alt Chocolate Unwrapped:  The Surprising Health Benefits of America's Favorite Passion, by Rowan Jacobsen (Invisible Cities Press, Montpelier, Vermont, 2003)

Like chocolate, this delicious book goes down easily, and the facts about chocolate's health benefits are not hard to swallow.  At a mere 126 pages from introduction through references, it's a quick and easy read—I read most of it on the way to and from church today—and yet manages to cover the history and production of chocolate, a good deal of detail on why chocolate—which begins as a fruit, after all—should be considered a health food, environmental and labor issues in the production of chocolate, unusual chocolate recipes, and list of great chocolate sources.  It is necessary to ignore a few insults to Columbus, the Puritans, and anyone who likes milk chocolate, but on the whole these are minor annoyances. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Edit
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alt King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, by Roger Lancelyn Green (Puffin Books, 2008)

I bought this book for my grandson, who so enjoyed Roger Lancelyn Green's The Adventures of Robin Hood.  His mother reported that the Robin Hood book was "perfect" for him, but I wish I had read it myself, first, so I could compare it with King Arthur, since I'm having second thoughts.  King Arthur has been read by and to children for half a century, and there's nothing at all inappropriate about it, but there are not a few battles in which people's heads get lopped off, and a few babies conceived under less than ideal circumstances (Arthur in a scenario not unlike Solomon's), and—perhaps more disturbing for a child—a couple of examples of children raised by others instead of their own families. (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 11:09 am | Edit
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I wasn't going to waste blog space on the Harvard prof flap, but since I took the time to comment on Facebook, I'll add it here.

  • It's not about race, other than the understandable prickliness of one who has experienced racism. This kind of thing happens to while people, too, with exhibits A & B in my own family (no arrests but undeniably wrong behavior on the part of the police). But that doesn't make the news, and garners no presidential commentary.
  • If a policeman had entered my house, uninvited and without a warrant, and asked for my ID I would have been on the phone to 911—or maybe a lawyer—if  not fleeing like a felon myself out of sheer terror. Didn't we fight a war about that sort of thing?  Back in the early homeschooling days, we were advised never to let an official without a warrant into the house, but instead hand them our attorney's telephone number.  That still seems like reasonable advice.  I tend to sympathize with policemen, who put their lives on the line daily for us—not to mention that a friend of ours is one of New York City's Finest—but that doesn't mean I trust everyone sporting a badge.
  • Maybe it is about race.  Would the charges have been dropped like that if the person had been white, or poor? Would there be such an uproar? Unfortunately, I have enough experience with the system to doubt it.
  • Lesson learned (or should be): Mouthing off is stupid. Sometimes it gets you suspended from hockey games, sometimes it gets you arrested, always it diminishes you as a person.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, July 24, 2009 at 9:08 am | Edit
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My sister called me a geek because I adorned reserved church pews with such labels as "DSTB 1" and "NMB 2."  To me, that was a compliment, but I still maintain I'm too old to be a geek.  Nonetheless, I was pleased to note that I scored higher than expected on Geek Dad's 100 Essential Skills for Geeks.  (More)

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, July 20, 2009 at 8:45 am | Edit
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I don't know why anyone would want to annoy a worm, but apparently lemon balm does the trick.  I had some less-than-perfect leaves that I didn't use in making my lemon balm tea, so I fed them to the worms.  Rather, I put the leaves in their bin; feeding was out of the question.  The next time I checked, all the worms were huddled on the side of the bin furthest from the leaves.  They didn't seem particularly unhappy, but they didn't return to the other side until a few days after I removed the offending foliage.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 11:19 am | Edit
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