Sunday, December 30, 2007

Let It Snow!!

Hope you're enjoying the holiday week. In case you haven’t recieved any snowflakes, here's a site containing some amazing photomicrographs of snowflakes and snow crystals.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Say It Ain't So, Roger!

He was a Chicago White Sox. He was illiterate. He was charismatic. He was a .356 batter. He was "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

He was once asked, "It isn't true, is it, Joe?" He responded, "Yes, boys, I'm afraid it is."

He was a New York Yankee. He was a college graduate. He was charismatic. He was a seven-time Cy Young winner. He is Roger "The Rocket" Clemens.

He was mentioned 82 times in the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball. He declined to meet with Mitchell to discuss the charges.

It may be a long winter this year. See you in the Legends Field bleachers at 1:15 p.m. on February 29th.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Goin' Home: A Tribute To Fats Domino

To some, the simple, sincere and unassuming sound of Fats Domino would seem an unlikely catalyst for one of the most star-studded tribute productions of recent times. But the appeal of Domino s music and its signature sway of swamp rhythm remains strong a half century after the release of his original recordings.

Goin' Home, which also functions as a benefit for his New Orleans neighborhood, provides 30 tracks of Domino's music, offering an expansive and intriguing overview of the possibilities it contains, with performances by everyone from a couple of Beatles to Willie Nelson. The album features a wide variety of adventurous collaborations and personalized interpretations. While the big-name guest stars do their pan. the New Orleans natives shine brightest in the selling.

With Buddy Guy joining in on guitar, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band backs young soul singer Joss Stone on "Every Night About This Time," while Lenny Kravitz fronts an embellished version of the Rebirth Brass Band, including saxophone legend Maceo Parker, on "Whole Lotta Loving." In similar fashion, Robbie Robertson gets the benefit of playing in front of Galactic and Robert Plant gets support from the all-star Cajun group Lil' Band o' Gold.

One of the most memorable collaborations comes on the title track, where B.B. King joins Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, reinforced with a horn section featuring Donald Harrison Jr. and special guest Herbert Hardesty. the tenor saxophonist heard on the original recordings. Harrison reappears on the most experimental track, Oki Dara's radical reconfiguration of '"When I See You."

Several of the musical patriarchs of the New Orleans scene, such as Dr. John and Art Neville, lead their own groups, while Mardi Gras Indian icon Big Chief Monk Boudreaux teams up with Galactic for one of the album's most authentic tracks, "So Long." International citizen Taj Mahal fronts the all-star assemblage of the New Orleans Social Club on a great take on "My Girl Josephine,'" while Marcia Ball and her band back soul queen Irma Thomas on "I Just Can't Get New Orleans Off My Mind."

Some of the tracks, like Randy Newman's "Blue Monday," Norah Jones doing "My Blue Heaven," Bruce Homsby's rendition of "Don't Blame It On Me" and Lucinda Williams’ tasty "Honey Chile" are superb displays of artistic simplicity. But most of the tunes are more elaborate productions, juxtaposing artists and styles while remaining true to Domino and his music.

Notes by Michael Point - Downbeat December 2007

Love for teaching developed early - in the first grade

Each Friday, The Citizen features someone in education from the Finger Lakes community. The week of December 21, The Citizen spotlighted Sarah Cameron of Herman Avenue Elementary School.

Q. What is most rewarding part of being a educator? Why?

A, I feel there are many aspects that can be rewarding. If I had to choose one, I would have to say when everything just seems to fall into place both academically and emotionally. When this happens that child is so proud of themselves and their accomplishments.

Q. What is the most challenging aspect of the job?

A. There just isn't enough time in one day to accomplish all we need to as teachers. When many children come to school with so many outside problems it is hard to really get through
all of the academics because their basic needs have to be met first.

Q. Kids say the darnedest things. What is the funniest question a student has ever asked you?

A. Really when working with the little ones they are always saying the darnedest things. I have to say the funniest things these children say are about things that happen at home and how they interpret it to us at school is so off the mark. It comes out so funny by the time they reach school.

Q. School year: Too short, too long or just right? Why?

A. Just right! What some people don't understand is that each time we have a break it is well needed. Not just by the teachers, but most importantly the children. For those that think
we have too much time off, I would love for them to come and do our job for one day. Then, I'll ask them again if they think we have too much time off.

Q. If you weren't teaching, what would you probably be doing?

A. If I weren't teaching, I probably would have become a nurse. My mother is a nurse and her profession had always fascinated me. I love watching any medical shows on television.

Q. Fill in the blank. The best teacher I ever had was ___ because __.

A. Mrs. Messina. She was my first grade teacher at Herman Avenue. She was stern and demanded respect, but on the other hand was very nurturing and caring. I can still remember what room I was in and just how the room was set up. Thank you Mrs. Messina for inspiring me to be the teacher I am today!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Auburn's “Singing Barber”

Auburn's “singing barber,” Philip J. Simone, 92, died peacefully at the Homestead Nursing Home in Penn Yan on Tuesday, December 18, 2007.

The lifelong Auburn resident and active communicant of St. Francis of Assisi Church was well known for singing in his barbershops. Simone had a song in his heart for all 50 of the years he groomed customers in his Genesee Street barbershop on East Hill.

He began barbering 80 years ago when, in the Depression as a 12-year-old, he began to work at Joe Caio's barbershop on the corner of Barber and Washington streets. Three years later, he started his own shop.

“He always wanted to be downtown,” said his son, Philip.

In fact, all three of Simone's barbershops were located on or near Genesee Street. In addition to the East Hill location, he had an earlier barbershop on Market Street and another where the park across from Wegmans is now located.

Simone's likeness, however, is permanently preserved downtown in a mural next to the Colonial Laundromat on Genesee Street. A barber pole painted on the right of the mural calls attention to a figure inside of the barbershop cutting hair - Simone.

He greatly admired singer Perry Como, who started out singing in his own barbershop in Utica. Simone had followed the singer's career after Como sang at the Pavilion in Emerson Park in the 1940s.

