Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Classic Science Fiction Channel (arts and entertainment)


MY RECOMMENDATION: No, Unsuitable for the Kindle

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: The Classic Science Fiction Channel


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Curated links to free and legal SF/Fantasy/Horror movies, television shows, radio shows, cartoons, e-texts, and audio texts

MY REVIEW: As the description states, this blog provides links to "free and legal" movies and TV on the internet. But since you can't watch them on the Kindle, there's no point in subscribing. (I'll go further and say that if you want the exepreince of watching movies and TV, go with YouTube or better still, shell out a few bucks for the DVDs!)


Free Science Online (science and technology)


MY RECOMMENDATION: No - unsuitable for Kindle



BLOG DESCRIPTION: World's largest collection of free video lectures.

MY REVIEW: I highly recommend this blog, if you're interested in the sciences. The blog collects science and technology videos and shares them all in one place.

Having said that... there's no point in subscribing to this via the Kindle, because you can't see these videos on your Kindle!

So take a look at it in its web incarnation. Lots of good stuff here.

--Nobel Prize Winner Lectures 2009
--Ten Popular Free Video Courses Online
--2008 Nobel Prize Winner Videos
--Astronomy Video Lectures
--Physics Lectures
--Mathematics Video Lectures
--Free Computer Science Courses
--Popular Science Physics Video Lectures
--Free History Video Lectures
--Modern Physics Video Lecture Courses

Girl Scout Guide (lifestyle and culture)


MY RECOMMENDATION: Yes, with reservations



BLOG DESCRIPTION: Girl Scout Guide is a resource for girl scouts, troop leaders, and camp counselors. Resources offered are crafts, badge work tips, songs, and other assorted resources for volunteers.

MY REVIEW: I've subscribed to this blog via Kindle, and at first blush I'd have to say it was unsuitable for the Kindle, since all I see are the entry title, a paragraph, and an ellipsis that is not hotlinked, so I have no way to get to the rest of the article!

However, in checking the blog's Amazon page, I see it's ranked at about #60,000, which means that it has several subscribers. I find it difficult to believe that these subscribers would continue to subscribe to a blog that they can't read.

My Kindle, relatively new, is running operation system 2.3. The latest version is apparenlty 2.3.3, and I'm wondering if that system allows people to see this blog completely. Unfortunately, I can't download the system - whatever USB cable they sent me doesn't allow me to connect my Kindle to my computer! Until I can get the appropriate cable, I will just provide a caveat here - if you're running operating system 2.3 you might not be able to see these entries.

The second question of course is, do you even want to?

I can remember as a kid, my sister and I joined the Girl Scouts. At least, I think I was a Brownie, my sister, two years older, was a Girl Scout. And we both quit because we never did anything fun. No camping, no biking, no hiking, no whittling...instead all we did was sit around and sing songs and make crafts. Boring!

And apparently, that's what Girl Scouts still do today, if this blog is to be believed. (FYI, if you're a Girl Scout who wants to get her Aerospace badge, check out the program at the International Women's Air and Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

In any event, the blog hasn't been updated since March 17. That doesn't necessarily mean its inactive, but I'll keep an eye on it.

--Paper-Embellished Luminaire
--JGoode St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Page
--Girl Scouts to Take Action on Energy Awareness and Conservation through Trane Grant Project
--Girl Scout Birthday March 12th!
--Nationwide Study Finds That Teenage Girls Have Mixed Feelings about the Fashion Industry
--Princess Pat (song lyrics)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Center Field (Red Sox Baseball)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Red Sox blog... with attitude.

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog is, or perhaps I should say, was, a woman. "Red Sox blog written from the female perspective. Not just news, or just multimedia, or just analysis, or just humor — it’s my own crazy mix of all that. My philosophy has always been that you can enjoy the nuts and bolts of the game of baseball- learn the strategy, study the numbers, follow the stats- and still be interested in the crazy antics of the players as well. I think it’s just as fun to learn about the mechanics of Beckett’s curveball as it is to watch Pedroia goofing off in the dugout."

Unfortunately, the blog hasn't been updated since October 27, 2009. Since spring training has been going on for a month now, surely she'd be blogging again...if she were going to be blogging again.

So I can only assume that the blog is inactive. I'll keep an eye on it however, and if it ever starts back up...

2610.27.0910-27-04… NEVER FORGET!
1410.16.09ALCS Non-Preview: Los Angeles Angels
910.16.09ALCS Non-Preview: New York Yankees
310.15.09NLCS Non-Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers
810.15.09NLCS Non-Preview: Philadelphia Phillies
910.12.09The Green Fields of the Mind
27610.11.09Gameday Open Thread: ALDS Game 3
30010.9.09Gameday Open Thread: ALDS Game 2
28810.8.09Gameday Open Thread: ALDS Game 1

Aviation Blogs Index

There are dozens of blogs written by aviators "out there," but only 13 are available for subsrciption via the Kindle.

One that is not available is This blog is devoted to recording the happenings with the surviving WASP (women airforce service pilots), and therefore of course what it mostly records is their deaths, as the 300 or so survivors are all in their 80s or 90s now. So this is one blog in which we do not want to see a lot of entries!

Another blog, written by a USAF pilot, is (This is not a time when women should be patient. We are in a war and we need to fight it with all our ability and every weapon possible. Women pilots, in this particular case, are a weapon waiting to be used. — Eleanor Roosevelt, 1942.)

And then there's the adventures of Chopper Chick (A nomad female helicopter pilot flying all over the United States where the work takes her from Aerial Construction, Fire-Fighting, News, Charter, and Production flying who also has numerous hobbies varying from dirtbiking, streetbiking, surfing, kayaking, snowboarding, snowmobiling, horsebackriding, and many many more that lead her on countless adventures!)

But on to the blogs available for subscription via the Kindle. (Click on link to be taken to Amazon page to subscribe. If there is no link, it's because the blog is inactive.)

Airspeed by Airspeed, LLC
Evan Sparks's Aviation Policy Blog by Evan Sparks (infrequently updated. Last update Jan 2010)
Aviation Law Monitor by Mike Danko, The Danko Law Firm
Cessna Warbirds by Walt Shiel by Walt Shiel
Instructor's Blog | IndependentFlightIns... by by
professional pilot logbook by Jared Dirkmaat
Ethan's RV-7A by Ethan Jacoby
WW2 airplanes and their pilots by John Mollison
Winged Victory: Women in Aviation by Gale Force

The Wind Beneath My WingINACTIVE since 2009
FlyMiwokBlog INACTIVE since February 2010
Redefine The Experience by GM Baker INACTIVE since Jan 26, not aviation related per se.

Diet Tip Daily (weight loss)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Dieting and weight loss products are a multi-billion dollar business. Save your money. Accept that there's no easy way to lose weight, but there are ways to make the work fun.

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog advises people not to waste their money with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, pointing out that all their advertisements have small print that says, "Results not typical." According to this author, the way to lose weight - and then maintain your new weight once you've achieved it - is to stop obsessing over it.

The important thing about weight is not to obsess about one's appearance, but rather to realize that it's all about health. There's nothing wrong or evil about being 10 - 20 pounds overweight....

This is a refreshing weight loss blog that encourages women not to obsess over achieving the unrealistic, emaciated look of today's models, but rather to live like real people!

