Can You Read This?

Extra Extra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you read this? Thank a teacher!

Over the past year, I have witnessed a miracle. My six-year-old son has learned to read.  He has gone from haltingly making his way through the lowest leveled readers, to having hundreds of sight words and reading with excitement and passion.  He loves to read.

His life has changed for the better – not just this year, but forever.

Kids don’t just learn to read on their own. They must be taught by specially trained teachers committed to ongoing professional learning.

My son has a teacher like that, but you won’t read a story about her in the newspaper. That’s because, while she is excellent, she is not unique.

Dozens of children at my son’s school learned to read this year. Hundreds of teachers taught thousands of kids across the Region to read this year.  Everyone reading this letter learned to read from a teacher. But we take them for granted.

Teachers doing their job well, year after year, are the norm. They’re not “news.”  The teacher who taught my son to read, and the thousands of other teachers like her in this Region, will continue to do amazing work that goes unnoticed and underappreciated.  That’s a tragedy!

Peter Stuart

***

There are many ways to learn reading

As with the similar bumper stickers, when I read that headline, I laughed.

I’m glad that letter writer Peter Stuart found a dedicated teacher who taught his son to read. There are many more like her out there.  I had a couple who taught and inspired me.

I have to take extreme exception, though, with his blanket claim that kids don’t just learn to read, and need to be taught by specially trained teachers.

For centuries, people learned to read from others who were not even teachers. Later they learned from teachers who were barely trained, much less specially.

Back before the distraction of television, my mother read to me constantly, any decent book which came to hand, including Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling, and T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, which went on to become the hit musical, Cats.

She did not teach me to read.  She did not point, and say, “This is A.  This is B.  This word is Cat.  This word is Dog.”  She just read to me.

One month before my fifth birthday, when she was sick in bed, I picked up a copy of Maclean’s magazine and read to her. I just learned to read!  I’ve never met another who made the same claim, but a few must exist.

Grumpy, Braggart, Old Archon

***

Commitment Needed

I agree with letter writer, Archon, that some of us either seem to pick up reading on our own, or are taught quite well by “unqualified” teachers.

I taught myself to read around the age of four, mainly by being exposed to books, and the magnetic letters on the fridge.

My mother wasn’t surprised: she also read before starting school, and so did her mother.

As a home educator for almost two decades, I have seen many parents teach reading (and math, and much more) to their own children. Some children learned easily; some had challenges; some learned at three or four; some at the “normal” age; some not till much later.

Some used phonics and basal readers; some used computer software, and some used more informal methods.

Some families required extra help to deal with specific learning issues, but most of them managed extremely well.

Teaching reading does take commitment, patience and imagination! But it doesn’t require a teaching degree.

Anne White

***

As you can see, I’ve been at it again. I respect and admire teachers, but, like anything else, I’m not impressed with the, “Let someone else take care of it.” mindset which is all too prevalent.  Know how to take care of yourself, and your children.

Anybody else want to brag? How young did you learn to read?  Who “taught” you, using what?

Flash Fiction #21

bottles

 

 

 

 

 

Make It So Number One

The gigantic explosion we were anticipating has occurred. The wave-front is expanding rapidly, and should reach here in one minute and forty-seven seconds.  We need to get the warp engine of this thing up and running, or we’re all doomed.

Pull the yellow di-lithium crystals out of the matrix, and replace them with the red di-lithium crystals.

George, have you found those damned fuses? The football game is over, and the stadium is emptying.  People are streaming down the street.  If we don’t get the lights on and the beer pumps running soon, it’s going to be a wasted evening!

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Purls Of Wisdom

WomanDrivingKnittingS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting!

Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, “PULL OVER!”

 

“NO,” the blonde yelled back, “IT’S A SCARF!”

 

****

Paul Mitchell, 29, was walking home from a friend’s Halloween party earlier this year when he found himself next to his neighbor’s pumpkin field.  He had always joked in his mind about how the inside of pumpkins are soft, mushy, and warm (in Texas). So he took out his knife, cut a hole in his choice pumpkin, and began fucking it.

An officer of the City Police Dept. saw Mitchell and stopped to see what was going on. “I expected Mitchell to be urinating in the field and possibly be intoxicated,” said the Officer. Mitchell didn’t hear or see the Officer as she approached, due to his newfound hobby. She shined her flashlight on Paul and said, “Sir, do you realize that you are screwing a pumpkin?”

Mitchell replied almost instantly, “Is it midnight already?”

****

The local vicar is having a bath, and he’s a little bored, so he decides to, ‘pleasure’ himself. He’s quite happily tugging away, reaches the old moment of bliss, and opens his eyes only to see, at the window, the window cleaner, jaw agape at what he’s just seen.

