Monday, June 22, 2009

Still freaked out a day later.

So yesterday, desperate to distract the Goober with something - anything - and buy the husbeast and I a moment's peace, I gave her a world history book. I'd gotten it on sale about a year ago and figured I would give it to her when she was in grade school and NEEDED a world history book (something more entertaining than the text books); it's written at about a fifth grade level, and like all Dorling-Kindersley books, is full of pictures. I was hoping the pictures would save me. They did.

The crazy thing was, when I laid the book in front of her, she put her finger on a photo of the gold mask of Tutankhamen's, and said clearly, "Ooooh, Egyp!" and flipped the book open. She seemed disappointed the whole book wasn't about Egyp, so I'll probably be getting her a kid's book about that, next.

Thing is, I've got no idea how she knew that. It's probably from me. When I read any kind of book, if it's got pictures (it usually does; I'm a big fan of pictures and maps and diagrams), the Goob will lean over my shoulder and point and ask questions about 'who dat lady made of stone?' I know she's gone through several history and art history books with me and it's likely Tut's in one of those. But for the life of me, I don't remember explaining that to her.


This weekend I got a fun e-mail. My Sock Roulette victim had finished her half of the pair.

Awesome! I'd left the end of the toe of the sock I sent her undarned, figuring she could pick it apart and add length if she had to. And she did. But I think we did a great job.

Sock Roulette will be happening again next year. I think I've got all the wrinkles ironed out now; there will be two swaps, one for women's size medium and one for women's size large. It will start in February just like this year. I've given up on posting a huge montage of finished socks, at least this year, because it's gotten away from me and some of us are moving pretty slowly on finishing our pair (I haven't knit my own sock yet). I've got some ideas on how to fix that, too. But, anyway, something to look forward to next February.


A few comments on Schoolhouse Rock, since everyone enjoyed the zero one I included on my last post.

First, for those of you who are overseas or young, Schoolhouse Rock was, originally, a series of three-minute cartoons that aired in the seventies. They would run jumbled in between commercials, on Saturday morning children's television. Back in the dark ages of the seventies, there were no cartoon channels. We got half a day of programming on Saturday mornings, and occasional cartoons on Sunday mornings and weekday afternoons. That was it. I remember getting into fist fights with my brother over whether we were watching monster movies or Tom and Jerry on weekday afternoons.

Anyway, as with many catchy jingles, we absorbed them to a degree we never realized.

Years later, in high school, my senior year, our English teacher said she was going to make us memorize the Preamble (the beginning of our constitution) as an assignment. Right there in class, someone started singing "We the people..." and the whole class joined in.

(The actual text of the preamble starts about one minute in.) The teacher listened to us sing the whole thing, smiling, and right then and there gave us all As for the assignment. In the other classes she asked them if they knew the "We the People" song, and when they sang it, she gave them As too. This was the beginning of my great love of children's educational television. Tell me we don't use that stuff later.

Fast forward twenty years - ish - to 2005 when I was in college again and forced against my will to take English 100*. There was another woman in the class who was a few years younger than I was, and clearly remembered Schoolhouse Rock, too. When the class did parts of speech, we were completely unable to keep a lid on it, and would be in the back of the classroom, singing the jingles for the parts of speech. One day we did pronouns, and I ripped right through the song, with all the complicated names and runon sentences.

(The pronoun one is my favorite of the Grammar Rock toons.) It impressed the hell out of everyone, and my friend asked me how on earth I'd remembered that one, and I said "Oh, I have the DVD." A kid sitting near me said "You have kids?" and I said "No." and all the other kids in the class stared at me. But the professor (who had been raised overseas) immediately asked to borrow the DVD. So I loaned it to her and she loved it and got her own copy.

These days? The Goober loves the DVD and will ask for it. She asks to watch "the singing paper". Bill from "I'm just a Bill" is on the spine of the DVD case, and that's what she sees when looking at her shelf of DVDs.

And whenever she asks, she gets to watch them. I worry about making her watch them so much that she's bored or worse, hates them, but if she's asking? Oh hell yeah, kid. Watch some Schoolhouse Rock. Her favorite seems to be the x4 multiplication tables, I think because she really likes animals:

So there you go. Schoolhouse Rock on a Monday to cheer you all up.

*I was forced to take English 100 by the dean. I did it under protest, but did not take it out on the professor because the prof was wonderful. Did an excellent job of teaching basic concepts; not her fault I already knew them. She told me much later that she knew I'd be trouble - in a fun way - the first week of class when she gave us a quiz. It was an article about Mae West, and we were supposed to put in quotation marks where they were needed. I aced the quiz and across the bottom wrote "I used to be snow white, but I drifted" - a famous quote from Mae West. The paper I had to write for the class was eventually turned into my Knitty article on the history of knitting. And after it was all over and the dust had settled, my professor went to the dean with a copy of that paper, some of my other work, and links to my Knitty articles, and bitched him out for making me take that class when I very obviously didn't need it. And then she thanked me for being so nice about it in her classroom.

