Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tuesday Topics - Four (Most Unusual) Setting Locales for Books, TV Shows, and/or Movies

The virtual reality world of the OASIS
- from the novel and movie, Ready Player One

- from the novel and movie, The Martian by Andy Weir

The shed (a.k.a the room)
- from the novel (and movie), Room by Emma Donoghue

The alternate North America that never experienced the American Revolution 
- from the novel, Rewinder by Brett Battles

What are some unusual settings that come to your mind?

Linking up with Jenn:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Meme Monday (Vol. 16)

If you have no idea about this one, check out the Eagles Greatest Hits

Have a great Monday and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday Topics - Five (Most Unusual) Book Characters I Can Think Of

Effie Trinket

Effie Trinket is a fictional character who was assigned to escort Katniss and Peta in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  As a citizen of the Capitol, she is very interested in flamboyant fashion trends.  She often wears clothing in very bright colors and her hair is either dyed very bright colors as well or she wears colorful wigs.

Clinton Tyree

Clinton Tyree, aka Skink, is a fictional character who has made several appearances in Carl Hiaasen books.  Skink, who first appeared in Double Whammy, is a former Florida governor turned recluse who detests sprawl and development, partakes of roadkill regularly, and often wears an orange rain poncho and flowered shower cap on his head.  To say that Skink is unusual truly is a bit of an understatement.


Britt-Marie is the main character in the book, Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman.  Britt-Marie loves lists, bicarbonate of soda, and precision.  In Britt-Marie's world, things must be just so.  She dislikes writing things in ink and soccer.  She has many quirks that make her very interesting and quite funny. 

Idgie Threadgood

Idgie Threadgood is a main character in Fannie Flag's novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  Idgie is one of my all-time favorite characters and my main reason is because she's a tomboy and I could identify with her.   Tomboys in that time period did exist, but were very uncommon and even more uncommon in literature.  Idgie's ability to tell it like it is in a day and age when women were expected to be quiet in the kitchen also makes her unusual.  I love that she marches to the beat of her own drum.


Death is the narrator in Markus Zusak's novel, The Book Thief.  That in itself should be enough information as to why I think he/she/it is an unusual book character.  Death is fascinated with humans and he/she/it struggles with how we (humans) are capable of so much hatefulness and beauty.

Can you think of any unusual book characters? Feel free to share.

Linking up with Jenn:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Mind Dump - Bevin, Teachers, and Disrespect

This has been a hard year for educators in West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, the latter being the state where I live and work (I am a public school speech pathologist).  Over the past several weeks, teachers in these states have protested in various ways ranging from "sickouts" to rallies to flat out strikes over issues such as low pay, health insurance, school budgets, and pensions.  

Here in Kentucky, our protests were about preserving our pensions, preserving retirees' health care, and to voice our disagreement and concerns over the deep cuts to public education that the legislature proposed, cuts that would make many school systems insolvent within 2-3 years.  Kentucky educators have not been protesting over pay raises like many in the media have claimed; our protests have never been about salaries.  Instead, we've been protesting to secure the pensions that we were promised, the pensions that we pay 13% of our paychecks to every payday whether we like it or not.  We've also been protesting to secure the educational futures of the children in Kentucky who need and rely on public education.  

Over the past several weeks, we've received a lot of public support, something we've been extremely appreciative of.  We've also received a lot of criticism and disrespect from parents all the way up to the leaders of the state.  

We've been accused by our governor, Matt Bevin, as being "sick day hoarding" employees (because a percentage of the cash value of unused sick days have been a part of the equation when determining one's retirement).  Obviously he has no idea that the reason educators accumulate so many sick days is not because we're hoarders or healthier than average people, but rather because it's usually easier for a teacher to come to work sick than to jump through all the hurdles of finding an adequate substitute and preparing sub plans.  Shouldn't he be proud that teachers take their job this seriously as to not abuse this benefit?

He's also called protesting teachers "selfish and short sighted" and stated that some have a "thug mentality,"  thus spawning the adoption and use of #thuglife by Kentucky educators on Facebook and Twitter.  What's interesting, though, is that many of these selfish individuals with thug mentalities organized ways to get food to their students on days when school was cancelled.  That kind of behavior doesn't sound selfish to me.

