Friday, April 18, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book twenty-four: The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

"Some people like it."

Seems like a harmless enough statement, but for Ruth Ramsey, the sex ed teacher, those four words lead to the introduction of an abstinence only sex ed class that she can't bring herself to teach.

I loved this book and am beginning to think that Perrotta belongs in my 'favorite authors' category. I haven't read a book or story of his yet that I didn't think was awesome.

24 down plus 28 to go.

Book twenty-three: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by

Hen and I thoroughly enjoyed the treatments Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle prescribed to parents who called her in distress. Problems that needed cures like "The Won't-Pick-Up-Toys Cure," "The Answer-Backer Cure," "The Never-Want-To-Go-To-Bedders Cure," and "The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure." The parents always tried to find someone with a similar problem and always found their way to Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Her treatments may have been unusual - The Radish Cure - but they were always successful.

23 down plus 29 to go.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Book twenty-two: Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph. D.

The subtitle of this book is "The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men". It focuses on video games, teaching methods, prescription drugs, environmental toxins, and devaluation of masculinity. 

Since last year (I think) I read a book that also looked at video games, and more generally screen time, that stated vastly different outcomes regarding aggressive behaviors, etc., further inquiry is required before I can make up my mind. 

What I found most interesting was the discussion of how school has changed, and how the changes have distanced boys from their education and removed much of the incentive to be engaged in the learning process. We know that kindergarten today is more like the first grade of thirty plus years ago. In 2007, a NIMH study showed differences in brain development of girls and boys. (Sax was careful to note that the study warned that "differences do not imply an order of rank".) While the pace of education has accelerated, boys brains are not developing differently. We have also moved away from teaching knowledge from experience to more of a knowledge from books model of education. 

You know what? I kind of think I took copious notes and that it would be far more effective to just recommend the book than try to piece together a summary of his work. 

22 down plus 30 to go.

Money is speech

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

What the hell are they thinking?

F---ing Roberts.

Dave sums it up best with this comment:
"I don't even have $2600 to give to a single candidate much less $1 million to toss around to dozens of candidates. All I have is a measly vote, which seems to count for less and less these days."

Although A.P. was pretty spot on, too:
"One nation, under the dollar."

Puarau said:
"Free Speech has become an oxymoron. Without millions in my bank account, who is going to listen to me?"

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

PJA Used Book Sale 2014

I bought a lot of books. During the last few hours of the sale, they allow you to fill a grocery bag with as many books as possible for $10. I ended up packing that sucker with 32 books. 32 books, ladies and gentlemen.

  1. Mosasaurus: Mighty Ruler of the Sea
  2. The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade
  3. Jewish Days and Holidays
  4. Flotsam
  5. American Tall Tales [one of my favorites, the illustrations are most excellent]
  6. Paul Bunyan and His Blue Ox
  7. Pip Squeak Book Collection (3)
  8. The Digging-est Dog
  9. Great Day for Up
  10. Down on the Farm with Grover
  11. A Day in the Life of Oscar the Grouch
  12. The Bobbsey Twins at School
  13. Superman: Darkseid's Revenge
  14. The Magic School Bus: Wet All Over
  15. The Magic School Bus: Hops Home
  16. The Magic School Bus: Ups and Downs
  17. The Magic School Bus: Inside Ralphie
  18. Pickle-Chiffon Pie
  19. Yummers
  20. It's a… It's a… It's a Mitzvah
  21. Bunnicula
  22. Not-So-Perfect Rosie
  23. A Jigsaw Jones Mystery: The Case of the Vanishing Painting
  24. A Jigsaw Jones Mystery: The Case of the Glow-in-the-Dark Ghost
  25. Dinosaur Cove: Attack of the Tyrannosaurus
  26. The Kids of Einstein Elementary: The Last Dinosaur
  27. Horrible Harry and the Dungeon
  28. Horrible Harry in Room 2B
  29. Persnickity
  30. More Spaghetti, I Say!
  31. Peter Potts
  32. Very Funny, Charlie Brown
  33. Bed-Knob and Broomstick
  34. The Boxcar Children: Tree House Mystery
  35. Rascal
  36. The Tushy Book
  37. Meet the Superhero Squad
  38. Caps for Sale
  39. Frogs
  40. Edward the Emu
  41. The Amazing Bone
  42. Armadillo Rodeo
  43. The Mine-o-saur
  44. The Wednesday Wars
  45. The Bridge to Terabithia
  46. The Red Umbrella
  47. Harriet the Spy
  48. My Life with the Lincolns
  49. Snow 
  50. Then Came You
  51. Body Surfing 
  52. The Postmistress 
  53. Water for Elephants 
  54. Canada 
  55. Waiting 
  56. What the Night Knows
  57. The Sunday Philosophy Club
  58. The Wednesday Sisters 
  59. Villages
  60. The Abstinence Teacher 
  61. The Stupidest Angel 
  62. The Keepers of Truth
  63. D. H. Thoreau: A Writer's Journal 
  64. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe 
  65. Seabiscuit
  66. The Time for Decision
  67. The Fall 
  68. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (In Eye-Popping 3-D)
  69. Donald Duck's Toy Sailboat
  70. Madeline's Rescue
  71. Dumbo
  72. Space Cat
  73. Dinosaur Valentine
  74. Dinosaurs!
  75. There's a Nightmare in my Closet
  76. The Chanukkah Guest
  77. The Secret Chicken Club
  78. Miss Rumphius
  79. The Little Pig Who Listened
  80. How I Captured a Dinosaur
  81. National Geographic: Great Migrations
After hearing a discussion about the old books donated for the sale, I checked a few of the ones I brought home. It turns out I bought a First American Edition of Albert Camus' The Fall (value range $50-$200), a First Edition of Sumner Welles' The Time for Decision (value range $40-$250), and a First Edition of Pickle-Chiffon Pie (value range $30-$50). Old books are really cool.