A couple of minutes later, the doorbell rings, it’s the window cleaner.  The vicar is understandably embarrassed, and asks the man how much he owes him.  “50 quid” comes the reply.  “50 quid ?!?” says the vicar, startled.  “Yep, fifty quid or I tell the whole parish about what I saw, you perv.”

So the vicar hands over the cash, and the cleaner gets on his way.

The following week, the bishop’s ’round for his supper and is having a wander ’round the vicar’s house, admiring his lovely home.  He says to the vicar, “Lovely clean windows you’ve got there vicar, who does them for you?”

“Oh, a guy from the village does them for me, he does a great job,” replies the vicar.

“Oh, yes. How much does he charge you, then?”

“Well,” replies the vicar, “fifty quid, actually”

“Fifty quid?!? Blimey!” says the bishop.  “He must have seen you coming!”

****

The history teacher announced that the students who could tell her the source of the following famous quotes would be allowed to go home early.

“The first quote is: ‘Four score and seven years ago…'”

Cathy raised her and answered “Abe Lincoln”.

“Very good Cathy, you may go home,” said the teacher. “The next quote is ‘Give me liberty or give me…”

Jane raised her hand and blurted out “Patrick Henry.”

“Very good Jane, you may also leave.”

Meanwhile a boy had his hand up in the back of the room the whole time and the teacher never acknowledged him, and she said that would be all for the day. She proceeded to write something on the board when the boy said “Stupid Bitches, if it weren’t for them none of this ever would’ve happened”

The teacher turned around and said, “Who said that?”

The boy blurted out “Bill Clinton, now can I go home!”

****

Did you hear about the accident at the army base?

A jeep ran over a box of popcorn & killed 2 kernels

 

LXX

Black Forest Cake

 

 

 

 

I hope you’ve got a big block of cheese, ‘cause I’ve got a huge jug of whine.

I’m finally officially old!  I know I’ve been gently hinting about it for a couple of years, but I just passed into my eighth decade. (Don’t say passed to an old person!)  I couldn’t even bear to put 70 (shudder!) up as a title, I had to use Roman Numerals.  Last year was worse, 69 looks so untidy, and has that sexual connotation.  69, rendered in Roman Numerals, probably spells out some despicable word.  LXX isn’t much better.  It looks like the title of an Alzheimer’s Porno flick.

He was as old and hard as the candy I keep on the table.
When she walked into the room, his heart stopped.
He had an ass like Cal Coolidge.
Blow into my hearing aid, she cooed.
Rick’s pants weren’t pleated anymore.
Teeth in, or out?
She caressed the balls of his walker legs.
It was a position called “The Reverse Rocking Chair.”
We watched Wheel of Fortune, and he gave me an ‘O’.
Finally she whispered, “That’s what I call an early bird special!”

Last year, I got accolades from acolytes. I got a party, and partiers, and a poem.  I got followers, fun and frivolity.  I got drunks on my lawn, and kilts, and bagpipes.  This year all I got, was older and grumpier, and I’m already overqualified.

That’s not exactly true. I also got more aches and pains, and less stamina and attention span.  I got the names of several new doctors, and the chance to experience some new medical procedures – oh thrill, oh joy!

Time waits for no man. He’s dragging me, kicking and screaming – well, shuffling and mewling – into the future.  I guess, as long as I can see the green side of the sod, all is well.  I keep checking the obits in the newspaper.  I haven’t seen my picture – yet.  I just came home by bus, from the terminal.  (Don’t say terminal to an old person!)

If any of you want to stop over to mow my lawn, or drop off some birthday cake – I’d happily settle for a cupcake, even without a candle – try not to arrive between 6PM and 7. That’s the time I take my nap, so that I have enough energy to compose another post for tomorrow.

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For this birthday, I’ll have another reason to be grumpier than usual. I’ll be living in “interesting” Chinese times.  I will be getting my asshole reamed.  My G.I. guy (gastro-enterologist) has decided that I don’t need to learn to deep-throat.  I don’t have to have an endoscopy.  I don’t know why my G.P. couldn’t figure that out, but on Monday, the day after my birthday, I have to go to hospital for a colonoscopy.

We had the daughter and grandson over for a celebratory meal on Saturday. As soon as they left, I stopped eating solid food.  Sunday is nothing but clear liquids – chicken broth, ginger ale and apple juice – oh, yum.  L  Through Sunday, and Monday morning, I have to down four liters/quarts of Drano cleansing liquid, to flush the old pipes out, generally being no more than six feet from a toilet.

If they find anything interesting, perhaps I could post pictures – whenever I can sit at the computer again.  We might even solve the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance.  “You know, that chair felt lumpy when I sat down.”

