Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hillary or Obama, quick...

I found this at Oh!Pinion and borrowed it:

Well, as of today, we have two outstanding finalists for the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. As I have said before our party has been rich in talent for the Presidential race this year. Partly out of loyalty I have stuck with John Edwards until his withdrawal from the race today. His campaigned failed, mainly IMHO, because of money and the media (see above). Here is his statement today. John Edwards is a class act. I hope President Clinton or Obama will find a good way to use this man in the next administration. (I said, "I hope..." I know we still have a ways to go to make it happen!)

I have been thrilled in a way, but also very frustrated, that my second choice was very hard to make. I believe either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama would make a great President.

If I had to vote today, I'd vote for Hillary Clinton. I am thrilled as a teacher of many little girls to be able to tell them with great conviction, "You, too, could become President of the United States one of these days. I am excited to see the enthusiasm of my daughters for an American President who is female.

For myself, I am excited to think that someone so closely involved in the White House in the boom years of 1993-2001 will be our President. I am pleased to think that someone with whom I feel such kinship after reading her autobiography will be President. I am happy to imagine someone who has shown such loyalty and honor and wisdom and poise and openness to biprtisanship under incredible pressure and vicious hate from the far right will lead our country.

Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I believe a Clinton - Obama ticket would be very strong. What an orator to campaign for our ticket, what an inspiration as the first black person on amajor party ticket, and as VP what an asset to be an ambassador for our country as we rebuild our position in the world community. And if things go right Vice President Obama would be a great candidate for President in 2016. That is just very exciting to me!

By the way: Hillary Clinton outpolled each of the Republican candidates in Florida with NO campaign. Why wasn't that bigger news! I know, I know, it was a "straw poll" in a way, but still impressive! Those were real voters in huge numbers getting out to express their preferences. And the Democrats together, with no campaigning, out-polled the Republicans despite the tight race between McCain and Romney and two other strong candidates. That seems like mighty big news to me.

Hurray for Hillary!!
Hurray for Barack!!
Hurray for John Edwards!!
Hurray for America!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Concert: Ecclesiastes

Turn, Turn, Turn-
To Everything There is a Season

It was interesting to hear this week, on NPR I think, that the reason the Beatles stopped live concerts was that they could not hear each other for the screaming fans and felt their skills were not improving because of that. So they became a studio group. Listening to the juvenile screams of the Byrds' fans helps me to understand that. I have enjoyed Pete Seeger since the early sixties - I heard Turn Turn Turn before the Byrds recorded it. I was flattered once when my mother heard Pete singing on record, and when she came into the room said she had thought it was my voice.

This song is one of the few pop songs ever to have come so directly from the Bible, yet the handwritten original was owned by the Communist Party of the United States until 2007, according to Wikipedia. (Alas, Pete was indeed, until 1950, a Communist.)

Here's the famous Byrds rendition and then a discussion by members of the Byrds and by Pete of the origins of the song.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Doncha love those ginkgos!

I love trees. Always have. I loved climbing trees as a kid. One of my favorite recurring dreams involves realizing my inate but previously-and-inexplicably-overlooked ability to fly -- always , at first, from limb to limb of a tall tree. (Analyse that). Even as an adult I've climbed a few trees, but it's been a long, long time. (At sixty, I hereby declare: I will climb again!) And as any regular readers of these posts know, I often post pictures or stories or poems (another) of the woods (another), trees, leaves, bark, nuts, woodland trails, and/or animals playing in trees.

One tree - an imported ornamental - I watch out for, especially in the fall, is the ancient relict from the Orient, the ginkgo.

I like to watch out for the ginkgo's yellow phase each fall. These trees have the purest yellow of any tree, surely, but it lasts a very brief time and the leaves seem to fall lemming-like from the limbs in one fell leap to oblivion. Well, actually they can be enjoyed as a beautifully pure yellow carpet for a number of days afterwards. There's a group of three lining the Fifth Avenue side of the old Forrest Hotel on Broad that pave the sidewalk and street in gold each fall.

And there is this one in the yard of the Floyd County Courthouse here in Rome, Georgia.

Ginkgos are living fossils. They are classified in their own division, class, order, family and genus. Ginkgo biloba is the only species extant. All it's near relatives died out before the end of the Pliocene.

I remembered these pics when I noticed that the Festival of The Trees is being hosted at Ginkgo Dreams. Maybe I'll submit this little post to that carnival. Do you have a tree post? (Redcedars make the best, hereabouts. Chuckle.) Why don't you share it with the Festival of The Trees?