--"Struggling" with 10-20 extra pounds?
--Monday Madness
--Spring is here, can Summer be far behind?
--Restaurants: Fewer calories, higher prices
--Stretching Exercises Calm and Help
--How To Substitute One Habit For Another
--Monday Message
--Eating does not and should not supply orgasmic ple...
--Does Kirstie Alley have a form of Munchausen Syndr...
--Women, Their Weight, and Mental Illness
--What Is Your Appropriate Weight?
--Controlling Your Appetite
--No more freedom of choice in schools

Olympia 1936 (German history, German language)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: The 1936 Olympics brought 50 nations and hundreds of athletes to Berlin. A commemorative two-book set of the history of the games was produced, illustrated by cigarette cards (a popular collectible at the time). This blog takes excerpts from these books, and translates them into English, to help people build their German vocabulary (or their English vocabulary) and learn a bit about sports, and the Olympics of 1936.
(It does *not* teach German grammar. It is strictly to increase people's vocabulary.)

MY REVIEW: If you've got only a little time each day to learn a language, and German is your language of choice, consider Olympia 1936. As the blog points out, it does not attempt to teach German grammar, but rather to simply build vocabularly. In addition, it shows the history of the 1936 Olympics, as written at the time. (Thus, there are no comments on them as "the Nazi Olympics" with all that that implies, but simply as historical documents - the Olympics taking place in 1936.)

--4 Man Bobsled - Bobrinnen mit Pausen
--Der Marsch auf Berlin: Canadien pt 3
--Der Marsch auf Berlin: Canadian pt 2
--Der Marsch auf Berlin: Canadian pt 1
--Der Marsch Auf Berlin: Bulgarien

Girl Scientist Magazine (science and technology, women's interest)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog will share profiles of women scientists in a variety of disciplines, from electrical engineering to mechanical engineering, from marine biologists to astronauts. We will also share lessons on the various sciences.

MY REVIEW: As the name implies, this blog is designed to encourage girls and teens to become involved in the sciences. This includes any science, from biologist to zoologist. If there's a flaw in the blog, it is that some of the entries are quite obviously geared toward young kids, and others are geared towards their parents. It would be better if the blog were devoted to one or the other, I think.

Having said that, there's plenty of interesting information here. For a girl interestd in "science" who doesnt' quite know what specialty she wants, this blog will introduce her to the entire gamut, and give her ideas which will serve as a springboard to her future career.

Sample Post:
Encyclopedia Brown as an Introduction to Scientific Method
When I was a young kid - over 30 years ago! - I read all the Encyclopedia Brown books (by Donald J. Sobol), and I always tried to solve the mysteries before Encyclopedia Brown did.

What I didn't realize at the time was that these books were giving me an introduction to the scientific method - always listen closely, pay attention to ever little detail, and make deductions based on facts, not on guess work.

Ever since then, I've always been very punctilious (precise, demanding; careful, conscientious) when it comes to believing what people tell me - whether it is friends, acquaintances, strangers, or what I read in the newspapers.

Take the case of Global Warming, for example. For decades the public - around the world- have been told that man-made Global Warming (as opposed to natural global warming) will cause oceans to rise, polar bears to die, and so on. Within the last year, however, evidence has come to light which shows that the global warming data had been falsified, mis-represented, and even suppressed, in order to bring us where we are today - with companies having to spend millions of dollars to "green" themselves.

With what result? The new "spaghetti" light bulbs that are supposed to last longer than our current lightbulbs have dangerous chemicals in them, and have to be disposed of in a hazardous landfill! Electric bikes are propelled by batteries made out of lead, and since batteries only hold a charge for so long, dead batteries have to be thrown away... in hazard landfills because they too have dangerous chemicals in them!

The job as a scientist is to evaluate all the evidence, and come to a conclusion. A real conclusion, not one that fits a theory that you have formed in advance. As time goes on, you will find more evidence. If it fits your theory - it strengthens your theory. If it doesn't fit your theory, it must not be discarded, but rather put in a place of prominence until it can be explained.

--Math Doesn't Suck: How To Survive Middle Schoool M...
--Spelunking, caving and geologists
--Encyclopedia Brown as an Introduction to Scientifi...
--The Search for Atlantis
--Girl Dinosaurologist: Buddy Books for 2nd graders
--Girl Dinosaurologist
--Girl Scientist Sourcebook: Hypatia
--Super Women In Science, by Kelly Di Domenico

Daily Space: The blog of The Thunder Child science fiction and fantasy webzine





BLOG DESCRIPTION: The blog of The Thunder Child science fiction and fantsy webzine, which features science fiction in all media.

MY REVIEW: Although the blog is linked to The Thunder Child , the author goes off on tangents ever now and again, but mostly, this blog is concerned with the history of science fiction and fantasy in all media, from radio to TV to movies to games to music.

--Tank Girl is about "girl power"?
--The Original Human Torch
--Fess Parker in excerpts from an episode of Daniel ...
--Institute for the Advancement of Artificial Intell...
--Science Fiction on Radio Spirit's Website
--Definitely visit the virtual Science Fiction museu...
--Time to visit the Science Fiction Museum in Seattl...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Volcano Seven (Treasure Hunting in all its forms)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Documents treasure hunters - those searching for lost gems, lost people, lost mines, lost aircraft, lost ships, lost cities, and of course, pirate treasure

MY REVIEW: It is no accident that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have been so successful (although I must say the first one was the best, and the other two rather disappointing from my point of view!) - everyone is fascinated by pirates and pirate treasure. Well...probably more by pirate treasure than pirates!

Who doesn't dream of walking on white sands, with an azure sea, and coming across a gold coin or two, washed in from a sunken galleon?

There's plenty of treasure out there - not just gold, silver, and jewelry on board sunken ships, but also cultural treasure, and perhaps most important, knowledge. There are lost ships, lost aircraft, lost people (Judge Crater, for example)...and Volcano Seven documents the search for (and sometimes the finding) of them all.

Sample post:
A couple of years ago, I bought shares in Odyssey Marine, hoping the stock would rise and I would become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. It didn't happen. Actually, I have lost half of my investment! (Not that this was a great tragedy....I only bought 100 shares.)

Now, I'm not really dissing Odyssey Marine. They've got a lot to deal with - they've found a ship in international waters and yet Spain is claiming it, and the treasure it contains to be their's, so there are lawsuits and the lawyers are taking away all the money and leaving none for shareholders.

Still, there story is interesting and here it is.

From their website:
Odyssey is the world leader in deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, searching the globe's vast oceans for sunken ships with intriguing stories, extraordinary treasure and precious artifacts spanning centuries of maritime travel. Our important discoveries also uncover priceless new knowledge and history from the depths. As we recover these shipwreck treasures once believed lost forever, we also resurrect lifetimes long forgotten, offering a rare and fascinating window into historic events that would otherwise remain obscure.

Our passion for shipwrecks and the amazing stories they tell is as deep as the oceans we explore.

No one knows shipwrecks better than our world-class team of researchers, scientists, technicians, and archaeologists. We've surveyed and mapped more than 10,000 square miles of seabed and spent more than 9,000 hours diving on shipwreck sites using advanced robotic technology, while more importantly, applying the highest archaeological standards. Our expert team has discovered hundreds of shipwrecks ranging from 3rd century BC Punic sites to U-boats and Colonial warships.

In 2003, we discovered the Civil War-era shipwreck of the SS Republic® and recovered over 51,000 coins and nearly 14,000 artifacts from the 1,700 foot (518 meters) deep site. In May 2007, we announced the recovery of over 500,000 silver and gold coins, weighing 17 tons, from a Colonial-era deep-ocean site code-named "Black Swan." In 2008, Odyssey discovered what is considered one of the most significant shipwrecks in history, HMS Victory, Admiral Sir John Balchin's flagship which perished in 1744. And our expeditions continue to unveil new sites with fascinating stories and cargoes.

--Lost Aircraft
--Odyssey Marine
--Arthur McKee, Jr. Part 2
--Arthur McKee, Jr. - part 1
--The Search for the Guggenheim Treasure
--CSS Texas

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ethan's RV-7A (Aviation)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Follow my step by step progress as I build a Van's Aircraft RV-7A.

