nowhere on defense and jogged off with the ball, turning the game constantly back toward the Croatian goal. I absolutely loved Emerson, one of Brazil's midfielders. It's hard to judge his age, but his hair line makes him seem a bit old, especially on the field of such beautiful hair on so many other players. Back to Emerson though, for all his just not quite looking physically like someone you'd expect to see there, he was just as valuable to the team as anyone. I mention him only because he stuck out, and I mention him because he was such a perfect example of the whole team.

Watching Brazil play almost makes me lean toward cheering for them. You can't help but fall in love with these guys after ninety minutes. I'm a good ol' US boy though, and I really expect a hell of a game from them Saturday. We play Italy who are also expected to do well in the World Cup. My second team of choice, behind the US is Mexico. I guess I feel more connected with the Americas than with Europe. Other than England, who I may have mentioned my disdain for, I don't really care either way about the Europeans. Having said that, you can imagine who I'm cheering for tomorrow.

Yes, tomorrow we get to see England again. They are playing Trinidad and Tobago. I enjoyed T&T's first game, so hopefully they'll get their three points tomorrow against the lobster backs. HeeHee, Revolutionary War humor, heehee!

The Boy is on the sofa, having just informed me that he is ready to read. If that's the case, then he's on his way to bed. One nearly down, one in the bath almost ready to go!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

couple links

I'm tired of writing about soccer, and I haven't been especially diligent in writing about anything else lately. I'm going to squeeze a post out with some links of things that I've found interesting lately.

I forget how I became aware of this first entrant. I've enjoyed the art at the first link often in my bloglines before exploring further. The first, Process Recess is the artist's blog. From there I had to go to the profile and then to the "My Webpage" link to find out more. While tooling around in there I came across an illustration for a magazine article that really stood out. The picture really stood out. I know nothing of the article. Before you go to the picture, in case I haven't already run off the last of anyone who might have stopped by searching homeschooling, I will tell you that you might think the picture is dirty. It is, but if you don't think you'll be able to get past that, be warned. I'm certain no one reads this that would mind, but little kids lurk over shoulders. Oooooooh, dirty pictures!

This next one is really bad, and I'm really bad for laughing at it. Nothing nice is about to happen to the dog, so again, be warned. But it's funny. It's not Jesus and a bus funny, but what is?

I think I'll end with Famous Fat Dave. If you like to read about taxi driving in the big city and eating lots of food, then you'll love this guy. Seriously, this is one of the highlights of my bloglines. I've seriously got to visit New York one day. The problem there, besides not really having that pile of money sitting around, the whole damn city is full of New Yorkers. But I'm in love with the idea of the 24 hour city, the walking places, the corner bar. We have corner bars here, but you have to drive to them.

Now for the spell check, make the links work, cigarette and a beer. I had to get the wrong cigarettes this time, and didn't think to just get a couple of packs and come back later for the right carton. NOOOO, not me, not the thinking man's redneck. That would have been too easy and would have required some amount of thinking through things. You like it? how I ended with a bit of a rant.? I do too. It's fun. Whee!

Monday, June 12, 2006

thank you local fox news

I pretend that I watch the news, and I do occasionally watch some of the local news. But mostly, I don't trust talking heads any more than I can reach into the screen and choke them. I would pay more attention if they'd stick to local news, but then they'd just put on more non-news crap masquerading as news. A local network affiliate is of course not going to have its own reporters in the field doing international news, so they get that news from other sources.

So, you have your local anchors giving you the weather and whatever the Vols are up to. We know what idiocy TDOT is scheming, kind of. And then we get their version of whatever is happening outside our corner of the world. It's not always a bad thing, and admittedly, all news is second hand at best. But then the local schmuck says something like this:

"not much is known about Zarqawi's replacement, but authorities are saying that he IS a militant."

Well boy howdy if that don't take the shine off your boots. A radical militant freak gets blown to hell, and the parent organization replaces him in kind. Wow, that's . . .um . . .yeah. That's really how they ended the story.


What were the US players thinking today? Did they want to lose this game? Were they scared of those Czech Republic guys? Did the early goal and those early fouls just take all the wind out of their big blue sail?

The US team dropped lots of passes into groups of Czech players. The US team kept leaving their box empty of blue so that the Czech team could have the shots they wanted. The US team didn't attack the ball worth poo.