If only all the classes I'm forced to take were so pleasant.


Louiz said...

That was very interesting. I had wondered what those video boxes were - but at work, which is where I usually read blogs, I don't click noisy links.

I will have look at them tonight too then. Kids tv that isn't annoying? Wow!

MLJ1954 said...

I << heart >> schoolhouse rocks. One of our local community theatre groups did a whole batch of them when my oldest daughter was probably 10 (she is 23 now). I on a cassette tape a bunch of the songs and if the 8 and 15 year old aren't being their best while we fold clothes, it is the music that is played. They are of the age when it is embarrassing to be related to a mother . . . any mother . . . not just their own mother!

Of course, I also enjoy jacking up the car stereo and belting out words to any song and if the 15 year starts sliding down in her seat, I turn on the dome light and do hand motions too! Especially fun when coming home from her violin classes!

The Goob isn't old enough for those moments yet, but I promise you that there will come a time when you will thoroughly enjoy even more knowing all the words to non-traditional songs. LOL!

Barbara said...

Tom Pease! MLJ1954, we sang Tom Pease songs in the car and still sing Banana Slug at the drop of a hat not matter where we are. My "kids" are 30 and 27. They're over being embarrassed but I had a blast doing it when they were young. You have that to look forward to, Julie.

Oh, and count me in for Sock Roulette. I'm a large-footed woman.

Alwen said...


Hey, long-lost sister, my husband bought me the Schoolhouse Rock DVDs before we had a kid!

Kym said...

I remember Schoolhouse Rock... I also remember that I changed the channel or did something else while they were on. By then it was the mid-'80s, and the '70s-ness of the Schoolhouse Rock songs and animations were incredibly uncool and boring.

Fortunately I was the sort of kid who was reading about all this stuff on her own. I memorized the Preamble and the Gettysburg Address and all 50 states and capitals on my own, and was disappointed that nobody ever asked me to recite them.

Alwen said...

ooooo, shiny!

You might like this - it's about Egyp'!

Mandy said...

We also have "Schoolhouse Rock Rocks", the CD of covers of Schoolhouse Rock songs by current artists, like Blind Melon doing "Three is a Magic Number" and The Lemonheads with "My Hero, Zero" and Moby singing "Verb, That's What's Happening". Not all my favorite versions, but fun nonetheless, and introducing a whole new generation to the concept.

My son does get a little annoyed when I dance around the living room and sing along with "No More Kings" (one of my very favorites among the cartoons)!

Donna Lee said...

I love Schoolhouse Rocks. The play was onstage here in Philadelphia and I went to see it and sang my heart out (they encouraged it). "a noun's a special kind of word....." Noun was my favorite.

David said...

Paul was my favorite...

Amy Lane said...

Ulg... I HATE red tape... I had to take Enlish 120 twice, because I got a B- in it my first time round, and for a MA you need a B. Good for goober--and good for Schoolhouse rock! Of course, I have the English dvd:-)

Jilly Bean said...

I'm another one who also owns "Schoolhouse Rock Rocks", though my actual Schoolhouse Rock dvds seem to have gone missing.

My personal favorite (both versions) has always been "Conjunction Junction", though I also really like "The Energy Blues".

Shoveling Ferret said...

Schoolhouse Rocks does rock. Many fond memories of it.

Oh, and if you want to get photo heavy Egyptology books for the Goober, look for used exhibit catalogues on Amazon and Alibris. New they're usually super expensive but a few years later on they can often drop dramatically in price.
One of my favorites (that also has good articles) is Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids. It's also huge and heavy and so also does excellent double duty as a bug killer.

Roxie said...

Dayam! You kids had some cool stuff! I was in college in the 70s and missed all this. thanks for sharing.

A new persona to be added to the psychological profiles: The Goober savant. I suggest giving her teachers a box of chocolate weekly.

PICAdrienne said...

I can remember singing "I'm just a Bill" at work, waiting for Clinton to sign the Self-Employed Health Insurance deduction bill. I worked tax support, and had many people telling us our program was wrong, because the Bill had been passed by both Houses...My closest co-worker was 5 months younger, he would usually join in...

I loved Multiplication Rock and Conjunction Junction. I have the DVD's and my kids just don't get it.

historyforchildren.blogspot said...

The Goob might like this Egyptology book and I know she would like the corresponding ologyworld website. It's so cool. Here is a link

And here is another Schoolhouse Rock! video to get everyone in the mood for the fourth of July!