MY REVIEW: Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy this blog, as it follows the author's progress tobuild his RV-7A.

As the author points out:
My reasons for wanting to build and fly my own airplane are simple and best summed up by the words of one of the true father’s of aviation, Leonardo DaVinci:

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Even though I’m a low-time pilot, I’ve already figured out that renting an airplane isn’t the best option available. The airplane may not be available when you want it and, at $115 an hour, it’s difficult to do anything more than pattern work and local flights. Of course, there’s a simple solution, buy my own airplane!

OK, maybe it’s not so simple. I started looking at buying a used aircraft and was amazed how airplanes hold their value. An ancient Cessna 172 would still cost me 30-80 thousand. At the 30 thousand end, you get a 40-year-old plane with an engine in need of overhaul. At the 80 thousand end, you get a 20-year-old airplane that is in good shape, but only cruises at 115 knots. Personally, if I own an airplane, I’m going to want to use it to go places and I want to go places fast! Unfortunately, my budget won’t allow this if I purchase a factory built aircraft.

With this in mind, I started looking at kit aircraft. There are hundreds of kits available. Some are not much more than a set of plans and some materials. Others are so advanced that you just match up holes, rivet, hang an engine, and go fly. I’m not an aerospace engineer, but I can follow good directions and I don’t want to have to fabricate a lot of parts. With this in mind, I started to focus on kits from Van’s, Ran’s, Sonex and a few others.

After looking at the specs, performance data, cost, and ease of construction, the hands down winner was the RV line from Van’s Aircraft. In addition, the RV-7A seemed like the best airplane for my mission. For more details on the RV-7A, check out the Van’s website ( or click on my specs and performance page.

The RV-7A is a low-wing, tri-cycle gear design with great handling characteristics in both slow flight and in high speed cruise. Sure, a lot of airplanes claim this, but how many of them fly as slow as 50 mph and top out at over 200 mph? Not many! On top of that, how many take off and land in less than 500 feet and are capable of minor aerobatics? Again, not many! Furthermore, how many kits are computer designed, precision machined, match punched and under $20,000 for the airframe.

With an RV, you get the complete package, fun, fast, and long-range. As a bonus, the airplane is designed to accept several sizes of engines and has many extra features which can be added both during and after construction. There are a lot of great kits out there and an RV may not be for everyone, but for me, the choice was simple.

The blog gets kind of technical, so those who aren't deeply interested in aviation might not want to spend the time taking a look at it, but aviation enthusiasts certainly will.

--Still More Wing Stand Construction (3/22/10)
--Wing Stand Construction Part 3 (3/17/10)
--More Wing Stand Construction (3/15/10)
--Started Building Wing Stands (3/13/10)
--Elevator Horns Drilled to Center Bearing (3/13/10)
--Fit Elevators to Horizontal Stabilizer (3/7/10)
--Finished Elevator Leading Edges (3/4/10)
--Left Elevator Leading Edge Rolled (3/2/10)
--More Trim Work (3/1/10)
--Finishing the Left Elevator (2/27/10)

Winged Victory: Women in Avation (aviation)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Winged Victory: Women in Aviation


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Six percent of all the pilots in the world have been, and are, women. This blog shares news and views about women pilots.

MY REVIEW: On March 10, 2010, women celebrated 100 years of aviation. Just 5 years after the Wright brothers flew the first viable airplane, the Wright Flyer, in 1905, Frenchwoman Raymonde de Laroche earned her pilot's license. She was the first to do so, but within just a few years women from practically every country with an aviation presence had earned their wings - this despite the fact that it was hard to find instructors. The daredevils of the day thought that their heroism was lessened if a woman could fly as well as they could. After all, if a woman could do it, how hard could it be?

The early pioneers faded out once WWI began. A new crop supplanted them after the war, with Amelia Earhart, Nellie Snook, Elinor Smith, Marvel Crosson, Pancho Barnes, and many more taking to the skies. Everyone knows the name of Amelia Earhart, but there were dozens of women pilots who set more records than Earhart ever did. Earhart concentrated on distance, the others on speed, altitude, time, etc.

During WWII, over a thousand women became WASP - women airforce service pilots, ferrying planes across country where men being trained to fly them would then take over. In England, it was the ATA - both men and women flew planes there.

After WWII, many of the women wished to continue flying, but they were not permitted to do so. It was not until 1977 that laws were in place to prevent the discrimination of women (and minorities) in airlines, and in the military.

It was not until a couple of years ago that a woman, Major Nicole Malachowski, became a pilot for the Airforce demo team, the Thunderbirds. The English Red Arrows have a new team member, Lt. Kirsty Moore. Other traditionally male airforces around the world have recently added women pilots...

Keep in touch with all the news at Winged Victory, Women in Aviation.

--Elinor Smith has died
--Flying For Her Country - American and Russian wome...
--F-35 Lightning II makes first vertical landing
--Book overview: Flygirl, and two dates for your cal...
--PR: Feminine-Friendly Gear Brightens Cockpits
--Deanie Parrish, age 80, shows off her legs
--PR: Flying Musicians to Land at Music and Aviation...
--The Lady and the Tiger, Strip #2
--Emily Howell Warner - request to rename an airport...

When I Feel Doomed (humor)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: It's kind of like stepping in a big pile of dog crap and then finding a $50.00 bill on the ground 20 minutes later. I mean sure, you have dog crap all over your shoe but hey - fifty dollars!

MY REVIEW: I find it difficult to give this blog a good review for a couple of reasons. First off, the author only makes 3 posts per month. While 3 posts a month may be fine for a technical blog, one on aviation or science, in which the posts are in-depth and contain a lot of information, it is simply not enough for a humor blog. Not if you're paying 99 cents a month to have it delivered to your Kindle, anyway.

Oh, the posts are long and involved, about an incident in the author's life or something that has tweaked his interest...but...just not my cup of tea.

Here's some paragraphs from a sample post.
A few weeks ago I received a letter in the mail from Chase luring me into opening a checking account with the promise of $100. There are a lot of things I would do for $50, and for $100 bucks I'll probably let you videotape me doing it. Opening a checking account is one of the less embarrassing things on the list.

The fine print stated I merely had to use the debit card associated with the account five times a month for three months in order for the offer to be valid. That's something I can make happen, considering I whip out my debit card for a pack of gum. I have no idea how society functioned before the creation of debit cards. How would they know how much money they needed? What if they needed to go to Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. and root around in the $5 movie bin to find an obscure 80's movie RIGHT NOW. It's incredible they survived long enough to propagate my generation.

There was a time in my life when I banked with Chase. There was also a time in my life where I dated a woman who told me she was saving herself for marriage. Neither relationship lasted. I dumped Chase bank as soon as possible and found another bank that put out on the fist date. No, that didn't sound right. What I meant to say was my relationship with Chase didn't work out because I thought the employees at that particular branch were dicks, and the relationship with the girl didn't work out because I was a dick. When it comes down to it there is only room for so much dick in one persons life. I suppose that isn't the best way to state my point, but for the sake of continuity let's move on.

I have my reasons for being less than excited about banking with Chase.

.... (continued on and on)

--Unwavering Committment to All the Wrong Things
--Big Problems with Small Talk
--Getting my Bailout Back
--Cashing In

Daily Plate of Crazy (life and culture)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Whatever life dishes out, and whatever we can make of it. . .

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog, Little Big Wolf, is "a freelance writer, journalist, marketer, trainer, single parent, art collector, polyglot, traveler, and devotee of exquisite footwear & French lingerie. She believes we are all brimming with glorious contradictions, and capable of living fully, with whatever life dishes out, and whatever we can make of it.