In 1983, Simone received an autographed photo from the singer inscribed, “To my friend Phil Simone, from one barber to another. Salute, Perry Como.”

The photo surprised Simone, who hadn't requested it. He suspected that his friend, Frank Nastri Sr., who played golf at the same Florida course as Como, suggested the gift.

Earlier, Simone performed with many “big bands” that played in Auburn and at Owasco Lake during the 1940s.

He met his wife, Antoinette Daloia, at the Pavilion listening to the big bands of Tommy Dorsey and Bunny Berrigan.

“He once had an audition scheduled with Ted Mack,” Philip recalled, “but he didn't go on the audition. He never said why. It was bittersweet, extremely personal.

“He just loved singing. Sometimes to us kids it was an annoyance.”

His repertoire came straight from vaudeville. Such oldies as “When You're Smiling,” “You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You,” “When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New,” and “Alexander's Ragtime Band” peppered his performances.

He never wanted to be paid.

Because Simone's birthday fell on St. Patrick's Day, he “adopted” the Irish. He liked the color green and would often go to events at the Ancient Order of Hibernians and sing. It didn't matter what the occasion was.

He also loved law and politics, so he attended political events and hung around with lawyers and politicians, according to his son.

He had his picture taken with John F. Kennedy and even received an invitation to Kennedy's inauguration. Even though he had to be sensitive to the political leanings of his clientele, he kept that picture above the mirrors in his shop.

Baseball was another of Simone's interests. Besides local baseball, he and his wife always went to Yankees games in New York.

When Simone closed up shop in 1986, he donated the contents, his barber chairs and display shelves, to Auburn prison.

“When he walked away, he walked away from it entirely,” Philip said.

Philip remembered family gatherings. He would play the accordion, his father would sing, and his mother would get up and dance with his dad.

For those that knew him, Philip said, he was always there.

“He sang songs no matter where he was. They asked him to sing.”

Even after Simone developed Alzheimer's and he was living at North Brook Heights Residential Care Home, someone playing a guitar in the lobby called him up to sing.

“I don't think he knows the words,” his son said, but when Simone got up to sing, he didn't miss a beat.

Simone lived at Boyle Center until last November when his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to Homestead in Penn Yan.

His wife also was moved from Auburn to Syracuse with a similar affliction.

“We have fond memories,” he son said. “He lived a wonderful life.”

Article used the notes of Kathleen Barran.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Course On Fire

This photo of the Highland Golf Club fire took Honorable Mention in JorjDotOrg PhotoHunt - Emergency Services- 2007-12-18.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Well now if I have to swim a river, you know I will
And if I have to climb a mountain you know I will
And if she's hiding up on a blueberry hill
I'm gonna find her, child, you know I will
Cause I've been searching, oh yeah, searching
My goodness, searching every which a-way, yeah-yeah
But I'm like the Northwest Mountie
You know I'll bring her in some day, gonna find her
Well Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade got nothing, child, on me
Sergeant Friday, Charlie Chan, and Boston Blackie
No matter where she's hiding, she's gonna hear me
Cause I'm gonna walk right down that street
Like Bulldog Drummond because I've been searching
Oh Lord, searching, mmm child
Searching every which a-way, yeah-yeah
You know I'll bring her in some day, gonna find her

Lyrics - Leiber & Stoller
Performers - The Coasters (1957)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snow Shoveling

In 2006, more than 31,000 people in the United States were treated for injuries suffered while shoveling snow, reports the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these shoveling safety tips:

- warm up your muscles

- pace yourself

- use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and weight

- push the snow, don't lift it

- don't throw it over your shoulder or to the side.

Megan Jane

Megan Jane Laderer

Born: 11:57 AM December 13th

3 lbs. 14 oz.

17" long

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mamie's Soapstone

Today bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs in our houses are heated the same as all the other rooms in the house. If we want heat in a bedroom, we turn a knob on the wall and — heat; or we turn on our electric blankets.

Great Grandma was not as fortunate. The upstairs rooms in Great Grandma's house were not heated. Great Grandma had on her kitchen stove what were called soapstones (pictured here). They were real stones that would be heated by a wood fire in the stove. Before going to bed these stones would be placed in the bed and the heat from the stones would make the bed nice and cozy when you jumped in.

These stones were also used in the sleighs when going out in me cold of winter. They were put in a cloth bag and placed on the footboards, where they would keep your feet warm.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Store Front

This photo of Smiley's Florist took third place in JorjDotOrg PhotoHunt - Store Front - 2007-12-11.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Change Your Latitude

These words are the wisdom of Charles Swindoll:

Attitude is more important than past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home.

The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Charlie's Bathing Suit

ca. 1890-1920

Summer in Lowville in the 1890s through the 1920s was characterized by young boys sporting a worsted California one-piece style suit

They had a cotton ball in each ear to help keep the water out, and they enjoyed the cool water on a hot day.

Many municipal laws stipulated that from in the morning to 8 in the evening, no one was allowed to swim in city waters unless wearing "sufficient garment from neck to knee."

Made of compactly twisted woolen yarn (worsted), the one-piece "California" style suits such as the one shown here tended to be quite heavy. They weighed about nine pounds when wet and had a tendency to fall down. As a result, when two-piece suits were introduced, they became popular. They permitted more freedom to move and had less danger of accidental exposure.

The heavyweight worsted men's bathing suit, whether, owned by an average citizen or by an icon of the 1920s, was worn in creeks, at swimming events and at the local swimming hole.

As can be seen in the photo above, the California one-piece style was most popular between 1918 and 1924. Navy blue was a favored color, with three white stripes above the bottom hem, and it opened by button on one shoulder. Men's bathing suits have come a long way since the 1920s, and one can only wonder, what would they think if they could see us today?

