Tuesday, May 30, 2017
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If you were a creative artist and decided to paint dozens of old bicycles white and make a fence around your yard with them, at what point would you realize this is a great theme for a children’s book? Bicycle fence. (Photo credit: bestbib&tucker) Sculptor and landscape designer, Tom Noll, in Washington, DC, just wrote his first children’s book around the theme of recycling, called The Bicycle Fence. Based on his decade-long white bicycle fence project in Manassas, Virginia, which he famously decorated for holidays and various occasions, Noll’s book introduces children to... (Read More ...)

It’s tempting to throw crazy into the mix when you are describing Jenny Lawson’s autobiography, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir). A self-portrait of the Bloggess, also known as Jenny Lawson, an Internet blogger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) But, when she already reveals that she has generalized anxiety disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and rheumatoid arthritis, crazy not only seems like piling on, it obscures her genius. Her genius is describing her life in such a way that you are rolling on the floor laughing. I try not to read book passages out loud to my... (Read More ...)

My granddaughter is already writing her wish list for Halloween, starting with a skull piñata. McCollum memo Page4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I never had to think too much about costumes for Halloween because my great-aunt, Helen Zander, a missionary who taught English in Japan all her adult life, gave me a kimono when I was in elementary school. Aunt Helen had been recruited to be a missionary while at Hope College, in Michigan, a college associated with the Reformed Church, of which her family were members, the school she would eventually gift with her book collection after her death. She was... (Read More ...)

Probability: Independent vs. Dependent Probability mass function of sum of two regular dice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Materials: Paper bag that you cannot see through 10 things of three colors, such as M&Ms, jelly beans, suckers, buttons, tiles Paper Pen or pencil Optional: change the number of colors or items Instructions: Draw a line across the paper. Above the line, write the name of each color Count the number of items of each color Just below the line, write down the number of items of that color Draw 10 lines below the color names and number them 1 through 10 Put all the items in... (Read More ...)

I recently watched the movie, “No One’s Perfect” and decided I had to get the book it was based on, the autobiography of a man born with no arms or legs. Calhan, Colorado high school physical education equipment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The movie showed the author during one year of teaching, how he related to his students, how he managed his considerable challenges, which were less about his physical needs than the reaction of students and teachers alike to him. As movies often do, it turned out the movie had little to do with the book. Instead of focusing on a single year of teaching,... (Read More ...)

I asked my mother what was in her mother’s cedar chest when she gave it to me. Doroteo Arango Arámbula (June 5, 1878 – July 23, 1923), better known as Francisco or “Pancho” Villa, a Mexican Revolutionary general. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) “I don’t know.” “You don’t know?” “I’ve never opened it.” This is as close as my mother ever came to admitting she had emotions. Over the years, I’ve taken a few things out. My grandmother’s wedding dress was packed away carefully. I took it out to wear to my mother’s 80th birthday and it now hangs in a closet. A poster... (Read More ...)

I got most of my medical information from television shows when I was growing up. Cream – Seizure Alert Dog (Photo credit: certified su) One of the most dramatic scenes was if someone had a seizure. A quick-thinking bystander would force a strong stick in their mouth, sideways, so they couldn’t swallow their tongue. Let’s give tv writers the benefit of the doubt and assume that that was the prevailing medical advice at the time. But, it isn’t the advice now. Now, the advice is “never, ever do that,” according to pediatricians Dr. Aaron Carroll and Dr. Rachel Vreeman, authors of... (Read More ...)

When my son was seven or eight, he came home from a friend’s house, disappeared and was very, very quiet. Karen and Richard Carpenter, 08/01/1972 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Anyone who has a young child knows that prolonged periods of quiet, if they’re not sleeping, is a danger sign. I went to find him to see what was going on. As soon as he opened his mouth, I smelled something awful. It turned out that a friend had dared him to take a bite of a deodorizer disk that his Mom used in the toilet. Why he did it, I’ll never know. But, the next thing we did was call the poison control center. They... (Read More ...)

Six Years Old Algernon Charles Swinburne. A true poet from Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day (Photo credit: Wikipedia) By Algernon Charles Swinburne   To H.W.M. Between the springs of six and seven, Two fresh years’ fountains, clear Of all but golden sand for leaven, Child, midway passing here, As earth for love’s sake dares bless heaven, So dare I bless you, dear. Between two bright well-heads, that brighten With every breath that blows Too loud to lull, too low to frighten, But fain to rock, the rose, Your feet stand fast, your lit smiles lighten, That... (Read More ...)

If a piece of cake is to be added to another piece of cake, the pieces need to be converted into comparable quantities, such as cake-eighths or cake-quarters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Unit fractions Materials 5 donuts Optional: loaf of bread, small pizzas, bagels, cups of milk Instructions Divide the five donuts evenly among 8 people Optional: divide 5 pizzas, bagels, bread loaves or cups of milk among 8 people What Should Happen? If you divide each donut in half and give each of the 8 people one half of a donut, then divide the remaining donut evenly into 8 pieces and give each one a piece,... (Read More ...)