Morning is her clarity and her audacious dreaming, both of which persist, despite encroaching middle age and dirty socks – everywhere."

LBW, if I may so call her, is an excellent writer, articulate and entertaining. She covers her topics in detail, with an insight that can give her readers - both men and women - food for thought.

Sample paragraphs from a sample post
Tweaking the recipe
I love recipes that I can tweak. A little of this, a little of that. I like what evolves, what surprises me, what turns out differently just a little, each time. Perhaps this is in part because I’m never quite the same from one day to the next. Are any of us, really?

I like to tweak my life, my writing, my look. I love to learn. And I enjoy my element of chameleon; it has served me well. And haven’t we all invented or reinvented ourselves at one time or another?

In adolescence, we may call this emerging from the cocoon. As we mature, we shed old skins, trying on new careers and personal lives. We undertake change in ourselves as we gain experience. We adjust following events that insist upon change, whether we want it or not.

Pygmalion, Narcissism, and Evolution
We are adaptable. Some of us more than others, but all of us, more than we realize. Reinvention may be physical, emotional, behavioral, or any of these. It may come suddenly, or gradually, as we ease into our own patchworked pieces of past, present circumstances, and desire.

But what of the man who would reinvent his woman? What of the woman who restyles her man? Is this narcissism, pure and simple? Is there a fine line between “improving the current model” and interfering – or worse – controlling, to the point of damaging another? Does it make a difference if it is with consent, as opposed to subtly achieved, through undermining words and behaviors?

--Terms of endearment (Let me call you sweetheart?)
--Can we ever “set the record straight?”
--The other side of town
--Frankenstein, or Bride of Frankenstein?
--If I close my eyes so I may dream. . .

The Portlander (local arts & entertainment)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: ThePortlander is a new kind of news organization built for people to discover and share news from anywhere in Oregon.

How do we do this? Everything on ThePortlander - from news to videos to images - is submitted by fellow Oregonians (that would be you).

And it doesn’t stop there. Because ThePortlander is all about sharing and learning, there’s a conversation that happens around the content. We’re here to promote that conversation and provide tools for Oregonians to discuss the topics that they’re passionate about. By looking at information through the lens of the collective community on ThePortlander, you’ll always find something interesting and unique. We’re committed to giving every voice on ThePortlander an equal shot.

MY REVIEW: This blog is an excellent resource for anyone living in the Portland, Oregon area. It has all the news that's fit to print, from local news, politics, living green, business, sports and so on.

The website itself is very cluttered, with about a dozen headlines, a paragraph underneath it, and the necessity to click on a "Read more" button to see the whole article. With the Kindle, the info feeds over in its entirety. All you see are headlines, and you can choose to read what you want based on the headline. (Or, of course, once you click on one article to read, you can then page from article to article, without having to go back to the headline list.)

Highly recommended.

Sample post
WWII Era Navy Aircraft Wreckage Found on Oregon Coast
A World War II-era U.S. Navy aircraft was discovered by a logging company near Rockaway Beach, Ore., March 18. After Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) and Oregon State Police (OSP) learned about the discovery, the Navy was notified for response. Initial responders believe there is a possibility of human remains at the site.

A team of U.S. Navy personnel are working on-scene in coordination with TCSO and OSP to investigate and share information with Joint Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) in Honolulu and Navy Region Northwest for further determination.

Navy personnel and local officials are working together to ensure best possible security and safety measures are taken at the private-property location. Safety and integrity of the aircraft site is paramount to this response. It is important that the Navy team on-scene be allowed to make a thorough, undisturbed investigation at this time.

OSP Bomb Technicians checked the site Wednesday afternoon and found no obvious signs of unexploded ordnance.

Initial responders reported seeing a wing, tail section, landing gear and other debris. The site is in a heavily wooded area where aircraft debris is spread out over an approximately 200 yard area which remains under investigation.

The aircraft’s identity is confirmed as a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. Naval Air Station Tillamook, decommissioned in 1948, was located within 20 miles southeast of the crash site, but the air station of origin has not been determined.

-Upcoming Oregon Health Plan Drawing will add 8,000 to state to state insurance
-Wilsonville Oregon Again Named "Tree City USA" by Arbor Day Foundation
-Portland Swing Band is a Tribute to Japanese Americans who spent time in internment camps
-Nissan Altima 3.5SR Coupe: An update for a shrinking segment
-Portland wants to be known for volunteerism
-Beaverton to hose "Living Greener" summit on April 10

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kindle Blog Report Amazon Ranking: 44,124

After a little less than a month, the Amazon ranking of the Kindle Blog Report isat #44,124 and we're quite proud of that, considering that the ranking starts out at about 250,000 or or something!

We will continue to provide reviews of blogs - both those available for subscription on the Kindle, and those that aren't - for many years to come!

Thanks to all our subscribers, and for the positive feedback we've received.

If you have questions, comments or concerns, suggestions for blogs to review, etc., just contact us.

History of the (Whole) World (Lifestyles & Culture)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: History of the (Whole) World


BLOG DESCRIPTION: My progress in writing, revising, sending to my editor, re-revising, fact-checking, galley-reading, and promoting a four-volume history of the world...along with reflections on life as a writer/parent/amateur farmer.

MY REVIEW: You have to admire someone who takes on the world – writing its history up to the Knights Templar. (I assume she thinks we can take it from there!) The author is a professor at William and Mary, a mother, and has a farm outside Williamsburg. Any one of these four occupations is a fulltime job, juggling four is impressive.

She journals about writing her book and the “birthing” process of getting it published. Oh, and did I mention, she also runs a small printing press (publishing business) of her own on the side? And, she does mention sleeping.

One of her children, a son, is spending his gap year in South Africa, so you have a mother’s pride/fear of a child’s travels to add to all else going on. The author is an excellent writer. In one post, she notes that her book is now listed as #1 on the medieval bestseller list on Amazon. I’m impressed, I just got my blog on Amazon and it doesn’t have a rank. She has an interesting feature once a week where she lists her twitter feeds.

A most interesting blog – well done.

Sample paragraphs
I haven’t posted an update on my reading for a while. Actually I haven’t posted anything lengthy for a while. I’ve been submerged in researching, editing, and keeping up with daily life; tax returns had to be done; I have papers to grade; filling out all of the financial aid forms for my rising college freshman killed untold brain cells; my nine-year-old gave herself a concussion and fractured her clavicle; you get the idea.

But I still read books, no matter what else falls off my to-do list.

First up, Michael Ruhlman’s food trilogy: The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, The Reach of a Chef.

Grades: A- for the first, A for the other two.

I’ve always enjoyed food writing, and if you find that genre dead boring, you probably won’t like these books. But what I appreciate about Ruhlman is his sense of drama. He can take the preparation of a poulet saute, the reaction of a food critic to a single pasta dish, a not-too busy lunch service, and turn each one into a fully developed narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. He sketches out characters with a few strokes and makes them real. I envy his skill.

Of the three, The Making of a Chef spends the most time on kitchen minutia and the least on characters and story, so that drops it a bit on my grading scale. (Also the font in the new Holt paperback version is way annoying.) The Reach of a Chef is my favorite of the three; in it, Ruhlman traces the inevitable trajectory that afflicts professionals in every profession. Get good enough at what you do, and eventually you’ll find that you’re not doing it anymore. Instead you’re administering your own career, and there’s hardly any time to devote to the activity that created that career in the first place.

