Friday, June 30, 2006

Big Dave, R.I.P.

Our outdoors cat, Big Dave, died a few days ago. A little over four years ago, he had had acute kidney failure, which is curable in cats, but which left him with kidney damage. Over time, he started losing weight, and over the last few weeks the weight just dropped off of him. He wasn't unhappy, though, and was still eating, drinking, and trying to bring down birds, so we waited for the inevitable. Then he vanished. After a few days, we assumed he was dead, and were confirmed by a visit yesterday from our over-the-fence neighbor, who had found Big Dave lying in the shade under the bamboo patch. He knew Big Dave as "Grump," and had been feeding and watering him as the cat hunted critters among the bamboo in his back yard. He'd buried him, and then asked around just in case "Grump" had some other owner. We visited the grave and Offspring #1 shed some tears. I need to bake our good neighbor some brownies.

Big Dave was born just "Dave" in upstate New York, where his owners kept the little kitten in spite of a no pets rule in their flat. When Dave grew into a monstrous and unhideable cat of close to thirty pounds, he was given to the local cat shelter. One winter day, while grieving the death of my dear tiny cat Caliche, I was visiting the bookstore and browsed among the cat shelter adoption display. There, in a cage by himself, was the largest cat I had ever seen. The sign on the cat said "Big Dave." First I thought, "What a brute!" Then I thought, "I must have that cat."

Big Dave was no teddy bear, even though he looked like one. He terrorized our other cat, Phil the pacifist kitty, though we managed to enforce a detente eventually. He had no charity towards small creatures, including babies and toddlers, and when I was pregnant with Offspring #2, I knew Big Dave was going to have to become an outdoor kitty. Out he went, and soon became a (mostly) changed cat. His temper mellowed, and he would let small children pet him without becoming too irritated. He lost the fat and trimmed down to his fighting weight of about twenty pounds. Did I mention he was a large cat? Twenty pounds of fur, muscle, and bad attitude. A lean, mean, dog-fighting machine.

He soon had a neighborhood reputation as scourge of the canines. Once, a woman let her leashed toy dog wander up well onto our lawn to do its doggy business. I was just opening the door to ask her not to do that, when a large gray blur streaked out of the bushes and went for the dog. Big Dave was all over that dog like a cheap suit. The woman stared, uncomprehending, while I grabbed for what looked like the midsection of the cat and pulled him off the poor trembling creature. I apologized--"He doesn't like dogs in his yard"--she apologized, we removed our respective animals from the scene; I'm guessing she probably curbed the dog properly from then on.

His dog-fighting days ended (mostly) when, one evening, some neighbors were walking their well-behaved mid-sized dogs, on leashes, in the street, and suddenly Big Dave got it in his head that he could take both of them on. There was the familiar streak out of the bushes, but this time he was older, the dogs were bigger and plural, and he lost the fight in a big way. The owners strained to pull their dogs off the downed cat, while Eudoxus bravely waded into the fight and extricated Big Dave. Before we could take him to the vet next morning, Big Dave took off for a few days of licking his physical and psychological wounds, and came back a chastened kitty. Except for one incident with an escaped labrador that refused to leave our yard, and ended with a scene out of Wild Kingdom where the lion is hanging on to the back of the frantic zebra, tearing away as the panicked prey flees for its life, Big Dave left the dogs to themselves from then on. He contented himself with bringing down the phenomenally stupid mourning doves that infest the grassy places of Central Texas ("Coo-coo coooo! Hey, where'd Fred go? Coo-coo coooo!")

Big Dave was a guy cat. He liked men, not women or children, and men loved him. Several neighborhood guys routinely stopped by our house on evening walks or jogs and waited for Big Dave to run out to the curb for admiration and petting. When I'd give the vet my cat's name, men in the waiting room would smile and say "Yeah! Big Dave! There's a real cat." Our vet, a huge Texas guy himself, loved him. "Here's Big Dave. How's the big guy today?" When he disappeared after the big dog fight, and I was asking neighbors for blocks around if they'd seen him, I was mortified by the number of women who frowned and said they knew that cat; he was always beating up their pets. But the men would say the same thing with admiration.