Toward the end of the game Eddie Johnson stepped up and finally started to try, but sadly his teammates didn't work too hard to help him out.

I won't pretend that the called fouls greatly effected the outcome of the game. The early yellow card to Onyewu was a bad call and could easily have left him a little leary of playing strong defense, and that didn't help. I don't know that I fully agree with a lot of the calls throughout this game, and it's natural to think that your team is getting shafted. It's hard to argue that the fouls may have slowed the US down some, but that was in no way the main problem they had.

I'm hoping that today was just indicative of first game jitters. I want to believe that the US will use this game as example of what not to do Saturday when we play Italy.

To win against Italy, we are going to have to push them and attack the ball. The waiting to see what happens will only lose you soccer games. Hopefully, the US will step up this next game. They need better passing as well as to take chances and shoot. There were not many shots on goal from the US, and there were not many chances due to a strong Czech defense. But even a weak defense can beat you if you don't get bodies toward the goal.

I'm very disappointed by the US showing today. I know that we have an awesome team, and I know that these guys can play as a team. That may the biggest request that I have is that Saturday, they play as a team, work the ball to each other instead of clearing it back to your opponents. Get bodies back on defense and don't leave Keller by himself to play defense.

All of this is not to take credit from the Czech team. They played a great game, and they earned all three of their goals. Most goals are not pretty; they are earned and often don't seem quite deserved. But you do sometimes get goals that result as a combination of perfect play, well placed passes and great timing. That's how the Czech team won.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

the world stops, day two

Grandma came by to get the boys this morning as England was finishing up not losing. The boys got new haircuts and spent the afternoon swimming. I spent the afternoon watching soccer and napping on the sofa.

So, England didn't lose, but I hate to say they won. The single goal in the game came off the head of a defender who happened to stick his head into the air at the wrong moment. Soccer is often a game that is won or lost based on where the ball is at a single crucial moment in relation to a foot or a head. In a good soccer game, those moments happen with such frequency that you never quite notice them till they force themselves into the back of the net.

The last game of the day, Argentina versus Ivory Coast, saw me napping for possibly up to half. I wasn't fully napping baseball style, but I nodded off possibly as much as I nodded on (yeah, that's made up and doesn't really mean what I think it does, but . . .) It wasn't that the game was boring, but I was awake in time to see most of the game that England didn't lose, and I certainly saw all of today's second game. But by game three, and me on little sleep, I was fading in and out.

Today's second game, number four in the World Cup, Sweden versus Trinidad and Tobago was a beautiful game. To Sweden's credit, they did play a lovely game of long, accurate passes. They had so many of those beautiful runs that only happen in soccer, those 4-5 pass runs toward the opponent's goal, each pass landing precisely where your teammate is about to be, each pass a glory unto itself. T&T's goal keeper did an outstanding job, always the perfect leap, the perfect timing, the body contorted into a wild spasm. Overall, T&T played a much better game than Sweden. Early in the second half, one of the T&T players was ejected from the game meaning they played almost half the game one man down.

And here I rant about the second yellow card that caused Avery John to be sent off the field, leaving T&T to play a man down. It was a clean tackle. It was a very rough tackle, but it was fair and clean. There is every chance that this ejection cost T&T the game, though we'll never have the chance to know. As if the South Americans weren't playing well before, the loss of their teammate forced them to play that much harder, and as if it were possible, the second half of the match was even more exciting than the first.

The cherry on the top of the Trinidad and Tobago sundae was the goalkeeper, Shaka Hislop. He was not originally scheduled to play today, but a last minute injury to the starting keeper brought the game to Hislop. I don't know the words to describe the work this man did today, pure art in the goal mouth.

Add to all of that the fact that this was T&T's first World Cup appearance. No one expected them to do well, but they started their drive to the cup by holding a top team to a draw. And they played a game to be proud of, regardless of the tie.

My final bit, a little rant, is about the Swedish rat tail thing. Yes, seriously, though it was a little off to the side, it was an honest-to-god rat tail on a Swede. Geez, those Europeans with their old cities and there whole "been there, conquered that" and a Swede shows up to the World Cup with a rat tail. Wow! I live in the South and am still surprised to see that. Maybe I can take some Jordache jeans to northern Europe and make some cash.