Going off the grid for a (silent) family day. #
Trying to answer interview questions by email. Making my brain hurt. #
Inside house: half-sick mom trying to nap. Outside: children w/sticks trying to find object on farm which will make most noise when struck. #
Voice half-returned, is gone again. This is getting boring. #
Need to change time of departing flight to New York. Change fee: $150. New one-way ticket: $59. How does this make sense? #
That's it. NOT watching American Idol after this year. Competition can't sing on pitch, judges apparently listening by satlink from Mars. #
YES, I watch American Idol. YOU spend YOUR working hours submerged in classical rhetoric and see what YOU want to do at the end of the day. #
Heading off the grid to write. Today's agenda: the Sultanate of Cairo and topics for middle-grade writers. (Different projects, obviously) #
Cleaning up DD9's room. How is it POSSIBLE to have this many stuffed animals? Wouldn't it give you the creeps, being so vastly outnumbered? #
Just finished Connie Willis's BLACKOUT. Yelling FOUL. Ends mid-story, conclusion in new book not out til fall. BAD DECISION, angry reader. #
At the W&M library reading. "A New Approach to English Grammar, on Semantic Principles." FUN. #
Clouds + cold + drizzle + church over = nap. #

--Twitter weekly updates
--Quick Photo update on the gap year
--Twitter weekly updates
--Medieval World sightings

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of
and also,
Silver Pieces: The Strange and

Hip & Sage (Lifestyles & Culture)


OUR RECOMMENDATION: Inactive since October 2009....


The archives are still there and they are interesting. So check it out via the web and see what they have to say...

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Hip and Sage offers professionals 40 years old and better advice and commentary about how to stay competitive and relevant in today's fast changing world.

It was apparently a companion blog to this book:

MY REVIEW: The blog looks like it had been interesting – it deal5 with keeping the older generation up with social media, how the world works today in the work place, etc. It was founded in September 2008, then skipped to March 2009, where the author posted steadily until November, with nothing since. A pity.

--Six pixels of separation
--Overwhelm is a choice – ways to combat overwhelm
--Hip and sage quality professionals
--The hip and sage cocktail – sip it
--2% of web searches are for video

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of Normal> and Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiar

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blogbdon (Lifestyles & Culture)


MY RECOMMENDATION: No. Not suitable for Kindle.



BLOG DESCRIPTION: I like four things: sports, rap, sneakers and computers. Thus, this blog shall reflect these interests of mine and nothing else.

MY REVIEW: Interesting blog covering a broad range of interests of the blogger, from TV shows to sports to commercials. The posts are fairly regular, short text with a video/ web link. This heavy reliance on the links make it unsuitable for reading on a Kindle.

--Watch yourself grow older
--Empire sizzle
--Human chameleon
--Jamie Lynn Spears quote of the year
--Marriage rejection at the NBA game

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of Normal and
Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiar

Holy Mackerel (Lifestyles & Culture)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: A humorous look at life in the slow lane, which was once the fast lane, and is often detoured.

MY REVIEW: Blog owner's note: The only blogs that receive NOs at the Kindle Blog Report are those that are inactive for some reason, or are unsuitable for the Kindle (consisting only of videos, for example.)

The only blogs that receive YESs (from now on, anyway!) are those that reviewers like.

A MAYBE means that the reviewer doesn't like it, based on their own blog preferences, but that others may. As long as the blog is regularly updated, and formats well for the Kindle, and doesn't have egregious bad language, it will typically receive a MAYBE.

Such is the case with "Holy Mackerel."
Now, on to Ann's review:

Some folks may enjoy this blog, I personally did not. I found it a bit crass and really did not need to have explicate details of the results of a sick child – I’ve been there often, got the t-shirt. You don’t need to describe it to me. Just mention the situation and the humor is still there – go into the details and I’ m gone. In fact, there are many fine points she writes about that I don’t care to read about, but hey, it’s a free country!

She writes like she is talking fast (which of course I’m southern and cannot relate to that – but I don’t hold that against her.) It is definitely a blog following her days and she stays on track. It doesn’t bounce all over the place like some people's blogs tend to do. She chronicles her life with her husband, Mr. Handsome, and her children. And, she posts fairly frequently, several times a week.

Her personality comes through. She is a mother and a wife at a turning point in her life – deciding whether or not to go back to school to study nursing or to be a paramedic (both very admirable occupations). This is no easy feat – to start over.

Today's post is in honour of a very special person. As you can tell, it's obviously a very special person because here I am posting on a Thursday, which I don't normally do. Sorry for screwing up your routines, guys. But this is important.

Her name is Joanna. Joanna's from the Czech Republic. My site stats told me so. Everyone, say hello to Joanna!

Joanna gets the prize as my first hater! Prize details to follow at the end of this post. I'm still in the midst of putting it together.

This is what Joanna told me the other day in the comments section of one of my posts:

I just found your blog via Warsaw Mommy whose blog, in turn, I clicked on via Finslippy. And, after reading for about 20 minutes, I find myself agreeing with your husband, the everso cutely nicknamed Mr. Handsome. You are not very funny, and frankly you seem like a somewhat unpleasant person who is finghting a lot of petty wars. But you seem to enjoy blogging and have some readers who like your writing, so to each his own, I guess.
Finslippy is a good blog. Check it out sometime to find out what "funny" is like.

Seems to me Joanna has a few issues, no?

Let's see...First of all, Joanna, I wanted to thank you for visiting my blog, and all the way from the Czech Republic! Awesome.

I just wanted to clarify a point you make early on. Please don't take offense when I say this, but you actually weren't on my blog for 20 minutes. It was more like 17 minutes 56 seconds. Which is actually still an awful lot, seeing as most people kind of read a page or two and then move on. But you? You went to seven different pages, I think, and really did due diligence before making assumptions about me. Good for you! I;d just like to point out that you either (a) were purposely taking your time in reading my posts to pick out as many faults as you could, or (b) you are an extremely slow reader to have taken almost 18 minutes to read a whole seven pages. Either way, you're diligent. Always a good thing.

--This Is For You, Joanna From The Czech Republic! Thank You For Your Patronage
--How I Saved The Country
--The list, or how to do Toronto real good with lots and lots of puke and poop
--Gowan loves me

Ann Currie publishes publishes My Life a Bit South of Normal and Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiar

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flyover America (US Travel)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: We are two writers in love with America. Every diner and prairie and highway of it. The places that many people consider flyover territory—Lincoln, Nebraska; Lubbock Texas; Bayonne, New Jersey, and the like—grab hold of us. Flyover America is as much a state of mind as a place. Flyover America is packed with stories, discoveries and soul. And it’s got some great malls, too.

MY REVIEW: This is a fun blog, and a very informative one. The author(s) write well, in an informal, friendly style. In addition to reviews of travel spots, they talk about movies ("Maine Does Not Sound Like Queens" in which the author comments on the movie Welcome to Mooseport.
The premise is that an outgoing United States president (Hackman) moves to small-town Maine and runs for mayor against a local hardware store owner (Romano).

Fine and dandy, it’s a film of no consequence, but I must ask the filmmakers: Why on Earth would you set a film in Maine and cast no one with a New England accent? Maine!–which has an accent as thick and distinctive as Georgia! And yet , in a lead role we get the distinctively Queens, New York honk of Ray Romano. At least Maura Tierney was born in Boston, so her flatter intonations are not glaringly inappropriate. Most disappointing were the bit characters, the quirky old guys and gals who looked like all sorts of flat vowels and dropped R’s would come out of their mouths. But no, they sounded Midwestern, at best. This did not stop bothering me through the entire film.

Just ‘cause there’s moose in the movie doesn’t mean you’ve captured Maine.

