Howard Pyle

Posted by Sherry on 3/5/2004 in General |

Today is the birthday of Howard Pyle, American illustrator and author. I think whoever did Pirates of the Caribbean was looking at Pyle’s illustrations.


Kerry is Lurch

Posted by Sherry on 3/5/2004 in Current Events |

I found this picture at Southern Appeal. Even if you don’t know who Lurch was and you’ve never seen The Addams Family, you’ll still be scared silly by this one:

Lurch for President!


Spin Sisters

Posted by Sherry on 3/5/2004 in General |

I read about this book at collectingmythoughts, Norma Bruce’s blog, and it sounds interesting. It’s about the “liberal bias” at women’s magazines such as Woman’s Day and Family Circle. Full Title: Spin Sisters: How the women of the media sell unhappiness and liberalism to the women of America.

So many books, so little time. Add it to the list.


Texas Primary Election

Posted by Sherry on 3/3/2004 in Current Events |

I got a postcard from Texas Homeschool Coalition PAC today; it turns out that the people I had already decided to vote for (see post on February 28th) are the same people THSCPAC is supporting. Always nice to have confirmation of my own good judgement.


John Austin

Posted by Sherry on 3/3/2004 in General |

I looked this name up since today is his birthday and found that he was a student and writer in the area of law and juriprudence–not very successful. However, the most intriguing thing I found was this tribute to his wife, Sarah:

Much of whatever success Austin found during his life, and after, must be attributed to his wife Sarah, for her tireless support, both moral and economic (during the later years of their marriage, they lived primarily off her efforts as a translator and reviewer), and her work to publicize his writings after his death (including the publication of a more complete set of his Lectures on Jurisprudence) (Austin 1873).

Wow! Wouldn’t that be a great epitaph: “Most of his success was due to her.


In honor of the Academy

Posted by Sherry on 3/1/2004 in Movies |

In honor of the Academy Awards last night and in honor of Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson, I present the next ten movies on my list. I know all of you are waiting with bated breath to see my picks–still in alphabetical order, of course.

21. Driving Miss Daisy (1989) This movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1989, and Jessica Tandy won Best Actress. It’s about the friendship between an elderly Southern Jewish lady and her black chauffer. Third Daughter says it’s extremely boring, but I like old people and relationship movies.
22. Emma (1996) Jane Austen is the best novelist ever, and even though I don’t care much for Gwyneth Paltrow, but Jeremy Northam is good as Mr. Knightly. We watched this one at a REACH retreat last year, and all the moms enjoyed it.
23. Fantasia (1940) Classic Disney. Surely, just about anyone in North America who hears the music to “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” thinks of Mickey Mouse and his broom.
24. Father Goose (1964) Another Cary Grant movie, this time with Leslie Caron on a deserted Pacific island during WW 2.
25. Father of the Bride (1950) Spencer Tracy makes a better father than Steve Martin, more twinkle-in-the-eye. And Elizabeth Taylor is beautiful as usual.
26. The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Anyone who isn’t a LOTR fan by now just doesn’t get it, and I probably can’t explain it. Suffice it to say that Peter Jackson and all the cast and crew of all three movies deserved all the Oscars they won last night and then some. If you think the movies are good (and they are), the books are even better. Frodo lives!
27. Fiddler on the Roof (1971) Tevye the Jewish milkman talks to God and tries to understand his wife Golde and looks for husbands for his six daughters.

Perchik: Money is the world’s curse.
Tevye: May the Lord smite me with it. And may I never recover.

Tevye: As the good book says ‘Each shall seek his own kind’. In other words a bird may love a fish but where would they build a home together?
28. Finding Nemo (2002) I’m Dory. “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming . . .”
29. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) Jessica Tandy again, in a nursing home sharing her memories with Kathy Lee Bates. It’s kind of a mystery, reminiscence, Southern, chick flick with zero romance, sort of feminist but not too.
30. Funny Girl (1968) I can’t stand Barbra Streisand, and I love her singing and acting. In fact, there are at least three Barbra Streisand movies on this list, and in one of them she doesn’t even sing much. In this one she does sing, and she plays an insecure Jewish actress who becomes rich and famous but never can quite believe the the Ugly Duckling has turned into a Swan.

All good movies. You should see them, Eldest Daughter. What’s your score so far? How many out of 30 have you seen?