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Little Information About Stillwater

The drive up the Number Four Road to Stillwater is one of my favorites and the Stillwater area itself is intriguing. Like many others, I enjoy its beauty, but have very little knowledge of the area. I happened upon some information about Stillwater that I thought I'd share with you. At the present time the primary purpose of the reservoir is flood control for the Black River Valley. However, this wasn't always the case. In 1878 it was originally flooded to allow logs to be floated down to the Beaver River to facilitate the logging industry. At 100% capacity, the Stillwater reservoir holds 3.63 billion cubic feet of water in its 6,700 lake acres. It has 128 acres of shoreline. The current dam was built in 1922 and since that time the reservoir has been managed by the Hudson River-Black River Regulating Authority.

The area has an abundance of wildlife such as the bald eagle, bear, beaver and otter. Stillwater has one of the largest loon populations in the state and the water holds an abundance of small mouth bass, splake, lake trout and yellow perch. I'm sure fishermen are well aware of what a splake is, but for those who are unfamiliar with this species it is a man-created hybrid between two native trout resulting from the fertilization of lake trout eggs with brook trout sperm. The hybrid combines many of the qualities of its parents — including the brook trout's fast growth and the lake trout's large size. During the winter season there are guided six- and eight-hour snowmobile tours.

Observations by Ramona Salmon

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mentz Church

Historic Mentz Church, dating back to 1825 with its clean white gabled facade set in the green outskirts between Montezuma and Auburn, in many ways echoes the frontier times when it was first built, a time when quilts and the art of quilting were at their peak.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Giant Hogweed

Giant hogweed has been seen in Cayuga County for several years. It is most often found in ditches or similar damp spots as it needs moisture. Giant hogweed can be cut with care, but one should wear long pants and long sleeves and gloves for the job, and if the plant appears to have gone to seed, covering it with a plastic bag before cutting and disposing of it.

Joan had an encounter with this vicious weed during the summer. Her experience was not pleasant.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hidden Treasures

They're everywhere. That is what surprised me most. When I first heard about a newfangled treasure-hunting game called "geocaching"—a form of hide-and- seek using a handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) device—I pictured hiking to remote wilderness areas. I soon learned that dozens of the clev- erly placed containers, or caches, lie right near my suburban home.

It works like this: At the Web site, enter a country, state, or zip code to open long lists of waterproof caches posted by participants called "cachers." Some 300,000 hiding places exist worldwide, with more added every day. I type in my zip code to find plenty nearby.

Latitude and longitude coordinates measuring north from the equator and west from the Greenwich meridian identify each within a few feet, and occasionally riddle-like clues spice up the challenge.

Using a battery-powered GPS unit (they sell for $100 to $1,000) and bringing my adventurous 12-year-old daughter along, I begin searching. Soon we're poking around places we've never really noticed. We locate an army surplus ammo box tucked in
a hollow tree trunk along a walking trail; it's filled with plastic insects and an essay about nature's marvels. We find a film canister dangling from string inside a fencepost on a landscaped traffic triangle containing a tiny logbook crammed with signatures scribbled by those who preceded us.

Geocaching is addictive. Besides exploring close by, when my family travels far by car, we pinpoint caches along the way and stretch our legs finding them.

I spot people walking around with GPS units and now know what they're up to. In a very geeky way I enjoy finding caches, reading logs, leaving notes, and slinking away, unnoticed except perhaps by other cachers. As I've learned, they're everywhere.

Healthy benefits

• Learning a new skill such as geocaching gets you moving and helps you stay motivated
to be physically fit.

• Exploring on foot in the fresh air can give you an extra boost of energy.

This article by Joe Rada appeared in the November 2007 issue of Southern Living.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Looking for the Perfect Job?

Here it is.

My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned. I couldn't concentrate.

Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the ax.

After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn't suited for it -- mainly because it was a so-so job.

Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was too exhausting.

Then I tried to be a chef, figured it would add a little spice to my life, but I
just didn't have the thyme.

I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn't cut the mustard.

My best job was being a musician, but eventually I found I wasn't noteworthy.

I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn't have any patience.

Next was a job in a shoe factory; I tried but I just didn't fit in.

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn't live on my net income.

I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.

So then I got a job in a workout center, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.

After many years of trying to find steady work, I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

My last job was working at a coffee house, but I had to
quit because it was always the same old grind.


Thursday, October 18, 2007


Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on.

Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.

Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.

Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?

Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.

If Wal-Mart is lowering prices every day, how come nothing is free yet?

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.

We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors....but they all exist very nicely in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Have a great day.


Viewed as walking along the Cayuga Community College Nature Trail.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Charles Schultz Philosophy

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.

These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields.

But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.

Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.


The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.
They are the ones that care.

Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." ~ Charles Schultz

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Cookie Theory

• If you eat cookies standing up, there are no calories.

• If you eat holiday cookies after the holidays, there are no calories.

• If you break a cookie in two and eat half now and half later, there are no calories.

• If you eat your child's leftover cookies, there are no calories.

• Cookies eaten in the middle of the night have no calories.

• Cookies eaten in the car have no calories.

• Cookies eaten off the floor with strict adherence to the five second rule, obviously, have no calories.

• Cookies taken out of the dog's mouth have no calories.

And, of course, there is the Cake Corollary:

• Cake eaten right off of the platter has no calories.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Society of Childlike Grownups - Join Now!


You have been named a charter member of The Society of Childlike Grownups

And You Are Hereby Entitled To:

Walk in the rain, JUMP in mud puddles, collect rainbows, shooting stars and fire flies.

Smell flowers, blow bubbles, stop along the way, build sandcastles, watch the moon and stars come out,

Say HELLO to everyone, go barefoot, go on adventures. Sing in the shower.

Have a Merry heart , read children's books, act silly, make faces in the mirror, take bubble baths, get new sneakers, hold hands & hug & kiss. Dance.

Fly Kites, play with balloons, laugh out loud and cry out loud, wander around, wonder (???) about stuff, Feel SCARED =:-o sad ;-( MAD @#$%! Happy, :-)

Give up worry & guilt & shame. Stay innocent. Say yes and no and the magic words, ask lots of questions.

Ride bicycles, roller-skate. Paint and draw with crayons using every color in the box, see things differently. Fall down and get up again.

Talk with animals, look at the sky, trust the universe, STAY UP LATE.