(Sounds like the movie makers could have taken a lesson from the Coen brothers, who did Fargo using several local Minneapolis actors in bit-parts. (On the other hand, the movie took place in Minnesota, and Fargo is, y'know, located in North Dakota... And one of the locations they used for the movie, a small diner right near where I lived, never re-opened after the movie finished filming there. I guess they must have paid its owners so much money to use it, that they closed up shop and headed off to retirement land in less-snowier climes!)

But back to the blog under review. I enjoyed the writing, enjoyed the eclectic types of posts - but all travel related in some way, and I think you'll enjoy this blog as well.

Write a blog for long enough and, at some point, your patterns will start to emerge. You’ll notice the themes you return to time and again, the grooves of the record that are worn deep. I have a thing for the abandoned and the dying: American ruins, Rolley-Hole Marbles, Presbyterians. Psychologists, really, hold your tongues. I don’t care what it means.

So, while doing a bit of web wandering the other day, I got lost in It’s a not-necessarily-beautiful-but-pretty-damned-fun travel blog written (and shot) by Daniel and Ligian Ter-Nedden, a couple who live in Zurich, Switzerland. They’ve visited more than 200 ghost towns in nine U.S. states. (Yes, I’m also keen on people who get mildly-to-completely obsessed with…whatever.)

--What’s Left Behind, Again
--Road-trip Rituals
--That’s One Swell Silver Screen
--Cadillac Ranch: You Should Go
--A U.S. Library I Love (or, Sigh, Loved and Lost)

97 Dollar Ebooks - Battledrome

I've removed this review since this website appears to have been canceled. See comment for details!

The Many Faces of Truth (religion, life and culture)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Exploring Truth in the many people and places that reflect it. Included are essays as well as book, music and movie reviews.

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent blog for anyone who is religious, not religious but interested in the history of religion (that'd be me). The author discusses the Bible, and books about religion, Christian music, and so on, from a Christian standpoint. He writes very well, in a very informed manner.

Highly recommended.

In the "Making Sense of Christianity" series of posts, we have been discussing whether or not the Bible is a reliable source of Truth. In this post, we will examine the Easter Story more specifically.

The Easter Story is the climax to the Old Testament narrative. At the end of the Old Testament, we know that humanity has sinned and that God has promised redemption through the line of David and through the Covenant(s) He has made with Israel. We are waiting for the Messiah, the Anointed One who is to come and bring the Kingdom of God to earth, the One who will finally set things right. Through the first four books of the New Testament, we are told the story of Jesus, the Messiah who has finally come. Jesus indeed starts setting things right, but in ways we do not expect. Jesus takes the place of a servant, washing feet, healing beggars and the sick, eating with adulterers and tax collectors. Then we have the Easter story. Jesus the Messiah dies, most unexpectedly, but then Jesus lives again, ushering in the Kingdom of God.

But for those of us who live so many years after the events supposedly took place, we have a burning question: Did the Easter Story really happen? What evidence do we have to believe that Easter actually happened? Let’s look at the details of the Easter Story and see whether they verify the Easter Story or whether they show that the Easter Story is nothing more than a lie.

In a previous post we looked at women in the New Testament. We saw that women play a pretty important role in the Easter Story. There was a group of women who were at the cross with Jesus. It was a group of women that went with Joseph of Arimathea to the tomb to “embalm” Jesus. It was a group of women who went to the tomb early on Sunday morning. It was Mary Magdalene who first “preached” the Gospel, proclaiming the Good News to the men.

What we didn’t look at in that previous post is what the men were doing during the Easter Story. First, just before Jesus is arrested, he takes a few disciples and prays in Gethsemane. Jesus is greatly disturbed and sorrowful, and he asks the men keep watch as he leaves to pray by himself. When he returns, he finds the men in earnest prayer. Wait. That’s not right. Jesus returns to find the men keeping watch, just like Jesus asked. Wait. That’s not right either. Jesus returns to find the men sleeping. Yep. That’s right. Sleeping. This happens not once, but multiple times. Jesus brought some men along to keep watch while he prayed, and instead of doing as Jesus asked, they fall asleep. Over and over again. (Mark 14:32-42)

Then there is Peter. While Jesus is being questioned by various authorities, Peter is asked whether he is a disciple. He denies ever knowing Jesus. Again, this happens not once but multiple times. (Luke 22:54-62) John describes it very poignantly, “It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.” (John 18:18) Instead of standing with Jesus as he is questioned, Peter is standing with the servants and officials of those who are questioning Jesus.

Peter is by no means the only cowardly one, though. We find out from John that the rest of the men have been locked up in rooms hiding because they fear for their lives. Instead of honoring Jesus at his grave, instead of anything else beneficial they could have been doing, they are locked away, hiding. (John 20:19)

If the Easter Story is a lie, if it is simply made-up, why are the men presented as cowards and the women presented as the brave heroes of the story? Wouldn’t the male authors of the Gospels have preferred to write it the other way around if they were simply making it up?

--Did Easter Really Happen? (Making Sense of Christianity #4)
--Music Review: Sara Groves’ Fireflies and Songs
--Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (Answering the Critics #2)
--The Gospel of Paul (Making Sense of Christianity #3)
--Artist’s Best: Caedmon’s Call

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Being Human (Lifestyles & Culture)





BLOG'S DESCRIPTION: A personal introduction to the New Atheism.

OUR REVIEW: One must be bright and opened minded to read this blog, less they be sucked into the dungeons of Hell.

Not really, but most Baptists would want you to feel this way!

Ignorance keeps most religions alive and well, which is a point made in this blog. Let me make myself perfectly clear here, I am not an atheist, nor am I taking sides, but I would like to think I am open minded enough to look both ways before I cross a street.

Whether you agree or not, this blog is thought provoking and well written. The author brings some issues to the table that others would rather not deal with. Even my Daddy, a died-in-the-wool Scottish Presbyterian, loved a good argument and always told me, if you didn’t listen to both sides, you’d never learn a thing.

Note that the blog is only updated once a week or so. Once again, I’ll get on my soap box and remind everyone if you want people to read your blog, you need to post frequently, more than once a week. This is especially true if you expect them to pay for a subscription.

--Do religions really prevent crime?
--Is EU the most sucessful peace-iniative in human history?
--Is continuation of wars a law of nature?
--Why do we cry in the front seat of a BMW?

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of Normal and Silver Pieces: The Strange and Peculiar

Friday, March 19, 2010

Homecooks (Lifestyles & Culture)

BLOG CHECK 4/27/11






BLOG'S DESCRIPTION: Get answers to the "What's for dinner?" question with these simple but healthy recipes from a group of cooking friends (real people with busy lives) who share what's cooking in their kitchens.

OUR REVIEW: An excellent recipe blog. No fuss, just a quick narrative and description, list of ingredients and straight forward directions.

Previous recipes include Spaghettis Squash Breakfast Loaf, Sausage, Pepper Rigatoni, How to Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey, Tomato Soup, Home made Ice Cream, and Chicken Risotto. If I had one, slight, concern it would be the number of squash recipes posted. Given that there is only one recipe a post, and unfortunately, there is only one maybe two, posts a week you want as much diversity as possible. But everything I saw looked wonderful.

They also reviewed a Pairing knife, a Lodge Logic Wonder Skillet, and Le Creuset cookware.

--Salmon and Cranberry Salad
--Sea Bass Dinner for Two
--Seafood Stew Recipe
--Ropa Vieja with Mango Salsa
--Home Run Guacamole

Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of
and also,
Silver Pieces: The Strange and

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flashfree (Lifestyles & Culture)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: An organic, fresh, informative, hip and humorous overview of evidence-based alternative approaches to menopause and the transition to midlife.

MY REVIEW: A blog that covers complimentary/interpretive medicine dealing with menopause. She has recently added a doctor as a guest contributor. Her posts cover new studies related to women's health, nutrition, interviews, and other topics - all geared toward that mid-life transition we all face. Her posts are thorough with many links to past posts and outside sources and a helpful review of all the posts at the end of each month. She posts often, several times a week.