The games started at noon today, after all the waiting, the romanticizing (huh?) and whatnot, Germany and Costa Rica took the field. Of course being in Germany, their time it was 6:00, last night I think, but I forget how to figure time across all those time zones. I may include game discussion, including winner and loser of matches in blogs concerning the World Cup. If you don't know or don't want to know, don't read.

I hoped for a Tico's win, but it was not to be. I find as I look through the schedule, I'm pulling for the American teams. Of course being a good USAmerican, I'm certainly looking forward finally to a US win. But I think we might update what it actually means to be an American.

A Mexican coworker once asked my why we referred to ourselves as American when in fact, our whole slice of the globe is America, North, Central and South. I'm reminded of that now as I think that I might like to see Paraguay beat England tomorrow. I'm sure that by 9:00 am EST, it will finally be today in Germany, right? Though it will be much too early here, any way you slice the whole concept of time.

Of course, I might also just be a silly ass. Maybe I just want to see England go down, and knowing that Brazil stands a better chance than the US of making it to the final round, I'm subconsciously getting ready to cheer for them.

And we end with our last bit of news and a tangent. In the second of today's games, the South American team from Ecuador beat the Polish team, from of course Poland. During the game I thought of my town's ex-mayor, one Victor Ashe, our nation's newish ambassador to Poland, wondering if his unpleasant self attended the game. For what it's worth, I play soccer at a park named in honor of this silly fellow. Regardless of my worthless barrage of insults, the fact is that he is an ambassador and me? not so much. And I still laugh at the bust in the park, a sad ironic laugh.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

my world cup impatience grows

Seriously, this day is basically shot. I'm sure I could give a good goll durn, but really, today is just prep for tomorrow, when the world stops for a month. Maybe most of the US won't bother, but they'll have to see it anyway with both of their precious sports channels devoting so much time to the beautiful game.

As a side note, because the thought just occurred to me, I have another reason for why I think there is an anti-soccer conspiracy. Soccer refuses to stop for commercials. Without those random breaks, how do I get that useful information on what sports drink and financial planning service I will purchase?

Soccer is played by a set of laws, yet each law is open to interpretation, by the ref, on a moment to moment basis. The ref can base decision on his interpretation of the spirit of the law as well as the flow of the game. Soccer refs can overlook small offenses if the offending team gains no advantage. Even fouls that are called are usually quickly dispersed with at the player's discretion. Soccer is not a game that can be divided into segments allowing for advertising optimization. At most, an advertiser buys time in which his logo is placed next to the score and time in a corner of the screen.

Okay, there is the side rant stuffed into what was originally going to be a post about me not wanting to wait for the games to begin. I made it into a nice little box to set it apart from the real meat of this post.

Germany and Costa Rica kick off the world's greatest month, tomorrow at noon if you live in the EST part of the US. If you go to the official FIFA World Cup site schedule, you can click on the time next to each game and get a box that converts game time to your time. I know, that's not as cool as I think, but I do think it's really, really cool. I'm always amazed at the little tricks people can make websites do.

Frank Deford has an interesting piece at about American soccer. He suggests that American disinterest in soccer will allow the US team to be more relaxed and possibly perform better in the tournament. Because the rest of the world takes soccer so much more seriously than we do, they hold their players and teams to a much higher standard. Outside of the US, soccer players are the idols for the kids, and they are heroes or villains based on their performance on the pitch. Mr. Deford goes on to say that, if the US does happen to win the World Cup, we will be that much more hated by the world. Our asinine foreign affairs will suddenly pale in the light of the US beating the world at a game they don't think we get.

open letter to interneting homeschool parents

Dear Homeschooling Parent,

Hi, my name is Sam, and I too am a homeschooling parent. I know that many of us are on the internet these days. It's a wonderful tool as well as an often pleasant diversion. To those of us still without the internet, how the hell are you reading this?

I am glad that so many of us are blogging. It's a good thing for us to meet so many people, especially when it causes us to stop and remember that the world isn't always like us. The internet is a great place for remembering there is a whole world out there. But that isn't what this letter is about.

I use Blogger. I'm sure you can tell that if you look around at the links. That isn't the point either. I imagine most blogging sites are basically the same. Assuming that, I'm going to talk about this neato button at the top of my Blogger "create" window, and one that most likely exists in a similar form at most blogging sites.