Big Dave. Chasing errant dogs in heaven, or wherever. Thanks for being a real cat, big guy.

Happy 60th Birthday to Highlights Magazine

Highlights started publication in 1946. Some of my earliest memories are of searching for the hidden pictures, and sternly judging the malfeasance of Goofus.

When Offspring #1 was of age, I found several boxes of old Highlights from the early '60's for sale at a dollar a box, and by themselves they came close to providing a homeschool education for my young daughter. Back then they contained pretty challenging articles on history, geometry, arithmetic, geometry, and science--often written by university professors--as well as diverse religious (which at the time meant both Jewish and Christian) content: Bible stories, prayers, and seasonal stories. Their Editorial Advisory Board included rabbis, nuns, priests, and ministers. Most issues included a biography of a famous composer, together with a page of corresponding sheet music, with the charming instruction for the child to play it himself, or (if the child is too young) to have his mother play it for him. "Goofus and Gallant," as well as other features like "Let's Talk Things Over," taught such retro ethical principles as stoicism (big boys and girls don't cry) and the need for internalizing obedience, so that parental punishments can be replaced with self-control.

Though it's still a fine magazine (we subscribed for a while), I prefer the old issues. Even if I have to resort to iTunes to play the music for me.

(HT to Rod Dreher)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ss. Peter and Paul

For many Christians, this ancient feast day has taken on a new meaning: the urgency of love, understanding in humility, and reconciliation among brothers and sisters in Christ who have become, through the exigencies of history and the sins of men, separated from each other. May the Holy Spirit be for us the fount of unity.

Saint Paul (from the King James Version):

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Saint Peter (from the Douay-Rheims):

But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. Using hospitality one towards another, without murmuring, As every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another: as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak, as the words of God. If any man minister, let him do it, as of the power, which God administereth: that in all things God may be honoured through Jesus Christ: to whom is glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

Now There's a Project

What self-respecting homeschooler could pass this up?

The LEGO Babbage Machine

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Le Progres Scientifique Fait "Boink"?

From the used book store, a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon collection en francais. (Sorry, I know there should be a cedilla in there, but I have no idea how to get French characters on this blog.) Let's see if this helps Offspring #1 focus on her liberal arts studies a bit. These are just great:

Calvin: Il vient juste de m'arriver un truc super-bizarre.

Maman: Ah? Quoi?

Calvin: Je m'occupais gentiment quand soudain j'ai ete happe dans une sorte de vortex du vide spatial! Impuissant, j'ai vu mon double malefique venu d'un autre univers prendre ma place sur terre. Et...

Maman: Qu'est-ce que tu as fait encore?

Calvin: Non, non, tu vois, c'etait pas moi...

So if this works out, she'll have the French for "outer-space vortex" and "evil twin." There's some vocabulary I bet they don't have in Rosetta Stone. I wonder how you say "transmogrifier"?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Catholic Homeschooling Trivia of the Day

So I was putting the finishing touches on my uber-timeline of history books and historical fiction, and I kept running into August Derleth, the prolific author who wrote such young people's books (from the Vision series) as Father Marquette and the Great Rivers, Columbus and the New World, and Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus. His name seemed really familiar, though I was sure I'd never seen any of these books until recently, and I finally bounced it off of Eudoxus. "August Derleth? You mean the guy who wrote all those Cthulhu books after Lovecraft died?" Turns out we have plenty of Derleth on the shelf already. Now there are some books that we're not going to give the Offspringen for a while.

Reading about Pere Marquette to the kids will never be quite the same now. "Suddenly, the Mississippi took a sharp bend, and there before the explorers' little canoe, rising out of the water, was a strange tentacled creature with palpitating gills..."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Arithmetic Problems

A math-teacher-to-be is posting at Edspresso with the inside scoop on ed school. Boy, I thought I could rant....