It is well written, however, I didn't see the "hip or humorous" part but that may be up to each reader. It's an informative blog on an important subject. For those interested in this topic, this is a good blog.


Wednesday’s Bubble: easy does it with Chamomile

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Osteoporosis: what’s the 411?

Wednesday’s Bubble: another nail in the coffin of HRT

West meets East, Guest Post Jonathan Black MD/MPH Student


Ann Currie publishes My Life a Bit South of
and also,
Silver Pieces: The Strange and

Kindle Blog Review Blog Update

Apologies for the sparse posting in the last few days, we will get back on schedule to start posting at least 5 reviews a day come Monday, March 22.

We'll also be adding more pages - indexes to certain topics - baseball of course, other sports like NFL, NBA, aviation, science, women's issues, and so on, so that this blog review blog can be of the utmost use to our subscribers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bionic Ear Blog (Deaf culture)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: She writes about living life as a deaf person. Her numero uno priority-a is de familia. You can find the southpaw not wearing 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots in the Lone Star State.

MY REVIEW: This blog is not available for subscription via the Kindle, but I think it's a worthwhile one so I'll review it here.

I was watching Law and Order: CI, which took place in the deaf community. Of course one knew immediately that the scriptwriter was a Leftist, there was a thinly veiled dig at Rush Limbaugh in the script (such references have become more overt since then!) as someone who'd need a cochlear implant after abusing oxycodone.

I think several of the actors and actresses in the episode actually were deaf. From there I thought back on other TV shows with a deaf-community role...there was one in the original CSI, for example.

About ten years ago, I used to work with a deaf woman. Prior to that, I actually took sign-language class for a few weeks, but like so many of my attempts to learn a different language it fell by the wayside. And several months ago I wrote a blog entry (at my youflygirl blog, about Nellie Zabel Willhite, and I continue to get hits from that from people who read about it on another deaf community blog, who had also done an entry on her.

Anyway, this is an excellent blog - and gives one to think. I was particularly struck by her entry about reading a story to her daughter who was in second grade, and having the other kids tease her because of her mother's deaf accent - I hadn't thought that kind of cruelty happened until kids got into their teens.

Anyway, check it out.

Sample post:
Everyone with hearing losses uses sign language and reads lips. I know a drop of sign language, which I’ve picked up here and there like I’ve picked up words in other languages. My dad and grandmother lost their hearing as they got older. Neither knew sign language nor how to read lips.

Talking louder will help a person with hearing loss to understand. No, it puts us in an awkward situation. It is possible to talk too loud to me, but I can’t be sure if it’s someone’s normal volume or trying to do me a favor. Either way, I don’t want to risk hurting anyone’s feelings. It’s all about annunciation.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants restore hearing to normal. I wish! I’ve used both and I still cannot hear a conversation on the phone, from behind me or on TV.

People with hearing loss are stupid, mute and unsuccessful. I run a successful full-time freelance business. Before doing this, I had a great career in both the government and in telecommunications. A recent article discusses two employees at a large local company, one is an engineer. Unfortunately, if we dare ask “What did you say?” or don’t look like we understand, we’re perceived as stupid.

People with hearing loss tend to be older adults. I was born deaf. ‘nuff said. I’ve met many deaf kids my age over the years.

People with hearing loss are defined by their hearing loss. Hardly. I’m a wife and mother first. Then a writer and volunteer. Being deaf does motivate me to work harder. I’m as much as a lefty as I am a deafie.

Having hearing loss is shameful. Some folks who lose their hearing as they get older do struggle with the loss just like we all struggle with different things that come with aging. But as a person who was born deaf and never experiencing hearing like the average person, it’s not shameful. However, it’s true that some folks are in denial about their hearing loss.

When people with hearing loss miss something, it’s OK to tell them, “It’s not important,” or “I’ll tell you later.” Yeah, my brother did this to me all the time as closed-captions weren’t around until I was a teen. But I know he did it because it’s easier. It’s no different than when kids ask their parents what they were talking about to each other. They just don’t need to know everything.

People with hearing loss are rude and pushy. From my view, I don’t like lose track of the conversation or force myself not to care what people are talking about. So in my anxiousness to stay on track, I might come across as pushy when I don’t mean it.

People with hearing loss mostly hang out with other people with hearing loss. I’ve had very few deaf friends over the years. The only ones I know are from social networking. However, it’s true that some folks do all they can to be active in the community with other deaf people. It’s no different than Jewish people interacting with each other, Blacks and so on. You’ll find this in every race, culture and creed.

Everyone who needs an assistive listening system can use ear buds or headphones. I can’t use ear buds at all. They’re not loud enough and they don’t reach my hearing aid. I use headphones and switch my cochlear implant to T-Coil to shut out regular sounds and only hear what comes through the headphones. The T-Coil has been around since I was a kid. Great invention.

The wheelchair symbol represents universal access. It represents people who need to know if there’s access for someone with mobility challenges.

Hearing access isn’t needed because it’s so rarely requested. “Many people with hearing loss are so accustomed to there being no accessibility accommodations that they don’t inquire about it unless it is publicized.” Very true. I’ve gotten to the pint that if someone tells me about a video, I don’t bother to check it out unless they say it’s captioned or has no words.

People with hearing loss read braille. My husband ran into this when he was moving to Washington, DC, and I hadn’t yet joined him. Riding in an elevator, a coworker, who knew I was deaf, asked if I could read braille. Sure, I can rub my ear all over it and know what it says. Not really.

Providing access for people with hearing loss is very expensive. I can caption my own videos for zero cost. (OK, we won’t go into the fact you need a computer and Internet connection.) We can also access relay services online.

Deaf, hearing impaired, handicapped or disabled one is as good as the other. Even I get lazy and say “deaf person” referring to me. But it’s true that the correct way is “people who are deaf or hard of hearing.” Using “deaf person” or “blind person” implies there’s nothing else to the person. Some deaf people (see?) prefer to be known as “deaf person.” I also get lazy and say “hearing impaired” instead of “hard of hearing.” I’ve used all three terms. The only thing I don’t like is “handicapped.”

Companies or accessibility experts with no background with hearing loss can know what best meets the needs of people with hearing loss. Not all companies have the ability to hire someone to be an expert. That’s why you do research, ask questions and contact experts.

--You Tube Captioning
--Links: Captioning, Olympics and 508
--FCC Announces New Closed Captioned Complaint Rules
--Olympics Continue to Falter with Web Site
--Two Difference Experiences in Talking to Children
--Hearing Aid Tax Credit
--Employees with Disabilities Think outside of the box daily
--Cowboys Stadium Kicks off New Assistive Service
--17 Misconceptions about People with Hearing Loss

Here's her biogaphy:
Meryl K. Evans, Content Maven, is the author of Brilliant Outlook Pocketbook and the co-author of Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites. She has written and edited for AbsoluteWrite, ECT News Network, The Dallas Morning News, Gamezebo, Lockergnome, MarketingProfs, PC Today, O’Reilly, Pearson, Sams, Web Worker Daily, Wiley, and WROX. Meryl has written copy for businesses ads and games including Fib-or-Not? and Meet, Mix, and Mingle.

Meryl writes and edits content for businesses and publications. She helps business build and maintain relationships with clients and prospects through content. She’s also a long-time blogger who started blogging on June 1, 2000.

She is the original Editor-in-Chief of Shavlik’s The Remediator Security Digest, a popular newsletter on computer security that started with a few thousand subscribers and climbed to over 100,000 subscribers during her tenure. She’s also the editor of Professional Service Journal, an email newsletter for business-to-business (B2B) service providers and Intel Solution Services’ Connected Digest.