This button, on Blogger, has an ABC above a checkmark. It's kind of humorous, that little pun like thing. But beyond the wit lies a useful tool. This button begins an operation that checks my spelling throughout the blog. Granted, it doesn't recognize homeschool or even blogging as words. But it helps me spell "occasionally," a word I very often misspell.

So, dear homeschool parent, as you blog through your random average day, remember that spell check is your friend. In fact, spell check is the ultimate homeschooling tool, a little quick check that lets us see how "necessarily" is actually supposed to be spelled. And we can learn spelling along with our kids so that they don't stumble over these words one day. But they probably will stumble over them.

Thank You,
Rock On,

New? meh Improved? perhaps

For all intents and purposes, I'm going to say I'm turning over a leaf and making my whole blogging experience more variously user friendly. That is to say that I'm trying to make this something worthwhile in a sense.

I feel I may have limited myself a bit over the past pile of things I've written. Here and there I find that I could have expressed myself less cussiferously. By nature, or force of habit, or because I'm just an ass, I have become quite a swearer of swears. In real life I've learned this little thing called moderation. It's not that I try only to cuss in moderation, but I moderate when and to whom I cuss. I know for a fact that my family, the siblings and parents and inlaws, is sensitive to the variety of things I could say if I let my tongue run wild.

I'm not sure exactly how to go about this, because I don't want to limit myself to a PG-13 world. Sometimes, a little damn-it-all is quite called for. If I post about restaurants for example, something I'm want to do on occasion, I will most likely add some pepper to the pot. They are each their own little world, the restaurants of the world, and rife with language unbecoming more polite society. But life isn't a restaurant . . .or is it?

In the end, my rambling here is mostly a rambling of some things I've been thinking about. I can't build my army if I can't contain myself when I need to. And in the end, the army is what it's all about. If I want to start getting into those homeschool blogging things, with all the people reading and coming back because I'm so cool, and then comes the army, followed by the super robots built by my army, I need to write in a way that doesn't drive away my more sensitive reader/follower.

Oh yeah, I forgot to explain about the army. Through my wonderfully entertaining blog, I'm slowly gathering the minds of homeschoolers. I will subvert their hyper intelligent and friendless children to build me a second army entirely made up of super robot slave warriors. I will purchase those homeschool children's loyalty with sugar and television and a dream of 40 friends in the afterlife, because, you know, homeschool kids don't get those things. That's so totally nefarious and why I have to have a top notch, A1 blog.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

conflict resolution for kids

Our local newsweekly published an editorial last week about conflict resolution among students in the public school system. The editorial covers all the bases in terms of students bullying each other, race, sexuality, et cetera.

I'm not against conflict resolution, nor do I argue with children learning to settle their problems amongst themselves. What I do have an issue with is the suggestion within the article that it is natural for bullies to overassert themselves physically and that discussion among age peers is the best way to solve the problem of bullying.

Obviously, as we see such an increase in the severity of school violence, our schools have many problems. What drives a child to feel that they must have a gun at school for protection? What insults and physical abuse drives children to unleash hell on an entire school?

The writer mentions attending a variety of schools and being part of school bodies ranging from a mere 400 students to schools with upwards of 4000 students in size. Schools of either size are grossly large in terms of what children actually need in an educational environment. I have a whole utopian idea of what truly good schools would look like, but we'll file this under different rant/different day.

We are to assume that bullying is a normal part of life, so we need the school to teach our kids to learn how to deal with the bullies they will certainly face throughout their life after school. But that just isn't true. Certainly there are places and people that never tire of a good fight. There are certainly many situations throughout life that one could find themselves in which violence may be seen as the natural outcome, even if we don't often actually find ourselves in those situations. But where in life do we often have to confront a bully?

Instead of conflict resolution, many of life's schoolyard bullies might better have a little police intervention. I know that that's quite a jump, and I'm not suggesting it's always necessary. But if we stop suggesting that childhood assault is no more than simple bullying, we might start to progress to a point where we can confront the bullies and teach them that what they are doing is wrong, is often assault. And there's the point. If it's assault when grown ups do it, why is it bullying when kids do it?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

updated book/reading list

Due to how well he reads, which is truly unbelievable, I often don't like to discuss Big Brother's reading. He is quite a kid for his age, and he's quite a reader as well. I feel as though other people will assume I'm bragging and perhaps being untruthful. At 7.5 years old, he has read more books, on his own, than many people twice his age, which isn't saying a lot considering most 14-15 year olds.