(HT to Joanne Jacobs.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

I Could Not Possibly Make This Up

Everyone remember Monsignor Emmanuel Milingo, the mad archbishop who married a Korean acupuncturist in a Unification Church mass wedding a few years ago, then repented just in time to avoid excommunication (no doubt the Vatican sent the Opus Dei albino monk hit squad to "persuade" him back into the fold)?

Well he's formed a soul band, called the Emmanuel Milingo Experience, and will be performing in Bologna with the Neville Brothers. They have a CD, even.
Lessons Learned

This summer I get to reflect on my first year of teaching Sunday School (or, as they call it in Catholic environs, CCD, except now it's CFF, which is okay because even though nobody can remember what CFF stands for, nobody could ever remember what CCD stood for, either). It was quite the experience, and I've agreed to continue teaching it next year, in accordance with the "Hit me again, sir!" philosophy of life.

What did I learn? First, that classroom teaching is very, very different from the tutorial system that is homeschooling. Duh. Yes, everything I learned was pretty much a "duh" thing, but there's nothing like learning the hard way. Experience is the best teacher, though her tuition fees will break you. I have a new respect for teachers dealing with classrooms, though at the same time less patience for those who think only certified teachers trained for the classroom ought to homeschool. The two things are so entirely different that I'm amazed I ever could have thought my years of hs'ing could have given me any advantage in the classroom. Other than the general confidence that I can, in fact, teach.

The most successful part of CCD: using the Bible. Much as it kills me to post this in public where anyone can see, the horrifying fact of American Catholic religious education is that the Bible is missing in action. We've thrown out traditional memorization-based catechetics (the Baltimore Catechism, as well as any materials based on it, is specifically banned in our diocese, as in many others); we've thrown out firm statements of doctrine; we've thrown away our heritage as the intellectually serious brand of Christianity. (One of my favorite illustrative moments was when my non-Catholic husband, looking over Offspring #1's second-grade CCD text, remarked "Hard to believe you're the same people who produced Thomas Aquinas.") We've done all this in the name of the Spirit of Vatican 2. Well, if there's anything Vatican 2 made clear, it was that Scripture is the gemstone in the ring of Tradition, the wellspring of doctrine, the source of liturgy, and above all the Word of God. So how come the CCD kids never, never, never crack open the covers of a Bible in any class? Sure, the textbooks, wretched things that they are (but I won't hop onto that hobby horse again right now), have dumbed-down "Bible stories." And that's reasonable for the littler kids. But I was teaching the third/fourth grade class, and not a single one of them had ever opened a Bible before.

So every morning, my co-teacher, P., and I would lug the Bibles up from the Religious Ed. office to our classroom. And the first day, I introduced the Bible to the kids. And we started with the most basic basics. Your Bible is in two parts: the first 3/4s is called the "Old Testament" ... The first four books of the New Testament are called "Gospels" and they tell the life of Jesus ... and so on. Chapters and verses, prophets and epistles. After three to four years of Catholic education, this was all hot news to the kids. We looked up a verse every single day. The first day we did Genesis 1:1, and it took twenty minutes before all the kids were able to find it. But by the end of the year, I could give them 1 Timothy3:15, and with one or two exceptions, they could find it in less than a minute. Yeah!

I also told them they needed to own their own Bible, and that anyone who didn't own one by the middle of the year would get one free from me. P. and I split the cost of some decent Ignatius Bibles (RSV). I was a little worried about getting myself in trouble for not using the wretched bishop-approved NAB (wretched translation, not wretched bishops--well, at least not in most cases), but I had quickly discovered that the NAB was so footnote-laden and poorly laid out that the kids were consistently confused as to what was Scripture and what was notes. So by the end of the year, they all had their own Bibles and knew how to use them. Mission accomplished. Or at least underway.