On Friday, after teachers participated in another statewide protest in which many districts closed either voluntarily so their teachers could protest or because teachers organized "sick outs," Bevin said that he "guaranteed" that somewhere in Kentucky a child had been physically and/or sexually abused, ingested poison, or tried drugs for the first time because their district cancelled school.  I, along with thousands of others across the state, are absolutely appalled by his comments and by his suggestion that teachers are responsible for whatever happens to students once they leave school.  Bevin has since apologized, but only after the Kentucky House of Representatives publicly condemned his comments in two separate resolutions on the last day of the legislative session and after he received a barrage of emails and phone calls from those in the education community blasting him for his comments.  And, most people who have watched his video apology agree that his apology was more like a "sorry, not sorry."

Bevin claims to have the utmost respect for teachers, but his words as of late do not support this claim. Here's my question - if the governor, the leader of the Commonwealth, and many of Kentucky's legislators (based on comments they, too, have made) don't respect teachers, then why would parents and citizens?

Educators don't go into this profession to get rich; we do because we want to make a difference.  There's no other reason why those of us in public education would tolerate what we do - increased class sizes, increasing behavior issues, increased workload demands, and increased student performance expectations while dealing with decreased funding, decreased support, and decreasing respect - if we didn't want to make a positive impact on the lives of kids.  Honestly, no one in their right mind would go public  education if they didn't genuinely love kids.  

We're not asking for much - a livable wage, a secure retirement, the necessary funding needed to educate children, and...  well, I think this video says it all.

P.S.  Good luck to the educators in Colorado who organized a walkout for today.  Fight the good fight, ladies and gentlemen!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dragon Lights Lantern Festival

During my travels, one thing I've learned is that a wrong turn is nothing to freak out about because most can be easily corrected. Sometimes wrong turns turn out to be fortunate accidents in that they take you somewhere you might not have otherwise seen.  The latter is what happened to my husband and I while in Chicago last weekend.  

While driving into the city, R got off the expressway an exit too early and the GPS rerouted us up Lake Shore Drive right past Soldier Field.  As we passed, we saw the most colorful Chinese shapes and figures on the south parking lot. A quick Google search revealed that the shapes and figures are part of the traveling Dragon Lights Chinese Lantern Festival that is in the Windy City until May 6, 2018.

The festival is an exhibit that tours throughout the United States.  The lanterns are custom built for each venue on site by Chinese artisans.  According to the event's website, the exhibit in Chicago features 39 larger-than-life illuminated displays.  After the festival concludes its stay in the Windy City, the lanterns will be disassembled by the artisans and technicians and then packed and moved to the next venue where they will be refreshed and rebuilt.

As R and I walked among the brightly lit, colorful lanterns in the below freezing temperatures, I was completely in awe of the beauty and brilliance of the figures. It is hands down one of the coolest things I've seen and I definitely recommend seeing it in person.



South Parking Lot @ Soldier Field
1410 S. Museum Campus Drive
Chicago, IL


Tickets includes festival entry and viewing of all lanterns, performances, and craft demonstrations.
  • Adults $20
  • Children (ages 4-14) $13.00
  • Seniors (60+) $13

There are also group discounts.   Please see website for details.

Tickets may be purchased in advance online, but are also sold at the gate. The last ticket is sold at 9:00pm.


Sunday through Thursday, 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Friday and Saturday, 5:30pm - 11:00pm

The show goes on despite rain, snow, or shine, so dress accordingly.


Knoxville, TN - until April 22, 2018
Vallejo, CA - until April 29, 2018
Philadelphia, PA - May 1 through June 30, 2018 

Linking Up With:
The Weekly Postcard
Budget Travelers Sandbox
Budget Travelers Sandbox

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Tuesday Topics (Not on Tuesday) - Six (Most Unusual) Film, Book, or TV Show Titles That I Can Think Of

For this week's Tuesday Topic, I chose unusual titles from all three of the options:


Black Snake Moan (2006)
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)



Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (2012-17)
The Flying Nun (1967-70)

What are some unusual movie, book, or television titles that come to your mind? Feel free to share.

Linking up with Jenn:

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