Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. Amazon is going to war against publishers, which is good for consumers, but bad for readers. Aren’t they the same thing? Yes and no. Consumers want the best price for everything. Readers want to be able to get new books from their favorite authors. But if publishers and authors cannot afford to put out new books, there will be nothing left for readers to consume. Here’s an excellent article about what’s going on right now.
  2. In case you haven’t heard, Great Britain is pulling some American classics from their school curriculum lists, including one of my all-time favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird.
  3. Kickstarter campaign to bring back Reading Rainbow!
  4. Here’s a list of 17 Bookstores to visit in Australia. Notice how many of them feature used books. But if you aren’t Down Under, maybe stop by Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.
  5. And a bit of fun – “A Day in the Life of Everyday Astronaut”

Enjoy!

A Killer Love Song

Guitar Macro 1So, I came across a song I wrote a while back. Rather, I came across the lyrics and the tune escapes me. If you are musically inclined, feel free to make up a tune and make the song famous. Just remember to give me proper attribution and my half of the profits.

A Killer Love Song

Verse 1
I’m not gonna kill you with a gun.
I’m not gonna poison you, that wouldn’t be much fun.
I’m not gonna stab you in the dark.
I’m not gonna throw you in a pool full of sharks.

Chorus
Cause I’m gonna kill you with kindness.
And I am gonna love you to death.
So if you wanna put on a nice dress,
We are gonna paint the town red.

Verse 2
I’m not gonna hit you with my car.
I’m not gonna get you with a ninja throwing star.
I’m not gonna disembowel your guts.
I’m not gonna slice you with a million paper cuts.

Bridge
Not gonna cut your brakes
Not gonna eat your face
Not gonna tie you to a rocket bound for outer space.

Enjoy!

The Risk of New Things

Nearly all of my favorite things have been introduced to me by someone I know. My college professors assigned the writings of Kurt Vonnegut in class. A former coworker let me borrow some of her Terry Pratchett books. A writer friend told me to check out Jasper Fforde. I learned about the music of Jethro Tull on a college visit to a prospective school (which I did not end up attending). And on and on.

180px-Wheat-Thins-Box-SmallVery few things have I discovered to be good on my own. In fact, the only thing that I can think of that I discovered on my own is the combination of Wheat Thins crackers and cinnamon applesauce. I would encourage you to try it. Use them together like you could chips and salsa.

So why is it that I do not discover more good things without help?

I think there are two main reasons:

  •  I go back to the things that I know I enjoy.
  • I try new things only when I trust the source.

But perhaps I’m missing something by limiting my exposure to past successes and trusted sources. Maybe if I tried new things without being prompted, I discover a whole world of amazing things.

Then again, maybe I’d be wasting my time and money on bad things when I could be enjoying proven entities.

Yeah, I’m probably not going to change my system anytime soon. I’ll just continue to rely on others to introduce me to good things.

Have you ever taken a risk on something new without first being introduced to it and it was awesome? Do share, so I can enjoy it too. I mean, if I trust your opinion, that is.

On the Origin of Dawdling

Photo by Scott Wieman

Photo by Scott Wieman

Confession time. There are times when my eldest daughter drives me a bit crazy. If this makes me a bad parent, then I have a feeling that the world is filled with bad parents. Not that everyone is annoyed with my eldest daughter (at least, I hope not). But kids have a tendency to know just how to push their parents’ buttons.

With my eldest daughter, it is her dawdling.

It’s true. She’s a dawdler. Anything she can do slowly in order to put off something that she doesn’t want to do, she does as slow as possible. Admittedly, the reason this probably annoys me so much is because it is a trait within myself that I dislike, but that’s (slightly) beside the point.

In recent conversations with various family members, I’ve discovered that the word “dawdle” is semi-archaic. And though it is a perfectly apt word, it is one that is not much used in today’s parlance.

That got me curious about the word’s origin. What I found out was pretty interesting.

Dawdling is for the birds. Well, one bird specifically: the daw, also known as the jackdaw.

Borrowed_plumesThe jackdaw is a relative of crows and ravens, perhaps named for the sound that it makes. It is semi-famous for it’s role in Aesop’s fable about vanity in “The Bird in Borrowed Feathers“. Tradition holds that the daw was a silly bird with a slow walk.