The least successful part of CCD: teaching the kids an an appropriate level. First, it took me a while to get the hang of classroom techniques for making the central points clear, and ensuring that the kids at least left with the main things I wanted them to learn that day. That was my fault. Not my fault, and not sure what I could do differently (so I'm taking suggestions), was the incredible diversity of knowledge and capacities among the kids.

First, though CCD kids are usually thought of as the poor children of CINO (Catholic In Name Only) parents who don't know or practice their faith--otherwise the kids would be in the parochial school instead of CCD, wouldn't they?--my experience as both parent and CCD teacher is that this is only true in a few cases. Though to some extent it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the accordingly low level of catechesis, based on the assumption that these kids come to CCD in complete ignorance, causes the frustrated parents who do a good job of raising their kids in the faith to withdraw their children. Yes, there were some children with non-practicing parents who dropped them off for CCD but didn't take them to mass. I was horrified to overhear one of my brighter students mentioning that her parents hadn't taken her to mass in months; she hadn't even been at Easter. And there were some with devout parents who taught their children thoroughly, prayed together as a family daily, and could have taught the class themselves.

Further, at our parish the third and fourth grade are combined, apparently because second grade is the First Communion year, and the theory is that most families will pull their kids once the CCD requirement for the sacrament is satisfied. (See above re: the theory of Bad CCD Parents.) The fact that this doesn't actually occur fazes no one, and so my class every year is packed. Twenty-plus kids this year. I was assured, upon first discovering this, that most of the kids would be no-shows, not to worry. But foolish me, I gave out stickers for participation and right answers, plus other freebies on a regular basis, and allowed the kids (poor things, most of who had just sat quietly through an hour of mass) to talk quietly and even wander around, so long as they came to attention when I asked them to. (Freebies, BTW, are a total hit. Glow-in-the-dark rosaries and prayer cards with particularly gory martyrdoms [Sebastian, Denis] or Disneyesque princess-type saints [Helen, Kateri Tekakwitha] make the teacher very popular.)

So attendance was consistently high, and the kids ranged in age from eight to nearly eleven, factoring in differences in background and sharpness (not to mention interest level), and further included one dear girl with Asperger's who needed far more individual attention than I could possibly give her. The best I could do was teach to the middle of the class, restating main points in simple language (and writing them on the board) for those who were just not up to the level I was pitching at, and throwing in some advanced asides for those who were horribly bored. But in the end, some kids were confused, and some kids were convinced yet again that CCD is a waste of time. Whether they learned a darn thing, other than how to use their Bibles, I leave in the hands of God, and hope experience improves my teaching next year. Oh how I pray they'll split the class up next year: I literally begged, but we have a new DRE coming in, and she'll have plenty of other more pressing things on her hands.

Friday, June 09, 2006

CoH #23

The twenty-third Carnival of Homeschooling is up at PalmTree Pundit.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Books, Books, Books Redux

Having just found a pile of the excellent Horizon-Caravel world history books for $1-$2 each, all at one bookseller (thus making the shipping cost only about $1/book), I'm feeling smugly generous and will deign to share tips for buying homeschooling history books over the internet without going broke. Or at least going broke in such small increments that you hardly notice it.

Tips for buying out-of-print books: Use a bookseller search engine that searches multiple booksellers, such as Bookfinder, rather than looking on (e.g.), Amazon, or individually. This will allow you to compare prices easily. Try to buy multiple books simultaneously; the shipping cost for additional books is usually much lower than for a single book. Figure out which sellers tend to have the books you want, and bookmark them; or when you find a book you want, search that seller for more of the books you want (you do have a list going, don't you?). EBay, as always, is simultaneously the land of breathtaking bargains and hugely overbid white elephants.

Have an idea of the price range for the book you want. Landmark and Vision books are usually more expensive, as their reissue has raised their profile and increased demand. Keep in mind that a shipping cost of about $3.50 will be added to your price.

Look at similar, non-series books by the same author as a book you like. Books not part of a series are of significantly less interest to collectors, and are accordingly very cheap.