Want some CSS inspiration? Check out the CSS Collection, which she handed off to talented folks who promised to keep the site strong.

Meryl has worked as an educator with New York University’s online graduate program where she continues to help students with their theses. She has worked for two Fortune 500 telecom companies, federal government in Washington, D.C. and IT consulting. A native Texan, she lives a heartbeat north of Dallas in Plano, Texas with her husband and three kiddos.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let's Get Real (Education, home schooling)


MY RECOMMENDATION: No, not Kindle compatible



BLOG DESCRIPTION: I am a pastor's wife and mother to five children including twin boys with autism. No fluff and glory here! Just the naked truth. I have home schooled my children for 23 years. Welcome!

MY REVIEW: The blog itself is unattractive, as is the Kindle feed. Each entry provides a link to another page where the actual article resides.

In addition, the blog hasn't been updated since March 9.

-We made the news!
-10 best field trip destinations
-Winter field trip for Fort Wayne, Indiana area
-Michelle Obama: childhood obesity starts at home
-Great ideas for Valentine's day foy your homeschhol
-Happy New Year
-A New Year of High hopes

Tech Rockies (business and investing)


MY RECOMMENDATION: Yes, with reservations



BLOG DESCRIPTION: provides daily tracking of Rocky Mountain Region high tech news, including venture fundings, interviews, and breaking news items about high tech companies in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and beyond.

All this blog seems to do is write a paragraph of info on a variety of technical business companies. Truth to tell, this information conveys nothing to me - there doesn't seem to be enough of it to help a reader make any choice about whether to buy stock...

The actual blogsite does have many links to a variety of headlines, listed as:
Latest funding
Executive moves (execs switching companies)
Venture capital
Mergers and acquisitions
Life sciences

But this material does not feed over to the blog.

Sample post
Boulder, Colorado-based data storage firm Spectra Logic said today that the firm was ranked in the top ten percent of U.S., General Services Administration (GSA) information technology contractors in 2009. The firm said the rankings were based on annual revenues of GSA Schedule 70 It products and services. Spectra Logic said its Federal sales account for more than 20 percent of its overall revenues. Spectra Logic is a maker of disk and tape backup systems and backup libraries.

-Ping identity links into google apps
-Aegis analytical wins human genome sciences
-Spectra logic ranks in list of GSA contractors
-Markrt force information buys Ted Costas GRoup
-Confio hands reins back to founder

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Well-Trained Mind (education)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Reflections on classical education, home schooling, and educational innovation from a college professor, writer and home school parent

MY REVIEW: If you're thinking of home-schooling your kids, this is an excellent blog, and I highly recommend it.

I've been doing some research on home schooling, because I'm writing some non-fiction work which I'd like to get into the home-school market. I hadn't realized that most home schoolers are Christian-based, and do it because they want their kids to be able to pray in school, as opposed to because home-schooled kids don't have to deal with bullies, and can advance at a faster pace if they are so intellecually inclined.

Althought the author of this blog is a Christian, she deals with education, not with religion. (At least, from the entries I've read.) She writes well, she writes informatively, she has had decades of experience at this.l

Here's a sample post:
Third graders, Saxon math, and elitism
by susan on March 3, 2010

I just got back from my first speaking engagement of 2010 (which is why I haven’t posted for a week or so–the first engagement of the year always requires me to pull out all of my notes, organize them, update them, redo my PowerPoint or Keynote slides, make sure I have all my frequent flyer codes, get my clothes from the dry cleaner…you get the idea).

At this conference, a high percentage of the parents had their children in classical schools, and I found myself having the same conversation multiple times–a conversation that follows, in a way, on the gap-year posts of the last few weeks. The conversation had multiple beginnings:

“My second grader is in Saxon 3. So he’s doing OK, right?”

“My third-grade student is really struggling with the five-page book reports he has to write. What kind of remedial work should I do with him?”

“My thirteen-year-old is failing algebra. Should I talk to the principal about the teacher?”

“My daughter’s not reading chapter books yet and she’s seven. What should I do?”

After this, it usually went the same way: I said, “You know, kids develop at different rates…”

It distresses me when classical schools achieve an appearance of rigor by pushing skills into lower and lower grades. Yes, home schooling parents do this too, but when a school does it, there’s an appearance of authority that’s very difficult for parents to challenge. In most cases they’ve got the kids in the school because they think the teachers will do a better job (in some way) than they can, and when those same teachers tell them that the second grader should be able to do third grade math, they believe it.

This pushing skills backwards (Saxon 3 for second graders, the Aeneid for all seventh grade students, algebra at age thirteen without fail) is nothing new. Back in the 1970s, the private Christian schools associated with A Beka in Pensacola, Florida, started teaching cursive writing in kindergarten. There’s one pedagogical advantage to this–it’s harder to reverse letters. But that’s balanced off by a disadvantage: many children need to print because they need the visual likeness between what they’re doing and what’s in the books they read. The A Beka approach to cursive was governed by a more general concern: it appeared more advanced to teach cursive in kindergarten than to wait for the traditional second/third grade window. Private Christian education was relatively new; now, Christian schools could boast that their students, trained in these untested, unfamiliar classrooms, were ahead of their counterparts elsewhere.

The push backwards was for boasting privileges.

Excuse me for quoting myself: you can read the interview (a few years old now) here.

One thing classical homeschoolers really need to guard against is a devastating level of elitism: “We are doing the best homeschooling because our young children are doing such advanced work.” This kind of elitism is non-Christian, it is unloving, and it is unproductive. I was recently asked, “What do you think of third-graders doing Saxon 5/4?” I said, “I can’t think of a single thing you would gain by that. Some of them will be able to do it, but a lot of them aren’t developmentally ready for it. You are going to finish advanced mathematics by the end of high school if you keep them on the normal schedule. What’s the rush?” What do you gain by asking a seventh-grader to read the Iliad if that seventh-grader hasn’t developed the maturity to understand and appreciate what he’s reading? Nothing at all. You gain nothing in the way of emotional and mental development by pushing difficult tasks down to earlier grades.

I am not talking about the lowering of academic standards. I don’t want them lowered; I am just talking about extending the time needed for children to meet those standards. Children move from grammar to logic stage thinking, and from logic to rhetoric stage thinking, at different times in different subjects. We should focus on this, rather than focusing on age or grade level. And I hope that classical schools will also begin to think seriously about what is being gained in the classroom if immature students are being asked to do work that continually frustrates them. Is our goal to educate as many students as possible, or to identify a small, advanced, elite core of classical scholars? I hope it’s the first, and not the second. I think there is a very high level of achievement that all children can reach, given the appropriate amount of time. Keep the standards high, but give each child the appropriate amount of time for those achievements.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend reassuring parents that taking a little extra time to reach a goal is not the same as lowering standards. It may make you feel better if your kid is a year ahead of his cousins in math; it’s pointless if the child is not developmentally ready to do the work.

I should clarify that I’m not here addressing those kids who are ready to do more advanced work. Of course they should be allowed to progress forward as quickly as they want. But that’s much more easily done in a homeschool setting than in a classroom; classroom teachers in particular (and their principals) need to be very, very wary of announcing that all second graders should be doing third grade math.

And yet…too many schools do. And too many parents believe it, rather than carefully and thoughtfully assessing the developmental rate of their own child.

-An invitation (requesting guest posts)
-Third graders, Saxon math, and elitism
-Quick photo update on son's gap year trip
-The gap year, Part IV: resources for gap year projects
-The gap year, Part III: our personal experience so far
-The gap year, Part II: my own thoughts