We watched most of an old movie version of Robin Hood on tv recently, though I don't remember which of the old movie channels showed it. We had read Howard Pyle's Robin Hood, possibly our last prebedtime reading before Inkheart. Seeing the movie pushed Big Brother to pull the book back off of the shelf and reread it. That took him too few days.

His next book was The Hobbit. Each chapter in Inkheart opens with a short passage from a different book. Meggie, the hero of Inkheart, while preparing for a drive packs a book about an ill made knight and another book about hairy footed people on a quest. Big Brother knew pretty quickly what that reference too. We've read Tolkien's most famous works as bedtime reading as well as having seen the movies, so he is certainly familiar with the works.

After zooming through The Hobbit, he is now well into The Fellowship of the Ring. I am personally without a book at the moment, and seeing Tolkien lying out on the table, I'm being drawn to them, and I may just have to reread them myself.

After having read Shelby Foote's first book about the Civil War, as well as Rifles for Watie, by Harold Keith, I remember again why I don't send my kids to gschool. I went to a decent school, yet between these two books, I've learned more about the Civil War than I ever did in school. On top of that, if Big Brother couldn't drop everything once in a while just to read, I think he might go a little crazy. He has that freedom though, so we hopefully won't ever learn.

Rifles for Watie is a really interesting read on top of being a fun story. The author researched the material quite a bit, and reading the books makes that obvious. The book provides a view into the life of many different types of people, many different views of the Civil War. Additionaly, the place that some Native Americans had in the war is mentioned to a fair extent. As a homeschooler, it's a really good book to begin study or to help round out discussion of war and/or the Civil War. We don't really see a lot of the horror of the actual fighting, though the author doesn't shy away from it so much as he seems to have a bigger story to tell. It's worth reading if a bit rose tinted.

That's the current list as it now stands. Most likely, tomorrow is library day. That needs to happen both because we have stuff do and because I need some new books unless I fall into the Tolkien trap. I'm not worried either way. I love Tolkien and will reread the books soon enough, whether it's now or later.

Dixie Chicks

Remember when they had that song that pissed everyone off? They were embarrassed to be from the same state as ol' Bush. And then "country" music radio went extra crazy on them, wanted them banned from the radio, excommunicated from the church, drawn and quartered, lynched and kicked the hell out of America.

So much vitriol for such a simplistic approach to anger over the war. I'm personally embarrassed by our nation letting him become president the first time, and I'm past dismayed at the second term. I just may decide politics can go straight to the bad place. But am I embarrassed to be American? Not just yet, but I'm getting there.

My problem with the Dixie Chicks has never been their stand or how they choose to display their convictions. I don't generally care what a second rate "country" band has to say about anything. I care as little what anyone cares who is paid to entertain has to say about politics.

My problem with the Dixie Chicks is the one of them that's always in the middle. She hasn't got a damn neck! Why with all their money, now that they're rich "country" stars, can't they buy that poor girl a neck? Come on Dixie Chicks, and buy that middle girl a neck already! Please?!

Note: "Country" music, as mentioned above, is meant to suggest the top 40 style music with a twang that currently passes for country music. There are real and good country bands making good, country music. Sadly, they don't fit on the playlists of the "country" stations.

stupid word of the day


Yes, it's a real word if is to be believed. This is the load of poo that they lit on fire at the door of my bloglines this morning. I had to actually click on the little speaker link just so I could hear the nice lady pronounce it. The pronunciation guide provided is certainly no help. In fact, the pronunciation only serves to make the word sound even more made up.

Assuming that such a ridiculous word is real, it means honorableness.

I'm going out on a limb here and saying that both "honorificabilitudinity" and "honorableness" are in fact both made up words, that both could easily be erased and forgotten and finally that we just use the old version "honor" in place of the former two.

Monday, June 05, 2006

no kinda mood

I have so many things I could do. The kitchen floor really needs a broom dragged across it, not to mention the mopping, the need for which is approaching critical.

I am sleepy beyond belief, especially for 4:00 in the afternoon. I've got a headache that may or may not become real and annoying, though just now it's teasing about the edges of my skull.