Dream of far away places and castles in the clouds.

Hop and skip for no reason. Don't step on cracks and try to stay on the same color tiles
when walking in the mall.

Climb trees, take naps, do nothing, daydream.

Play with toys, play under the covers, have pillow fights, learn new stuff.

Get excited about EVERYTHING, be a clown, listen to music, find out how things work.

Make up new rules, tell stories, save the world, make friends.

And do anything that brings more: happiness, celebration, relaxation, communication, health, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, grace, self-esteem, courage, balance, spontaneity, passion, peace, beauty, and life energy to all humans and beings of this planet.

FURTHERMORE, the above named member is officially authorized to frequent forests, playgrounds, picnic areas, summer areas, summer camps, birthday parties, circuses, bakeries, ice cream parlors, theaters, aquariums, zoos, museums, planetariums, toy stores, festivals, and other places where children of all ages gather to play AND is encouraged to always remember the motto of our society.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Satchel Paige Quotes

"Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter."

"Ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common."

"I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I would toss one that ain’t never been seen by this generation."

"Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move."

"They said I was the greatest pitcher they ever saw…I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t give me no justice."

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." "Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines."

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"

"Money and women. They're two of the strongest things in the world. The things you do for a woman you wouldn't do for anything else. Same with money."

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."

"You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them."

"My pitching philosophy is simple; you gotta keep the ball off the fat part of the bat."

"I never had a job. I always played baseball."

"Mother always told me, if you tell a lie, always rehearse it. If it don't sound good to you, it won't sound good to no one else."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Jagger Rule

You can’t always get what you want.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Church Lady Speaks

A church bulletin had a clever poem about criticism that began:

A little seed lay in the ground
And soon began to sprout;
"Now, which of all the flowers around,
Shall I," it mused, "come out?"

The seed could then be heard saying, "I don't care to be a rose. It has thorns. I have no desire to be a lily. It's too colorless. And I certainly wouldn't want to be a violet. It's too small, and it grows too close to the ground."

The poem concludes with this verse about that faultfinding seed:

And so it criticized each flower,
That supercilious seed,
Until it woke one summer hour
And found itself a weed!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bill Gates' Advice

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! To anyone with kids of any age, or anyone who has ever been a kid, here's some advice Bill Gates recently dished out at a high school speech about 11 things they did NOT learn in school. He talks about how feel-good-politically-correct teachings created a full generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it.
Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone, until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping - they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

For Catholics Only

This information is for Catholics only. It must not be divulged to non-Catholics. The less they know about Catholic rituals and code words, the better off they are.

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending Mass.

CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.

HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.

HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation's range.

RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.

INCENSE: Holy Smoke!

JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to found colleges with
good basketball teams.

JONAH: The original "Jaws" story.

JUSTICE: When kids have kids of their own.

KYRIE ELEISON: The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize
besides gyros and baklava.

MAGI: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.

MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn't covered by an HMO (The Bible's way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.)

PEW: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.

PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.

RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.

RELICS: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know when to sit, kneel and stand.

TEN COMMANDMENTS: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.

USHERS: The only people in the parish who don't know the seating capacity of a pew.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Highland Golf Club Burns Down

Aftermath - Took this photo at 3 PM.

Fire crews in Auburn spent much of the afternoon battling a fire at the Highland Park Golf Club on Franklin Road.

Investigators have determined the fire that destroyed the Highland Park Golf and Country Club was accidental.

The 7,500 foot clubhouse was just renovated in 1996, but it will now have to be torn down.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Story Catching

Author Christina Baldwin is a "storycatcher." She feels everyone is born into life as a blank page - and every person leaves life as a full book. Our lives are our story and our story is our life. Story is the narrative thread of our experiences -- not what literally happens, but what we make out of what happens. Story is what we tell each other and what we remember. This story or narrative determines much of what we do with the time given us between the opening of the blank page on the day we are born and the closing of the book on the day we die.

Become a story catcher. Start sharing your stories about life in your world. Those stories from your memory and personal experiences. These stories might include family, friends and neighbors.

To share your "Story Catching" - click on Comments and type in your story.

Friday, July 27, 2007

"Love Train"

People all over the world, join hands
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world, join hands
Join a love train, love train

The next stop that we make will be England
Tell all the folks in Russia and China too
Don't you know that it's time to get on board
And let this train keep on riding, riding on through

People all over the world, join hands
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world, join hands
Join a love train, love train

All of your brothers over in Africa
Tell all the folks in Egypt and Israel too
Please don't miss this train at the station
'Cause if you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you

People all over the world, join hands
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world, join hands
Join a love train, love train

People all over the world, join hands
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world, join hands
Join a love train, love train

Monday, July 23, 2007

Writing Workshop - "Foreign Country Trip"

Notre-Dame Basilica

"Foreign Country Trip"

As a prompt for writing, create a reason why you must suddenly travel to a foreign country. While there, observe what you can, for example, what kind of money is used, how do the people travel around, what are the public services like, what kinds of food are available in markets and restaurants. Conclude your writing piece by showing what you most appreciate about America when you got home.

Here is an example:

I am an engineer and my company signed a contract to send four engineers to repair a leaking dam on a river in Costa Rica. We were each given our own room in a hotel in San Jose. the money here is called colons but most places will also take American dollars, There are a lot of buses in the city but we had to rent a car to get out to the dam. Sometimes we passed horses pulling carts on the road. This city has a police department and a fire department. Their siren sound funny. The restaurants sell Spanish style food. Black beans and rice are always offered for every meal. I was very glad to be able to order a Big Mac and french fries when we got home.

Make use of Google and other search engine to find items on the country you choose to visit.

Here is another example:

Montreal, Canada

A red number 8 was flashing on the telephone answering machine. Pushing the play button the recorded message began: "You have 1 new message and 7 old messages. New message - Hello Daemon, this is John Cursor, your old college roommate. We are getting together for a reunion and hope that you can join us. Let me know. My phone number is area code (705) 267-1892".