Save time by limiting your search to under a certain dollar amount, and/or only to hardcover books. Ex libris books are of no value to collectors, and so are cheaper; booksellers will often indicate good-condition books with no collectors' value as "good reading copy."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What Kind of Homeschooler Are You?

This has been making the rounds for years, and the first time I took it we hadn't really settled into our proper "style." Now that Sophia's Wisdom has reminded me of its existence, I have an accurate result:

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?

Galileo - If it is worth learning, it has been printed in Latin. You want your children to have a classical education. You teach the Trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, and the Quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Ancient history is fascinating to you, and you own several Greenleaf Guides to prove it.
Take this quiz!

The really sad thing is that one of the questions asked what you usually have on your table, and one of the options was "A Latin dictionary, the Iliad, and Euclid." And over there, sitting on the table, are a Latin dictionary, Homer, and Euclid's Elements. They missed the copy of Gawain and the Green Knight, in the original Middle English.

Books, Books, Books

The Internet Monk begs for some linkage to his series on Christian Marketing, so since he's always worth reading, here we go. Check out his many other excellent posts and essays while you're there.

So I've often wondered why Evangelical Protestant bookselling goes on like a house afire, where Catholic bookselling doesn't. Go into a Christian (i.e. Evangelical) store and then into a Catholic one, and see who has walls and walls of books, and who has a little section of books tucked away behind the racks of prayer cards. What is the Catholic equivalent to monster phenomenons like The Prayer of Jabez, or The Purpose-Driven Life, or the Left Behind series? Not in terms of content, but of popularity and sales. Even if you figure that Catholics have less cultural solidarity than do Evangelicals, and so are less likely to have uniform bookbuying habits, the nevertheless large number of serious, mass-attending orthodox Catholics doesn't seem to have an impact on Catholic book marketing, which lingers in the basement. Name one bestselling Catholic book of the last ten years that was significant enough in sales to be noticed by the secular media.

One possibility is that the seriously Catholic (and therefore likely Catholic book-buying) market share is more interested in buying older writings than newer. If the Catholic analogue to Rick Warren is Thomas a Kempis, and if your parish friends are recommending The Imitation of Christ or The Story of a Soul at least as often as they're recommending Scott Hahn or Fr. Benedict Groeschel, then it's not going to support a booming book market. Is there an Evangelical equivalent to TAN Publishers or Sophia Press, which are doing a strong business selling reprints of Catholic books with expired copyrights?

Anyway I think this has some traction as a homeschooling issue, or at least as a broader education issue. About half of U.S. homeschoolers would self-describe as Evangelical or fundamental Christians. If their book-buying habits are already so overwhelming just from their religious identity, does this have a relation to the mushrooming market in homeschooling materials, as sellers figure out where the book-buying money is migrating? I would love to see some hard numbers on the sales of homeschooling materials over the last several years, especially broken down between Christian and secular-oriented materials. And if Frank Turk (go follow the iMonk's links) thinks there's a problem in providing an "interpretive grid" for orthodoxy in Christian bookselling, that goes triple for Christian homeschooling materials, where buyers want to know not just what's orthodox (whether that means Ev. or Cath.) but also what's educationally serious, accurate, and useful. Where are the independent websites with reviews (beyond a few niche sites like love2learn) to help homeschoolers sort through the ever-growing mountains of materials?

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Favorite Pentecost Homily

A divine-sense-of-humor story. Back when I lived in a horrible parish in a notoriously (I later discovered) awful diocese, our deacon gave a particularly lame homily for Pentecost. It was on the theme of "God is not in the mighty wind, but in the soft breeze blowing in our hearts"--as predictable and emasculating as the Loaves-and-Fishes Sunday homily on The Importance of Sharing, or the Sell-All-Your-Possessions-and-Give-to-the-Poor Sunday homily on Why We Can Still Keep Our 501(K)s. The deacon made it very clear that God's voice is to be found in the soft breeze telling us what we like to hear and not, not, not to be found in the oppressive gale winds of Church doctrine and Vatican pronouncements. Because God just doesn't speak in loud ways that overpower our own inner sense of what's right.

