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My humorous thoughts about life.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

#GBE2 The Birds and The Bees

When given the topic of instinct, I can't help but remember our first and only attempt at mating a dog. Let me clarify this for you knuckle heads, we didn't mate with our dog but rather found him a golden beauty in heat. Her papers read "pure bread," just like our first child.

Never did my husband place his arm around our young golden retriever and explain the birds and the bees, nor did I read him "Where Did I Come From?" by Peter Mayle. We didn't get him a bouquet of roses to give to his girl on their first date, nor did he even shower for the event. Yet Swizzle knew what to do. As soon as the female strutted her goldeness into the yard, he jumped on her with embarrassing thrusts that belonged in a porno flick. Those two rolled and swayed, then our studly dog slip on his bathrobe and lit a cigar.

This made me think back to early man and wonder if they too knew instinctively what to do because the young humans of today seem clueless without instructional videos or sex education at school. What did that cave woman think when the blood first poured out of her and onto a rock? If no one ever discussed mating rituals, would young people today instinctively know what to do? I think not.

Sadly, our dog's fatherhood adventures turned south when the bitch's owners caught her digging in the backyard. Over the course of the pregnancy, she'd miscarried and instinctively knew to bury her lost pups. Having been pregnant three times, I can't imagine losing a baby and digging a hole in the ground. As humans, we've lost this natural animal instinct, but where did it go? Perhaps communication has made it easy to forget what we used to know without being told.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Power of Words

Many young mothers love to brag about how intelligent their babies are because they can say a word or two. Although my daughters spoke early and often, my first born son was a quiet mover who barely said much his first year of life; however, Daniel rode a bicycle before his third birthday. Of course now that my kids are 23, 21, and 18 years old, no one knows or cares about their early development.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant minds ever, continually worried his mother because he didn't talk until he was three or four years old. One evening at the dinner table he said, "The soup's too hot." His mother, being thrilled and relieved to hear her young son speak, asked why he had never spoken before. Young Einstein said, "Up to now everything has been in order."

Although we like to tune into the first words of babies, kid speech is more fun as they bumble through our language not always knowing what their words mean. In a fourth grade classroom, a child was assigned to describe the country of Belgium in twenty-six pages--one page for each letter of the alphabet. If that child knew what urinate meant, she wouldn't have written, "Belgium men urinate in the streets" on her U page.

Kids are not the only ones who sometimes misinterpret language. I remember a father from long ago who used to love to show everyone how smart he was by using "big" words; however, he sounded like an idiot when he called the parent/teacher conference a tryst! Not with you, moron.

Misinterpreting language is not new to our millennium. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt hated the typical small talk and flattery that he received at the Washington parties, so at one event he greeted his guests by cheerily saying, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." Most people smiled, paid the president a compliment, and moved on. Towards the end of the evening, he came upon an active listener who diplomatically said, "I'm sure she had it coming to her."

Since I started with Einstein's first words, let me end with Karl Marx's last words in 1883. His maid asked him if he had any dying words that she could write down for prosperity. He said, "Go on, get out - last words are for fools who haven't said enough."

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: King of Ithaca by Tracy Barrett

King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett
Ever pick up a book while thinking, I'm not going to like this but I'll give it a girl scout try; then you find yourself totally blown away from its brilliance? I'm talking about a book which might have been a catalog from a tool store as far as my interest in that subject matter was concerned. But OMG, "King of Ithaca" by Tracy Barrett is an absolutely amazing book!

Tracy took a teen, with a name I can't pronounce, and sent him on a perilous journey to find his missing father, none other than Odysseus. She threw in the wit of a stinky, cave-dwelling monster, the camaraderie of good friends, a few mythological twists, multiple near death experiences and voila, a page turner I couldn't put down. Tracy, your book is brilliant! Up there with Percy Jackson's fantastic quests but fresh in that it wasn't overdone in the area of monsters and myth. In fact, the scariest monsters were of the human variety.

I know my students will love "The King of Ithaca"; however, once one kid reads it and starts talking, it's going to become so popular in my classroom that I may have trouble prying it out of their little fingers. I've got to get Tracy to autograph my copy at the Midsouth SCBWI Conference, so do I let the little scholars circulate it or do I hold it at home until after the conference? Oy! Such a wonderful problem.

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