Sunday, February 3, 2013

Anger, Laughter, and Chocolate

Some anger:
My younger son just finished reading Animal Farm for school. He loved it and hated it. At one point, he became so angry at what was happening that he threw the book across the classroom. Well, not all the way across, but he threw the book. I applaud his outrage over the depredations of Napoleon. The interesting thing to me is that of the kids in his class, only my son and one other kid grew upset over what was going on in the book, and that outraged my son even more. He kept saying to his friends that Napoleon was evil, and they couldn't understand why he was saying that. Right up to the very end. I think this may be very indicative of our culture, because all the kids expected it all turn out okay in the end and, really, Napoleon was just trying to do the right thing. It's interesting and more study should be done about this.

As a side note, I don't remember there being any issue among my friends with understanding the book when I read it in middle school. Now, I'm curious if that was a product of my school (smart kid school) or a product of my generation. I think this question is coming to me about 30 years too late.

Some laughter:
Well, actually, I'm just still laughing over "It was a sock," but, because I'm a nice guy, I'll give you something else to laugh about:

And, now, the chocolate:
Remember, Wednesday is the deadline for submissions in the Great Chocolate Contest. Briane Pagel has a great story in the works, but I'd hate for him to win by default... even if he does say he's going to win anyway.

But, now, the real "Anger and Laughter"! Today is the FREE! release of the newest piece of Shadow Spinner:
Yeah, those are the proof copies, one of which someone should be winning very soon. Only three in existence! My son temporarily has the third one. But, anyway, today, Monday, February 4 and tomorrow, Tuesday, February 5, "Part Fourteen: Anger and Laughter" will be available for FREE! You can't beat that price is all I can say. To go along with the FREE! release of "Anger and Laughter," I also have FREE! today only:
"Part One: The Tunnel"
"Part Six: The Man with No Eyes"
"Part Seven: The Moth and the Shadow"
"Part Twelve: The Gash in the Floor"
"Part Thirteen: The Clearing"
Tell your friends, and don't forget to click the little "like" button. That would be awesome!
And, if you've read "The Tunnel" or any of the other parts, it would be great if you'd feel lead to leave a short (or a long) review.


  1. Think I have all the installments already.
    Cosby is still funny.
    And I think it's a sign of the times. You really should do a post on that and cover all of the possible contributing factors.

  2. I barely remember Animal Farm in middle school. Probably because that was in the dark ages. Congratulations on the release of your book!!!

  3. We never read Animal Farm in school. I did watch a TNT movie version quite a few years ago.

  4. Never read Animal Farm. Maybe I should one of these days.

    I read one part of The Tunnel, scary, I could feel the fear. As for the rest, I am waiting til it all becomes a book.


  5. Very cool proofs! We just got some proofs of our own. :)

    Also, we never had to read Animal Farm in school. I feel a little robbed on that one.

  6. I barely remember Animal Farm. I recall talking animals, though. But I'm all for outrage and throwing books. That's a powerful story right there. :)

  7. I'll have something ready by the sixth. I'd rather have more time - but that's always the case with me.

    And animal farm, I don't necessarily think my son is the most brilliant kid on earth, and he doesnt think that of himself that way either, but even he is amazed at how few of his peers understand anything. He will come home from school daily and tell me how he'll have to quietly re-explain what they've gone over in class with his friends because they just didn't get what they discussed. Be it in chemistry or math or English. It scares him - and he's a kid.

  8. Surely, that is the fault of the teachers. If they are not getting through to the students. Its not your son's job to make it clear, it is theirs.

  9. Animal Farm wasn't my favorite book, but I kinda/sorta liked it.

  10. Hmm...that is something to think about. I'm going with a sign of the times. And I'm with Alex- you need to do an in-depth post on that. I will be keeping my eye out. Very curious on your thoughts.

  11. I loved "Animal Farm." Especially the part where Templeton had to keep going and finding words for that spider to spell out... wait, what?

    I never read it. Kudos to you and your kids for being smart.