Posted by Sherry on 3/1/2004 in General |

Are you interested in how the essay portion of the new SAT, due to premiere in March 2005, will be graded? Thanks to Southern Appeal (sidebar) for this link to a column by some Princeton Review folks on the subject.


Belated Birthdays

Posted by Sherry on 2/29/2004 in General |

I got all caught up in politics and movies and missed some important authors’ birthdays. February 25th was Cynthia Voight’s birthday–one of my favorite Young Adult authors, I really like Homecoming and Dicey’s Song and the other books about the Tillerman family. Voight has especially good characters, Here’s a website for teaching materials for her novels, but I always think it’s more fun just to read books, never did like filling out worksheets. ( I must admit that I sometimes make my kids do the study questions and the worksheets, but not nearly as often as they would have to in a classroom.)

February 26th was Victor Hugo‘s birthday. From some books I remember characters; from others I remember quotations–or at least try to remember quotations. From Les Miserables, I mostly remember scenes. Of course, there’s Jean Valjean being chased by Inspector Javert through the sewers of Paris and Jean Valjean the convict caught red-handed with the Bishop’s candlesticks and Monsieur the Mayor lifting the cart off the injured peasant and Thenardier looting the bodies of the dead soldiers after some battle (Waterloo?). The scene I usually remember first, though, is that of Thenardier’s children huddled inside Napoleon’s elephant statue.

The bourgeois in their Sunday clothes, who passed by the elephant of the Bastille, often said, eyeing it scornfully with their bulging eyes, “What’s the use of that?” It’s use was to save from the cold, the frost, the hail, the rain, to protect from the wintry wind, to spare from sleeping in the mud, which breeds fever and from sleeping in the snow, which breeds death, a little being with no father or mother, with no bread, no clothing, no sanctuary. Its use was to receive the innocent whom society repelled….This idea of Napoleon’s, disdained by men, had been taken up by God. What had been merely illustrious had become august…The emperor had a dream of genius; in this titanic elephant, armed, prodigious, brandishing his trunk, bearing his tower and making the joyous and vivifying waters gush out on all sides around him, he wanted to incarnate the people. God had done a grander thing with it, he sheltered a child. (p. 957)

I also remember staying up until 2:00 AM when I was in college reading Les Miserables for the first time. I had an 8:00 AM class that morning, but it didn’t matter. It was worth the “hangover” to find out what would become of Cosette and Gavroche and Marius and Jean Valjean. Even though the Accuser pursues us to the ends of the earth, may we. too, be saved by His amazing grace.


And here you can see

Posted by Sherry on 2/29/2004 in Current Events |

And here you can see someone actually acting out Mr. Beckwith’s suggestion.


Beckwith’s Follies

Posted by Sherry on 2/28/2004 in Current Events |

Francis Beckwith, who happens to be one of Eldest Daughter’s professors at Baylor, suggests in this blog post that social conservatives engage in some “street theatre” in order to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of what’s going on in San Francisco. He suggests that conservatives go to city hall and “request marriage licenses, but not for gay marriages, rather, for other sorts of “unions??� that are also forbidden by the state: three bi-sexuals from two genders, two men and a goat (or another non-human companion), one person who wants to marry himself (and have him accuse the mayor of “numberism,??� the prejudice that marriage must include more than one person), two married couples who want a temporary “wife swap lease,??� a man who wants to add a second wife and a first husband in order to have a “marital ensemble,” etc., etc. Let’s see if the mayor will give these people “marriage??� licenses. If not, why not?”

I even thought of more ideas. Why couldn’t Eldest Son and I get married? Or since he’s not yet “a consenting adult,” Eldest Daughter and I could tie the knot. After all, we love each other, and why should anyone be able to deny us the right to express that love? I do already have a husband, but why should that be an obstacle? Why can’t I be married to both of them? I love both of them. I heard that in France the other day they issued a marriage license for a woman to marry a dead man. I want to marry Tolkien. And why do we have to limit marriage to humans? My friend loves her cat; why can’t they get married? (I, on the other hand, would pay good money not to live with or marry any cat. Each to his own.) The permutations are endless–if marriage means whatever Mayor Newsom and I choose for it to mean.

When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,’ it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’ –Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Who is defining the words these days? Is anyone out there?

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