That afternoon, May 31, 1998, the windstorm of the century struck. A supercell moved into the Hudson Valley. Massive wind shear. Widespread destruction; $38 million dollars in damage before it was all over. Right by the church, a massive old oak tree was torn up by the roots and crushed a car.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Weird Science

Interesting collection of links from Joanne Jacobs on the disappearance of chemistry sets and hands-on at-home lab experimentation among young people, due to the worrisome advent of federal intervention.

This is of increased personal interest to the Opinionated Homeschooler* as we are already at the stage where she has to sidle furtively up to the pharmacists' booth at CVS and ask where they keep "alum ... and powdered sulfur ... oh and (glancing at index card) tincture of iodine, if you have any, please."

My dad used to make his own fireworks as a kid, and grew up to be a chemical engineer working at Los Alamos Nat'l Labs. There's no way a kid would be allowed to mess around with those kinds of chemicals these days. Which reminds me, check out The Radioactive Boy Scout; a funny and yet sobering tale of hyper-boyish chem-kit tinkering. (The article's been made into a book.)

*The Opinionated Homeschooler is toying with blog-reader C.'s third-person perspective. A little pretentious, don't you think?

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Te Deum: A Hymn of Thanksgiving (For C.)

You are God: we praise you.
You are the Lord: we acclaim you.
You are the eternal Father: all creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you,
Father of majesty unbounded, true and only Son,
Worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of Glory, eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
You did not disdain the Virgin's womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God's right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, sustain your people,
bought by the price of your own blood
and bring us with your saints to everlasting glory.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
Govern and uphold them now and always.
Day by day we bless you,
We praise your name forever.
Today, Lord, keep us from all sin.
Have mercy on us.
Lord, show us your love and mercy.
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope, may we never be confounded.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

On-Line RCIA: The Sixteenth Lecture

We are skipping ahead in honor of friend-of-this-blog C. (who has a big event imminent), with thanks to other-friend-of-blog A., who posted a section of the Sixteenth Lecture at the novena entry below.

Notice that St. Cyril has some harsh things to say about the Gnostics, who have been so fashionable lately. Because St. Cyril just can't stand how the Gnostics object to the Church's systematic oppression of women, or their attempts to liberate St. Mary Magdalene from the derogations, defamation, and insult cast upon her by the Evil Institutional Church. Oh wait, no he's upset because half of them are ugly anti-Semites who think the Old Testament God (and Holy Spirit by extension, and the Jewish people by futher extension) is evil and want to jettison the Hebrew Scriptures, and the other half are wingnuts who think they themselves are the Holy Spirit.

From the Sixteenth Lecture, regarding the Holy Spirit:
His coming is gentle; the perception of Him is fragrant; His burden most light; beams of light and knowledge gleam forth before His coming. He comes with the bowels of a true guardian: for He comes to save, and to heal, to teach, to admonish, to strengthen, to exhort, to enlighten the mind, first of him who receives Him, and afterwards of others also, through him. And as a man, who being previously in darkness then suddenly beholds the sun, is enlightened in his bodily sight, and sees plainly things which he saw not, so likewise he to whom the Holy Ghost is vouchsafed, is enlightened in his soul, and sees things beyond man's sight, which he knew not; his body is on earth, yet his soul mirrors forth the heavens. He sees, like Esaias, the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up; he sees, like Ezekiel; Him who is above the Cherubim; he sees like Daniel, ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; and the man, who is so little, beholds the beginning of the world, and knows the end of the world, and the times intervening, and the successions of kings, things which he never learned: for the True Enlightener is present with him.
The Lycanthrope Cast an Oeillade at My Basmati Rice

The list of spelling words for the written round of yesterday's Day 1 competition. See the oral rounds here (nasty PDF files). I think I would have been good up until #19. "Erewhonian"! There's a word that should really be used more. I must slip it into conversation today.