    As for the contest... I think I am seriously over the word limit. And I meant to get going on the final installment this morning but I didn't sleep at all last night so I'm running behind.

    Considering I was predisqualified for a book, though, I feel free to opt out of word limits.

    "Give me words lots of words
    Give me all the words that are... Don't fence me in!

    I want to say all the things
    That are bottled in my head,
    Just keep writing
    'Til I'm cold and I'm dead.
    I'll even use adverbs
    (Yes, you heard what I said)
    Don't fence me in."

  12. I'm really sorry about that. Like I said: DID NOT SLEEP EVEN A WINK LAST NIGHT.

  13. I remember understanding Animal Farm quite well, but I can't remember whether my parents may have mentioned it was allegory.

  14. I've never read Animal Farm, but I've often lamented the way readers today seem to relish characters who appear to me to be objectively bad people. Why is it that they don't see these characters and their actions the way I do? I think your point about the kids thinking Napoleon meant well is a good indicator here. Our culture seems to put far too much weight on a person's intentions. As long as you meant well, it's not your fault if you did something awful. That way you never have to take responsibility for your actions.

  15. Alex: I sort of think that, too. That it's related to our increasingly "positive" world view. But I don't actually have any data to support that, and I kind of doubt I'd be able to find any substantial data about any of it.

    JKIR,F!: The book itself is not actually released, yet. But thanks!

    PT: I've never seen the movie version.

    Jo: I'm glad you thought it was scary.
    And as for being the fault of the teachers... well, sure, part of their job is to explain the material, but Animal Farm is pretty blatant, and it's surprising to me that so many kids can miss the point.

    ABftS: Well, go back and read it now. It's worth it. And it's short.

    L.G.: Well, I wouldn't call Animal Farm your typical "talking animal" book.

    Rusty: Is your son a reader? Thinking about it more, that may be part of the issue. My son and the other student that "got" it are both readers. Most of the students are not.

    Michael: It's not my favorite book, but it was certainly influential.

    Rebecca: Gah! The pressure! I'll see what I can find.

    Briane: LOL Templeton LOL
    Man, now that song is stuck in my head. Only I hear Bob Hope singing it from his appearance on The Muppets.
    And you go be over the word limit as much as you want.

    Matthew: My parents never mentioned anything. My father has never read an entire book in his life.

    Sarah: Napoleon didn't even have good intentions. Not past the very beginning of the book. It's kind of disturbing to me that they can read about the obviously evil things the pig does and, yet, buy into what the pig is saying about how it's all for the best.

  16. I didn't mean to suggest that he did, in fact, have good intentions. But that the perception that he has good intentions and that makes it all right is indicative of how highly we value intentions over actual actions these days.

  17. Sarah: Ah, okay. I missed that. Obviously. But my intentions were good. That counts, right?
    I think it's all wrapped up in our "positive psychology" culture; I just don't know exactly how. Good intentions -are- what's important in that. Well, kind of the reverse. If you can say, "Well, I didn't -mean- to hurt anyone," then it's okay. Whatever -it- is. We forget, sometimes, that it's more important to mean to not hurt anyone.

  18. My son isn't much of reader now, he was until about a year or so ago. I stepped away from it during my high school years too, but I think there is some sort of ADD that is prevalent with youngsters today anyway. That always-messing-with-the-cell-phone kinda thing. They can't seem to go more than 10 or 15 seconds without starting to fidget.

    He's convinced everyone is a moron. I'm not exaggerating by much either, he tends to get vocal about it. I tend to agree with him in the general (not the specific though, as there are always individuals that are bright, attentive, etc.) his schoolmates struggle with some pretty fundamental concepts that are necessary to understand the world in any kind of meaningful way. I tend to hope they don't vote in a year or so when they start coming of age.

  19. Rusty: Well, when taken as a whole, I'm pretty sure everyone is a moron. That's probably why I try to not associate myself with everyone as often as possible.
    I hope that made sense.

    I saw a report recently that said most people check their cells an average of once every 6 minutes. Just to be sure, you know, that they haven't missed anything. I don't know if that was a waking average or a daily average.