We've all had lunch, and supper is waiting to be prepared. I'm doing an absolutely easy pile of quesadillas and some black bean soup. But even that is escaping my desire to motivate.

I really just feel like ass. I've got Fugazi blasting into my face, and I'd turn it louder were it not for the kids needing me to hear them. I'm in that 16 years old world weary mood where I'm sure I can solve all my issues with overly loud rock music, the great cleanser.

I've felt like this for weeks, just not wanting to bother, slipping to a point where I'm not sure if I care. I get the kids fed, keep the library books out of danger. I've read more books in the past month than in the previous few. There's plenty of stuff to do. The yard, the craptastically full garage, the bits of vacuuming that I didn't get to, the aforementioned kitchen and meals.

I really think that all my problem is a coupling of too late nights and not leaving the house nearly often enough. It's not like the late nights are boisterous with going out and partying. A lot of the issue revolves around Momma's schedule. Too many late nights seems to back up to early mornings, and it also leaves many days where we don't get up to have the car, or I don't want to get the boys back up late to get Momma from work. So another day passes where we don't really do anything except spend one more day needing to get out and wishing we had another car.

Okay, I have to finish by qualifying the previous remark about caring. I can't help but read it indicating that I'm not living up to certain parental obligations. The kids get their share of caring and aren't a part of the problem. My own issues often affect how I relate to them, and this in turn adds to the feelings of . . .ennui?

And we do have another car. Sadly, Tennessee style, it's sitting, nose up in the air, most of the engine in the garage, the rest of it sitting waiting at a machine shop. Maybe it will one day find the road passing 'neath it again, sad sack of crap though it is.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

all different books at once

My own current reading material is The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. I always saw myself reading this book to one of the boys. We do have a book that is basically one of the chapters of the original book, slightly abbreviated. This is also one of those books I feel that I really should have read by now, but apparently I haven't.

This book, though I haven't quite finished it yet, has been so much fun to read. I've laughed out so much throughout this book, more than my cynical old ass probably ought to if I want to maintain my edgy rep. I may actually slip this into The Boy's bedtime reading. Which brings me to the next book.

I discovered a few weeks ago that I could read a story or two from either of A.A. Milne's two books, Winnie the Pooh or The House at Pooh Corner. I first learned that he would listen to them by tricking him into going to sleep while I read. It worked wonderfully for a short time. I'm guessing that we can move onto other similarly structured books now. The Wind in the Willows should be perfect for this. While the book is a whole story, the chapters are all little stories in themselves and can generally act as a story on there own. I love when a book makes me excited to share it with the boys.

Of course The Wind in the Willows is the story of Mole who, while in the middle of his spring cleaning decides to leave home. He's taken by some desire to travel and ends up at the river where he make a friend in a Water Rat. They of course have a series of adventures as does Toad, who gets in quite a bit of trouble on his own. In addition to really delightful and funny stories, this is one of those perfect books that tells great stories using real words. It's not dumbed down for kids in any way. It was also published originally in 1908. It does seem to me that there is something to be said for treating children like normal as opposed to "not quite," as in those horrible books where all the sentences are four monosyllabic words, one sentence to a page coupled with ugly simplistic art.

Our next and final book is Cornelia Funke's Inkheart. I read this book a few months ago by myself and tried to convince Big Brother to read it. It was perfect, one of those books that quietly lures you in. It's a book about books, or one book really and a whole new power of words. It's the first in a series. It certainly has some dark moments throughout, and I'm not sure that all parents would be comfortable with younger kids reading this book, but that's hard for me to judge. Between what we've read with him and what he's read on his own, Big Brother has quite a few books under his belt for his age. Which of course means that this is the book I'm reading with Big Brother before his bedtime. I hate to get too much into this book because it's best read. It isn't a book that I'd want to enter with preconceptions, so I won't bother here.

We also currently have The Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde, and from the special Newbery shelf at the library, Arthur Bowie Chrisman Shen of the Sea: Chinese Stories for Children and Harold Keith's Rifles for Watie. The latter two books I'm not at all familiar with. Rifles is set in the Civil War, so it stood out having just finished the first of the Shelby Foote Civil War books. Shen of the Sea just sounded interesting. Picking Oscar Wilde is self explanatory.

I'm going to read a grownup book again soon. I really am, and I just may write about it.