As our plane made its approach to Dorval International Airport, I recalled that Montreal is the largest city in Quebec and the second largest in Canada, with a metropolitan population of 3,359,000.

Although visitors from United States do not yet need a valid passport to enter Canada. The custom officer asked me for proof of my U.S. citizenship. I showed her my birth certificate.

Departing the airport terminal a chauffeur holding sign with a blue block lettered BUSHNELL on a white background caught me eye immediately. On the ride to the John's condominium at the prestigious 333 Sherbrooke address we passed the Olympic Stadium.

The remains of a recent snow storm were evident as we looked through the picture window in John's beautiful residence. From our perch in this summit of luxury we had a great view into the heart of the city.

On the second evening of our visit we used the public STM transit system's subway to go to a restaurant for dinner. We choose the Lebanese cafe, Monsieur Falafel. I ordered the falafel plate. John had couscous with steamed couscous veggies (carrots, turnips, zucchini, chickpeas) and harissa hot sauce. Offering to pay for the meal, I gave the waiter a purple $10 bill and a green $20 bill. My change was two coins, a large gold-colored $1 coin and a large bimetallic $2 coin. I left a blue $5 bill as a tip.

Our reunion was held at the Casino de Montreal. Built inside the pavilions of France and Quebec from Expo '67, this gaming hall provided a place to renew old acquaintances. A roaring, fun time was had by everyone.

As my pilot turned the 747 south towards Syracuse, New York, the spires of Notre-Dame Basilica, one of Montreal's many beautiful churches, glistened in the sunlight. I was glad that I was able to attend the reunion.

To share your "Foreign Country Trip" story- click on Comments and type in your story.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Gene Vincent & Blue Caps from Capitol 1956, courtesy

It took until 1998 for Gene Vincent to gain induction to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. By then, Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, and a hundred or more others had been inducted. It took that long for the rock 'n' roll establishment to admit that Gene Vincent WAS rock 'n' roll. The sound; the fury; the screaming end. The basic bio goes like this. Vincent Eugene Craddock was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on February 11, 1935, and was wracked with pain for most of his life as a the result of a 1955 motorcycle accident. On stage, he looked both tragic and dangerous. He placed his damaged left leg behind him at an oddly skewed angle, and relied upon almost grotesquely exaggerated facial contortions to suggest emotion. The tone and mood of his music was darkly ominous, almost threatening. It was the beginning of rock 'n' roll as theater and first intimation of punk.

Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps

Well be-bop-a-lula she's my baby,
Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean maybe.
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby love,
My baby love, my baby love.

Well she's the girl in the red blue jeans,
She's the queen of all the teens.
She's the one that I know
She's the one that loves me so.

Say be-bop-a-lula she's my baby,
Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean maybe.
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby love,
My baby love, my baby love.

Well she's the one that gets that beat.
She's the one with the flyin' feet.
She's the one that walks around the store,
She's the one that gets more more more.

Be-bop-a-lula she^s my baby,
Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean maybe.
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby love,
My baby love, my baby love.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rhyme or Reason

This article written by Thomas J. Hanson, superintendent of the Maine School Administrative District 52. It was published in Teacher Magazine, Vol. 15; number 06; page 53,54.

A great deal of time today is spent on the issue of standards in education. The key point of debate in discussion of standards, underway in virtually y state, centers upon identifying the skills and body of knowledge our students must learn to become successful citizens.

When this issue, and specifically the identification of the knowledge and skills fundamental to educating students today, comes up, I always think back to one of my earliest teaching experiences: the class is high school applied mathematics, and students range from 9th to 12th graders. It is exceptionally difficult to get the attention of 25 students at the same time. They all seem to hate math or school — or both. I am trying my very best to interest them in the class by making the subject relevant to them.

The lesson today is on payment schedules. The first question is as basic as payment schedules get: If you purchase a kitchen stove on March 15 and no payments are due for 90 days, when is the payment due? That prompts this response from a young lady in the back row: "How many are there in March?"

I try to hide my surprise, first because of her lack of knowledge and then my own for not realizing these students might not know how many days there are in each month. I soon decide that this is not a real problem — I will be a good teacher.

“There's a nursery rhyme you can learn," I start. "Thirty days hath September. April, June, and..."

I stop. The student is no longer looking at me. Twisting around, craning her neck, she is scanning walls, muttering, "There's gotta be a calendar in here somewhere."

Trying not to get angry, I call out her name and tell her that I had been trying to explain to her how could figure out the problem. "I can teach you how to remember," I say.

She gives me a pained look. "I don't want to learn no stupid nursery rhyme!" she growls. "Geez."

I try again as she crosses her arms and leans back in her chair. "Well, if you don't learn the rhyme, how will you ever know how many days there are in each month?" She rolls her eyes as glances at the other students. Their nods confirm that they are with her and not with me. Reassured, she emphatically makes her final point.

"You can either look at a calendar," she says, "or you can just ask someone who knows."

A month or two later, shortly after Easter had come and gone, I related this story to a good friend of mine. As an engineer at the local shipyard, he was intellectually my superior as well as a trusted confidante for sharing some of my educational frustrations. He simply smiled as I told him what had happened. He did not seem surprised by the student's attitude at all. In fact, he almost seemed sympathetic.

"Let me ask you a question," he said. "What day and month will Easter fall on next year?"

I shrugged. initially puzzled by his query. "I don't know,"I responded.

He immediately recited the month and the date, then added, "I can teach you how to figure it out if you'd like."

I smiled, now following his line of thought. My friend was on a roll, however, and didn't hesitate to add the clincher.

"Course, you can always look at a calendar," he said.

"Or ask someone who knows?" I added.

It was his turn to smile.

I have never forgotten our discussion that day or the powerful effect his example had on me. Those of us in education have a positive attitude toward learning new things, especially if we find them useful to our everyday lives. That, of course, is the very reason we are in the field. But when honestly considering what material and knowledge should be required to become an educated person, the answers are not quite as clear as we might think initially. Though l could never imagine not knowing how many days there are in any given month, I can' t see myself learning how to predict a calendar date a year in advance for a holiday that varies annually. It doesn't seem like practical or useful knowledge. Of course, that was the exact point the young lady was making that day. In her eyes, the specific bit of knowledge I thought critical was not something she saw as useful.

