Published November 30, 2007
Fun , Writing
Thanks again to Christy for bringing up an old childhood favorite, the poem “Halfway Down the Stairs.”
If you remember the Muppet Show, I believe there was a song, sung by the Kermit the Frog’s nephew Robin that features the words from this poem. I was able to go through several of the other poems by Milne at the link below. There’s something more than soothing and comforting about his poetry. It’s not just because they are so evocative of the simplicity of childhood.
Thanks to Christy’s reference. I actually added the Youtube video of the Muppet Song below
“Halfway Down the Stairs”
By A. A. Milne
Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn’t any
i’m not at the bottom,
i’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
Halfway up the stairs
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else
Published November 30, 2007
Language , Writing
Okay, I’ll admit it: I did go to the link on the Muppet Wiki and read the transcript on how the show explained Mr. Hooper’s Death, and I did get a little teary. Thank you, Christy, for sharing this with me. I think I was a little older than the average viewing audience of Sesame Street when Mr. Hooper died, but I still remember it affecting me. I forgot that they aired this episode during the Thanksgiving Holiday to make sure that there were adults around to help children understand and cope with the message on the show.
This reminder of Sesame Street’s history of dealing with difficult topics for children as well as the joy and love of learning the show promoted caused me to wonder about some of the overly politically correct whitewashing that can happen these days. It’s quite ironic really the original intent of P.C. was to handle terminology around diverse people in a respectful and friendly way, and bring to the forefront of language and discourse some of the unpleasant things we hid under the carpet during the oppressive and dismissive era of the 50’s and before. However, in a way P.C. can become just as oppressive as the antediluvian mores that dominated previous times. I’m not saying that P.C. isn’t well intended, or that it’s okay to blurt out racial epithets in public a la Archie Bunker or support racist legislation, I’m just saying we should use our heads more about how we talk about or to others with respect, people. Maybe our children will learn from our example.
Mark Your Calendars for National Cookie Day – December 4th
However, on a brighter side, I did find out that National Cookie Day is coming up: December 4.
I’m actually thinking of doing a batch of Christmas Cookies a little early for a winter tea party, so I’ll be able to celebrate National Cookie Day in style.
Published November 28, 2007
Blogs , Collaboration , Creativity , Development , Education , Innovation , Learning , Performance , Stuff I love , Teachers , Training
I found this great piece on Nethack: 15 steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning
I thought that this list had some nice suggestions for keeping the passion for learning alive.
UNESCO characterizes 21st Century education as being education geared to developing lifelong learners. It’s no secret that these types of learners are usually the best innovators, problem solvers, etc. I suspect an indirect consequence of being a lifelong learner is that you are able to solve not only professional issues but personal ones as well. Well, at least we can only hope.
I started putting together a list of characteristics of lifelong learners. It’s not complete, but it’s a start.
Lifelong Learner Characteristics
- Are insatiable knowledge seekers – they continually seek learning experiences or opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills
- Are social learners – Lifelong learners learn both from and with others. The will take classes or look for social groups. They usually seek out acquaintances who are better or more knowledgeable in fields than they are
- Don’t simply just take in information – they analyze, synthesize and or apply what they’ve learned
- Are teachers themselves – lifelong learners usually openly share what they know because they understand that having open networks actually gives them more access to the information from others.
- Never think of themselves as the ultimate expert in anything
Characteristics of Lifelong Learners – Click on the image to view a larger version
Published November 28, 2007
Bloggers , Blogs , Ignorance , Stupid , Web 2.0
… that bother me.
#1 – Sesame Street (old version) rated unfit for children
There’s something about this that really just doesn’t sit right with me. Apparently, someone thinks that the early characters of Sesame Street are bad role models for their children. A bright blue googly-eyed impulsive monster who demolishes cookies and a cantankerous and scruffy old man with green fur who lives in a garbage can with his garbage. Come on people! These are probably the most beloved characters from Sesame Street’s Golden Age!
Can these studio executives, adults and parents be this obtuse and pudding-headed? We, and I’m speaking literally because I was one of the early generation who grew up with Sesame Street when Mr. Hooper manned the store – we loved those characters because of their faults.
What’s next will they deem Grover unfit for young viewers because he’s a classic ADHD case? Or will Big Bird be out because he’s addle-headed and slow?