I am no expert, but here is a little of my observation and understanding of ginkgoes. (My expert friend, Richard Ware, may read this and straighten me out where I err.) If you'll look closely at the photos you'll see how there are many ginkgo leaves along each branch rather than the more random branching of many yellow trees, like maples. There are many beautiful yellow maples in the fall, but the ginkgoes hold onto their leaves till they all decide to jump off in one day or so. The leaves are a very even yellow and are sort of rubbery and they are a very distinctive shape. Do a google search for "ginkgo leaf" and you'll see what they look like and that they are a design often used in jewelry and and other man-made items. A close look tells you immediately the origin of the species name "biloba" - most of the leaves have two lobes. The ginkgo is little unusual in that the species is dioecious, that is the individual trees are either male or female.

Here are some interesting pics of ginkgo trees and leaves.

The ginkgo is considered to be endangered because people cultivate it by cuttings rather than seed, and people like the non-smelly males. (The fruit produces the same acid found in parmesan cheese ... and in up-chuck. Yuck.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Call for Submissions! #9

Call for Submissions! #9
Thursday, January 24, 2008

The February 2008 issue (our ninth!) of

Learning in the Great Outdoors

is being hosted by Silvia at
Po Moyemu - In My Opinion

If you have written or read an interesting post about the great outdoors, submit it to Silvia today. If you have a suggestion of a deserving website that should be noticed by those interested sharing nature with children, pass it along. Do you have a favorite nature-related children’s website that would be a candidate for the Virtual Outdoors award? Send it to Silvia. Would you like to see this carnival grow? Copy this Call for Submissions to your own blog! And after Silvia posts #9 (around February first), post an announcement and link on your blog. Help us make Learning in the Great Outdoors a great tool for anyone interested in watching children learn in the context of the environment around us.

And here are our scheduled editions for the rest of 2008:
#10 Mar 2008
Alone on a Limb or a volunteer yet to step forward
#11 April 2008
The Heart of Harmony (Barb)
#12 May 2008
Alone on a Limb or a volunteer yet to step forward
#13 June 2008
Miss Rumphius Effect (Tricia)
#14 July 2008
Alone on a Limb or a volunteer yet to step forward
#15 Aug 2008
A volunteer yet to step forward
#16 Sept 2008
Alone on a Limb or a volunteer yet to step forward
#17 Oct 2008
A volunteer yet to step forward
#18 Nov 2008
Alone on a Limb or a volunteer yet to step forward
#19 Dec 2008
A volunteer yet to step forward

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

37 Years!

I knew when we started out from Wilmore, Kentucky, that I would take an unscheduled side trip around Fort Mountain along the way to Atlanta. I wanted to ask a question. I wanted the right answer. I needed a little help and I thought the sound of Holly Creek splashing down the mountain, the smell of green pines, the majesty of the Cohutta...
We walked among the giant pines. She rested against one and I leaned in to kiss her, and asked my question.

She gave the right answer! Just one word expressed unreservedly, enthusiastically, beautifully.

That was 37 years ago today.

January 23!

I wrote about it, briefly, two years ago.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

PTSW : Fog

We'll be making fog in a bottle in science class tomorrow. Sandburg's famous little image is a great one to introduce metaphor.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

by Carl Sandburg

Got a weather unit? Challenge your students to write a similar briefly extended metaphor about some other climatic condition. I'll try a few starters:


The cyclone bolts
past in bobcat bounds...


The snow falls
with a mother's care....


The hail pounds the cars
with ten thousand ball peen hammers...


Previous Poems to Start the Week:
Snow DayOde to Things
A Visit from St. NicholasMiceAll In a WordThe SpiderThe Eagle
Some PeopleCustard the DragonStatistics 101The Spider and the Fly
Back to SchoolThe Inchcape RockOgden NashTrash
Hearts, Like DoorsCasey at the BatAlways a RoseHome at Last
Bag of ToolsCarpe DiemPoems About PoetryMan's Best Friend
Spelling is Tough Stough!Blue MarbleTacks, Splinters, Apples and Stars
Oh, Captain, My Captain!MetaphorIntroducion to Poetry
Loveliest of TreesFlax-Golden TalesThe Dinosaurs Are Not All Dead
Owl PelletsMummy Slept LateJust My Size
The Kindest Things I KnowMiles to GoLove that Brother
Oh, Frabjous Day!

Other Posts about Children's Literature:

A Teacher's Life

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.
And then there's Alien Invasion.

A weblog dedicated to Poetry for Children.
Watch Sonja Cole's reviews of children's books at
The PBS series Favorite Poem Project