Simply stated, we pay attention to and learn to remember what is important to us; what is not so important, we ignore or learn to discard. As teachers, we need to realize that this fundamental of education is as true for our students as it is for adults. In the era of the standards movement, we ''must realize that reaching high expectations is possible only when students believe the material is worth learning. Through a disenchanted student and the wisdom of a close friend, I learned that ' the greatest challenge lies in making the material relevant for my students.

Friday, July 20, 2007


A 102 year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shaved perfectly applied, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

"I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.

"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing."

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.

2. Free your mind from worries.

3. Live simply.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why "Pretty Good" Isn't Good Enough

Here is one of my favorite pieces from the man
who every week says, "See you on the radio".


There once was a pretty good student,
Who sat in a pretty good class,
And was taught by a pretty good teacher,
Who always let pretty good pass.

He wasn't terrific at reading,
He wasn't a whiz-bang at math,
But for him education was leading,
Straight down a pretty good path.

He didn't find school too exciting,

But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing,
And nobody had taught him to spell.

When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine,
Five plus five needn't always add up to be 10,
A pretty good answer was nine.

The pretty good class that he sat in,
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception,
On the contrary, he was the rule.

The pretty good school that he went to,
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice,
He could not tell a verb from a noun.

The pretty good student in fact was,
Part of a pretty good mob,

And the first time he knew what he lacked was,
Whe he looked for a pretty good job.

It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaky suspicion,
Pretty good might not be good enough.

The pretty good town in our story,
Was part of a pretty good state,
Which had pretty good aspirations,
And prayed for a pretty good fate.

There once was a pretty good nation,
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you wanto be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.

"Osgood File"

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Writing Workshop - Newspaper Report

Use this frame to structure your newspaper article report.

Newspaper report frame

Name of newspaper:



Date of Publication:

Complete these starters:

This article was about...

An interesting fact I learned was ...

In addition to this, I learned that ...

In my opinion, ...

To share your newspaper report - click on Comments and type in your newspaper report.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Writing Poetry - a diamante

A diamante is a symmetrical poem. A diamantecan be structured like this:

Line 1: a noun
Line 2: two adjectives associated with line 1
Line 3: three participles associated with line 1
Line 4: two words associated with line 1; two words associated with line 7; a semi-colon separating the groups
Line 5: three participles associated with line 7
Line 6: two adjectives associated with line 7
Line 7: a noun that's an antonym of line 1.

Here's a diamante by a fifth-grader.

white, wet
sprinkling, splashing, dancing
umbrellas, clouds; shorts, shirts
playing, running, swimming
gold, hot

Now write your symmetrical poem.

To share your work - click on Comments and type in your poem.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Writing Workshop - A Story

Maya Angelou

Let’s Write a Story

How to Get an Idea

1. Collect four or more ideas that you could write a story about. Make a chart. Write each idea on the left-hand side of the chart and tell where it came from on the right-hand side of the chart.

2. Pick the idea from your list that you like best. Put a check in front of it. this is the idea you will turn into a story.

How to Plot Your Story

1. Write the big question readers will want answered by the end of your story. This question should be about your main character's big problem.

What will your character be able to at the conclusion of your story?

2. List at least three smaller questions people will guess about as they
read your story.

3. Now make a plot outline that lists the parts of the story. Write it on a sheet.

How to Invent Characters

1. Create a character chart, list each character. The first might a hero or a villain. Tell who each of the other characters are — perhaps the hero's friend, the villain's helper, the victim, a bystander, a foolish person, or whoever.

2. Give the details about each character by completing the chart. Details might include male or female, age, height, weight, eye color, hair color and length. Other Details - friends, hobbies, habits, and so on.

How to Invent Settings

1. In a setting chart, list each place where something happens in your story.

2. In a sentence, tell what happens in that place.

3. List the important details about the place: Is it big, small, light, dark, hot, cold, wet, dry, soft. hard. empty, filled with things, or what?
(Remember: You don't have to make up every place in your head. You can use real places from your life or take details from pictures.)

How to Gather Facts for a Story

1. In a fact chart, write the questions you'll need to answer before
you write your story.

2. After each question, tell how you will find the answer. List the name of
a book, a person, or a place where you plan to look. If you think you
already know the answer, make sure you're right.

3. On a sheet, write the answers you find for each question.

How to Write a First Draft

1. Prepare your writing space.
• Have several sharp pencils.
• Have plenty of lined paper.
• Have your outline handy.

2. Think about the scene you're going to write about. Try to see the action
and characters in your mind. Draw your scenes on paper.

3. As you write, skip every other line.

4. Let your ideas flow. Circle any words or punctuation marks that you
want to check later.

5. If it helps you, speak the lines your characters will say.

6. From time to time, read over what you've written.

7. Put your first draft away for a while before you try to make it better.

How to Improve Your First Draft

1. Gather the materials you'll need — your first draft, some sharp pencils, and a dictionary.

2. Read your paper slowly. You might want to read it out loud.
• Make sure you have an interesting beginning and a real ending.
• Go over the action step by step. Be sure that no important scenes are missing or in the wrong order.
• See if your words make clear pictures. Add details if you need to.
• Read the dialogue (speeches) out loud. Make sure each tag shows who is speaking and how — for example, "Stop," I yelled.
• Look up the spelling of each word you're not sure of. Correct any mistakes you find.
• Check the way you've used capital letters and punctuation marks. Be sure they're right.

3. After you've checked your work, ask a friend to read your paper and give you tips for making it better.

To share your work - click on Comments and type in your story.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Writing Workshop - O. Henry

O. Henry

O. Henry is the pen name of William Sydney Porter, one of America's most famous snort story writers. His mother died when he was three; his Father, a physician, became an alcoholic and worked continuously to invent a perpetual motion machine.

