Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review, Graphic Novel: MAYA MAKES A MESS

In this Toon Book from Candlewick Press, Maya’s parents try to teach Maya basic table manners such as “use your fork,” “sit up,” and “use a napkin.” They tell her she needs manners because what would she do if she were eating dinner with the queen. Well, immediately after Maya gets invited to have dinner with the queen. She’s flown to the palace and is seated next the queen for dinner. At first, she’s terrified and at one point is horribly embarrassed. Then the unexpected happens and things don’t turn out the way they should.

MAYA MAKES A MESS is a beautifully illustrated book. The colors are vivid and it’s easy to discern what each of the characters feels by looking at their facial expressions. However, the book is disappointing because instead of teaching manners or a moral, it does the opposite. In the end, Maya doesn’t learn anything and leaves for home to teach her parents a lesson. I realize that the book attempts to make a point that it’s good to do things unusual sometimes. However, that’s not a lesson that children really need to learn. In our current society children are basically allowed to do whatever they want at schools because there can be no real discipline and teachers are fired or written up for trying to bring some order to a classroom. Children need to be taught manners and learn that they aren’t the center of the world. MAYA MAKES A MESS teaches the exact opposite.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Is on Your Screen

Everyone should read this article:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

President Obama and the Budget

I'm not always a fan of Glenn Beck. Also, I realize that it can sometimes use the same statistics to support opposing viewpoints. However, that isn't the case here. The federal budget deficit has been growing exponentially larger since President Obama took office. As a nation, we literally cannot afford to keep this up.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pac-Man Meets the Ghostbusters

In today's The Argyle Sweater, Pac-Man meets the Ghostbusters.

The Argyle Sweater, Saturday, August 18, 2012, by Scott Hilburn

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cecil B. DeMille on the Bible

"After more than sixty years of almost daily reading of the Bible, I never fail to find it always new and marvelously in tune with the changing needs of every day."  --Cecil B. DeMille

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Something Wonderful This Way Comes

When I was rather young, I saw a special on tv entitled Something Wicked This Way Comes. It was the film version of Ray Bradbury's story and had been adapted into a television movie. It's a story about a carnival that comes to a small Midwestern town and some very strange and spooky things start happening when it does. That film scared me, particular the things that happened to those who came under the spell of Mr. Dark. Despite my fright of that particular story, I was never actually scared of carnivals. As a kid, carnivals were wonderful places filled with bright lights, good food, and exciting rides.

I still like carnivals, but more because of the excitement and joy they bring to others. When you reach a certain age, they don't let you ride kiddy rides anymore unless you're someone's parent or guardian and much of the magic and excitement of a place transformed disappears when you aren't young or don't have people in your life to share it with.

This weekend (Aug. 17th & Aug. 18th) is the Sorento Homecoming: the weekend when the carnival comes to my hometown. If you're in the area (zip code 62086), drop on by. Watch the parades, buy a raffle ticket, play some bingo, and eat a funnel cake. Just be sure you don't make any deals with anyone whose last name is Dark.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Post-Book Education?

--Jonny Hawkins, 2012 Teacher Cartoon-a-Day Calendar

Quint's Sweet Revenge

I found this hilarious.
"Brevity," July 25, 2012 by Guy, Rodd, & Dan

Friday, August 10, 2012

Meet My Old Friend Melancholy

The weather today, Friday, August 10, 2012 here in the greater-St. Louis metro area (IL side) has been like that of a bright autumn day. At the office I work, the people who have stopped by and many of the people I have talked on the phone remarked what a beautiful day it is. As much as I'm happy for the break for those who work outside and who have endured the hottest month in recorded history and even though I recognize the beauty of nature around me, I would not describe today as being a beautiful day. The weather today is too much like the crisp autumn days of October instead of the usually sultry days of early August. October is a part of Autumn and I don't like Autumn very much anymore. Autumn is the precursor to Winter and Winter is the discontent of my soul. So, while everyone around me seemed to be basking in the crisp freshness of a cool day after two months of sweltering heat and humidity, I found myself struggling to ignore my old friend melancholy.

Melancholy is misunderstood in the post-modern American culture I live. People often equate it with depression. They are wrong. Depression brings about a sense of almost total apathy mixed with sadness. Melancholy isn't like that. Melancholy is a sense of longing and loss that's similar to nostalgia, but it's a much stronger and more intense feeling than nostalgia. Also, though there is sadness, there is no apathy.

Melancholy and I have known each other for many years. I don't know when we first became acquainted but I believe it was sometime when I was just in college for the first time or shortly after I had graduated. It would leave during the spring and summer when the weather turned bright and the hopeful promises that were hidden behind the dark and drab coverings of winter finally began to break free. It seems that every autumn since then, melancholy returns. Things will be fine and then the weather turns and suddenly, melancholy is back.

I don't look forward to it's return, but I am aware that autumn usually brings it back. However, it's only the beginning of August. There's more than a month more of summer, so I was taken aback by today's sudden appearance.

I'm sure that the recent closing of ALL SHOOK UP! has something to do with it. Any experienced actor knows that after the close of a show, it is often soon followed by a sense of loss that is sometimes mixed with longing. Even bad shows often cause this effect. It has to do with a group of diverse people uniting together for a common cause and all that jazz. Due to the bond that was created on this show and the special production that it became, I know that this feeling of loss and longing will be more intense and probably last longer. However, even when you're prepared for something, you can never fully prepare yourself for how the event actually unfolds. I know that's part of what has happened with the closing of ALL SHOOK UP!

Sometimes I wish melancholy would leave me alone. However, I know that it's visits have made me a better and stronger person than I would be otherwise. I'm more empathetic and caring now than I would have been if melancholy had never visited me.

So, meet my old friend melancholy. He's not the most welcomed of guests, but despite the sadness he brings, he'll actually make your life better in the end.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

THE Show to See

If you happen to be around the Highland, IL area this Friday-Sunday, I highly recommend that you come out and see ALL SHOOK UP! It's a show you don't want to miss. I've been in several musicals and I can honestly say this is the favorite musical I've ever been in. You don't want to miss out.