Since, hopefully, I’ll be feeling no pain, the wife gets to be chauffeur. After they’ve rectum at the hospital, she gets to drag my ass (literally) home.

My next couple of posts may be a bit (more) grouchy, but I’m sure that, after I’ve Alice Cooper-ed the head off a batty Jehovah’s Witness or Paki telemarketer selling duct cleaning, I’ll be safe to approach without the tranquilizer dart gun. Wish me luck.  Here I go, ass first (as usual).

White Lady Tribute – To And From

One of the presents I received for my birthday last year, was a very creative, satirical poem from White Lady In The Hood, a lovely blogger who is, hopefully temporarily, no longer on the scene.

I’m not sure who or how many got to read it, so I am publishing it this year as a separate post. Here’s her glimpse of who Archon is.  What do you think of it?

 

Tale of the Great Northern Knight

He loosened his pants and girded his loins

for battle he did prepare

He grabbed up his sword and mounted his horse

to defend his queen so fair

Whilst traveling through the land of Kitchener

he gave no heed to danger

For he had the gift of words and prose

and never met a stranger

His fated path crossed Ranty Knight

to which he doth did hail

Archon rambled on and on

(and on )

a great and many tale

Though humble and honest the Knight did speak

twas the day of his creation

Ranty cried out, “Awesomesauce Man!”

tis cause for a great celebration

Pillage these wenches – steal all the bacon

‘tap us a fine keg of ale

I’m of the order of a Free Thinking man

(which means, “Bet your ass we will”)

So feasts were brought forth, a rare coin for a gift

ensuing tales about bravery

Archon was happy on this mighty fine day and

ate a big bowl of taters n gravy

(with cheese curds on top)

****

 

Flash Fiction #20

 

Salt Flats

 

 

 

 

Take It With A Grain Of Salt

For almost a century, the self-righteous British Raj ran the sub-continent for the financial benefit of The British East India Company. Each year, the rules became stricter, and more numerous.

Now they were told that they could not go to their ocean, and use their sunshine to evaporate the water.  They could no longer “make salt.”

Their leader, the Mahatma, told them that they must non-violently insist on their centuries-old rights. Men were beaten and imprisoned.  Bones were broken, and people died. Still the people quietly rose, like the tide itself.

And so, the great Gandhi gave birth to India.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her Wednesday picture as a prompt to write a complete story.

 

Rocky Birthday

 

newfoundland-map

<- (See Ted?  Over there!)

 

The rocky birthday isn’t mine. That will occur on the weekend, and you’ll be able to hear about it without even turning your computers on.  With all my abilities, I couldn’t organize an orgasm in a bordello, but, I kinda, sorta, wanna organize a Happy Birthday party for a blog-buddy of mine.

I would like everybody who visits this site, today, Sept. 17th, or even over the next couple of days, to click on http://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/ and wish my friend Ted a happy birthday.  He may need some cheering up, because today he turns 51, and joins me on the wrong side of the half century mark.  I wouldn’t mind if you mentioned this post.

The rocky reference isn’t just about birthday numbers. Ted lives on Newfoundland, our easternmost province.  It juts out into the cold North Atlantic, like Canada’s ass hanging over the edge of a bed.  Its residents lovingly refer to it as “The Rock.”  Fortunately, Ted lives on the western coast area, where you’re slightly less likely to find an iceberg in your back yard bay.

Like many of us, Ted has worked at a variety of jobs, to support himself, and now, a new wife, and a stepson he cherishes, and seems to be making a great father to. He’s worked at jobs he liked, but didn’t pay great, and he’s worked at jobs he was overqualified for, didn’t like, and which didn’t pay great.  He recently published a post about them, and about going back to university as a mature student to better himself.

He’s finally obtained a job he likes and which allows him to support the wife and young’un in the style they all deserve. Things are simpler and slower on The Rock.  Used to life in urban areas where you can walk to work, he’s now dismayed at the prospect of a 45 minute commute.

His retraining was in Information Technology, I T.  He has graciously helped me, and others, with problems here on WordPress.  The pictures like the map at the top, which I now sprinkle throughout my posts, are there because he told the wife and me how. He explained it to the wife, and, a year later, she finally got it through to me.

Ted and his Rock are a little removed from the usual hustle and bustle of “civilization.” The well-written posts on his site are bucolic, and often about life at a slower pace.  They limn the fascinating life and times – the friends, and family, and neighbors – of a most interesting writer.

I suggest you visit, and sign up for a rewarding ride. Don’t forget to wish him a Happy Birthday!  I won’t.

Happy Birthday, from the old fart, ARCHON

Birthday Cake(I didn’t know which you liked more, so I got you a chocolate one.)