Porter left school at age fifteen and went to work in a drugstore. When he began to show symptoms of tuberculosis, he moved to Texas and worked on a ranch. He married and lived in Austin where he began a newspaper called "The Rolling Stone." It failed. He was accused of embezzling bank funds and fled to Honduras.

In 1887, Porter returned to the U.S. because his wife was dying. He was then put in a federal prison in Ohio. Released in 1901, he moved to New York City, where he lived and wrote for nine more years. Porter died a penniless alcoholic. No one knew that he was the famous 0. Henry, master of the ironic ending.

O. Henry begins his stories in interesting ways, and often ends them in even more interesting ways. On the screens below you will find the beginning lines from several of O. Henry's stories.

Read through each of the choices. Consider how to use the beginning to unfold your own story. Spend a few minutes just thinking about a story line. You might want to type a few notes on plot, setting, and character if they come to mind. After you've looked at all the choices, choose the one you like the most.

Choice #1


"It was a day in March.

Never, never begin a story this way when you write one. No opening could possibly be worse. It is unimaginative, flat, dry, and likely to consist of mere wind. But in this instance it is allowable. For the following paragraph, which should have inaugurated the narrative, is too wildly extravagant and preposterous to be flaunted in the face of the reader
without preparation."

Choice #2


"Suppose you should be walking down Broadway after dinner, with ten minutes allotted to the consummation of your cigar while you are choosing between a diverting something serious in the way of vaudeville. Suddenly a hand is laid upon your arm. You turn to look into the thrilling eyes of a beautiful woman, wonderful in diamonds and Russian sables. She thrusts hurriedly into your hand an extremely hot buttered roll, flashes out a tiny pair of scissors, snips off the second button of your overcoat, meaningly ejaculates the one word, 'parallelogram!' and swiftly flies down a cross street, looking back fearfully over her shoulder."

Choice #3


"One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all . And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Delia counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas."

Choice #4


"A guard came to the prison shoe-shop, where .Jimmy Valentine was assiduously stitching uppers, and escorted him to the front office. There the warden handed Jimmy his pardon, which had been signed that morning by the governor. Jimmy took it in a tired kind of way. He had served nearly ten months of a four-year sentence. He had expected to stay only about three months, at the longest. When a man with as many friends on the outside as Jimmy Valentine had is received in the "stir" it is hardly worth while to cut his hair.

'Now, Valentine,' said the warden,"


Now that you have finished writing the first draft of your short story,
reread it for the following points;

Does the beginning catch your imagination?

Does your plot unfold in a well-paced and well-structured way? Does the plot have enough complexity to keep the story intriguing? (Imagine the most likely outcome and then add surprises and twists which the reader
not expect.)

Because of the brevity of a short story, you can't spend too much time developing setting. However, the setting often helps determine the mood of the story. So look at your story in respect to mood and setting. Does the setting support a light and humorous story? ...a serious, foreboding story? ...a dark, mysterious story?

Is your main character completely developed and easy to visualize? Can you add some traits to his or her character which give more depth or

Now revise your story. After you've finished your second draft, your story should be ready a peer review.

Peer Review

Someone should read your story. They can can consider the same questions you did and make suggestions for improvements. You, of course, have the final word on how your story is changed, if at all. Sometimes, however, a fresh eye can spot problems or shortcomings you are unaware of.


When you are satis-tied with the content of the story, you will want to check it closely for spelling, punctuation, and usage errors. It is sometimes helpful to read your writing backwards, from the end to the beginning. This helps you focus on the mechanical errors because it prevents you from reading the story for understanding,

When you have finished your final draft of your story, you will probably be curious about how O. Henry actually told the story. Check your library or the Internet to locate an anthology that includes the story you chose. Then see what things you did similarly and what things you did differently from O. Henry.

To share your work - click on Comments and type in your short story.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Poetry Workshop - Simile To Metaphor

Simile To Metaphor

Changing a simile into a metaphor
Is like opening a swinging door
Changing a simile into a metaphor
Is the branch growing
Into the trunk of the tree.

A simile says,

"I am slinky like a cat."
It is tame.
It doesn't take the next step and say,
I am a slinky cat."

"I am as hot as a fire"
would change into,
"I am a hot fire."

So, to change a simile that uses "like" or "as" into a metaphor, you simply remove the "like" and "as" words.

Then rewrite the sentence so it makes sense and so it states that you are what you say you are.

A good way to start is to write a simple "I AM" simile poem. Something like this:

I am as short as a tall table
I am like a friendly circus
I am as curious as a person swimming under water
I am happy like a baby being loved
I am as skinny as a hippo
I am as tired as a rusty nut
I am worn out like an old ripped road map that's been folded too many times

Write your own "I AM" simile poem.

Now remove all of the "like" and "as" words, changing your simile poem into a stronger metaphor poem.

Here is a wonderfully simple metaphor poem in which the author, Daniel, describes himself as a house.

I'm a house,
Three stories high.
I'm a house,
All lonely and shy.
I'm a house,
An old, dirty house.
I'm a house,
With bugs and a mouse.
I'm a house,
With dirty walls.
I'm a house,
With creepy walls.
I'm a house,
All lonely and shy.

Now write your own metaphor poem using a house to describe yourself.

To share your work - click on Comments and type in your metaphor poem.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Writing Workshop - Creating Character

William Faulkner


You know that the use of DESCRIPTION and DIALOGUE develops a character. DESCRIPTION describes or draws a word portrait of a character. DIALOGUE, when a person says something, tells a lot about their character.

In this activity, you will write a dialogue for an already created character. The character description is from literature. The dialogue is from your imagination.

Below is a character description -from A ROSE FOR EMILY by William Faulkner.

"They rose when she entered a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a limp of dough as they moved from one face to another while t he visitors stated their errand."

Please read the character description a second time. This time imagine how this character’s personality would be expressed in the way she talks. Visualize the character; see her move and hear her speak.

You are one of the visitor's, come to state your errand. You are asking her assistance.

What are you asking her assistance for?

Write a brief description of your own character based en the errand you are on .