In fact, the daw’s name likely influenced the name of the walk for which it was famous, then known as daddling (think waddling, but with a d and pronounced differently). Soon, daddling was being used for anything done slowly, not just walking speed (don’t think that the irony of my daughter doing things slowly and my last name being Mosey (a type of slow walking) is lost on me). Over time, daddling became dawdling and apparently fell out of modern usage.

Well, my wife and I use it still, but I wish we didn’t have to. I’d be so happy if I never had to say, “Stop dawdling!” to my daughter again. But then, she’d probably start saying it to me, so maybe I’ll just have to learn to accept it to some degree.

I am wary of my daughter’s non sequiturs

159_non_sequitur

A non sequitur is a statement that has little or no relevance to the words or discussion immediately prior to its inclusion.The Latin root, literally means “it does not follow”. And my daughter loves using them.

The trouble with being a parent to a child who loves spouting whatever comes into her head, is that you are never prepared for whatever verbal bomb she may drop into an otherwise unremarkable conversation with friends or acquaintances.

For example, we just attended an outdoor barbecue where she loudly announced, “Sometimes, my grandma’s toenails are…”

And then there was this awkward pause while we all considered the possible endings to that sentence.

“painted” she finished.

“That could have been worse,” said our host. “I was afraid for a moment that I was going to have to explain the world of foot fungus to your daughter.”

Usually, her non sequiturs are pretty tame, but I’m just waiting for the one that isn’t. Being a parent is fun.

Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. What is the best way to get an award for your book? Write a book that bashes awards for books! Simple.
  2. I realize that I am not British. I do. But I still find reading habits to be quite interesting, especially since I work in a bookstore and my livelihood depends on people’s reading habits. Also, please buy and read more physical books.
  3. If you transcribe a message from the heavenly hosts, who owns the copyright? Here’s an interesting story that answers that question.
  4. What’s this? A newly unearthed (or should I say un-Middle-Earthed) recording of Tolkien talking about the true meaning of the Lord of the Rings? Yes, please.
  5. And if after yesterday’s post, you are inspired to learn Spanish with my wife and I, here are a whole bunch of free online tools to help us all on our journey.

Enjoy!

New Tricks / Old Perro

dog_sleeping

My wife, DeAnne, and I have decided to learn Spanish. So far, it is going muy bien (very well).

The impetus behind our bilingual quest lies in my wife’s boredom when not being challenged with new knowledge or additional responsibilities. It is possibly for this reason that she never gets bored with me as a spouse. Not that I am always bringing new knowledge to the table, but I’m sure that being responsible for me is one of those ongoing challenges from which no person could ever escape/overcome.

Wow. That was beside the point.

Anyway, we settled on learning Spanish (as opposed to another language) for a number of reasons:

  • There’s a large and growing Spanish-speaking population where we live in West Michigan.
  • DeAnne’s company operates a plant in Mexico and it would be nice to be more conversant with her Mexican counterparts.
  • Being bilingual is a huge plus for any resume.
  • Spanish uses the same alphabet (for the most part) as English, so we don’t have to learn a billion Chinese characters.
  • We both already have a little prior knowledge from our high school Spanish courses, so it should be somewhat familiar.

When looking at the programs out there to teach new languages, the one that is most highly regarded is Rosetta Stone. But that one is also quite expensive, and something free would work better into our budget.

Thus, we happened upon Memrise, a free website that helps people learn a whole bunch of different things, including Spanish.

So far, we’ve done two lessons in as many nights, but already I was able to fool a native Spanish-speaker into thinking that I knew more than I did.

Sure, it was a toddler at the library who was playing with my girls of similar age, but that doesn’t matter. Plus, her mom taught me the Spanish word for owl (“búho” rhymes with duo).

So here’s to old dogs and new tricks!

Have you learned a second language? What tips or resources did you use?

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen | My New Favorite Kids’ Book

9780061953385While at our last visit to the library, my wife happened upon a book with a familiar look to it. We own a couple of Jon Klassen’s books and were surprised to see the bunny from I Want My Hat Back on the cover of another book. That other book was Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen.

The synopsis is this:

This looks like an ordinary box full of ordinary yarn.

But it turns out it isn’t.

This is one of those books that is great because it hits on multiple levels. Sure, it is about a special girl with some extra yarn, but it is also an encouragement for people of all ages to use their gifts well.

Run, don’t walk, to your local bookstore and loudly demand it from the humble staff today.

Seriously. I don’t even want to say too much about it, because I really want you to discover its beauty for yourself.