Posted in Books, Music, Uncategorized

Word Crimes

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Numbers never seemed to make as much sense as letters. My brother’s a math guy. I actually had a math teacher ask which one of us was adopted.

I do love to learn. Love writing.

Learning isn’t just brick and mortar-centered; learning is everywhere, if you choose to find it, or let it find you.

Weird Al” Yankovic’s latest release, Mandatory Fun (RCA Records) gives us 12 hilarious, unforgettable spoofs, altering Royals by Lorde to Foil for all you conspiracy lovers; Inactive instead of Radioactive by Imagine Dragons,and mixing-up Pharrell Williams’ Happy, oops, now it’s Tacky; and
adjusts those Robin Thicke infamous Blurred Lines to Word Crimes, becoming the supreme grammar Nazi.

Wow, “Weird Al” sure turned into a big dic, um, tionary.

I adore “Weird Al”, even now I’m singing Amish Paradise and know from there I’ll move on to Jurassic Park, then Angry White Boy Polka followed closely by eBay, Spam, Like A Surgeon, First World Problems, Canadian Idiot, and more.

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1eng3Watching the video for Word Crimes by “Weird Al” reminded me of all the amazingly fun children’s literature out there, most of which teaches, even if it’s subtle, like adding veggies to mac’n’cheese or chicken nuggets.
If you’re trying to teach, make it fun. Authors like: Greg Tang, Lynne Truss, Cindy Neuschwander, Loreen Leedy, Amy Axelrod, Marilyn Burns, Ann McCallum, etc. explain math, grammar, and so much more in straightforward and amusing ways. For example, Don’t Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oelschlager and Mike Desantis (Vanita Books; VanitaBooks.com) – turns out the title is a little misleading, but makes sense because it’s for children, it’s actually about grammar. A fun way to teach essential skills. If books like this had existed when I was in school I might have been tempted to pay more attention.
Maybe not, Charlie Brown’s teacher sounded exactly like mine, at least to me.

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The best thing about children’s literature?1eng10
It gives a child joy, hope, understanding, life information, lessons, compassion, empathy, and so much more while traveling to Oz, Neverland, mysterious islands, finding treasure, finding friendship, battling mythical creatures, fighting pirates, or learning to be a wizard.

They can visit the past or the future, go to space, into the corners of their own house, garden, barnyard, or imagination.

Visit a chocolate factory, have a series of unfortunate events, have a terrible horrible day while it rains meatballs and pancakes.

Travel down a river, land a plane, save the world, save the environment, save the universe, or save Christmas while finally trying green eggs and ham.

Be King of all the Wild Things then visit a magical kingdom. All the while, learning.

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“Weird Al” and all these authors clearly want to make money and write, but they have a point, when we learn something when we’re happy and having fun, it stays with us, in a positive way.

So have some mandatory fun; sometimes participles dangle, the world’s an imperfect place.

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Posted in Awards, Music, Parenting, Televison, Uncategorized

Blurred Miley Lines

Someone needs to explain to me why people are shocked and/or appalled by performances or images, especially from the MTV Awards. They do it to get attention. We give it to them. It’s about money.  It’s about power. It’s about fame. Image Miley Cyrus is not the first nor will she be the last to be provocative when singing, dancing, acting, modelling, etc.

Sex sells.

She follows in the footsteps of :Image

Grace Jones, Cherie Currie, Shirley Manson, Tina Turner, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Joan Jett, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Shakira, Fergie, Alexis Krauss, Selena Gomez, Nico, Samantha Fox, Spice Girls, Brody Dalle, Debbie Harry, Poison Ivy, Poly Styrene, Cher, Bif Naked, Kim Gordon, Pink, Shania Twain, Sabrina Sabrok, Carrie Brownstein, Viv Albertine, Wendy O. Williams,  Image

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Siouxsie Sioux, Nicki Minaj, Exene Cervenka, Gwen Stefani, Chrissy Amphlett, Ke$ha, Pussycat Dolls, Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Jenny Lewis, Penelope Houston, Pat Benatar, Katy Perry, Amy Miret, Britney Spears, Mya, Grace Slick, Courtney Love, Liz Phair and I could go on.

The point is, Ms. Cyrus wants to kill off Hannah Montana to get rich and famous on her own, not on her Daddy’s achy break coat tails. She’s doing a trashy, calculated, brilliant job. Robin Thicke wants to be rich and famous (again, not on his Daddy’s coat tails, hey, see the pattern?) so he agreed to hook up with Ms. Cyrus to be bumped’n’grinded into history.

There’s a simple solution if you find Ms. Cyrus, MTV, etc. too crass, vulgar and rude – don’t watch it. Don’t let your children watch it. If adults want to watch celebrities behaving badly, let them.

I didn’t find Ms. Cyrus’ performance shocking (unless you count that Blurred Lines is clearly stolen from Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up); then again, it wasn’t overly interesting either. She’s a performer. She was performing. Just like she was performing when she was pretending to be Hannah Montana. miley3

Maybe the problem isn’t with the performers, but with the public who can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality. The entire purpose of the MTV Awards is to get attention. It works.

If you don’t like it, turn if off. Image