#2 Ad spies in the blogosphere
I cannot really approve any comments unless I see that the commenter has a ‘real blog.’ Yes, I mean a real blog that doesn’t have a bunch of random gobblygook mashed together or a blog that doesn’t ‘smell’ like it’s being powered by a search generator or programmed spider. I’m thinking about those old Hammer movies from the sixties and seventies and the old beliefs about vampires. You should never invite them into your house… otherwise.
So if you’ve left a comment and were a real person and not an internet vampire and I didn’t approve it, I apologize but I cannot do so without prove that you’re not from the underworld of advertisement.
I hate the fuss over Christmas. I like giving gifts, but I don’t like the drama or hassle that comes tied in guilt and knots when it comes to holiday giving. My solution= find a place on the internet that I’ve visited this year either on the internet or in ‘real life.’ More, I have to have absolutely loved the products I found there. Funny, everywhere I go now, if I like a store or business I always ask stores if they have a website, and if I can purchase their products online. It’s a really good way for businesses to keep tourist dollars coming even after the tourists have gone home.
When we were in Madison, WI this summer we went to visit the Soap Opera. I fell in love with their homemade glycerin soaps (Primal Elements Handcut Soaps). I even brought home a Pirate Soap (decorated with “Skull and Bones”) for my husband… he refuses to use it because it’s so cool looking. I don’t mind because it actually has the most lovely scent of vanilla and marshmallows. The soaps come in such beautiful and curious designs that it’s hard to resist. I was given a sample of the “Dragonfly” soap… and after I tried it I regretted not purchasing a slice. I actually love this glycerin soap in general because it’s super mild and the essential oil blends they use on the soaps aren’t super intrusive or garish.
Also, I enjoyed reading the story of one of the owners of the shop: “How I Got from Art Major to Business Owner.” I think it’s a wonderful story of one person’s journey through life trying to balance work and business with what one loves to do… especially if that means making ‘things.’ I believe that the booming business of crafts and handmade products is no coincidence considering the fact that we live in a growing world of virtual concepts through technology.
Oh, oh, oh….I also found the retailer of these soaps made to imitate natural gemstones. At the Soap Opera, I purchased the Red Jasper soapstone for my mother as a gift. But it looks like you can get the soaps here at a discounted price. Well, my Christmas Shopping is done! And I didn’t even have to push through crowds at a mall.
What ever happened to that old addage… if you’re going to say something bad – then don’t say anything at all. Obviously the first person who uttered this wasn’t around when the internet was in existence. This is one of the sad but unfortunate things about the internet, it gives people an ample amount of space for airing out their dislikes. Okay, I know I’m just as guilty of this as the next person on the web. Who hasn’t been at work on a bad day and typed in a phrase like “I hate work” into Google. I remember doing this when I was in a job I was having a difficult time with. There was a moment when I actually felt a little paranoid about typing this, as if someone would watch the meanderings of someone as insignificant as myself and then punish me for it, but I quickly shrugged that notion aside. Perhaps even discovering the voices of other people on the internet who felt the same way I did actually help reinforce my resolve to hammer on at work like a good corporate citizen… until I found a better job.
Today I ran across this curiousity, The Hate Index. I’m not sure how the actually qualify occurrences of what counts or how often the counts are tabulated. I question their methods of gathering data, but the whole concept is interesting if not somewhat disturbing. Do they do specific or exclusive searches by searching for the text “I+hate+hamburgers”? Also are they searching in different languages or just English?
According to this index:
- 335,000 people hate to think
- 111,000 hate reading (but obviously they still like posting their opinion about reading on the Internet)
- More people (112,000) hate music than reading or math
- More people hate America than reading, math, and spiders
Also, it’s terribly disturbing to see the intolerance of people portrayed in this list. Now, honestly, I don’t know that we should give this particular list a lot of credence (especially considering the number of ads all over it), but it is a bit of a frightening thought that through the technology of powerful searches you can basically take a litmus test of what everyone who is verbal on the net is thinking or feeling. It’s almost as if the net houses our collective opinions and thoughts. This body of feelings can become a ‘living’ entity as it grows and changes like a coral colony with the different people who add to it.
Hate Index: http://www.hateindex.com/index.jsp?number=100