Now create a dialogue between yourself and the woman. State your request. Listen to her response. Create at least ten lines of dialogue between yourself and the woman.


Look carefully at HOW the lady spoke to you. Can you add anything to the way she spoke? Describe how her voice sounds as she speaks. The list below may help you.

Words to use instead of said:


Can you add anything to her mannerisms as she talks? Try to describe what she does with her hands, how she moves, and what her facial expressions are like.

Return to your dialogue and rewrite, adding details that help the reader see and hear the characters.

Click on Comments and type in your dialogue.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Writing Workshop - CLUSTER

Imagine that you have been given a topic. You have been asked to think of words that remind you of that topic word. That group of words is called a CLUSTER.

It's fun to create word clusters by BRAINSTORMING with your partner or with a friend. When you brainstorm, you jot down your ideas as quickly as you can. Word clusters are a good way to think of supporting details for a topic. When you finish creating your cluster, you will probably have material to write a good paragraph.


Form clusters for each of the topics listed below by brainstorming a list of ideas that you think of when you hear the topic word. Use colors, feelings, smells, appearances, sounds, or tastes to describe each topic word.


TOPIC: designer Jeans

IDEAS: expensive
make me -feel good
wear them anywhere
kills my clothing budget
tore my favorite pair



favorite entertainer: __ (you put in the name)



the future



You can form the supporting ideas you listed for one of your topics into a paragraph. Begin by writing a topic sentence.

Here is a topic sentence on the main idea of DESIGNER JEANS, using some of the supporting ideas from the list.

"If I had my way, I would live in my stone-washed, super-comfortable, straight-legged designer jeans."

The remaining ideas become the supporting ideas. Here is one way these ideas might be written into a paragraph:

"If I had my way, I would live in my stone-washed, super-comfortable, straight-legged designer jeans. True, they are expensive, but then I only need a couple of pairs to last through a season. I feel so good when I'm dressed in designer jeans; they give me the confidence to relax and be myself. I can wear my designer jeans anywhere because they are so versatile."

Now choose one of the main idea topics to write a paragraph about. The topics were the beach, your favorite entertainer, dreams, secrets, friends, flowers, munchies, the future, and money.

Pick at least three supporting ideas from your list. Put them together into a paragraph about your main idea.

To share your work - click on Comments and type in your paragraph.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Writing Workshop - Favorite Words

Think of your six favorite words. They might describe a special thing, remind you of a special place or time, or just be fun to say.


There will only be ten words kept in the world. You have been asked to nominate one of your favorite words to be included in those ten. You must write a convincing argument for including your word. Tell why it is special. Tell why it can be used. Tell why it is very important to keep this word.

Think of your six-favorite words. They might describe a special thing, remind you of a special place or time, or just be fun to say. For example, here is a list of a friend's favorite words. She even made up one word on her list. Can you tell which one is made up?


Now choose your six favorite words. You might have more than six favorite words. If you do, great! Just write them all down. Then go back and delete some choices until your final list contains only your six favorite words.

Then you choose one of the words from your list and write an advertisement, offering that word for sale .

Two examples:

FOR SALE! ONLY THREE LEFT!!! Own the word TWITTERPATED for yourself! Be the first on your block with this great new word to express strong feelings of love and affection. Only $13.47 each.

THINK OF IT! Your own personal GREEN! Only a few of this model left. A
special gift for that someone who has red, yellow, and blue, but no green. A steal at $65,962.21.

Recall there will only be ten words kept in the world. You have been asked to nominate one of your favorite words to be included in those ten. You must write a convincing argument for including your word. Tell why it is special. Tell how it can be used. Tell why it is very important to keep this word.

Share your advertisement by clicking on Comments and uploading it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Poetry Workshop - NICE MICE

Poets often find ideas for new poems in poems written by others. Sometimes poets will even imitate another poet's work as a way of complimenting that poet . It is as if they are saying, "I like your poem so well, I've written a variation on it."

Thus let's piggyback on Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

Read the following poem "NICE MICE" by Jon Madian. Think about how you might rewrite this poem or create your own variations on this theme.


Nice mice
Eat spice.
Throw dice.
Chew rice.
Make nice.
Slice ice.
Give advice.
Once, not twice.

Now it's your turn to write a new version of "NICE MICE!" Change any of the lines in the poem that you wish to. Here is a word bank for "ice" words that may help you.



Make a word bank of all the rhyming words you used in your poem.
You may wish to add other rhyming words from the original poem, as well.

Consult a rhyming dictionary to find more rhyming words for your word bank.

Take one or two lines or phrases that you particularly like from your own poem and from the original poem. Then create your own original poem about mice or about a new subject. Use some of the "ice" rhyming words.

Share your poem with a partner, friend, or with a writing support group. Decide which parts of your poem others like best. Decide which parts you like best.

Then list the ideas you and your friends have for making your poem even better.

Then revise your poem, using your own ideas and those you have received from others.

When your poem is in final form, you may want to print it out and illustrate it. (Then it would be fun for you and your friends to publish your poems in a poetry anthology!)

Or publish it here by clicking on Comments.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

For Experts Only

See If You Can Figure This One Out!

Jones, Brown, Smith, and Robinson were a driver, s stoker, a guard, or a porter on the Cayuga Express. Each wore either a red, a black, a blue, or a green shirt.

The driver beat Brown at billiards, and Smith and the guard often played golf with men in black and green shirts. Jones and the porter disliked the man in the green shirt, but this was not the stoker as he always wore a red shirt.

What was each person's occupation or job and the color of his shirt?


Friday, June 22, 2007

Writing Workshop - Magazine Report

Use this frame to structure your magazine article report.

Magazine report frame

Name of magazine:

Title of Article:


Date of Publication:

Complete these starters:

This article was about ...

An interesting fact I learned was ...

In addition to this, I discovered that ...

In my opinion, ...

To share your magazine report - click on Comments and type in your magazine report.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Storm of a Century, for Aprils

Today's nor'easter produced more snow in Central New York than any other spring storm since record keeping began in 1902.

By mid-afternoon, Auburn had received 18 inches of snow.